March 15, 2008

Hamburg NY

Event Website:


Sponsored by the

Barony of the Rhydderich Hael

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The Basics

      What is the Pent? Is there a difference between the Pent and the A&S Competition?

Pent is short for 'Pentathlon'.  'Pent' is often used for the complete A&S competition, and the term can be confusing.  The A&S Competition consists of 20 separate Categories.  Contestants can win one or more MAIN categories in the A&S Competition.  However, to participate in the Pentathlon, they must submit entries in 5 different MAIN categories. 

      Why does the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael sponsor this Competition?

      They enjoy hosting the most respected A&S competition in the Kingdom of AEthelmearc. This competition is well-known for the quality of its documentation and research.

      When is the Competition?

      March 15, 2008

      Where is the Competition?

      Same location as last year, Hamburg, NY (near Buffalo, NY)

      Where can I find more information about this Event?

      Check out the AEstel or Kingdom website ( for full information, and go to the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael website; specific info on the A&S competition at:

      Why is Ice Dragon a good event for entrants who love to compete?

      This competition is exciting to prepare for.  Many entrants are enthusiastic researchers and there are a lot of unusual and fascinating entries. Getting a good score is a 'rush'. Getting feedback from other researchers/re-enactors is helpful in developing better research on subjects the entrants already love.

      Why do some entrants compete when they don't expect to win?

Getting feedback from judges and the opportunity to meet other talented entrants and observers in similar fields of interest is exciting, inspiring and informative.

      Why some people may not want to compete.

      A challenging competition environment is not for everyone. An Artisan's forum or a smaller competition than Ice Dragon is also an option.


What's new at the Ice Dragon Competition & Pent this year?

Group Entry rules have changed!

  • Group entries will be allowed in individual categories, not just as a Group Pent entry. Groups of 2 or 3 people may enter an item in single categories this year. In past years, Groups were restricted to entering the Group Pent.

'Personal Best' approach or 'why is there a ribbon on my entry?' is back by popular demand!


  • In the past, great emphasis has been put on either winning first place in the overall Pent or one of the MAIN Categories.  This has been rather arbitrary, since quite often point scores have been extremely close, sometimes 1 point or less separated a first place and second place winner.  This year we are continuing the very popular Dragon ribbons given out in the last two years. The ribbons will be placed on entries at the end of the judging process to reflect overall point score levels.  Blue: 50-60 points; Red: 49-40 points; Green: 39-30; Yellow: 29-1 points. From year to year, this system can help contestants keep track of the level of their own efforts. Contestants can aim for a gradual improvement in their own work, rather than a possibly difficult 'perfect' score of 60 each year.

New changes and challenges this year:

  • The Pent Coordinator is aware that not all research interests in AEthelmearc will fit on an Ice Dragon display table. We invite and challenge the artisans of AEthelmearc to produce miniature items of any over-large research objects along with documentation to explain larger-than-tabletop Medieval/Renaissance activities. However, actual extant medieval miniatures should go into Toymaking or other categories as is appropriate.

Once again, No collapsed MAIN Categories

  • Each MAIN category will have a winner.  In the past few years, if a MAIN category had less than 3 entries, it was 'collapsed' into a nearby category, suddenly being considered with entries that didn't 'match'.  Even if a MAIN category has just one entry, that entry will win the category, whatever score that entry receives.


The Novice A&S Competition & Pentathlon: 

            Novice definition:  If you have no A&S Kingdom level award, or if you hold the A&S award of the Sycamore or other kingdom equivalent (and no higher), then you qualify for the Novice Level.  In entering this level, you will be competing with entrants who are more likely to be 'at your level', rather than pitting yourself against more experienced researchers. Children are welcome.

            Will you be judged differently than other entrants?  The judges will not know that you are 'novice' level.  The judging is done 'blind', with no entrants' names on entries. 

            What good is entering as a novice?  Expectations are that novices might score, on average, 20-30 points out of a total of 60 per letter category entered.  The novice class gives entrants a chance to 'get their feet wet' and see how they do against others at their own level.

