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Archive-name: sca-faq/part03
Last-modified: 2000-6-13

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                 Questions Frequently Asked on the Rialto
Section 3: Miscellaneous questions. 

3.1 What does AS stand for? 

Anno Societatis, or Year of the Society, counted from May 1, 1966 CE.
(CE = Common Era, used to avoid the religious connotations of AD, or
Anno Domini) 

3.2 Other abbreviations you may run across: 

     Arts and Sciences (not to be confused with AS, above) 
     By The Way 
     Current Middle Ages 
     Frequently Asked Question(s) 
     For Your Information 
     In My Honest/Humble Opinion 
     Modernly (or Mundanely) Known As 
     Out Of Period 
     not really an abbreviation, the "smiley" informally indicates
     humor. Turn your head sideways to the left to understand it. 

3.3 Why don't we have a badge for all the Rialto people to wear? 

We have an informal agreement that a piece of netting worn on your
person or hanging about your camp indicates you visit the Rialto.
Remember there are people that have nets around that do *not* visit

3.4 What is Period? 

The period (and place) of interest to the SCA, as defined in Corpora
and the By-Laws, is Western Europe and cultures that had contact with
Western Europe before the 17th Century. 

3.5 What is the Grand Council? 

The Grand Council is a body of 20-40 people, chartered by the Board of
Directors to develop recommendations on improving the structures of
the SCA, Inc. It is not a strictly representative body and has no
power to legislate. Its membership has been chosen to represent as
many different viewpoints on the SCA as possible. Major discussions
are open for the public to read, see the listing for the Grand Council
mailing list for details. 

Section 4: Recurring events: 

4.1 What is Pennsic? When is Pennsic? 

Pennsic is an annual war, with the main contenders being the East and
Middle Kingdoms. It is the largest recurring event in the Laurel
Kingdoms, with attendance in 1996 of just under 10,000. It has taken
place since 1972, and has been held at Coopers Lake Campground near
Slippery Rock, PA since 1977. The main battles of the war are held the
third weekend in August, with other activities taking place the week
and weekend preceding that. Pennsic was so named from "Pennsylvania"
on the model of "Punic." More information can be found at

4.2 What is Estrella? When is Estrella? 

Estrella is an annual war between four Principle Kingdoms - Atenveldt,
Artemisia, Caid and Outlands. They change allies each year at the treaty
negotiations.  It has taken place since 1985, and is held at Schnepf Farms
near Queen Creek, Az. It is held on President's Day weekend (February).
More information can be found at

4.3 What is Lilies? When is Lilies? 

Lilies is an annual war that takes place in Calontir. Each year a new
scenario is developed to vary the sides. Past scenarios have included
Winter Queens vs. Summer Queens, Laurels vs. Pelicans, Baronies vs.
Shires, and so on. It takes place at Smithville Lake, near Kansas
City, MO.

4.4 What is Gulf War? When is Gulf War?

Gulf War is an annual war between Ansteorra and Trimaris, being hosted
by Meridies. It takes place at King's Arrow Ranch near Lumberton, MS. It
is currently held during "spring break" in mid-March each year. More
information can be found at

Section 5: Difficult topics: 

There are some topics that recur fairly regularly that are almost
guaranteed to cause heated debate. These topics generally involve
matters of opinion, where debate can be entertaining, amusing, or
informative, but often devolves into name-calling or worse. Below is a
listing of some such topics, including a brief summary of the major
points of view on each. If you decide to bring up one of these topics
on the Rialto, be prepared for lengthy, and perhaps unfriendly,
argument. If you seriously are interested in changing how the SCA as
an organization deals with these topics, remember you *MUST* *WRITE*
the Board of Directors with your opinions to effect any change on the
organization as a whole. You will *not* change anything simply through
discussing it on the Rialto. 

5.0.5 How do I write the Board of Directors? 

(The following text was written by Ragnar the Bold, known in modern
life as Keith Cartmell, a former member of the Board of Directors.) 

What sort of a letter is most likely to influence the Board on a
decision? Some of this will be plainly obvious, but you should see
some of the letters the Board has received. Hope this clears up

Address it to: 

    Board of Directors
    P.O. Box 360789
    Milpitas, CA. 95036-0789

Do not send copies to individual directors, or the Society Seneschal,
since copies will be made and sent out in the Board packets. 

