On the Issues Concerning the advancement to Kingdom
of the Kingdom of Lochac - the Award System

Lochac Display of Arms


If you have anything to add to this site by way of commentary, please send an e-mail to Robyn Hodgkin Your comments will be published in full on this and subsequent pages. Currently this page consists of comments I have picked up from the Lochac email list. I don't have the time to really sort through the information much, but have tried to include a range of comments and discussion.

 

Ulfrikr inn Hrafn (Dirk Schmitt) (Proposed Shire - Richmond/Penrith/Blacktown)

I was interested to read the continuances on this matter. What I found most interesting is that one committee worked extremely well whereas the other didn't. Why? Were the members of both committees same or different? If same, then may I ask if more emphasis had been placed on getting the laws straightened out than the awards system?

As to the awards system itself. Here is my little bit to add to the pile.

The awards system SHOULD (note the emphasis on should) be designed to be the best it can be from the word go. Yes, it is quite likely that after even a handful of Crowns have been passed through that the well ordered and well thought out system will start to fray at the edges and that after being Kingdom for 10 to 20 years we'll end up with a system which reflects the whims and intents of our Crowns. BUT, there will have been a good system to underlie this growth. You must have a good foundation to build upon or else your building will eventually collapse. It will also collapse if you use rough shod construction methods, poor materials, etc. May haps we should look at a system whereby there is a permanent awards committee and these people oversee the creation of new awards by Crowns so as the Crown is ADVISED by this committee. Naturally if the Crown really wants to do it's own thing, well, there is truly little one can do to stop them, but one would hope they listen to advice.


Master Del (Southron Gaard)

There is one problem, however, in that we need to define an award structure to be included in the set of Kingdom Laws sent to the BoD as part of the Kingdom proposal. One option is this: Choose a few very basic set of awards. I'd start with AoA, Grant of Arms, and the three peerages, plus the royal peerages and leave it at that. This would effectively allow the first Crowns of Lochac to have a blank sheet to create awards, depending on what they thought fit at the time. A King and Queen who were interested in combat could create a set of combat awards, then a successive King and Queen could create arts awards, or a silver nib equivalent, or a shining helm equivalent, or whatever.


Peter the Uncertain

I am going to do something most uncharacteristic. I am going to speak in favour of leaving the structure of the award system in the hands of the succeeding crowns entirely. Considering that, on the whole, I think the coronets should be replaced by gags of office, this is a very odd spot for me to be standing.

There are very few fields of authority in the SCA where I think the Crown has any real role. Their function is to be a centre for our game, and their tendency to meddle with the mundane side of things usually causes trouble. But the awards system is purely gameside, with no implications in the real world. I think it is safe to let them loose here.

More, I think it is an area where they can do little but good. By giving out awards they show appreciation on behalf of us all for the people who make things happen. By creating new awards targeting different fields of activity they can focus the attention of the group on fields that need further development, or have been ignored. More, as the founders of new orders and awards, it is a chance for them to write their name into our history in a fashion other than as the idiots who caused major devastation.

If we come up with some nice, regular scheme, with colours designating ranks and charges designating strands, two things will happen. First, we loose the organic "it just growed" feel of the Western structure, which, on the whole, I like. Secondly, you are taking away from future crowns the chance to be creative, to identify areas where more attention is needed and to do something about it. If we try and come up with an all-encompassing and complete multilevel system, we will straitjacket all our Crowns to come.

Plus, I live in fear that we may end up with something as inspiring and rich as the Order of Lenin. Imagine it. The Order of Lochac. Third Class. Red , white and blue ribbons to mark service, martial or arts streams. It's as exciting as cold oatmeal, and has the character of a gatepost.


Peter the Uncertain (Riverhaven) replying to an email:

>Kingdom Officers are also eligible for Grants upon completion of
>tenure (or am I mistaken?).

It is not automatic, not by any means. In practice, a Kingdom officer may get a GoA if they have done their job, not just well, but with excellence. Excellence is defined by the Crown, and will depend how the Crown sees you, which will in turn depend on the recommendations you get and the friends you have in high places.

