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Policies for the Drachenwald College of Heralds

The policies are under revision, and may contain outdated information!

The policies are under revision, and may contain outdated information!


This document outlines the policies of the Drachenwald College of Heralds. These policies apply following the Society-wide policies that govern SCA heraldry, and after kingdom law. The order of precedence is

  • SCA Organizational Handbook (Corpora, By-laws, Corporate policies, and Articles of Incorporation)
  • Administrative Handbook of the College of Heralds of the SCA, Inc ("AH")
  • Rules for Submissions of the College of Heralds, of the SCA, Inc ("RfS")
  • Drachenwald Kingdom Law
  • Policies of the Drachenwald College of Heralds

Who Can Be a Herald?

There are lots of things to do with heraldry, and new people are always welcome. Anyone who is interested in any of the aspects of heraldry, as the word is understood in the society, can be a herald. Just contact your local, regional or Kingdom-level herald.

There is, however, another and more bureaucratic definition. As per SCA regulations, local officers and anyone who handles money have to be warranted. Because of this, heralds are divided in two: the heralds in Ordinary, who are warranted, and the heralds Extraordinary, who are not. All local heralds and all who handle the fees for submissions must be heralds in Ordinary, but this leaves a lot of fun for the extraordinaries.

The roster of warranted heralds is maintained by the Schwarzdrachen office. In order to have someone warranted as a local herald, the previous herald or the local seneschal should send a letter to that office; this letter must include the name (both SCA and mundane), address (preferably including phone number and e-mail address), and SCA membership number of the new herald. In order to be warranted as a herald-at-large, the person should send similar information in a letter.

The College of Heralds consists of the following types of heralds in Ordinary:

Schwarzdrachen Principal Herald:
Chief heraldic officer of the Kingdom; oversees the college and reports quarterly to the Laurel Sovereign of Arms and to the Crown of Drachenwald.
Kingdom staff deputies:
experienced heralds who manage specific tasks, like submissions, ceremonies, commenting, or the order of precedence.
Regional heralds:
heralds with some experience, and knowledge of at least one area of heraldry, who are willing to "fill the gaps" for their region's groups, and in particular consult with and teach the members of branches that do not have a local herald for advice about names, armory and protocol. The regions used are the standard ones for the kingdom: Nordmark, Aarnimetsä, Insulae Draconis, Central (Netherlands, France, Germany, Austria) and South (Africa, Middle East, Greece, Italy, Spain). Regional heralds may have additional duties, especially when the region is also a branch with its own ruling nobles.
Local heralds:
the largest group within the College. They are local officers for their groups, who are interested in heraldry. For a good description of a local pursuivant's duties, please see the Drachenwald Branch Herald's Guide, 2nd edition.
heralds who do not hold a specific office but are still warranted. These can include commenters -- the heralds who do research and offer commentary about names and armory -- or novice heralds, who do not hold a local office.

The difference between the last category and that of a herald Extraordinary is their ability to handle submissions fees. On the other hand,, heralds Extraordinary are not required to report as officers, although they are encouraged to do so; however, those who have not had any contact with the Schwarzdrachen office for one year will be dropped from the roster and their titles may be given to someone else.

All members of the College report directly to the Schwarzdrachen office and send copies of their reports to any appropriate regional or baronial herald. See Reports.

Heraldic titles

During most of our period, and in large parts of Europe, heralds as a rule had titles of office. The same is largely true for the SCA as well, except that we also have lots of untitled heralds, especially at the lower levels of the hierarchy.

A herald's title has two parts. First, there is a name, like Schwarzdrachen; after that comes the rank of the title, like Principal Herald. Historically a name usually was used with just a single rank throughout the centuries -- so that if a person was promoted to the next rank he got a new name of office as well -- although in some cases a name was used with different ranks at different times.

In Drachenwald, any herald can have a title. Those warranted as Kingdom staff and most regional heralds already have one, as do the local heralds. Of the heralds at large, both in Ordinary and Extraordinary, those who are commenting either internally or on the SCA level are encouraged to register a title and the rest are free to do so -- although they are encouraged to at least try commenting as well.

