Monday, December 31, 2012

Awards in the SCA

Crowns and Glory

Symbolic Awards and Intangible Rewards in the Atenveldt and the SCA

The values of the Society for Creative Anachronism include courtesy and service - two important areas of life often overlooked in modern society.  Those who play for the purpose of receiving awards often end up bitter and disappointed, but those who "live the dream" for the joy of it find their lives immeasurably enriched as creative endeavor, courtesy and service become part of their daily lives.  Simply put, the SCA is a way of life, and it's a great way to live.

So, with that said, we are a group of people who earn and give rewards.  Sometimes, the recognition is informal - a token given from an individual with a word of encouragement for helping out.  My lord and I have many little thank-you gifts from friends, event stewards, barons and baronesses, or Bards of the Sun for service ranging from site set-up and clean-up to serving as a lady in waiting or performing music at an SCA event.  We've received hand-made soaps, food, jewelry - lots of cool stuff.  However, the real value is that our contributions have been noticed and appreciated, and that encouragement goes a long way toward keeping us involved.

Other awards or recognitions are more formal, and include titles and certificates known as scrolls.  There may be a medallion, award cord or other token associated with the award which you are now entitled to wear to events.

Why are these formal awards given?  For consistent and excellent "participation, marshal endeavor ([such as] fighting or archery, arts and sciences endeavor, and service" as a means of "showing respect for the hard work and efforts of individuals" (Baron Modar Neznanich, "Awards of Calontir").  Such awards may be "local" awards from your own barony or shire, and others may be "kingdom-level awards" from your king and/or queen.

For a list of awards in the SCA by kingdom, visit

Recommending Hard-Working, Courteous People for Awards - Just Do It!

If you think someone is worthy of an award, here's how you can help them be recognized.

Look at the list of local and kingdom awards; make a note of which award(s) which might be suitable for this person.

Go to the OP (the Order of Precedence) and see what awards this person has already received, along with the date the award was given.
  • Atenveldt OP
  • (For the OP of another kingdom, visit that kingdom's website and find the appropriate link.)

Write an award recommendation.

Follow through and send the award recommendation. 
  • If you are recommending someone for a local award, and there is no specific form on the group's website, address the letter of recommendation to your local Baron and Baroness; cc yourself the Seneschal as well.  
  • For a kingdom award, use the kingdom form and cc your local Baron and Baroness so that they can respond knowledgeably if contacted by the crown.
  • Atenveldt Award Recommendation Form 

And don't forget, whatever awards you or your friends do (or do not) receive, there's more to the SCA than awards.  To quote Tom Cruise:

Awards are wonderful. I've been nominated many times 
and I've won many awards. 
But my journey is not towards that. 
If it happens it will be a blast. If it doesn't, it's still been a blast.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Kingdom Spotlight: Atenveldt #2

New to the Kingdom of Atenveldt?  

Here are some links you will definitely want to visit on the Kingdom's official website -
New to the SCA and playing in the Kingdom of Atenveldt?
There are, of course, many more useful links on the kingdom website, and I encourage you to read and explore.

If you want to visit another kingdom's website, click here:

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Kingdom Spotlight: Atenveldt #1


What is the Kingdom of Atenveldt?

The Society of Creative Anachronism is loosely modeled after medieval society, with the Society itself being roughly equivalent to the Holy Roman Empire, which was divided into kingdoms ruled, naturally, by kings.  In the Current Middle Ages, kingdoms are geographic regions that may or may not correspond to modern countries, provinces, or states.

There are 19 kingdoms to date in the SCA.  Atenveldt is the fourth kingdom, founded in January of 1971.  It is often known as the Kingdom of the Sun, and is named after the Egyptian god of the Sun, Aten.  Veldt is the German word for land - hence, the name, Atenveldt.  Appropriately, the Kingdom of Atenveldt corresponds to the mundane state of Arizona, U.S.A.

In 2012, there were approximately 1400 SCA members in Atenveldt.

Atenveldt Links Part 1

The official Kingdom of Atenveldt webpage

Atenveldt General Kingdom FAQ

A Personal History of Atenveldt:  "Atenveldt as I Remember It" by Duke Arthur of Lockehaven
  • Scroll down & click on "Atenveldt as I Remember It"

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Newcomer's Online Reading List #4: Forward Into the Past

@2012 The Society for Creative Anachronism

"Forward Into the Past" is a 15-page, downloadable PDF document with a lot of useful information, including:
  • a detailed T-tunic pattern
  • a list of kingdom and local officers & their duties
  • Who is Who? - SCA ranks & titles
  • an introduction to heraldry
  • information on the arts and sciences in the SCA
  • information on combat

Because there is so much information, "Forward Into the Past" is great reading AFTER you've been to a few meetings, fighter practices or even your first event.  It will answer many of the questions you are beginning to ask, and give you ideas for further reading and research. It's also still short enough to print out and take with you to an event.

