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Palimpsest Rules Letter dated 2011-05-31

To the College of Arms and any others unto whom these letters shall come, does Marie de Blois, Palimpsest, send warm greetings.

This is the second draft of the revised Rules for Submissions. A PDF version of the full draft is available at: http://heraldry.sca.org/rules2010/rules-2011-draft.pdf

The draft rules are posted both in OSCAR and as a downloadable file for two reasons. First, the rules for submissions are longer than the current rules. This is partly because we feel that more explanations and examples make the rules easier to apply - this includes adding in some discussion of the underlying theories which drive the rules. It is also partly because we've separated out the personal names rules and the non-personal names rules for greater clarity. Second, we hope that the posting of the entire text in a single location, instead of cut up between different numbered items, will make it easier for people to review and edit.

We've been talking about the rules for over a year and a half, with many people, and are continuing to move closer to a final version. This proposal is not meant to be simply rubber stamped; we are still open to making significant changes. You will notice that there are some significant changes between this version and the previous one. Please treat it as you would any rules proposal: attack it, defend it, suggest different approaches, point out potential implementation issues, etc. While this draft reflects a lot of work by Juliana (now Pelican), I, and several other heralds (thank you!), it is still in need of the sharp eyes and minds of even more heralds.

Like the first draft, this draft attempts to balance truth (period practice) and beauty (simplicity of rules). Both naming and armorial practices varied widely throughout the times and places within the SCA; on the one hand, our principles push us to allow all those period practices and on the other hand we want to keep the rules to a set of practices that can be easily and simply described and are complete. In trying to find a path between these two, we have taken the approach that the SCA is perhaps best considered as its own, separate heraldic jurisdiction, which gives us a chance to have a "core" set of rules based on period practice without requiring us to pick a single time and place to be the entirety of our rules or trying to include every possible period practice.

Additionally, this draft of the rules attempts to go back to some first principles and basic organizational principles. This includes references like the Governing Documents and information about period heraldic practice, but also asking questions like "does this make any sense?" and "what are the problems we have in explaining these rules to other people?" and "why is this here?". You'll notice that a number of sections have moved around from the first draft, the logic of several sections has been considerably revised, there are some layout and formatting changes to improve brain-numbing text blocks, and there are even more examples in most places.

The draft rules are split into four sections: general principles, personal names, non-personal names, and armory. This creates some repetition, but seemed to us to reflect the typical purpose people use the rules for - creating a specific type of submission.

Comments are due July 31, 2011; comments may be posted in OSCAR or mailed to rules@heraldry.sca.org. We encourage line readings that amount to edits to be sent directly to the e-mail address. If you'd like an RTF version, write to us directly.

This item was on the 08-2011 LoAR

1: Armory - New Rule Change

OSCAR is unable to find the name, either registered or submitted.

Armory

Armorial submissions fit into four categories: primary armory, fielded badges, fieldless badges, and augmentations of honor. The first two follow identical rules and are just administrative categories. Primary armory refers to the single main armorial device for an individual or branch. Fielded badges are similar secondary items; they may function as badges or as devices for alternate personas. Fieldless badges, which can be displayed on any background, are more typical of period badges. They have some special rules for style and conflict, discussed in the relevant sections. Augmentations of honor are additions to existing pieces of primary armory to reflect an honor bestowed by the Crown of an individual kingdom. Unlike names, there is no separation between personal armory and non-personal armory for style, conflict, presumption, or pretense, nor are devices considered separately from badges. The Ordinary and Armorial may contain some other types of items, such as flags of important non-SCA entities; these are also considered in the same pool for conflict, presumption, and pretense issues.

To be registered, an armorial submission must meet the following standards:

  • The armorial elements, charge groups, and overall design must be demonstrated to be compatible with period style. That means demonstrating that it follows the rules in Armory Sections One through Five. Section One explains how to do this in more detail.
  • The armory must be free of conflict, pretense and presumption as described in Armory Sections Six, Seven, and Eight.
  • The armory must not be offensive as described in Armory Section Nine.


This item was on the 08-2011 LoAR

2: Armory 1 - New Rule Change

OSCAR is unable to find the name, either registered or submitted.

Armory Section One: General Principles of Armorial Style

A. Definitions: We require an armorial submission to be compatible with period armorial content and style. We consider a design that follows the rules laid out in the sections below to meet this requirement. Our style rules (in Sections Two through Four below) are based on what we call our core style. In researching armory within the scope of the Society, one of the challenges has been that the way heraldry works varies throughout Period in both time and geography. Due to this and other SCA considerations, our core style is not identical to the style of any single specific place and time, although it is based on the dominant style in medieval Western Europe, especially the Anglo-Norman style.

Section Five explains how to document for registration designs that are period, but not registerable under the core style rules, through Individually Attested Patterns.

A design that follows attested patterns for armorial content and style is compatible with period armorial practice. This is true even if it breaks the core style rules as described in Sections Two through Four below. Thus, it is registerable, assuming it meets the other requirements for armory. There are two such kinds of documentation.

1. Core Style Rules: Elements that meet the below rules for style, which comprise our core style, will be registered. Some of those rules require documentation of an element, demonstrating that it is attested, constructed, or that the user has the right to use the item. That documentation may or may not refer to period heraldry.

For example, a submitter might demonstrate that a plant was known to period Europeans, or that they have sufficient rank in the Society to use restricted charges.

2. Individually Attested Patterns: Designs which violate the core style rules in Sections Two through Four may still be registered under the Individually Attested Pattern rules (described in the prior rules as "Documented Exceptions"), explained in Section Five. Such documentation can either refer to variations within "core style" or to the standards of a different armorial style. In either case, all elements (including arrangement, complexity, etc.) of the armorial design must be documented as appropriate for the armorial style of a single time and place. Non-European heraldic designs often do not fit into the Core Style rules, and thus may need to use the Individually Attested Pattern rules in order to be registered.

Submissions that are documented under the general style rules are allowed to have a single step from period practice, sometimes denoted as SFPP. In older rulings this same concept may be described as a weirdness. A step from period practice is an element not found in period armory that we nonetheless allow as being a reasonable extrapolation from period practice. Some types of elements which are designated as a step from period practice are mentioned in the style rules. In addition, a partial list of elements that are a step from period practice is found in Appendix F. Any armorial submissions with more than one step from period practice will not be registered. Submissions justified under the Individually Attested Pattern rules may not have a step from period practice.

The image of the armory is known as the emblazon, and the written heraldic description of the image is known as the blazon. We register the emblazon, rather than the blazon. Any discrepancies between the image and the description will be resolved by changing the description to match the image. The Laurel office reserves the right to change the description of an image at any time, even after registration. The image will never be changed by the Laurel office. For this reason, we do not consider alternate emblazons included with a submission.

B. Recognizability. Because we register the image and not the words, we require that the items in the image be recognizable from their appearance. We are willing to give some allowance for poor drawing, but depictions that are ambiguous as to their identity, posture, arrangement, etc. cannot be blazoned and must be returned for a redraw.

C. Reproducibility: We require that the image be describable in heraldic terms. This means that the submitted image must be reproducible from the written heraldic description (blazon). Designs that depend on careful alignment of items in a way that cannot be blazoned cannot be registered. Designs that use elements (charges, arrangements, etc.) that cannot be blazoned cannot be registered.


This item was on the 08-2011 LoAR

3: Armory 2 - New Rule Change

OSCAR is unable to find the name, either registered or submitted.

Armory Section Two: Armorial Style: The Elements

A. Definitions: Armorial elements include tinctures, charges, lines of division, complex line treatments, postures/orientations, arrangements, and the like. Essentially, each piece of an armorial submission is an element.

On first registration of any particular element, documentation must be presented that the element and its depiction may be registered. In general, this means presenting evidence that the element is eligible to be registered and that the specific depiction is attested or is otherwise compatible with period style. In general, elements that have been registered recently or are common heraldic designs do not need to be documented in a new submission. However, items that have not been registered in over a decade or have only been registered less than a handful of times may need to be redocumented. Occasionally new research will require the documentation of a more recently registered element.

B. The Elements: To be used in armorial submissions without penalty, armorial elements must meet one of the following standards.

1. Attested Elements: Armorial elements are registerable if they are attested in period European armory. Designs found in a period roll of arms or a treatise on armory meet this standard, whether or not that element was actually used. Elements used in arms, in badges, and in crests all meet this standard.

Elements must be used and combined in the same ways they were used in period armory. While both bees and the rampant posture are found in period armory, we do not allow a rampant bee.

Discussions of charges and other elements that do not need to be further documented can be found in Appendix F.

2. Constructed Elements: Elements that follow a pattern for the formation of period charges are registerable.

a. Tools: There is a pattern of creating new charges from European tools and other everyday artifacts. Thus, an item that can be documented as that sort of period artifact is registerable.

b. Plants and Animals: There is a pattern of creating new charges from European plants and animals. Thus an item that can be documented as a plant or animal found in period Europe is registerable.

European plants and animals that did not appear until after 1600 are not registerable, like many breeds of dogs. Those attested during the gray period receive the benefit of the doubt, unless there is a reason to believe they appeared after 1600.

c. Constructed Monsters: There is a pattern of creating monsters by combining element from different animals and monsters used in heraldry. Thus, a new monster that follows these patterns is registerable. For example, there is a pattern of combining the top half of quadrupeds with a fish tail to make a creature, as in a sea-horse. This pattern can be used to create an unattested sea-bear.

3. Grandfather Clause: Armorial elements which are already registered to an individual may be used in a new submission by that individual, even if they are not longer allowed under the rules. Only the exact, actual element(s) from the registered form may be used, not variants or patterns. The use of the grandfather clause does not allow the submitter to evade new style problems (as discussed in Sections One through Four). It only allows the submitter to evade style problems that already exist with their registered armory.

An armorial element from a registered piece of armory of an individual may also be registered by a close legal relative (parent, spouse, child, sibling). To do this, the submitter must demonstrate the relationship through legal documents or through attestation of relationship from the individual whose armory is already registered. Documentation under the grandfather clause does not exempt a design from conflict, presumption, pretense, or offense rules, unless that rules violation is itself grandfathered.

4. Elements which are a Step From Period Practice: Some elements are allowed but are considered a step from period practice. An armorial design may have no more than one such step. A design with more than one step from period practice will be returned. For charges, a single example of that charge used in European armory during our period may be sufficient to allow it without a step from period practice.

a. Non-European Armorial Elements: Elements found only in non-European armorial traditions (e.g., Islamic and Japanese heraldry) are registerable, but a step from period practice. The use of two such elements requires the use of the Individually Attested Pattern rules, discussed in Section Five. Designs that follow a non-European style but violate the general style rules also require the Individually Attested Pattern rules. The use of elements found in period European armory is not a step from period practice, even if they were also used in non-European contexts. These elements must still be describable in standard SCA heraldic terms.

b. Non-European Plants and Animals: Plants and animals from outside Europe which were known to Europeans in period are registerable but a step from period practice. This includes plants and animals from the New World, sub-Saharan African, and Asia. The few such animals used as period charges or crests are registerable as period charges. However, there are not enough of them to allow a general pattern for the use of any non-European animals and plants. Plants and animals which cannot be documented to be known to Europeans before 1600 (from the interior of Africa or northern Asia, for example) may not be registered. While grey period citations will be considered, the great expansion of knowledge Europeans gained about the rest of the world between 1600 and 1650 means that the burden of proof here is a little higher.

c. Other European Artifacts: There is no pattern of using European artifacts other than tools and general, everyday artifacts in armory. The use of such an artifact, such as an aeolipile, as a charge is considered a step from period practice.

d. Post-Period Elements: A handful of elements not found in period heraldry have been explicitly allowed, though their use is a step from period practice. A list of them is included in Appendix G.

5. Unregisterable Elements: Some items are generally unregisterable. Examples include heraldic elements that appear after the end of period and period artistic elements that are not found in armory, such as the Greek `key' pattern.

C. Elements must be drawn to meet the following requirements.

1. Appropriate Drawing: Elements must be drawn in a period armorial style. In general, that means that charges should be drawn as a flat form with no perspective. A few special charges are drawn with perspective, like dice and certain food items. Complex lines should be drawn with relatively few and deep repeats. Generally three to seven repeats are expected across an axis of the shield.

Animals and plants must be drawn in their stylized heraldic forms, not in their naturalistic forms. Immature plants, animals, and flowers are allowed only when those forms can be documented as period charges. Thus, lambs are allowed, but rosebuds are not.

2. Identifiability: Elements must be drawn to be identifiable. Heralds are not art critics, but the identity of elements must not be ambiguous. Ambiguity can be created when a depiction is intermediate between two states that contribute to difference. We sometimes say that such a depiction blurs the distinction between two states, and it may not be registered. Because we give difference between some types of charges, artwork that is so poorly drawn that charges cannot be identified may not be registered. Additionally, internal detailing can cause issues with identification. This may be due to a complete lack of internal detail, or through excessive internal detail (such as can easily occur with clip art). Excessive internal detail can also cause issues with identification of the tincture of the charge or cause it to be seen as primarily sable, instead of the intended tincture.