By SCA custom, the use of heraldic titles is coordinated by the Principal Herald of a kingdom. Anyone desiring a new title should therefore start by contacting the Schwarzdrachen office. Also, titles are registered permanently to individuals only as a special recognition to senior heralds. This is done very rarely: only one such title has been awarded by the Crown of Drachenwald.

Normally, the title is registered to the kingdom. Even so, heralds who wish to have a title for their own use may register one, at their own expense, and they will keep such titles as long as they remain active. However, once the original holder of such a title is dropped from the roster, for instance because of inactivity or moving out of kingdom, the title reverts to the kingdom and may be given to someone else.

Heralds' Names

The name part of the heraldic titles is the one that varies the most. There are some general categories, though, and nearly all names belong to one of them.

  • Heralds were often known by the title of their master, so that the Duke of York would have had a York Herald as his personal herald.
  • In some instances the herald's title was taken from the lord's family name instead of his title. This would result in a title like Fitzalan Pursuivant.
  • In cases when an order had a herald, the order name could be used as the title. This is how the principal herald/of England is titled Garter King of Arms.
  • Especially junior officers were often named after elements in their employers' arms or badges, like Unicorn Pursuivant.
  • Some titles are derived from the employer's motto, like Ich Dien Pursuivant. This was rare, though, and there is relatively little research on period mottoes.

What does this all mean in the case of the Drachenwald College of Heralds? First, all local heralds are encouraged to use the name of their group as their herald's title, so that the herald for the Shire of Dickleburgh is by default known as Dickleburgh Pursuivant. Second, a household employing a herald is likewise encouraged to use the name of their household as the herald's title -- provided that the household name is of one of the types used as heralds' titles, i.e. a family name, a place name or an order-type name. In this case, the request to use the title should be signed by the herald and the person to whom the household name is registered.

If you don't have a title but think you should have one, you'll have to register one. Considering the categories above, the title should be justified as either a place name, a surname, or as a heraldic charge. The title will be registered to Drachenwald, though; you should keep this in mind while filling in the forms.

Heralds' Ranks

At least in the western part of Europe there were three ranks of heralds (this varied a little, so that apparently at least the lowest rank wasn't used in the German countries). The highest rank was that of King of Arms, sometimes also called King of Heralds; such a person often had a defined territory, so that for instance Norroy King of Arms was the chief herald of Northern England. The next rank was that of Herald, and the lowest that of Pursuivant (originally meaning one who aspires to become a Herald, but later simply a rank below that of a Herald, with no clear implications about the experience of the person).

In the SCA the rank of King (or Queen) of Arms is traditionally restricted to the chief heraldic officer of the Society and his (or her) immediate deputies. However, as we have several kingdoms it's natural to think that we need to specify the chief herald of a kingdom somehow. Thus we also have people with the rank of Principal Herald (this form was, in fact, sometimes used in period instead of King of Arms to specify the chief heraldic officer of a region). The two lower ranks of Herald and Pursuivant are used to denote the seniority of the position, roughly like they are in the real world. In Drachenwald the following ranks are currently used:

  • First, we have the Principal Herald. It is not really a separate rank: rather the attribute 'principal' is used to show that this Herald is the chief one; thus it is common, and quite correct, for people to drop the attribute.
  • Second, we have the rank of Herald. These titles go with the senior jobs in the Kingdom, where the requirements of the job are getting close to those of the top one. As a rule of thumb, one competent enough to hold one of these offices should be able to fill in as the Principal Herald in an extreme emergency, without causing irreparable damage to either their own mental health or the College of Heralds. In practice this means the emergency deputy for Schwarzdrachen (obviously), the Regional heralds (who have to have some idea about the system), and senior SCA-level commenters (including the submissions deputies). Also, the rank of Herald Extraordinary is given by long-standing custom to people who have been granted a personal title, unless they are warranted as Heralds in Ordinary.
  • Third, we have the rank of Pursuivant. These are the people whose job doesn't demand as much experience as a Herald's office. In practice this means the rest of kingdom staff, local heralds, most heralds-at-large and heralds Extraordinary.

