New to the SCA?

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The Barony of the Westermark

Newcomer Information

If you're new to the SCA, or even just to the Barony, Welcome! We hope this page has enough information to get you started or at least comfortable enough to show up at events in the area.

To quote the offical SCA Newcomer's page:

"The avowed purpose of the SCA is the study and recreation of the European Middle Ages, its crafts, sciences, arts, traditions, literature, etc. The SCA "period" is defined to be Western civilization before 1600 AD, concentrating on the Western European High Middle Ages. Under the aegis of the SCA we study dance, calligraphy, martial arts, cooking, metalwork, stained glass, costuming, literatureliterature... well, if they did it, somebody in the SCA does it (Except die of the Plague!)."

The rest of this article (which is worth reading) can be found at Introduction to the SCA which answers many basic questions you might have regarding the SCA.

If you would like to email someone directly about the SCA, contact the Barony of the Westermark's Chatelaine. The Chatelaine is available to help you and answer any questions you may have regarding the SCA.

How to get started? You might consider either attending a local meeting (which usually does not require wearing medieval clothing) or going to an event (which does). You can find out what groups are local to your area by clicking here Branch Groups, scroll down the list to find the group closest to your city. Each group will either have a website link or the ability to email the group. Contact them to find out meeting dates, times, and location and someone who might be available to help a newcomer. If you'd prefer checking out an event instead, the Kingdom of the West's Event Calendar lists by date all events being held and usually has a link to the event information. Or you can find pages similar to this one (click on " Events") that lists Westermark's events.

What is an event? An event is any offical gathering of SCA people.

Sometimes events are feasts - where the main activity is eating a medieval meal.

Some events are tourneys - where the main activity is fighting, either for a prize or to be the next ruler.

Some events are collegiums - where the main activity is teaching and learning.

Some events are wars - Usually multi-day events, where the main activity is large scale group fighting, (seconded by shopping at the tents of Vendors from far and near!

In general, any event can be grouped into one of these four categories. Although some events do contain many of these activities.

If and when you choose to become a member of the SCA, you'll receive your kingdom's newsletter (in the Kingdom of the West it is called "The Page"). A kingdom's newsletter will have a listing of upcoming events, contact information for every group within the kingdom, and other items of interest (like letters from the King and Queen).

For more detailed information and publications: Frequently Asked Questions about the SCA: If you want to know the details' details, this is the text for you. Answers follow the questions section.

SCA Stock Clerk: To purchase all SCA publications. Like the Known World Handbook, a compendium of information, traditions and crafts practiced in the SCA. Or The Compleat Anachronist the SCA's monograph series. Each issue focuses on topics relating to pre-17th century culture, society, or other items of interest to SCA members.

Quick Survival Guide for Feasts. This is a basic guide for "what to bring" to a feast.

Quick Survival Guide for One-Day Events. This is a basic guide for "what to bring" to a one-day event.

Quick Survival Guide for Weekend Events. This is a basic guide for "what to bring" to weekend events.

Going to an Event:

Be sure to get directions, find out if there is a site fee, and if there are any other rules you might need to know about. You can get this information from the Chatelaine if you do not have access to a kingdom newsletter.

When you go to an event the only requirement is that you make some attempt at pre-1600's clothing. At most events there will be a "Gold Key" officer, which has clothing available on loan for that event. You must return the clothing before you leave, or there won't be anything for the next person!

Medieval Clothing:

If you want your own medieval clothing, you can either make it yourself or purchase clothing from various vendors either on-line or at events. Basic SCA clothing consists of a pair of pants with a long over-shirt (called a "T-Tunic") belted on the outside. Here are a few links to get you started:

Westermark's Items of Interest "Links" page, has many URLs for new and experienced SCA members.

T-Tunics: There are quite a few sites offering instructions on how to sew a basic T-Tunic. A few are listed here, review them to find the site that works best for you:

Your First Garb Getting Started

Introduction to Garb

Introduction to SCA Clothing

Making a T-Tunic

Quick and Easy Tabard or T-Tunic

Worksheet for Tunic Construction

Once you arrive at an event:

At the gate (where you pay the event fee) ask if there is a Chatelaine on site, that's the person who has all the newcomer information.

If it's a fighting event, go to the "Eric". The "Eric" is the West Kingdom's name for a roped off fighting field usually in the middle of the camping area. At wars there may not be an "Eric" so look for a large grouping of period styled pavillions (tents), or ask where the Fighting Fields are located...

At a tourney, the "Eric" is where most of the action of the event is focused. It will most likely be where the people hosting the event are, including the King and Queen, the Prince and Princess, the Baron and Baroness, or whomever.

Do not cross the ropes outlining the "Eric". These ropes are to separate the combatants from the spectators to avoid injuries. Although the weapons used in the SCA are made of rattan wrapped in tape, they are capable of doing damage to someone not in armour.

The tents ringing the "Eric" are where you can start asking questions. If you see someone embroidering, cooking, beading, painting, or whatever and it looks interesting to you, ask them about it. If you see someone watching the fighting, ask them about it (avoid asking fighters in armour, as their attention is primarily focused on fighting). If you really want to ask a fighter a question, wait until they are obviously taking a break and ask if they have time to answer a few newcomer questions. Do not be disheartened if they cannot, thank them, and keep going. There are usually a large number of armored fighters and someone may be rested enough between fights to help you.

The SCA has a few rules and some courtesy pointers:

Do not enter a campsite without asking permission: a simple "May I join you?" or "May I pass through?" will suffice. If there is no one around to ask, take the time to go all the way around.

Be polite. If you see someone who needs help, offer to help them (one of the best ways to meet people in the SCA is by volunteering!).

You do not need to be a member to play. However, if you wish to hold office (which includes the King and Queen, Prince and Princess, and Baron and Baroness) you do. There is also an authorization requirement before you can fight.

Overall the SCA is an incredibly fun environment where you will find yourself learning the most wonderful things.

SCA Offices are identified not only by a title but by a symbol as well. Important ones to remember are:

The Constable, they're the closest we have to "police", will be wearing a device with a "yellow mace on a blue field".

The Chirurgeon, the closest we have to medical staff, will be wearing a device with a "red fancy 7 on a white tear drop on a red field".

There are many other devices, each kingdom, principality, barony, province, shire, and canton, also has devices. Click on each Officer's link for Westermark's Officers and for the Kingdom of the West's Officers.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact our Chatelaine.


August, XXXVI (2001) Updated February, ASXLI (2007) by Chiara Genevieve d'Anjou

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