Types of Combat

Five types of combat are recognized.

  1. Sport Spars and other Practice.
  2. These spars are for practice and tournament competition. These spars are light contact or wooden weapons (mock blows). No serious wounding and no death blows are allowed with wooden weapons (mock blows). With regular weapons death blows and blows that cause permanent injury may happen. Such strikes are not typical, and the person delivering such a strike is dishonored. However as accidents happen, combatants are fighting at near their maximum capacity, both serious injury and death may realistically occur.These spars may be entirely hand-to-hand combat if both combatants agree. These practice/spars shall be three to five posts in length.

  3. Honor Duels or Canjellne (erroneously called honor spars online).
  4. These duels are for settling disputes and some matters of honor. Typically, the combatants will set stakes and the winner is awarded all. These duels are more serious than sport spars and serious wounds and death may be inflicted. However, death blows and blows that cause permanent injury are not typical, and the person delivering such a strike is dishonored. However as accidents happen, combatants are fighting at their maximum capacity, both serious injury and death may realistically occur. These duels may be entirely hand-to-hand combat if both combatants agree. These duels shall be five posts in length.

  5. Death Duels (erroneously called death spars online).
  6. These duels are for grave matters of honor. The combatants are risking their lives (both may die if both are mortally wounded in the course of a duel) and permanent injury (even the winner). The combatants may risk everything they own in addition to their lives, including but not limited to gold, FC's and slaves according to local law. These duels are fought with weapons, although hand-to-hand combat may be used. These duels shall be five posts in length.

  7. Holmgang (Specialized Torvaldslander combat depicted in "Marauders of Gor").
  8. The Holmgang is a two man team combat. The stakes may be for fun, for honor, or for lives - that is determined by the combatants. The length of the Holmgang is described in the Holmgang special rules section.

  9. Open Combat.
  10. Sometimes combat will spontaneously begin among combatants (possibly more than 2). Situations that would merit open combat include but are not limited to: an assassin's attack, ambush (by warriors, panther girls, etc), and general warfare.

Rules of Combat

  1. Each duel/spar/open combat will be alternating posts each by each combatant.

    A "Beginning Post" shall state a combatant's stance, distances, where ALL weapons are (hands, body parts, etc and whether the weapon is sheathed or not), and if any subtle motion (i.e. "circling"). The combatant posting the first Beginning Post shall also have the first attacking post in duels and spars.

    The first combatant to post an attack after the Beginning Posts of his opponent begins open combat.

    The first post of Sport Spars will be determined by a random method agreed to by the combatants and judges.

    The first post of either Honor Duels or Death Duels shall be the option of the challenged combatant. The challenged Warrior may post first or second as He chooses.

    The combatant posting the second Beginning Post will define distances between combatants.

    All times and time violations will begin after the first Beginning Post is made.

  2. Each combat post shall simulate approximately 1 second of real time combat. Anomolous breaks in the combat are realistic and may occur, but should be rare.
  3. Combat posts should be succinct. Excessive verbiage and wordiness is discouraged.
  4. Each combatant may carry any number of Gorean weapons, but it must be done so realistically. Weapons may include swords, axes, knives, as well as shields, bucklers or helmet. Non-Gorean weapons will not be permitted and, of course, no armor, chain mail, or similar protection.
  5. Combatants will be judged on realism (primarily) and skill. All strikes must be accepted, evaded, blocked, or countered. Each combatant has that choice, but whatever is chosen, the duel/spar must flow reasonably from one move to the next. Connection to the prior post is the responsibility of combatants.
  6. An individual post will consist of NO MORE than 2 primary actions with the possible inclusion of other secondary actions that could be completed simultaneously with a primary action.
  7. A Primary Action is defined as any single continuous motion designed to end with a definite goal. Both the continuous motion and the goal must be well described.

    A Secondary Action is defined as any simultaneous AND ancillary motion made in conjunction with the Primary Action. The Secondary Action may not impede the continuous motion of the Primary Action.

