Saturday, December 3, 2011

Press Release Version 1.0

This is a really rough draft of a press release for Team USA.

Please pick it apart and suggest more.

I can personalize for anyone, just as I personalized this one for Rob.

I was fortunate with him, because he has a blog I could steal quotes from.

James: We certainly don't have to use those specific quotes. That's for effect for now.

They come from across the U.S., and they range is age from 25 to 53. The 24 members of Team USA come from all walks of life, and their are bound together by their love of armored sword-fighting and their desire to represent their county in Poland in April.

Their goal is to stand against teams from around the world in the annual Battle of the Nations, which was held earlier this year in Xxxxxx, and will be held April XX-XX in XXXXXX. Poland.

Rob Roach, a 37-year-old network engineer from Naperville is one of those fighters who is actively training and raising money to be part of the first American team to travel to the competition.

When he's not fighting in armor, Roach, 37, is a network engineer. He is 5-foot-11, 290 pounds and has been fighting in armor for 11 years. He has also been involved in mixed martial arts and similar disciplines. When dressed for fighting, he wears armor from 1375.

Like Roach, many of the team members are long-time participants in the Society For Creative Anachronism and others have come to the competition through other paths.

Their number includes a millwright, and Army ICU nurse, a corporate pilot, a professional jouster and a Marine Corps reservist who is also a professional armorer.
Russia has won the first two competitions and was spo dominant this past year that two Russian teams fought in the finals. Other teams include Ukraine, Belarus, Italy, Germany and Quebec. All those teams are expected to return, and there is a possibility of more teams, including one from Australia and New Zealand.

James Etherton, a 45-year-old technical manager, is the captain of Team USA, and he is exceedingly proud of his teammates.

"For many, this deed of arms represents the culmination of a life’s pursuit of armored combat. There is something you should know about these men. In their own right they are great men," he said. ". They are family men, working men and patriotic men. But also many of these men come from other organizations and groups where armored combat is a way to gain great renown.

"What is interesting is all these men come here and accept no title at all. They come simply as John, Mike, William and such ... with their own identity ready to prove themselves once again in a new realm ready to have their swords speak for them. We are gathered here in the same spirit that makes our nation great, the equal opportunity to succeed. "

The competition is held in a number of formats, including one-on-one, five-on-five and 15-on-15. The weapons are made of steel, The armor is real armor, and the swords are real steel.

For Roach, part of this is deeply personal. His grandmother was raised in what was then Czechoslovakia, Polish border, and came to the U.S. on a steamer when she was 12.
"I personally know very little about the family before then, but it makes me feel . . . well, I’m not sure yet how it makes me feel to travel to the area where my Grandmother came from.

"I do know there are some visceral feelings stirring underneath. The thought of traveling there “on campaign” to fly both the U.S. colors, and my own personal standard over a field in my Grandmother’s “land”; To stand in full harness to trade stout blows with Men of coat armor where much of my “blood” came from stirs . . . something. I’m not quite sure yet what it is."

For more information on team USA, go to . To see a video of this year's competition, go to .

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Some ideas about publicity for "Battle of Nations"

To my regular readers: I had promised some of the folks who are planning to go to Poland in the Spring to fight in Battle of Nations (see YouTube), that I would post some ideas for fund-raising and publicity.

I figured this would be a good place to park them.

Greetings, all.
I have a number of ideas about securing sponsorships or donations for the trip to Poland.
For those who do not know me, I am Master Liam St. Liam, an East Kingdom Pelican, who has worked royal reigns for at least two team members.
Mundanely, I am Bill Toscano. I am the managing editor at a group of small, local weekly newspapers on the New York/Vermont border. I have been in the business for 30 years, and I am a teacher when I am not a journalist.
These are just ideas. You do not *have* to listen to me. God knows, Lucan and Andreas didn’t always listen to me. Fast Eddie *never* listens to me.
To me, publicity is critical. Not all of these suggestions will result in funds right away, but I believe they will put you out in the public eye.

1. Put together a press packet.  This won’t be just for the press. It will also be for potential sponsors.
Start with three photos, you fighting in good armor, you posing in good armor and a head-and shoulders shot of you in the good armor without a helm. If you know someone with a digital SLR, that’s the best way to go. Save them at the highest resolution you can.

Write a letter of introduction. Include your mundane name, where you work, your SCA or Medieval fighting name and background in Medieval fighting and re-enactment. (Note: I realize this is not an SCA “thing,” but I think mentioning what you have done in the SCA is important).

Then hit them with something to the effect of, “My passion for Medieval fighting is going to lead me to Poland, and I hope you will share this with your readers.”

Write about the team and what you’re going to be doing and include a link to the video of the first 15 minutes of Battle of Nations.

Put it all together, have it proofread, and get ready to send it.

2. Determine your best bet for local newspapers. I would be glad to help advise on that. For daily papers, get the name and email for the city editor. For weeklies, the editor is the best way to go.
Also see if there is a or other hyper-local internet site covering your area.
Part of this will hinge on where you live. If you’re in a big city, you may have more choices.

3. Expand your approach to local civic groups.

Find contact information for the local Rotary, Lions, etc. Heck, you may be *in* one of these groups.
Let them know you are available to speak at meetings about your trip to Poland. (If you can bring video, even better). Be brief when you talk. Bring show-and-tell.
At the very least, you will get a free meal and a coffee mug or pen. If you’re lucky, they may pass the hat or you might get a sponsorship inquiry.

