Dryad Tea Presents:
Tea Duelling 101
First: Select your favourite tea. Loose leaf tea is encouraged (Especially Dryad Tea) but we will not mock you (too much) for opting for bagged tea.
Gather your supplies. Necessary supplies include: Tea pot, Two Cups, known as Kegs (extra points for saucers, matching or otherwise) and Biscuits (American Tea Duelling Rules strongly suggest use of Pepperidge Farm Chessmen.)
While non-standard Kegs may be allowed under certain "House Rules" the pair of Kegs must maintain similar volume and depth. Even though the depth may seem similar, if a Keg is Bigger on the Inside, it shall be (sadly) disallowed.
Kegs may, however, be made of differing material, provided reasonable consistency in size and volume is maintained.
Approved additions to the tea (hereafter known as the Martial Brew) include: Dairy-like substance of choice, Sweetener (Honey is discouraged) and if agreed to by all parties, a judicious nip of alcohol, which makes the Martial Brew to be considered a Toddy. All aforementioned additions are applied on the basis that they do not overly alter the temperature of the Martial Brew.
The preparation of the Martial Brew is done by the Pot Master. Likewise, the overseeing of the Duel itself is done by the Tiffin Master. For reasons of time and personnel, these duties may reside with the same person.
We now await the readiness of the Martial Brew.
Today we are using the "Rubiee" blend, kindly supplied by our host and sponsor, Dryad Tea.
Removal of the tea dregs, for presentation of the Martial Brew.
Presentation of the Weapons.
Six biscuits on a charger. No more. No less.
The number thou shalt have is six. Eight is WAY out.
Preparation by the Duellists of their Martial Brew.
Tails not required, but encouraged.
Choose your destiny. Each Duellist selects one biscuit. Once you touch a biscuit, you must use it.
No give-backs. That's just icky.
Prepare thine Weapon for the Dunk.
Firmly grasp your biscuit between thumb and forefinger only, with the biscuit pointing downward toward the Keg.
This is a proper duel, and the rules of polite biscuit-handling MUST be observed.
Never point a loaded Weapon at your opponent.
Upon the count of three (No more, no less) as issued by the Tiffin Master, Dunk your weapon into your Martial Brew for the count of five.
On successful completion of the five-count, each Duellist shall remove their Weapon from their Keg and, holding it at an angle of your choosing, the combatants proceed into the battle of wits, will, and nerve.
Note that experienced duellists recommend an upright hold for your weapon, though this is not required.
And now, we wait...
(Read further for acceptable -and not- behaviour during the waiting.)
The waiting is done, and the biscuit is Snarfed. This is known as a Nom.
In order to be declared the victor, you must be the last duellist to CLEANLY Nom your biscuit.
Despite the Clean Nom by our Duellist on the left, the Duellist on the right was the last to cleanly Nom her biscuit, hence she is declared the Victor.
HOWEVER: In a tournament setting, a Clean Nom allows a defeated Duellist to return as a "Wild Card" competitor later in the tournament.
Remember that Manners Always Matter. Accept your defeat with grace and poise - at least you still have tea.
Devilish Duelling Details
The Many Ways the Cookie Crumbles
During a duel, sometimes tough choices need to be made.
To Nom or Wait to Nom. That is the Question.
Weather 'tis nobler in the mind, to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous messiness...
Or by Nomming, end them.
Should you be forced by circumstance into a Dirty Nom, when your biscuit is more on your face and/or person, rather than in your mouth...
Oh the HUMANITY!
BUT! All is not lost.
While you may still be defeated by a Clean Nom, a Dirty Nom is still far superior to the following Biscuit Offences:
The Splash - Whereupon the Biscuit falls into your Keg of Martial Brew.
The Splatter - When the table catches your fallen Biscuit.
Note your opponents look of disdain.
The Splodge - When your Significant Other finds crumbs later because you had a Bodice Biscuit.
The Splash, Splatter or Splodge may be awarded points at the discretion of the Tiffin Master, based on style, reaction, and overall mood of the official. These points may be used later on to determine placement in Wild Card rounds.
Most Tiffin Masters accept bribes.
Should a competitor suffer an attack of nerves, they my surrender by upending their EMPTY teacup onto their saucer or the table.
Note that in the event of a surrender, the duellist may nominate a Second to take their place on the Table of Honour, or, at the discretion of the Tiffin Master, allow their opponent a hollow victory.
Surrendering duellists may offer a donation to dry cleaning the table covering as a show of good form.
When Tea Duelling Goes Bad
The seedy underbelly of the Tea Duelling world
Bagging - When one Duellist clearly and intentionally delays their Dunk.
If you are found to be a Bagger, the round must begin again.
If you are caught being a Recurrent Bagger, you will forfeit your place at the Table of Honour.
And be denied any more biscuits.
There shall be no physical interference or tampering with the weapon of your opponent.
Keep your hands and spoons to yourself.
Don't make me tell your mother.
Utilising ballistic projectiles is a strictly prohibited practise.
Intimidation of your opponent is most assuredly permitted, provided that no projectiles are ACTUALLY utilised.
...And poor behaviours are considered high offences against good manners, and are the final word in Bad Form.
A Note On Coffee and Other Beverages
But Mostly Coffee
Coffee, while a delicious and invigorating beverage similar to tea, is STRICTLY FORBIDDEN from use as the Brew Martial.
Other prohibited beverages include, but are not limited to: Cocoa, Warm Milk, Ovaltine, Iced Tea, or Water lacking the addition of Tea Leaves.
Chai may be permitted with the approval of all parties. But you will be mocked.
The consumption of coffee, while no offence offered to the drinker, does not compliment the flavour of the biscuits, and would be more suited to be paired with pirouettes.
Of note, coffee is not a recommended way to ingratiate oneself with "The Ladies".
With the offending beverage removed, the duelling may now commence...