Newcomers Portal Welcome to the SCA
Barony of Caerthe, Kingdom of Outlands
Welcome to the SCA. We hope you find this an amazing experience. This site is designed to help you get acquainted with our unique experience and get you comfortable with the lingo and customs. If you are just newly seeking out the SCA because you saw some people in costumes in the park or heard about it from a friend or in a newspaper and want to get involved too, this page is for you. We hope you enjoy it and when you are done, contact the Hospitaller or Chatelaine in your area. This is a person who is designated to help you get your bearings and get acquainted. He/she has loaner costumes (garb) if you don't yet have your own and will introduce you to people and groups in your areas of interest and generally get you acquainted. You will find the Hospitaller on the Officers or "Regnum" page of your local branch. The Barony of Caerthe's Hospitaler can be reached at email@example.com.
To get further information on what is happening and who is who, your kingdom and local groups publish a newsletter. For the Kingdom of the Outlands, the newsletter is The Outlandish Herald. This is available by subscription through SCA.org or you get a copy with your Membership. The Barony of Caerthe's newsletter is The Fortress which is available for $12.50 a year. It is a monthly publication that is available through the office of the Chronicler.
Some Generalities: The SCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization
incorporated in California devoted to researching
and keeping alive the customs, traditions, and arts
and sciences of the Medieval and Renaissance Eras, from roughly
the time of the Fall of Rome to about 1600 CE. We do this recreation
in the context of the "current middle ages", as imaginary
setting in which members can participate in various aspects
of the culture and technology of the period, as well as do more
traditional historical research. The SCA has grown since its inception
at a backyard party in Berkley, Caifornia, in 1966 to include
over 30,000 paying members, internationally.
Entering the Current Middle Ages Local branch members of the SCA sponsor events, such as
tournaments and feasts, where members dress in clothing styles
worn in the period, and participate in activities based on the
civil and martial skills of the time and place. These activities
recreate aspects of the life and culture of the landed nobility in
Europe pre-1600 CE. The dress, pastimes, and above all the chivalric
ideals of the period serve to unify our events and activities.
To facilitate this "persona" environment, members adopt a
period name for these activities, earn/win noble titles of the
period and exercise many customs and courtesies accordingly.
While we enjoy the period, our current middle ages expresses
it in an idealized form lacking plague and other aspects
of a less technological life that made it miserable for some. This
is a celebration of what was good about the past.
Re-creating Vs. Reenacting
The difference between re-creation and reenactment that
re-creators actually recreate all the aspects of a time. Reenactors
go a step further and stay completely in the time period,
their battles are carefully choreographed and their campsite
perfectly planned out. In re-creation, members do their own
research and try to recreate those parts that interest them. In
combat, our members focus on actual fighting, not trying to remember
at what point they are supposed to “die”.
What Do I Need To Do
To Attend An Event?
First, find an event! Your local Kingdom website or newsletter
contains information regarding what events are happening.
If you are not certain what to expect at any event, contact
your local Hospitaler who is there to help you get acclimated. If
the event has a feast (dinner) then you will want to bring feast
gear (plate, cup and utensils). A good wooden bowl or plate is
great first choice and can usually be found at most thrift shops.
For other activities, learn what the environment is (camping, a
park, recreation center, hotel) and plan for your comfort accordingly.
Second, participants need to wear an attempt at pre-17th
century clothing. It need not be perfect and if you don't have
any made yet, your local Hospitaler has loaner clothing for you.
For more in depth information: see the section titled "Good
How The SCA Is Structured:
Board of Directors - Since the SCA is a nonprofit corporation; there
is a Board of Directors which runs the corporation. The officers of the
Board are called “Society Officers” and consist of a Seneschal, Laurel
Sovereign of Arms, Marshal, Arts and Sciences Minister, Chronicler, Exchequer, and Chirurgeon General. All of these offices have equivalents
at each of the various levels of organization.
