August 19, 1983 A.S. XVIII

TO: The Members of the College of Arms

FROM: Master Wilhelm von Schlassel, Laurel King of Arms


Enclosed is the August LOA&R, with 142 acceptances and 55 submissions returned to the submittors, for a total of 197. By September 3, 1983, 1 will need all LoCs on the following nine Lols, which have a total of 142 submissions: Atenveldt (5/30), Caid (6/3), Meridies (6/3), Ansteorra (6/6), West (6/8), Middle (6/9), Caid (6/21), Middle (6/25), and Atenveldt (6/26).

By October 1, 1983, 1 will need all LoCs on the following six Lols, totalling 111 submissions: East (7/9), East (7/10), Atlantia (7/14), An Tir (7/19), West (7/20), and Middle (7/22). By October 29, 1983, 1 will n6ed LoCs on Meridies (8/11), West (8/16), and all other Lols dated in August. The October 1st LoCs represent a slight breather, but I expect the usual flood of submissions after Pennsic.

There have been changes to the mailing list. Brachet's new address is 2322 Russell Street, Berkeley, CA 94705. Nereid has resigned and should be removed from the list. Add Triton back onto the list. Joanna de Bocage has changed from Archive to Ensign Pursuivant. Lord Allyn O'Dubhda's new address is c/o Alan Dowd, 12502 Oakwood Drive, Woodbridge, VA 22192. (He is now commenting as part of Triton's staff.) I need to receive an LoC from Dragon, as it has been three months since her last LoC.

I appreciate the work all of you are doing with the increased workload. Please remember to not let the strain of work result in overly biting comments or personal attacks. Irreverent comments and firm objections. are fine, but-personal attacks should not be included in comments. Object to the submission, but do not disparage the submittor, who may not know better. I have noticed an increase in the number of good heraldic submissions and I congratulate you all on this. The number of conflicts with Papworth has also gone down. On the other hand, this month's batch was very slow to process at my meeting due to an excessive number of devices that violated rules such as having four layers or color on color, things that should never appear on an LoI. I urge all Principal Heralds to strive to weed out obvious violations of the rules. Please make sure than when a submission is a resubmission, you give the date of the LOA&R in which it was previously considered, and state a short summary of the actions taken on it and the changes made to it in the resubmission. In this way, it will be clear to the commentors just what is happening and what they should be commenting and checking on. It is particularly important that all information on names be included in the LoI, as name checking can be the most time-consuming process. Be sure to indicate which submissions are new, which are previously approved, and which are resubmissions.

Heralds at all levels should actively discourage the use of the discouraged practices, consulting with the submittor to see if s/he can be talked into a more medieval alternative. It is better to take a month now to confer with the submittor than to have to lose three months if the CoA returns it later, and the results are often greatly improved submissions, which are easier for the rest of the commentors to check. It is up to the Principal Heralds to make sure that branch submissions are supported by the membership of the branch. Petitions need not be sent to me, although they are a good method whereby the Principal Herald can check for support.

Be careful about checking for conflicts in Lols. if you are unsure, mention the possible conflict in the LoI so the other commentors can express their opinions on the possible conflict. If a commentor finds a possible conflict, then it should be included in the LoC for me to consider. I can always decide that it isn't a conflict, but if I do not know of it, I cannot make a decision. On the other hand, do not include conflicts that clearly are not conflicts.

Batonvert and Brachet have made a number of proposals to me dealing with the increased workload of submissions that I wish to get your opinions on. First of all is the increased load at my end. My Lady Secretary and I each put in 15 to 20 hours per week on this office. This has eaten up nearly all of my free time, with the result that I have little time to work on the Names Book. In fact, I have taken the book about as far as I am competent to take it. What is needed now is for a linguist to do the final editing for linguistic accuracy. My Lady has a degree in this field, and would be ideally suited for this, but this would add still more to her workload. The problem is that, while I am doing interesting work in heraldry, my field of interest, and have the reward of public feedback and the making of policy decisions, the Laurel Secretary does routine clerical work and typing which, while vital to the CoA, has no such rewards. My work is done in my spare time and does not interfere with my mundane employment and, in fact, provides some variety. My Lady Cynthia is a former legal secretary and currently a free-lance typist, transcriptionist, and editor. Her work is of such a quality that she has more paid work offered to her than she has time to do, and so must often turn down work assignments for lack of time.

