This FAQ is currently being updated and is a work in progress. When something seems unclear, please ask me directly at email@example.com. Yours in Service, Mór Albion
Basic information and terminology for understanding what this FAQ concerns.
What’s in a name?
To enhance the medieval ambiance of SCA events, participants typically adopt pseudonyms (personal names, society names), which they use on a long-term basis. Non-personal names include branch (local group) names, award and order names, household and association names (including guilds), and heraldic titles.
- More on personal names
Armory, devices, badges, oh my?
The SCA uses the word armory to refer to heraldic insignia in general. An armorial is a reference book containing coats of arms, arranged alphabetically by their bearer’s names.
An SCA device is a heraldic insignia generally considered to signify the individual or branch it belongs to; only one device can be registered by a person or a branch. All other armory are considered badges, which can either be insignias for “alternate names”, households, orders, awards, etc. or like period badges often used to identify one’s physical and spiritual possessions.
What are heraldic submissions?
A submission to have an item (name, armory) registered in the SCA is made by a submitter (on behalf of an individual, two individuals, or a branch) using the appropriate submission form. It is processed first by the kingdom College of Heralds and then by SCA College of Arms. The outcome of the submission process is either acceptance (registration) by Laurel Sovereign of Arms or a return by either kingdom or Laurel Sovereign of Arms.
What does registering names or armory mean?
Let’s begin with this thought from Karl Faustus von Aachen, Kingdom of Lochac:
“Registering a device is a worthwhile effort. It involves communication, historical research and creativity, meaning you touch on all three aspects of the Society for Creative Anachronism. It allows you to make something and call it your own. It exposes you to a complicated process with a thousand years of history behind it. These are all Good Things.”
The College of Arms will only register items it believes are compatible with period names and armory, are not offensive or presumptuous (claiming more importance for oneself than one is due), and do not conflict with items already protected. This includes armory that has been registered in the Society, as well as armory from outside the Society which is deemed important enough to protect. When a name or piece of armory (device, badge) is registered, it is accepted for future protection within the entirety of the Society. This means that no item known to conflict with it under the Standards for Evaluation of Names and Armory in effect at the time the new item is submitted will be registered.
What is the SCA Armorial?
Everything registered by SCA College of Arms is listed in the SCA Armorial (sometimes called Ordinary & Armorial, O&A) that can be searched in various ways. The heraldic insignia are not listed as images; they are listed as textual armorial descriptions (blazon).
Regarding SCA Armorial, it’s important to know that all items registered to an individual or a branch are listed under their primary name or branch name. Thus it is not possible to submit armory or secondary names without a registered or submitted primary/branch name.
What is the College of Arms and who is this Laurel person?
The Laurel Sovereign of Arms (Laurel, Laurel King of Arms or Laurel Queen of Arms) is the principal heraldic officer of the Society and the head of the College of Arms. The College of Arms of the Society consists of the Principal Heralds of the kingdoms and such other persons as Laurel may deem to be of assistance. It aids Laurel in studying historical heraldic usage, developing heraldic rules for the Society’s use, and reviewing individual items prior to their registration for use in the Society.
What is the Drachenwald College of Heralds and what’s with the heraldic titles??
Each SCA kingdom has their own College of Heralds that consists of the Principal Herald of the kingdom, the warranted heralds and pursuivants of the kingdom, and such other persons as the Principal Herald may deem to be of assistance.
During most of our period, and in large parts of Europe, heralds as a rule had titles of office. This tradition is well loved in the SCA as well. Many SCA heralds with titles may sign heraldic correspondence using their title as their surname, or refer to colleagues this way.
In Drachenwald the heraldic title of the Principal Herald is Schwarzdrachen Principal Herald (or [first name] Schwarzdrachen). The staff heralds responsible for submissions process are called submissions heralds. In Drachenwald the internal submissions herald is Edelweiss Herald and the external submissions herald is Albion Herald.
How do I get names or armory registered?
It all starts with an idea, and continues with a bit of research, to come up with the item you wish to submit for registration. For that purpose a submission form is filled, and the fruits of the research, in other words any documentation needed for supporting your item as compatible with period equivalents, is attached. The outcome of the submission process is either acceptance (registration) or a return for further work.
All residents of Drachenwald send their submissions and pay the submission fees to Drachenwald College of Heralds.
The completed paperwork must contain (if applicable):
- Submission Forms (always)
- Documentation (names always, armory possibly)
- (if needed) Permission to Conflict, signed by the owner of the registered conflicting item with both Society Name and name used outside the Society
- (if needed) Proof of Entitlement (for elements or types of submissions which Society convention reserves to those with certain rank or bestowed privilege)
- (if branch name or arms) Evidence of Support, signed
- (if transfer) Support for Transfer, signed
How do I research names and armory?
