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 Post subject: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:06 pm 
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Recently I built a staff that follows the BoW rules on staffs directly. I brought said staff to BFTR not to use on the field, but to demonstrate as a proof of concept. It passed weapons check twice, however, due to concerns about on the field incidents, I removed the pass tape, kept it in my possession at all times (it never went onto the field) and went around showing all the knights and squires that I could find, and asked their opinion on the weapon. About half those polled hated it, and expressed their great disdain for the weapon. The other half praised me for creating a unique weapon that had not before been seen and confirmed that it did in fact follow the rules. A few of those played with the weapon some, tried to invent situations they could get into that would cause harm to their opponent, and declared that they thought it was safe. For reference for this discussion, below are the entirety of the rules on Staffs (copied from Geddon.org on 2/9/16, I also checked to ensure that it was the same as the ones posted on belegarth.com)

1.4.6. Double-ended Weapons must conform to all of the following:
1.4.6.1. Double-ended Weapons must not be more than 7 feet (210 cm) long.
1.4.6.2. Double-ended Weapons must have a minimum of 18 inches (45 cm) in length of padding covering each end in a cylindrical fashion. Both striking surfaces of this weapon must follow Class 3 Weapon standards for a Double-ended Weapon to be legal.
1.4.6.3. Regardless of length, a Double-ended Weapon is a Class 1 Weapon when swung and Class 3 when thrust.

The Staff I built is 83.5” in length (7 feet is 84 inches), is padded for its entire length so that there is no exposed core anywhere. On both ends are stab tips, and on one end is an approximately 30” swinging strike surface. I would like to note above, nowhere does it declare that both ends must have swinging strike padding, nor do both ends have to qualify for class one. The only requirements are that both ends follow class 3 rules, and that both ends have at least 18” of padding in a cylindrical fashion. It does not specify strike padding. Below is a link to the weapon for reference (sorry, I suck at embedding photos.)

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9wINv8xlc6PVjI2aTBCcV9uajQ/view?usp=sharing

One of the things that was said about the weapon was that it was a glaive with a butt spike. Another thing that was said was that there was far too little indication that it was a staff (this point I will concede, it is not well labeled in its current modification, however this is easily fixed). Another thing that was said is that it had the friendliest pommel the squire had ever seen (this was said somewhat in jest).

I did spar against it with Sir Par, he wielded the staff and I wielded one of my glaives. During one of the bouts, we both moved to close quarters and entered a pole bind. Rather than haft wrestling as pole fighters normally do, Sir Par moved the lower stab tip and gut stabbed me with it, much to his amusement and my chagrin. Sir Par even turned the staff around for a bout and used it as a spear, holding it by the striking surface. After 7 or so bouts, he informed me that he liked it and thought it was a safe weapon.
Right now, as per direct reading of the rules, this weapon passes, and it has shown to be safe in initial testing. This weapon will be going through long term testing at a realm as well as it will be attending a regional event to test. I will be marking the weapon so that it is significantly more visible, and will be informing fighters of the weapon before engaging them, or in the case of the event, making it known to all those in attendance.

To sum up, I will be continuing to test the weapon for safety. It has shown to be marginally useful in combat as a dueling staff, but is by no means game breaking. I would like to hear discussion about the weapon, but as it stands right now, it operates as a specialty weapon that one might take into a pole tourney, as giving up the red weapon capability to be able to stab with both ends severely limits it against any other weapon than another polearm.

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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 10:44 pm 
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Hardiron wrote:
I would like to note above, nowhere does it declare that both ends must have swinging strike padding, nor do both ends have to qualify for class one. The only requirements are that both ends follow class 3 rules, and that both ends have at least 18” of padding in a cylindrical fashion. It does not specify strike padding. Below is a link to the weapon for reference.

Actually it totally does, Kegg told you that at BFTR, Tordek, and he wrote the rules

Hardiron wrote:
1.4.6. Double-ended Weapons must conform to all of the following:
1.4.6.1. Double-ended Weapons must not be more than 7 feet (210 cm) long.
1.4.6.2. Double-ended Weapons must have a minimum of 18 inches (45 cm) in length of padding covering each end in a cylindrical fashion. Both striking surfaces of this weapon must follow Class 3 Weapon standards for a Double-ended Weapon to be legal.
1.4.6.3. Regardless of length, a Double-ended Weapon is a Class 1 Weapon when swung and Class 3 when thrust.


