[sca-comments] Peerage proposal

Henri Laine henri.laine at iki.fi
Fri May 14 06:59:35 CDT 2021

Unto the good gentles of SCA Board of Directors, Greetings from 
Dubhghall MacÉibhearáird, Companion of the Pelican, Peer of the Realm 
member of various orders of the Kingdom of Drachenwald and the Barony of 
Aarnimetsä, Koira Herald Extraordinairé, and a firm Scadian.

I write to you regarding the matters of peerage and organising the 
peerage orders, particularly the proposal you put forth based on the 
suggestion of the Peerage committee.

First let me thank you for admitting the need to note the people who are 
supports to our Society and the need to laud any and all activities that 
uphold and elevate our Society. In this you are acting very much in the 
lines I wish you to act. Therefore it is with regret that I must tell 
you that the proposal put forth by the peerage committee leaves a lot to 
hope for and I don't know if acting on it, would actually make things 
worse for our Society instead of righting the situation and improving 
this shared dream of ours.

The proposed fully identity free peerage order for those people who just 
don't have a clear path - in a Society where we defined clear paths - 
treats them very unkindly and I labor to find how induction to this 
order could be seen celebrating the great works of our the prospective 
members instead of coming of as a consolation prize. As I was rather 
involved with writing the initial ceremonies for the Order of Defense I 
can witness that having been a bit of an undertaking, but writing 
similar ceremonies for the kind of an order proposed here, would seem 
almost impossible.

Looking at how you intend to make it work, you could as well call it 
Order of the Bin, for those who are not deemed worthy of real peerage.

Nay, this is not the way good directors.

But in your request for the comments, you stated that nothing is final. 
We can therefore seek other solutions.

In the proposal the committee has found a way forth. The proposal calls 
for altering our Society so, that we could make peers from people based 
first and foremost on their peer like qualities instead of the kind of 
prowess that we now have defined for the four existing peerage orders. 
This is a valid way forward. There has been quite a few public responses 
to this proposal. One of them is the one[1] by Sir Helga Skjaldmaer (mka 
Ariah Hume) which arguments and defines a very elegant restructuring of 
the peerage, into unified peerage.

Such an approach was also proposed at times by late Master Tivar 
Moondragon and gladly still alive Master Pietari Uv when the matter of 
fourth Peerage was discussed. This would be the wisest course of action 
for many reasons as argued by Her Grace Helga. To add to those reasons 
such an approach would also recognise the need for all peers to act as 
pillars of our community and work together for a better Society. To 
paraphrase recent entertainment: One Peerage - One Known World.

I have to admit that after a 21 years of seeking the companionship in 
the order of the Pelican, swapping that to companionship in the unified 
peerage stings a bit. I am certain that I am not an only companion of 
such orders having to admit to such a sting, but the worth that truly 
unified peerage would have in our Society as it would remove the cracks 
from between the orders that we keep losing good people in to, is far 
greater than the specialty of mine own order. So I suggest this trade to 
be made as Her Grace has suggested before.

It could be argued that such a separate things as peerages are can't be 
united, but if we look at the proposal you have put before us, it is 
asking to do the very same thing for the "other things". Also the kinds 
of prowess that we have celebrated under the halls of the Order of the 
Laurel are very diverse and varied, ranging from the better known arts 
of tailor's craft to such ephemeral things as recreating period dance, 
study of period forms of arts martial and playing the music of our 
period. The matters that fall under the purview of the Order of the 
Pelican are also diverse, the event organising is a bit different than 
advancing court heraldry and both are distinct from feast cooking and 
keeping our Society's branches running. Based on these examples I find 
the claim that the peers couldn't recognise the greatness in a different 
kinds of candidates untenable.

The Unified Peerage would be my favoured way forth and in my opinion, 
the only way truly true to the values and ideals of our Society. If the 
Board still finds it impossible, there are also other options that are 
far preferable to the one you are now asking comments for.

