Jean Paul's Dragonmaster at Baron Wars.

2008 Road Reports

Baronial Border War
Date: June 14, 2008
Where: Ionia, MI
Siege Engines:
  The Osis, Docmo ballista built by Roderick McKraken 
  Thor, Docmo ballista built by Bodvar of House Varg
Siege Marshals
  Atli Varg(marshal in training)
Authorizations: none
Someone wanted to do a re-authorization as a siege engineer.  I encouraged him to do so, but said that he would only be able to use the siege engine weapon style.   In order to re-activate his other weapon styles, he would need to re-authorize in one of them.  I'm not sure if this is correct, so I will discuss it with Earl Marshal Alaric next time I see him.
We inspected the new Varg ballista, Thor.   The windlass creaked while the engine was being cocked. It was so tight, it provided a lot of resistance to turning.  I put some bowstring wax on the windlass and that eliminated the problem. 
Although the Thor ballista worked properly, some people had difficulty operating the crank.  This was because the base of the stand came back farther than the end of the stock.  One had to lean over the base to turn the crank handles.  I told the Varg that the engineers who had difficulty should not operate the weapon in battle.  I disussed with Bodvar possible solutions to this problem.  He decided on shortening the base so it wouldn't stick out beyond the stock.  This should not significantly affect the stability of the engine.  This change should be made before Pennsic.
Thor has a maximum range of 77 yards.  It was firing pool noodle tip gas pipe with a half tennis ball on the tip.  The weight of the bolts is zero to a half ounce below one pound.
We shot the siege engines in the wall battle with one siege engine on each side. Both engines were about 40 yards from the breach in the wall where the combat was taking place.  Thor shot 20 to 30 bolts until one hit a fighter dead on in the side of the helm.  That fighter claimed he was hit too hard and left the battle for the rest of the day.  I talked to him and he said his neck was having twitches.  These shortly went away.
After that, I decided that it would be a good time to do the siege engineer shoot.  I put my armor on and took a few shots from Osis.  All three Varg engineers took hits from Thor.  Bodvar took a couple at 10 yards.  He said that the bolts hit really good, but that he's taken similar blows from other weapon styles.  The fighter who complained appreciated our demonstration, but said that we could see the bolts coming.  He was hit by surprise.  Next time we may do a blind siege engineer shoot.
After having Bodvar shot by his own ballista a few times, I discussed with him ways that it could be powered down.  It was not made with a backer, but with a single leaf spring.  To power down the ballista, the prod hole would need to be extended towards the nut hook to shorten the draw.  I asked that the power be reduced to 60 yards without backer and then a backer could be added if the power needed to be increased to 80 yards.  That modification is not going to get done this summer, but could be done during the off season.   We'll consult DocMo on the distance the prod would need to be moved toward the nut hook to reduce the range by 17 yards.
     Roderick McKraken, Chief of Artillery
Northern Oaken War Manuevers
Date: June 7, 2008
Siege Marshal in Charge: Roderick McKraken
Siege Engines in Attendance: 3 15th century arbalests
  The Osis built by Roderick McKraken
  The Big Shoota
  Baron Alexander's ballista
Siege marshals in attendance
  Roderick McKraken
  Baron Alexander
  Ilsebet Jeghersche (MIT)
  Ivan the Mongrel (MIT)
Siege Engineers
  About 6
Authorizations (all passed) 
  Dougal MacWillis 
  Zuriel Nightshade
  Cudbright Breowere
Ilsebet Jeghersche of Starleaf Gate in Pentamere completed the marshal in training program and is now a warranted siege marshal.
Problems and difficulties:
  The foam tips used by the big shoota bent over easily. I took one tip apart and discovered that no horizontal strips of fiber tape were used.  There were also no diagonal strips across the base.  I recommended that they tape over the heads.  Since they didn't use a half tennis ball on the tip, they are not near the weight limit and can add more tape over the tape that already exists.
Sir Theodoric asked that there be no complaints about the ballista bolts hitting too hard.  So, I asked the siege engineers to power down their ballistas by taking the backer out.  This reduced the range of the ballistas to about 60 yards.  On top of that, the ballista bolts used by Da Big Shoota and Alexander's ballista did not have a half tennis ball on the end.  There were no complaints.
If anyone one knows Zuriel nightshade, please have her contact me at
   Roderick McKraken, Chief of Artillery


Baron Wars

Just to show all of you how a siege event report is done, I've decided to send one to myself.  Siege reports should be sent by the siege marshal in charge within two weeks of the event.  You can send the reports to this list because I will get them from here and everyone else will find out what is going on.  Or you can send them to

Event: Baron Wars
Date: May 10, 2008
Siege Marshal in Charge: Roderick McKraken
Siege Engines in Attendance: 6 15th century arbalests
  The Osis built by Roderick McKraken
  The Varg Ballista
  Dragonmaster built by John Paul
  The Big Shoota
  Baron Alexander's ballista
  Jarnhauss's ballista (did not shoot)
Siege marshals in attendance
  Roderick McKraken
  Jean Paul
  Baron Alexander
Siege Engineers
  I don't know all their names.  I don't know why this information is required.  Maybe I'll drop this requirement.
Authorizations (all passed) 
  Gabriel Von Hesse
  Ennelyn Von Hesse
  Kathryn Sommerfeld
  Kharriss of Shadowclan
This information can come from the Martial Activity Report.
I Still have the Authorization form for Kathryne Sommerfeldt.  I think she will be at Baronial Border War.  Her form needs a second signature.
Two siege engineers began the marshal in training program.  These were:
  Ryan M Hocquard (Drunkenbeard) I still have his MIT form.  He should be at Baronial Border War as well.
  Someone from Northern Oaken who's name I forgot.  Please have him get in touch with me.
Problems and difficulties:
  Ballista bolts for the Big Shoota had no fletching. These flipped over in the air during the inspection shoot. I did not pass this ammo.  Instead I loaned them some bolts which I got from the Varg when they weren't looking.
Although nobody was injured, some fighters complained that the ballista bolts were hitting too hard.  These bolts came from ballistae which were 20 to 30 yards away.  Siege engine fire was halted in the third bridge battle by the marshals because of these complaints. The ballistae were all backed up to 40 yards or more from their targets and resumed fire in the next battle.  There were no more complaints after that.
I am continuing to look into this issue.
Earl Marshal Alaric does not want to change the rules at this point.  However, I would like everyone to play nice in the Midrealm.  If your ballista shoots a maximum of 70 to 80 yards, please don't shoot anyone within 40 yards.  If you can power down your ballista to 60 yards max or less, then you can shoot at short range.  This is not a rule, so compliance if voluntary.  However, any more complaints are going to make siege look bad.
Remember that a new SCA rules reads that:  "The crews of direct fire engines should be willing to receive a shot from their engine at minimum range, while in armor, should it be requested."  I may be requesting this at future events.
   Roderick McKraken, Chief of Artillery
PS. I apologize for any names I spelled wrong, but the hand writing on some of these forms is mystifying.