This is also an excellent resource for local groups to link to, because it is an informative, comprehensive resource.  If you are ever asked to teach a newcomers' welcome class, you could use "Forward Into the Past" as the outline or basis for your class.  If you don't know what to say to people at demos, familiarize yourself with the information in this pamphlet so that you can answer questions knowledgeably, accurately, and succinctly!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Newcomer's Online Reading List #3:

 The SCAtoday is an online publication with news about relevant archeological finds, upcoming events, merchants, and more.  The "weblinks" section for newcomers will be helpful to folks just getting started in the SCA; for those of us who have been playing for a while, "Today in the Middle Ages" is always fun to read.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Newcomer's Online Reading List #2

A Succinct and Helpful Introduction to the SCA:  "Advice to Newcomers

from the SCA Chateleine

This short introduction from Alys Katharine (Elise Fleming) contains excellent advice on how to become successfully involved in the SCA, a re-enactment group, or LARP group.  Instead of dealing with issues like clothing and titles, it will tell you how to successfully meet people, feel at home, and stay involved.

You can find the link again by going to the "Resources" tab on the page, and selecting "Newcomers Resources."  Scroll down to advice and click on "Advice to Newcomers."

 If you are already involved in the SCA, this is an excellent low-cost resource to print and give to prospective members, because you can print it on a single, double-sided sheet, with black (not colored) ink.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Newcomer's Online Reading List #1

Before You Begin Reading:  A Word of Advice - DON'T PANIC

The SCA may seem confusing at first, when you discover there are certain forms of address for certain people, rules about what to wear and what not to wear, and even customs about what to say and do in court.  That can be scary!  However, nobody expects you to know everything before you begin.  Everybody learns as they go, and everybody makes mistakes.  It's okay.  Just be pleasant, be courteous, and be yourself.  You will make friends, learn how to fit in, and have a great time!

Newcomer's Resources at

Under Resources on the website, there is a link entitled "Newcomers Resources."  This is an awesome link, but it provides you with an overwhelming amount of information.  With dozens of links and downloadable pdfs, where do you begin?

If you're planning on attending an event in the near future, sewing is a high priority.  I suggest you begin by looking at some photos.  The "Society Chateleine's - Photos" Page is a great place to start.  This will give you an idea of what garb (medieval and Renaissance clothing) looks like.

After you have an idea of what you want to sew, visit "Introduction to Garb" on the Newcomers' Resources page, heading "What to Wear."  This will take you to Mistress Cynthia de Pre's Argent's excellent site, complete with patterns and advice on how to make or obtain accessories such as belts.

Friday, December 21, 2012

How to Find Your Local SCA Group

Today's Link:

 Your friend has invited you to an SCA event or a fighter practice, and you're really excited, but you've forgotten where it is, or you can't remember the time.  How can you get there?

Or you're an active member of the SCA, and you want to give someone a link to their local group (which may not be your local group).  How can you help them get started?  Use the link above, or follow the directions below:
  • Go to the Society's main page:
  • Near the top is the navigation bar, which reads, "Home Membership Publications" etc.  Click on "Groups."  This will take you to the SCA Geography page, which includes a "Regional listing of Kingdoms, ordered (roughly) from west to east, and north to south."
  • If you're in the U.S., use your browser's find command to search for your state.  For instance, if you search for "Arizona," you'll see that Arizona is located in a kingdom (the SCA equivalent of a nation or country) named "Atenveldt."
  • If you are outside the U.S., try searching for your country or continent.  For instance, Japan is part of the West Kingdom; Europe is in the Kingdom of Drachenwald; and Northwestern Ontario is part of the Kingdom of Northshield.
  • Click on the appropriate kingdom name to go to the kingdom website and then look for your local group.  You might have to do a little exploring to find the right link.  For example, to find a group in Arizona, you would click "Lands" on the nav bar; for the Kingdom of the West, you'd click "Kingdom Information"; and for Drachenwald, you'd click "Find a local group near you" at the very top of the page.
  • Once you've found the correct kingdom, you need to find the local group nearest you.  It is probably a barony, but it might be a shire, college or other smaller group.  Explore your kingdom site, explore your local group's site, and find ways to get involved. 

What to expect at fighter practice

Even if you're not interested in fighting, fighter practice is a good way to meet friendly and knowledgeable people.  Bring a chair, appropriate outdoor clothing for the season, and a bottle of water.

When you arrive, you will see men and women fighting in armor and using swords, or wearing protective gear and fencing with rapiers.  Children may also be fighting, if their parents or guardians are present and have given the appropriate permissions.

Expect to sit down, watch the action, and chat.  If you don't know what to do, just walk up to somebody and say, "I'm new.  Can you tell me more about the SCA?"  You'll either be directed to someone who can help you, or you will be inundated with information about your new hobby and your particular areas of interest.

If you're an inviting a friend

Save your friend a lot of time and trouble by handing them the information they need on a business card.  On the front, put:
your local group's name and URL, 
the kingdom name and URL, 
and the URL.  

On the back, write your SCA name, and explain that this is the name you use in the SCA.  If you're inviting your friend to an event, write down the name of the event, the date and the approximate location.  If you're inviting them to fighter practice, write down the time and location for fighter practice.
(BTW, Margaret Vergh Lewys is not anybody's SCA name - I made it up for illustration purposes only.)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Ultimate Resource for Newcomers

The first question newcomers have is probably very basic:  "What is the SCA?"

The official answer (and it's a pretty good one) is this:  "The SCA is an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th-century Europe. Our "Known World" consists of 19 kingdoms, with over 30,000 members residing in countries around the world. Members, dressed in clothing of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, attend events which feature tournaments, royal courts, feasts, dancing, various classes & workshops, and more” (

Today's link is - the ultimate resource for visitors and new members.