Regarding the East Kingdom’s Request for a Spring Crown Variance

Parchment paper with the devices of the SCA East Kingdom king, queen, prince and princess devices on it.

Unto the People of the East do Matthias and Feilinn, Sovereign and Consort of the East Kingdom, send greetings. 

At Pennsic this year, the Board of Directors invited well thought out and detailed proposals for alternative approaches to crown tournaments. We are aware of the interest in the East for trying an alternative format, so we spent considerable time and many conversations with others exploring the idea. In the end, we decided to make a proposal that would increase the number of people with a path to the Crown. The more people who feel empowered and represented in the SCA, the stronger the Society is. There is no more visible role than the Royalty.   

We submitted a proposal to the Board with the approval of our heirs for a variance for a Crown Tournament using rapier combat instead of rattan combat in Spring 2024. Rapier is an activity with a long history in the East; a large number of participants with depth of experience in the kingdom; and can be substituted for rattan with only one change to the crown tournament format. It was a logical next step to take.

We know that the East will have questions about the proposal. Below you can find an FAQ with answers to questions that we expect you will have and where to write with more thoughts or questions. There is also a link to the full proposal. The proposal includes a detailed description of the reasoning behind the request, how the change would be implemented, and relevant sections of East Kingdom Law and Policy.

This is not a proposal we put forth lightly. We submitted it because we believe that the experiment is worth trying and the East can run it successfully. The East has the experience, the expertise, and a forward thinking culture that understands the cost of not trying new things. 

If the Board gives the East permission for a one time variance, we will rise to the occasion. We are the East. 

Matthias Rex  & Feilinn Regina 

FAQ

What is being proposed?

Their Majesties Matthias and Feilinn, with the support of Their Highnesses Tindal and Emerson, have submitted a proposal to the SCA’s Board of Directors requesting a variance to conduct a crown tournament in Spring 2024 using rapier combat.

Why Now?

At last Pennsic, the Board of Directors invited well thought out and detailed proposals for alternative approaches to crown tournaments. The Board required both the sitting Crown and their Heirs to sign off on any proposal. Given the timing of Fall Crown Tournament, this was the earliest that a proposal could reasonably be submitted.

Why Change Anything?

The more people feel empowered and represented in the SCA, the stronger the Society is. Opening Crown Tournament to other approaches means increasing the potential pool of individuals who can compete for the most visible roles in a kingdom.

Why Fencing?

Rapier has the number of participants, depth of experience, and one-on-one competition structure that means this change can be implemented within the existing crown tournament structure. It is an incremental, yet significant change.

How will Crown Tournament be different?

To use rapier instead of armored combat in a crown tournament, the only change required is one-to-one substitution of rapier for armored (rattan) combat.  No other changes will be made.

Is this change permanent?

The variance is being requested for one crown tournament in Spring 2024. If the East wants to continue to use Rapier in Spring crown tournaments or for a later date, then more actions will need to be taken.

When will a decision be made?

The Board has been requested to make their decision with enough time to allow for discussions within the East so that the populace, hosting group, and larger SCA community  have time to plan — if the Board says yes. The timing on the decision, however, is up to the Board.

What are the rapier versus armored combatant numbers?

  • At the time of the proposal, the East had 332 authorized rapier fighters. That is 71% of the 465 authorized armored fighters.
  • The most recent King’s and Queen’s Rapier Championships had 66 entrants. There were 37 entrants in the most recent King’s and Queen’s Armored Championships and 44 entrants to our recent Crown Tournament with 37 actually competing. 

What if I have things to say?

At this point in time, the decision is up to the SCA’s Board of Directors. You can write them at sca-comments@sca.org or The Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., P.O. Box 611928, San Jose, CA 95161

If you want to communicate with Their Majesties  or Their Highnesses, we encourage you to use email. It will be easier for them to track and respond as time allows. You can find their contact info on their reign webpages at www.eastkingdom.org.

Where can I read the full proposal?

You can read Our full proposal to the Board here.

20 thoughts on “Regarding the East Kingdom’s Request for a Spring Crown Variance”

  1. Kai Tseng, OD - Mid

    Thank you for doing this. I hope that this is a great next step for the efforts the SCA has made to be more inclusive.

  2. Tetsu McNeil (Yasuda Tatsu'aki)

    I support this experiment wholeheartedly, it is clear that Rapier represents a far more fair cross section of their population.
    We of Lochac would like to have a similar consideration.

  3. I also support this long overdue attempt to make our group more equitable. As someone who has benefited from the heavy armored pathway to the crown, (and who does not fight rapier,) I feel it is perhaps long overdue. To survive in this age of a million distractions, we need to inspire new membership and excite youthful participation. Arguably the best way for us to do this is to open up the leadership of our group to those who bring their own rich and varied experiences to our hobby and passion. Vivat, and kudos to the East, for the courage to do what is necessary. Look around you. These are our friends and boon companions. Of course they deserve a fair chance at winning a throne!

  4. Scandal mac Rofir

    This is a fantastic step toward a more Egalitarian Society that can prosper in years to come. I hope that this Variance will be granted, and we will continue to seek others, changing the nature of the Crown Challenge each time to honor every member.

  5. James Stuart Koch

    I am a member of the Midrealm and not the East, but I do have an opinion to express in this regard. This is a good start, but is basically just another pool of fighters being allowed a chance at winning the crown for themselves and their consort. The next logical step would be to establish an expanded list of qualifications for the throne. Any individual or couple who meet those qualifications would be allowed to compete. They might choose to compete themselves or they might choose to be represented by a champion of their choice. In this way certain non-fighters would also be contenders.