3. Do at least one or two school visits. Money is unlikely here, but again your name gets out, the newspaper may come, and you never know. The library youth group is also another opportunity. Also, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will love every minute of it. They might even make a donation.

4. If you are in the VFW or American Legion, you might want to pass the word there. Think about any community groups you are in.

5. Set up a PayPal account. Write a post about why you are going and post it to whatever social-networking sites you use and ask folks to pass it along. I know some of you won’t want to do this, but some will, and I can tell you from Special Olympics Polar Plunge fund-raising, it works.
I will come up with other ideas as we go along, and I have been mulling over the answer to “What benefits do I get from sponsoring you” for when potential sponsors ask.

In service,

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The official board announcement


I have just returned home from both Great Western War and the October Board of Directors meeting. We did not hold a Meet ‘n Greet at GWW. I myself was not able to confirm my ability to drive out until the Tuesday before – modern world work obligations can affect volunteers at all levels in our organization. I was able to speak with the Society Officers that were there, as well as several people who have applied for Society Offices or who may be on the nominee list for the Board. Commentary on Board nominees from any and all who know the nominees is essential to the Board and the health of the orginization. There are so many excellent people in our organization that could be nominated that the seven current Directors cannot know all of them personally!

The Census Committee has extracted and validated more data for review and release at the Oct. BoD meeting. The two sets of data to be released are the results of questions related to an additional peerage or peeragesand same-sex consorts for Crown/Coronet Lists. This data will be placed on the Census Committee website within the next two weeks. The Board recognizes the possible need for change in both of these areas expressed by participants in the SCA. Such potentially significant change to the structure of our organization would require changes to Corpora. The process for any changes to Corpora requires that the wording changes be sent out for commentary to the SCA as a whole for a minimum of 60 days. Given the interest in these two topics already observed by the Board, I am certain once any proposed changes are sent out for commentary that we will hear from all of you! We want to ensure that we have heard from as many participants as possible before any changes this significant to how our game is played are implemented.

I want to thank everyone who has communicated with the Board in one fashion or another in the last quarter. We all want to hear your opinions, in person or through; or through email or letters to Officers and/or Ombudsmen. We are participants in the SCA as well as volunteers for the administration and stewardship of our organization, and we look forward to hearing from everyone.

Leslie Vaughn, Chairman
aka Baronessa Isabeau della Farfalla
Mark Faulcon, Vice-Chairman
aka Duke Martin Lochner
John Fulton, Director
aka Duke John the Bearkiller
Denise Hundley, Director
aka Countess Denise Duvalier
Tim Jennings, Director
aka Master Garraed Galbraith
Lisa A. May, Director
aka CountessMargaret ni Conner
Kim McAuley, Director
aka Viscountess Kaellyn mac Dermott

Comments are strongly encouraged and can be sent to:
SCA Inc.
Box 360789
Milpitas,  CA 95036

You may also email

This announcement is an official informational release by the Society for Creative Anachronism , Inc.  Permission is granted to reproduce this announcement in its entirety in newsletters, websites and electronic mailing lists.

Board discusses same-sex consorts

The SCA Board of Directors, at its quarterly meeting Oct. 15 in Seattle, discussed the issue of same-gender consorts in the SCA, and according to several people who attended, the Board seems to want to address the issue, but has some concerns about it.

According to SCA by-laws, when a person fights for a kingdom crown, he or she must fight for "a person of the opposite gender." The Inspirational Equality movement in the society, which first began on a serious basis in An Tir (which includes Seattle) has been pushing for a change in that law.

At the most recent An Tir crown tournament, three peers asked to fight for consorts of the same gender. The king and queen, who strongly support the movement, said they wished they could allow it, but said it was against SCA law.

The board also approved a ruling by the Society Seneschal, confirming that there are no restrictions on same-gender baronages. The specific case involved two of the other leaders of the same-gender consort movement, Baron Giles Hill and  Messire Giuseppe Francesco da Borgia of the Barony of Gyldenholt, in the Kingdom of Caid, mundanely Orange County, Calif. The future barons are married to each other. They are currently the reeves of the barony and will step up in June.

There is a very thorough post by Ariel de Courtenay, who was at the meeting up at

More Crown Tournament results . . .

Eight of the 19 monarchs who will reign at Pennsic 41 have been determined, and many of the rest will be decided in the next several weeks.

Just yesterday,  in Ealdormere,  Count Sir Edward the Red won for Countess  Rylyn Buchanan.

Sir Wulfgar Von Ostrand, won in Northshield,  inspired by the Honorable Lady Devon French. Sir Wulfgar defeated Sir Yngvar inn Heppni, fighting for the honor of Lady Luce Tolle, in the final bout.

Jarl Syr Ailgheanan mac Sithigh was the victor of the Meridies Crown Tournament. His Grace was inspired by Amber. Jarl Ailgheanan was victorious over THLord Ragnarr in the final bouts.  

Sean Kirkpatrick Tarragon was the victor of the Crown Tourney in the Kingdom of Artemisia. Prince Sean was inspired by Qamar un 'Nisa al Anatolia.

