A Beginner’s Guide to Drachenwald Awards

There are a great many ways to say thanks in the SCA, it’s one of my favourite things about it.  In a voluntary organisation all too often it seems that the fact that members have *volunteered* is completely forgotten, and a bitchfest about how things should have been done otherwise is a volunteer’s only reward for having stuck their hand up (and neck out) to agree to do something in the first place.   I love that in the SCA, at least in my little corner of it, there is an obvious effort to acknowledge people and the work they do.  On the ground the simplest way to say thank you is just to say it, or compliment the work.  It’s surprising how often people talk about how great something is to others at an event but not to the person behind it. Another way is to bring a little stash of personal tokens with you that you can hand over whenever someone or something impresses you.  These can be anything; lengths of ribbon, pretty beads, decorative strips, stamped leather, little sweets, small calligraphed capital letters etc.   What do you award them for?  Whatever you think is worth rewarding! As an example, a friend of mine was awarded a marble for a particularly funny reply in a conversation they were both participating in.

The most significant way to reward effort is to recommend someone for an Award.  I can only talk about how this is done in my principality (Insulae Draconis), where our Prince and/or Princess give out the awards, or my kingdom of Drachenwald, where the King and/or Queen do.  I assume the process is much the same in most Kingdoms, with different awards.  But what is an Award, I hear you ask.. On one hand they are as I’ve described,  statements of recognition given by royalty for deeds done, talents shown and services rendered, but it is also important to understand that there is a sort of ladder of awards that can eventually make a member an Awarded rather than a Royal Peer.   Royal Peers gain their status by becoming Royalty by Right of Arms (in heavy armoured combat only) or “by Grace and Beauty” (their consort),  I spoke a little about these before in an earlier post.  Awarded peers depend on recommendations for a series of awards for their talent, hard work and effort to reach the pinnacle of their Order.

In general the first step in the Society is to start out by being recognised with an AoA, or an Award of Arms – the award that entitles the owner to be known as Lord or Lady in the society and to display their personal Arms at events.  (This is a lovely thing, speaking from experience) This recognises that you’ve understood the ideals of the Society and that people have noticed you and your work – in order for the Prince and Princess or King and Queen to be able to award you this you have to have been recommended by other SCA people here http://insulaedraconis.org/officers/herald/files/recomm.html (ID) or here http://op.drachenwald.sca.org/recommendation.html (Drachenwald)

By the time a person is awarded an AoA they may have found a particular niche they particularly enjoy, or find that their participation spreads right across the whole gamut of SCA interests.   As I understand it there are three paths people can take, they don’t have to stick to any one, of course –  most of the populace will at least dabble in them all – but for ease of explanations I will talk about them as distinct paths.  The final Orders are all considered equal.  A person will expect to spend many years on their craft before they will attain the highest award on their path, so bear this in mind when trying to decide what to nominate a person for.

Order of Chivalry
Order of the Laurel
Order of the Pelican
What it means: Recognises prowess at arms, not just the fighting skill itself but chivalry and honour Recognises talent and skill in the Arts and Sciences, the bearer’s willingness to teach others, and their commitment to research. Recognises the hard work and sacrifices of those who dedicate their time in the service of others.  These are the people that organise and run events and act as our government.
Highest Award: Knight  Laurel  Pelican
Kingdom Award (penultimate step): Order of the Silver GuardLight weapons: Order of the Dragon’s Steel Order of the Panache Order Des Lindquistringes
Insulae Draconis Awards along this path:
(these names and awards are particular to ID)
 Order of the Fox  Order of the Silver Martlett  Order of Ffraid
 For kids under 12 The Order of the Dragon’s Pride The Order of the Dragon’s Jewel

There are other awards in our Kingdom that don’t exactly fit the tracks above:

  1. The Sigillum Coronae, a rarely bestowed Kingdom award given by either or both the King and Queen to those they wish to rewards.
  2. The King’s Order of the Companions of Albion, is a Kingdom level award and rarely bestowed.  It is presented by the King to someone considered worthy of recognition for exemplary chivalry, courtesy or service.
  3. The Queen’s Order of Courtesy is also a kingdom level award, rarely bestowed, for exemplary chivalry, courtesy or service this time presented by the Queen
  4. The Dragon’s Tear is a kingdom level award given to the organiser(s) of an extraordinarily successful event.
  5. The Order of the Dragon’s Bowle is also a Kingdom level award for those who take a lot of time and effort to ensure the highest standards of authenticity.
  6. The Order of the Sun and Chalice is a Principality award for “Excellence of Example”
  7. The Order of Robin is a Principality award for Courtesy.These last few are, to be honest, a total mystery to me at the moment, but I can flesh them out later as I figure it out myself.

Okay, you may say, but how do I recommend anyone for anything?  Well hopefully I might have at least given you an idea of what you might be thinking of recommending someone for.  Again the links are http://insulaedraconis.org/officers/herald/files/recomm.html (Insulae Draconis) or http://op.drachenwald.sca.org/recommendation.html (Drachenwald)  But how do you know if someone already has an award or if they’re on the right part of the path, or , or..?? Well to be honest this is definitely where things get a bit muddy for me.  There is what is known as the Order of Precedence and you can search it in many ways to figure out who is at what stage.  The principality one is here: http://op.drachenwald.sca.org/ID/ and the Kingdom one here: http://op.drachenwald.sca.org/   I found the “True OP” search a bit bewildering because I don’t yet really know what the difference between a Grant of Arms (GoA) and an Award of Arms (AoA) is, and the list is more about the Royal Peers than Awarded Peers in the way I’ve been talking about here.  The best search to do if you just want to see what someone already has so you can work out the best award to recommend them for is probably the SCA name search, it’ll return a table with any awards that person already holds.

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