My post and tone are not meant to discourage you from suggesting improvments to Quarterstaff rules, but lets be honest, BFTR does not have a weapons check that is up to the standard of the sport. The weapon fails. I suggest you review 1.1.4, though

Quote:
1.4. Creative interpretation of the rules to gain any advantage is discouraged. These rules are intentionally sparse to allow for ease of use. The Marshal, according to these rules, and medieval foam combat precedent, settles all disputes.


You cannot even argue that all 18 inches do not have to be striking surface, per
Quote:
1.4.1.4. The maximum handle length for a Class 1 Weapon is twelve (12) inches (30.5 cm) or one-third (1/3) of the overall length, whichever is greater. This cannot exceed one-half (1/2) of the overall length.


So on an 84 inch weapon, you could have 42 inches of non striking surface...now the grey area of courtesy padding arises, but strictly speaking.

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Last edited by Alom on Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 7:26 am 
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I have to agree with Alom here, as the rules are currently written.

That said, I agree with you that (at least from your post), this weapon doesn't seem unsafe or rule breaking. I'd withhold final judgement until more playtesting (and ideally being able to see a similar weapon), but I could conceivably see supporting a rules change to allow something like this.

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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 8:45 am 
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I have two main points which I'll kind of separate out here:

(1) Your quarterstaff should fail, but with sympathy. 1.4.6.2. is sufficient (Double-ended Weapons must have a minimum of 18 inches (45 cm) in length of padding covering each end in a cylindrical fashion. Both striking surfaces of this weapon must follow Class 3 Weapon standards for a Double-ended Weapon to be legal.) by itself, with the juxtaposition of the 'both striking surfaces' implying that the immediately previous 'required 18" cylindrical padding' are assumed to be striking surfaces. As I'm sure Kegg stated, this was the original intent of the rule. Throw in 1.4. regarding creative interpretation and I believe that coffin is nailed shut.

(2) Despite your weapon failing, I'm sympathetic because how could you know this from just the way the rules are written? How much time and money went into making this weapon? I believe that WC is at least partly responsible for allowing the rules to be open to interpretation as they are. Again, I recommend that a rules committee be formed with the express intent of cleaning up the BoW so that someone doesn't need to know who Kegg is in order to build passing weapons (just as an example). The rules should be clear enough that someone who has no access to other fighters would be able to start a group using the BoW, and build passing weapons and play the game almost identically to the way we do. Failing to do this will be a hindrance to the growth of the sport.


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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 11:59 am 
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So, I have always advocated for a plain words reading of the BOW for jus such a situation. I think Brutus brings up a clear point, if our rules aren't written in a way that just anyone can pick them up and 100% understand them, then we've failed. Also in that same line of reasoning we shouldn't assume anything about the way rules are written. Having rules that need cultural context is stupid, and a failure in rule making. And holding everyone in our game to a regional standard of cultural context is flat out rediculous. I don't think Tordek's build is a case of 1.4. Its a plain text reading of the rules.

Now Alom's point about how the "Striking Surface" sentence is written is only valid if we assume Kegg is the end all arbiter of the rules, Which he is not. If that were true he could just make up rules as he went along. If we meant there to be 18" of STRIKING padding at each end why don't the rules simply state that? And we refer to stabbing parts of spears as striking surface. the second part of that rule is referring to the stabbing end, rather explicitly. It is not reasonable to expect everyone to automatically assume that there has to be 18" of strike padding based on the wording as written.

Tordek's build has 18" of padding at both end and exactly 0 handle. So using the handle rule to fail this is right out.

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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:11 pm 
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With all due respect to Sir Kegg, Alom, he is not the Book of War. He also said that he hates Staffs and I got the clear impression he thinks they shouldn't be in the game at all. I do not intend to sound punkish or agressive, but as Brutus pointed out, there are areas of the sport that do not have access to Kegg, new realms that may start and build a weapon similar to this seeing no problem in the rules and fight with it for years until they go to their first big time national event only to get laughed out of weapons check.

As for 1.4.6.2, Striking surfaces could refer to either a stab tip or a swung section, and since it is immediately followed by only mentioning class 3, but states nothing about class 1, it would be difficult for a builder not familiar with Sir Keggs hatred of Staffs. More to the point, in my opinion it is not a creative interpretation, but a direct reading.

