Frequently Asked Questions
Belegarth Medieval Combat Society (BMCS) is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting and educating people on medieval and fantasy themed arts and sciences. As well as promoting physical activity and a healthy active lifestyle for all ages through the sport of medieval combat using padded equipment. We are a family friendly organization that encourages members to bring their whole family out to events.
Where did the name Belegarth come from?
The name Belegarth means “Great Realms” in the Sindarin language from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. The name comes from the following Sindarin words:
beleg = adj. great, mighty AND ardh = n. realm, region (The “dh” sound is pronounced “th”.)
The members of Belegarth are known as ‘Belegrim’, which means “Mighty People”.
What makes Belegarth different from other medieval combat games?
Belegarth differs from many of the other medieval combat games (SCA, Nero, Darkon, Amtgard, etc.) that exist today in three ways:
- Combat Physicality
- Role Play
Belegarth is a full contact simulated medieval combat. We allow grappling, shield kicks and bashes. Strikes must have sufficient force in order to count. Strikes that are lightest touch will be called “light” and your opponent will not take them. Belegarth is not your traditional LARP where lightest touch counts. It is not heavy on the role play and does not have class systems that give a person in-game benefits to their character. Further information on the rules can be found in the Belegarth Book of War.
Some participants have fully thought out personas and do role-play as these characters; however, it gives no benefits or detriments in combat. Belegarth also has no combat magic to worry about when you’re fighting as there is no magic aspect to our combat.
Belegarth pads the weapons and not the people. In contrast to some other games (most notably, the SCA), all persons wanting to take part in combat are required to wear armor because they play with rattan weapons. This is where cost comes in: full armor and safety gear to fight in the SCA is expensive, where you can get started in Belegarth for as little as $35.
It is called ‘garb’. Garb is the commonly worn “uniform” in our society. Basically, garb is medieval or medieval/fantasy-based clothing. We are attempting to recreate the look and feel of a medieval high fantasy community at the events we hold. The garb helps us create that look and feel at our events.
What can I do as a participant in BMCS?
There are many different ways to be involved in BMCS. The majority of Belgrim make the choice to participate in the medieval combat aspects of BMCS, although fighting is just one way to participate in Belegarth. There are many other ways to participate and enjoy what Belegarth has to offer!
We host medieval Arts and Sciences classes, exhibits and competitions at our events so that people may pass on skills and knowledge as well as show off their skills. We are a place where people with many different skills can come together and learn from each other. Some of the skills represented in Belegarth are sewing, tablet weaving, hand embroidery, leatherworking, chainmaille weaving, blacksmithing, carpentry, drawing/painting, and many others.
We enjoy setting up different medieval and fantasy based games for children and people of all ages. Medieval games like Liar’s Dice, Washers, Marbles, Blind Man’s Bluff, and Chess are just some that can be found at events. Other more modern games can be found alongside the medieval games and are common at events.
If you enjoy service and community building endeavors there is a place for you in Belegarth as well. Events couldn’t run without its volunteers to help with different facets of the event from weapons check to feast preparations and nightlife activities.
There is something for everyone in Belegarth!
What is the combat aspect of the sport like?
The combat aspect of Belegarth does require some athleticism and dedication to the different forms and techniques that each different style of fighting presents. It is a game that anyone can jump into enjoy so long as you enjoy physical activity. We have a simple rules system that allows for easy learning of the rules and how to play the game.
We place the emphasis on honor in combat and personal skills development instead of relying on your “class skills/points” or your armor to save you. The only way you get better at the game is by working at it, going to practice, seeking out better fighters and learning from them.
What do I need to get involved?
There isn’t much you need to get started in Belegarth. Firstly, see if there’s a local chapter (called ‘realms’) near you on our realm locator. If you have a local realm, get into contact with them to find out practice times and locations. Most groups have loaner gear for newcomers and would be more than happy to help you get started! You should also read through the Getting Started page for more information.
If you happen to not have a group in your area, then please contact Belegarth here and let us know you are looking to start a realm. We’ll answer any questions you might have and make sure you have everything you need to get started.
Doesn’t it hurt a lot to get hit?
Safety is the first priority, so all weapons are checked for safety before they are used on the field at any event and at most local practices. Weapons that fail for any reason are removed from use.
Belegarth is a full contact sport, so welts or bruises are possible, although it doesn’t hurt any more than other impact sports. It’s safer to play than most contact sports, and you can always invest in armor as option for added protection.
You also have the option to wear safety gear under your garb. Some people wear lacrosse or MMA gloves, elbow guards, shin guards, mouth guards, safety glasses, chest protection for females and a hefty chunk of male fighters find investing in a jockstrap a sound investment. With that said, Belegarth is designed to be as safe as possible, and no safety gear is required to have injury free experience.
16 years old is the age that a participant must be to take part in Belegarth in most realms and at most events. All events held by BMCS have the minimum age of 16 years old.
Some realms allow younger fighters; this is up to your local realm. If you are under 16 and you want to take part in Belegarth, make sure that you talk to your parents/guardians before you contact your local realm.
Do I have to (or get to) make a character?
There is some element of characterization to Belegarth. You are asked to come up with a fighting or persona name for Belegarth, similar to a medieval inspired online screen name. Anything after that is totally up to you and your imagination! Belegarth has goblyns, kobolds, orcs, uruk-hai, orges, humans, elves, dwarves, hobbits and even bird people. You can find more information on the different races of being in Belegarth on our wiki.
Do I have to pay to join?
On the International level there is no fee to be a Belegrim. However some realms do charge dues that they use to maintain the realms loaner weapons or to organize events. Realms that collect dues will still allow you to take part in Belegarth if you cannot pay the dues. These dues are generally no more than $5 or $10 per year. Check with your local realm to see if they do charge dues. As Belegarth is a non-profit organization, individual realms, the larger organization and their organizers are forbidden to make a profit, so any dues or fees will be used for the benefit of the local realm.
Are you a non-profit organization?
Yes. BMCS, Inc is a US Federal 501.3.c. More information can be found in the Belegarth Bylaws.
Where can I get weapons?
There are many ways to get weapons for Belegarth. Check in your realm to see if some one there makes weapons and can either teach you how or make them for you. This is normally faster and less expensive. If there is no one that knows how to make weapons in your realm, you can find tutorials for weapon building here. Our forums have a subforum dedicated to foam-smithing where you can ask any questions you may have.
Additionally, there are a number of vendors that sell Belegarth legal weapons, shields and other equipment.