>Arguments about award structures based on traditions of our current parent
>Kingdom need not necessarily apply; surely we want to develop our own
>traditions that are reflective of how we want to handle things and not how
>the West currently does?

Yes, but the nature of traditions is that they develop over time. Coming up with a prepacked traditional suite of awards is something of a contradiction in terms. Personally, I would like to see Grants used more commonly and more consistently. Their current major use seems to be as consolation prizes for people who have done really, really well, but who for various reasons cannot accept or cannot be offered a peerage.


Peter the Uncertain (Riverhaven)

>Brendan Lloyd wrote:

>> Traditions have to start somewhere; the difference between planning an
>> award structure beforehand and leaving it up to the first Crown is largely
>> temporal. That is, someone is going to have to "start the traditions" at
>> some stage; in my view it might as well be *before* transition *with*
>> populace feedback rather than *after* transition at the whim of the Crown.

Now, what exactly are we talking about here? If the proposal is to plan the award system down to the name of every award and the design of the token, then I restate my opinion that this should be left in the hands of the Crown.

However, if the discussion is a more general one of system philosophy, there may be room for agreement. I'd change the following things about the West/Lochac system we have now if I could:- I'd like to see more awards for fighting short of peerage. The argument I have always heard against this is that fighters get tassles when they win tourneys. Artisans get bells when they win competitions, but I don't see the Rose Leaf being closed any time soon.

Some kingdoms give the title of "sergeant" to mid-level fighters who meet a particular standard. This, or something similar, would be good. I'd eliminate the idea that kingdom awards get an award of arms, but are worth more than an ordinary award of arms. An AoA is an AoA.

The next stage up is a grant. That confusion is an artifact of the West that I would really like to see the back of. I would like to see Grant level awards for service, art and combat. It's a looooooong step from AoA to patent, and many of us would have appreciated some encouragement along the way. The leaves don't quite reach that far. Dont worry if one crown goes berserk and creates an entire award system during it's reign. What one monarch can open, the next can close just as easily. Remember Valgard giving all the Court Barons and Baronesses grants, and John revoking the grants 5 minutes later?


Sir Kane Greymane (Aneala)

I must admit to being less firm on this than I was some years ago.

After reading the debate:

1. I believe having awards with names that come from a specific time, race or culture are not inclusive and thus have no place in a 600 to 1600 some where in Western Europe Society. Award Names should (imho) be in the modern core language or latin. not both.

2. Award names should be in a period style and practice.

3. Use of the non Period rank structure AA,GA &PA. fits into our 20th century view and thus is valid for us. it also makes it easy and inexpensive for the Monarchs to reward their subjects. Perhaps with just these few rules we could leave it to develop a flavor of its own?


Ulfrikr inn Hrafn (Dirk Schmitt) (Proposed Shire - Richmond/Penrith/Blacktown)

We seem to be playing far too much around with the concept of giving our Crown carte blanche on the awards system.Frankly I find this a tad disturbing.

Will we end up with a batch of awards which ALL mean the same thing and are just from different Crowns or will we find awards opening and closing like a revolving door? Now while I am sure that none of the people who are likely to be Crown at the moment would do something so ludicrous, well, as they say, it only takes one.

Think of it this way. The Victoria Cross for example is the highest medal of valour you can receive from the British Crown, yes? Well, would it have the same importance or significance if there was then an Elizabeth Cross, which was a reward for the same thing, a Georges Cross, awarded for the same thing, a Charles Cross, awarded for the same thing, a William Cross, awarded for the same thing... need I continue.For an award to have true meaning it must have a unique identity. For rank to have any true meaning it must have a unique identity.

Now, here is a possible solution (throw in pot, stir, watch pot froth and bubble, stir some more *G*). Create an award structure that is fully independent of the Crown. Something codified and that can be seen to be well ordered and above all will then hold it's integrity for years to come. The mundane example is our military, yes, it did evolve, but ranks and awards can find their equivalents around the world, they command respect, whilst sometimes the person does not. They are easily identifiable and in and of themselves have a life and tradition of their own. We must remember, that it is the people who receive the awards who make the award what it is, not the award itself and not the person giving the award.