I'm not even sure why you are referencing 1.4.1.4 as it pertains to class one weapons, not double ended weapons which have a specific separate section, and only count as class one when swung. the operative word there being "when". Their handle and haft padding rules are subject to that stipulated under the double ended weapon section, not the class one section. Second counter argument to 1.4.1.4 is in regard to speed bats that have a relatively small striking surface (say 12-18") but then have a large portion of haft padding before the handle begins. As per current precedent out west, all of those weapons pass. Now, if there were need for me to have actual exposed core handle, I could remove a 6" section of the haft padding from the exact center of the staff, but I left the center portion padded so that when I entered a pole bind I wouldn't be as likely to injure someone should their person come into contact with the haft.

Brutus, to your second point, I spent almost nothing on it. It was one of my first generation omni glaives that I cycled out because it was getting kinda old and worn out, and I wasn't sure it was up to red work anymore. However, your quote
Quote:
Despite your weapon failing, I'm sympathetic because how could you know this from just the way the rules are written?
is exactly the problem. I maintain that with no interpretation, but a direct reading of the minimum requirements of the weapon by someone not familiar with the general disdain towards staffs would build one of these completely innocently. I built it for this reason exactly, to show a hole in the rules that really cant be covered by 1.4 in my opinion, as any advantage I may gain with the second stab tip is more than negated by giving up the class two status, nor do I believe that I am creatively interpreting anything. As to your first point, I do not read the rules that way, to interpret it so would, in my opinion, be a decent reach of an interpretation itself, and one that would not be obvious or clear.

A simple rules change to revert the rules for double ended weapons back to what Sir Keg originally intended would be to add the phrase "Class 1 and..." to rule 1.4.6.2 immediately proceeding "Class 3". However, as was pointed out, no one here has yet to scream at me for making the weapon (yet), so I will be putting it through extensive play tests to determine its safety and play ability, and report back in a few months with the field data.

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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 12:46 pm 
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You certainly spent your time and mental effort. You should not undervalue those commodities, even if the material expenditure on the project was negligible. Who knows what you might have invented instead of this, if you were not allowed down this path by improper wording of the BoW?


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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2016 2:31 am 
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Tordek wrote:
With all due respect to Sir Kegg, Alom, he is not the Book of War. He also said that he hates Staffs and I got the clear impression he thinks they shouldn't be in the game at all. I do not intend to sound punkish or agressive, but as Brutus pointed out, there are areas of the sport that do not have access to Kegg, new realms that may start and build a weapon similar to this seeing no problem in the rules and fight with it for years until they go to their first big time national event only to get laughed out of weapons check.

As for 1.4.6.2, Striking surfaces could refer to either a stab tip or a swung section, and since it is immediately followed by only mentioning class 3, but states nothing about class 1, it would be difficult for a builder not familiar with Sir Keggs hatred of Staffs. More to the point, in my opinion it is not a creative interpretation, but a direct reading.

I'm not even sure why you are referencing 1.4.1.4 as it pertains to class one weapons, not double ended weapons which have a specific separate section, and only count as class one when swung. the operative word there being "when". Their handle and haft padding rules are subject to that stipulated under the double ended weapon section, not the class one section. Second counter argument to 1.4.1.4 is in regard to speed bats that have a relatively small striking surface (say 12-18") but then have a large portion of haft padding before the handle begins. As per current precedent out west, all of those weapons pass. Now, if there were need for me to have actual exposed core handle, I could remove a 6" section of the haft padding from the exact center of the staff, but I left the center portion padded so that when I entered a pole bind I wouldn't be as likely to injure someone should their person come into contact with the haft.

Brutus, to your second point, I spent almost nothing on it. It was one of my first generation omni glaives that I cycled out because it was getting kinda old and worn out, and I wasn't sure it was up to red work anymore. However, your quote
Quote:
Despite your weapon failing, I'm sympathetic because how could you know this from just the way the rules are written?
is exactly the problem. I maintain that with no interpretation, but a direct reading of the minimum requirements of the weapon by someone not familiar with the general disdain towards staffs would build one of these completely innocently. I built it for this reason exactly, to show a hole in the rules that really cant be covered by 1.4 in my opinion, as any advantage I may gain with the second stab tip is more than negated by giving up the class two status, nor do I believe that I am creatively interpreting anything. As to your first point, I do not read the rules that way, to interpret it so would, in my opinion, be a decent reach of an interpretation itself, and one that would not be obvious or clear.

A simple rules change to revert the rules for double ended weapons back to what Sir Keg originally intended would be to add the phrase "Class 1 and..." to rule 1.4.6.2 immediately proceeding "Class 3". However, as was pointed out, no one here has yet to scream at me for making the weapon (yet), so I will be putting it through extensive play tests to determine its safety and play ability, and report back in a few months with the field data.

