Target and Live Archery
Avalon has two main focus groups for archery, they are Target Archery and Live Archery.
Target Archery is basically what it sounds like -- we shoot at targets which are scored. Targets can be anything from a standard bull's-eye type target to the unusual such as shooting a ta simulated arrow slit in a castle wall.
Live Archery is done when we hold large-scale or melee battles. Just like it sounds, the targets are real (combatants), however the arrows and equipment used are designed to be safe for everyone on and off the field.
Target Archery in Avalon is similar to the target archery you will find in your local archery range. In the normal, scored shoots, we have set ranges and a typicsl bull's-eye target. Scores are counted and recorded based on a percentile. Beyond that is where things change.
In a typical archery range, most of your shooters will be using the modern compound bows. The Realms of Avalon, in striving to maintain historical authenticity, uses period equipment such as the wooden longbow, recurve, and crossbows. We also use natrual fletched wooden arrows with field points.
Now, as a beginner, you are not required to have all of this to start. Some of our groups have loaner equipment, and if you have a firberglass bow and arrows you can use them for a while. What Avalon is after is a gradual advancement towards more peirod equipment and methods over time.
Additionally, some of our target shoots are quite unusual. Our targets can vary in size, shape, and some even move. We also have themed shoots, such as shooting at the arrow slit on a simulated castle wall.
Target archery can be a fun and enjoyable pasttime, and many of our members practice quite frequently. If you're interested in target archery and enjoy the history of bows and their use, then Avalon Target Archery just might be for you!
Live Archery in Avalon is just what it sounds like: it's LIVE. In live archery, you take to the field with other combatants in a "War" type scenario. Often your team will face another that has combatants with swords, and some with archery equipment. Your mission here, should you choose to accept it, is to send forth volley after volley of arrows into the enemy lines and hopefully thin them or create holes through which your sword-wielding comrades can break. And, of course, avoid taking an arrow in your chest in the process...
Although it sounds dangerous, we use specially designed padded arrows that prevent harm to both combatants and bystanders. The arrows are designed to fly slwoer and hit with very little power. Additionally, you are limited to 35# for a longbow and 75# for a crossbow, which substantially reduces the amount of power that can be put into the arrow or bolt.
In order to compete in Live Archery, you will need additional protective equipment, equal to that of the combatants on the field. If you wish, you may also take a sword on the fireld, but you will have to set aside your bow before drawing it (safety first!).
Bowmen can have a MAJOR impact on a field of combatants. If you think about it, a practiced archer can send forth an arrow in about six seconds. If he or she was firing continuously, they could potentially shoot ten arrows in a minute! Consider that if an army had ten archers working together, they could loose one hundred arrows a minute!
Now these are numbers we are currently capable of in Avalon. In the real middle ages, the numbers were far greater. The Battle of Agincourt (1415) saw a larger number of archers on the English side, roughly five thousand. With these numbers, we can estimate that if the English in this battle fired for a full minute at full capacity, they woul dhave sent fifty thousand arrows in flight toward the French!
Would you have wanted to be in the French lines that day?