The reason she lacks the time for these projects is the 15 to 20 hours she puts in for my office. Thus she often must turn down work paying $12 per hour to do exactly the same sort of work for the SCA for free, with a resulting loss in income of up to $200 per week. This has gotten to be a financial strain, and yet the work must be done. I do not have the time or skill for it and we have already pretty well tapped the volunteer labor market here, given that the Corporate Office of the SCA and the Vesper Office have already soaked up most of the volunteer clerical help.

Batonvert and Brachet propose that the Laurel Secretary be paid for the clerical help, in the same way that the Corporate Secretary of the SCA is-paid for the corporation's clerical work. Indeed, the Laurel Secretary is to the College of Arms as the Corporate Secretary is to the Board of Directors. I do not believe that line officers in the SCA should be paid, but I support the idea of paying clerical help when necessary. The Board's current poll of the member- ship asks about paying the various corporate officers and the Steward is currently paid $750 per month. I will not put in any request for funds for my job, as I do not feel that I, as a line officer, should be paid. I do feel that, if any positions outside of the Corporate Secretary are to be paid, then the Laurel Secretary should be paid. This would then allow Mistress Cynthia to turn away paying clients in order to do the work of the College without such great loss in income, with the result that she could do more projects for the College, such as finish the Names Book and help me re-issue the Heralds' Handbook. The Laurel Secretary would be paid at the same rate as the Corporate Secretary (which is currently, I believe, $3.75 per hour).

There is still the possibility that the Board will not fund payment for any other office. The poll did not ask about paying clerical help but instead asked about paying the corporate officers. If enough who feel, like myself, that clerical work should be paid but not policy setters take the question literally and answer in the negative, then the Board may decide not to pay any other offices. The problem in the Laurel office will still be there. We must also look to the future: I will not always be Laurel, and the next Laurel may not have either 40 hours a week of spare time or a Laurel Secretary willing to put in 20 hours a week of free clerical help. It would then be necessary to hire clerical help in order to guarantee that the work was done on a timely basis. I'm sure you will all agree that never again should the College accumulate the sort of backlog it had in 1979. Volunteer labor should be used as much as possible, but it cannot always be counted upon to be there. Thus the Laurel Secretary could be set up like the Corporate Secretary, with some of the work volunteered and the rest paid. The Laurel Secretary could do the work herself and be paid or hire others to do some of it, with the money coming out of her budget.

The College of Arms and the kingdom Colleges of Heralds have always prided themselves on being financially self-sufficient. Except for special projects such as the 1979 Conclave, where the Board funded travel costs for the Principal Heralds, the CoA has not had to ask for money from the Board. Alone among the offices, the Heralds have always paid for their own expenses out of user fees charged for registration of submissions. Since we cannot count on the Board to fund the Laurel Secretary, and since the volume of submissions has reached the point where doing so is necessary, Batonvert and Brachet propose that the fees for submissions be raised enough to pay for clerical help, needed equipment such as new filing cabinets, and start-up costs for publishing needed references such as the Ordinary & Armorial, the Names Book, and the SCA Heralds' Handbook.

Lest you worry about suddenly skyrocketing fees, let me share some figures with you. I currently charge, at my level, $2 for a name and device, and $1 for just a name or a name change. This is what has been charged by my office since Mistress Karina’s tenure. This month and next month I will process a total of 320 submissions, for a total of 500 actions. 417 of these will be for new names, devices and badges, and therefore be paid for, and 83 are resubmissions, appeals or branch submissions, and therefore free. Of the paid submissions, 204 are for names and 213 are for devices and badges (163 arms/devices and 50 badges). The fees for these two months, at $1 per paid action, thus come to $417, or $208 per month. This just pays for the regular expenses of my office and the office expenses of my staff (Virgule, Batonvert, and Greenwood). This letter you are reading constitutes the largest monthly publication in the SCA, and it is sent free to all CoA commentors, Principal Heralds, Principality Heralds, and regional heralds. Subscriptions to this letter just cover cost (if that). The Laurel Office has about one month's income in its checking account, on average.