Duke Uther Sciemann der Hunt was the vicitor of the Crown Tournament in the Kingdom of the West. His Highness was inspired by Duchess Kara Báreksdóttir. Duke Uther defeated Conor, fighting for Isa, in two out of three bouts to win the Crown. The field consisted of 62 combatants.

In other crown tournaments, already reported here, Captain Savaric de Pardieu became prince of the Middle Kingdom, inspired by Baroness Julianna de Pardieu, defeated Sir Ixtilixochitl Cacique, fighting for Maestra Margherita Alessia, in the final round; Duke Sven Gunnarsson will reign with Lady Siobhan Inghean Ui Liathain in Drachenwald; and Andreas Martin and  Kallista Morganova will be on the thrones of Aethelmearc.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fascinated by crown and coronet results

As some of you may know, the start of the crown tournament season -- which leads to being king at Pennsic -- got off to an interesting start with an unbelted fighter, Lord Andreas, defeating Duke Timothy of Arindale, formerly of the East in the finals of Aethelmearc crown. The prince had also previously lived in the East. He was recently squired to Duke Henri. Lord Andreas fought for the honor of Lady Kallista Morgunova.
They are from Sylvan Glen in West Virginia.

The same day Duke Sven Gunnarson, who recently stepped down as kingdom seneschal won crown in Drachenwald. He won for his lady, Lady Siobhan, formerly of Aethelmearc. The prince is from Sweden.

This past weekend, the crown of the Midrealm went to Sergeant Savaric de Pardieu, who defeated Sir Ixtilixochitl de Los Indios , the only Aztec knight in the society.

The final was noteworthy, because Sir Ix threw a blow that Savaric declared as good, but Sir Ix felt it might not have been hard enough, offered Savaric a chance to decline, and the fight went on, ending on the next pass when Savaric killed Sir Ix. The prince was fighting for his lady, lady Juliana de Pardieu.

Now, Sir Ix is a dear friend, even though he lives halfway across the country. He is a long-time youth fighting trainer at Pennsic and at home, and I have known him for the better part of a decade, because he helped teach my daughter, Baroness Leonete D'Angely, to fight. He is a classy guy, and honestly, this is exactly the sort of thing I would expect from him.

It's this kind of chivalry that we need to remind ourselves about what the society really means.

Personally, I was ecstatic to hear the results of the coronet tournament in the Principality of the Mists, the area of the West Kingdom around San Francisco.

Lord Ajax Thermopylokles , who has been a friend since I first joined the SCA back in the early 1990s, won the tournament for his consort, Uta. Ajax is one of the good guys, and I cannot wait to see him and congratulate him. He is missed by many of us in the East.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Some thoughts about place and time in the SCA

I think a lot about how I look at things and people in the SCA. The most recent set of thoughts started from something Master Elias Gedney wrote about trying to keep a canton alive when folks preferred to play/work at the baronial level.

It stirred something I have been thinking about a lot lately.

We're getting into some interesting Intra-Kingdom Anthropology questions.

I have not lived there for about nine years, but when I was living in the Barony Beyond the Mountain, what you had was four stable (almost all the time) cantons that made up a unified barony.

There were two levels -- cantonial and baronial -- and they were both very steady.

Master Elias posted about having issues as a cantonial seneschal, trying to keep the canton going while most people wanted to play/work at the baronial level.

Now here's the thing, I am developing a personal philosophy of the SCA that posits that the structures, mores, views, etc. that you encounter when you start in the SCA are the ones that stick with you.

If I had moved to Elias' canton (same state, different barony), I would not have thought twice about taking both cantonial and baronial offices.

I look at this in terms of many things.

Just an example: In terms of knighthood.

Sir Kenric is always going to seem like a "young" or new knight to me. He broke in at about the same time. I put both of the men called Sir Angus into this group, as well as Sir Kai from Bergental. We interacted for a long time as non-peers. Do I respect them any less? Not at all. [Please read knight as "member of the Order of Chivalry."]

There are, then, "old knights." This is where it's a good thing that I do not fight, so they cannot remind me how young they are. 

These would include people who became members of the Order of Chivalry  before I started in 1993 and would include Master Feral, Viscount Edward, Duke Balfar, Sir Stephen, Sir Mord and others. Always been knights. This list also includes men who became knights early in my SCA career, including Count Robin Wallace and Earl Yngvar of Aethelmearc and Sir Torrin and Sir Torvald.

Then there are those I consider "younger knights." This usually includes either people who started in the Society well after me or who have been knighted since I became a peer. This would include our king, Sir Yesungge and Sir Antonio. (Note, Sir Seosamh does not fall in here because while he just became a knight in the last two years, I have always known him as a peer and one of the scariest people in the SCA). [Just kidding.]

This works for me for most peerages, groups, laws, etc. 

Same thing with events. There are events that are still at the same time, at the same site as when I started. (Northern Region War Camp, Fourth of July weekend, Shire of Glenn Linn, for example).

There are events that had traditional sites in the past and have new traditional sites (Great Northeastern War, Birka).

There are events that are no more, and there are new events.

Anyway, I have been thinking on this.


A few things that make me happy in the SCA

For balance:

The SCA, as a beautiful woman once pointed out to me, is about walking around Pennsic at dawn with the fog slowly lifting and the quiet giving way to activity.

The SCA is about . . . 