What forms do I need?
All forms used in the Drachenwald submission process are available on the page Submitting names and heraldry in Drachenwald.
Name submission by a branch
For primary (branch) names, order/award names, guild/household (of a branch) names, heraldic titles and all other names registered by a branch. Registration fee applies.
- One copy of the name form for branches.
- One copy of documentation.
Name submission by an individual
For primary, alternate, household and all other names registered by an individual or (in the case of households) several individuals. Registration fee applies.
- One copy of the name form for individuals.
- One copy of documentation.
For all device submissions by branches or individuals. Registration fee applies.
- Two copies of the device form: one with a color picture and one with line drawing (no colours, only outlines)
- One copy of documentation.
For all badge submissions by branches or individuals. Registration fee applies.
- Two copies of the badge form: one with a color picture and one with line drawing (no colours, only outlines).
- One copy of documentation.
What is a (blanket) letter of permission to conflict?
A permission to conflict reduces (but does not altogether remove) the protection of a registered item to allow registration of submission(s) that would otherwise conflict with it. The SCA conflict rules are quite complex, and may at times interpret as conflicting items that might very well be considered “different enough” by the submitters.
A permission to conflict may be written to a particular person regarding a specific submission, or it can be written as a blanket letter of permission to conflict, which directs Laurel to permanently reduce the level of protection of that item. The owner may specify either that permission to conflict would be automatically granted to any non-identical submission (for name or armory) or that permission to conflict would be automatically granted to any armory submission that is at least one countable step (CD) away from the registered armory or to any name submission that has the addition or removal of a syllable or a spelling change that changes the pronunciation. In no case will permission to conflict be granted to identical submissions.
The suggested form letters for permission to conflict and blanket permission to conflict can be found in Appendix D of the Administrative Handbook. A specific permission to conflict is delivered to the person responsible for the submission that would otherwise conflict. A blanket permission to conflict is sent to the Edelweiss Herald. Please note that an actual signature is required!
There is no fee for filing a (blanket) permission to conflict.
What is a heraldic will?
A heraldic will transfers registered items to another at the owner’s death. The details are covered in section IV. G. of the Administrative Handbook.
The suggested form letter for heraldic will can be found in Appendix D of the Administrative Handbook. A printed copy of the form must be signed by hand, but it’s sufficient to deliver a scan of the document to the Edelweiss Herald.
There is no fee for filing a heraldic will.
How do I fill out the submission forms?
The Drachenwald submission forms are PDF files that can be filled digitally and/or printed on paper and filled by hand. Submissions can then be delivered either on paper via mail or as digital files via e-mail.
Paper submissions: what should I know?
Print out the (fully or partially filled) PDF file; in your printer’s Page Scaling options, choose None (vs. Fit to Paper, a common default for A4 paper). Make sure you print a 100% scale version of the PDF, to produce a form of the correct size.
When colouring printed armory submission forms, use felt-tipped non-washable colour markers. Watercolors, wax-based media such as crayons, and colored pencils are not acceptable. Color printing and photocopying should be used with care.
Digital submissions: what should I know?
The current PDF forms for armory submissions have a shortcoming; it is not possible to directly add a picture of the device/badge. The filled out and saved PDF file can be converted to JPG for example via an online converter such as pdf2jpg.net and a graphics program, such as GIMP, can be used to add the picture on the form. Another option is to print out the filled PDF form and draw the picture on it, then scan the form (300 dpi). Don’t forget that both line drawing and color versions of the armory forms are needed!
All files, both submission forms and any documentation, must be 300 dpi (including any pictures used; please make sure that they are of equal quality!) and printable size, JPG or PDF. If you need to digitalize from paper, quality scans are required (e.g. photos are not acceptable).
2.3.3 What do the fields on the form mean? How do I fill out the form for my name or household? How do I fill out the form for a branch name, order name, or guild name? How do I fill out the form for a device/arms or a badge? 2.3.4 Who is my consulting herald? Drachenwald does not require a submission to have or be submitted by a warranted consulting herald (some kingdoms do). If a particular herald has helped you with your submission, it is a good idea to mention them on the form - particularly if they have copies of your submission, armory pictures and/or the documentation. If there are problems with your submission, the consulting herald may be able to help in resolving them.
2.4 Documentation While the kingdom College of Heralds and College of Arms may assist with research and documentation, it is ultimately the submitter’s responsibility to demonstrate that a submission meets the standards set forth in The Rules for Submissions; a complete lack of documentation can be cause for return.
