About SCA Heraldry

Names and Armory

To enhance the medieval ambiance of SCA events, participants typically adopt pseudonyms and heraldic insignia with a medieval flavor, which they use on a long-term basis. Thus a person whose legal name is "John Doe" might choose to be known as "Hrolf Einarsson" to his SCA friends. And at SCA tournaments and wars he might bear a device on his shield consisting of six black lions on a gold background.

An SCA device is a heraldic insignia which used to indicate that the owner of the device is present. The SCA uses the word armory to refer to heraldic insignia in general.

Participants generally select their own SCA name. It is considered bad form to assume a name too reminiscent of another participant or any famous person, be they modern, historical, or fictitious. Also, intrusively modern names should be avoided. Armory, too, must be chosen with care to avoid modern-style designs and designs that make inappropriate claims.

Every chapter of the SCA has an officer, called a herald or pursuivant to assist participants in choosing appropriate names and armory.


To reduce the chances of confusion or offense caused by inappropriate names and armory, the SCA has organized a registration service, to which participants may submit their proposed names and armory for approval. In addition, the SCA registers names and armory for SCA chapters (or branches), their officers and titled nobility, and the honors they may bestow on participants.

The registration process is administered by the SCA's own "College of Arms".

The SCA Armorial

An armorial is a reference book containing coats of arms, arranged alphabetically by their bearer's names. The SCA Armorial is an armorial of insignia registered with the College of Arms. It also lists registered names for individuals and groups that have no registered insignia. It is available as a 670-page loose-leaf document or as a 6 MB text-file. Search forms for the SCA Armorial enable access via the World Wide Web.

The SCA Ordinary

An ordinary is a reference book containing coats of arms, arranged in descriptive categories. The SCA Ordinary is an ordinary of insignia registered with the College of Arms. It is available as a 1000-page loose-leaf document and as a World Wide Web document.

Court and Voice Heraldry

SCA events may feature courts, tournaments, and other activities. A court is a general audience granted by a high-ranking SCA noble for the purpose of doing official business. The organization of courts is the resposibility of court heralds.

SCA heralds also assist the running of events by making public announcements, especially at tournaments. For instance, a herald is typically employed to announce the combattants before each bout of a tournament.

Since amplification is not used at SCA events, vocal training is very helpful for court and tournament work, which is called voice heraldry.

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