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Newcomers FAQ

Where is the Barony of Atenveldt fighter practice?

Click here for a map and directions to Practice.

Where should I park?

There is plenty of parking in the park itself or the street to the north of where we gather. 

Is a fighter practice like a Ren Faire?

Yes and no

Yes because the baronial fighter practice is for people who are interested in recreating the middle ages and features people in costume, fighting with medieval weapons, and displays of banners, pageantry and such. Also like a ren faire, we encourage non-members to attend.

No because unlike a ren faire, the SCA is not for entertainment of others. SCA members attend fighter practices and other, more formal, events for themselves and what goes on is aimed at the participants, not the bystanders.

In the SCA the more you participate the more fun you will have. Don't come expecting to be passively entertained.

What goes on at a fighter practice anyway?

Fighter practices are a lot more than fighting. They are, in effect, weekly get togethers for local SCA groups. Besides fighting, they are also occasions to socialize, hold classes, get information and such.

Are children allowed at fighter practice? What about pets?

Both children and pets are welcome at Atenveldt fighter practice, as long as they are kept under control. Be sure to watch your children and remember the City of Phoenix requires that all pets be on a leash at all times.

What if I don't understand something?

Ask...and don't be shy about it.

Is everyone at the fighter practice with the SCA?

No. Not only is practice held in a public park and open to everyone, but several other groups, including jugglers and a couple of other medieval re-enactment groups, also meet in the park at the same time.

Generally the SCA will be concentrated at the northern and eastern ends of the baseball field.

What do I call people?

"My Lord" or "My Lady" works for just about anyone. Or just say 'hi' and start talking.

Do I need a costume?

No. While some people attend fighter practice in costume, especially on court night (where it is required for formal attendance at court) most people wear regular clothing.

Why are some people in costume and others in regular clothes?

Personal choice. Some people prefer to attend in medieval costume while others wear street clothes, goth gear, pirate outfits, or whatever strikes their fancy. (Street clothes or medieval style garments are more in keeping with what we're doing.) Fighters tend to wear costume because their armor is designed to work with it.

What's the difference between Atenveldt (the barony) and Atenveldt (the kingdom)?

Atenveldt-the-barony is a subdivision of Atenveldt-the-kingdom. The Barony of Atenveldt, which sponsors this fighter practice, is comprised of the central Phoenix metropolitan area. The Kingdom of Atenveldt once included most of the southern United States and is now basically the state of Arizona.

Are there other SCA groups in the Phoenix area?

Currently Atenveldt is one of three SCA baronies in the greater Phoenix area. The Barony of Sundragon encompasses the western part of the Valley, including Avondale, Peoria, Buckeye, etc.. The Barony of Twin Moons encompasses the East Valley, including Chandler, Mesa, Apache Junction, etc.. In addition, there is the College of Brymstone at ASU.
However, you are free to participate in any of the baronies (or all of them) regardless of the location of your home.

Do you have to live in central Phoenix to attend Atenveldt fighter practice?

No. While the division of the Phoenix area is important for SCA administrative reasons, anyone is free to play anywhere they want and to call any group they want home. Many people attend fighter practices, events and classes in more than one barony.

What's the Eric, why is it important and why is it called that?

The Eric is the barrier that marks off the fighting fields. In the Barony of Atenveldt it is a yellow-and-black rope stretched between iron stakes driven into the ground.

The area marked off by the Eric is closed to anyone who hasn't signed a special waiver. Generally that means fighters, marshals, waterbearers and the odd (aren't they all?) herald. Be sure to stay outside the boundary.

The Eric got its name in the early days of the SCA. The Kingdom of the West (San Francisco area) originally marked off its field with a strip of red cloth. Because it was red, and because the SCA is full of punsters, the barrier quickly became known as the Eric, after Eric the Red, a famous Viking.

Who are the people doing all the shouting?

Most likely they are heralds or (occasionally) marshals. Heralds serve as the public address systems of the SCA and since we don't use amplifiers, a herald (who does the announcing) needs a strong pair of lungs. Marshals are responsible for safety and conduct on the field. When they shout, it's usually instructions to the fighters.
In either case, it's polite to stop talking until the herald or marshal finishes the announcement.

What's an SCA name?

By convention every member of the SCA chooses a medieval name to use in the SCA context. Often the name will reflect the culture the member has chosen to adopt - and some of them are downright unpronounceable to the inexperienced.