If the Laurel Secretary were to be paid $3.75 (only a little above minimum wage, and less than a-third of her mundane rate) per hour and put in 20 hours per week, this would come to 87 hours per month, or $325 per month. If we raised the fees by $1 per name and $2 per device or badge, this would have generated for August and September an additional income of $315 per month, or essentially what was needed. If the figure were 15 hours per week, then that would come to 65 hours per month or $244, leaving a surplus of $71. As the actual work varies between 15 and 20 hours per week and as the number of submissions and therefore the income is steadily growing, there would on the average be a small surplus to be used for buying references, file cabinets, and as start-up money for publications. This small surplus would also be an inflation hedge, allowing us to avoid raising rates to cover inflation for several years. The result would be a charge at my level of $5 for a name and device and $2 for a name or name change, and $3 for a badge or device change alone. At the local level, this would work out to a total fee of about $8 for a name and device. Because this is a one-time-only expense for most people, this is hardly exorbitant. Indeed, looking at the past, I see that the College has historically charged about one-half of a year's subscription to T.I. When T.I. and the newsletters ran $10 for a year's subscription, the total fee was about 5 for a name and device. Before that, when the subscription cost was $7, the total fee was closer to $3.50. One- half of the current subscription would be $10, and thus $8 would be well under the historic fee. In order not to bankrupt the kingdom colleges, the old fee could remind for those submissions returned at the kingdom level in the past and then resubmitted after the raise in fees, or we could choose to require a supplement fee (I prefer the former if it is financially feasible).

That, then, is the proposal to solve the workload problem for the immediate future for the Laurel Office. The increasing number of submissions would pay for the increasing amount of clerical work. My own workload would be manageable for several years to come. I am in favor of this proposal, but obviously I feel that I cannot just impose it. I ask for your comments and suggestions.

Besides the overload at my end, there is also the increased workload for the commentors. Batonvert and Brachet second my call for improved quality of LoIs and the submissions in them so that there will be fewer of the dubious submissions that eat up such a disproportionate time. If the workload gets too great, it might be necessary for some commentors to specialize, with one checking against Papworth while another checks against the SCA Armorial and Ordinary. What do you think? Do you have problem with workload? Are we headed for a future overload problem? Do you have any suggestions for improving matters?

Batonvert and Brachet bring up the possibility of somehow limiting the volume of submissions. A quota of submissions considered per month would just result in a backlog, and I swore to the Board that there would never again be a backlog. Limiting the right to submit to just SCA members or to just armigers would certainly limit the number of submissions, but at the cost of giving up the goal of the College or provide everyone with the opportunity of registering and then encouraging them to do so. There have been a number of frivolous badge submissions, and raising the rates to pay for clerical help would probably make people think twice before submitting badges that they didn’t really need. We could decide that the College can no afford the time for the luxury of registering alternate persona names and household names, since each may be used without having to register it. In August and September there are a total of 13 such names, with a like number of badges. As the badges could be registered anyway as personal badges, such as a change (no longer allowing the registration of household and alternate persona names) would only provide a 3% reduction in the number of actions- What do you think on this matter? Is there or will there in the future be a need to limit submissions in some way? If so, How? We could limit the number of badges a person can register, which brings us to a matter I’m sure you have been waiting for: the results of the Heraldic Questionnaire.

The questionnaire was a great success. Out of some 93 sent out, there were 47 responses, over 50%. A majority felt that such questionnaires should be repeated when necessary. The winning bid for the 1984 Heraldic Symposium, by a vote of 25 to 17 was the Barony of Loch Salann in Atenveldt. Both committees put out good bids, and I encourage the Middle to hold a kingdom-wide symposium and later try again for the national symposium. Anyone having suggestions for next year’s Symposium should contact Lord Gustav. I would like to receive preliminary bids for the 1985 Heraldic Symposium by January 1, 1984, with final bids in by March 1, 1984. I will send out a questionnaire in March and announce the results after my June 1984 meeting. The winning bidders will thus be able to attend the 1984 Symposium already knowing they have won, and can sell early memberships and give out information. This has worked out very well in science fiction conventions and should work well for the Heraldic Symposia.