For example, a per chevron field division creates a triangle that nearly touches the top of the shield, dividing the area of the field in two roughly equal parts. A point pointed creates a similar shape on the bottom third of the field. Therefore, a per chevron field must be drawn so that the point clearly crosses the per fess line. A line that does not blurs the difference between a per chevron line and a point pointed. A per fess field division that is too high can be confused with a chief. A fess that is too large can be confused with a chief and a base. A charge that is not clearly either fesswise or bendwise is confusing as we give difference between those orientations. None of these can be registered.

For example, a lion which is drawn so badly it cannot be identified cannot be registered; we give difference between a lion and non-feline animals, so it must be identifiable. Some charges have identifying characteristics, such as the comb of a rooster; without those identifying characteristics, they may be unregisterable or may only be registered as a generic version of the charge. For example, a line of division which is partly indented and partly engrailed cannot be registered, as we give difference between the jagged indented and curved engrailed lines of division.

In general, a drawing which matches a period heraldic depiction is identifiable. An unusual depiction should probably be documented, as the College of Arms may or may not recognize it.

3. Appropriate Size: Elements must be drawn at an appropriate size for their role in an armorial submission. Charges that are too big or too small may blur the difference between charge groups. Small charges may be unrecognizable. Complex lines of division that are too shallow or have too many repeats may be unrecognizable. Charges strewn on the field in too large a number or too close together may be unrecognizable.


This item was on the 08-2011 LoAR

4: Armory 3 - New Rule Change

OSCAR is unable to find the name, either registered or submitted.

Armory Section Three: Armorial Style: Charge Groups

A. Definitions: Our style and conflict rules are built around the idea of a charge group. A charge group is a group of charges of approximately the same size and visual weight that act as a single visual unit. This idea is not a period heraldic idea, but a modern SCA invention. It is our attempt to codify what we see happening artistically, stylistically, and for cadencing in medieval armory.

Charges which touch, are supporting, or are held fall into two categories. When both are the same size and visual weight, they are sustained and are part of the same charge group. Thus, there is no special sustained charge group type. However, when one is large and the other is small, the small one is maintained and separate from all charge groups. Maintained charges are described in Section B.5. below in more detail.

B. Charge Groups: This section describes the types of charge groups we use and how they are formed. There are several types of charge groups found in armory.

1. Primary Charge Group: The primary charge is the charge or charges directly on the field in the visual center of the shield. Not every device has a primary charge, but most do.

If the armory has at least one central ordinary, they are the primary charge group. This is true even if there are other charges around it or the ordinaries are drawn narrowly. If there are no central ordinaries and the armory has a central charge or charges, they are the primary charge group. This is true even if the charges are on opposite sides of a field division. If there are no central ordinaries or central charges, but there is a semy of charges on the field, the semy is the primary charge group. If there are two or more charges of similar visual weight or size in the center of the field which are touching, they are sustained and all part of the primary charge group.

For example, in Argent, a bend sable and Argent, two bendlets sable, the bend or bendlets are the primary charges. In Argent, a lion sable, Argent, three lions sable, and Argent semy of lions sable, the lions are the primary charges. In Argent semy of lions sable, a cross azure, the cross is the primary charge and the lions are secondary charges.

In Per fess vert and argent, in pale a lion argent and a cross couped azure, the primary charge group is the lion and the cross together. In Per fess vert and argent crusilly azure, a lion argent, the white lion cannot be on the white part of the field and is only in the top half of the field. Therefore, the primary charge group is the lion and the crosses together. In Azure, two swords in saltire proper, the primary charge group is the swords. In Vert, in fess a cinquefoil Or sustained by a dragon argent, the primary charge group is the cinquefoil and the dragon together.

In armory with a divided field, there are two potential situations. Either each of the charges is entirely in a single section of the field, or one or more charges overlie the line(s) of division. In the first situation, the charges are collectively the primary charge group. In the second situation, where one or more charges overlie the line of division, those charges are the primary charge group and the other ones are in a secondary charge group. This is true even when the bottom charge is drawn larger than the others, as this is common in period depictions. This is true even when one of the divisions contains a semy. This is true even if you use blazon terms like "in chief" or the line of division is blazoned as "enhanced".

For example, in Per fess gules and Or, two crosses bottony and an owl counterchanged, the crosses are both above the per fess line and the owl is below the per fess line. In this case, the primary charge group is the crosses and the owl all together. In Per fess gules and Or, an owl counterchanged and in chief two crosses bottony Or, the owl must cross the per fess line and be partially Or and partially gules. In this case, the owl is the primary charge group and the crosses are a secondary charge group. On an undivided field, a design that put the owl completely or almost completely below the center of the shield (the per fess line) would give the impression of a single primary charge group, no matter how it was blazoned.

A peripheral ordinary (chief, base, bordure, orle, etc.) can never be a primary charge. If there are only peripheral ordinaries (or no charges whatsoever) in a piece of armory, it is known as "field primary" armory, and special conflict rules apply. However, if there are no central ordinaries or central charges, but there are non-ordinary charges in chief, in base, in canton, or in orle, they are the primary charge group.

For example, in Gules, in canton a lion Or, and Gules, in base a lion Or, and Gules, in chief three lions Or, and Per bend gules and Or, a lion Or, the primary charge group is the lions. However, in Gules, a cross bottony and in chief three lions Or, the primary charge group is the cross and the lions are a secondary charge group.

In Azure, a bordure argent and Azure, a bordure argent semy-de-lys azure there are no primary charges and the bordure is a secondary charge group. These are both field-primary armory. However, in Azure crusilly, a bordure argent, the primary charge group is the semy of crosses. In Per fess gules and Or, there is no primary charge group and this is also field-primary armory. In Azure, in chief a cloud argent, the primary charge group is the cloud, but in Azure goutty d'eau, in chief a cloud argent the primary charge group is the gouttes.

2. Secondary Charge Group: Secondary charges are a single charge or group of charges directly on the field around the primary charge(s). Therefore, you cannot have a secondary charge without a primary charge to surround, other than field-primary armory.

For example, in Argent, a fess between three lions sable and Argent, semy of lions, a fess sable the lions are the secondary charges, surrounding the primary fess. In Argent, a fess and in chief a lion sable, the lion is the secondary charge. In each case if you removed the fess the lions would become the primary charge group.

Several kinds of secondary charge groups can occur together in a design. Armorial designs with multiple secondary charge groups must generally match a pattern for period arrangement of charge groups. If only one of these groups exists in two designs, they are treated as comparable for purposes of style and conflict. When multiple types of secondary charge groups are found in a design, first identical types of secondary charge groups are compared and then the remaining secondary charge groups can be compared.

For example, Argent semy-de-lis azure, a fess cotised and a chief sable has three secondary charge groups: the semy of fleurs-de-lis, the cotises, and the chief. For example, when comparing Argent semy-de-lys azure, a fess and a chief sable with Argent, a fess sable cotised azure, a chief sable, the chiefs would be compared, and then the cotises and fleurs-de-lys would be compared.

Types of secondary charges include:

a. Peripheral Ordinary: This type of secondary charge group consists only of peripheral ordinaries: the chief, the bordure, the base (including the point pointed), the quarter, the canton, the gyron, the orle, the double tressure, and flaunches.

For example, in Argent, a bend and a bordure gules, the bordure is a secondary charge group.

b. Semy: This type of secondary charge group consists of charges strewn over all or over one part of a field. Semies are almost always in a separate charge group from all other charges. However, when a divided field (with or without a central ordinary) has a semy on one half of the field and another charge or group of charges on the other, the charges form a single secondary charge group around the primary ordinary.

For example, in the armorial submission Argent crusilly, a bend gules, the crosses are the secondary charge group. In the armorial submission Per chevron argent crusilly gules and azure, a chevron Or and in base a griffin argent, the crosses and the griffin together form a single secondary group.

c. Cotises, Endorses, Etc.: This type of secondary charge group consists of charges that tightly mirror the line of a primary ordinary but are slimmer.

For example, in the armorial submission Argent, a bend cotised gules, the cotises are a secondary charge group.

d. Other Types of Charges: Other kind of secondary charge groups exist. They may consist of a single charge in canton, a group of three charges around an ordinary, and the like.

For example, in the armorial submissions Argent, a bend between three roundels gules and Gules a bend and in chief a roundel gules, the roundel(s) are the secondary charge group.

3. Tertiary Charge Group: A tertiary charge group is a charge or group of charges which are entirely on another charge and are not on the field themselves. The prior Rules for Submission describe these as "charges on charges", and for conflict and style purposes the terms are generally interchangeable. Tertiary charges may be found on other types of charge groups, including an overall charge group, but not maintained charges.

A single charge group may only have one tertiary charge group on it. However, a piece of armory may have different tertiary charge groups on different underlying charge groups. Charges on tertiary charges are known as quaternary charges and are not allowed.

For example, in Argent, on a pale sable three mullets argent, the mullets are a tertiary charge group. In Argent, on a pale sable a tower between two mullets argent, where the tower and the mullets are the same size, they collectively form a tertiary charge group, and this design is registerable. However, in Argent, on a pale azure a tower and in chief a mullet argent, where the tower is significantly larger than the mullet, two distinct tertiary charge groups are formed by the tower and the mullet on the same charge, and this design is not registerable.

In Gules, a lion Or charged on the shoulder with an annulet gules, a bordure Or crescenty gules there are two tertiary charge groups: the annulet on the lion is one tertiary charge group and the crescents on the bordure are a separate tertiary charge group. This design is registerable. In Sable, three delfs Or each charged with a mullet vert, the mullets form a single tertiary charge group, as each mullet is on a delf that is part of the primary charge group. This design is also registerable.

4. Overall Charge Group: An overall charge group is a group of charges that lies partially on the field and partially on other charges. It can only appear on a design that has a primary charge group. The underlying charge is the primary charge, while the overlying charge is an overall charge. In period heraldry the overall charge is almost always a bend. An overall charge must overlie a primary charge; if there is no primary charge, the "overall" charge is the primary charge.

For example, in Argent, a lion sable, overall a bend gules the bend is the overall charge, and the lion the primary charge. However, Per pale sable and gules, overall a bend argent is not a legitimate blazon, as there is no primary charge for the bend to be "overall". This armory is simply Per pale sable and gules, a bend argent.

We do not allow overall charges to overlie peripheral ordinaries, except as an Individually Attested Pattern. When an "overall" charge and a peripheral ordinary are alone on the field, we treat the overall charge as a primary charge and expect it to lie only on the field. There can be only one overall charge group in any design.

For example, Or, a pale gules and overall a bend and in chief a mullet, where the mullet partially overlies the pale and partially lies on the field and forms a second overall charge group, cannot be registered.

5. Maintained Charges: Charges that are held by, suspended from, or are otherwise touching another charge fall into two categories. Those that are large enough to be of equal weight with the charge holding them are considered to be part of the same charge group (primary, secondary, overall, tertiary) as the charge holding them. We call these sustained charges. Those that are smaller we treat as artistic details. They are not part of any charge group. They do not contribute to difference for conflict purposes. They are allowed to violate the contrast rules, though they must have some contrast with the field so that they can remain identifiable. Despite that, they contribute to complexity count, because they still add to visual complexity. We call these charges maintained charges.

In the case of Sable, a dragon maintaining a sword argent, the sword is much smaller than the dragon and does not contribute to difference. In the case of Sable, a dragon sustaining a sword argent, the sword must be of equal visual weight with the dragon. This generally means being at least as long as the dragon is tall. It is considered part of the primary charge group with the dragon. A depiction that is unclear, with a sword that is smaller than the dragon, but still quite large, may be returned for blurring the distinction between the two possible blazons with their different implications for style and conflict.

C. Style Rules for Charge Groups: These rules lay out the standards for core style. To violate any of these rules you must document the design under the Individually Attested Pattern rules.

1. Clarity of Charge Groups: Charges in an armorial design must be clearly organized into charge groups. Depictions of charges that blur the distinction between charge groups will not be allowed. Depictions of charges that that are ambiguous as to what sort of charge group they belong to will not be allowed. Documented armorial depictions will generally be allowed, if a method for describing them in blazon can be proposed.

For example, the design a water bouget between in cross four estoiles must be clearly drawn to be either as a large primary water bouget and four smaller secondary estoiles or blazoned as in cross a water bouget and four estoiles and drawn as five large coprimary charges. If the estoiles are drawn just a little smaller than the water bouget, it is not clear if the estoiles are intended to be part of the primary charge group or a secondary charge group. Such a design cannot be registered.

Having identical types of charges in multiple charge groups on the field blurs the distinction between charge groups. Thus, it is not allowed. Identical types of charges are allowed to be both on the field and in a tertiary charge group or in two separate tertiary charge groups.

For example, Azure, a lion Or and in base a lion argent would not be registerable. Azure, a fess between three lions Or and overall a lion argent would not be registerable. However, Azure, on a fess between three lions Or, three lions sable is registerable, as is Azure, on a bend Or three lions sable and on a chief Or a lion sable.

Having two close variants of a charge in a design is confusing and makes the charge groups difficult to identify. Thus, two charges or depictions of charges that are artistic variants of one another or that otherwise are not considered to be a DC apart in type (see Armory Section Six) are not allowed in a single armorial design. So, a lion and a catamount would not both be allowed in a single design, as we do not give a DC between them. This would be true even if one were on the field and one on another charge. In precedent, this is sometimes referred to as `sword and dagger'.

For example, both Azure, a lion and a catamount combatant Or and Azure, a lion between three catamounts Or are not registerable. Azure, a lion and on a chief Or a catamount sable is not registerable. Sable, a sword and a dagger in saltire proper is not registerable, nor is Sable, a rapier between six daggers Or.