The more important clause is that the "[rules are intentionally sparse]", which you creatively interpreted. I don't think anyone who wasn't looking to do so would not ignore the juxtaposition in the quarterstaff rules.

It was more that Kegg hates buttspikes, which is pretty much exactly what you've attempted to create.

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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 4:08 pm 
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I built a weapon that sounds similar back in 2007 or 2008 and it failed for safety reasons. The event felt that having a pommel spike opened the door for injuries to the head and neck from misplaced strikes that would be similar to punching people in the face on accident. I still have it and I will see if I can drag it out of storage if I can find it.

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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 9:54 pm 
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I have been playing for a long time, and though Kegg is not the end-all-be-all; the precedent for this sort of weapon is that as long as I have been playing (since 2001), they have been illegal.

The intent of the original rules was that they be illegal, they have been illegal for a long time. I am not saying a clarification is a poor idea - merely suggesting exactly the direction the wording should take.

Also, Alom please PM me your observations of our Weapon's Check. I agree this weapon should have failed, but I am far removed from that position. I am going to have to say though, I feel pretty insulted that you say that about BftR check. We have checkers from all over the country! We moved over 2000 items the first day. We are eager to improve, but please give us some criticism we can work with, and realize it is an all volunteer system made up of people from several different regions and realms.

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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:14 pm 
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So you want to legalize butt spikes?

Also, since no one has pointed it out yet: "1.1.7. Double-ended Weapon - A Weapon approximating a medieval staff". A quick google search would show nothing that looks like what you have. you have an omniglaive with a butt spike.

Yes, the rules are a **** mess. We are working on a solution, but it's slow going. Hopefully we'll have something in the next few months.

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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:04 pm 
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The question is: What does the term "padding" mean in this context?

If Tordek's interpretation is correct and the term "padding" does not require class 1 striking surface padding on each end, but only requires class 3 striking surface padding on each end plus incidental padding in the middle...Then according to his interpretation and the plain meaning rule, can't I just make both ends class 3 striking surface only? Under Tordek's interpretation, are double ended spears permissible?

Suppose I pad the entire weapon against incidental contact such that from each end, there will be 18 inches of incidental padding. It just happens to be the same 18 inches counted from either end. There is no "handle" so much as one 18 inch tube of incidentally padded weapon. Think a double ended javelin only shorter. More like a double ended dagger. Under Tordek's interpretation of the rules, is a double ended dagger of 18 inches in length a compliant double ended weapon? Is this a permissible weapon? If it is Not a permissible weapon, then is Tordek's interpretation correct?

If P Then Q. Not Q. Therefore, not P.

See where I'm going with this?


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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:12 pm 
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Since you bring it up Cyric, why not legalize them? In my mind, it would be safer for a spear or glaive to switch ends in order to thrust with the short side rather than to choke was up on the weapon and end up swinging the handle around behind them. At the least with a pommel spike the part swinging around out back would be padded.

I also don't feel that it would overpower poles in any way. It would give a minor bump in utility in short range combat where poles are already so weak to other types of weapons, the boost would make little difference in any but the most experienced hands.

Lastly, from what I've been told, both SCA and Amtgard, the two games we define ourselves as sitting between on the "how hard we hit" scale have pommel spikes, if we want to advertise ourselves at all as the step up from Amtgard or the in between step on the way to SCA, why remove a component they both utilize?

So if it is safer, would provide the most minor bump in play ability to the weapon classes it would be limited to, and is used both above and below us, why should we not have them?

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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:47 pm 
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Dag doesn't have them and they are our closest relatives. Doesn't SCA require helms for must contact? Wouldn't that negate most of the risks associated with wielding this type of weapon? Amtgard has a ton of illegal weapons we can't use in Bel...why not pass all of them too? or is there a fundamental difference in the way we do combat that make those weapons unreasonably risky in our system?

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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 1:06 pm 
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The weapons primarily illegal in Bel that Amtgard allow are thrown weapons (i.e. throwing daggers, axes, etc) of which I have seen no issue with, but have always been explained to that it was a play ability issue because you wouldn't want a nooblet chucking his non throwing sword at you. Among arguments, it is a pretty poor one to be honest, that a realm could not educate a fighter well enough about what they can or cant throw. The other weapon that Amtgard allows that we don't is the Madu, of which there could be a problem in our current rules due to determining if it is an unbreakable shield or breakable weapon.