Kingdoms - The next level down from the Directors is the Kingdom
level. To be a Kingdom, a group must have a minimum of 400 members.
A Kingdom is ruled by a King and Queen, known collectively as “The
Crown,”. Each Kingdom holds a tournament of armored combat called
“Crown List” at least twice per year to determine who will be the next
Principality - The next level from a Kingdom is the Principality.
Not all Kingdoms have Principalities. A Principality must have at least
100 members. It is ruled by a Prince and Princess, known collectively as “The Coronet.” Each Principality holds a tournament at least twice per
year to determine who will be the next Coronet.
Barony - The next level down is called a Barony. A Barony must
have at least 25 members, and is ruled by a Baron and Baroness. The
Barons/ess are selected from among the members of the Barony by a concensus
of all the area members and approved or disappoved by the Crown. Across the many
kingdoms, Barons can rule for a period of two to five years.
Other Branches - Within a Kingdom/Principality there are smaller
branches called Shires. They can also be called a March, Riding, Freehold,
or by other names. A sub-group which forms as a subset of a Barony
is called a Canton, and branches which form on a school or university
campuses are called Colleges. There are also smaller groups for special circumstances groups such as military bases. These smaller groups must have at
least five members, 3 of whom are officers.
This is a brief list of certain people you may see at work at an event.
Please contact them for more in-depth information or you will find
extensive information in The Known World Handbook and other publications
available at: https://secure.sca.org/cgi-bin/stockclerk/other.html.
Seneschal - The legal representative of the group and
chief administrative officer. They oversee the running
of those offices, and report up the chain to their
corresponding officer at higher levels. They are in
charge of everything that goes on in their local group.
Herald - The Heralds are responsible for organizing and holding
courts for the Royalty in their areas, and for making
announcements, serve as a “town crier”. The Herald
is responsible for helping members research and register
with the Society their names and heraldic devices.
Hospitaler - Person responsible for meeting and greeting Newcomers
to the SCA, and helping them to get started. They will
have information about local meetings, events, membership
forms, loaner costumes, and other things for
newcomers as well as hold classes on how to get acclimated.
Constable - Person responsible for security at events. Also the
collector of Lost and Found items. If you lost something
look for the Constable.
Knight Marshal - The Marshal is responsible for the
training and inspection of all the fighters in the
group, for any of our martial arts. They must authorize
each fighter, determine that they are safe to be
on the field, and see that they are properly trained in
their chosen skill. A Marshal must be present for any combat
activity to be conducted.
Minister of Children - Person who organizes activities
and educational opportunities at events for children
and young people to help them understand history.
Chirurgeon (pronounced “Kye-urr-jun) - The Chirurgeon
(Old French word for “surgeon”) is responsible
for safety concerns and the application of first aid. If
you are injured or become ill at a Society event, the
Chirurgeon will assist you. If you have a medical
emergency, shout “Kye-urr-jun” as loud as possible until help
Minister of the Lists - This minister is responsible for
running all the tournaments held in their group. They
organize and record all the participants, and determine
who fights who.
There are additional Officers who perform other functions less visible
at events. To see what all goes into making this work, please peruse our Officer List. If you would like to know who is in charge of what,
ask any officer and they will point you in the right direction.
Developing your Identity: SCA is considered to be at least of the Gentry
class, which means that at least your father had land, money, or a title
of some sort. Most people do not choose to be beggars, serfs, or peasants,
but some do. Religious personas are found occasionally, but are
somewhat frowned upon, because we don’t want people to think we are
making fun of or disrespecting their religion in any way. Everyone develops
a “Persona” in the SCA. Your Persona is who you are in this game,
what culture you came from. You can choose to be from any time period, and any culture, as long as it was known about by Western Europeans before 1600CE.
To select a persona for yourself, choose a country and a time period.
