Argent Snail Insta-Boing Checklist
Articles > Armory


by Jaelle of Armida

Copyright 1993 by Judith Gerjuoy

This checklist originally appeared as part of a paper in the Proceedings of the Known World Heraldic Symposium held in Tree-Girt-Sea and Rokkehealden, Middle Kingdom, June A.S. XXVIII (1993). Transcribed for the Web by Evan da Collaureo (mka Dave Montuori) 1997.

I. Does the submitter have an SCA name?
You cannot register a piece of armory without a name. The name can be registered or submitted before the armory is submitted, or it can be submitted when the armory is submitted; but there must be a SCA name to attach the armory to.

II. Is the submission dark on dark, or light on light?
This is commonly known as the color on color, metal on metal rule. You cannot put color on color, or metal on metal. For instance, you cannot have a sable (black) charge on an azure (blue) field. However, even items that are not in true heraldic tinctures must follow this rule. For instance a chipmunk "proper" is brown. Brown is dark. Therefore, it must be on a metal (light) field. Caucasians proper are considered metal, and must be on a dark field.

III. Is the submission slot machine?
Armory is "slot machine" when there are three or more different charges in the same charge group. For instance "Or, a bell book and candle sable." is slot machine. "Argent, on a bend between a bell and a book azure, a candle Or." is not, because the candle is on the bend, thus not in the same charge group as the others.

IV. Is it marshalled armory?
Marshalling is a way of showing familial relationships. It was done in the middle ages, but we don't register it in the SCA. Therefore, the following arrangements are not allowed. First: you cannot have a field divided per pale with different charges in each half of the field, if there is a plain line of division. If the per pale line is bumpity, then it is allowed. The same rule holds true for quarterly: Unless the same charge is in each quarter, there needs to be a bumpity line of division. The only exception is in the case of quarterly where quarters that are only a solid metal or color are also acceptable. For instance, "Quarterly sable and argent, in bend two eagles displayed Or.", would not be considered marshalled arms.

V. Does it use a forbidden charge or group of charges?
There are a number of charges that no one can use. They are either presumptuous (claiming a mundane rank), or offensive. Examples of presumptuous charges include: Tudor rose, crowned shamrock, crowned rose. Examples of offensive charges include: the hand of glory, swastika, triskelion gammadion. Note: this list is not all-inclusive.

VI. Does it use a restricted charge that the submitter is not entitled to use?
There are a number of charges that only some people in the SCA can use. To have a crown or coronet on your device you must have been a king, queen, prince or princess or be a court baron or baroness. Only official SCA groups can have laurel wreaths on their devices (and they must have them). Only members of the order of Knighthood can use white belts or closed loops of chain; only members of the order of the Pelican can use a pelican in its piety in their armory. Note: this list is not all-inclusive.

VII. Is the submission too complex?
Our rule of thumb is that if the number of different types of charges plus the number of different tinctures used add up to more than eight, the submission is too complex. For instance, "Per bend sinister ermine and gules, a tiger rampant azure and a horse passant erminois, a bordure purpure semy of roundels argent ermined vert.", would be too complex with four different charges (tiger, horse, bend and roundels) and 6 tinctures (argent, sable (the tinctures in the ermine), azure, Or, purpure and vert).

VIII. Are the bumpity lines drawn big and bold and butch?
Medieval lines of division were drawn big and bold. Slim and elegant is not period for heraldry. In medieval heraldry charges were drawn to fill the space. Remember, the purpose of heraldry is identification from a distance.

IX. Are the charges drawn in their medieval form?
We register medieval, not modern, heraldry. We use a quill pen, not a fountain pen; a cart, not an automobile. All charges used must be items used in that form prior to the year 1600.