And yes, SCA requires helmets because they allow and encourage head contact, However, SCA doesn't have throwing weapons like Amtgard (to my knowledge) No, I don't believe the simple nature of having a helm eliminates the risk of using this weapon. As I pointed out before, utilizing a pommel spike would be unquestionably safer than choking up to the can on an equivalent length spear and having the handle flailing about behind them.

And yes, Dagorhir doesn't have pommel spikes either, however I believe that looking to Dagorhir is a pointless exercise, since we are essentially an identical game, given our heritage with them. Dagorhir is a lateral relative, an alternate course in my mind if you were progressing up from Amtgard through Bel or Dag then to SCA.

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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:05 pm 
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If the spike is on the pommel, don't you have to turn the weapon abruptly to use that end?

Wouldn't the 18" of striking surface padding be essential for preventing damage to the people around you when you flip it end-to-end? I would assume, if absent, that it would potentially mean a less padded handle or that less padded courtesy padding would be likely to contact others. Furthermore, imagining the weapon is effective at surprising a person, you would think that flipping the ends would generate a fair bit of force if the speed of it were to be effective.

I think this proposed rule examination is incongruent with our own precedent, would make us less compatible with our closest parallel sport, and is also unsafe relative to the rules we currently have.

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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:10 am 
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With due respect all the testing has shown the opposite, that it is at least as safe, if not more, than choking up on the equivalent spear. The practice of swapping ends does not generate significant lateral force since the intent is for a stab, not a slash, it makes it analogous to a spear head attempting to maneuver around a shield. The benefit comes by the fact that the long lever arm swinging around behind is padded rather than handle. The weapon is passing through much closer to 90 degrees rather than 180, and is typically kept close to the fighter when inverted and stabbed in a somewhat downward angle at the opponent's lower abdomen.

As for being compatible to our nearest rival sport, what would be the point in this argument? If reunification were imminent I would agree but it seems clear that that is no where on the horizon. As the cross gaming movement has demonstrated, fighters can adapt to different rules sets.

As for the precedent argument, I have to refuse to accept this as we do not have any official reviewing body that takes notes and determines rulings. The war council is at liberty to pass rules, but we do not have a judiciary body to interpret them, add to that the problem that even if we did, we are a largely decentralized organization that has difficulty communicating, and would have a difficult time distributing such information. Precedent is insufficient, we have to have our rules written sufficently clearly that anyone can read them and take away what we intend for them to.

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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 1:57 am 
Only .3% Short Of Perfect
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Tordek wrote:
Precedent is insufficient, we have to have our rules written sufficently clearly that anyone can read them and take away what we intend for them to.


If there were an event t-shirt with this on it, I would probably buy at least 2.


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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 12:09 am 
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Actually, we do have a reviewing body, Presidential Marshals, designated by the President per the BMCS bylaws. They would be the determiners of precedent as stated here:

1.4. Creative interpretation of the rules to gain any advantage is discouraged. These rules are intentionally sparse to allow for ease of use. The Marshal, according to these rules, and medieval foam combat precedent, settles all disputes.

The President shall:
6.1.1.2. Will select Marshals for said events if the hosting realm has not already done so or in case of problems.
6.1.1.2.1 The President has the right to veto Marshals at BMCS sponsored and funded events.

So yeah, I think that pretty much covers the reason why the weapon fails, why precedent is essential, and of course who gets to determine precedent.


However, I do agree with you that re-wording some items is a good idea for making things clear for everyone to read, as we never know the degree to which other groups are in communication with Presidential Marshals/ ect.

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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 8:33 am 
Only .3% Short Of Perfect
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Anastasia,

I completely agree that Belegarth's rules provide authority for clearing this up. It's not as though the Marshals ever have their hands tied and would be forced to allow something dangerous because "rules are rules." The problem is that someone went to the trouble to make something that they thought might be legal, and then it had to be failed via a catch-all. If someone goes to that kind of effort and disagrees with the marshall's interpretation, then this becomes an opportunity for them to become disenfranchised with the sport. Where possible, Belegarth should seek to eliminate those types of opportunities.


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 Post subject: Re: Quarterstaff rules examination
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 10:09 am 
Belegarth President
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Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 3:27 pm
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Location: Irvine, CA
Started Fighting: 31 Aug 2001
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Unit: Wardens
Favorite Fighting Styles: Sword & Board, Extreme Taunting
I can completely agree with that. This should be an easy fix.

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