2.4.1 Do I need documentation for armory? Often no documentation is needed when submitting a device or a badge. However, there are cases when it is required. For example:
If you’re using a charge that has never been registered before. If you’re using an individually attested pattern. Any armorial design that does not fit within our core style rules may still be registered if it can be documented as following a pattern of period practice within the armorial style of a single time and place within the temporal scope of the Society. (See SENA A.4..) If you’re using a reserved charge (generally a reference to the kingdom order of precedence is sufficient). See Glossary of Terms Table 2 for a list. 2.4.2 How do I include name documentation? All documentation must be summarized in the appropriate part of the form. Please remember that all name elements need to be documented to be plausible to have existed during our period, with photocopies from reliable books, or printouts from reliable web pages. However, if you use for documentation any of the books or websites listed in Sources That Do Not Require Photocopies to Laurel, you do not have to include photocopies, though you still need to summarize what the sources say. Please also note that if your documentation is in a language other than English, you must include a summary or translation in English.
2.4.3. I need help documenting my name, where do I go? There are a number of places where you can find help, including:
heraldic consultation tables at events the SCA Heraldry Chat FB group (almost an online consultation table) your local herald one of the principality heralds (Silversparre, Rockall) one of the kingdom heralds (Schwarzdrachen, Edelweiss, Albion) the Drachenwald Heraldry FB group
- Paying for and sending the submission The official part of the submission process starts once your submission and a verification of submission fee(s) having been paid are received by Edelweiss Herald.
3.1 My submissions paperwork is complete, where do I send it? Please e-mail Edelweiss Herald at firstname.lastname@example.org to send your digital files or for requesting the postal address.
3.2 How much are the submission fees and how do I pay? Residents of Nordmark pay their fees via Nordmark accounts; rest of Drachenwald pays directly to Drachenwald College of Heralds.
Nordmark If you live in Nordmark, contact the Nordmark Exchequer at email@example.com for bank account details. The fee is 50 SEK for each submission item (for example, 50 SEK for a name + 50 SEK for a device = 100 SEK total).
Drachenwald other than Nordmark If you live anywhere in Drachenwald other than in Nordmark, submission fees are paid to the College of Heralds account, cared for by the Drachenwald Exchequer. The fee is is £4 or 5€ for each submission item (for example, for a name and device the total charge is £8 or 10€).
After paying, please send an e-mail to Edelweiss Herald and Kingdom Exchequer (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) briefly stating what you paid for. For example: “I just paid for name and device submissions for [SCA name], the payer should show as [payer’s legal name].” This will help us very much in connecting payments with received submissions!
Details for UK payments
Kingdom of Drachenwald HSBC Account Number: 91484060 Sort Code: 40-47-34 Details for paying outside UK
IBAN: GB49MIDL40473491484060 BIC / SWIFT Code: MIDLGB2165G Account Name: SCA - Kingdom of Drachenwald Bank’s Address: 2 North Walk, Yate, Bristol BS37 4AR Bank: HSBC
- What happens next? Edelweiss assembles your submission into a letter to a group of volunteer heralds who check it over at a local level (mostly within Drachenwald). This letter allows us to do any necessary extra research, pick up problems quickly and also to educate local heralds to help each other prior to submissions. The local heralds send their comments to Albion herald. (If you would like to become involved in this process please get in touch with Edelweiss.)
One month later Albion assembles these responses and decides which submissions are complete, and which ones need further work. The successful submissions proceed to the next stage of review by the Society College of Arms (outside the kingdom). Albion writes back to those needing further work, to explain how the submitter can improve their submission and its chance of registration.
Resubmissions (to fix a previous problem in a submission) are free in Drachenwald, send them to Edelweiss.
Albion sends the complete submissions to the Society College of Arms commenting heralds. Commenters are a collective of about 50 individuals and groups who look at all the submissions from all over the Known World to check that they meet the requirements for registration. e.g. new submissions are not too close to something someone else has already registered, they are at a minimum level of authenticity and are not offensive etc. This process takes about four months, which allows for the vagaries of world postage and gives commenters time to write letters, and to respond to other commenters’ opinions etc.
After collecting together all this good advice, Laurel Sovereign at Arms, the final arbiter in all matter heraldic, makes a decision to register items or not. Laurel’s decisions are published in a Letter of Acceptances and Returns (LoAR), sent to all the Kingdom level heralds, and published on the Laurel Herald’s website.
Back in Drachenwald, Albion receives the LoAR, then writes to the submitters, to tell you the good news or the bad news. Resubmissions (to fix a previous problem in a submission) are free in Drachenwald - send them to Edelweiss.