Choosing a name
One of the things that can be a bit confusing when you join in with SCA activities at first is that everyone appears to have a couple of names. Most people in the Society will choose a persona name - this helps to enhance the medieval ambiance at events generally and can help a person pick a particular period, country, culture or occupation to focus their research on. These can be very simple - your own given name - assuming it’s a medieval appropriate one - and the name of the Shire you live in is a common one. Others can be meticulously researched to be correct to an exact timeframe and location in history.
You are encouraged to register your chosen name, this is done through the College of Arms. It will only register items it believes are compatible with period names. You also need to make sure they are not offensive, that you are not claiming rank with a name (calling yourself a Prince or Duchess, for example), and it does not “conflict” with another person’s name they have already registered. Joke names are sometimes permitted if you can prove, with source material, that such a combination of names could have arisen in period. You might want to consider if you really want to be known by that name for the rest of your SCA life however.
Some resources to help you find names
Choosing your Arms
Arms, also known a device, is a heraldic insignia generally considered to signify the individual - your device represents you, so you can have only one official registered device. You might choose to also register “badges” which signify ownership.
One very useful way to get started is to check in with your local herald to learn about the basic rules. you can experiment with some ideas and get some feedback. We recommend you take time deciding if you like the idea as much after a week as you did the first day you put it together. Consider practical things like how easy or difficult it will be to duplicate if you want to start painting it on shields or embroidering it on garb.
There is a very useful facebook group SCA Heraldry Chat where people post questions and ideas for feedback.
Please be aware that you are looking for a submission herald rather than a court herald when looking for assistance. These may very well be the same person, but not always. In Drachenwald the internal submissions herald is Edelweiss Herald and the external submissions herald is Albion Herald.
Making a Submission to register a name, arms or badges
A submission to have an item (name, arms, badge) registered in the SCA is made by using the appropriate submission form. It is processed first by the Drachenwald kingdom College of Heralds and then by the Worldwide 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. 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 as a body do heraldic research and review all the submissions for registering arms and names and create the heraldic rules for the Society’s use. Registration is not a fast process - please be patient. We highly recommend you get lots of help from a friendly local herald putting your submission together so you don’t fall foul of the rules.
Everything registered by SCA College of Arms is listed in the SCA Armorial that can be searched in various ways.
Other useful places to look The Medieval Heraldry Archive
All residents of Drachenwald send their submissions and pay the submission fees to Drachenwald College of Heralds. More information on submissions and the college
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
All forms used in the Drachenwald submission process are available on the Heraldic Submissions page.
You will need two copies of the device submission form: one with a color picture and one with line drawing (no colours, only outlines) You will need Crayola primary colour markers to colour your colour submission. A Fee applies.