How to become a herald?

The roster of the Drachenwald College of Heralds is kept by the Schwarzdrachen office, so anyone who wants to be rostered as a herald in Ordinary should contact that office. The process goes as follows:

  • In the case of local heralds, the outgoing officer should contact the Schwarzdrachen office about the changeover. This message should include a statement from the branch seneschal, confirming that the branch supports the new applicant.
  • The incoming herald sends the Schwarzdrachen office their membership and contact information. (Your membership number appears on your membership card, and your Dragon's Tale or Tournaments Illuminated mailing label.)
  • Once the new person is added to the roster of warranted heralds, he or she is a herald in Ordinary.

A second roster is kept of the heralds Extraordinary. The process of getting on that roster is similar, except that membership information is not required. Becoming a Pursuivant Extraordinary can be viewed as an analogue for a fighter's authorisation, although there are no safety issues involved: here, the main idea is to keep in contact.

A list of both warranted heralds in Ordinary and heralds Extraordinary appears on the heraldry section of the Drachenwald kingdom website. If you are not listed, you are not considered a member of the College of Heralds.

The typical term for a local officer is two years. You keep your warrant as a local herald as long as you continue to report for the branch. If you miss two quarterly reports in a row, the Schwarzdrachen office will contact you and your group seneschal, to see if there's a problem to resolve, and to confirm that you wish to remain active. If there is no reply, you are dropped from the warrant list, and your group needs a new officer.

If you enjoy heraldry and want to retain your warrant after you step down from your local office, inform the Schwarzdrachen office. You will remain on the warrant list by continuing to send in reports (even a short message saying, "I'm not doing anything heraldic right now" is acceptable to retain a warrant).

Any herald can take a deputy: to train the next person for an office, to share duties, and to encourage people to learn about heraldry. Deputies for local heralds do not need a warrant until they take over the office, but they are encouraged to get listed in the Extraordinary category.

Appointment of senior heralds

Senior heralds, such as kingdom staff heralds and regional heralds, are actively encouraged to seek out and train deputies to assist them and to take over their office when their term ends.

A typical term for a senior herald is two years. If no new volunteers are available to take over the office, Schwarzdrachen can extend the incumbent's warrant for the office for another term. The incumbent is free to turn down the extension. Like kingdom officers, senior heralds are discouraged from holding an office for more than two terms.

Before a senior herald's term ends, Schwarzdrachen or the herald advertises for a successor by posting a job description to the Drachenwald Herald Tribune, the Drachenwald herald's newsgroup and/or the kingdom newsletter, including a deadline for applications.

Applicants should write to both the incumbent and the Schwarzdrachen office, to express their interest in the position, their own experience, and their ability to meet the requirements. Including a reference (someone who can speak knowledgeably about the applicant's abilities and experience) is helpful, particularly if the applicant is new to the kingdom.

Schwarzdrachen chooses the new officer after discussing the matter with their predecessor. The new appointment is announced in the kingdom newsletter and, where feasible, the office should be handed over at an event.

Kingdom staff heralds and their responsibilities

These job descriptions outline the responsibilities of the senior heralds in Drachenwald, and the skills they consider necessary to perform each job well. For all offices, you must be a Society member, receive the kingdom newsletter, have a mailing address, and regular reliable access to a computer and an e-mail account, to keep in touch with the kingdom's officers.

Schwarzdrachen Herald

Principal herald for the kingdom, who reports to the Crown, seneschal and to the Laurel Sovereign at Arms. See Drachenwald kingdom law, section 5, and the College of Arms Administrative Handbook, section X, for an outline of responsibilities.