2. Simplicity of Charge Groups: A charge group is most frequently a group of a single type of charges of a single tincture in a single posture/orientation. But more complex examples are found. The rules below discuss which complex designs are allowed and which are not allowed.

a. Slot Machine: There are some period examples in which a single charge group contains charges of more than one type. Therefore, we allow two types of charges in a single charge group. Common patterns change the centermost of charges in a row or the bottommost of charges arranged two and one. However, a charge group with more than two types of charges is not allowed.

b. Mixing Ordinaries and Other Charges: While charge groups may have different types of charges, charge groups consist of either identical ordinaries or complex charges. Thus, a single charge group may not mix ordinaries with non-ordinaries or mix two types of ordinaries. A design like Or, in pale a lion and a bar gules or Sable, in pale a fess and a chevron would not be registered. Such mixtures of charges can be found in entire designs and will be registerable. Azure, a chevron argent between three lions and a chief Or is perfectly acceptable, consisting of a primary chevron and two secondary charge groups. Likewise, a design like Gules, a fess between two chevrons argent is acceptable; the fess is primary and the chevrons secondary.

c. Unity of Posture: The charges within a charge group should also be in either identical postures or an arrangement that includes posture (in cross, combatant, or in pall points outward, for example). A charge group in which postures for different charges must be blazoned individually will not be allowed without period examples of that combination of postures.

For example, a design like Argent, two lions passant respectant and a lion statant erect affronty vert would not be allowed. Likewise, a design like Azure, two pheons bendwise, and a pheon inverted Or would not be allowed. However, crescents, increscents, decrescents, and crescents pendant were used occasionally in the same armory, so armory which includes more than one of these is allowed.

d. Allowable Differences within Charge Groups: Some differences are found within charge groups. Thus there are no limitations on tincture of charges (including partitions) within a charge group. Also, a design is allowed with a tertiary charge group that is only found on part of a group of charges. Other changes not discussed here are generally assumed to be allowable.


This item was on the 08-2011 LoAR

5: Armory 4 - New Rule Change

OSCAR is unable to find the name, either registered or submitted.

Armory Section Four: Armorial Style: Overall Design

A. Types of Designs: There are three types of designs (one with sub-types) that have slightly different style rules.

1. Fielded Designs: We categorize these as devices and badges. The field creates a background for charges and creates a single design. There are no limitations to the types of charges which may appear in these designs. They may have any combination of charge groups that may be legally combined or may have no charges at all. Designs which consist only of a plain field (with no line of division) will not be registered. Therefore, Gules plain or Pean will not be registered but Per chevron gules and ermine would be registered.

2. Fieldless Designs: We categorize these as badges; devices must have a field. All the charges in these designs must touch one another to create a single self-contained design. Additionally, no charges may be used that are defined in terms of the field or its outline (bordure, chief, an ordinary that isn't couped). Fieldless designs must follow all other style rules. They must include a primary charge, and may also include secondary, overall, or tertiary charge groups.

A special subset of fieldless designs is tinctureless designs. These designs are those which do not specify a tincture for the charge or background, such as the English badge, (Tinctureless) A pheon. These designs may not currently be registered to individuals within the SCA, although some earlier registrations exist.

3. Augmentations of Honor: An augmentation is an honor bestowed by the Crown that is added to an existing primary device. An augmentation may not be added to a badge or an alternate device. An augmentation may take many forms, including but not limited to a charged canton, a charged chief, charges on a canton or chief, a charge associated with the Crown, or a charge associated with the individual receiving the honor.

While the right to an augmentation is bestowed by the Crown, its specific form must be determined through the normal registration process. Both the augmentation and the augmented device must follow the style rules and restrictions on charges. For example, the arms of a branch may not be granted as an augmentation, because they contain a laurel wreath, which cannot be registered to an individual. Because an augmentation adds complexity, augmented devices are often allowed to violate certain style rules, such as allowing charges on tertiary charges or a complexity count of greater than eight, as long as the identifiability of the design is maintained.

An augmentation that appears to be a display of independent armory, like a charged canton or a single charged escutcheon, must be treated as if it were a submission of independent armory for purposes of style, conflict, offense, and presumption. Kingdoms may designate a badge as a standard augmentation. Such a badge is considered to be grandfathered and does not need to be further checked for style, conflict, offense, or presumption.

B. Armorial Contrast: Contrast refers to the patterns of the use of tinctures in armory. All armorial submissions must meet the standards for contrast as set out here and in period practice.

1. Tinctures and their Classifications: Tinctures are primarily divided into colors and metals. Colors and metals are said to have good contrast with one another. Each tincture may be depicted in a variety of shades; contrast is determined not by their shade, but by their categorization into color and metal. Shades that are overly pastel may be considered too light to be registered; pink is not a kind of gules.

The colors are azure (blue), gules (red), sable (black), vert (green), and purpure (purple).

The metals are argent (white or silver) and Or (yellow or gold). We capitalize Or for clarity, but do not capitalize other tinctures.

Furs are a group of named patterns used as tinctures. Ermined furs are treated for purposes of tincture in the same way as their background color. Ermine (a white background with black tails) and erminois (a yellow background with black tails) are metals. Counter-ermine (a black background with white tails) and pean (a black background with yellow tails) are colors. Furs such as vair and potent (two different patterns in blue and white by default), are made up of multiple pieces and must be divided evenly between a color and a metal. They are treated as neutral, and have good contrast with both colors and metals.

Proper is a term used for a charge in its "natural" tincture. Items that were used in proper tinctures in period armory may be used. A list of proper tinctures is found in the Glossary of Terms. Any animal (not including monsters) that can be brown can be blazoned as a brown X proper. Such an animal would be expected to be completely brown, as opposed to drawn naturalistically with lighter and darker tones. Similarly, tools that can reasonably be wooden can be described as a wooden X proper, and are brown. Brown is considered to be a color, not a metal. A few monsters have a defined proper, but as they do not exist in nature, most of them do not; this includes monsters constructed from animals which can otherwise be proper.

For example, a rose proper is gules barbed vert seeded Or. Some proper animals include: a brown bear proper, a brown falcon proper, and a brown rabbit proper. Each of these should be colored entirely brown, rather than with details in other colors or tones. Tools and other wooden objects include: a wooden staff proper, a wooden barrel proper. A heraldic dolphin proper is green with red fins while a natural dolphin proper is light grey (effectively argent).

In general, charges may be described as proper when a normal person would be able to color them appropriately from knowing only the sort of item with no further color description. So, a tree, a thistle, and an elephant can be proper. On the other hand, a female American kestrel, an Arctic fox in winter phase, or a bay horse cannot be proper.

Proper charges are classified as a color, a metal, or neutral depending on their dominant tincture. Grey and caucasian skin tones are treated as a metal (equivalent to argent); brown and other darker tones are treated as a color.

[NOTE: There should be a table here, but OSCAR doesn't support tables. Please see the PDF version to see the table.]

Divided fields and charges are considered metals or colors based on the tincture class that dominates across the entire field or charge. If fields or charges are evenly divided into color and metal, they are treated as neutral and have good contrast with both colors and metals. If they are over half color, they are treated as colors, and have good contrast with metals. If they are over half metal, they are treated as metals, and have good contrast with color. This is not dependent on how much of the charge is made up of any particular tincture or fur. In general, a charge may only share a tincture with the field when both the charge and the field maintain identifiability. A charge which has details of the same color of the field will be accepted, as long as identifiability is maintained.

For example, Lozengy vert and Or, a chief Or may be registered, but the portion of the field that touches the chief must be the vert portions to maintain identifiability. Vair, a lion argent cannot be registered, because the complex outline of the lion will be obscured by the portions of white vair bells that touch the lion. Argent, a fox proper may be registerable, even though the identifying characteristic of the white-tipped tail is against a white field, but the depiction must retain identifiability.

2. General Requirements for Contrast: In general, pairings of tincture must have good contrast, meaning that they are not from the same classification. Pairings such as a color and a color or a metal and a metal are said to have poor contrast. Pairings of the same tincture are said to have no contrast, and are allowed only as artistic details within a field or charge (called diapering). The following pairings are said to have good contrast:

  • a color and a metal
  • a color and a neutral field/charge (split evenly between color and metal)
  • a metal and a neutral field/charge.

3. Contrast Requirements for Divided Fields and Charges: Divisions are categorized in terms of how many parts they create (two, three, four, and many) and whether those parts are equal or not. Equality is not based on literal size, but on the ways in which they were conceptualized in period heraldry.

a. Elements Divided in Two Parts: Elements evenly divided into two parts (per pale, per fess, per bend, per bend sinister, per chevron, per chevron inverted) may use any two tinctures or furs, as long as the two sections do not differ only by a different treatment of a base tincture. Elements that further divide one of those two parts must have good contrast between its sections. Effectively, that means that either they must be made up of a color and metal or one half must be evenly split between color and metal.

For example, a field divided per pale may consist of azure and gules, argent and Or, Or and ermine, or vert and vairy gules and argent. No field may consist of argent and ermine or gules and gules masoned Or.

For example, both per pale vair and per fess sable and Or and per fess azure and lozengy argent and azure are registerable. The following would not be registerable, because they do not have good contrast between the sections: per pale sable and per fess gules and azure, per fess ermine and lozengy argent and sable.

While we find fields or charges divided into two parts with poor contrast, we do not generally find complex lines of division separating regions with poor contrast. Thus, any pairing of low-contrast tinctures with a complex line of division must be attested in order to be registered. A list of currently allowed combinations is included in Appendix H. We also do not find fields with low-contrast tinctures separated by complex lines of division that are considerably obscured by a charge, such as by a single primary charge that is not long and narrow. Thus, divided fields with low-contrast tinctures with complex lines of division will be registered with an overlying charge only if at least half the line of division remains visible and the identity of the line of division is clear.

b. Elements Divided in Three Parts: Elements evenly divided into three parts (per pall or per pall inverted) must have one part that has good contrast with the other two parts. Two parts cannot share a background tincture.

For example, per pall azure, vert, and argent and per pall azure, vert, and checky sable and argent are both registerable. However, per pall azure, vert, and sable would not be registerable. Per pall argent, sable, and counter-ermine is also not registerable, as counter-ermine has a sable background tincture.

c. Elements Divided in Four Parts: Elements evenly divided into four parts (quarterly or per saltire) may use any two tinctures or furs, as long as they do not share a base tincture. A section of such a field may generally only be further divided in a pattern of multiple divisions.

For example, the following are all registerable: per saltire azure and gules, per saltire argent and Or, per saltire Or and ermine, and per saltire vert and vairy gules and argent. However, a field divided per saltire may not consist of argent and ermine or gules and gules masoned Or. In both cases, they share a background or base tincture and the division will not be identifiable. For example, per saltire checky azure and argent and gules is registerable.

While we find fields or charges divided into four parts with poor contrast, we do not generally find complex lines of division separating regions with poor contrast. Thus, any pairing of low-contrast tinctures with a complex line of division must be attested in order to be registered. A list of currently allowed combinations is included in Appendix H. We also do not find divided fields with low-contrast tinctures with complex lines of division that are considerably obscured by a charge, such as by a single primary charge that is not long and narrow. Thus, divided fields with low-contrast tinctures with complex lines of division will only be registered with an overlying charge if at least half the line of division remains visible and the identity of the line of division is clear.

d. Elements Divided in More than Four Parts: Elements evenly divided into more than four parts of two different tinctures or unevenly divided into multiple parts of two different tinctures must have good contrast between their parts.

For example, checky argent and gules is acceptable, but checky azure and gules is not. Barry azure and checky gules and argent is acceptable.

4. Contrast Requirements for the Placement of Charges: The contrast requirements for the placement of charges also follow the general requirements in Section 2 above.

a. Placement of Charges: Charges must have good contrast with the background on which they are placed. Primary, secondary, and overall charge groups are considered to be placed on the field and must have good contrast with it. Tertiary charge groups are considered to be placed on a charge and must have good contrast with that charge.

Charges that are placed in contact with one another or lying over one another do not have to have good contrast, though they must retain identifiability, as described below.

b. Identifiability: Charges and fields must retain identifiability. A field that is neutral may have good contrast with a charge that shares a tincture with it, but it may only be registered if both the charge and the field remain identifiable. Thus, the field and charges on it may share a tincture only if (1) the charges appear only on a section of the field with a different tincture or (2) the field is multiply divided and the charge(s) is an ordinary or simple geometric shape arranged in a way that both the type of field division and charge are clearly identifiable.

For example, Per pale gules and argent semy of billets gules is acceptable, because the red billets are only and entirely on the white part of the field. For example, both Vair, a chief argent or Checky Or and vert, a lozenge vert can be acceptable.

Even if it meets these requirements, a particular depiction may still be unclear as to the identity of the field and the charge that lies on it; such a depiction will not be registered. In general, any depiction that creates a situation in which predominantly low contrast sections of a multiply divided field and charge(s) are adjacent is likely to have identifiability issues.

For example, if the design Vair, a chief argent were drawn so that the vair bells against the chief were nearly completely argent, it would be difficult to identify the nature of the chief and would not be registerable.

Similarly, when a primary charge and an overall charge that overlies it share a tincture or have poor contrast (which will generally be true), the identity of the primary charge and the overall charge must remain clear.

