[Gatesedge] Fwd: [Ansteorra] good or bad courts

Racheal racheal.no.ansteorra at gmail.com
Mon Apr 30 09:03:01 PDT 2007

Just passing on some good ideas as I know several of you are not on the
Ansteorra mailing list.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Jennifer Smith <jds at randomgang.com>
Date: Apr 30, 2007 10:55 AM
Subject: Re: [Ansteorra] good or bad courts
To: "Kingdom of Ansteorra - SCA, Inc." <ansteorra at lists.ansteorra.org>

Doré wrote:
> Sounds like what you describe would eliminate some of the
> annoyances of
> court.

That, and overly long courts (particularly the champion stuff), were why we
tried the format. More details below.

> IMO the "too quiet to be heard" parts of court should be limited to
> stage direction and the like, such as, "What's next?" and "Go
> ahead and
> kneel on the pillows." Personal discussions are, well, personal and do
> not belong in a public court. The sitting noble could ask the
> person to
> return at the end of court or at some other convenient time
> if they have
> things they wish to say in private. Discussions that do not
> include the
> sitting noble (i.e. between two people standing in court in
> front of the
> noble) should be handled before the court or after, or perhaps quietly
> off to the side (if it really needs to get done before the
> end of court)
> while the rest of court proceeds.

I entirely agree!

In general, there are four types of things that go on in a court: awards,
championship stuff, elevations and investitures, and Everything Else.

I believe awards should probably take no more than 5 minutes per award, from
the time the herald summons the person into court, all the way until the
person leaves court. This is true in most cases; baronial orders are the
worst offenders of this. That can be largely fixed by just enforcing the "go
hug everyone in your order" thing to happen off to the side, and to NOT
delay the rest of court with it.

Championship stuff is where probably the biggest timewasters creep in.
Having every event-runner called up to talk about their event, hand out 28
separate prizes, call up last year's champion to talk about it too, then
call up this year's champion, talk about all the pass-down and step-down
prizes, hand over all the loot, talk some more... My goodness, 30 minutes
has just passed, for one championship!  Every group that I've been to does
this slightly differently, and certainly every group has slightly different
priorities here, but I encourage groups to think hard about how to do this
more efficiently.

Elevations and investitures just Take Time, but even so it would be nice to
attend an investiture where the stepping down was held separately from the
stepping up if there's going to be lots of outgoing speeches; otherwise, I
start wondering if someone is going to go have to fetch a crowbar... :)

Everything Else -- presentations in court, random swearing of oaths, shtick,
and so forth: if it can at all be done at another time and place (earlier in
the day, more privately (not in court), etc, please please do so. Otherwise
please keep it short and sweet.

> zubeydah at northkeep.org wrote:
> > One of the most cleverly arranged courts I have been to was
> at last year's
> > Triumphe of the Eclipse, in Mooneschadowe.  The manner in
> which the court was
> > arranged was, for the greatest part, very smooth and kept
> the 'flow' of things
> > going very well.  It was also very nice that they had two
> heralds for part of
> > the court, both of whom were easily heard.
> >
> > As it was a court in which their past year's champions and
> their new champions
> > were being acknowledged, they were called up together,
> rather than seperately.
> > This also helped the audience correlate who had achieved
> which champion, and
> > helped give a sense of the 'history' and the 'passing down'
> aspect of the
> > distinction which had been won.

The original idea was vaguely based on the Roman-style procession of
champions through the town, an actual "Triumph" (go have fun with google and
"roman triumph"). I believe HL Gilyan came up with the idea and all the

We seeded the crowd with people who knew the Plan, with bubbles and rose
petals along the central aisle (kids are good for this). Two heralds in
front, one to each side of the thrones, next to a manned staging table to
handle pass-down and stepping-down prizes (we'd collected the pass-down
stuff from each champion earlier). All the old champions and new champions
lined up in back, with another herald there acting as traffic cop.

Front Left herald would call out something along the lines of "Our current X
champion, So-and-So!", herald in back would wave that one on up the center
aisle, crowd would cheer and toss rose petals and the like; as soon as the
current champion would reach the front of court and bow, he'd head off to
the left side to pick up his step-down goodies and at the same time, the
Front Right herald would call out "Our new X champion, So-and-so!". New
champion goes up the aisle to much cheering, takes a right at the front of
court to pick up his goodies, while the Left Front herald calls out the name
of the next champion. After picking up goodies, they'd continue around the
sides of court to go sit back down whereever (or take up stations behind the
thrones, etc etc).

Every one of them got a spotlight in court, names clearly called out, got
their goodies and all, and there was no break from start to finish. We did
armored, rapier (half, the new one is decided on Sunday), thrown weapons,
archery, A&S, and bardic, in under 15 minutes all told. (We'd done a
children's court before feast, to handle those prizes, and another court on
Sunday to handle rapier and the various new fighter stuff.)

Where that format won't work quite so well is when you have multiple prizes
for an event, like A&S is wont to do at times, or to otherwise recognize the
runners-up or whathaveyou. Also, there obviously is no chance for the new or
past champions to say anything. This can be a good thing. ;)

It was an interesting experiment, and a lot of fun. It certainly took a bit
more organizing behind the scenes, but I think it was worth it, and hope we
do something similar again this year at our next championship event.

-Emma de Fetherstan

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Lady Racheal no Ansteorra
mka Cherish Robinson
Gate's Edge Chronicler
Secretary for Gate's Edge Knight Marshal
House Head for the Guild of St. Camillus de Lellis
Thunder Patch to HL Caley and Lord Gavin
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