College:Rules

Wait! Why have rules of heraldry at all? This is just a game!

There are a number of reasons why the College places some limits on what is, or is not, an appropriate blazon:

  1. Visibility. Ultimately, devices are meant to be recognizable. Much of the rules of heraldry are designed to do just that: make the shapes and contrast clear enough so that you can actually tell banners or shields apart.
  2. Versimilitude. Much the immersive power of a game depends on nothing "jarring" you our of suspension of disbelief. Seeing the photograph of a telephone in a medieval fantasy would do just that.
  3. Thematic unity. Related to the above, you'd want shapes and techniques a character in the game could reasonably come up with. We are presuming that the New Britannian heraldic tradition was "imported" originally by Lord British (a resident of Earth), and evolved from there.
  4. Real life concerns. There are some devices which could actually cause trouble, or be quite out of place in-universe. We shy away from those out of – perhaps – a little paranoia.
  5. Fun. In-universe, arms are a big deal; it's an honor to be allowed to bear arms at all, and some forms are meant to be earned and shown as a badge of worth. Allowing anyone to bear kingly arms removes something to be striven for. There are likely to be some charges, for example crowns and crosses moline entwined of silver serpents, which will be reserved for those holding specific noble titles and/or for Lord British to give as rewards.

All of that said, this remains a game so the rules are neither as strict nor as inflexible as you would find in real life. They are derived from those of the Society for Creative Anachronism, with some additional flexibility given that many concerns that apply to walking around with devices in real life apply much less to a virtual environment.

General rules

  • Charges should be consistent with either Earth heraldry up to around the seventeenth century, or with the history and culture of the worlds where Lord British resided.
  • The complexity and style of images should match that which is reasonably achievable by artisans and craftsmen in a medieval setting.
  • Blazons that are too complex or visually indistinct from each other would not normally be seen as valid in a society which relies on them for identification at a distance in battle conditions.
  • Arms should be original. Those that are too similar to very well known real-world arms – in particular, those of realms, regents or very famous institutions will not be accepted. (As cool as it might be, we can't have you running around with Gules, on a pale argent a Canadian maple leaf gules. Sorry. Canada got to that before you did.)
  • Text on devices must be in runic, and is restricted to no more than two letters, large enough to be clearly recognizable.
  • Arms should obey the Rule of Tincture – that is to say, no placing a metal entirely on another metal, a color entirely on another color, or a base entirely on another base.
  • The tinctures we allow are the colors azure, gules, purpure, sable, vert, viridian,murrey, tenney, orange, bleu celeste, ash, and sanguine (with some limitations); and the metals Or, argent and copper.


Prohibited charges

The following charges or combination of charges will not be accepted in blazon for characters because of their improper nature, real-world implications, or likelihood of being seriously offensive:

  • cross, burning or of flames; because of association with the KKK
  • cross couped gules on an argent background; because of the international treaties concerning the Red Cross/Red Crescent/Red Crystal.
  • crescent gules on an argent background, for the same reason as above.
  • mascle gules on an argent background, for the same reason as above.
  • swastikas, Reichsadler eagles; because of association with the Nazi party
  • the hand of Ulster
  • the AWB cross
  • depictions of rude gestures, or of genitalia; because we aren't 7 year olds....

In addition, the following combinations are prohibited because they are too strongly associated with major Kingdoms of earth:

  • three or more fleur-de-lys Or on a field or charge azure
  • more than one lion passant in pale on a field or charge gules
  • a harp Or on a field or charge vert
  • a lion rampant gules on a field or charge Or
  • an eagle displayed sable on a field or charge Or
  • a maple leaf gules on a field or charge Argent
  • a semy of mullets argent on a field or charge azure

Reserved charges

The following charges are reserved in-game for thematic reasons; it is expected that as the concepts of nobility and knightly order develops in game, they will be used to indicate those.

  • Serpents ondoyant argent (reserved for Lord British or orders or individuals so designated by Him)
  • Crowns and coronets, on the arms or on the achievement
  • Belts in annulo or belts nowed (reserved for knightly orders)
  • Chains in annulo or chains nowed (reserved for knightly orders)

Achievement

For the time being, only coats of arms will be registered; tradition demands that other components (such as a crest, supporters, and so on) are only granted by royal favor (or at least, by an order from that same fount of honor).

It is likely that as nobility and knighthood (and other orders) develop in game, achievements may be granted in the future.

(There is also the point that, technically, it is expected that the first episode might support only banners and shields for custom images so that anything else would be rather pointless).

Distinctiveness

Arms can only be registered if they are sufficiently distinct from every other registered arms. In practice, to be considered distinct, there must be two significant differences of the field or of at least one primary charge. For this purpose, the following differences are considered not significant:

  • A distinction between gules, sanguine and murrey;
  • a distinction between azure and blue celeste;
  • the presence or tincture of fimbriation;
  • a change in the attitude of an animal;
  • a change between most animals without a change in attitude;
  • a distinction between a semy of a charge and six or more individual charges;
  • a change of the styling of an edge, unless it is for a party of the field; and
  • a distinction in the number of a charge unless there are fewer than four.


There are two exceptions to this rule:

  • Cadency among family members allows for only a single point of difference.
  • When there is a single charge on a solid field, a change in the general shape of the charge (wide, tall, or square) may be considered a point of difference.

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