C. Armorial Simplicity: Period armory was mostly simple in nature, having only a few charge groups on the field and a few tinctures.

1. Arrangement of Charge Groups: Charge groups must be arranged upon the field in a period fashion.

All arrangements of two or fewer charge groups on the field are considered compatible with period style, except for the list in Appendix I. All arrangements of three or more charge groups on the field must be documented; a list of already documented groups of three or more charge groups is given in Appendix I.

2. Complexity Count: We require that any submission not exceed a certain "complexity count," measured by adding the number of types of charges to the number of tinctures. An armorial submission may not have a complexity count of more than eight without further documentation. Items with a complexity count of eight or less receive no penalty for complexity. Furs, such as ermine and vair, count as a single tincture separate from their component tinctures. Charges that have different names in different tinctures or orientations (roundels, crescents, gouttes) are considered one type regardless of the term used for them. All charges, including maintained charges, are counted, though objects worn by an animal or person do not. All tinctures are counted except those used for normally unblazoned artistic details like teeth claws, and eyes. Proper is not a tincture, but a description of a group of tinctures. A rose proper has three tinctures, each of which is counted for complexity.

An item with a complexity count of nine or higher that follows a period pattern of charges and tinctures may be registered. In general a design with a step from period practice is not considered to follow such a pattern. More complex designs (like those typical of the early Tudor period) are found, but must be registered as Individually Attested Patterns.

3. Other Measures of Complexity: Any design that includes more than two types of non-ordinary charges (excluding maintained charges) must follow an attested pattern for armory, some of which are given in Appendix I. Branch arms may ignore the required charges (laurel wreaths and crowns) in counting this, to offset the required complexity.

4. Excessively Simple Designs: Designs that consist only of a single tincture will not be registered. Designs must consist at least of a divided field or a plain field with at least one charge. Likewise, designs that consist only of letters or other abstract symbols will not be registered. This is because their registration might limit someone from using their initials or a written version of their name or motto. Designs like these may be used by anyone. They simply cannot be registered.

5. Steps From Period Practice: Steps from period practice are elements that are not found in period European armory, but that are extensions of elements that are so found. No submission may have more than one step from period practice; this allows the submitter some flexibility. Submissions with more than one step from period practice may be registered only by demonstrating that (1) the entire design is appropriate for a single non-European style of armory under the Individually Attested Pattern rules or (2) that one of the "steps from period practice" is actually found in period European armory.

D. Voiding and Fimbriation: Voiding and fimbriation are terms that describe the situation in which the interior of the charge is a different color than a strip around the outside of the charge. The term voiding is used for the case in which the interior part of the charge is the same color as the field. The term fimbriation is used for the case in which the interior part of the charge is of a different color than the field.

Voiding and fimbriation may only be used with ordinaries or simple geometric charges when they are part of a primary charge group. Peripheral ordinaries may not be voided or fimbriated, nor may other secondary, tertiary, or overall charges. All central ordinaries may be voided or fimbriated, even those with complex lines, as long as there are no breaks in the outline of the ordinary. A simple geometric charge is a charge that, when drawn at a smaller scale, will continue to match the outline of the larger charge closely.

For example, a pale rayonny and a fess dancetty may be fimbriated, while a chevron rompu or a bend bevilled may not be fimbriated, as the latter are broken in their outlines. Simple geometric charges include lozenges, roundels, delfs, and mullets. However, as counter examples, estoiles and suns are not simple.

Voiding and fimbriation is generally used with a single central charge. For this reason, voiding and fimbriation may only be used with charge groups that contain more than three charges with documentation of such a pattern. Additionally, voided charges may not be registered in fieldless designs, as they do not have a field that can show through the voided portion of the charge.

For example, a design like Azure, three delfs voided Or would be registered, but Azure semy of delfs voided Or would not be. Also, while Azure, a mullet voided argent is registerable, (Fieldless) A mullet voided argent is not, as the voided area would not have a defined tincture.

Charges which are voided as part of their type, such as mascles, are not affected by these restrictions. They may even be tertiary charges or maintained charges, and may be used in fieldless designs.

Armorial designs with voided or fimbriated charges must be considered for purposes of conflict as equivalent to several designs. See A6.C for further details.

E. Designs that Are Not Allowed: Some designs are not allowed, as they are too far from period armorial design.

1. Overly Pictorial: Designs may not be overly pictorial, defined as a relatively naturalistic depiction of a scene. Tincture alone does not create an overly pictorial impression. Any design which can be found in period armory is not overly pictorial.

For example, we do not consider the use of per fess azure and vert to be an unmistakable representation of the sky and ground, so it does not by itself cause a design to be overly pictorial. For example, Azure, a wolf passant argent atop a trimount vert is a design found in Hungarian armory, and thus is not considered overly pictorial.

2. Excessively Naturalistic: Heraldic beasts and plants are generally depicted in stylized heraldic depictions, postures, and tinctures. Postures other than those defined heraldic postures are not allowed. While depictions that are somewhat more naturalistic than the flat stylized depictions of heraldic charges will be registered, animals and plants may not be drawn in trian aspect (with perspective) or in ways that require detailed zoological knowledge to identify or reproduce.

Designs that use multiple types of proper charges may be allowed only if the overall design and the sorts of proper charges used are compatible with period style. Any design which is attested in period armory is not overly naturalistic.

For example, Argent, a brown bear and in canton a rose proper would be allowed, but Or, an orca and in chief a loon between two penguins proper would not.

3. Obtrusively Modern: A design that makes an overt reference to modern insignia or designs may be considered obtrusively modern. References that require explanation to be seen as modern or are close to `core style' period armory will not be returned under this rule (though they may be returned for presumption, if the insignia are protected).

Examples include using a bend within a bordure gules to parody the international "No Entry" sign, variations on the geometric Peace sign, and so forth.

4. Excessive Counterchanging: While counterchanging was common in period armory, it was used mainly with two or four part divisions of the field. Counterchanging of charges over more complex field divisions (barry, gyronny, etc.) is allowed with a semy or similar group of charges, as each charge is likely to be small enough that it is entirely on a single portion of the field. The counterchanging of a single charge over a field division with more than four sections must be documented as a period practice to be allowed. Central ordinaries may be counterchanged over other simple ordinaries, as there are a few examples of patterns like Argent, a pile sable, overall a chevron counterchanged in late period England. Any other counterchanging of charges over other charges must similarly be documented as a period practice.

5. Unacceptable Heraldic Art: While we do not require the submitter to be a brilliant artist, we do require that a good faith effort be made to depict the submitted armory adequately.

a. Excessively Modern Depictions: Depictions that are excessively modern may be returned. This includes, but is not limited to: depictions from comic books and video games, the use of post-1600 art techniques like Impressionism or pointillism, and fantasy art from book covers.

b. Ambiguous Depictions: Depictions that are ambiguous as to what charge, posture, tincture, etc. is being depicted will be returned. It does not matter whether the cause is lack of drawing ability or the intentional depiction of something that is ambiguous. This is because we give difference between many different charges, postures, tinctures, etc., and there would be no way to blazon the submission either to make it clear how to reproduce it or what it should be in conflict with. Many charges have key identifying characteristics which must be depicted in order to be registerable.

For example, a lion must have a mane and tufted tail and a fox proper must have the white tip of its tail readily identifiable. Many animals dormant look the same, so care should be taken to make the depiction identifiable. A charge colored as teal or blue-green may be returned because it is ambiguous between azure and vert.

c. Reproducibility of Depictions: Depictions that require the careful description of the relative positions of charges, tinctures, etc. in order to produce a visual effect cannot be registered. Designs must be able to be described in standard heraldic terms to be registerable.

For example, we do not use terms like honor point to describe locations on the field. We do not have terms to describe the tinctures of a jester's hat in which each point is a different color.


This item was on the 08-2011 LoAR

6: Armory 5 - New Rule Change

OSCAR is unable to find the name, either registered or submitted.

Armory Section Five: Individually Attested Patterns

A. Definitions: Any armorial design may violate any or all style rules if it can be documented as a period design. We call such a design an Individually Attested Pattern. Under the prior rules and in precedent, these were called Documented Exceptions. Documentation under the individually attested pattern rules does not exempt a design from conflict, pretense, presumption, or offense rules.

Any submissions documented under this section of the rules must be able to have the overall design blazoned in Western European blazon, including tinctures; if necessary, when there is no Western European term for a charge, the name of a charge from a foreign language may be registerable on a case by case basis, presuming that a term can be found which will allow reproduction from the blazon. If the submission is not blazonable without inventing new terms or importing terms from outside Europe for tinctures, arrangement, or other style features of blazon, the submission will not be registered.

For example, we will not use the blazon terms dark or light. A cross Osmorog will be blazoned as a cross fourchy between the tines of each fork a roundel argent, as this is the standard blazon for this charge.

B. What Must Be Documented: Every violation of the style rules must be documented. If a device violates multiple rules, designs that break those rules in combination should be documented, although additional examples of each violation may suffice, as described below. Moreover, the overall design must be compatible with the types of designs that break the rules. In general, examples must match the submission in style and complexity.

For example, Gules, a fess sable is not evidence for Gules, on a fess sable between three mullets argent three bezants nor is it evidence for Gules, a lion sable.

C. Number and origin of examples: The number of cases that must be used to demonstrate a pattern of usage depends on how closely they match the submission in style.

1. Source and Style: All examples should come from a single heraldic style or culture; the submissions should match the style of that culture as well. Armory which uses charges from cultures outside of the core style should not use arrangements or charges which are not found in that culture.

For example, Sable, a torii gate Or between three panthers argent, spotted of many tinctures would not be registerable as an Individually Attested Pattern, as it mixes charges from both Japanese and Western Europe.

2. Independence: Only independent devices count as examples. Multiple depictions of the same design, or of arms cadenced from an original device, are not independent examples. In general, two depictions of an identical armorial design or very closely related armorial designs from the same part of Europe will be considered not to be independent examples unless their owners can be identified and confirmed to be unrelated.

Some elements or combinations of elements are so closely associated with one family that finding multiple independent examples seems improbable. If independent examples cannot be found, such an element will not be registerable under the individually attested pattern rules.

One example is the design often labeled "Mortimer": Barry Or and azure, on a chief azure two pallets between two gyrons Or and overall an escutcheon argent. While it appears in different tinctures, it is always associated with that family; therefore, there is only one example of this combination of elements.

3. Number: In general, three closely matching examples of the exact practice are sufficient to demonstrate a pattern. Even when closely matching examples are not found, six examples that bracket the submission in complexity should be sufficient. In no case will multiple examples of a pattern with ordinaries be sufficient evidence of that pattern for animate charges (though that pattern with ordinaries and complex charges could certainly be). Likewise, in no case will multiple examples of an element or combination of elements in simple designs be sufficient evidence for that same pattern in complex designs. However, the use of an element or combination of elements in complex designs may allow its use in simpler designs.

For submissions with multiple violations of the style rules, three closely matching examples which all include all of the violations or six independent examples of each violation will be sufficient. If no example of the combination can be found, six independent examples of each practice should be sufficient to give the submitter the benefit of the doubt that the practices might have been used together. As with violations of a single practice, the examples should be of comparable complexity.


This item was on the 08-2011 LoAR

7: Armory 6 - New Rule Change

OSCAR is unable to find the name, either registered or submitted.

Armory Section Six: Armory Conflict

A. Definitions and General Principles: To be registered, a new submission must be clear of conflict with all registered armory. Conflict is both a period concept regarding undue confusion and a part of the requirement in the Governing Documents that armory has sufficient difference to avoid undue confusion. There are two types of confusion a submission must avoid. The first is confusion of identity and is based on the ideas of visual similarity and heraldic equivalency. In this case, confusion is caused by the appearance of owning armory that is the same as or has effectively no difference from registered armory which actually belongs to someone else. The second is confusion of relationship and is based on the idea that sons would use armory that was similar to but differenced or cadenced from that of their fathers.

The steps by which sons would difference their arms from their father's arms were sometimes known as cadency steps, and the standards which developed for these differences are collectively called "cadency". Cadency in our period was a complex, changing set of guidelines that varied widely. These rules are designed to treat as cadency steps most of the important period forms of cadency, while ignoring changes that were used rarely or only in exceptional cases.

In general, we require two armorial designs to have a level of difference greater than a single cadency step, so that they do not make the claim to be close relatives of each other or confuse their identities. This can be either a single greater change (of the sort used between strangers in blood) or two changes that are cadency steps or their equivalent. Two designs which differ in one of these ways are said to be clear of conflict, or "independent designs". In some cases, two armorial designs, despite having sufficient technical differences, may have overwhelming similarity, causing undue confusion and thus be in conflict.

In general, we call changes which are equivalent to cadency steps "distinct changes", abbreviated as DC. Older rulings may refer to these types of changes as "significant differences", "clear differences", "CD"s, or even "clear visual differences" and "CVD"s. There are other types of changes which are greater than that, normally seen between "strangers in blood" rather than related individuals. We call these larger changes substantial changes. Older rulings regarding substantial changes may also refer to "X.2", a section of the rules from that time. There are also changes which are smaller than a cadency step - these sorts of changes were often understood as artistic variation or details which could be included or omitted. These changes do not contribute to difference between two armorial designs, no matter how many of them there are.