    Primary Actions include any simultaneous combinations of changing position, attacks, and defense. Accepting a full strike, blow or wound does not count against the allowed actions, but is likely to end the fight.

    Movement actions include but are not limited to:

    1. Closing to engage a combatant. Even on the opening post.
    2. Changing Your position. This includes moving back out of combat.
    3. Unsheathing a weapons.
    4. Dropping a weapon.
    5. Evading an attack (moving the targeted body part, ducking, rolling out of the way, etc. as long as it is realistic).
    6. Feints.
    Attacking actions include but are not limited to:
    1. Attempting to strike with a weapon.
    2. Attempting to strike with a shield.
    3. Hand-to-hand attacks such as kicks, punches, leg sweeps, head butts, throws, etc.
    4. Using blood, sand, or another foreign substance to blind.

    Defensive actions includes but is not limited to:
    1. Parries with a weapon.
    2. Blocks with a shield.
    3. Ducking, dodging, blocking or otherwise evading a hand-to hand attack.

  8. Combatants will have an 8 minute period from the previous post to respond. After 8 minutes a one point deduction shall be imposed against the 5 point base.
  9. After 10 minutes the responding post is completely disallowed.

  10. To assist the judges, combatants shall use some method of separating Primary Actions. The double line break is preferred. Other possible methods of separation include: use of a numbers (1 and 2), a long series of periods (..........), or a long series of asterisk (*********).

    (i.e. I swing my blade wide to my left to parry your sword with my left hand held sword, my right hand flashes upward just to the right of my right shoulder ...... My fist flashes foward, targeting your chin, as I try to knock you out my right fist)

  11. Secondary Actions may accompany a Primary Action if they are simultaneous with the Primary Action. The combined actions must fit well with each other, and flow well within the post into one, more complex action. Such combinations of simultaneous actions are realistic, encouraged and considered as one action in the total of 2 allowed Primary Actions. The combination of moves must flow well and must be realistic.
  12. (i.e. ".....(2)I swing my sword from my right to left in a flat arc that targets your left shoulder as my body twists to my left with the strike I reposition my shield from wide to my left to centered on the left side of my chest." Clearly striking and repositioning of the shield could realistically occur simultaneously)

    (i.e. "I swing my sword wide to my right to Parry your blade with mine then quickly strike your left shoulder with my blade" is unacceptable as a combination. Clearly, parrying a weapon is a Primary Action, then striking is a second Primary Actions.)

  13. A counter, counter-strike, counter-attack may be used by a combatant to attack within an opponent’s poorly constructed attack. If there is no attack, there can be no counter-attack. Counter-strikes are attacks set 'within' the time frame of an opponent's attack. To realistically execute a counter-attack a combatant must meet the following conditions: the counter-attacker must realize he is being attacted; the counter-attacker must CORRECTLY identify his body part being attacked; the counter-attacker must then devise a counter-attack; and finally the counter-attacker must successfully execute the counter-attack prior to the initial attack landing. All these conditions must be realistically met in less than the one second of simulated time of a combat post.
  14. Counters must be identified with the word "counter" as the first word of the post, and delineated in some fashion to call attention to the word such as bold face or stars.

    It should be noted by combatants that counter-attacks will rarely meet all the conditions for success, and will realistically fail more often than not. Successful counter attacks will be very rare.

    Misused counter-attacks will be subject to a one point deduction from the base of five points AND be completely disallowed by the judge. A misused counter-attack will likely end the duel/spar/OC for the opponent.

  15. A "back post" is defined as a misused counter-attack. A "back post" is a post that is not labled as a counter-attack; the described actions occur within the time frame of the opponent's attack; or the described actions occur within the time frame of the combatant's prior post.A misused counter-attack will likely end the duel/spar/OC for the opponent.
  16. Combatants may NOT post the actions of their opponents (force posting) or the damage that their attack does.
  17. (i.e. "Stabbing at your chest with my quiva" is an acceptable attack. "Stabbing you in the chest with my quiva ... puncturing your lung" is an unacceptable attack because it declares a strike has landed and the damage received by the opponent.)

