Re Ansteopality

dennis grace amazing at
Thu Oct 17 10:50:41 PDT 1996

Greetings Cousins,

Lyonel here.  On the matter of forming a principality here in the heart of
Ansteorra (Steorranheorte perhaps?) Phelim Uhtred Gervas wrote:

>The BIG problem I see, is what about the politics of "we're better than
>you" or simply ugly politics? If I have to wade through a bunch of
>politics to have fun, I'll go play elsewhere. *sigh*

Aw, c'mon, Pug, since when does anybody need an excuse for boorish behavior?
Besides, if we form a principality and our neighbors become jealous, they
can always form one, too.  From what I've seen around the known world, ugly
politics are just a consequence of population density.  The trick is to get
a large enough portion of the populace moving in a single direction; then,
the folks who are trying to build their own little political fires will find
insufficient fuel available to feed their little flames.

Phelim also summarized the quest for a principality as follows: 
>1) We're just too damn big and people aren't playing nicely. (We can't
>have that event there because group foo won't show up. We can't get rid
>of Lord So-And-So because group blah will split off. We have to make Bar
>a Pelican or group bar will be pissy. Sir Dingle got upset with Master
>Berry and now neither of the groups talk. And other childish anticts.)
>Some day a group/area is going to get so pissed off at everyone else
>they will rally and split off to a principality and it'll be ugly cause
>no one will talk to anyone else.
>2) Well if we're going to have principalities, why not do it while we're
>still friendly. Maybe we can do it without hurt feelings. Everyone will
>still go to the same events they go to, but we'll have local focus behind
>the principalities.
>3) Well these groups tend to play together, so if no one else wants
>principalities, we'll just go off and play with ourselves and ignore
>them. (Yes, I intinitially used that phrasing since I recently heard it
>in just this dicussion.)

Generally, I agree (though I would have said "play BY ourselves" *wink*),
but I think the "ignore them" part a bit harsh.  I'm a poor scholar, so I'm
already pretty unlikely to attend many events in Bonwicke or Northkeep.  I'm
not ignoring them; they're just not too accessible to me right now. 

>The problem as I see it is that to focus inward, you can't focus on the
>Kingdom and whatnot. (Even the best of intentions have to end after the
>person passes out from exhaustion.) As well, the mentality of going off
>and playing internally means that you are excluding the groups outside.
>Thus you've just accomplished what you set out to not do. Make groups
>that have split off from the main group and aren't dealing with the
>others. (There are always individual exceptions of course.)

As a player experienced in principality life, I find it hard to relate to
this point of view.  I was a poor student back then, too, but I still
managed to be principality herald and personal court herald to the Crown.  I
can't recall any difficulties arising from this.

People in this area will still want to attend the big fun events.  Just as
warriors will still leave here for Gulf Wars and Pennsic, they'll still make
the same effort to attend Bordermarch's Autumn Melees.  As even the
nay-sayers pointed out, people will go out of area for big fun events.
Personally, I see nothing wrong with this.  I do, however, object to the
attitude which demands frequent long journeys to "support" other groups.  

Moreover, as I've already pointed out in a number of correspondences on this
list, a principality offers a good deal of support to the kingdom.  It
offers a new purpose, exactly the sort of shot in the arm this kingdom could
use right now.  In response to a recent posting from a lady in a nearby
shire, I suggested that her group's attitude toward sponsoring events would
lead to stagnation.  When I met the lady shortly thereafter, she admitted
that, "Yeah, 'stagnation' --that pretty well describes us."  In an older
kingdom, a place where everything has been done already, the birth of a
principality offers an incredible variety of tasks to new and experienced
players alike.  The principality has to be named, achievements of arms need
be designed, awards need be devised, ceremonies written, traditions forged. 

The kingdom benefits by receiving a boost in enthusiasm (and usually
recruitment as well) generated in the newly forming principality.  The
principality offers a new regiment--replete with general--to fight in the
Crown's wars.  Plus, as I've explained a number of times, principality
officers have greater incentives to do their jobs than regional officers.
(I'll be happy to provide details and rationale to anyone who has thus far
missed my explications on these matters.)

>As well, if we can stop at #2 it may be that we can do it without hurt
>feelings. Unfortunately if we go on to #3, we are gonna have hurt
>feelings cause if nothing else there is a "we're better than you" air
>about it. We might as well have stayed at #1.

?!?! To paraphrase, we'll be better off than our neighbors (or at least
they'll think so) and this will make them jealous.  And this is a
disincentive in your eyes?  Isn't this rather like saying, "I'd better not
buy a new car, because it might make the Mertz's jealous"?

>Then again, I'm just Joe SCAer who wants to have fun at his game and
>not someone who has to deal with these decisions or problems.

This sounds a bit like an acknowledgement that it's always safer to stay put
and accept the liabilities we have than to venture forth and face new
dangers.  Why did Joe SCAer join the SCA instead of, say, the Elks?  I
always thought it was for the sense of romance and adventure, the pomp and
pageantry.  Forming a new principality offers the best of both worlds, in a
sense.  We still have the proud traditions of a powerful kingdom, but we
also get the romance of a new adventure.

Besides, we all know that this particular just-Joe-SCAer, our own local
chronicler, is a sly (*wink*) and highly-skilled communications expert. I
for one would be proud to be part of a principality made up of a few such
Until I have more to offer on this topic, I remain

Yours in eService

Sir Lyonel Oliver Grace

Dennis G. Grace
Assistant Instructor
Postmodern Medievalist
Division of Rhetoric and Composition
University of Texas

Baro, metetz en guatge                    |  Lords, pawn your castles,
Chastels e vilas e ciutatz                |  your towns and cities.
Enanz qu'usquecs no'us guerreiatz         |  Before you're beat to the draw,
                                                    draw your swords.

                   -- Bertran de Born (a really fun Viscount)

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