B. Armory Protected from Conflict: To be clear of conflict, a new submission must be clear of conflict with all registered armory. A piece of armory is registered and protected from the moment it is listed as accepted on a published Letter of Acceptances and Returns. As soon as possible, registered armory will be listed in the Ordinary and Armorial, but it is protected as soon as the Letter of Acceptances and Return is published.

C. Comparisons of Armory: When considering armory for purposes of possible conflict, all reasonable blazons for a specific design must be considered. You may not blazon your way out of a conflict. Blazons that are unregisterable under our core style rules (such as blazons that would produce quaternary charges or contrast issues) or that require unlikely understandings of an armorial design do not need to be considered for conflict purposes, unless the unregisterable blazon is due to the use of an Individually Attested Pattern or is the blazon of a piece of registered armory.

For example, a pile inverted is equivalent visually to per chevron, while a lozenge throughout is equivalent to vĂȘtu. However, Gules, a fess Or is not equivalent to Or, a chief and a base gules, as this is an unlikely understanding of the armorial design. Gules, a tree within an annulet argent is not equivalent to Gules, on a roundel argent, a roundel gules charged with a tree argent because this requires the tree to be a quaternary charge.

Armorial designs with voided or fimbriated charges must be considered for purposes of conflict as equivalent to several designs. Voiding may be considered the equivalent of the outside stripe(s), of an artistic detail worth no difference, and as a base charge with a tertiary charge. Fimbriation is mostly equivalent - it can be either an artistic detail worth no difference, or as base charge with a tertiary charge. It cannot be considered the equivalent of two charges, because no legitimate blazon would cause the space between the charges to have a different tincture than the field.

For example, Azure, a mullet voided argent is equivalent to Azure, a mullet argent, and Azure, on a mullet argent another azure. Fimbriation is mostly equivalent; the design Or, a mullet argent fimbriated gules is equivalent to Or, a mullet argent and Or, on a mullet gules another argent.

For example, Argent, a bend Or fimbriated gules is not equivalent to Argent, a bend Or between two bendlets gules because this is an illegal blazon - the Or bend cannot lie on an argent field. Argent, two bendlets gules is not equivalent to Argent, a bend argent fimbriated gules or Argent, on a bend gules a bendlet argent because we do not allow ordinaries of the same tincture as the field, even in the form `on an ordinary, an ordinary'.

Changes that are smaller than a cadency step, as described below, do not contribute to difference between two armorial designs, no matter how many of them there are. These sorts of changes were often understood as artistic variation or details which could be included or omitted in display of the armory. This includes maintained charges and differences in artistic style which do not result in a blazonable difference, including details like arming and languing. It also includes minor variation in the placement of charges and changes in outline due to different artistic representations. Additionally, for certain charge types, all variants of that charge are considered equivalent for conflict purposes.

For example, a lion Or armed gules, where the claws and teeth are red, would not be different from a lion Or, where the lion is wholly gold, nor would either be different from a lion Or langued azure, where the mouth is open with a blue tongue. A moon in her plenitude, with a face on it, would not be different from either a moon or a roundel. Similarly, a dragon maintaining a sword would not be different from either a dragon maintaining a mouse or a dragon and the exact positioning of the maintained sword would likewise not matter.

For example, a lion is not different from any other type of natural feline. This includes, but is not limited to: a domestic cat, a catamount, a mountain lion, a panther, a tiger, and so on. However, it is different from a heraldic tyger, which is a heraldic monster. Other types which include many variants are dogs (which includes wolves) and swords.

D. Visual Conflict: Despite being clear of conflict under the rules below, some armorial designs and elements are still too visually similar to be considered clear of conflict.

1. Visually Equivalent Blazons: The use of different terminology to describe two designs that are visually similar does not affect any potential for conflict that may exist. Another way of putting this rule is simply: you can't blazon your way out of a conflict. Two charges can also be overly visually similar, though period depictions of charges that were considered different in period will generally be considered to be different (at least a distinct change (DC) apart).

For example, Or, a fess vert is not different from Vert, a chief and a base Or even though the two blazons should theoretically have sufficient difference.

2. Overall Design: Occasionally, two arrangements of charges may create an overall design that is essentially identical. In general, any significant visual difference between the designs will be enough to give the submitter the benefit of the doubt.

For example, a rose and overall a sword argent is not different from a sword and overall a rose argent, though the arrangement a rose Or and overall a sword argent is easily distinguishable from a sword argent and overall a rose Or.

E. Difference Through Single Substantial Changes: A new submission that differs from a piece of protected armory by one of the following changes does not conflict with the piece of protected armory. These are the types of changes that were not commonly used for cadency; they are the kind of changes most likely to be seen between unrelated people - "strangers in blood".

1. Adding or Removing a Primary Charge Group: Addition or deletion of the primary charge group was not used for cadency in any serious way. Therefore, the addition or deletion of the primary charge group automatically creates an independent design. A new submission does not conflict with any protected armory if it adds or removes a primary charge group from the protected armory.

For example, Argent, two mullets gules does not conflict with Argent, a pale between two mullets gules, because it removes the primary pale. Vert, a lion rampant Or and a chief indented argent does not conflict with Vert, a chief indented argent, because it adds a primary lion.

2. Substantial Change of Type of Primary Charge Group: Changes of type of the primary charge group were not usually used to indicate any form of cadency. Therefore, a new submission which substantially changes the type of each primary charge from a piece of protected armory does not conflict with it. In precedent, this type of change is called X.2 different or substantially different. Charges which are significantly different generally do not qualify under this rule, as `significant' refers to a lower standard of difference.

Argent, a fess sable does not conflict with Argent, a lion sable. Vert, two eagles and a maunche argent does not conflict with Vert, three lozenges argent. Azure, a fess between three cups Or does not conflict with Azure, a chevron between three cups Or. In each case the type of every primary charge has been substantially changed.

Per chevron gules and argent, three oak trees counterchanged does not clear conflict with Per chevron gules and argent, two mullets and an oak tree counterchanged under this rule because not all of the primary charges have been substantially changed. However, Per chevron gules and argent, two oak trees and a mullet counterchanged does not conflict with Per chevron gules and argent, two mullets and an oak tree counterchanged. Here, the type of each primary charge has been changed even though the charge groups share charges.

3. Change of Number in Primary Charge Group: After the practice of heraldry became common, changing the number of primary charges between small numbers was more likely to produce arms looking more like those of a stranger in blood than a relative. Changes between larger numbers were more difficult to distinguish, and remained in use as cadency. Therefore, a new submission which substantially changes the number of charges in the primary charge group from a protected piece of armory does not conflict with it. A primary charge group with one, two, or three charges does not conflict with armory having a primary charge group with any other number or semy. A primary charge group with four or more charges, including semy of charges, does not clear conflict under this rule with armory whose primary charge group has four or more charges, including semy. That is:

[NOTE: There should be a table here, but OSCAR does not support tables. Please see the PDF version for the table; it visually represents the same information as above.]

For example, Sable, a mascle Or does not conflict with any of: Sable, two mascles Or; Sable, three mascles Or; Sable, four mascles Or; Sable, five mascles Or; Sable, six mascles Or; Sable, semy of mascles Or. Additionally, Per chevron Or and azure, two trees proper and a nesselblatt Or does not conflict with Per chevron Or and azure, a tree proper. In each case, the number of primary charges has substantially changed.

Gules, four boars two, and two argent does not clear conflict under this rule with Gules, semy of boars argent because both have four or more boars. Per fess Or and purpure, a rose proper and a mullet Or does not clear conflict under this rule with Per fess Or and purpure, a rose proper and a maunche Or because the number of charges remains two in both cases.

4. Change of Arrangement of the Primary Charge Group: Changing the arrangement of the primary charges was not used to indicate cadency, although some numbers of charges have standard arrangements which were almost always used. Therefore, a new submission which substantially changes the arrangement of the primary charges from a piece of protected armory does not conflict with it unless the change of arrangement is forced by the field. We have examples of cadency in period in which the only change is to the field, and the charges are forced to shift. Thus, in cases where armory has an arrangement which is forced by the field, no difference can be obtained for arrangement of those charges. The following are substantially different from each other; other arrangements cannot apply this rule.

  • in pale
  • in fess
  • in bend
  • in bend sinister
  • in saltire, two and two and other grid-like arrangements
  • in cross
  • triangular arrangements which point downwards, such as two and one and three, two, and one
    This does not include one and two, which points upwards.
  • in orle and in annulo

For example, Gules, in fess two lions argent does not conflict with Gules, in pale two lions argent or with Gules, in bend two lions argent or with Gules, in bend sinister two lions argent because the arrangement of the lions is substantially different. Per saltire Or and argent, in cross four mullets gules does not conflict with Per saltire Or and argent, in saltire four mullets gules because in cross is substantially different from in saltire. Argent, six mullets gules, two, two, and two does not conflict with Argent, eight mullets in orle gules because the six mullets are in a grid-like arrangement and the eight mullets are in orle.

For example, Quarterly gules and argent, two ravens argent does not clear conflict under this rule from Gules, in fess two ravens argent, because the in bend position of the ravens in the first item are forced there by the field - the white ravens could not overlap either of the white quarters.

5. Change of Posture of the Primary Charge Group: Changing the posture or orientation of a charge was not used to indicate cadency in period. Therefore, a new submission which shares no postures or orientations of the primary charges from a piece of protected armory does not conflict with it, when the posture of the individual charges can be meaningfully compared. However, there are a number of situations in which a display of armory can appear to be reversed, such as in silk banners; therefore, contourny or reversed charges are not substantially different from regular or non-reversed ones. Charges which fall into separate categories of animate charges do not have comparable postures; animate charges and inanimate charges do not have comparable postures or orientations.

For example, Per fess gules and azure, a hound courant and a mullet argent does not clear conflict under this rule with Per fess gules and azure, a hound rampant and a dragon passant argent because, while the hounds are in different postures, a mullet and a dragon do not have comparable postures or orientations.

a. Animate Charges: Animate charges are considered to fall into categories for posture based on their type. Within those categories, there are groups of postures which are each considered substantially different from other groups in that category. Charges in different categories do not have comparable postures for this rule.

Quadrupeds, including winged ones such as dragons, have comparable postures, in the following groups:

  • rampant, segreant, salient, sejant erect, sejant, and the contourny versions of these
  • courant, passant, statant, couchant, dormant, and the contourny versions of these
  • affronty, sejant affronty

Birds have comparable postures, in the following groups:

  • displayed

  • close, naiant and the contourny versions of these
  • rising, striking, roussant, and the contourny versions of these

Fish have comparable postures, in the following groups.

  • haurient, urinant
  • naiant, naiant contourny

Insects and other creatures normally found in tergiant positions have comparable postures, following the same categories as inanimate charges (Section F.3.e.2 below). For example, butterflies are compact charges, while dragonflies are long charges.

Other animate postures may be given substantial difference between comparable creatures on a case by case basis.

For example, Gules, a rabbit passant Or does not conflict with Gules, a rabbit rampant Or or with Gules, a rabbit sejant affronty Or. Gules, a rabbit passant Or does not clear conflict under this rule with Gules, a rabbit couchant contourny Or because passant and couchant contourny are in the same category. Vert, three eagles displayed vair does not conflict with Vert, three eagles close vair. Azure, a dragonfly volant in arriere does not conflict with Azure, a dragonfly tergiant fesswise because the dragonfly effectively changes from in pale to in fess.

Sable, a lion dormant argent does not clear conflict under this rule with Sable, a lion statant argent and with Sable, a lion dormant contourny argent because these postures are not substantially different. Argent, two dragons combatant vert does not clear conflict under this rule with Argent, in fess two dragons rampant vert because each share one rampant dragon; combatant is blazonry shorthand for `in fess one beast rampant contourny and another rampant'. Argent, a fish haurient gules does not clear conflict under this rule with Argent, a fish urinant gules because the reversal does not create a meaningful visual difference. Purpure, semy of stags courant Or does not clear conflict under this rule with Purpure, six stags couchant Or because neither the postures nor the number of charges are substantially different.

b. Inanimate Charges: Inanimate charges also may be divided into two categories: compact charges and long charges.

Compact (generally square or round) inanimate charges such as pheons and crescents are not generally considered to have comparable postures or orientations for the purposes of this rule.

Inanimate charges with a long axis, like swords and arrows, are considered to have some comparable orientations in certain groupings, each of which are considered substantially different from other groups:

  • palewise and palewise inverted
  • fesswise and fesswise reversed
  • bendwise, bend sinisterwise, and their inverted or reversed forms

Or, two straight trumpets palewise purpure does not conflict with Or, two straight trumpets fesswise purpure, but it does not clear conflict under this rule with Or, two straight trumpets palewise inverted purpure. Azure, a sword fesswise proper does not conflict with Azure, a sword bendwise inverted, but it does not clear conflict under this rule with Azure, a sword fesswise reversed proper because the two orientations are not substantially different. Counter-ermine, a tower bendwise sinister argent does not clear conflict under this rule with Counter-ermine, a tower bendwise argent because these two orientations are not substantially different. Gules, a mullet argent does not clear conflict under this rule with Gules, a mullet inverted argent because the inversion of the (five-pointed) mullet does not create a meaningful visual difference.