    (i.e. "Circling you to my right trying to reach your left side" is an acceptable primary action. "Circling you to my right trying to reach your left side, forcing you to turn to your left" is unacceptable because it declares a movement by the opponent.)

    *Note. Posts that include striking the intended target (i.e. "Stabbing you in the chest with my quiva") do describe the actions of the opponents and, potentially the damage that their attack does (they get stabbed).

  18. Combatants are urged to be as descriptive and accurate as possible. This is especially true in body positioning, orientation to the opponent, and weapon and shield motion and position.
  19. An "Ending Post" will be posted after the final strikes have been posted. The Ending Post WILL NOT contain any offensive actions.
  20. To break away from an opponent in either a duel or open combat, a combatant must successfully post defending and retreating for two successive posts.
  21. If the judge concludes a combatant was struck trying to retreat, the post does not count toward the two posts needed to flee.

    If the defending/retreating posts are not successive, they do not count toward the total of two needed to retreat.

    (i.e. Combatant 1 is fleeing from Combatant 2 and makes his first defensive/retreating post. Combatant 1 then attacks Combatant 3. The attack nullifies his retreat and Combatant 1 must now make two MORE defense/retreat posts before he can leave the combat.)

Rules for Judges

  1. Who judges and the number of judges of a duel/spar shall be set and agreed on by the combatants. An odd number of judges is preferred to minimize the chance of a draw.
  2. In the case of Open Combat, the Ubar/Jarl/Chief/Room Owner of the room where the combat occurs shall judge the combat. If the Ubar/Jarl/Chief is involved in the combat or if the Ubar/Jarl/Chief cannot FAIRLY judge the combat, the Ubar/Jarl/Chief/Room Owner shall appoint a single neutral judge agreeable to all combatants to determine if any deaths, serious wounds, or captures occurred.

    A single judge in open combat is required so that discrepant judgments cannot occur.

    If combatants cannot agree on a judge the room leader shall appoint a single, fair judge to determine the outcome of the combat.

  3. Judges shall read all posts carefully, objectively assess the merit of all posts, and apply these rules to determine winners, losers, captures, incapacitation, injury, and/or death.
  4. If a judge cannot do this, the judge should REFUSE to judge the duel/spar. That is the only honorable action.

  5. Booted/crashed/frozen/tech impaired/RTI'd combatants (This IS on line and WILL happen.). Allowances of extra time - over the 8 minute limit - should be given in those cases. In cases where a combatant cannot return to the duel/spar, the judges shall decide whether to restart the entire duel/spar at a later time or pick up the duel/spar where it ended at a later time. The judges may render decision on the duel/spar at the point the duel/spar ended, IF and ONLY IF, both combatants agree.
  6. Each combatant shall begin combat (whether duel, spar, or open combat) with a base of 5 points.
  7. Judges shall subtract 1 point for each violation of the Rules of Combat (listed above) each time the violation occurs from the base of points. This includes infractions like an unrealistically encumbered combatant, which would require a 1 point deduction from each post until the encumberances are removed.

    If a combatant's point base is lowered to zero, then the combatant is no longer allowed to participate in the duel, spar or battle. The judges must then render a decision regarding the realistic fate of the combatant. Realistic outcome may include but are not limited to: fleeing/retreat, incapacitation, capture, or death.

  8. Combat will be judged ONLY on the basis of realism, following the rules of combat, and effectiveness of offense and defense.
  9. Violations of the 8 minute time limit shall have a 1 point deduction from the base of 5. The 8 minutes are calculated from the time of the opponent's last post. A one second violation of the 8 minutes IS a violation.
  10. (i.e. Fighter 1 posts at 15:21:45. Fighter 2 has until 15:29:45 to respond. If Fighter 2's post arrives at 15:29:46, then 1 point is deducted.)