  • walking into Calontir camp at Pennsic, being greeted like the oldest, best friend in the world, being handed a beer and then stepping into the circle and singing with all the gusto I can muster.
  • seeing your friends get awards.
  •  seeing your friends become royalty.
  • making new friends.
  • welcoming new people.
  • eating the wonderful food that talented cooks make.
  • marveling at other people's crafts.
  • hearing the cannon, watching the rush of the armies and seeing the "Toilet Bowl of Death."
  • teaching and sharing your ideas and thoughts.

Things I don't like in the SCA

I am usually a very positive guy. I have friends who tell me, "Liam, the cool think about you is that you always see the best in everyone.

Well, I try, but like anyone else, I can reach a point where I need to vent, and that happened a few weeks ago.

My LiveJournal readers will recognize parts of this, but I want to get it to a wider audience.

So I will be re-writing some of my past postings.

Understand that I look at this blog as my living room. Please, go in the kitchen and grab a beer or other tasty beverage.

Debate, disagree, or even agree with me.

I just ask folks to be polite.

These are things that make the SCA less fun than  it should be.

1. People who lose perspective and go on personal vendettas without thinking, "Will what I am doing really help the local group/Society."

2. People who are out-and-out rude to other people. Think before you speak! Remember what it was like to be a newbie. Remember the pain you felt when someone said something about your garb or the way you played. Yes, you can correct people, but approach it the right way.

3. People who make it all about awards. This is a two-way street. There are people who actively suck up or doing specific things just to get awards, and there are those who whine about not having awards. Help your friends folks. If people are doing good work, write them in!

In my book, the "right" way to get awards is as a by-product of doing things you want to do and things that you think need to be done. Did I run the Royal Travel Fund to get an award? No. I did it, because it's something I can do well and something that benefits the kingdom. Was it the basis for the royalty choosing to give me an award? Yes.

4. People who bash peers. Listen, there are assholes in the SCA. Really, Trust me on this. Some of them are peers. Some of them are not. There is no direct relationship, though some people would have us believe that peer = asshole.

I thank Master Pavel from Calontir for the image of being hit with "The Peer Stick." I cringe when people whack me because they think I am using my peerage (or my "sphere of influence" as one guy said), to accomplish things. Will I occasionally sign something with my title, etc. Yes, if I think there is a good, solid reason for it. If I don't sign it that way, don't write back to me Dear "Master" Liam or "Your Excellency."

Yeah. peers do stupid stuff. So do a lot of other people, I think it can be really hard to be a peer (or a duke/count/baron-baroness, etc.). There's a learning cirve.

5. I hate peers who don't act like peers. 

Hey, my blog, so I can be semi-nonsensical and bash peers. ;) Actually, I have a point.

What I mean is that you received an award for skill/work and peer-like qualities. No matter what your peerage is, Chivalry is part of it. Act like a fricking peer. Car about people. Be polite. Don't gossip! Help other people. 

Play nice. It's what we all should do. And it's not that hard.

6. Don't gossip! Don't repeat gossip. If you hear virulent gossip, you might want to let the target know. I am absolutely ashamed by some of the things I have heard people say about other people. It's a Society-wide problem. If it's an issue in doing their iob, that's one thing (assuming you know it's true). But if it's "Did you hear Liam really lives on a mountainside in Vermont and is married to six sheep and a goat . . . ." maybe you don't need to pass that on.

Am I guilty of this. Yes. It can be a struggle. I was turned into a newt once, too. In both cases, I am getting bettah.

7. And finally, people who forget it is a game. 

It's a game. It's a game. It's a game.

See that. It's a game.

It's our hobby. It's what we do on weekends. We could be bowling. We could be flying aerobatic stunt planes. We could be racing boats or showing off our classic Corvettes or driving our matched set of Percherons while riding our buggy.

We do what we choose to do

We do the stuff during the week, too. We have meetings. We do workshops. We write long, tortuous posts about what we do.

But it is a hobby. It is not our life. It's important to us.

But we need to keep perspective.

Thinking about court . . .

A good friend asked me to bring this up for discussion:

Court is a fact of SCA life when playing at a certain level. Good courts can be entertaining, compelling, emotional and hilarious. Bad courts are like chewing on your own intestines. For three hours.

How would you make courts better? Or, barring that, shorter?

One proposal is to farm out AoAs for people living in Baronies to the Barons and Baronesses to give out. I'm of two minds about this. As a court herald, AoAs are almost always my biggest headache. They involve the highest percentage of wrong names, wrong information, missing recipients and AWOL scrolls. You rarely have to chase someone getting a Peerage around a Kingdom until they bother to attend a court. When I was doing Andreas & Gabriella's second reign, there was a guy we called for every single court who never showed up. I feel bad for the scribe who labored over that scroll that now lives in a dark corner of the herald folder somewhere.

On the other hand, for the vast majority of SCAdians, an AoA is the only award they will ever receive and the only time they ever get to shake hands with the King and Queen. Why rob them of that experience for mere convenience?

So, discuss this and your other ideas for making Court, particularly Royal Court, less like slow torture.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A little more on same-gender consorts . . .

If you are interested in pushing for a change in SCA law to allow same-gender consorts in crown lists, you oughta be reading this facebook --

If you are interested in more discussion about it, then this is the place to go --

There is an effort to get this on the agenda for the October BoD meeting, which is in Seattle, where some of the strongest support is.