When you receive an award you are joining a group of people, a select group of people, and it is THAT which makes all the difference. Now, should we wish to allow our Crown some leeway, certainly, this doesn't need to be cast in stone, but a basis and a codified system must be to allowed to be built upon. The other option where one can provide choice is that we allow the tokens which are presented to be customised to some degree by the Crown who issues it, it can be as simple as a place to engrave their names, or maybe we can stamp in their personal devices. The other extreme is to allow the token to be decided upon by the Crown, whilst the award remains the same, the token changes from Crown to Crown, BUT, this could prove rather difficult as symbols get used up quickly and there is not a common symbol for an award.


Jan of Ghent (Rowany?)

Ulfrikr wrote:

> Now, here is a possible solution. Create an award structure that is fully
> independent of the Crown. Something codified and that can be seen to be
> well ordered and above all will then hold it's integrity for years to come.

For at least the armigerous strand of the award structure, I'd say "yes please!". One implementation might be that the Coronet must seek ratification from a body composite[1] of all landed Barons and Baroness of Lochac prior to modifying the armigerous strand.
> Now, should we wish to allow our
> Crown some leeway, certainly, this doesn't need to be cast in stone, but a
> basis and a codified system must be to allowed to be built upon.

[1] If I recall correctly, a concept which was presented by Master Peter on this forum some time ago. Such a body might be employed anywhere that checks and balances on the power of the Coronet are desirable.


Master Gwynfor Lwd

If awards are to have real meaning, I think that the more codified approach is better.

I see the structure as something like this:

If there is a hole somewhere, royalty could plug it, preferably after some consultation. This allows Royalty a great deal of flexibility, and whilst it may seem a bit "boy scout-ish" it does ensure that people are able to be recognised for continuing work. Kingdom award structures would fit under the umbrella. It would be nice to see Armigerous Awards (like the OST, ORLillies) slotting in between Kingdom Armigerous Awards and straight AoA's in the OP.

Why all the levels? Well... it is feudal! Everyone would know their place in the scheme of things, and that of others, too. It would be nice to see a Grand March every once in a while, too. I always found reverse order (populace first) worked well. Perhaps not at large events, but at smaller events they add pomp and circumstance, and allow people the opportunity of at least knowing who others are, and where they slot in. I would like to see the structure in Kingdom law, and as part of the Royalty Guide, so that all have a similar idea about what award does what to whom.


Master Richard de la Croix

I think Peter we may be talking slightly at each other rather than to each other. I shall attempt to re-clarify what I said earlier about my 'ideal' as far as the award structure goes. Please preface each of these points with the words "I think".

1. There should be a basic award structure that forms the core of recognition in the Kingdom. Some of this is provided by Corpora. For what is not, we should go about arriving at a system which can merit, if not consensus, favour of the majority.

2. Whatever we decide upon should be bedded down before the first Coronation, and even before the poll so people know exactly what we are 'voting' on.

3. The final award structure should interact seamlessly with the SCA wide awards. It should all fit together as if it were the one structure. There should be no inconsistencies.

4. As much as possible, all SCA activity should be encompassed in the award structure. No-one should be able to positively and materially contribute to the Kingdom without the possibility of being thanked under the award system. That is, we shouldn't let people 'fall through the cracks'.

My earlier 'proposal' had certain elements:

1. Recognised three areas of endeavour within the Society. I cannot think of an activity someone could participate in within the Society context which would not be covered under the 'proposed' system. Even should this happen, the ability for the Crown to recognise these people with the Society level 'generic' awards of arms (AA, GA) should not be understated.