            Can a novice score more than 30 points?  Yes, sometimes a novice really pulls it all together.  Talent and dedicated research show up at all levels.

            If an entrant has a Sycamore or less, do they HAVE to enter the Novice class?  Nope.  If an entrant wants to enter the regular Singles Pent along with other highly competitive artisans and researchers, many of whom have entered Ice Dragon before, they should go for it!

      Advantages of being a Novice: You'll have increased opportunities to have your work seen and gain confidence in your abilities. 

            Who CANNOT enter the Novice Competition and/or Novice Pent:  Laurels, Fleurs, mid-level A&S awardees from other Kingdoms (Manche, Pearl, etc). Anyone who has won first place in a MAIN Category or the overall Pent in the past, whether in Aethelmearc or outside of Aethelmearc.  If in doubt, ask the Pent Coordinator.


The Group Pentathlon:

      Entrants eligible for the Group Pent: can be at any level, first timer with no A&S award, Sycamores, Fleurs, Laurels, children, newbies, etc. Any mixture of levels is welcome.

      All sorts of group types are welcome, such as households, artisans working together, baronies, shires, guild members, bardic/musical groups,etc.

      Can groups win individual MAIN Categories:  Yes, this year groups of 2 or 3 may enter an individual MAIN category without entering the Pent.


      Will Group entries be judged separately: No, all entries are judged 'blind'- all entries are anonymous during the judging process. An obvious exception to this rule is in-person bardic or musical competition.



The Singles A&S Competition & Singles Pentathlon:

      Single Entrant definition: Single entrants can be Fleurs, Laurels, Sycamores, and non-A&S awardees. Laurels are encouraged to enter work in their main interest, as well as their minor interests.

       If the Laurels are entering the Pent this year, does that mean that only Laurels are likely to win?  No- as we've found from past year's Pent results.  This is going to be a true horse race.  What we do know is that not all the best researchers and artisans in the Kingdom have received a Laurel.  It is rumored that Laurels don't know everything about everything.


Mentoring: Mentoring is a relationship with a more experienced researcher who guides an entrant to better resources, critiques an effort, or gives advice on techniques, but doesn't actually design or work on wording or work on an object or write wording for a research paper or documentation. Working with another artisan or researcher takes place when two or more entrants work together on an object or contribute significantly to research together. 

      Entrants using other people's research: This is done by virtually every good researcher, but the MOST IMPORTANT factor is that anything that is used from other research outside your own experience, must be CITED in the bibliography and also must be clearly indicated, whether it is a photograph, a portion of a website or wording taken directly from an article or a website. Please put quotes around anything of this sort and indicate where it came from and who did it, authored it, uploaded it, etc. If you happen to use an individual SCAdian as a documentation resource, please cite them using their mundane name. Do not use an SCA title with that name and avoid using a SCA location (i.e. "Barony of Somewhere"). This is to maximize your anonymity in the judging process as well as minimize a judge being 'swayed' by the 'I was told by a Laurel that....' effect.


How to enter the Competitions

      When do entrants register? Registration for all but the Research Paper, Poetry and Prose categories can be done at three different points: 

            Pre-registration begins in January 2008 and can be done by email or US postal mail up to March 2, 2008.


EXCEPTION:  Registration and submission of Research Papers, Prose, Poetry, and Music composition must be postmarked no later than  February 9th, 2007 and can be sent by US Postal Mail or by email attachment to the Pent coordinator (  Hard copy submissions must consist of 4 copies of your submission; 3 copies WITHOUT your name on them, one copy with your name on it. 

  • Please read the electronic submission guidelines (click here), though note that the Pent Coordinator still accepts hard copy submissions. Electronic submission for research papers is strongly encouraged. There are no exceptions to the deadline of February 9th, 2008.  These entries should be snail mailed to the Pentocrat:  Orilee Ireland-Delfs, 731 South Main Street, Newark, NY 14513 or emailed to

            Pre-registration is available the Friday night before Ice Dragon at the event site from 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm.