We are working on an FAQ, which will include the answer, "Yes, it did happen in period."

Just a quick note

I do have a lot of things I want to talk about, but real life has been invasive, so I will be back as soon as I can with thoughts on a variety of subjects.

I will note that two close friends -- Prince Quilliam and Princess Dagmar will be stepping up to the throne of Ealdormere for the second time Saturday.

What's really cool is that Quilliam, 20, will be knighted before his coronation. He's a tremendous young man and the princess is one of those truly special people.

Meanwhile, back here in the East, all roads lead to Hoosick Falls, NY, and Brattleboro, Vt., for the annual "Fight For Beer" and craft grew fest.

EK Coronation is Oct. 1, and the following weekend our shire is hosting a Metalsmith's Symposium and King's and Queen's Champions of Arms tournament at the Washington (NY) County Fairgrounds.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A note from the EK Earl Marshal

Again, long but worth it.

From Sir Steven de Grandchamps:

As of this date (Sept 8th,2011) 16 and 17 year olds will be able to participate in practices and authorize for Heavy List Combat in the East Kingdom by using the following procedures. They may participate in fighting practices, attended by a parent or legal guardian, who will sign a minor authorization to participate. If the parent is not a currently authorized fighter in the East, they will be provided a copy of the Fighters handbook and the Combat Conventions of the East, observe a practice, with armor inspections, and only then be allowed to participate at the following practice.

 The parent will be strongly encouraged to continue participation in the process throughout the entire period of instruction and practice. (Note: If a minor will ever be in attendance at a practice without the parent present, the minor will have a notarized form to allow medical treatment and another duly authorized adult guardian will be present…These standards are no different than those required for ANY minor to participate in ANY SCA event or activity and have no bearing on the Martial aspects of the process. If, as a Marshal, you are not up to speed on current SCA practices re: minor participation at events, please contact your local Seneschal or consult the official East Kingdom web site. After an appropriate period of instruction, an authorization bout may be held. This bout will be attended and observed by the parent/guardian.

 The two Marshals involved in the process must include a member of the Chivalry. (The chivalry component is not a requirement for participation in practices.) The parent must sign the auth. paperwork as being in agreement with the armor inspection and authorization process. (The current auth form can be used for now, but the form will be modified in the near term to include specific places for the parent’s counter-signatures.) The Auth paper work will be marked “MINOR”, the subsequently provided Auth.

Card will be also be prominently marked “MINOR”. They may then participate in any heavy list activity in the East that their guardians allow. The current Youth Fighter program, Div 1-4, remains unchanged and is still available for all minors, with the exception that the above Earl Marshals ruling offers an alternative path for advancement to the adult heavy list, both for practices and authorization. The “Youth to Adult “ rubric still remains, but may be subject to alterations or change in the future, if our experience with this model is positive.

A minor participating in primarily adult activities (such as Heavy List practices and events), properly waivered by the parent IS NOT held to the standards that requires “2-deep” supervision by persons holding background checks .The requirement that an activity, held EXCLUSIVELY for minors, must follow these procedures is unchanged. In the very unlikely event that a small fighting practice only included minors on a particular occasion, it would, by definition, become a youth activity and be subject to the Minor rules. The choice of the Marshal in charge would be to cancel that practice or proceed with the properly qualified personnel, if available.

Armor Standards: Armor standards for 16-17 year old fighters participating in Heavy List Combat activities of the East Kingdom shall be as per the Society for Creative Anachronism’s minimum armor standards for heavy list combat found in the most current version of the SCA Marshal’s Handbook. The following additional requirements will also apply: The points of the shoulders shall be protected with the minimum of a piece of armor made from both rigid and padded materials.* The forearms shall be protected with the minimum of padded and rigid* vambraces, wrapping around the arm to the inner portion of the lower arm. Solid or splinted style vambraces are both acceptable. This protection will not be required on an arm that is protected by a shield.

(* rigid and padded materials shall be as defined in the guidelines found in the SCA Marshal’s Handbook)

Minor activities will now become a mandatory topic in all Marshal Reports sent to your Regionals and to my Office. This will form the basis for evaluating future changes and continuation of the program. The above procedures will be in effect for 6 mo., at which time they will be reviewed by the Earl Marshal. This plan also covers activity in the areas of Combat Archery and Siege. A policy will be forthcoming to address Rapier Combat in the near future. I know that some of you will have concerns about various components of this significant change to our current practice here in the East. Your thoughts and comment are welcome. It is a “work in progress”. You will note that this article contains added information to assist in the implementation of these changes and differs slightly in wording from what will be published on the East Kingdom web site Thank you for your patience while I worked through the issues involved here! Sir Stephen Grandchamp, OP KEM

(This article, in its entirety, may be cross posted to all East Kingdom marshal, group or household web sites)

A story from An Tir Crown

Ariel de Courtenay shared this.

It is long, but I think it's important.

It is the account of last Saturday's An Tir Crown Tournament where three same-gender couples attempted to enter.

The king and queen supported them and knew in advance.


A report on the presentation at Crown by Ariel…to the best of my memory, this is how it happened…

After various strategy conversations the night before with Their Majesties to clear up the final details, it was decided that the three same gender couples would simply march in the processional in the order of our precedence. As a nice twist, I am Bolverk’s squire and have the right to march with her, and Eduardo and Bolverk are close enough in An Tir precedence that no one happened to be entering Crown between them so, without any pretense, all three couples were already in line together.