6. Substantial Change of Field for Field-Primay Armory: This rule applies only to field-primary armory, as defined in A3.B.1., armory which has no primary charge group. This includes armory with peripheral ordinaries, whether they are charged or uncharged. A new field-primary submission does not conflict with a piece of protected piece of field-primary armory if the two fields have a substantially different partition or tincture as defined below.

Field-primary armory may also clear conflict by having two independent changes, including two independent changes to the field itself. This is a special allowance for field-primary armory. The standards for those changes are the same as those laid out in F.1 below.

a. Substantial Change of Partition: A new field-primary submission with a substantially changed partition is clear of any other piece of protected field-primary armory.

1. Any divided field has a substantially changed partition from any plain field. The multiply divided furs are considered plain fields for this purpose.

For example, Per pale azure and vert is substantially different from Vert, and thus clear of conflict with it. It would also be substantially different from Vair or Potent.

2. A change in direction of the lines of partition creates a substantial change of partition. Most of the standard lines of division are substantially different. Any field division which differs only by the number of partitions in a single direction is not substantially different. The pairs per bend and bendy, per bend sinister and bendy sinister, per chevron and chevronelly, per fess and barry, and per pale and paly are not substantially different. Each of the above mentioned divisions is otherwise substantially different from all other divisions. Therefore, the pairs chevronelly and paly, per bend and per bend sinister, etc., are substantially different. In addition, per saltire, quarterly, gyronny (of any number of pieces), per pall, and per pall inverted are clear of all other divisions.

For example, Per pale argent and gules is clear of Per fess argent and gules or Per chevron argent and gules.

Quarterly and per saltire are substantially different from all other four-part divisions (like per pale and per chevron or per bend and per fess). The other four-part divisions are only substantially different from one another if they share no lines of division in common. All four-part divisions are all substantially different from divisions that split the field evenly into more than four partitions.

Checky is substantially different from all other fields. While checky is substantially different from all other grid-like partitions (i.e., those formed by two sets of parallel lines, like lozengy and barry-bendy); these other grid-like partitions are not substantially different from one another. This is because they all create a general impression of lozenges of some sort. These grid-like partitions are all substantially different from partitions that split the field into six or fewer partitions.

For example, Barry and per pale argent and vert is substantially different from Checky argent and vert, but does not clear conflict under this rule from Bendy and per pale argent and vert.

Lines of division not mentioned here explicitly may be determined to be substantially different on a case by case basis.

As a reference, these categories are all substantially different from each other, but not from items within the category:

  • per pale, paly
  • per fess, barry
  • per bend, bendy
  • per bend sinister, bendy sinister
  • gyronny (any number of pieces)
  • per pall
  • per pall inverted
  • per saltire
  • quarterly
  • other divisions into four parts
    (may have substantial difference between themselves, if they share no lines in common, such as per pale and per chevron compared to per fess and per bend sinister)
  • party of six
  • checky
  • lozengy and all other grid-like partitions (such as barry bendy and per pale and chevronelly)

b. Substantial Change of Tincture: If a new field-primary submission has no tinctures in common with a protected piece of armory, they do not conflict. If a new submission with a field divided into two to four sections has changed the tincture of each section and has at least one tincture that is not shared between the fields, the two are substantially different and do not conflict. The tinctures of peripheral ordinaries and charges on them are not counted for this rule.

Furs are considered to be different from one another and, for ermine-type furs, from their base tincture. The addition of a field treatment is also a change of tincture.

For example, Per chevron azure and gules and Per chevron sable and argent do not conflict, because they do not share a tincture. Per pale azure and gules and Per pale gules and argent do not conflict, because they are a type of field division with two sections, they have changed the tincture of each section, and they have a tincture that differs. Similarly, Quarterly azure and gules, a bordure argent and Quarterly gules and Or a bordure argent do not conflict because they are four-section field divisions, they have changed the tincture of each section, and they have a tincture that differs - the tincture of the bordure is not relevant.

On the other hand, Per pale azure and gules and Per pale gules and azure do not clear conflict under this rule because they do not have different tinctures. Paly azure and gules and Paly gules and argent do not clear conflict under this rule because they are divided into multiple sections (such that the order of the tinctures makes little visual difference) and they share a tincture.

Per bend ermine and azure is substantially different from Per bend erminois and gules and from Per bend argent and sable. Per fess argent and gules is substantially different from Per fess argent masoned gules and sable.

F. Difference through Two Distinct Changes: A distinct change or DC is the sort of change that was generally used as a cadency step or is similar in visual weight and meaning to the sorts of changes that were used as cadency steps. Any new design which has two DCs from a protected design does not conflict with it. In older precedent, two charges which have a DC between them may be said to be significantly different, or that there is a CD between them; in current precedent they are said to be distinctly different, or that there is a DC between them. Charges that are substantially different have at least a DC between them.

When comparing two armorial designs, the following procedures are followed:

We count changes, additions, and removals in terms of the charge groups they affect, so that removing multiple charges from a single group is only one DC. Removing charges from multiple charge groups may give multiple DCs.

For example, there is one DC between the designs Argent, in fess a crescent between two escallops azure and Argent, an escallop azure, but two DCs between Argent, two escallops and in chief a crescent azure and Argent, an escallop azure. In the first case, the removed charges are both part of a primary charge group. In the second, the removed charges are split between two charge groups.

Within a single charge group, changes that can be described as the addition or removal of certain charges are treated as a single DC. When the changes cannot be simply described as an addition or removal of charges, the entire charge group must be compared as a whole.

For example, there is one DC between Sable, three water bougets Or and Sable, a water bouget Or or Sable, three water bougets and a mullet Or. There are two DCs between Sable, three water bougets Or and Sable, two water bougets Or and two mullets Or. In the last case, the differences cannot be described as addition or removal of charges alone and the charge groups differ in number (three vs. four) and type (all water bougets vs. half mullets).

1. Changes to the Field: Significantly changing the tinctures, direction of partition lines, style of partition lines, or number of pieces in a partition of the field is one distinct change (DC). For armory with a primary charge group, at most one DC can come from changes to the field. Field-primary armory can be cleared of conflict by substantial changes to the field as described in Section E.6 above, through two distinct changes under this rule, or through two distinct changes under any combination of rules here in Section F.

For example, Lozengy Or and azure, a lion gules has only one DC from Paly argent and sable, a lion gules, even though these fields are dramatically different.

a. Tinctures: If the tincture of at least half the field is changed, the fields will be considered different enough to be a distinct change (DC). There is a DC for swapping the tinctures of a field evenly divided into two, three, or four parts. There is not a DC for swapping the tinctures of a field divided into more than four parts. Furs and field treatments are considered different from their underlying tincture.

There is a DC between Quarterly argent and azure, a lion gules and Quarterly azure and argent, a lion gules. There is not a DC, on the other hand, between Checky argent and azure, a lion gules and Checky azure and argent, a lion gules. Each of the following is a DC from the other two: Argent, a tree vert, Ermine, a tree vert and Argent masoned sable, a tree vert. In each case, the field tincture is significantly changed. There is a DC between Per pall sable, gules, and argent and both Per pall azure, gules, and Or and Per pall gules, argent, and sable. In each case at least half of the field tincture has been changed.

b. Direction of Partition Lines: A change of direction of partition lines creates a distinct change (DC). The major single partition lines include: per bend, per bend sinister, per pale, per fess, and per chevron; a change from one to another (whether as single lines or multiple forms) is a DC. In addition, a change from any of these to per saltire, quarterly, gyronny (of any number of pieces), per pall, and per pall inverted, checky, and lozengy or a change between any of these is considered a DC. A change in direction of half the lines of a design gives a DC, so that the change from barry bendy to paly barry is a DC. In general, the addition, removal, or change of a partition line or group of partition lines that changes organization of tinctures in ways that affect half the tincture will be considered a DC, so that there is a DC between Barry wavy azure and argent and Per pale and barry wavy azure and argent.

c. Style of Partition lines: A change of style of half the partition lines is a distinct change (DC). A change from a plain line to a complex line is a distinct change (DC). Differences between types of complex lines are discussed in Appendix L.

d. Number of pieces: Changing the number of pieces into which the field is divided is a distinct change (DC). When considering the overall number of pieces, more than four pieces are considered the same, but smaller numbers are considered different. Alternately, changes that only affect half of an already divided field can give a DC; in that case, more than three pieces are considered the same.

There is a DC between Per chevron gules and argent, a pale azure and Chevronelly gules and argent, a pale azure. There is a DC between Quarterly Or and sable, a lion gules and Checky Or and sable, a lion gules. There is a DC between Per pale azure and argent and Per pale azure and bendy argent and gules. In each case, the change of number of pieces is significant. There is no DC between Gyronny of six ermine and vert, a roundel sable and Gyronny (of eight) ermine and vert, a roundel sable nor between Barry wavy of six argent and azure, a dolphin gules and the same design drawn with more traits.

The one exception is party of six, which is divided in a different pattern (effectively per fess and paly of three) and was seen as a distinct field division in period. Therefore, it is a DC from checky and designs that create large numbers of lozenges (like paly bendy). It is not a DC from designs like Paly and per fess which create the same overall impression.

e. Fieldless Armory: A piece of fieldless armory automatically has one distinct change (DC) from any other armory, fielded or fieldless. Tinctureless armory is treated as fieldless armory for this purpose. Tinctureless designs are those which do not specify a tincture for the charge or background, such as the English badge, (Tinctureless) A pheon. Note that tinctureless armory is no longer registerable other than heraldic seals, but some historical registrations to individuals exist. However, no DC may be given for tincture of charges when comparing a tinctureless badge to another design, including for line or direction of division and number of pieces.

2. Adding or Removing a Charge Group: Adding or removing a secondary, tertiary, or overall charge group is a distinct change (DC). The addition and removal of a primary charge gives greater difference and is treated under Section E.1 above. Multiple DCs may be derived from adding or removing different groups.

There is one DC between Sable, a lion argent and Sable, a lion argent and a chief Or or Sable, a lion argent and overall a bend Or. In each case one charge group is added. There are two DCs between Sable, a lion argent and Sable a lion argent and a chief, overall a bend Or . There are also two DCs between Sable, a lion argent and on a chief Or three roses sable. In each case two charge groups are added. There are two DCs between Sable, a lion argent and a chief Or and Sable, a lion argent and overall a bend Or, as a secondary charge group has been removed and an overall charge group added.

When two pieces of armory have the same number of secondary charge groups, they may not be considered to have added or removed a secondary charge group, even if those secondary charge groups are of different types. Thus, there is a single DC between Sable, a lion argent and a chief Or and Sable, a lion argent and in canton a mullet Or, for the change in the type of the secondary charge, rather than two for removing the chief and adding the mullet.

Tertiary charge groups are considered comparable for the purposes of this rule if they are on the same charge group. Sable, a lion argent mullety gules and a chief Or is two DCs from Sable, a lion argent and a chief Or mullety gules, as the tertiary charge group on the primary charge has been removed and a tertiary charge group on the secondary charge group added. Either design is but a single DC from Sable, a lion argent and a chief Or, as in each case only one tertiary charge group has been removed.

3. Comparing Charge Groups: Only charge groups that are comparable in type should be compared for the changes described in this section (tincture, type, number, arrangement, posture, etc.). So, a primary charge group should be compared to a primary charge group only. A single secondary charge group is comparable to a single secondary charge group of any type. When there are multiple secondary charge groups, the secondary charge groups that match most closely in type should be compared - peripheral ordinary to peripheral ordinary, charges around the primary to charges around the primary, etc. For tertiary charge groups, only those charges on a comparable charge (primary, sole secondary, etc.) are comparable.

Other changes should be described as adding or removing a charge group above. For any given category below, only one DC can be derived from one type of change to a single charge group, no matter how radical the changes to it. Two DCs may be derived from multiple types of changes to a single charge group or by changes to multiple charge groups.

A change to half the charge group (by number or by area) is sufficient to be a distinct change (DC). In general, half is literal: half of four charges is two charges and half of a single charge is 50% of it.

There are a few special cases:

  • When a group of three charges on the field is arranged two and one, the bottom charge is considered half the charge group.
  • When a tertiary charge group of three charges is on a central ordinary or chief, the centermost charge is considered half the charge group.
  • A central charge or charge group balanced around the center of the device, when divided by a line like per fess, per pale, or per chevron, is considered to be divided in half. This is true whether or not the total area contained in the charges is evenly distributed between the halves. This is a potential occurrence with animate charges, for example
  • When a primary or secondary charge group is split so that part of it lies on each side of a line of division splitting the field in two parts, the section containing the smaller number of charges is considered half the charge group.

In each of these special cases, a maximum of one DC can be derived from changes to the section defined as half under these rules.

a. Change of Tincture: Significantly changing the tinctures, direction of partition lines, style of partition lines, or number of pieces into which a charge group is divided is a distinct change (DC). At most one DC may be derived from changes to tincture of a single charge group.

No DC may be given for tincture of charges when comparing a tinctureless badge to another design, including for line or direction of division and number of pieces.

1. Tinctures: If the tincture of at least half the charge group is changed, the charge group will be considered different. There is a distinct change (DC) for reversing the tinctures of a charge group evenly divided into two, three, or four parts. There is not a DC for reversing the tinctures of a charge group divided into more than four parts. Furs and field treatments are considered different from their underlying tincture.

