Alphabet Soup! Getting to Know Terrasylvan Terminology

Joining any new community has a learning curve, there are traditions, foods, clothes, and even linguistic differences that one must master to feel as though they really belong. The Order of the Rose is no exception. Over time many of these unique characteristics of our group become clear, but one of the more difficult ones to master is the colloquialisms. Some call it the Alphabet Soup.

To make communications on and off the field easier to understand we have developed a host of abbreviations and other slang words. Some are only referred to in text form, others are shouted out frequently. The following are a few of the more frequently used unique terms, if you hear any more let us know and we will add them to the recorded lexicon.


  • BBQ – Barbecue! Usually shouted out as your death cry when an opponent gets behind your line and has just killed you with a death from behind.
  • BGL – Barony of Gryphon’s Lair. These are our friends to the North of us who also fence but are part of the SCA
  • DFB – Death from Behind. This is one of many ways to die, it is a special technique that is taught in the training program. Students must take a class on how to properly perform DFB’s before they are allowed to execute them in a melee. The standard rule for all melees is that Death from Behind is allowed unless specifically stated otherwise.
  • RBG – Rubber Band Gun. We get to play with period looking over-sized rubber band guns on special occasions. Students must be taught how to properly use RBG’s before they are allowed to fire them in a melee. The standard rule for all melees is that Rubber Band Guns are not allowed unless specifically stated otherwise.
  • SCASociety for Creative Anachronism
  • Shire – The Shire of Terrasylvae. Order of the Rose along with other companies and guilds are all part of a greater organization called the Shire of Terrasylvae. This is often shortened to either the Shire, or Terrasylvae, they mean the same thing.
  • IT – Iron Thorn. This is the heavy fighting group in the Shire
  • Rags – Rangers. This is the archery and wilderness exploration Company in the Shire
  • OotR – Order of the Rose. This is the fencing Company in the Shire
  • BRDS – Broderers. This is the sewing, and crafts guild in the Shire
  • SYA – Sylvan Assembly. This is the dancing and culture guild in the Shire
  • SM – Swordsman. This is the rank achieved in the Order of the Rose upon completion of the training program.
  • MS – Master Swordsman. This is the rank given in the Order of the Rose to an individual who has fully dedicated themselves to the Company.
  • FPS – Foil, Pistols (RBG’s), and Spears. This is a term used in scenario planning and explanation. Foils, Pistols, and Spears can all be used in certain circumstances, but students must be taught how to properly do so before they are allowed to use them. The standard rule for all melees is that FPS are not allowed unless specifically stated otherwise.

Replacement Words

The Order of the Rose also uses the word “HOLD” shouted during a battle to stop the fighting to address an unsafe situation. As such we strong discourage the use of that word or any word that sounds close to it like “hole.” Instead we encourage creative alternatives such as:

When there is a hole in something:

  • Gap
  • Divot
  • Negatively elevated space
  • Dip

When you want hold on to something:

  • Keep
  • Steady
  • Mind it
  • Watch it
  • Fill in
  • Address the line

Common phrases:

“Are we met?” “Aye, well met!” – When a leader is looking to make sure everyone understands and is ready to go, they will call out, “Are we met?” if the people listening are prepared their response is, “Aye, well met.”

Vivat! – Stemming from the Latin word viva which means life, this is a loud cry wishing someone long life and prosperity. We use this to conclude many of our ceremonies and celebrations. A person in charge will call for a certain number of vivats, typically three, then in a call and response way they will lead the group through the cry.

Huzzah! – A loud exclamation used to express approval or delight like the words ‘hurrah’ or ‘hooray.’ We use this as an alternative to Vivat, but less frequently.

Joyous Noise! – This is a call for loud shouting and happiness after a round of vivats or huzzahs

Point of Honor! – This is shouted out by those watching a fencing duel and it means that they recognize that one of the combatants has done something particularly Honorable while fighting. For example if Fighter A touches a sword on Fighter B, but it isn’t a kill yet not knowing for sure Fighter B calls it as one, and then Fighter A explains that it was not a kill, the crowd watching could call out “Point of Honor” to show their approval and support.

Are you Satisfied? – This is a question typically asked by a marshal to combatants in a tourney at the conclusion of a fight and before the next begins to ensure that both parties feel the fight was fair and correctly called.

Purple line! – This is a phrase often shouted during melees to encourage a team to work together. Communication is key on the battle field but sometimes you don’t know what to say, so just saying something like “Purple line!” is better than not talking at all.

Other Slang Words

  • Deathstick – A sheath. This is the OotR word for a hard-shelled sheath used in rapier combat.

Hopefully this helps explain a little better some of our rich fencing culture. As you immerse your self and get involved in the company all the strange words, abbreviations, and phrases will become easier to understand. As you use the language of the group you’ll find yourself belonging and feeling as though you are at home. We encourage you to become familiar with the ‘Alphabet Soup’, and enjoy the camaraderie it brings. Bon Appétit!

4 thoughts on “Alphabet Soup! Getting to Know Terrasylvan Terminology”

  1. Coupon. Crusader. Bardic/Bard. Iron thorn. Sage. There’s also a list of purely Terra Sylvan fighting techniques and hence terms we’ve invented. Wall of Thorns. Shadow. Flankman (we didn’t invent the post but we’re the only ones who’ve named it.) But maybe that should be its own page with other field/fighting talk.

  2. Quartermaster. Telefragger. (We don’t use that one much but we should bring it back.) Scrivener’s Guild.

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