For any who do not have copies of the bids for 1984, the 1984 Heraldic Symposium wil be held on the weekend of August 24-26, 1984, in the Barony of Loch Salann at Orson Spencer Hall, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah. The chairman will be Lord Gustav Athanius von Hausenstadt, Crystal Pursuivant, and the editor of the Proceedings will be Mistress Rhonwen y Llysieuyddes, Aten Principal Herald. They will be sending out more information soon.

There was considerable support (32 to 13) in favor of limiting the number of badges an individual can register. The average number was 3. This allows for a personal badge, a household badge, and one other for something else (alternate persona, crest, secondary household, whatever). Effective with LoIs dated on or after Sept. 1, 1983, the limit for badges for individuals shall be 3. Anyone who currently has more than three badges will not have to give up any, but thereafter anyone wishing to register a badge (including keeping old arms as a badge) who already has three or more badges, must release a badge to make room for the new badge. Branches of the SCA are exempt.

There was a split over protecting names of past SCA royalty whose names were not registered, with a vote of 24 to 21 in favor. My decision is to acknowledge the principle but leave it up to a case-by-case basis. Principal Heralds are invited to make lists of famous members of their kingdoms from the past (say, more than 5 years ago) whose names are not registered. These will not be entered into the Armorial, but could be available as a separate historical list.

By a wide margin (33 to 13) responders favored the use of a substitute name when the device is acceptable. My decision is that, effective with the LoIs dated on or after May 30, 1983 (i.e., with those I check at the September meeting), when the Society name for an individual has been returned but there is no conflict or rules violation or use of discouraged practices in the device or arms, then I shall register the device or arms under a substitute Society name consisting of the submittor’s miundane given name and the SCA branch of residence of the submittor, used as a place name, provided that such a substitute name itself satisfies the rules for names. (The Principality of Drachenwald has reserved the use of “von Drachenwald,” and so the use of a local branch name in Drachenwald would be necessary.) The substitute name would be the submittor’s official registered Society name from then on, unless the submittor later submitted a name change that was accepted. If the submittor did not wish this option to be exercised, this should be noted on the form. Query: Should a submittor whose device or arms was registered with a substitute Society whose device or arms was registered with a substitute Society name have to pay for the name change, or should it be free?

We will continue the current practice of arms being inheritable as devices, with devices not being inheritable. Thus each new generation must become armigerous to pass the arms onto the next. Augmentations shall not be inherited. Each member must earn his/her own augmentation. (42 to 4) against inheritance of augmentations.) The consensus (24 to 17) was that Returned to Submittor was preferable to Rejected, and so the former shall continue to be used. The response to allowing out–of-period given names that are otherwise consistent with period usage for given names was 24 to 17 in favor. I am not sure how to word a clear and consistent policy on this matter and so I ask for suggestions before I change our rules. As I see it, it would be the submittor’s responsibility to prove to our satisfaction that a name that was cited in references as having come into use after 1600 was otherwise consistent with period naming practices of a particular language and country and thus, were the name to be considered as a made-up name, it would be found acceptable. Such proof would generally come in the form of an appeal, although submitting such proof with the initial acceptance could suffice for acceptance. Obviously, all such submissions would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. What do you think?

There was a tie (24 to 23) on the question of allowing the use of two colors for multiple divisions like barry or checky, and so we shall continue our current prohibition. By majority support, we shall continue our current policy on the variants of ermine, namely, that they may be combined only with those tinctures which have sufficient contrast. (25 in favor, 16 for treating them as a field semé of ermine spots, and 8 in favor of treating them as full furs.)

