Period

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According to Dictionary.com, a period is "a rather large interval of time that is meaningful in the life of a person, in history, etc., because of its particular characteristics", and to be period means, "noting, pertaining to, evocative of, imitating, or representing a historical period or the styles current during a specific period of history". In Belegarth, one will most often hear the word used as an adjective in reference to garb, armor, and roleplay, but in this usage we include not one but several periods occurring in several places. The periods that are included within and excluded from what is Belegarth "period" are not totally agreed on, however.

Contents

In the Book of War

A fighter wearing a coat of mail, a leather vambrace, a leather belt, and a dark undershirt and pants poses with a flat boffer in hand.
This outift looks like it would pass in Belegarth.

The rules of the sport only include two instances of the word "period", both in reference to armor:

  • Rule 2.2.4 states, "Armor is protective body covering, consisting of period materials."
  • Rule 4.12.6.1 states, "Metal Armor must be made from period metals and alloys such as iron, bronze, brass, or copper. Modern steel alloys are also allowed."

So, aside from armor material, the term "period" is not explicitly well-defined. However one could assume that the Garb section, which primarily sets aesthetic requirements, is intended to further define the term. One rule of particular note in this section is Rule 5.3, which states, "Modern clothing should be disguised, modified, or otherwise blend in with and be unobtrusive to the medieval or generally accepted Belegarth aesthetic." If the earlier assumption is correct, then the medieval period is the one clear inclusion of what the Book of War considers to be period.

Medieval

Though the medieval period typically refers to Europe's middle ages, other places in the world have had similar, feudal periods of history that are referred to as their medieval periods. The Belegarth Medieval Combat Society definitely bases itself on these medieval periods, but it is not a living history group. Inaccuracies to the period exist in Belegarth for various reasons, primarily safety and convenience. Also, many members of the Belegarth community are primarily interested in the battlegames over other aspects of the community, and their thematic neglect off the field ruins my medieval experience.

Europe

Further reading: Middle Ages on Wikipedia

Europe's medieval period was a span of history that started in the 5th century CE and ended in the 15th century CE. It is characterized in pop culture as a time of feudalism, conflict, superstition, and simplicity occupied by peasants and knights, villages and castles, tunics and cloaks. As a eurocentric Medieval Combat Society, Belegarth can be expected to base its core experience on modern perceptions and historical actualities of the middle ages.

Asia

Further reading: Medieval History of Asia on Wikipedia

The most-represented medieval Asian period in Belegarth is medieval Japan through garb, armor, lore, and weapons inspired by samurai and ninja. Asian themes are a minority in Belegarth, but they meet and intermingle with medieval European themes in the community considerably more than they did in history, especially Japanese themes in comparison to Chinese themes.

Before Gunpowder Warfare

Despite the Belegarth Medieval Combat Society being dubbed as it is, a variety of cultures and times outside of medieval Eurasia are represented and accepted in Belegarth. The most common of these other historical periods are the Viking Age and the classical Greco-Roman period. Middle-eastern, tribal, and prehistoric themes also sometimes make their way into Belegarth. Elements of these other periods operate well or fairly within Belegarth's rules, even if they don't fit into the medieval scope. In order to allow such elements into the game, many Belegrim base their period inclusion on whether gunpowder weaponry was frequently used in battle at the time or before it.

Gunpowder vs. Guns

Because Rule 4.10.5 of the Book of War is commonly interpreted to rule out siege weapons, some people cut slack for periods in which gunpowder was mostly used to power siege weapons rather than hand weapons. Early modern period themes are acceptable under this criteria, including Renaissance and Pirate themes. Though guns and explosive grenades were present in this period, they were inefficient and at times unreliable, so melee combat remained an important aspect of combat. The melee elements of this period can work within the rules of Belegarth.

Fiction

Shown are only a few of the many races of Belegarth.

It is widely accepted that Belegarth's roots are in the fantasy setting of Arda featured in several of J. R. R. Tolkein's most famous works. Many realm and unit names are taken from or inspired by Middle-earth languages. As such, some fictional periods may be included in the Belegarth definition of period, especially those that are influenced by the Middle Ages. Fictional period influences can be seen in some garb and armor, as well as many roleplayers' character lore. Even fictional species and mythical creatures are represented in Belegarth lore, even though they are neither referred to nor considered in the Book of War. One line that can be drawn is that magic in the realms of Belegarth is a rarity; the Book of War's only reference to magic is in allowing the Magic Switch, so magic is otherwise non-existent on the field under standard rules. Thus periods in which magic is common, especially in battle, may be excluded.

Science Fiction

An example of a Star Wars inspired costume. If she carried a bat rather than a lightsaber, would this be acceptable Belegarth garb?

Some medieval-inspired fantasy franchises, such as Warcraft, feature science fiction elements. Mech Goblins are one of those elements that has carried over into Belegarth, probably from the tech-savvy goblin lore of Warcraft.

Elements from Star Wars, a science fantasy franchise, have made their way into Belegarth's lore and caused controversy in its community. Some Star Wars garb has a period aesthetic, lightsaber-like weapons are already popular in Belegarth, melee combat is an important part of Star Wars canon, gunpowder is never mentioned, and the story supposedly takes place a long time ago, before medieval times. Nonetheless, the franchise is mainly characterized as science fiction, and spaceship travel and the fact that it takes place in a galaxy far, far away do not help in the franchise's elements being widely accepted into Belegarth. These elements show no sign of dying out, though. The realm of Korriban takes its name from Star Wars, a unit called The Sith have lore tying them to the Sith of Star Wars canon, and the national event Battle for the Ring IX had a Star Wars theme.

In Practice

It may be tempting to point at some aspect of Belegarth, especially garb, and denounce it for not being period. Before doing so, however, remember these two rules:

  • Rule 1.0, which states, "Each individual is expected to treat each other with respect and participate in fair play with safety and sportsmanship in mind."
  • Rule 5.3, which states, "Modern clothing should be disguised, modified, or otherwise blend in with and be unobtrusive to the medieval or generally accepted Belegarth aesthetic."

Our first and foremost rule is to be respectful, fair, and honorable to each other. One has every right to one's own perspective, but no right go out of one's way to make Belegarth unfun for somebody else simply because they don't see the game the same way. In regards to garb, even if one considers a certain style to not be medieval, if it's generally accepted by the Belegarth community then one shouldn't try excessively to prevent its presence. Go ahead and voice complaints so that they may be considered, but keep in mind that consideration does not mean conformity and accept that there are few ways to force one's garb standards on others without driving people away from the community.

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