  • Good knowledge of more than one area of heraldry (armory, names, submissions process, court heraldry, research)
  • An organised approach to paperwork (quarterly reports to kingdom and Laurel)
  • Good communication skills - for example, can:
    • Answer enquiries reliably from submitters, heralds, fellow officers, the crown
    • Write letters to Dragon's Tale
    • Advise about heraldic policy (new awards, changes of rank, matters of protocol)
  • Willingness to travel to kingdom events, to provide visibility and access to the office
Aurochs Herald

Designated successor and primary deputy to the Principal Herald -- not necessarily the next Schwarzdrachen, but the person appointed to take over when the Principal Herald is not available, especially in case of an emergency. Unless otherwise noted, in this policy document the term Schwarzdrachen office refers to both Schwarzdrachen and Aurochs


  • An organised approach to paperwork
  • Good communications skills
  • Ability to assume the duties of the Principal Herald temporarily, on short notice
Edelweiss Herald
Deputy in charge of internal submissions. This role is critical to the smooth running of the submissions process to:
  • Handle name and armory submissions from the populace
  • Publish an internal letter of intent (Drachenwald Herald Tribune)
  • Accept and track submission funds and coordinate quarterly payments to Laurel
  • Coordinate with other heralds for the smooth running of the submissions process
  • Provide thoughtful and tactful advice to submitters

Requirements for the office:

  • good knowledge of the Rules for Submission, familiarity with the submissions process
  • an organised approach to paperwork
  • capacity and willingness to meet monthly deadlines
  • access to good library of armory and onomastic sources
  • good communication skills (e.g answer enquiries reliably)
  • space to store a 4-drawer filing cabinet (or equivalent)

Optional requirements and nice-to-have additions:

  • optical scanner, CD burner, fast Internet access
  • facility with languages (esp. those spoken in Drachenwald)
  • access to reliable sources to help you translate names
  • your own heraldic library
  • willingness to travel to host submissions tables within the kingdom

See Administrative Handbook section X.B onward, that outlines the requirements for principal heralds regarding submissions. For "an appropriate deputy", read "Edelweiss".

Albion Herald
Deputy in charge of external submissions. This person works with the Edelweiss herald to:
  • collate commentary received from internal commenters
  • send those comments with the submissions, as external LoIs to the Laurel Sovereign of Arms
  • notify submitters with results from the Letters of Acceptance and Return received from Laurel


  • good knowledge of the Rules for Submission, familiarity with the submissions process
  • an organised approach to paperwork
  • capacity and willingness to meet monthly deadlines
  • good communication skills (e.g answer enquiries reliably)
Post Horn Pursuivant
Deputy in charge of the Order of Precedence (OP). This person
  • receives court reports from court heralds
  • keeps the OP up-to-date on a monthly basis, as awards are given
  • updates the list and description of tracked awards in the OP, as awards are created.

Although all awards given within Drachenwald (including all baronial and principality awards) are tracked in the OP, only armigerous awards from other kingdom or principalities are tracked.


  • Basic database skills
  • good communication skills (e.g answer enquiries reliably)

Regional and Local Titles

Silversparre Herald
herald for the Principality of Nordmark
Gyllene Bandet Pursuivant
deputy herald for Nordmark
Rockall Herald
herald for the Crown Principality of Insulae Draconis
Susi Herald
herald for the Barony of Aarnimetsä
Rautahirvi Pursuivant
deputy herald for Aarnimetsä
Broken Wain Pursuivant
herald for the Barony of Knight's Crossing
Troischesnes Pursuivant
herald for the Shire of Drei Eichen

Processing submissions

Submitters are responsible for creating their own submissions, and paying their own fees. The herald's role is to assist the submitter by explaining the submission process and rules, and offering advice about style or potential conflicts. Heralds who enjoy artwork can offer to draw up a submission, but the submitter is still responsible for it.

Submitters should use the current Drachenwald heraldic submission forms (dated May AS XXXII) available in PDF format from the heraldry section of the Drachenwald kingdom website. Submit each item on the correct form; use the individual name form for people's names, use the badge form for badges, etc.

Important Note about printing forms: In your printer's Page Scaling options, choose None (vs. Fit to Paper, a common default for A4 paper). Make sure you print a 100% scale version of the PDF, to produce a form of the correct size.