First of these is of course the unified martial peerage. A solution 
where worthy people in all martial activities would be recognised in the 
Order of Chivalry. Baron Antonio di Rienzo makes a good point for these 
in his letter to you [2], though he does not himself join the 

In my opinion the point is valid and if we wish to recognise our peers 
based on their activity I see very little validity to the argument that 
rattan combat is so very different from anything else that it requires a 
separate peerage. I find the best of the rattan community to have a lot 
of commonality with both best of the fencing community where I am active 
myself and with the best of the archery community which is well 
represented in these parts, being the most popular/best attended martial 
activity by far in these parts of the Knowne World.

It would be of course a bit sad to lose the budding Order of Defense 
that has started to form an identity, but again the merits seem far 
greater than the losses.

If the Chivalry truly cannot be expected to behave and recognise the 
practitioners of other martial activities, Baron Antonio's own 
suggestion of reshaping the Order of Defense a bit and inviting the 
other martial practitioners there, seems like the next best thing.
If none of these approaches cannot be considered, I ask the Board to 
look at Sir Jon's (mka John R Edgerton) Valiance Proposal that I trust 
you are well familiar with, for forming that final peerage order for 
other martial practices. It is almost similar to the one from peerage 
committee, but proposes an actual identity for the Order and thus makes 
it that much better fit to our shared dream and game. It is not ideal, 
but it is still better than the one now proposed.

Finally, as said, I share your idea that all worthy (possessing the peer 
like qualities) Scadians donating their time, their person and body to 
the betterment of our Society are deserving of peerage. If you are truly 
convinced that the solution you offer is the only imaginable one, 
through which this goal can be achieved, then you should go on with it. 
I however hope that you can see the weaknesses and problems that your 
proposal bears and would introduce to the Society and that you therefore 
take one of the better alternatives discussed above.

So in summary, I applaud your wish to act on this matter, but dislike 
your course of action. Instead I suggest you consider in the order of 
preference to act by unifying all of the peerage and bringing the people 
now overlooked there, as distant second unifying the martial peerage and 
bringing the people now overlooked there, bringing these people to the 
order of defense and as a final alternative founding of the kind of 
martial peerage suggested in the Valiance proposal.

Yours In Service

    Sursum Corda
    Dubhghall MacÉibhearáird
    mka Henri Laine
[1] Helga's letter


Unto the many members of the BOD, the supporting officers, and many hard 
working individuals that continue to keep the SCA running... because why 
not start it off with the longest greeting ever right?

I hope this finds you all well and without too many bored people sending 
emotionally reactive emails.

First let me start with, thank you for the hours you spend keeping this 
game alive. Thank you form a person this society helped become a better 

On to the heart of the matter! The peerage proposal.

I think that adding in an undefined peerage is another Band-Aid to the 
already growing issue that seems to be facing the SCA... Inclusivity in 
the perceived power structures of the peerages and each sub group that 
is not contained within the current structure...

I do not feel that adding another peerage will actually help this issue. 
Currently there is a slew of meetings people need to go to and we are 
becoming an organization that tries to make inclusiveness happen though 
additions not corrections.

I actually would propose that the SCA put forth a redefining of all the 
peerages, scary I know. But looking at having all peers fall under two 
categories (those that swear fealty and those that do not) and then 
making as many needed titled groups as needed to fit the niches created 
within the communities.

Knights/Non Fealty (can't think of a better word than Master/Mistress) - 
Knights/Non Fealty - Rapier
Knights/Non Fealty - Lance (horses)
Knights/Non Fealty - Bow
Knights/Non Fealty - Service
Knights/Non Fealty - Arts (add in sub categories as needed)
Knights/Non Fealty - Sciences (add in sub categories as needed)

This would allow for a couple things (in the space of pissing off every 
knight out there who thinks this thing is special and has subconsciously 
bought into the knights are more equal than others):
- The royalty to address and meet with all peers to discuss a candidates 
PLQ's thus removing the odd variances from council to council. THEN the 
royalty can dismiss all but the 'experts' of the field to determine that 
specific bar to entry.
- Allows for overall adaptability of the peerages as the landscape 
changes over time.
- MAKES all peers accountable to the same PLQ set for their kingdom and 
removes some barriers to addressing poor behavior among the peers in 
that group.