            In-person Registration can be done the day of the Competition, Saturday, March 15 from 9 AM until 11 AM.  At 11 AM registration is closed and no entries can be accepted for competition.  All entries after that can be accepted for display only.

      Why should you pre-register before the day of the Competitions? Pre-registration helps the Ice Dragon data crunching team enter your information early, easing the high pressure timing of getting the scores out in a timely way on the day of the event.  It also gives the Pentocrat advance notice of the type and number of items that judges will be required for.

      What if you'd like to pre-register, but you're not sure all your entries will be ready in time?  Pre-registration is not binding!!!! It is very easy to remove an unused entry in our database.  Please go ahead and pre register without fear.  We can easily update our database on the day of Ice Dragon or at any point before.

      What if you only want to display your work and not compete?  Display only is available, and will be accepted on a space-available basis.


FAQs about Entries

      Choosing a category for your entry.  Not every entry fits neatly into the listed categories of Ice Dragon.  Please contact the Pentocrat if you have questions or uncertainty where your entry would fit.

      Where is the list of MAIN Categories for this year? On this website:  Click Here.  Also, a list of categories and the Competition/Pent rules will be posted to the AEstel in January 2008.

      Do the Categories change from year to year? Yes, most Pentocrats try to respond to changing A&S activity in the Kingdom.  Like many other things, there are fashions in A&S endeavors.

      What do the MAIN Categories mean? MAIN categories are divided into major divisions of creative endeavor. There is one first place winner in each MAIN category.  When the Pent entries demand 5 different MAIN categories, contestants are being asked to exhibit VERY diverse abilities and knowledge. A Pent winner does not have to win 5 MAIN categories to win the Pent.

      Why are there subcategories? Subcategories are helpful in defining judging concentrations in a single MAIN category.  Contestants can enter several subcategories in one MAIN category, but only one entry will 'count' as a Pent entry from that MAIN category.

      What if my entry doesn't fit any of the categories or sub-categories? You may be a candidate for Material Manipulation or Curiosa (other) but you must contact the Pent Coordinator for permission to enter those subcategories.

      How many entries do I need to be in a Pentathlon? You must submit 5 entries, each in a different MAIN category.

      If I have entries in five MAIN Categories, will I automatically be entered in a Pent?  Yes, you will find your five entries listed in the Pent competition.  Our database automatically totals your five entries.

      What are cross-entries?  A cross entry is a single object that can qualify for more than one MAIN category, and is most often encountered with Pent entries.  It is one of the SCAdian dreams to enter one or two incredible items that will qualify for all 5 MAIN categories and win the Pent. 

      What special rules are necessary for cross-entries?  Cross entries must have a full set of documentation for each MAIN category they are entered in.  They must have a Color picture (inkjet or glossy) to put in MAIN categories where the actual object is not used, along with a separate set of documentation. 

      What special rules are necessary for research papers, poetry, prose and musical composition?  Research papers MUST BE submitted early to the Pent Coordinator by email attachment or US Postal Mail.  The postmark deadline is February 9th, 2008.  If you are submitting by electronic attachment(s), contact the Pent Coordinator ahead of time for file format guidelines/compatibility issues. If you must submit hard copies, four copies (three WITHOUT your name) must be sent to the Pent Coordinator, Orilee Ireland-Delfs, 731 South Main Street, Newark, NY 14513

      Why are there much earlier deadlines for research papers, poetry, prose and music composition?  The longer length of a research paper, etc is a driving factor to facilitate fair judging.  Unlike documentation, a research paper required more time than the 3 hour judging limits of the competition on March 15th allows.


Preparing your entry

      When should I start?  This is totally up to you.  Some entries are done the week before Ice Dragon.  Some entries are finished six months before Ice Dragon, after work that has gone on for years.

      Are there limits on when I made an entry or if it was in another competiton?  Your entry must have been finished since last year's (March 2007) Ice Dragon. It can have been in other AEthelmearc competitions during the last year, even if it came in first.

      When do I start my documentation?  This is also totally up to you.  However, successful contestants usually do initial documentation before they begin the physical object.  Or do more documentation after they begin their object and discover some things they don't understand or are having trouble understanding.  Documentation is more an ongoing process than a one-time experience.  At some point, the artist sums it up and generates a 'report', known as documentation, for this competition.

