The Ice Dragon A&S Pentathlon is the longest running A&S competition in the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, started by the Rhydderich Hael while the Barony was part of the East Kingdom. The Pent has grown and changed each year, and the Gazette brings you an interview with this year’s Pent Coordinator, Padraig O’Branduibh.
Tell us a little about yourself and what your goals are for the Pent this year.
I’m currently the seneschal of the Rhydderich Hael. I offered to take on the Pent in order to work on solving a problem I saw with how scores are processed. Being a data person in my mundane life I decided to tackle said issue, and hopefully make things easier for whoever succeeds me at the job. I would like the Pent to be as big as ever, allow the A&S community of Æthelmearc (as well as our neighboring kingdoms) to showcase its many talents, and help my fellow artisans learn more about their craft through critique and feedback.
Why should an artisan enter the Pent?
There are two main reasons. First, it is a venerable and prestigious contest. Those who like to pitch their skills against all comers will greatly enjoy the level of competition. Winning the Pent or one of the categories really means something, and it is something that anyone can be proud of. Additionally, having one’s work judged helps an artisan know where to focus their time and attention in order to improve. It is easy to get caught in a rut from looking at your own work for too long, and having a fresh set of eyes take a critical look at it can be incredibly helpful.
The Pent has gotten a reputation for being hard to enter. Has anything been done to make the process easier this year?
I am working on streamlining the process of entering the Pent. I will have entry forms available online as we near the event, which will allow a contestant to enter with little time taken the day of the event itself. Keep an eye on the Ice Dragon Pent page for updates.
Will the judges know who has entered?
They will not. In order to keep the competition as fair as possible judges will not be given names for the entries. It is possible that a savvy judge may figure a few out, but I am counting on their discretion and honor not to let that interfere with their judging either way.
What advice would you give a first time Pent entrant?
First, check the rubrics page. Reference the one for your category, or if there is none then check the generic rubric. This is the tool the judges will use to score your work. Note especially the importance of documentation. A little more time spent on that, and knowing what is expected in the documentation can improve your score significantly. Also, don’t be intimidated by the competitive aspects or the quality of the other contestants. Simply by entering you are putting yourself a cut above the rest, and are providing yourself with a baseline score to work from in the future. Personal improvement is very important in what we do, and knowing where you stand helps with that process.
What are the levels for Pent entries, and can you describe them for us?
We have four divisions in the Pent. All entries done by an individual can be entered in the Individual division, which is the default. If more than one person has worked on the entries they can be added in to the Group division. Entrants doing individual entries who do not yet possess a grant or higher A&S award can enter the Novice division. Lastly, anyone under 16 years of age can enter into the Youth division.
Each division is evaluated separately and receives its own awards. Thus if you enter the Pent as a Novice you are eligible to win the Novice Pent award.
What is the deadline for literary entries, and where do I find more info about how to submit these, preferred formats, etc.?
Literary entries must be emailed or postmarked by February 28th. The instructions are on the Ice Dragon Pent page. Keep an eye on the page as we are making updates to keep things current and answer questions as they arise.
What is the schedule for the Pent for set-up, judging, etc.?
The tentative schedule is as follows:
10:30 Pent Judges check in
11:00 Deadline for On-site Pent Entries/ Judging Begins
12:30 Pent Performance Entries
3:30 Pent Entries Pick-up begins/ Q&A with judges
4:45 All Pent Entries must be picked up.
How does the Pent actually work – will my work automatically be entered in the Pent if I enter things in five main categories?
All entries in to the competition are judged within their own categories, and are eligible to win an award for said category. If you items in to five different categories you can participate in the full Pent. I would prefer if entrants declare they are entering the Pent, but I will verify this at check-in to make sure nobody gets missed in the full Pent scoring.
Can I enter just one thing in one category? What if I enter five things in one category?
If you enter just one thing in one category you will still be judged and are eligible for the category award, but not the Pent. You need entries in five main categories for that. Any one item, though, CAN be entered in to three different main categories. Thus if you’re clever and you have the supporting documentation you can enter the Pent by entering only twice. To be in the Pent these must all be different main categories. Thus, five things in the same category don’t count. In order to keep traffic down I discourage people from entering too many things in the same category, but if you really feel you have two that are worth putting in and are very different from each other I will let it slide.
I would like to be a judge. Who do I contact and what kind of qualifications do I need to have?
Baroness Alex is taking care of the judges for the Pent. Her contact information is on the Pent page.
Qualifications are largely up to the perspective judge. To maintain fairness in judging we traditionally have each item evaluated by three different judges. This allows us to use judges of different levels of experience, so even if you aren’t an expert in the field, but still feel you have some good knowledge about any of the categories you can work as a judge.
Of course we prefer at least one of the judges for each item to be a Laurel in order to provide the expert critique and feedback only they can provide. The Pent has always relied on the Laurel community to serve as its backbone, and wouldn’t be the high quality competition it has become without them.
Have the categories changed this year? Where can we find them?
The categories are the same as in past years. They’re located at the Ice Dragon Pent page. The categories are well known across the kingdom, so if you have any questions you can either check with me or anyone who is familiar with the A&S competitions in the kingdom.
Are you doing anything special for this year’s Pent?
I would love to see a large turnout at this year’s Pent. To encourage this I am working on securing some prizes for the winners of the four Pent divisions to be given out along with the traditional award scrolls. I am working on finding items that any SCAdian would be proud to own, with a special eye toward the members of the A&S community. More about those will be on the Pent page as I get them in.