At the most recent Rowany festival, I ended up in a discussion with a friend about inter-kingdom anthropology, specifically the Crown Tournament entry form for the Kingdom of Artemesia, which has on it something to the effect, “If not a member of the chivalry, do you have a member of the chivalry to speak on your behalf?” as one of the check requirements for submission. In Lochac, the Crown collects letters of intent for Crown Tournaments privately prior to the event and has the right to refuse any candidate. This type of check/balance system on those who would be in significant power for 6 months is a positive one, given some of the murkier aspects of SCA history (that I won’t cover here). It ended up with my brainstorming an interesting thought experiment.
Imagine you want to enter a Crown tournament, or hold a Kingdom office, or run your Kingdoms largest event, or be a landed B&B – could you get a recommendation from a member of each of the peerage orders? A point I harp on all the time, is that I believe the strength of the SCA, the main sticking point, is in our diversity of activity and participation. Anyone can try their hand at anything – and rather than join 17 different hobby groups, you can do it all in one in the SCA (which in fact was the original selling point that led me to join). If you’re an artisan and only associate with other artisans and know no fighters or those who serve and believe you would struggle to get recommendations from members of those orders, I’d ask why? I suspect most people I know would be able to achieve this to some degree which is why I created the following as a formalized thought experiment for people to reflect on.
Thought Experiment: Character Recommendations
Could you receive a positive character recommendation based on your SCA activities and participation, in support of a (fictional) serious undertaking within the SCA, with the following conditions.
You require a recommendation written by a member of each of the 5 Orders:
– Royal (Viscounty, County, Duchy)
– Chivalry (Knight or Master at Arms)
– Order of Defence
Each of these recommendations must come from a different individual, you cannot have one multi-peer represent multiple orders.
Each of these recommendations must come from individuals that a) you do not have a teacher/student relationship with and b) must not be members of your household(s).
As a thought experiment or something to think on, given these requirements, could you fill them? Why or why not? I believe I might be able to, which personally tells me that there are activities within the SCA I probably need to engage with more, to meet new people and make new friends.
As an aside, I think the above would make an interesting requirement for entry into Crown lists for both Fighter and Consort – which is the initial origin of my train of thought. The Crown is representative of the SCA and Kingdom as a whole and is there to support and lead the entire Kingdom which is made up of gentles of many diverse interests and skills. By demonstrating these connections, one would assume that the potential Crown candidates would have strong ties across the SCA.
As a thought experiment by itself however, I thought it worth enough to write formally about. If people are only interested in coming along and having fun with fighting or with crafts or other activities on occasion – that’s perfectly acceptable and wonderful. But if you want to do more in the SCA, I think a person should have a diverse understanding of everything that goes into the SCA and network of friends and connections that participating in other activities brings.