The shieldwalls clash for the first fight of the day!

The Dark Ages Society, DAS, is a small national society who re-enact the time of King Alfred. DAS tries to run one weekend event a month, with slightly fewer during the colder months. Most of these are private weekend events, although there is the occassional public show.

I'm currently the DAS Secretary! If anyone needs anything, or just fancies chatting, I'm always keen to help... You can email me at haukragnarsson@googlemail.com.

Characters & Units - Fighting - Feasting - Want to know more?

Characters & Units

DAS is unlike many re-enactment societies, as it takes roleplaying characters quite seriously and people play consistent characters who grow and evolve over time, working up from minor individuals to mighty heroes. Everyone has a Viking or Anglo-Saxon name, and a unit. People often work out backgrounds that tie them in with their unit, binding all the members together closely.
I've had two characters at DAS. My first was Godfrid the Saxon (of the Sumorsaete) and now I'm Hauk the Viking (of the Oestvikinga).

The units are key to how DAS works. There are currently six units, three of Anglo-Saxons and three of Vikings. Deciding on your unit is an important choice, but you don't have to make it straight away- you have the whole of your first year to make your mind up. There are three Anglo-Saxon units (the Sumorsaete, the Beorcshiringas and the Chiltensaete) and three Viking units (the Holmbyggja, the Westmen and the Oestvikinga).
The Sumorsaete are the largest unit Anglo-Saxon unit, and are from Alfred's heartland in Wessex. A group of their members are from Devon and practice together regularly. The Beorcshiringas are from the Vale of the White Horse, and use that as their symbol. The Chiltensaete are the only unit of Angles rather than Saxons. They are also particularly devout Christians (unlike some in the Sumorsaete...)
The Holmbyggja are Vikings who have settled on the east coast of England, on the southern edge of Danelaw. They are a large extended family, and are very friendly. The Westmen hail from the Isle of Man, where many of them have been given land to hold by their leader. A lot of them seem to be related to Styrkar! Finally the Oestvikinga are Vikings with Eastern influences, from the isle of Gotland. They're the only unit led by a lady.

Characters & Units - Fighting - Feasting - Want to know more?

The Sumorsaete and Beorcshiringas clash- Saxon on Saxon Violence!

DAS fights almost entirely with single-handed spear and shield (although ladies may choose to fight with double-handed spears instead). This is a fighting style that's not always popular in other re-enactment societies, but historically most people would have been armed like this unless they were seriously wealthy. DAS fights using underarm spear, as this is safer and gives more control than overarm spear. DAS uses a one-hit-and-you're-out system. No complex maths or anything, if a spear hits you then you fall over.
Members who have been full members for at least two years and have done extra training may be allowed to fight using swords, langseaxes, or axes.

At a typical weekend event, Saturday morning always features a training session. This warms everyone up, helps people get back into the swing of fighting, and is a good time to train new members. New members may, if the safety officers deem them safe enough, be able to fight during the day's events after a single training session.

The main fighting of the day is done in woods. The event hosts will have written a plot- often this involves getting possession of some special objects, although sometimes it's more complex. The units then disperse, and hunt each other down. An encounter between two units may go peacefully- the units may decide to make an alliance, may let each other go, or may agree to a simple trade. However often the discussions break down, units draw up their shieldwalls, and violence erupts...

Characters & Units - Fighting - Feasting - Want to know more?

Part of the Sumorsaete table at a feast

After the fighting is over, everyone returns to the hall for lunch (normally a cold spread of bread, cheese, and maybe meat). In the afternoon several things may happen: more fighting, more training, a boar hunt, crafts, traditional games, or trading. Then, as evening comes, people change into their best clothes, lay out their places in the feasting hall, and retire to the pub. Quaffing occurs, then people return to the hall for the main event...

Feasts are social events with lots of ritual and roleplay. The unit hosting the event will invite units in one at a time. Everyone sits together in their units. In between courses, songs are sung, unit leaders reward bravery on the battlefield, and tales are told. After the food is over and as people start drifting off to bed, the survivors congretate in clumps, to chat and game.

Then comes Sunday. Breakfast, hall-tidying, maybe some outdoor games, and then we all go home and the event is done. But soon there'll be another one!

Characters & Units - Fighting - Feasting - Want to know more?

Want to know more?

Check out the DAS website: www.darkagessociety.co.uk or email me to chat: haukragnarsson@googlemail.com.

If you want to come along, for your first event you just have to pay for the event, no membership fees. Events normally cost about 15, if you book in advance. After your first event, you have to pay for events plus an annual membership fee. Membership is currently 18 for a year, but it's only 15 if you pay at or by the first event of the year.

Made by Hauk, DAS Secretary & Wychwood Old Git - Main page: www.haukr.co.uk - Email: haukragnarsson@googlemail.com