2. Recognised that within this context there were clearly differing levels of commitment or achievement. I have received three Peerages. It's taken me 15 years since I got my AA to do so. Let's assume an average of 5 years of high level service or activity is a good figure for what it takes to get the highest level of recognition. I see a typical progression might be (although this should not be taken as a check off list; people can skip awards and do not necessarily need to back-fill): AA 1-2 years very active in the SCA or 2-3 years of moderate activity. AA+ 2-3 years very active in the SCA or 3-4 years of moderate activity. GA 3-4 years very active in the SCA or 5+ years of moderate activity PA 5+ years very active in the SCA (moderate activity is probably not enough but let's say 10 years at this level)

This means that as an average once every 1-2 years a person who is committing a lot of time to the SCA should get a 'pat on the back' and a 'thank you very much'. This might not seem like much, but it does mean more than you think to be pointed at publicly and thanked for your efforts. I won't go into the arguments as to why this needs to be an award. It doesn't. Alarice and I have deliberately also tried to thank people in other ways (eg Festival tokens to enjoy a beer at our expense in the Tavern for help during the year or gold exclusive (12)commemorative tokens for people who do an outstanding job at Festival). These things though, can only ever be temporary. At least with an award it is always there for everyone to see and can be proudly (but humbly) displayed. There is a place for both in the SCA.

3. Brought Fighting and other Martial Arts into line with the other areas of activity. Heavy Fighters do get significant recognition. Nevertheless, it would be nice to recognise that they do contribute to the SCA. When I first went about this, I thought "No fighters get enough as it is". They get to Reign. They get to always (or mostly) have an event which caters for their interest more than any other. When was the last time you just had a feast without a Tourney on the morning before or the day after? It happens but not very often. For heaven's sake, even the Ball d'Argent this year had a Tourney scheduled on the next day. But then that wasn't the point. Firstly, Martial Arts cover a lot more these days (particularly in Lochac) than just Heavy Fighting. Secondly, while Fighters may get to Reign, this means some work and more importantly expense too. Thirdly, there is in my opinion a need to fill the gap between AA and Patent. There is a need for encouragement. Martial Activity is a vital part of what the SCA is about.

4. Left scope for other awards of thank you and so on for the Royalty to also distribute. As I said earlier, it is important to provide a structure or foundation upon which to build. You don't build a house piece by piece and lay foundation as you go from one wall to the next. You provide a stable base for the entire structure at the start. The SCA level awards lack the necessary substance and I think are not suitable on their own. But they do provide an excellent medium to work with. If I can continue with my analogy, we need to mix some rocks into the cement to make the concrete. Royalty would obviously be able to institute other 'novelty' or 'specialty' awards also (such as Order of the Silver Nib in the West for Scribing) Whether these survive the Test of Time will depend on how well thought out they were, how much appeal they had, and how relevant and meaningful they are in the lives of ordinary SCA people.

Anyway, I'd also like to address some of the points you made Peter.

> Now, what exactly are we talking about here? If the proposal is to
> plan the award system down to the name of every award and the design
> of the token, then I restate my opinion that this should be left in
> the hands of the Crown. However, if the discussion is a more general
> one of system philosophy, there may be room for agreement.

It is more a matter of philosophy. But I have to disagree with you on names and tokens. These symbols of the award are important. It is important that the majority of the populace can identify with an award, and a large part of this will be through the name and the token. Or how would everyone feel if say, I were to become the first King (let's not get into probabilities this is only an example). Having been left the job of choosing the award structure that we all should follow, I have instituted the Leaf/Grant level "del la Croix" awards for excellence in the Arts and Sciences; called tenderly the DLC which obviously no-one minds because everyone loves an acronym. Did I forget to mention BTW, the token is a Maltese Cross, but no-one should have a problem with that because they're so spunky as a charge on anything. There, that's my job done. Well surprise surprise, my successor who happens to be a Viking doesn't like this at all. He thinks we should all wear Nordic attire and RPB our way through SCA History. Arts and Sciences have their place but only if they're armouring or brewing. So we decide to close the DLC and maybe get around to something more relevant later in the reign. Trouble is fighting in Wars and Tourneys always seems to get in the way of running the Realm. We'll leave the awards until next reign, or maybe we'll just get the Queen to devote some time to it after she answers all of the correspondence. (Disclaimer: This is a made-up scenario. Other than references to myself, no real persons or events have been portrayed in this story)

> I'd like to see more awards for fighting short of peerage. The
> argument I have always heard against this is that fighters get tassles
> when they win tourneys. Artisans get bells when they win competitions,
> but I don't see the Rose Leaf being closed any time soon. Some
> kingdoms give the title of "sergeant" to mid-level fighters who meet a
> particular standard. This, or something similar, would be good. I obviously (from the context above and previously) agree.
> I'd eliminate the idea that kingdom awards get an award of arms, but
> are worth more than an ordinary award of arms. An AoA is an AoA. The
> next stage up is a grant. That confusion is an artifact of the West
> that I would really like to see the back of.