There was a two-thirds vote (30 to 15) to reconsider the question of the use of Elvish names. The vote on the use of Elvish to coin names was 23 for banning it, 4 for allowing it, and 19 for polling the SCA on the question. I have decided to poll the SCA, as this is a change in a policy that has stood for 17 years and I feel the membership should be consulted. Such a poll will also allow us to ask other burning questions, such as: Is there an initial starting date for the SCA? Should the geographical scope be limited to Europe, Europe plus adjoining lands, or the entire world? I have heard rumor of a demographics poll of the SCA (long needed). If such is planned, we could piggyback onto it our questions. Anybody have any good questions for such a poll of the SCA? I will have to find somebody to handle the tabulation of such a poll. I can write it.

There was a majority of support (21) for imposing a one-year moratorium on reconsideration of any ruling unless there arose new evidence or indications that the ruling was not working. Thus a person could only appeal a ruling if there was new evidence or logic against that ruling. Similarly, once I have ruled on a subject, I cannot choose to rule on it again, nor can I be asked to do so, for a year unless there is new evidence or indications that the ruling is not working.

There was a bare majority (26 to 21) in favor of banning lightning flashes. My decision is that, beginning with all LoIs dated on or after September 1, 1983, the modern lightning flash, with its bevilled lines, is prohibited as being out of period. The period-style lightning flash, which was an embattled line with barbs at both ends, shall continue to be allowed. The modern cloudless rainbow was opposed, 28 to 16. Therefore, effective the same date, all rainbows must be of the period style--with clouds, although the bands may be of the natural colors. Morbid heraldry was opposed, 27 to 17. I hereby rule, effective the same date, that use of excessive morbidity shall be prohibited under the offensive clause. Such cases will be handled on a case-by-case basis. I welcome suggestions for guidelines. A single skull would be acceptable, but not a skull cloven by an axe or an animal impaled of multiple weapons or dismembered and bleeding. The vote was 36 to 9 against fimbriated chiefs or bordures. Effective the same date, fimbriation will no longer be allowed for chiefs, bordures, flaunches, gores, cantons, quarters, points, bases, mounts, chapé, chaussé, tierces, and other such throughout abstract charges. The only abstract throughout charges that may be fimbriated are the bend, bend sinister, fess, pale, chevron, cross, saltire, pall, pile, and chevron inverted. (Even fimbriating these is poor practice.)

By a vote of 40 to 6, effective with LoIs dated on or after September 1, 1983, overuse of proper is prohibited as being out of period. We will have to work out good guidelines on just what is excessive use of proper. Do you have any good suggestions for guidelines? My basic feeling is that the use of more than two different types of proper charge or the use of a field semé of complex proper charges is excessive use of proper. The use of proper charges that cannot be recognized, such as specific species of pine trees, is excessive use of proper. (You can have a basic pine tree proper, but do not try to specify a White Pine.) The use of two different types of proper charges would be a case-by-ease situation.

While the ultimate authority and responsibility for setting policy and ruling on submissions is mine alone, rest assured that I shall always carefully consider. the opinions of the College before making my decision. The College is functioning better than it has ever done in the past, and this is in part due to the pooling of knowledge and views of a larger number of better trained people. I thank all of you who responded to the questionnaire and ask that you continue to give me your opinions. I do not promise to agree with them, but I do promise to listen to them.

Pray believe, my Lords and my Ladies, that I remain

Your servant,

Master Wilhelm von Schlüssel
Laurel King of Arms


To All Golem Keepers:

The Clarion King of Arms has found a task which some computer programmer may be able to perform: FMS-80, the CP/M database system being used for the Armorial & Ordinary, sorts on ASCII code, so {A... Z) all come before {a... z}. DJR, the parents of FMS-80, will not release high-level source code for their sorting program. Clarion will supply a "hex dump" (a listing of the program in hexadecimal notation) to anyone who feels sufficiently familiar with the 8080 instruction set to disassemble it, so we can generate a compatible program to sort in {A, a, B, b, ... Z, z) order. At the same time, perhaps we can generate another compatible ignore "the," 'tap," "of," etc., when sorting names. Send inquiries directly to the Clarion King of Arms, Master Edmund Renfield Wanderscribe, c/o Ed Rush, 10417 Johnson Avenue, Cupertino, CA 95014, (408) 257-4288.


Created 122701T14:43:32