Keep your letter to one topic. If you wish to address several
different topics, send several letters in the same envelope. The
secretary will find it easier to correctly handle your letter if you
clearly state the topic at the beginning. Letters that address an
agenda item will be numbered with it. If your letter comments on
several agenda items, it becomes a nightmare to correctly file, and
find again when wanted. If it does not comment on any established
agenda item, it will be placed into VII, Correspondence. It will be
assigned to a director for a response. Every letter should get a
response. Your letters are carefully read to see if a new agenda item
must be created. This is done at the Committee of the Whole meeting,
and any letters on the same topic will be moved to the new agenda

The Board packets add up to a pile of paper that is never less than
about 3" thick. To make the best impression your letter should be
clear, and to the point. The letter is photocopied, and the original
filed, so getting everything on one side of an 8.5 x 11 page helps.
Multiple pages should be clearly labeled 1 of x, 2 of x, ect, and
don't staple. The main consideration in print medium is easy to read.
Dark typewritten print is great. A 9 pin printer in draft mode badly
needs a fresh ribbon. Handwritten; if you must, use dark ink, double
space, and be as neat as possible. For most people (especially me)
hand printing is neater than handwriting. It must be signed, and if
your name is printed underneath it will be spelled that way in the
minutes. The Board will not accept anonymous correspondence. 

Timing. Sooner is better. Sending a letter about 2 to 6 weeks *after*
the latest meeting is about ideal, or about 2 months *prior* to the
next. The packets are smaller and the directors are not trying to cope
with all the last minute essentials. 

If your letter is a request for the Board to act as the final step in
the channels for complaint and appeal, please include a summary of all
the attempts to resolve the situation. Be meticulous about dates,
actions, and who you send copies to. Remember that Board action will
affect the entire SCA, not just your situation. 

5.1 Same-sex consorts. 

Current situation: According to Corpora the Sovereign and Consort must
be of opposite gender, i.e. one male and one female by plumbing,
regardless of affectional preference. 

Pro: Those people in favor of allowing same-sex consorts feel that
modern sensibilities are more important than historical practice, and
that in the spirit of making the SCA as inclusive as possible, people
should be allowed to fight in Crown Tourney for their significant
other, regardless of their affectional preference. 

Con: Those people against allowing same-sex consorts feel that
historical accuracy is important, and that as there are no historical
examples of a sovereign having a consort of the same sex, the SCA
should not permit it. An additional argument is that the majority of
the SCA is heterosexual, and that by having two members of the same
sex on the throne, approximately half the SCA is deprived of a role
model during that reign. 

5.2 Selecting the Crown. 

Current situation: In all kingdoms, the Sovereign is chosen by a
regularly recurring, double elimination Crown Tourney. The frequency
of this tourney varies by kingdom. The victor of this tourney becomes
the Heir to the throne (title varies by kingdom), and the person for
whom the victor fought becomes the Heir's Consort. After some period
of time as Heirs, they are crowned Sovereign and Consort. 

Proposals: We have seen many varied proposals on the Rialto for
alternative ways of selecting the Sovereign. Each is treated
separately below. In all cases, take as given the opinion (both Pro
and Con) "We've never done it that way before." 

1. Allow champions in Crown Tourney. A person would fight in Crown
Tourney for a couple. If that person is victorious, the couple would
become Sovereign and Consort. The fighter, in most versions of this
proposal, would be required to serve as Champion throughout the reign,
and would not be permitted to fight in Crown Tourney while they are
Champion. Pro: allows non-fighters to be Sovereign. Con: people
express worries about 'kingmakers' and hiring of champions. 

2. Structure Crown Tourney as some combination of single combat and
melee. Pro: better selects the Sovereign for leadership abilities.
Looks more like historical 'wars of succession' to some people. Con:
too much opportunity for ugly politics in deciding who fights on which
team(s). Too unwieldy a tournament to finish in one day. 

3. Select the Sovereign using some methods other than fighting
tournament. Various combinations of A&S combination, archery, fencing,
and so on have all been suggested at one time or another. Pro: allows
non-fighters to be Sovereign. Emphasizes something other than fighting
as the way to get ahead. Con: subjective nature of judging leaves too
much opportunity for ugly politics. There are no historical examples
of rulers being chosen by similar means. 

Section 6: How do you join the SCA? 

Find your local group and show up. To attend an event, you must wear
some attempt at pre-17th century clothing. If you like it, you may
want to become a registered member, which among other things gets you
newsletters. The Office of the Registry will provide basic
introductory material, including a copy of your kingdom newsletter, on
request. They also have packets of material available for teachers. 

            The Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.
            Office of the Registry
            P.O. Box 360789
            Milpitas, CA   95036-0789
            408-263-0641 fax

In Australia (The Principality of Lochac), contact: 

            Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.
            PO Box 1623
            Kersbrook 5231
            South Australia

                  ---------- End of Rialto FAQ part03 ----------

Thanks to all who have contributed to this article.

This article is a work in progress.  If you have other topics you'd like to
see included, send me email with the question(s) and your suggested
answer(s).  If you have comment on the items included, please send me
(polite) email.


The whole point of this effort is to reduce traffic.  I will summarize
comments sent to me, if it seems necessary.
A special thanks goes out to Robyyan Torr d'Elandris/Dennis R. Sherman
for all the work he has put into this FAQ. Without his work, this would
not exist.
Phelim "Pug" Gervase                        Richard "Pug" Bainter
Barony of Bryn Gwlad, Ansteorra             Austin, TX

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