I disagree. The West clearly recognised Leaf awards as an intermediate award between AA and the Peerage. They simply recognise Leaf level achievement as being higher in Precedence in the Kingdom (which is why they are also armigerous). That said, I'd also be happy with skipping the Leaf level award too. In fact this is something I have been thinking over for some time. It would clearly have some advantages. I thought it was too radical but maybe given the fact that you have also thought about this there might be more acceptance out there. I also thought it would still not provide the necessary recognition on the way.

> I would like to see Grant level awards for service, art and combat.
> It's a looooooong step from AoA to patent, and many of us would have
> appreciated some encouragement along the way. The leaves don't quite
> reach that far.

I obviously (from the context above and previously) agree. Which is why I stater this e-mail the way I did. There appears to be one sticking point between our arguments; how much to leave to Royalty. In this as in everything I am a minimalist:-)

> Don;t worry if one crown goes berserk and creates an entire award
> system during it's reign. What one monarch can open, the next can
> close just as easily. Remember Valgard giving all the Court Barons and
> Baronesses grants, and John revoking the grants 5 minutes later?

I think Peter, this would be the single most pointed thing which would weigh to the argument to limit the scope as much as possible; not give then an open slather. We won't even go into Lochac history (Silver Sword, Silver Rapier, Yom Viking (sp?)) or even further back in the West. Cheers


My views, more formally composed (some of which I've already posted here, some I haven't). Whether you agree or disagree, be sure to let Baron Stephen know via thehunts@macquarie.Babel Com Australia.com.au *before* the end of the month.

PROPOSED CHANGES -- Jan van Ghent, 17/07/200

A. The Laws -

1. Maintain usage of rather than . Given a choice between a non-period local tradition and a non-period non-local tradition, the former is arguably more preferable (if for no other reason than continuity).

2. Remove laws regarding costume (Section __).This is already covered by Corpora. Introducing such redundancy unnecessarily bloats the body of law.

3. Remove laws regarding campsites (Section __). Campsites are hardly an issue fundamental to the good order and maintenance of the Kingdom. Making laws about them at Kingdom level therefore unnecessarily bloats the body of law.

B. The Awards

1. Reduce the legislation to three sections: Armigerous, Non-Armigerous and Miscellany (the latter containing such "metadata" as source of awards, proclamation, immigrant arms, order of precedence etc). This will simplify the legislative structure and make it easier to follow.

2. Define the Order of Precedence in its own separate subsection (under Miscellany), rather than mixing the precedence for each award in with its definition. This provides clarity, making the Order of Precedence more explicit and obvious to the reader and easier to locate in its entirety.

3. Include a provision that the Crown must consult with the Royal Advisory Council before making changes to the armigerous strand of the award structure.

4. Amalgamate the various Award-level Golden Orders for Martial Prowess into one single Order (eg the Golden Lion). We don't make a distinction with separate Orders for different A&S pursuits; what is the benefit in doing so with the different martial arts? The existence of separate martial Orders is unnecessary and arguably contributes to the perceived division between the disciplines. Amalgamation sends out the more desirable message of unity.

5. Institute Grant-level Orders for Artifice, Martial Prowess and Service (or if already included, amalgamate the various Grant-level Orders for Martial Prowess into one single Order). Grant Orders representing the main areas of Society endeavour strengthens the continuity of the award structure by providing an "intermediate" level of recognition. The gap between Award and Patent is simply too wide. Amalgamating the martial Grant Orders into one simplifies the award structure and should serve to reduce the perception of division between the martial disciplines.

6. Make the King's Company of Archers and Queen's Company of Fencers non-armigerous. Instead, the Crown may optionally bestow prospective Companions with a Grant-level award for Martial Prowess (which was described in the previous recommendation).