The morning of the tournament, Bolverk, Eduardo and I, along with our consorts, went through the formalities of lining up at the kingdom list table, memberships and authorization cards in hand, to sign up for the tournament. Her Ladyship Janae, mistress of the lists of An Tir, smiled solemnly and demurred that she had been instructed that we must all appeal to Their Majesties. We thanked her, and went our way to armor up.

Eleven o’clock came around, and flying our new silk banners, we lined up in the hot sun. I went up and down the line giving out silk pennons reading “Inspirational Equality” to those wanting to fly them, and many, especially among the Royal Retinue, were already wearing the bright silk arm bands we had passed out earlier. As a surprise bonus, my new student Ogier showed up just in time to be my banner bearer, adding gravity to our delegation.

Although I usually enjoy speaking to a crowd, I was ridiculously nervous about this presentation, and as we waited in line, I repeated over to myself what I needed to say. I’m not sure why the sudden attack of nerves, but I guess it was because it felt both so important and so exposed—and Bolverk certainly didn’t help by insisting that we mix it up and let her go last (I knew she had something up her sleeve as usual, so I didn’t protest, but I think at that point, anything would have made me feel discombobulated…)

After not too long a wait, our group arrives at the front, and because of Bolverk’s rearranging, Eduardo is first. The heralds announce the names and Eduardo strides forward with Giovanni on his arm. In ringing tones he cries, “Your Majesty, as a Pelican of your counsel, I ask your permission to fight in your Crown tournament for the one who truly inspires me… for Giovanni……for my husband…for the father of my children…” (He chokes up at this point, pausing to regain his composure, and I look up to see the queen’s eyes brim over with tears…‘is she crying for us?’ I think…). Eduardo gathers himself to finish: “…I ask permission to fight for the one who makes all my contributions in the SCA possible.”

His Majesty Thorin looks over at Queen Dagmar (who, according to plan, should be the one to answer, but She is too stricken to speak) and so Thorin addresses Himself to the assembled, “Maestro Eduardo, I regret that until such time as the laws of Corpora allow the entry of same gender couples into Crown lists, I must refuse you entry into My crown lists, though it truly grieves Me to do so.”

“Then do we have Your support to appeal this issue to the Board of Directors?” asks Eduardo. “You have Our full permission and support,” affirms the king.

Eduardo and Giovanni bow and take their leave, and after a moment of silence, a smattering of hesitant applause turns into a warm ovation. We have everyone’s attention now. The gathered populace quiets and waits to see what comes next.

Heart pounding, I hear the heralds announce my name and then Sarah’s. The corner of my mind notices that someone has added “Defender of the West” to Sarah’s announcement. This is a title she was granted at An Tir/West War by Their Majesties of the West for being one of the responders to a serious aid call. (Sarah used to be a paramedic.) Who knew this and added it? I feel supported by unseen hands.

We step forward and Sarah and I kneel before Their Majesties. It flashes through my mind again how grateful I feel to my girlfriend—here she is, only in her second tourney season, having ventured into the society almost entirely out of support for me, joining me here on this crazy journey—a journey which has now brought us to the point of kneeling before Their Majesties’ assembled court and populace to make a petition we know will be refused. What a way to meet the SCA!

“Your Majesties,” I say, rising, “As a Laurel of Your counsel, I ask Your permission to enter Your Crown lists” (I can’t look at Her Majesty or I will cry, so I turn and speak also to the crowd) “I presented myself to Your mistress of lists this morning and was refused. The lists asked me to direct my appeal to You. And I so I ask: may I fight for the one who truly inspires me?” I kneel again by Sarah’s side, having repeated the ritualized words each petitioner will say.

His majesty, for His part, repeats the respectful refusal He gave moments ago to Eduardo. I speak again to ask for Royal support to appeal to the Board. Again, His Majesty grants it, and in our turn, Sarah and I bow and step aside, joining Eduardo and Giovanni behind the already proclaimed entrants. This time, as we walk out of court, the applause is immediate and it is my turn to blink back tears.

The heralds finally announce Lady Bolverk (don’t ever say “Sir” or she’ll bite your head off) and with her, Mistress Bronwen, order of the Pelican. Bolverk bows and presents herself to the Crown, flinging wide her arms in her typical dramatic style.

“Your Majesties,” she begins, “today I do not fight inspired by my usual carnal desires,” (she waits for the roar of laughter to die down), “No, today, I am inspired by a higher ideal—by the tireless work of a great woman in our Kingdom, by Bronwen, the Kingdom scribe who created for me a most inspiring knight’s scroll, and a woman I am proud to call friend…And so, your Majesties, As a Knight of Your counsel, I ask for permission to do something very unusual in Your Tournament….Today I ask you:” (she draws out the pause for even greater dramatic effect) “…May a Muslim fight for a Christian?”

It is a masterstroke! The crowd is delighted. What better way to underline the arbitrary nature of the rules! What better way to slyly question how, in these Current Middle Ages, some identities are given weight while others are not. What better way to tumble the whole solemn moment on its head. I knew she was up to something! (In this flourish, I hear also the hand of her husband Master Gerhard—a playwright and political commentator of renown here in An Tir).