HOWEVER, now that I have gone off the deep end of not this but this. In 
the end I am here to stay, I think this proposal is a Band-Aid to vs 
actual corrective change but I am here to stay and will support and 
treat a new order as peers, because they are once made. So either way 
ya'll are stuck with me playing for many years to come because I love 
the game.

Hope this finds you all well and your drink of choice delightful as you 
fish though the commentary that comes in.

In service,
Helga Skjaldmaer (Ariah Hume)
West Kingdom, (TITLE SALAD!), Rose, Duchess, Pelican, Knight... and 
general pain in the ass

[2] Antonio's letter


Unto the Board of Directors does Baron Antonio di Rienzo, current 
Vigilant to the Order of Defence send greetings,

My apologies, this will be quite long. I shall try and keep it as brief 
and lucid as I can


1) The Orders of Peerage exist to reward deserving individuals, to 
promote teaching in an activity, and to give an aspiration for members 
to emulate

2) That the Orders are equal, with no one activity more praiseworthy or 
deserving within the Society

3) That there are currently individuals and activities which lack a path 
as described in (1)


4) we should seek to give recognition to the individuals in (3)


a) it was felt during the Order of Defence related census by members of 
the then existing Orders (Chivalry, Laurel, Pelican on alphabetical 
order) that Non Rattan, Non Rapier combat activities did not belong in 
their own Order.


b) the Order of Defence was founded separately in order to solve the 
difficult situation for Members of a combined Order of Chivalry extended 
to non-Rattan peers.


c) forward compatibility was not designed into the Order of Defence as 
to what would happen to Archers, Equestrians, Siege Engineers, thrown 
weapons users and other non Rattan, Non Rapier Martial Artists under the 
new arrangement.

d) we moved into a situation with 1 arts, 1 service peerages and 2 
combat peerages (leaving aside the Royal Peers, who are, at a bare 
minimum, 50% high level rattan fighters). This projects the image that 
Combat is as deserving as all other SCA Activities combined, which is in 
conflict with (2) above.

The current proposal will exacerbate this problem, moving to at least 3, 
and potentially many more combat peerages.

Do we really wish to claim Combat is THAT important compared to the arts 
of peace and service?

My suggestion:

It has been suggested that all the Orders should be folded into One. I 
do not think that practical. 50 years ago, maybe.

It has been suggested that the MoD be folded into the Chivalry, and new 
combatants join the Chivalry. This is the most logical solution, but it 
retains (in my view, although we have not asked the question in some 
years, and naturally assumptions must be testedon a regular basis) the 
issue of pushback from entrenched privilege and over 50 years of Custom.

That leaves finding some place within the current setup.

I propose the extension of the Order of Defence to include ALL Combat 
activities not eligible for the Order of Chivalry. The Laurel manage to 
judge prowess across multiple arts, I'm sure we will be able to do 

In conclusion, I am AGAINST the forming of a new "and everyone else" 
order, with or without folding out of additional individual orders, due 
to the effect it would have on perception of the value of Arts, Sciences 
and Services, and FOR the extension of the Order of Defence to include 
the others who need recognition, without changing the current balance 
between those who work (Laurels), those who pray (Pelicans) and those 
who Fight.

Baron Antonio di Rienzo Ruspoli, Order of the Dragon's Steel, Vigilant 
to the Order of Defence

"For it is not by sword of steel alone that the Kingdom is defended, but 
also by Lance, and Javelin, and arrow and by the devices of man's 
artifice. Thus these shall be recognised as Defenders, and their regalia 
shall be the same, but the weapon on the medallion shall be that 
relevant to the Art for which they were elevated."

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