  11. Unrealistic/confusing/non-flowing posts shall have 1 point deducted from the base number of 5 points for each instance of unrealism, confusing wording, and non-flowing post. These deductions shall be assessed even if they occur in the same Primary Action or subordinate action. It is possible to lose 5 points in one combat post and the fight subsequently is ended.
  12. Combatants are not supermen and posts should reflect humanly possible actions.

    The posts of each combatant should be clear, easy to read, and easy to visualize. The posts should flow easily from one post to the next.

    Confusing includes references to prior posts. This includes "resetting my weapon to its starting position" and similar posts. A post of this nature tells the reading combatant nothing and forces someone to re-read a prior post. Referring to prior posts to avoid salient information shall be cause for a one point deduction.

    Confusing may include excess verbiage designed to delay the reading combatant.

  13. Violations of the Rules of Combat (listed above) shall have a 1 point deduction from the base of 5 points PER violation.
  14. (i.e. if a combatant posts 3 Primary Actions in a post, the combatant loses 1 point. If a combatant posts 3 Primary Actions AND directs the opponent's next move, the combatant loses 2 points. If a combatant posts 3 Primary Actions, directs the opponent's next move, AND violates the 8:00 time limit for response, the combatant loses 3 points)

  15. Violations are cumulative. (i.e. If a combatant is determined to have injured his arm so badly that he may not use the arm, each use of the arm constitutes a violation due to unrealism, and a deduction from the base of 5 points should be assessed each time the unrealism transpires.
  16. Judges shall evaluate each post of the combat for injury so severe that it incapacitates or kills a combatant. Incapacitation or death of a combatant ends the combat immediately regardless of the score.
  17. The judge(s) must then decide the fate of the incapacitated combatant. The fate may include but is not limited to: unconscious and left, captured, injured, maimed, and/or killed.

  18. If neither combatant is incapacitated or killed, then the end of the duel/spar will occur when the "Ending Post" is posted.
  19. At the end of the duel/spar, each judge will all add his scores from all posts for each combatant to determine who won the duel/spar. The name of the winner shall then be given to the head judge.

    The winner of the duel/spar shall be the combatant who has the most judges deciding in his favor at the end of the duel/spar.

    i.e. Judge 1 scores for Fighter 1: 4 to 3.
    Judge 2 scores for Fighter 2: 2 to 5.
    Judge 3 scores for Fighter 1: 4 to 3.

    Fighter 1 is the winner of the duel/spar because 2 of the 3 judges have decided for Fighter 1. Fighter 1 wins the duel/spar even though total points totals are 10 (Fighter 1) to 11 (Fighter 2). This prevents a single judge (like Judge 2) from effectively 'over ruling' the other two judges.

    i.e. Judge 1 scores for Fighter 1: 3 to 1.
    Judge 2 scores a draw: 3 to 3.
    Judge 3 scores for Fighter 2: 2 to 3.

    The duel/spar is a draw even though Fighter 2 has a 1 point edge in the totaled score.

    i.e. Judge 1 scores for Fighter 1: 4 to 2.
    Judge 2 scores a draw: 3 to 3.
    Judge 3 scores a draw: 2 to 2.

    The duel/spar is a draw because 2 of 3 judges ruled it a draw. To allow Fighter 1 to win would allow Judge 1 to 'over rule' the other two judges. This duel/spar is a draw, even though Fighter 1 has a 2 point edge in the totaled score.

  20. Judges shall give their scoring and the reasons for the scoring to either combatant or in public, if requested by either combatant.
  21. Format for round by round scoring should include:

    Deductions from Primary Action 1
    Deductions from Primary Action 2
    Accumulated Score (Points left in the base of 5 to this point in the combat)
    Injuries and Wounds.

    The written judgement should be objective and respectful to all combatants. Although "funny commentary" is frequently amusing, a judge should not "show up" the combatants. Showing up the combatants indicates the judge has a poor grasp of real competition and does not take his responsibility as a judge seriously. Flippant commentary is cause for "oversight" (see rule 16) and may result in invalidation of a judgement.

