SCA Newcomer Questions Answered

In this week's column, Aiofe provides links that answer some of the most-asked questions in the SCA world.

Aiofe writes:

"This week's Links list is dedicated to the new member and those who continue to have questions about how the SCA works. There is plenty of information for those who want to revisit their early SCA years, too. If you need to find an easier way to make garb, find a new name, develop your persona, etc... then this is the list you need.

As always, feel free top pass this list along wherever it will find an interested audience, and please use it to update your own links lists and web pages."


Practical Worksheet for Tunic Construction by Cynthia Virtue aka Cynthia du Pr´┐ŻArgent
(Site Excerpt, drawing deleted) Step One:
These are the pieces of your tunic. Think about how they go together in this drawing of the finished tunic. A: The body piece forms the front and back of the main part of the tunic.
B: Sleeves
C: Gores: triangular pieces of fabric that give room to move in the "skirt" of the tunic. The more movement you want, the wider they should be at the bottom. 11" is good for a knee-length tunic; twice that for floor length.
D: Gusset: square pieces of material that give ease at the underarm.

Getting Started With Garb in the SCA: How to create a good looking outfit for the new member of the Society for Creative Anachronism.
(Site excerpt) In the beginning... When you went to your very first SCA meeting or event, you most likely wore some clothing borrowed from another member, or maybe you just happened upon a "demo" in your jeans and t-shirt. But now that the SCA has caught your attention, you would like to look a bit more presentable. Take some time to look around at other members. See what they are wearing. Ask questions about their Personas' time-periods and countries of origin. Decide what style you like best.

Garb Or; Mideval clothing you can live in comfortably today.
(Site Excerpt) Garb is a word we use in the SCA to describe the clothing we make to wear at events, revels and such. Garb differs from costume in that garb really is made to live in, where costume is often made to only look good from in the distance from stage to audience. It is made to copy clothing of the middle ages, in materials, look and feel. This might sound very challenging, but it really is not.

SCA without breaking the bank
(Site Excerpt) We've all seen the people with the huge pavilions, the beautiful Elizabethan gowns, the elaborate feast gear, and whatnot. The question that always hovers in my mind is "how much did they *pay* for that?" Let's face it, the SCA can be an expensive hobby. But it doesn't have to be. I'm an unemployed college student, so I've had to find ways of staying in the SCA that don't involve lots of money. This page is devoted to tips on how to stick with the SCA without denying yourself in other areas, like food.

Resources and Information for Newcomers
(Site Excerpt) This page is aimed at helping newcomers to the Society for Creative Anachronism get started. Many more links can be found on the subpages of the SCA website (see above).

SCA Newcomers list-serve

DragonBear's Pennsic Links
(Site excerpt, Main Menu) Link Categories:
Official Pennsic Links
Generally Useful
Particularly Pennsic
Making Armor
Just Packing Lists
Just Recipes
Appropriate Garb
Mundane Travel Information

Camping 101
(Site Excerpt, part of a long list) Planning Make a list of what you intend to bring at least two weeks before you leave. You are sure to remember more things, and a list will force you to think about things. (Corwyn) Arrange for your transportation well in advance of the event.
Make sure your vehicle is in good repair.
Never travel without rope and money! (Corwyn)
Take the event announcement/directions with you
Car emergency kit. Spare, flares, flashlight, jumper cables, cellular phone, AAA card, dry clothes, blanket, rope, tow cable, money. (Corwyn)

Saint Gabriel's Guild (Herald's website, useful for finding naming advice)
(Site Excerpt) This collection of articles on medieval and renaissance names is intended to help historical re-creators to choose authentic names. These articles were gathered from various places, and some of them appear elsewhere. In all cases, the copyright on each article belongs to its authors.

Advice to Newcomers By Alys Katharine of Ashthofne Glen
(Site Excerpt) Tournaments Illuminated, Issue #95, Summer A.S. XXV, Page 22 No matter whether a long time SCA member brought you to your first meeting or you came by yourself, there's always a period of adjustment to this very different world. How can you get yourself oriented to all the new things and begin to have some fun?

Course Outline for SCA Newcomers: "An Introduction to the SCA"
(Site Excerpt) Who we are . . . A legally chartered, non-profit, educational society whose aims are: To reproduce and recreate the best aspects of the Middle Ages . . . the ideals of courtesy, chivalry, and honor. We exist to keep alive the culture and society of the Middle Ages. We exist to support study of the arts (such as dance, music, costume, crafts, etc.) of the Middle Ages. We provide a forum for tournament-style combat and sport. The SCA is over 30 years old and consists of 20,000 to 30,000 people all over the world, all having fun and sharing the "Dream".

SCA Newcomers Homepage
(Site excerpt) This page and email list is aimed at helping newcomers to the Society for Creative Anachronism get started. We are in no way an official SCA homepage and we do not designate SCA policy, laws, or rules. We're just members of the SCA who are friendly and want to help newcomers. Please enjoy.

The Canton of Petrea Thule Presents: An SCA Primer for Newcomers Edited and Compiled by Lady Arowyn y Delyn Werdd (Tanah Haney)
(Site excerpt) The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is a non-profit educational organisation devoted to the study of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It is part of the "living history" movement, which means that members try to reproduce various aspects of the culture and technology of their period, as well as doing more traditional historical research. And to flesh that out a bit, we'll add a quote from the pamphlet that gets sent out with all new membership cards (for paid members): "The S.C.A. is based on the landed nobility of the European Middle Ages and Renaissance. Their dress and music, their literature and sports, and above all the chivalric ideals of their period, all serve to unify our events and activities. Our regional and local organisation sets aside the modern pattern of elected representatives to give us a sense of what it was like to live in the world of court and castle, so that our studies can go beyond literature and artifacts into the emotional reality of former times."

