Why Take Village Tests?

Vikings for all occasions, no village too messy!

Manaraefan Herred


This is carried out after-hours or in a tent out of sight.  It can even be done out of season.  There are several geographic variations, so don’t claim to be from Scotland unless you know at least a bit about the Scottish experience with the Vikings.  The test should take about half an hour and as long as you’re close to passing, you will be given a bit of guidance about which questions you should look at again...  Again, this is not about being a genius!


(Advice for members of The Vikings on how to pass the Village Test)


You’re not a combatant but you want to be a Fri-Hal and one day a Drengr

You are a combatant and you want to be a Drengr

You would like to do one or more craft tests towards your Drengr

First off...

Becoming a Fri-Hal is your first step on the road of promotion in the Vike.  The award is made at group level and to get it you will need to have a set of kit and to have passed a basic skill assessment.  This is usually basic combat, basic villager or basic acting, though it can include marshalling, helping out at a banquet and various other odds and ends.

Once you get your Fri-Hal award, you can progress on to Drengr.  You will need:

2 sets of kit (that pass Drengr level kit checks)

7 skill points (including that first basic one)

20 show attendance points (3 for a major, 2 for medium 1 for minor).  You can start counting from the very first show you actively participate in, whether in kit or helping out, e.g. as a marshal.

As your group leader has to nominate you for Drengr, it’s a good idea to help out within the group as well!

Villager Tests

There are 3 villager tests that roughly equate to the 3 tests that combatants have to take before being allowed to take advanced tests.  These are:

Basic Villager (the only one that counts towards a Fri-Hal)

Practical Villager


Basic Villager

This is all about you – can you present yourself to the public in a way that makes you look and sound like a real Viking / Saxon / other ethnicity without embarrassing yourself or the Vike?  You do therefore need to have a set of kit and personal equipment (eating utensils as a minimum) and a name and background.  The assessment will mostly be carried out sitting down somewhere quiet, though you will also need to take your assessors on a short guided tour of the village with them pretending to be members of the public.

Unless you have a vivid imagination, really good historical knowledge and a great memory, it makes sense to choose a character whose life is pretty similar to your own.  Use the list of names on the Manaraefan website to help you name your family, not forgetting at least one set of grandparents.  Your Viking counterpart may not be a computer programmer, but hey, if you have an allotment, that’s a good start towards being a farmer.  Where do you live?  What sort of house do you live in?  In  town or the country?  If you have spare time, what do you do with it?  These are all things that will help you flesh out your character beyond the very basics.

You will also need to know a bit about what you are wearing, how the items were made, what they were dyed with and how they are appropriate to your chosen race / status / gender.  Chaps, you might be able to get away with being vague on the details of clothing manufacture (though you’d better be good on the rest in that case); ladies, you need to know this stuff.

Read the Village guide on the Vikings Membership Website.  You will be asked questions on health and safety and on general set up and behaviour in the village.  These are not genius level, and close enough is usually good enough.  You will probably know most of the answers just from your experience of doing shows – don’t tie yourself in knots looking for a complicated answer – there probably isn’t one!

The final stage is the guided tour of the village.  Your assessors will act like members of the public (generally throwing in at least one stupid question).  All we want to know is whether you are safe to be let loose on the public – you aren’t meant to be an expert on everything.  However it is embarrassing when you don’t know the names of common crafts, so take a look around before you do the test, chat to people, and find out what they’re doing (and maybe even what their authentic names are).  Then you can say “this is tablet weaving, I’ve never done it myself, but Dagfiend here can explain how it’s done, if you’re interested”.  Sooo much better than, “umm, this lady’s doing something with wool and some bits of wood, but I don’t know what it is”.

Practical Villager

This moves on to the next stage – do you have the skills needed to get really involved with the LHE at a show?  You will need to do 7 out of the following:

Put up a tent or awning (with help if needed).  If you’re being tested mid-show, your group leader can vouch for you having done this.

Assemble a piece of flat-pack furniture (usually a table or a stool – not something from IKEA!)

Chop firewood (the emphasis is on safety, so you may direct someone else to chop it, or use an authentic saw, if you have access to one).

Start a fire authentically (the two usual methods are borrow a coal and transport it safely or use flint and steel if you’re feeling keen).

Bring water from the water point authentically (ie in a jug, leather bucket or leather water bottle).  It helps if you know where the water point is!

Bring water to the boil (usually over the fire you just lit).

Prepare food.  This sounds demanding, but all that’s required is that you demonstrate safe use of a knife to chop some veg, cleaning it and putting it back safely and explaining the health and safety issues around preparing meat and veg, including how you would sterilise the knife.

Fire safety.  Theoretically this can be simulated, but in a show environment, you will just be asked how you would deal with a fire.  (Remember, the audience will think that an out of control fire in the village is all part of the show!)

Finally, you will be asked some general health and safety questions that will probably overlap heavily with the ones you were asked for your basic villager.

So finally...

You’ve decided to want to take the plunge... what now?  Basic and Practical villager have to be carried out at a major or large medium show, and there have to be two assessors there.  Send a message to Steve Lines (directly or via me) to say where you’d like to do which test, and he will try and organise two RTTVs to be there (or he’ll let you know if that’s not possible).  I can carry out history tests, but I will need advance notice to get a test paper in for you, as Steve doesn’t release them until they’re needed.

Good luck!  Once you have completed these three tests, as well as having three precious Drengr points, you can start on craft tests (worth 1-3 Drengr points each, depending on how much work you want to put in).

Comments on this site should be sent to Roger Barry