Following the economics panel, I went to the pen versus the sword: a panel which included ‘demonstrations’ and a lot of discussion about how to choreograph fight scenes in novels.
Panellists were: Marc Aplin, Fran Terminiello, Juliet E McKenna, Adrian Tchaikovsky and Clifford Beale.
– I was pleasantly surprised when one member held up a buckler — surprised because I recognised and could name it (thanks Diablo…)
– A novice cannot just pick up a sword and fight. They’d be more likely to cut their own ear off than harm their opponent.
– If you have two experts, no fight would last beyond 12/13 strokes.
– A sword will not break armour. Aim for the openings.
– Striking the abdomen may kill them, but they can still fight for 20 minutes before they fall.
– One of the main risks in wearing armour is heat exhaustion, and if it’s not made to fit you, drained stamina.
– Rapiers (dress swords) were often a fashion accessory and thus often held by people who could not wield them.
– The context of a fight will drastically change the fighting style, time and motivations.
I took a few videos on my phone of some of the demonstrations; which were useful when I think of my own sword and sorcery draft.
After this, I headed for a panel focusing on thieves and tricksters (and why we love them).