For example, there is a DC between Azure, a cross crosslet argent and Azure, a cross crosslet per pale argent and gules. There is also a DC between Per fess gules and argent, an annulet counterchanged and Per fess gules and argent, an annulet counterchanged argent and sable; the first example is a shorthand for Per fess gules and argent, an annulet counterchanged argent and gules. There is a DC between Gules, a lion quarterly argent and azure and Gules, a lion quarterly azure and argent, but not between Gules, a lion checky argent and azure and Gules, a lion checky azure and argent. Each of the following is a DC from the other two: Vert, a tree argent, Vert, a tree ermine and Vert, a tree argent masoned sable.

Certain tincture changes are considered part of the type of the charge and do not contribute to difference. Charges like towers and castles that are made of masonry are not considered to be different when drawn with or without masoning, though fields and charges that are not made of masonry are. Some creatures, like panthers and yales, are often but not always spotted; the absence or presence of these spots does not contribute to difference, though the addition of roundels to another type of charge is treated as a tertiary charge.

2. Direction of Partition Lines: A change of direction of partition lines within a charge group (or within the charges that make up a charge group) creates a distinct change (DC). The major single partition lines include: per bend, per bend sinister, per pale, per fess, and per chevron. A change from one to another (whether as single lines or multiple forms) is a DC. In addition, a change from any of these to per saltire, quarterly, gyronny (of any number of pieces), per pall, per pall inverted, checky, and lozengy or a change between any of these is considered a DC. A change in direction of half the lines of a design gives a DC. In general, the addition, removal, or change of a partition line or group of partition lines that changes organization of tinctures in ways that affect half the tincture will be considered a DC.

For example, the following all have one DC from each other: per bend argent and sable, per pale argent and sable, and lozengy argent and sable. The change from barry bendy to paly barry is a DC. There is a DC between barry wavy azure and argent and per pale and barry wavy azure and argent.

3. Style of Partition Lines: A change of style of half the partition lines is a distinct change (DC). A change from a plain line to a complex line is a DC. The types of complex lines that conflict and those that are clear of conflict are discussed in Appendix L.

4. Number of Pieces: Changing the number of pieces into which the charge is divided is a distinct change (DC). When considering the overall number of pieces, more than four pieces are considered the same, but smaller numbers are considered different. Alternately, changes that only affect half of an already divided charge can give a DC; in that case, more than three pieces are considered the same.

For example, there is a DC between a mullet per chevron gules and argent and a mullet chevronelly gules and argent. There is a DC between a lion quarterly Or and sable and a lion checky Or and sable. In each case, the change of number of pieces is significant. There is no DC between a roundel gyronny of six ermine and vert, and a roundel gyronny (of eight) ermine and vert nor between barry wavy of six argent and azure and the same design drawn with more traits.

b. Change of Type: The change in type of at least half of a charge group is a distinct change (DC). Types of charges considered distinct in period are different; the change from one charge to a different charge is a DC. In precedent, these are sometimes called significant differences, clear differences, or CDs. A charge that was not used in period armory will be considered different in type from another charge if their shapes are significantly different. Additional discussion of difference between classes of charges can be found in Appendix L.

For example, there is a DC for the change from a lion to a heraldic tyger, from a mullet of five points to a sun, or from an oak tree to a pine tree (because of their very different shapes). A compass star is significantly different from an estoile but not from a sun.

Only one DC will be given for change of type of a single charge group, though multiple DCs can be given for independent changes of type of multiple charge groups.

For example, the change from Per chevron gules and argent, a chevron sable between two roundels and a sun counterchanged to Per chevron gules and argent, a chevron sable between two tygers and a mullet counterchanged is only one DC. The charges on both sides of the chevron are in a single charge group. The change from Per chevron gules and argent, a chevron sable semy-de-lys argent between two roundels and a sun counterchanged is on the other hand two DCs away from Per chevron gules and argent, a chevron crusilly argent between two tygers and a mullet counterchanged. Here, the type of charges in two groups is changed.

The complex treatment of the edge of an ordinary or similar charge is part of its type.

For example, the change from a pale wavy to a pale embattled is one DC, as is the change from a bordure to a bordure nebuly. Changing from a chief wavy to a lozenge embattled is also one DC; the changes from a chief to a lozenge and from wavy to embattled edge are considered a single change of type.

c. Change of Number: Significantly changing the number of charges in any charge group is one distinct change (DC).

A charge group with one, two, three, four, and five charges is a DC from groups of any other numbers. A charge group with six or more charges, including semy of charges, is not a DC from a group of any number within this size category. Changes to independent charge groups may give multiple DCs. Even when the number of charges is fixed by their type, there is a DC for changing the type and number.

[NOTE: There should be a table here, but OSCAR does not support tables. Please see the PDF version for the table; it visually represents the same information as above.]

For example, there are two DCs between Gules, a talbot statant and in chief a fleur-de-lis argent and Gules semy-de-lis, three talbots argent because the number of both the primary charge group and the secondary charge group has been significantly changed. There are two DCs between Argent, a bordure azure and Argent, flaunches azure, one for change of type and a second for change of number. This is true even though bordures always appear singly and flaunches always appear in pairs.

d. Change of Arrangement: Changing the arrangement of a group of charges is generally a distinct change (DC). Arrangement in this rule refers both to the relative positions of the charges (in pale, two and one, etc.) and to their positions on the field (in canton, in base). Only one DC may be derived from changes to arrangement of a single charge group.

Changes to other parts of the design frequently cause changes to the arrangement of charge groups. We call these changes forced; there is no DC for a forced change of arrangement. A change to the primary charge group can change the arrangement of a secondary charge group. When a type of a charge requires a specific arrangement, there is no DC for arrangement when the type of charge is changed.

For example, changing from Argent, a fess between two unicorns within an orle purpure to Argent, a pale between two unicorns within an orle purpure requires that the unicorns move from in pale to in fess. As the change is forced, there is not a DC for the change in arrangement of the unicorns.

For example, there is no DC for change in arrangement between Per pale gules and sable, a clarion and a bordure Or, Per pale gules and sable, a clarion and a base Or, and Per pale gules and sable, a clarion and in chief a garb Or. The position for the base and bordure are forced by their type of charge.

Changes in tincture of a divided field or the tincture of a charge group can force the charges into different positions on the field. These forced changes are not worth a DC.

For example, there is no DC for change in arrangement between Gules, in fess three lozenges Or and Per fess gules and Or, in chief three lozenges Or. There is no DC for the arrangement of the lozenges, because the lozenges in the second design may not be in the center of the field, because they share a tincture with the bottom half of the field.

For example, there would also be no DC for change in arrangement between Gules, in fess three lozenges Or and Per fess gules and Or, in canton three lozenges two and one Or. Even though the relative arrangements are different, the lozenges in the second design cannot be in the same arrangement as in the first design. On the other hand, there is a DC for change in arrangement between Gules, in fess three lozenges Or to Per fess gules and argent, in chief three lozenges Or, because the Or lozenges could be in the center of a neutral field with which they do not share a tincture.

Changes in number can also cause a change in arrangement. In general, changes in arrangement only count for difference if the two charge groups can take on identical arrangements but have different arrangements. You may determine whether two charge groups have comparable arrangements by referring to Appendix J, which lists the standard arrangements for charge groups of different numbers. If the two charge groups (based on the number of charges within them) can both take on the arrangement the other is in, then the arrangements are said to be comparable and a DC can be given for the difference between them. So, two charges in pale and three charges in fess have a DC for difference in arrangement, but neither has a DC for arrangement against a single central charge.

e. Change of Posture or Orientation: Animate charges have a posture, which includes their stance, position of limbs, facing, etc.; inanimate charges have an orientation which includes their radial orientation and facing. Significantly changing the posture or orientation of half of the charges in any charge group, when the charges are comparable, is one DC. Only one DC can be derived from the changes in posture and/or orientation of any given charge group. Multiple changes to the posture or orientation of the same charges may not be counted separately. In general, changes of position and/or orientation that considerably change the appearance of a single type of charge will count for a DC. A partial list of postures and orientations that are significantly different can be seen in Appendix K.

For example, changing a sword fesswise to a sword palewise or a lion rampant to a lion passant is one DC. Similarly, a lion passant bendwise is only one DC from a lion couchant to sinister.

1. Change of Posture for Non-Identical Animate Charges: Animate charges are considered to fall into categories by the type of animal for posture. Quadrupeds have comparable postures, birds have comparable postures, insects and other creatures normally found in tergiant positions have comparable postures, fish have comparable postures. Animate charges which fall into separate categories do not have comparable postures; animate charges do not have comparable postures with inanimate charges.

For example, there is not a DC for change of posture between a griffin segreant and an eagle displayed, although one is to dexter and the other affronty. Similarly while a lion passant may be mostly fesswise, there is not a DC for change of posture between a lion passant and a sword palewise.

To count as a DC, a change of posture or orientation among comparable charges must significantly change the appearance of a charge. For animate charges, a change in the position of the head or tail is not significant; nor is the change from statant to passant, which essentially moves only one leg. Changing from passant to couchant, however, visually removes the legs from the bottom of the charge and is considered significant. Changes that significantly affect wing position (from folded to raised, or on one side of the body to both sides) are sufficient for a DC. Changes which alter the orientation of the body or direction of facing are generally significant, though some very different descriptions may result in a similar appearance, such as passant bendwise and rampant.

Groups of animate charges or their parts may have comparable postures/orientations as a group even if their individual postures are not comparable. For example, there is a DC between two groups of animate charges or their parts that can be said to be addorsed versus respectant.

For example, there is a DC for orientation between two lions combatant and two hawks addorsed, even though a lion cannot be close and hawks cannot be rampant. There is a DC for orientation between either of those and two griffin's heads (both to dexter).

2. Change of Posture for Non-Identical Inanimate Charges: Inanimate charges also may be divided into two categories: compact charges and long charges. Inanimate charges which fall into separate categories do not have comparable postures; inanimate charges do not have comparable postures with animate charges.

Compact (generally square or round) inanimate charges such as pheons and crescents are not generally considered to have comparable postures or orientations. Some compact inanimate charges, like roses and mullets, are not considered to have meaningful changes to orientation. Whether a five-pointed mullet has a point to base or chief is blazonable, but does not give a DC.

For example, there is not a DC for orientation between a crescent and a pheon bendwise.

Inanimate charges with a long axis, like swords and arrows, are considered to have some comparable orientations: we give a DC for orientations that change the long axis of the charge (palewise, fesswise, bendwise, bendwise sinister), but not those that change the direction of the point or head.

For example, there is not a DC for orientation between an arrow fesswise and a sword fesswise, even though each has the point in a different direction. But there is a DC for orientation between an arrow palewise and a sword fesswise.

3. Change of Posture or Orientation for Identical Types of Charges: When comparing two identical charges in different postures or orientations, the rules as described in sections 2 and 3 above apply. Additional differences in posture can also be granted a DC when the charges are otherwise identical. When the compared charges are identical, compact charges that have clearly distinguished directionality can receive a DC for differences in facing. Long charges may receive a DC for reversing their direction when the ends are easily distinguished. More details may be found in Appendix K.

For example, crescents, escallops, and pheons are all compact inanimate charges but also have a distinguishable top and bottom. Thus, there is a DC for orientation between an escallop and an escallop inverted and between a crescent and an increscent and a decrescent. For example, swords, arrows, and axes all have different ends. Thus, there is a DC for orientation between a sword fesswise and a sword fesswise reversed and between an arrow and an arrow bendwise inverted. However, bows and staves do not have different ends. Thus, there is no DC for orientation between a bow and a bow inverted (and they would likely both be simply blazoned as a bow, since the inversion would not be meaningful).


This item was on the 08-2011 LoAR

8: Armory 7 - New Rule Change

OSCAR is unable to find the name, either registered or submitted.

Armory Section Seven: Armorial Presumption

A. Definitions: Presumption is the claim to identity or close relationship with an entity outside the SCA (i.e. in the mundane world) who is considered quite important by many people within and outside the Society. Presumption is not dependent on intent. If a submission is too close to an entity's protected armory, it presumes on the armory and may not be registered. Presumption is closely tied to conflict, as our system of armorial conflict is based on the appearance of close relationship (cadency).

B. Armory Protected from Presumption: All armorial items currently identified as important enough to protect are listed in the Ordinary and Armorial. To be clear of presumption, a new submission must be clear of conflict with all such protected items as described in Armory Section Six above. Rarely, new items that may be important enough to protect may be identified during the submissions process. The fact that they are not listed in the Ordinary and Armorial or a Letter of Acceptances and Returns does not matter. If the mundane item is ruled important enough to protect, the new submission will be returned for presumption and the mundane item will be added to the Ordinary and Armorial.

In general, the flags and arms of period and modern countries and similar entities are protected, while the flags and arms of smaller units are not protected. The arms of exceptionally important individuals and places as well as arms that are famous by themselves are protected. Decisions to protect new famous people and places are quite rare.

In rare cases, armory associated with fictitious characters and entities may also be considered important enough to protect, when both a significant number of people in the Society recognize the armory of the entity without prompting and the use of the armory of the entity would generally be considered by those people a clear reference to that entity. Only a few pieces of fictitious armory have ever been ruled important enough to protect.

C. Forms of Armory Protected: All protected armory is listed in the Ordinary and Armorial; it is protected in those forms. If new forms are identified, they will be listed. New protected armory is protected from the moment it is listed as such on a published Letter of Acceptances and Returns. As soon as possible, such armory will be listed in the Ordinary and Armorial, but they are protected as soon as the Letter of Acceptances and Return is published. Submitters and heralds do not need to look for other forms of protected armory.