7. Remove the text "the Crown specifically reserves the right to grant Patents and create Peerages for any other reason and title unto Themselves". Aside from the wording being confusing - one could be forgiven for mistakenly thinking that it assumes the right to create Patent Orders - Corpora conveys this authority solely to Kingdoms already; repeating it here creates a redundancy which only serves to bloat the body of law.

8. Remove Section 8 -- Kingdom Awards. Corpora conveys this authority to Principalities already; repeating it here creates a redundancy which only serves to bloat the body of law.

9. Change the title of Section 5 -- Leaves of Achievement to "Award Orders". The award structure describes no actual Leaves to speak of; why classify the Orders under that which they are not?

10. Specify whose reign at the start of which the Crown may announce permission for Coronets to bestow so-called Leaves of Achievement (Article VI Section 5.7)

11. Include a provision for the Crown to be consulted before Patents of Arms are bestowed on the Crown's behalf (ie don't give blanket permission for regional Coronets to bestow Viscounties). Being more local, the Crown should be encouraged to be bestow all Patents itself, including Viscounties. Any other arrangement should be on a case-by-case basis rather than the defacto.

12. Reword the definition of the Order of the Rowan to read "The Order of the Rowan for those persons who consistently demonstrate and uphold the ideals of the Society, for which its founding namesake is most noted." This provides greater distinction between it and the Lochac Order of Grace.

13. Place landed Barons and Baronesses directly below the King and Queen in the Order of Precedence, on the same level as the heirs. This reflects their importance as representatives of the Crown.


Peter the Uncertain

I have previously sent these comments on the Steven, but I would appreciate some feedback from elsewhere to see if I am totally out of touch or not. One of the changes from the first draft of the laws to the current second draft was the addition of a fealty section. This reflects the fealty section that is in the West Kingdom laws. However, I have a problem with it.

Fealty is not defined anywhere in the law, or anywhere else I know of in any SCA code. I know from listening to discussions on this list and on the Pelicans list that it seems everyone has a different opinion on what constitutes fealty, what constitutes breaking fealty and whether fealty expires naturally, can be cancelled by mutual agreement or is binding for life. It seems to me that we cannot make good law for something we cannot define to our mutual satisfaction.

Now, have a read of this. It is an extract from the proposed laws.

(vi) Violation of Fealty No statement which suggests or advocates violation of fealty to the Kingdom shall be used, by any person, group or entity in Lochac. Fighters advocating such violations shall at once be forbidden to participate in any Society combat. Officers advocating such violations shall at once be suspended from office. If an entire branch advocates such violations, it shall be suspended. The above suspensions and restrictions shall remain until they have been considered in Curia by the Crown or Its appointed representatives, at which point the suspensions shall be lifted or confirmed. At the same occasion, other penalties may be assessed, if such is the pleasure of the Crown. Any restriction, suspensions, or other penalties assessed will be forwarded by the Crown to the Board of Directors of the Society if necessary to ensure their enforcement.

That, gentles, is the SCA's equivalent of a nuclear strike, in retaliation for the violation of something nobody can satisfactorily define except to themselves. The way I see it, there are two possibilities for applying this law.

A) Seeing as nobody can provide a testable definition of fealty so it can be demonstrated that it has been violated, the law is unenforceable. In that case, it is a waste of space and should be deleted.

B) The definition of violation of fealty shall be whatever the crown of the moment says it is. Reread the penalty list, think about a few of our past coronets, and tell me if you don't feel a twinge of nervousness. I feel that either this provision should be deleted in pre-emptive self defense, or it should be accompanied by a nice, clear, testable definition of fealty so we don't have officers or landed barons suspended because they tell the king he can't do something. It could be, of course, that I am seeing a problem that doesn't exist. Then again, I have the utmost confidence in the behaviour of our members. That is probably why I am worried.

 


Why not have your say? E-mail Kiriel du Papillon with your views and comments. Any mail sent to the author on the issues above will be included here, and with your permission forwarded on to the Lochac Kingdom Committee. This page was last updated on the 19th of July 2000.