Trying to describe frat fighting is difficult. One must first understand
that frat is a game, a sport if you will, in which the participants attempt
to 'kill' one another by striking vital areas of the other person.
Although ostensibly set in the medieval period there is a great range in
the appearance of the fighters. There are rules regarding what are
legal target areas and what are not. There are also minimum armor
requirements and minimum standards for the construction of padded weapons.
The primary goal is to have fun.
Each group trys to hold weekly or monthly practices.
These occur from Spring into the Fall - weather permitting. The practices are an opportunity to get new people exposed to frat
as well as hone our own skills. These skills are then put into use at frat
A typical war will be a weekend affair. Most
of the fighting will occur on Saturday. However, it is becoming more
commonplace for additional fighting to occur on Sunday - something that
had nearly ceased for some years. The term 'war' refers to the entire
event. Each day will see many melees with the reeves
(the referees for the fighting) setting up different scenarios to keep
things varied and interesting.
The majority of frat 'armies' are made up of Heavy
Infantry. In addition there will usually be Light Archers
and occasionally Heavy Archers. Although rare, one can sometimes
encounter a Light Infantry troop as
well. Over the last few years additional experimental troop types
have developed. Namely the Artillerist and the Handgunner
Weapons are generally made of rattan (a type of solid core bamboo) and padded with
sealed cell foam (usually some form of pipe insulation) and wrapped with duct tape.
The rules for padding weapons are somewhat complex and vary with the style of weapon (pole, hand,
throwing, flails, spears and so on). These rules are located within
the Markland Frat Rules.
Major frat events are
called wars. Most wars do not have an underlying theme but occasionally
there will be a "reason" for the war. Over the last few years there
have been a number of "crown wars." The crown wars are fought to
determine who shall be king (or queen) of Markland. The crown itself
holds no meaning - it just gives us an excuse to fight!
There are numerous "annual" wars
that occur almost every year. Some of these are Death & Taxes, Flaming Midget, Celtic Fire, Bring Your Own
Scenario(BYOS), and Fall War to name a few. There may be additional wars each
year, but these occur fairly regularly.
Since most wars do not have
such a theme the armies are usually determined on the spot. The reeves
will select which groups will fight on either side. They then announce
the scenario and let the fighters go at it. The reeves attempt to make
the best use of available terrain.
An example of the interesting
terrain that we have access to would be the Paige's Farm.
Fall War has been commonly held at the Page's Farm in Port Deposit, MD. The
Paige's have constructed a wooden castle which they graciously let us fight