Tip: To confirm your print settings, measure the shield (on the device form). It should be exactly 5 x 6 inches.

Please do not use a colour printer or colour photocopier to generate colour copies. The inks fade quickly, even with little exposure to light. Because Laurel will keep one copy permanently, please use coloured markers, such as Crayola 8-pack markers. Avoid pencil crayons and highlighters.

Websites are acceptable sources of documentation, provided the quality of the information is good. Look for sites that refer to original documents or facsimiles, and that provide detailed references. To document an item from a website, print the index or home page (including the address) and the relevant page that contains the citation or example. Documentation from the Laurel web site does not have to be printed.

Albion herald (responsible for external submissions) announces the status of all submissions in the Dragon's Tale, and also by letter directly to the submitters. Submitters can check their submissions' status themselves using the submissions database, available from the heraldry section of the Drachenwald kingdom website.

For a detailed outline of how the submissions process works, see Appendix B, How the Submissions Process Works in Drachenwald, in the Drachenwald Branch Heralds' Guide, 2nd edition, available from the heraldry section of the Drachenwald kingdom website.

Where the paperwork goes

Send submissions to the Edelweiss Herald.

  • Name submissions require two copies (including all documentation)
  • Armory submissions require four copies (three colour and one outline)
  • Submitters are strongly encouraged to keep a personal copy of all forms and documentation, both for their own records and to make a resubmission easier, if it proves necessary.

Submission fees

Each new submitted item (a name or a piece of armory, for individuals or for groups) -- Eur 12, or an equivalent amount in a currency acceptable to either the Edelweiss Herald or the Kingdom Exchequer. Resubmitted items and appeals on the decisions for earlier submissions are free.

Edelweiss will not begin processing a submission until the fees are received.

To pay for submissions please document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,97,32,104,114,101,102,61,39,109,97,105,108,116,111,58,101,100,101,108,119,101,105,115,115,64,100,114,97,99,104,101,110,119,97,108,100,46,115,99,97,46,111,114,103,39,62,101,100,101,108,119,101,105,115,115,64,100,114,97,99,104,101,110,119,97,108,100,46,115,99,97,46,111,114,103,60,47,97,62));">contact Edelweiss.

As an alternative, mail cheques to the Drachenwald Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Exchequers details are on the Kingdom contact page. Cheques should be made out to "SCA, Kingdom of Drachenwald." We can accept cheques in at least US Dollars and GB Pounds but check with the Exchequer for other currencies.

When you have paid the fee, send a written notice of the fund transfer to both the Edelweiss Herald and the Kingdom Exchequer (e-mail is acceptable). Include the submitter's mundane name, Society name, amount forwarded, and whether the funds are for a name, device, or badge submission.

Accurate accounting of submissions funds is extremely important. The submission (and resubmission) process can extend over a number of years. The submitter, and the herald, must keep track of funds submitted and received.

A warranted herald in Ordinary can accept cash for a submission (for example, if the herald runs a consulting table, accepts cash at the table, and sends the funds in one cheque at the end of an event). In this case, the herald must send the funds on to the kingdom exchequer promptly, and provide the submitter and Edelweiss with a notice of funds received and forwarded.

If you accept cash, always provide a receipt. A sample receipt listing the information to provide is attached to the end of this document. If you accept cash for submissions regularly, invest in a carbon-copy receipt book to use for submissions.



Quarterly reports

All members of the College who are warranted in Ordinary should report to the Schwarzdrachen office four times a year, using the standard quarters. These quarters are:

  • January through March (reports due 25 April)
  • April through June (reports due 25 July)
  • July through September (reports due 25 October)
  • October through December (reports due 25 January for the last quarter / Domesday reports).

Those rostered as Pursuivants Extraordinary should write a similar report yearly. Local heralds within a principality or a barony should send a copy to the principality or baronial herald.