D. Standards for Presumption: Armory that is protected from presumption is protected from conflict with the same standards as conflict for SCA-registered armory. Those standards are described in Section Six above, including visual conflict.

E. Combination of Family Name and Armory: Even if a piece of armory is not considered important enough to protect from presumption, the use of a piece of historical armory combined with the family name of the holder may be presumptuous. In order for this to be an issue, the name and device must be sufficiently well known that a significant number of SCA members would find this combination a claim to be that person without resorting to obscure reference works. In general, the combination of the family name of a clan chief and the chiefly arms will be considered presumptuous, even if the arms themselves are not important enough to protect. Families that are less important than the family of a clan chief are not important enough for this rule to apply.

A slight modification of the arms, so that there is one SC between the submission and the arms on which it presumes, is sufficient to remove this problem. Likewise, a modification of the family name such that it would be clear of conflict with the family name is sufficient to remove this problem. In the case of a combination that is considered presumptuous, the name will generally be registered but the armory returned.

A few special cases follow more stringent rules. For example, the Lancaster and York rose badges are very widely associated with those families in many forms. Therefore, we do not allow anyone to register the byname (of) Lancaster with armory including a red rose, or the byname (of) York with armory including a white rose. Again, the name will normally be registered but the armory returned.


This item was on the 08-2011 LoAR

9: Armory 8 - New Rule Change

OSCAR is unable to find the name, either registered or submitted.

Section Eight: Armory: Pretense

A. Definitions: Pretense is a claim to a rank or powers that the submitter does not possess or that we do not allow anyone to claim.

B. Restricted and Reserved Charges: There are charges whose use we limit because their use would be a form of pretense.

1. Restricted Charges: Restricted elements and designs cannot be registered by anyone. These are charges that are either restricted by treaty (like the emblems of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) or used only by people with specific mundane high ranks (like the rulers of specific places, clan chiefs, or baronets). A complete list of restricted charges can be found in the Glossary of Terms Table 2.

2. Reserved Charges: Reserved elements and designs can only be registered by submitters who have a certain rank or for certain types of branch submissions.A list of charges that are reserved is given in the Glossary of Terms Table 1. To register a design that includes such an element or design, the submitter must demonstrate his or her entitlement to use such an element. Generally a reference to the kingdom order of precedence will do.

C. Arms of Pretense and Unearned Augmentations: In period and modern heraldry, an individual may assert a claim to land or property by placing the armory associated with that property on an escutcheon in the middle of their existing armory. An augmentation of honor often takes the form of a charged canton; occasionally it takes the form of a charged escutcheon. Therefore, either a canton or a single escutcheon may be used in an armorial submission only if it is uncharged and of a single tincture. Multiple escutcheons do not have to follow this limitation.

For example, Argent, a fess gules surmounted by an escutcheon sable charged with a roundel argent is not allowed, because it appears to be arms of pretense. Or, in saltire five escutcheons sable each charged with three roundels argent is registerable, because multiple escutcheons were not used for arms of pretense or augmentations.

The rules governing earned Augmentations are discussed in A4.A.3.

D. Marshalling: Marshalling is the combination of two or more arms into a single design.

Period marshalling combined two or more separate designs to indicate a combination of two or more arms. This can be either a temporary combination of arms using a per pale division or a permanent combination of arms through the quartering of inherited arms from armigerous parents. Arms combined using the per pale division, often called impaled arms, were generally either combining marital arms or the arms of an individual and office, and in either case were not inheritable in that combined form.

Armorial designs that create the appearance of marshalling in the permanent combination sense may be registered under significantly limited conditions. While a submitter can combine registered arms and badges into marshalled arms in those conditions, a submitter cannot create a new design that appears to be marshalled but is not composed of registered arms.

The display of registered arms impaled to show a marital relationship is encouraged, even though it is not registerable.

1. Appearance of Marshalling in Non-Marshalled Designs: Both quarterly and per pale divisions were used in single armorial designs as well as in marshalled designs. On occasion, the Spanish used per saltire divisions for marshalled designs; however, they more commonly used quarterly divisions for this, so we do not consider per saltire as a potential marshalling design.

Divisions used for both marshalled and non-marshalled designs, such as quarterly or per pale, may only be used in non-marshalled contexts when there is no unmistakable appearance of marshalling. The appearance of marshalling is created when a single portion of the field appears to be an independent piece of armory. In some cases, the use of certain charges which overlie multiple portions of the field can remove the appearance of marshalling.

When different sections of such a field contain different types of charges, it creates the appearance of marshalling. When a single section of the field contains multiple charges of the same type in a way that cannot be described as a standard single pattern covering the entire field, it creates the appearance of marshalling.

For example, Quarterly gules and azure, in bend two crosses crosslet and in bend sinister two roses argent creates the appearance of marshalling. Per pale argent and sable, a unicorn sable and a dragon Or combatant creates the appearance of marshalling. In each case, the different types of charges create the appearance of marshalling.

Per pale vert and ermine, each section charged with three billets two and one counterchanged creates the appearance of marshalling. Per pale vert and ermine all billetty counterchanged does not have the appearance of marshalling, as the billets can be described as a standard single pattern covering the entire field.

As marshalling was only used with plain line divisions, the use of a complex line of division is sufficient to remove the appearance of marshalling.

For example, Per pale azure and Or, a talbot and a hart rampant addorsed has the appearance of marshalling. On the other hand, Per pale engrailed azure and Or, a talbot and a hart rampant addorsed does not.

When all sections of the field appear to be independent pieces of armory, it creates the appearance of marshalling. A section that is a plain tincture does not create the appearance of marshalling, with the exception of ermine. As the protected arms of Brittany are Ermine, the use of an uncharged ermine section or sections when combined with a charged section creates the appearance of marshalling. However, the use of an uncharged vert section or sections does not create the appearance of marshalling, even though we protect the flag of Libya as Vert - a flag would not be used as part of quartered arms.

For example, a Per pale ermine and vert, a leopard's face argent has the appearance of marshalling, but Per pale argent and vert, a leopard's face argent does not.

A section of the field which is not a plain tincture, being divided further into multiple parts, may only be used when it is demonstrated to have been used in sections of this sort in contexts that are not marshalled. Checky is found in armory that is not marshalled. The use of a charge or charges terminating at the edge of a section, like an ordinary, creates the unmistakable appearance of marshalling. This is true even when multiple ordinaries create the appearance of a field division, or a field division creates the appearance of multiple ordinaries.

For example, Per pale gules and checky argent and azure, a heart argent does not have the appearance of marshalling. Per pale gules and quarterly argent and azure, a heart argent does have the appearance of marshalling and cannot be registered. Per pale gules and chevronelly argent and azure creates the appearance of marshalling and is not registerable.

The following types of charge groups over the entire field do not create the appearance of marshalling: a design that uses semy of primary charges over the entire field, a design that uses a single identical charge in each charged section, a design that uses a group of identical charges in a standard arrangement covering the entire field, or a design that uses a single standard arrangement of primary charges with at least one charge crossing the per pale line of division.

For example, Per pale azure and argent, semy of cinquefoils counterchanged, Quarterly gules and Or, four crescents counterchanged argent and sable, Per pale gules and sable, six cauldrons two, two and two argent, and Quarterly vair and Or, three crosses moline gules do not have the appearance of marshalling and can be registered.

As marshalled arms using a per pale line of division were not inherited, the addition of a charge which crosses the per pale line is sufficient to remove the unmistakable appearance that a portion of the field is independent armory. The addition of a bordure or chief in context where it does not itself appear to be part of the original arms also removes that appearance. In general, a bordure or chief that has poor contrast with half the field or charged with a group of identical charges that cross the central line removes the unmistakable appearance that a portion of the field is independent armory.

For example, Per pale gules and ermine, a boar's head and a eagle displayed counterchanged, a chief azure is registerable, as the chief azure could not be part of an armorial design Gules, a boar's head ermine and a chief azure. Per pale vert and Or, a billet and a sun counterchanged, in chief a label argent is registerable, as the label removes the appearance of marshalling.

Marshalling using a quarterly line of division was inherited. Therefore, the same designs, with added chiefs, bordures, labels, or other charges used for cadency in period, do not remove the appearance of marshalling for armorial designs with a quarterly line of division. The addition of a cross throughout that overlies a quarterly field does not remove the appearance of marshalling, as it was also added to marshalled designs. Other charges, like bends or animate charges, do remove the appearance when placed over quarterly designs.

For example, Quarterly azure and erminois, a cross between in bend two millrinds and in bend sinister two annulets counterchanged has the appearance of marshalling; the cross does not remove this appearance. However, Quarterly azure and erminois, a lion between in bend two millrinds and in bend sinister two annulets counterchanged does not have the appearance of marshalling, as the primary lion is partially in all four quarters.

2. Marshalled Designs: A submitter may register a marshalled design where it makes an appropriate claim.

Marshalling of two arms quarterly was used in period to display two sets of arms that are owned by an individual through inheritance, after the death of the previous owners of those arms (usually their parents). Therefore, these designs will be allowed only as the arms of an individual combining two armorial designs which they directly own, and may not result in armory which we would allow under Section D.1 above as a non-marshalled context. As such designs indicate permanent ownership of the component arms, the submitter must maintain ownership of the component arms; releasing or transferring any or all of the component arms will cause the release of the marshalled arms.

Such marshalled designs do count towards the registration limit, and will not be allowed as badges, either individual or joint with another submitter. Such marshalled designs as a whole are also subject to the style and offence rules but they will not be conflict checked as whole designs. While registration of such designs is not required for a submitter to display a quartering of two arms or badges which they own, we recognize that some submitters do wish to have such designs designated as their primary device.

For example, a marshalled design combining Argent, a cat gules and Gules, a mullet argent would be registerable as a marshalled design, but a marshalled design combining Argent, a cat gules and Gules, a cat argent would not be registerable as a marshalled design, because Quarterly argent and gules, four cats counterchanged is registerable as a non-marshalled design. A marshalled design combining Argent, a mullet gules and Argent, a lion sable would not be registerable, because it is equivalent to Argent, in bend two mullets gules and in bend sinister two lions sable, which is registerable as a non-marshalled design. A marshalled design combining Argent, a cat gules and Ermine, three mullets sable would be registerable, even though the effective field is Quarterly argent and Ermine, which violates the rules of contrast for quarterly fields because the main tincture of ermine is argent and because at least one quarter contains more than a single charge.


This item was on the 08-2011 LoAR

10: Armory 9 - New Rule Change

OSCAR is unable to find the name, either registered or submitted.

Armory Section Nine: Armorial Offense

A. Definitions: No armorial design that is offensive to a large segment of members of the SCA or the general public will be registered. Offense is a modern concept; just because an armorial design was used in period does not mean that it is not offensive to the modern observer. Offense returns should be rare; it has not been unusual for years to pass between returns for offense.

Offense is not dependent on intent. The fact that a submitter did not intend to be offensive is not relevant. The standard is whether a large segment of the SCA or the general public would be offended.

Similarly, offense is not dependent on clarity. An element used by modern neo-Nazis, for example, may be ruled offensive even if many people have to look it up. However, an element used broadly in both potentially offensive and inoffensive contexts will not be considered offensive.

B. Several types of armory are potentially offensive:

1. Vulgar Amory: Armory which includes pornographic or scatological references will not be registered. Depictions of monsters and human beings who are partially nude or the depiction of the genitals on beasts will not generally be considered vulgar. Some period elements such as those depicting human genitals may be considered vulgar on a case by case basis. Certain depictions may be considered pornographic or scatological even if a standard depiction would not.

2. Offensive Religious Armory: Armory which uses magical or religious symbolism in ways that mocks the beliefs of others or is likely to be offensive to someone who respects the tradition in question will be returned.

Magical or religious symbolism is not inherently offensive, but can offend by context. Although all are registerable heraldic charges, a Paschal Lamb dismembered surmounted by a pentacle inverted is a design that would be found offensive by many individuals.

Normal armorial designs including single or multiple elements that identify the person with one religious tradition or another are not offensive. Offense requires a level of religious iconography that would raise eyebrows even for believers. This level of offense will be determined on a case by case basis.

3. Derogatory Stereotypes: Armorial designs that refer to derogatory stereotypes or slurs will not be registered. This is true whether the stereotype is inherent in the usage or created by context, like placing a Moor's head within an orle of watermelons. General references to ethnic, racial, or sexual identities are not offensive and may be registered.

4. Offensive Political Terminology: Armorial designs associated with political movements or events that may be offensive to a particular race, religion, or ethnic group will not be registered.

Designs identical to those used by or suggestive of groups like the Nazis, the SS, the Ku-Klux Klan, or similar organizations may not be used. Some elements that were inoffensive in period may be offensive because of modern associations. Some designs are offensive because of individual charges: a swastika is inherently offensive because of its association with the Nazis. Others are offensive only in the overall design. The s-rune is not offensive as a charge, but is offensive in a design which closely resembles that used by the SS.

5. Other Offensive Armory: Other sorts of armorial designs may be ruled offensive on a case by case basis, such as one that mocks armory registered to another group.



OSCAR counts 10 Rule Changes. These 10 items may or may not require payment. There are a total of 10 items submitted on this letter.

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