Since everyone has an SCA name as well as a real-world name, this can get confusing. It's not uncommon for people to know each other for years in the SCA without learning their real-world names. Other people are known primarilyM by their real world names and their SCA names are only used in official contexts. Many people are referred to interchangeably by their SCA names, their real names and their nicknames.

Do I have to call people by their titles or use their SCA names?

No, especially not at fighter practice.

What's a persona?

A persona is who you're supposed to be in the SCA. It's a created character that provides the 'back story' for the person. Usually it will be based on a time and place of particular interest to the person. Not everyone has created a persona and people vary widely in how seriously they take them. For some people their persona verges on a character in a live-action role-playing game. For others it is a casual, incomplete bit of fluff.

Personas can be disconcerting to newcomers. Especially when the person you're talking to at fighter practice starts explaining that they're an 8th Century Viking, or a 13th Century Sicilian Norman, or a 14th Century libertine Irish monk. For some people it's part of the game; don't worry, you'll get the hang of it.

Do you have to be a member to attend?

No. While the SCA is a membership organization, it is extremely loose about it. Membership isn't even required to attend formal SCA events, although it is needed to hold office and for some other purposes.

What's with all the crowns, medallions and stuff?

They're badges of rank, given for accomplishment in the SCA. There are a lot of them and as far as visitors to fighter practice are concerned, they're best ignored.

(Technically, there is only one set of actual crowns and they belong to the King and Queen. The rest are either plain circlets or coronets, depending on their shape.)

What's with the capes with emblems on the back?

They can be either personal adornment or they may be cloaks of office, being worn by representatives of the various baronial and kingdom offices who are 'on duty', so to speak. If you see someone wearing a green cloak with a pair of crossed trumpets in yellow, you're looking at a herald, for example.

Why do people have designs on their medieval clothes?

The designs are heraldry and they're worn to tell other people who you are, what you do, or who you're affiliated with.

Most people in the SCA have personal design (called a 'device' or 'arms' depending on their rank) which they often use to mark themselves and their property. Heraldry got started as a way to tell who was under all that armor and went from there. Many SCA members have banners bearing their design, as well as using it on chairs, chests, small children, pets and other property.

Besides the heraldry for marking people, there are other designs which mark of offices. Some officers, such as heralds and hospitaliers, display their designs at fighter practice so people can find them easily. In addition, each branch of the SCA has its own device, some of which you'll see displayed at fighter practice.

Finally, there are designs used to identify affiliation with households, warbands and similar groups. These are called badges and unlike personal devices and arms, they can be displayed by any member of that group.

How do I spot the King and Queen?

They're the harassed looking individuals surrounded by a cloud of people who are trying to talk to them.

The King and Queen don't always come to our fighter practice and when they do they're seldom dressed up. Usually they're wearing street clothes, armor, or simple garb without obvious marks of rank.

(Hint: The person wearing the fanciest outfit and the biggest metal headdress at fighter practice is probably not the King or Queen.)

How do I recognize the Baron and Baroness?

Ask. The baron and baroness often don't wear formal garb or marks of office at fighter practice and even when they do, they can be hard to pick out unless you know what the various insignia mean. (For one thing, the ruling Baron and Baroness aren't the only baron and baroness out there.)

If course at Baronial court, the Baron and Baroness are the ones up there sitting on the thrones, but that's not the time to try to meet them.

Am I supposed to bow to people?

Not if you're in street clothes. Some people will bow to the King or Queen or Baron or Baroness even if one or both of them are in street clothes as a mark of great respect, but that's a personal choice.

What's court?

Courts are formal gatherings presided over by the Baron or Baroness or the King or Queen. A court is marked by elaborate ceremony, formal manners and 'Sunday go to meeting' costume. If fighter practices are about the loosest, most informal events in the SCA, courts are the most formal. A royal court, presided over by the King and Queen, is particularly spectacular.

The ruling nobles sit on thrones facing the people and surrounded by their officers, guards, ladies in waiting, champions, heralds and other functionaries. Usually the banners of the ruling nobles, the Kingdom, the Barony, the officers and others will be on display, as well as other elaborate decorations.

The Barony of Atenveldt has court night once a month at fighter practice. In addition to court itself, this will typically be marked by mini-tournaments for both sword and shield and rapier as well as an arts competition. On court night most SCA members show up in costume.

If you want to watch court, stay well in the back, especially if you're wearing street clothes, and be quiet. If you want to talk, or if you get bored, it's perfectly all right to slip off and go somewhere else.

What's a mundane?

'Mundane' is anyone or anything not in the SCA context. Street clothes are commonly referred to as mundanes. So are non-SCA participants.

~ by Count Richard Ironsteed