After the laughter and clapping finally subsides, the King smiles His private smile, looks again to Her Majesty who, smiling now through her tears, nods again, and for the third time, His Majesty repeats the refusal and reiterates The Royal support for appeal to the Board. The assembled populace applauds once more.

When at last the clapping dies down, Bolverk, always one to have the last word, bobs a quick bow and says, “Uh, ok…So if we’re not in the tournament, where do we stand?”

Monday, September 5, 2011

Court as a baseball game

This is the handout from my court class, which I taught for the first time at Pennsic this year. Feel free to reprint with credit to Master Liam St. Liam, Kingdom of the East.

How To Watch Court: A Guide In Nine Innings
A Class Taught at Pennsic XL
By Master Liam St. Liam, Shire of Glenn Linn, Kingdom of the East

Baseball is a simple game. You throw the ball, you hit the ball. You catch the ball.
Sometimes, you win. Sometimes, you lose. Sometimes, it’s rain

From the movie “Bull Durham”

Court is a simple thing. You watch the court. You cheer the court. You follow the king out.
Sometimes, it’s long. Sometimes it’s fun. Sometimes, you’re the deer n the headlights

From “Stuff Master Liam says

Pre-game Warmups: Just like some of the warmup part happens in the locker room, so too does the warmup for court happen in the Royal Room and other places.

Most folks in the audience never think about this, but if you are a scribe and you have a scroll for court, one of the first things you do at an event is to find the royal room and get your scroll to the heralds who are running the event. (At a major court, it might go to the Tyger Clerk of the Signet or one of her deputies). These folks are usually in the royal room.

This, by the way is why you sometimes do not see your herald friends a lot during an event. They may be in the royal room helping to get the docket ready and get out whatever awards are ready to go out. There has been a lot of activity prior to this, including the pollings, letters of recommendation and arranging for people to be at an event.

As you get ready to walk to court, the activity level picks up. The king and queen come in and sign the scrolls, then smile and make last-minute changes to the docket, mainly to see the royal herald squawk like a chicken.

Meanwhile, the royal guard is setting up the stage with the royal thrones. Depending on the event, there may be a set of thrones for the prince and princess, a well. If the event is in a barony, the king and queen will invite the baron and/or baroness to sit in the court, so you might have six chairs up there all together.

This is where you come in and find a seat that lets you view the action, assuming any are left. Sometimes, the front row is reserved, but not always. From here on, the focus is on court. It is impossible to stress just how important it is to focus and not make small talk.

National Anthem: “Make way! Make way for Their Majesties Darius and Alethea, king and queen of our lands. Make way for Prince . . .” Well, you get the idea.

At this point, you stand, bow when the royals pass and sit when they say, “Please, take what comfort you may.”

 “Now batting for the Durham Bulls, the catcher Crash Davis. . . “

Throwing out the first pitch: And the herald says, “This opens the court of Their Majesties, King Darius and Alethea. Their Majesties would have before them . . . “

First Viking: Rider. Well-fed on a light mount. Perfume.
Second Viking: A woman?
First Viking: A herald.

From the movie “The 13th Warrior”

The starting lineup: (Who are all those people behind the thrones?”)

While the only people sitting will be the royalty and the baron/baroness, there can be 20 or more people standing behind them. These include the heralds and the back heralds. Heralds usually take turns, especially during a longer court, and the back heralds get the scrolls and awards read. The royals’ retinue is there. They keep the royals fed and watered. Then there’s the Queen’s Guard, people the queen has chosen to guard her. Finally, there are the kingdom champions, who have earned their place there by winning a tournament.

Cheer, cheer, cheer for the home team: We don’t usually use applause, but often there will be time for vivats or huzzahs or other happy noises. However, court is not the time to catch up on the latest gossip. Watch quietly so others can here. Yes, I mean you, in the back, with the coronet.

Early innings: The royal herald is, for all intents and purposes, the umpire. He keeps the game moving, and if he’s very good, you barely notice him.

There is an ebb and flow to court. Early on, the royals usually start with some Awards of Arms, the basic “You are a player-character and your friends think enough of you to ask us to give you an award.”

What long-time court-goers forget is that this is often the only award someone gets, so it’s important for the herald and the royals to make it special.. Usually what happens is the king and queen speak to the person, then say something to the effect of, “So We thought we would do this.”

In a clear and resonant voice, the herald reads the scroll so even the folks in the back can hear it. He/she has pre-read and is usually working from a typed version. He/she has practiced the award recipient’s name and does not confuse the king with the queen.

At that point, one of the royals will take the person by the hand, spin them around and say “I introduce to you for the first time, Lord Herger The Joyous.” As the person bows and leaves, the herald will say, “For Lord Herger . . .” and (depending on the kingdom lead the crowd in three “Vivats” or Huzzahs” or something else. (Note to Easterners and others: “Vivat” is the singular. If you are cheering a group, it’s “vivant.”

The royals may give some other awards, and they may have other business. People might have presentations, or they might want to swear fealty to the royals, or something else. Some will offer a token to those attending their first event or for another reason.

An experienced umpire, I mean Court herald, pointed out the following: "Peerage ceremonies also differ hugely. Some are pretty much a standard liturgy where things rarely deviate from the standard script; some are a standard liturgy With Symbolism (see: Calontir) and some tend to have unique ceremonies for every single new Peer, sometimes with as many as 12 people speaking. That is true here in Ealdormere.