Research what life would have been like for a person living in that
place and time. What things were going on there that this person might
have been a part of? Decide if you are a warrior, or a craftsman, a
member of a nobleman’s house, or any other character who “could have
lived” in that time and place. You may not claim to be anyone who
really lived, and you may not claim any rank or titles which you did not
earn in the SCA.
Your persona story can be as short as “I’m an 8th century Norseman
from Birka,” all the way up to very complicated stories about where you
are from, where you have lived, what you have done, etc. Do the research,
so if someone asks you, you can discuss your Persona a little in depth. It will help you find a name and design costumes and armor to fit your character.
Some people can’t decide, and “time travel”, wearing the costumes
of all the different places and periods, so one day they may be a 12th
century Venetian, the next day they may be a 5th century Roman, or a
16th century Frenchman. That is OK too. Have fun with it; that’s why we are here!
Still, you will wish to select a name to represent who you are in the
Current Middle Ages context. Once you select one, you may register it
with the College of Heralds, and it will become uniquely yours, and no
one else can use that name. Your honors and device (also uniquely yours)
will be registered under this identity.
Picking and Registering: SCA Names
Once you have an idea when and where you are from, you can start
looking for an SCA Name. Some countries are harder to find names from
than others. Talk to your local Heralds to get started, they can provide
you with basic resources to start looking for documentation which must
be submitted showing that it is historically possible. You want to find a
name and a date within the Society’s time frame. The Heralds can tell
you what sources are “reliable.”
If you are choosing a language other than one you speak well, be
careful of translations. Literal translations out of a dictionary may not
mean in colloquialisms or idiomatic expressions what you think they
Names must match the country you are from, and they must match
in period spellings. You must also have a given name, and a by-name. A
by-name can be a clan name, a surname, an occupation, the place you
are from, or a nickname of some sort. Your local Herald can help you
out more with this. You can also use parts of your own real name that
correspond to the same parts of your SCA name, if they are compatible
with period practices.
Picking and Registering: Heraldry Heraldry is the art and study of Coats of Arms and related armorial devices. A piece of heraldry is called a “device” if the bearer of that
heraldry is not an “Armiger.” To become an “Armiger” you must receive
a Patent, Grant, or Award of Arms from the Crown of your Kingdom.
Then, you may call your device “Arms.” A device must be unique to
each individual, and only your champion, your consort, or your herald
should ever wear your Coat of Arms. There is another type of device
called a “badge” which is usually a simpler version of your Arms or another
different device which is used to denote ownership or belonging. You may put your Arms on many of your personal items, but your badge is usually used to show that you own it, especially on children or pets.A coat of Arms says, “I am…(your name here),” a badge says, “I belong
to…(your name here)”.
Most people start with a color and a symbol or animal they like,
maybe you have something like this you have associated yourself with in
the past. For the most part, just about anything that was known about
in period can be used as a “charge” on a device. There are complicated
rules governing heraldry, so talk to your local Heralds to find out what is
and is not possible. You cannot have something that is too close to
someone else’s, so be open minded and willing to change something if
you run into conflict with another device or name.
There are populace badges for many SCA geographical groups that
you can wear or display on flags to show people which groups you belong
to. There is a lot of heraldic information available on the SCA.org web
site at http://www.sca.org/heraldry/laurel/education.html.
Heraldic display is a colorful and exciting thing you can do in the
SCA to show your espirit de corps. Get your heraldry registered and then
put it on everything! Fly banners, make heraldic clothing, dress your
whole group, get a tent in your colors, it all adds to the pageantry
and atmosphere of the Current Middle Ages!
Heraldic Device or "Arms" off Caerthe
Badge worn by the populace of Caerthe
Memberships are very handy and provide you with some great
benefits, but you are not required to have one to attend events
or practices. You will need one if you wish to hold office, partipate
in combat activities at events or receive any awards. Having
a membership will get you reduced price for events (avoid
the non-member surcharge!). There are several different levels of membership/ For more information about membership visit our web site at: http://sca.org/members/welcome.html.
