So this is your first SCA event?
What is the SCA?
The SCA is a 're-creation' organization where people attempt to research
and re-create aspects of life in the middle ages, including food, crafts,
tournaments and behavior. It's a full-immersion experience, but the amount
of historical involvement varies from person to person. Most people have
a 'persona', a medieval person that they are modelling themselves on; but
this is more like living history than role playing. It's also a social
group, where members socialize and have fun.
What shall I wear?
The SCA requires that participants at SCA events (that's you, and everyone
else here) wear "some approximation of pre-17th century clothing" (aka
'garb'). That can be as simple as a tunic (a medieval T-shaped top) with
appropriate pants or as elaborate as Queen Elizabeth's dresses. If you
don't have appropriate 'garb', there is usually some you can borrow. Ask
someone about 'Gold Key'. Medieval people didn't have pockets or the kind
of backpacks and purses we do, so you may want to get or borrow a drawstring
pouch or basket to put your stuff in. (Because crown-like headdresses,
laurel or rose wreaths, and plain white belts/sashes indicate rank, avoid
wearing them to avoid embarrassing mixups!)
Most people in the SCA are assumed to have 'noble' personas, which is why
we call one another Lords and Ladies. Some people have earned special ranks
by their skills and/or service. These people sometimes wear distinguishing
accessories: knights or masters-at-arms (very skilled at combat) wear white
belts or baldrics; Laurels (very good at an art or craft) wear laurel wreaths
or medallions with laurel wreaths; Pelicans (exemplary service) wear images
of Pelicans on medallions or clothes; other important people, including
kings and queens, may wear wide coronets or crowns. (Here in the East Kingdom,
anyone may wear a narrow circlet or headband.)
In addition, there are a number of special officers you may encounter:
If you run into problems or questions, find someone who's not TOO
busy, tell them you are new, and ask.
The chatelaine helps new people find their way around and tries
to answer their questions. Make contact with the local chatelaine as soon
as possible. (Ask at the entrance [troll]). The chatelaine can generally
find you a 'native guide' to show you around and help you get acclimated.
'Troll' is the registration table, where you pay the entrance fee
that helps cover the cost of the hall, the food, etc. You'll also be asked
to sign a waiver for insurance purposes. (Minors MUST have a waiver signed
by their parent(s) in order to attend an event.)
The autocrat is the person running the event. If the autocrat asks
for help or gives an order, please cooperate!
Heralds make announcements about what is going on.
Marshals (archery, rattan, fencing, etc.) supervise combat activies.
The marshal is the ultimate authority on the field; they give orders relating
to safety, etc. and must be obeyed on the field.
The local Seneschal is the local 'chapter president'.
The Head Cook (sometimes called Feastocrat) is the person
in charge of the evening's feast (dinner).
Chirurgeons (kay-urge-ons) are first-aid personnel.
Many events have both a dayboard and a feast. The dayboard
is often included in the price of the event, and is a more-or-less-light
The feast, which is served in the evening, is usually a large meal,
often with multiple courses or removes, and it is served family-style.
There is usually an additional cost for the feast and a limit on the number
of people who can attend. The menu for the feast is generally posted at
'troll' (the entrance). If you have food allergies or are concerned about
ingredients-- ask about the recipes. People are expected to bring their
own 'feastgear' (cup, plate, bowl and eating utensils); Gold Key
has some you may borrow. There will be facilities for washing-up afterward
so you can take home or return things clean. Most people also bring tablecloths,
napkins, and candles for their place setting. Be sure to introduce yourself
to those you sit next to at the feast, and let them know it is your first
Some or all of these activities may be happening at this event. Ask around.
'Heavy Weapons' Tournament: This is combat competition using rattan
weapons to imitate medieval weapons forms. (Fighters must be 'authorized'
by the marshallate before participating.) Fighters compete each other in
single combat or groups. When a fighter lands what is considered a 'good'
or 'killing blow' of sufficient strength on his opponent's torso or head,
the opponent is 'dead' and must retire from the field; similar blows to
arm or leg lose the recipient use of that limb. The combatants determine
whether blow is 'good' , based on an honor code. Non-fighters are welcome
to watch from outside the limits of the 'list' or 'listfield' (usually
defined by ropes).
Rapier Tournament: fencing competitions, along the same general
lines as the the rattan combat.
Archery Shoots: Archers shooting at a variety of targets on a variety
of ranges. There may or may not be room for spectators at the archery range--
ask first. Archers bring their own bows, arrows, etc. Ranges are run by
archery marshals, who inspect each archer's bow for safety before they
may shoot and give orders about when to shoot and collect arrows.
Arts and Sciences Competition: As at a country fair, people enter
their projects in different categories of the competition, along with 'documentation'
(essays on the historical background of the piece). Items are on display
during the event; the winning items in each category are announced later
in the event.
Classes: People will be offering classes/seminars on various medieval
topics; most classes last about an hour and require no pre-existing experience.
Some classes are lecture, some are hands-on.
Merchants: a variety of merchants will be selling their wares at
this event (as at a craft show or festival).
Heraldry table: in the SCA, people try to pick persona names and
design heraldry for themselves that is consistent with medieval usage.
Heralds at the consulting table help with names and heraldry.
Resources table: this table full of books is a temporary 'library'
assembled from various people's collections for people attending the event
to browse through. Please treat these borrowed books with care!
Children's Activities: arts and crafts and possibly storytelling
offered to entertain smaller children. Feel free to bring your children
to try the activities, but since it's not a babysitting service, please
stay nearby and keep an eye on them.
Page program: Activities for teens, including a possible youth tournament
(pre-authorization required). Those wishing to participate in page activities
should check in with the Pagemistresses (ask at the 'Troll' table).
Jadwiga Zajaczkowa, Chatelaine, Shire of Eisental, on the occasion of the
Krakow Festivities, January 29
Hold! means freeze, stop what you are doing, something very
potentially dangerous is happening.
Clear! means someone has something hot or sharp, get/stay out of
Always ask before handling someone else's belongings-- especially blades
(knives, swords, rattan weapons and scissors)!
Children should not be left unattended, not even at Children's Activities.
Always treat other people with courtesy and respect; use the same
good manners you would at any other gathering.
Bowing, curtesying and calling people my lady or my lord are all welcome
If you feel like it, volunteering is a good way to get to know people.
Ask at Troll or (carefully) in the kitchen, if volunteers are needed.
Please don't take photographs without asking first. Flash photography
is forbidden in the main areas of an event.
Smoke only in designated areas, and never smoke in the main hall
or gathering area of the event.
Don't be embarrassed to say that you are new to the SCA: many problems
can be avoided that way!
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-432-2546