Ansteopality Revisited

Tim McDaniel tmcd at
Wed Oct 23 22:20:50 PDT 1996

On Wed, 23 Oct 1996, Matthew R. Popalisky <mpopali at> wrote:
> What qualifies as a point of difference?  How many must exsist
> beween two SCA devices?  Between a mundane and SCA devices?

It's ... um, complicated.  The problem is that we have at least two

1) Make a simple set of rules that the average branch herald can apply
with some confidence.  (Older rules tended to be "I dunno if it's
legal or conflicts; I'll just send it in and in 9-24 months we might
find out.")

2) Make a set of rules to fit a subjective, visual art form:
period-style arms will tend to be accepted, non-period-style arms will
tend to be returned, and few arms will tend to look too similar to
previously-registered arms.

Unfortunately, 1 and 2 conflict, and without a latter-day Witch of
Endor you can't get #2 easily.  The balance shifts over time.

Very briefly, in case you really care:
- in certain simple cases, a substantial difference in type between
the "primary charges" is enough to clear two designs.
- addition or removal of the "primary charge" is enough.
- in general, two differences ("CD"s) of certain types is enough.  For
example, changing the color of things on the field is a CD, or changing
their orientation, number, arrangement, or type (or presence /
absence).  Things on top of things need two such changes to get a CD
(except in simple cases ... see what I mean about the complications
creeping in?).  Things being held by things (a lion maintaining a
sword) usually don't count.

There are also lots of precedents dealing with issues of substantial
or sufficient difference.  A lot of visual appearance standards come
in here too -- wolves versus unicorns?  sea-wolves versus
sea-unicorns?  fir trees versus oak trees?

BTW, we no longer (since 1990 or so) distinguish in conflict standards
between SCA and non-SCA items.

If you want more details on some point, please e-mail me privately, or
subscribe to the (little-trafficed) Ansteorran Heralds' mailing list
or the (more trafficed) SCA Heralds'.

> Some day I really will try to make a new device, my last wasn't
> period enough- azure, a pale paley sable (5) on argent, a plethora
> of logenzes over the "bars" (forgot the proper term) sable (turn it
> sidewise and you have music.

It's a temptation to try to "sneak one past the heralds".  I hope I
can induce you to avoid the temptation.  Please consider that
- your fun idea may not be period style, and I'd like to encourage
  stuff that's fun AND period
- the heralds have already thought of far worse.  Trust me on this one
- the heralds often know what you're up to; you're not sneaking it in,
  but rather that the rules permit what you're doing and they can't be
  arbitrary against you
- you have to live with the joke

> Kateryn the Yale lover.

That's illegal in 48 states and the District of Columbia, you know!

You can let me know if you want me to consult with you.  Gwenllian
ferch Maredydd, werisman at, is also on this list and is
a good consulter.  There are more electronically connected that I
can't remember after midnight.  If you want one music reference,
yale(s), and/or stripes, I think it quite possible that we could
arrive at something that satisfies you and is good period style
(win-win situation).

Daniel de Lincoln
                             Tim McDaniel
                        Reply-To: tmcd at
    mcdaniel at is wrong tool.  Never use this.

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