Reports need not be long or onerous and can be done on plain paper, e-mail or using the on-line form. The report should include:

  • Your SCA name
  • Your real name
  • Your contact information: postal address, e-mail address, phone number
  • Your membership number (not required for heralds Extraordinary)
  • Recent activities: submissions sent, courts held, field or event heraldry organised, other activities like banner-making.

Financial reports

Every warranted herald who receives payment for submissions must report every three months and send it to the Kingdom exchequer and the Schwarzdrachen office. For each submitted item, include following information:

  • Submitter's legal name
  • Submitter's primary persona name
  • Item submitted
  • Currency Amount received
  • Date received
  • Date sent and to whom
  • Currency Amount sent and to which account
  • Date sent

See the heraldry section of the Drachenwald kingdom website for the on-line report form.

Court reports

For all courts held within the Kingdom, the court herald submits a report within a week of the event. This responsibility cannot be transferred to anyone else, even the royalty or baronial nobles who held the court. The report must include

  • The names of the person(s) holding the court
  • The name of the herald
  • The date of the court
  • The awards:
  • SCA Name
  • Mundane Name
  • Gender
  • Award
  • Any token or scroll given (so the Signet Clerk knows whether or not to assign a backlog scroll)

In addition to these, it is advisable to include other court business as well, as a service for the nobles who held the court and for the chronicler. However, such business should be on a separate section, so that the division between awards and other business is kept clear.

Send court reports to:

  • the Schwarzdrachen office
  • Post Horn
  • Kingdom Clerk of the Signet
  • The nobles who held court (e.g. their Majesties, their Highnesses of Nordmark, the Viceroy and Vicereine of Insulae Draconis on behalf of their Majesties, their Excellencies of one of the baronies)
  • Chronicler of the group whose presiding nobles held the court
  • Any assisting heralds

Contact information is on the heraldry section of the Drachenwald kingdom website.

Appendix A: Heraldic financial policy

This section outlines how the Drachenwald College of Heralds handles submission funds, at times when there is a separate heraldic account. When this is the case, financial reports for submission fees are sent to the warranted exchequer of the College of Heralds instead of the Kingdom exchequer.

These policies apply following the Society-wide policies that govern SCA exchequers, and after kingdom law. The order of precedence:

  • SCA Organizational Handbook (Corpora, By-laws, Corporate policies, and Articles of Incorporation)
  • SCA Exchequer's Handbook
  • Drachenwald Kingdom Law
  • Drachenwald Financial Policy
  • Drachenwald Heraldic Financial Policy
  • Principality or baronial heraldic financial policies

Warranting the College of Heralds' exchequer

As the deputy in charge of submissions, Edelweiss is normally warranted as an exchequer, or another person can be appointed a deputy to serve as exchequer for the submissions account. See the kingdom financial policy for warranting requirements.

Heralds' Financial Committee

The financial committee for the college of heralds includes:

  • Edelweiss Herald, or whoever is warranted as the exchequer of the College of Heralds
  • Kingdom exchequer or deputy exchequer
  • Kingdom seneschal or deputy seneschal
  • Schwarzdrachen Herald (non-voting member)

The financial committee meets annually, either at a designated kingdom event, or by phone or e-mail, to review the financial policies of the college. Any member can request an emergency meeting (e.g. if submissions money goes missing after an event).

Three of the four members are required for quorum, and two of the three voting members must agree to approve a decision, either at the annual meeting, or in an emergency.

Banking arrangements

Drachenwald maintains an account for receiving submission funds.

Submitters can send submission funds to either this bank account or the kingdom account.

The College of Heralds and the Kingdom exchequers must reconcile their accounts quarterly, to make sure all submission funds are accounted for.

Drachenwald pays Laurel, on a quarterly basis, USD 4 for every submission sent to Laurel.

Sample receipt

Provide a receipt with this information for any funds received for submissions. You can copy the sample page to use as a template.

Date of Payment: Amount Received: Type of Currency:
Modern name of submitter:
Society name of submitter:
Type of Submission (circle one) Name   Device   Badge
Consulting Herald Branch