The 10 Commandments
Of The SCA
- as published in the Known World Handbook
Treat your inferiors in rank, knowledge or experience in the
society as if they were your equals; treat your equals as if
they were your superiors; treat officers as representatives of
the King, and treat the King & Queen with the reverence due your Sovereigns.
Use medieval forms of address
Be faithful to your lord and your word.
Gentlemen, honour all ladies.
Ladies, be worthy of that honor.
Touch no man’s goods unasked; give and receive with grace.
Be gentle to the stranger.
Raise your sword, not your voice.
Let the slain man tell if he be slain.
Reverence the King & Queen
There are several things you will want to take with you to every event
and some things for more demanding events, like one’s where we camp
overnight (such as wars).
A costume! Often called “garb” in the SCA. A basic tunic or peasant
style shirt with a baggy pair of pants or sweats is OK for men to
start with, a basic tunic or peasant style shirt with a long skirt is
good for women to start with. Belts are great for hanging a pouch
and a tankard so you can keep yourself watered during your wandering at events. Sandals, simple pull-on slippers or plain boots will do for footwear. A wide-brimmed straw or floppy felt hat will do for
head covering for anyone. If you cannot sew or don’t know anyone
who does, ask at your local group. Often there will be costumes
which can be loaned out for events so you can come and play and
see if you like us before you shell out any money for garb. There
will usually be people who will help you learn to sew your own costumes,
or you can buy or barter costumes from them. Try your
local thrift stores. It is amazing what you can find there.
A chair. Many people just use your average camping chairs to sit
in. Get a large piece of cloth to drape it with to cover its mundanity.
As you progress in the SCA you may eventually want to get a
real, period-style chair.
Feast gear: A big cup/goblet, mug, or tankard, preferably with an
attached lid to keep out bugs, a plate, a bowl, a spoon and sharp
knife. Forks were not common until very late period, but many of
us use them anyway. These should be made of metal, wood, glass,
or ceramics and be of a period-looking style.
More Good Gear! Garb, a chair and feast gear are the three most important things you will
need to attend any event. Here are other things you may want to take that
are for fun, comfort and to help make a more period environment.
A little table. Sometimes it is nice to set your goblet on something
other than the ground.
Food! An ice chest with snacks, drinks, or lunch if you plan to be
there all day and there is no feast or a late feast. Always take
drinking water along with you. Crackers, bread, cheese, fruit, nuts,
sliced meats and sausages make for convenient, unobtrusive period
type eating. Try offering a passersby water or some of your snacks
- it’s a good way to meet people!
A rug or blanket to spread on the ground if you are outdoors or to
cover up if you get cold or sleepy.
Shade tent of some sort in case there are no trees or ramadas.
Sometimes other people will invite you to use their shade, or you
may ask if you can sit with them. Explain that you are new.
Cloths to cover up your table, chairs, and other modern items to
help keep the medieval atmosphere.
A large, sturdy basket with a handle makes an excellent storage
for any games, books, or arts projects you are working on, as well
as a handy place to keep your feast gear.
Games you can take along include dominoes, dice, chess, mancala,
and backgammon. Ask passersby if they would like to play; it’s
another good way to meet people.
For camping you will want any of the comforts you would take with you
on a camping trip.
Rank & Titles in the SCA
ROYALTY King/Queen - Rulers of a Kingdom. Position is won by combat.
Sometimes called the Sovereign and Consort if the winner of the Crown
List is the female fighter of the pair. In these cases, she is called
“Queen in Her Own Right.” In most Kingdoms the reign is six months.
They are addressed as “Your Majesty,” and wear big, fancy Crowns.
Crown Heirs - If Crown List has been held, there is usually about a
couple of months before these Heirs become the new King and Queen.
They are the Crown Prince and Crown Princess during this time. They are
addressed “Your Highness,” and wear big, fancy crowns too.