      Do I put my name on my entry? No, your name will be encoded for the competition when you register.  At the time the ribbons are placed on entries after 3 pm, your SCA name will be revealed, using the 2nd 3x5 card you filled out at registration..

      Do I put my name on my documentation? NO, your name will be encoded for judging.

      What if I entered my item in another competition before Ice Dragon? This year we are accepting all items whether they were in another competition in Aethelmearc (or out) or not. 

      What if I finished my entry more than a year ago?  Please do not enter 'old' items this year.  We are interested in your recent work or your updated work. Updating can include revised and improved documentation.

      What if my entry was already entered in a former Ice Dragon competition? It is not eligible for entry this year. For exception, see above.

      What if I am from a Kingdom outside of AEthelmearc?  Your entries are welcome in the competition, as long as they conform to the rules above.



Experienced Competitor Questions:

      I've heard there is a suggested documentation format again this year. Yes, it is true that we are suggesting guidelines.  A number of novice entrants have asked for more precise guidelines on type of documentation

      Where can I go to look at it? You'll find it at this URL:

      Can I use my own style of documentation instead?  Yup.  We are very hopeful that you will use the guidelines if possible, but for experienced documenter/researchers, other formats are acceptable as well.

      How can using an Appendix (or Appendices, if you need more than one) help the judges score my entry more accurately?  Judges need to budget the time they spend with each item, particularly in those categories with a large number of entries.  The Appendix helps keep the first 3 pages of your documentation honed in on the essential points of your work.  The Appendix can be much larger with all the additional material that you want the judge to look at, time permitting.

      What is an Appendix, anyway? An Appendix can contain a variety of supplemental documentation.  Some typical items can be step-by-step process photos of your work; pictures of extant medieval/renaissance objects similar to your work; key pages of research articles with the pertinent info highlighted with a highlighter.

      What's the difference between documentation for a single entry and a research paper?  One of the key differences is length.  When your documentation exceeds 10 type-written pages, you may run into a problem in available judge time, especially in categories with a lot of entries.  If a judge runs out of time trying to read your documentation, they may miss something you put in.  This can be frustrating, as it can impact your score.  This is why we trying for the 3 page limit of the main body of your documentation with additional pages of bibliography and appendix.  We also know that this doesn't work for everyone, especially with very complex objects or extended studies.  We expect more experienced researchers to 'make the call'' on what documentation they think will explain their object most succinctly.


Novice Questions:

      What if I don't know how to do documentation?  There are many experienced A&S people who would enjoy helping you work on that.  For someone in your specialty, see the listings of the Fleurs and Laurels (, Order pages, or Tell them that Orianna the Pent Coordinator sent you.  They are expecting you!

      Mentoring or why you don't have to figure it out alone. Mentoring is encouraged*.  Most successful Ice Dragon entrants have been mentored by another experienced hand.  Pulling your documentation together and making it 'bulletproof' takes practice.

*Mentoring: Mentoring is a relationship with a more experienced researcher who guides an entrant to better resources, critiques an effort, or gives advice on techniques, but doesn't actually design or work on wording or work on an object or write wording for a research paper or documentation. Working with another artisan or researcher takes place when two or more entrants work together on an object or contribute significantly to research together. 

      A place to start: Examples of Ice Dragon documentation with comments.




This is the recognized website for the A&S Competition and Pentathalon of the Barony of the Rhydderich Hael of the Kingdom of AEthelmearc and is maintained by Mistress Rhiannon y Bwa . This site may contain electronic versions of the group's governing documents. Any discrepencies between the electronic version of any information on this site and the printed version that is available from the originating office will be decided in favor of the printed version.

Copyright © 2008 . The original contributors retain the copyright to certain portions of this site. For information on using photographs, articles, or artwork from this site, please contact the web minister Mistress Rhiannon y Bwa (click for email). She will assist you in contacting the original creator of the piece. Please respect the legal rights of our contributors.