  22. It is hoped that any duel/spar would have a winner and loser but all combat may end in a draw.
  23. In case of a draw in a Sport Spar there are no consequences to a draw.

    In case of a draw in an Honor Duel both combatants keep their stakes.

    In case of a draw in a Death Duel both combatants probably live. Fatal strikes are the ONLY cause of death allowed. If both combatants are deemed to die due to severe injuries and they wagered properties as well, then their property is returned to their next of kin.

  24. Open combat shall be terminated at the end of one hour of the first combat post regardless of how many are participating in the battle. The judge shall allow any defense to a legal offensive posts as long as the defense is posted with 8 minutes of the one hour time limit for close of open combat.
  25. Judges of open combat will frequently have to decide the fate of combatants. Realistic determinations of the fate of a combatant in open combat may include but are not limited to: escape, capture, incapacitation, injury, and death.
  26. Oversight of judges.
  27. A judgement for lives (Gorean names) or with a real person (not a NPC) as part of the stakes of combat, is important. In these two cases the results of combat may be disputed, but ONLY for a judge not abiding by the rules. A judgment call (i.e. "Was this action realistic or not?") is not a disputable judgment.

    In case of a dispute, the judge and two combatants shall agree to an oversight judge. The oversight judge will rule ONLY ON if the judge used the rules herein and NO OTHER part of the combat. The ruling of the oversight judge is final.

    If the oversight judge indicates that the judge did not use the rules and apply them unbiasedly (evenly), then the combat is void as if it never occurred.

Special Rules for Holmgang

  1. Each combat posts shall follow the format as described above for combat posts.
  2. Holmgang is Torvaldslander combat between two two-man teams. Each team will have a shield bearer and a (one hand) weapon wielder.
  3. The shield will be of Torvaldslander type and may be born in both hands.

  4. Acceptable, one handed weapons include (but are not limited to) short swords, long swords, one handed war axes, one handed war hammers, maces, and clubs. Unacceptable weapons are those which include (but are not limited to): spears, great axes, and halberds.
  5. The posting sequence must be followed exactly. Deviations from the sequence will be subject to a one point deduction and the entire post shall be disallowed as if it never occured. The sequence shall be:
  6. Round 1
    Team 1 - Weapon Wielder posts (probably an attack).
    Team 2 - Shield Wielder posts (probably defends the attack from Team 1).
    Team 2 - Weapon Wielder posts (probably an attack).
    Team 1 - Shield Wielder posts (probably defends the attack from Team 2).

    The sequence continues for three rounds. After three complete rounds, the Holmgang is over, and the posts are judged by the agreed upon judge(s).

  7. The posts of the Shield Wielder of each team may include no offense. Striking the opponent Weapon Wielder with the shield edge, kicking/punching, even stepping on the feet of the opponent Weapon Wielder is a violation. The posts of the Weapon Wielder may be either offensive or defensive.
  8. Due to the complex nature of the Holmgang, the use of a counterattack is prohibited. Use of a counterattack during a Holmgang automatically defaults the combat to the opposing team, and is judged not to have occurred. All injuries sustained prior to the counterattack remain in effect.
  9. The winner of the Holmgang is the team with both teammates able to continue. If one team member is judged unable to continue, that team must default the Holmgang at that point. If both teams members are able to continue, then the highest point total (add both team members together) or the least total deductions after three rounds.
Tips and Hints

Visualize the duel/spar as completely as you can. Try to "see" your actions and your opponents. State your position and actions as clearly as you can and visualize your opponent's position as well. Remember and post orientation information such as right and left (yours or your opponent), and up and down. Know the position of both your and your opponent's weapons, hands, and feet.

Be clear and concise in what your post.

A duel/spar is something like two artists painting a single picture. The artists are competing to see who is best on the same canvas. Warriors should continue "painting the picture" from the prior post, but only your part of the picture.