Prince/ Princess - Some Kingdoms have sub-divisions called Principalities,
their rulers win this position by combat. In most Principalities,
They rule for six months and are addressed “Your Highness,” or referred
to as His/Her Highness. They may also be referred to by an adjective
related to the name of the Principality (as in the former Principality of
the Sun, the Prince was called “His Solar Highness”). They wear Coronets,
usually with the symbol of the Principality on them.
NOBILITY Landed Baron/Baroness - Are rulers of a Barony. This position is
attained by vote of the populace and approval by the Crown. They rule
for 2-5 years at a time. They are called “Your Excellency,” and wear
Coronet pointed front and back with symbols of the Barony on them. Court
Barons/esses (former holders of lands) wear coronets topped with
ROYAL PEERS Duke/Duchess - Given to people who have ruled as Crown two or
more times. They are called “Your Grace” and wear Coronets with clusters of strawberry leaves on the front, back, and each side.
Count/Countess - Given to people who have ruled as Crown once. They are called “Your Excellency,” and wear Coronets with embattled
Viscount/Viscountess - Given to people who have ruled as Prince
and Princess of a Principality one or more times. They are called “Your
Excellency,” and wear pointed coronets.
PEERS OF THE REALM The Order of the Chivalry: Knights and Masters of Arms -
Given for high achievement in the Arts of armored combat. Knights are
in fealty to the Crown, Masters of Arms usually do not swear fealty. Most
Knights are called “Sir” whether male or female, and wear a chain of
fealty (unadorned gold chain), white belt, and spurs. Masters of Arms
are called “Master” or “Mistress” and wear a white baldric.
The Order of the Laurel: Given for high achievement in one or more of
the Arts and Sciences. Laurels are called “Master” or “Mistress” and
wear a medallion with a Laurel wreath on it.
The Order of the Pelican: Given for high achievement in the area of
Service. Pelicans are called “Master” or “Mistress” and wear a medallion
with a Pelican on it. In period, the Pelican was thought to nourish its
young with blood from its own breast if necessary, and thus became a
symbol of the ultimate civil servant.
As a recognition of one's efforts, the Crown may bestow an Award of Arms. Some awards carry an AOA with them. Those who have been awarded arms by the Crown are called "Lady" or "Lord" . At the next highest level of armigerous award is the "Grant of Arms" which is also part of several other awards. Those with a grant carry the title "The Honorable Lord/Lady" which is only used in formal/ceremonial occasions and are referred to as "His Lordship" and "Her Ladyship". It is however considered gauche for one who carries a grant to refer to themselves as a THL. Most when officially documenting their name for formal use will include THL before their name, but will refer to themselves as Lord or Lady.
OTHER FORMS OF ADDRESS If you do not have at least an Award of Arms or any other title you can refer to yourself or someone of unknown rank as “M’lord” or “M’lady”. It is acceptable to use for everyone,
even Royalty, if you don’t know the person’s rank.
More! I Want More!
You can find more information on how to join the us in the Current Middle
Ages at www.SCA.org. There you can connect with your local group and find publications to help you get started, such as:
The Known World Handbook A compendium of information, traditions and crafts practiced in these Current Middle Ages in the SCA. Perfect Bound edition.(1992)
A New Members' Guide A "how-to" pamphlet book on the who, what and where of getting involved
in the SCA, especially for new members.
Costuming to a T - Basic SCA Sewing Introduction to sewing, Frankish, Anglo-Saxon, Norman, Greek and Byzantine costume, pouches, pants and a Renaissance shirt.
Don’t overlook the many subjects explored by the SCA's monograph series, The Compleat Anachronist. Each issue focuses on a topic relating to pre-17th century culture, society, or other items of interest to SCA members. Most issues not only discuss period examples, but how you can
try it too! You may also request the Marketplace Order
Forms from the SCA Stock Clerk by writing to:
Stock Clerk - Society for Creative Anachronism
P.O. Box 360789
Milpitas, CA 95036-0789
(800) 789-7486 or (408) 263-9305.