Middle innings: Court, by the way, can be anywhere from five to 10 items to pushing 50 at a major event such as Birka, Mudthaw or 12th Night. This is where things hit their stride. The king and queen may call up the event steward or people who ran tournaments that day. They might announce winners and give prizes.

Note: If the event is a royal championship (champion of arms, rapier champions, Arts & Science champions, etc.), this often takes place as the very first item of business. The outgoing champions are called up, hand over their items of office, and then the new champions receive theirs and take their place behind the king.

Usually at this point, you will hear orders called up to court. “Their Majesties will have before Them Their Order of the Silver Crescent.” Sometimes they will do this after a person has been called up. (See: “Deer in the headlights.” In the East, there are five orders of high merit, which are polling orders. Someone recommends a person, the royals seek commentary and then the royals decide. There are orders for heavy weapons, rapier, service, arts & science and archery. No, overachievers, no one has all five at this time.

Often, the royals will give more than one, then either allow the companions to hug their new members at the front of the hall or send them to the back.

This may also be the time the royals give court baroncies or other awards.

Sometimes, the king or queen will get up and give a speech about something because He or She can. ;)

Late Innings: This is where the special awards come out, especially the peerages. There are three peerages in the SCA – the Order of the Chivalry for fighting, the Order of the Laurel for arts & sciences and the Order of the Pelican for service. The candidate has been polled based on their skill at one of those three areas, their teaching and work for the Society and their “peer-like qualities.” They have likely had a vigil at which people came and advised them, then stepped out of the vigil tent and ate tasty snacks.

During a peerage ceremony, the royals will ask for a member of each of the three peerages, plus a Lady of the Rose (former queen) to speak for the candidate. Then the person will receive the regalia of the order and get a scroll. The order will have been called up.

Post-game show: “There being no further business, this ends the court of King Darius and Queen Alethea . . .”

They process out, you bow when they go by, and that’s it. You may want to congratulate folks and ooh and ahh at their scrolls. You will notice the guards and others taking down the thrones. Ya know, maybe the event staff needs help putting the chairs away or getting the hall ready for the first or dancing . . .

John Kinsella: “Is this heaven?”
Ray Kinsella: “It's Iowa.”

From the movie “Field of Dreams”

Master Liam St. Liam
Bill Toscano on facebook and Google+

Sunday, September 4, 2011

An Tir crown results

I had promised a report on An Tir crown, but it seems my correspondents are taking a long weekend. The victor was Viscount Ieuan Gower, fighting for Viscountess Gwyneth Gower.

I also have to say that I am really impressed with the front page of the An Tir website - An Tir. It’s well-organized and has the chatelaine (newcomer) contact right there.

Checking the papers . . .

I’ve been in and around the newspaper business for more than 30 years, and when you add 18 years of the SCA to that, it’s pretty simple to figure out I love to read newspaper articles about the SCA online.

Sometimes, I cringe, but other times, the results are pretty good.

Today I started off with a story from Casper, Wyo., that did a good job encapsulating the hands on part of the SCA -- Casper Journal.

That was on SCA Today, and that led me to a Google news search (Google News and search “Society for Creative Anachronism.).

There was a second pretty solid story, and I dropped the reporter a note. He said he had a lot of help with his planned contacts, and also had others volunteer to help. He said he was impressed folks were out doing this on a humid day -- Battle Creek

That led me to two more that were really impressive. One was from the Denver Post Style section and focused on a seamstress. It treated the whole thing fairly seriously --

Then I hit one that almost made me cry.

A number of papers do a “remembrance” or “appreciation piece on people who have passed away. This paper does one, and this one focused on a Scadian. I am afraid I did not know him, but he sounds like he was cool -- Martin Hasemann

Speaking of people I do know, I was reading about a demo in Keokuk, Iowa, and one of the photos is of my friend, Sir Ix from the Midlands, fencing --  The Hawkeye .

Finally, The New York Times got into the act. The story is part of a series of features about marriages, and I love the way this one begins -- NY Times .

I thought this was a pretty good batch of stories. We’ll always pick little things out, whether it’s SCA-related or grammar, but I enjoyed these.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A statement in An Tir

An Tir will hold its Crown Tournament today, and there are three fighters who do not expect to be allowed into the list, because they are entering with a consor of the same gender they are.

It's not going to be a surprise to them, because SCA rules specifically say a fighter and consort must be of opposite genders.

In fact, the king and queen of An Tie actually support same-gender fighters and consorts.

Three three fighters are all long-time members and are peers. One of them is a female knight.

There's obviously a lot to this on this on many levels.

The group has a facebook page called "Inspirational Equality in the SCA" and an open discussion page as well. The group has done a petition and hopes to be on the Board of Directors' agenda in October in Seattle.

I will follow this up tomorrow.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Welcome to The Liamverse

I've been thinking a lot about setting up a blog based on my experiences in the Society for Creative Anachronism, so I can keep all those thoughts in a central place.

I have had other blogs in the past, but I have never tried this particular platform, and with my increasing using of Google+, I thought I would see what this site has to offer.

I will be writing new content and pulling together some of my older stuff.

The best way for this to work is going to me for people to comment, so please, jump in!