Welcome Unto the Current Middle Ages
(Site Excerpt) Greetings fair gentles all. If you seek information concerning the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. (SCA), or the Kingdom of Ansteorra (Texas/Oklahoma), then we hope that you will find that which follows most useful. Click on the various sections, immediately below, to skip down the page to the desired section. Or you may simply scroll down the page.

(Site excerpt from the Getting Started page) Getting Started - Your First Meeting or Event A meeting is where the SCA members Carry on the regular business of the local group. An event is a special gathering, often publicized in the kingdom's newsletter to invite people from more distant groups. People wear medieval garb at events, although some may change out their modern clothes after they arrive. Customs vary as to whether garb is worn at local meetings. Because people often work on various skills and crafts at meetings, Many will stay in modern clothing. Some wear everyday clothes to meetings and then change into period garb.

Glossary for Newcomers to the Kingdom of Atlantia (Useful for other kingdoms as well)
(Site Excerpt, part of the glossary) Apprentice: A Laurel's particular student, being trained in one or more medieval arts. Usually wears a green belt with the Laurel's device on the tab. Not an official SCA rank, but indicates major interest in Arts & Sciences. Arts & Sciences (A&S): The study of the arts and crafts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. ........A.S. (Anno Societatis): SCA years (literally, "the year of the society"), typically given in Roman numerals. The SCA year starts on May 1st, because the Society was founded on May 1st 1965. May 2000 began A.S. XXXV (35).

Forward Into the Past
(Site Excerpt) Geographically, the SCA covers the globe, with the majority of its members living in the United States and Canada. There are 12 [web note...there are now 16] kingdoms, each with its own King and Queen chosen on the field of combat. You are a subject of a kingdom by virtue of where you live for the majority of the year. Your membership is with the Society, not with any particular local group. If you have any questions, contact the person who is listed as Seneschal of your kingdom. Their names appear in Tournaments Illuminated and in each kingdom newsletter.

(Site Excerpt) A persona is the fictional person you wish to have been, had you lived during the period of time the SCA covers (600 A.D. to 1600 A.D.) Deciding who to be is the single most important process you will go through when first joining the SCA. This will be the name you are known as to all your SCA friends.

To be able to select a SCA name for yourself and begin creating your persona story, you must first decided what culture you desire to be from. There are many means useable to determine what culture you should choose. Some people look at the clothes worn by many cultures throughout various times and establish a selection based on what clothes they want to wear. Other people will think about what activities and crafts they are interested in and base a decision on the cultures known for expertise in those areas. Still others will investigate their personal lineage and choose the background of their family heritage as their SCA culture. Yet others will pick their SCA culture based from a historical interest on a particular society. Whatever means you choose to use is quite acceptable.

Officers and their functions
(Site Excerpt) Seneschal: Serves as the representative for the local group in the outside world. Acts as the chief administrative officer, similar to a group's president.
Chatelaine/Castellan: Is responsible for making sure that newcomers to the local group are made to feel welcome and receive the assistance that they need to become active members of the SCA. He/she is also responsible for ensuring that that demos for recruitment and education are held. Herald: The local heraldic officer. In charge of making announcements at events and helping people research their names and heraldic devices in preparation for submission to the College of Heralds.....

Going to an SCA Event
Beginner.htm (Note beware of wrapped lines and hotlinks. copy-paste the entire URL to the browser address window, if you get an error message_ (Site excerpt) There's an upcoming event which interests you and you want to go and "check it out". Attending one of the Society's events is the best method to experience first hand what the SCA is all about. The following paragraphs will provide you with some general information concerning the types of events which abound, how to prepare for one, what to bring, and what to do once you arrive.

SCA Membership Form

Finding a group near you

Nobility and Titles in the SCA
(Site Excerpt) King and Queen: These are the current rulers of the kingdom, chosen by combat in the Crown Tourney. The actual winner of the tournament is indicated by the suffix "by right of arms" after his/her title. Address them as "Your Majesty".
* Prince and Princess: There are two types of Princes and Princesses--Crown and Territorial. The Crown Prince and Princess are heirs to the kingdom, chosen by combat in the Crown Tourney. They are addressed as "Your Royal Highness." They hold these titles until their coronation as King and Queen. A territorial Prince and Princess rule over a Principality, a territory which is a subdivision of a kingdom. They are also chosen by combat. Their form of address varies from kingdom to kingdom.
* Duke or Duchess: They have served at least twice as King or Queen. Call them "Your Grace."
* Count or Countess: They have served once as King or Queen. Call them "Your Excellency." Some alternate titles are Earl (Jarl, Iarll) and Graf.
* Viscount or Viscountess: They have served at least once as territorial Prince or Princess. Call them "Your Excellency."

Life in the Current Middle Ages
(Site Escerpt) Where did the SCA come from? The avowed purpose of the SCA is the study and recreation of the European Middle Ages, its crafts, sciences, arts, traditions, literature, etc. The SCA "period" is defined to be Western civilization before 1600 AD, concentrating on the Western European High Middle Ages. Under the aegis of the SCA we study dance, calligraphy, martial arts, cooking, metalwork, stained glass, costuming, literature... well, if they did it, somebody in the SCA does it (Except die of the Plague!).

As you can probably guess, the thing that separates the SCA from a Humanities 101 class is the active participation in the learning process. To learn costuming, you design and build costumes. To learn SCA infantry fighting, you make armor, weapons, shields, etc., and put them on and go learn how it feels to wear them when somebody is swinging a (rattan) sword at you. To learn brewing, you make (and sample!) your own wines, meads and beers.