  6. Dame Sophia the Orange / Lara Coutinho-Dean

    I support this experiment. Change is hard, and this proposal looks to me, on this first day of seeing it, to be an excellent way to try something moving in the direction of more equity in SCA leadership positions. I see it as a reasonable next step. I’m an early adopter type person, so I understand not everyone will agree with me. That’s ok. I’d like to see this experiment happen and all of us learn from it.
    Signed,
    Dame Sophia the Orange, OL, Kingdom Minister of Arts and Sciences for Atlantia

  7. Dame Madinia, Ealdormere

    I absolutely support this proposal. It’s a solid first step on the road to the inclusivity that the Society should have trodden decades ago.

  8. Duke Siegfried, Northshield.

    I salute Their Majesties and Highnesses Orientalis for the courage and resolve shown following this path.

    For an organization that studies human endeavors and customs as they evolved over a millennia, we have only recently shown ourselves to be capable of any significant evolution.

    We are also an organization that has an ever increasing amount of competition for participants. Technology constantly expands the offerings available to the young people we so desperately need to carry us forward. These same young people are being brought up in a world that prizes inclusivity. What will they think when they discover us, only to find that achieving our most visible and prized positions requires a skill set that excludes many worthy gentles.

    Let’s be honest, mastery of armored combat was never a reliable indicator of who would be a good sovereign. If we have a hiring criteria that does nothing to ensure the quality of who get the job, why are we still exclusively using it?

    There is an axiom I learned in the corporate world that served me well when I owned my own business; “Grow or die”. I hope the BoD chooses growth, not only for our survival, but because it is right.

  9. Arianna of Wynthrope, OL, OP

    My son has participated in rapier since he was a teenager. I have never met a kinder, more welcoming community in my 46 years in the Society. I know many fencers who would make outstanding Royalty. In addition, allowing rapier is highly likely to increase the number of Queens by Right of Arms, given the number of women who are MoDs.

    I wholly support this proposal.

  10. Governance experiments are often worth a try, and I support running the experiment and seeing what happens. But I’m a bit wary for a couple of reasons. (Lest anyone accuse me of self-interest, I should mention here that I don’t fight, nor have much interest in becoming royalty.)

    First, of course, is that choosing our royals by means of heavy weapons has been core to the SCA for as long as it’s existed, so that any change to it will *feel* like a big change even if it doesn’t directly affect most of us. That doesn’t *necessarily* mean we shouldn’t change it, of course, but we should be aware of the burden of tradition as we do.

    Second is my (unscientific) observation that many heavy fighters switch to rapier at some point as they get older. This means that if the experiment is successful and moderately regular rapier crown tourneys start happening, I wouldn’t be surprised if the rapier tourneys come to be dominated by the heavy fighters who would otherwise have “aged out”, rather than a new group of rapier fighters. That is, while I understand that this is being tried in order to open up the crown to a broader field of candidates, I suspect that it may well wind up having the opposite effect.

  11. Maighstir Uilliam MacantSaoir (known as Liam)

    The words I have submitted to the BoD:
    I am writing to support the East Kingdom’s petition to turn their Spring Crown Tournament into a fencing competition rather than a heavy fighting competition. As a former heavy fighter, and part of the army command staff for Æthelemearc, and as a fencer who hopes to be back on the fencing field someday soon. I feel that this is long overdue.
    The society needs change, in so many ways. For over 50 years, our society, built on chivalry, has held their royalty chosen by whoever has been the best at swinging a stick on any given Saturday. As the former Crown Tournament Herald for the Kingdom of Æthelmearc, there has been amazing pomp and circumstance on the lyst fields, as well as unmatched chivalry. However, armored combat is very limiting, I say as a heavy fighter who had to step away from fighting permanently due to injuries in my modern career. There are many in the society like me, who either can’t fight heavy due to health, or due to the intricacies of their modern career. This disqualifies a majority for the populace from ever sitting the thrones. In a society based on the ideas of Chivalry, we should work to find a place where everyone has the opportunity to have the honor of sitting on the throne, not just because they were someone’s consort. It is time we make a step in that direction.
    So, I strongly support the petition by the royalty of the East Kingdom to have their spring crown be the first fencing crown in the SCA. I also ask that the royalty of the known world to have the strength and chivalry to do the same.
    In service to the dream,
    Maighstir Uilliam (Liam) MacantSaoir
    Order of the Pelican by the hands of Tindal and Etain
    Æthelmearc

  12. I am Master Robin dit Dessaint (Robin St-Pierre) from the Barony of Ile du Dragon dormant and I think that it is time to open Crown Tourney to another part of the scadians. Making it more attractive for new bloodline and more exchange and ideas.

  13. Countess Cassandra Antonelli, Northshield

    I fully support Their Majesties of the East in trying to stimulate change. This is a small change overall—still a double elim tourney, but a major step to making the SCA more inclusive. We need to do this. Another commenter mentioned tradition as a reason to maybe not do this. Traditions are great up to the point where they start to harm the community. How is this harming the community? Recruitment and retention. I’m going to quote the first King of Northshield, Duke Siegfried, as he says it better than I can: “We are also an organization that has an ever increasing amount of competition for participants. Technology constantly expands the offerings available to the young people we so desperately need to carry us forward. These same young people are being brought up in a world that prizes inclusivity. What will they think when they discover us, only to find that achieving our most visible and prized positions requires a skill set that excludes many worthy gentles.”

    We need to change and be more inclusive for the SCA to survive.

  14. Rowen Brithwallt, OL, Outlands (mka D.R. Grove)

    I support this proposal. I believe there are many folk in the rapier community who would make exemplary Kings or Queens.

  15. My name is Daveed Shmuel ben Rachon aka/Daveed Korup #20789.
    I have been a knight for almost forty years. In that time I have seen our game change and evolve. The middle ages never stayed static. If they had we’d all likely be speaking a different language.

    For the Society to remain sustainable it must look at how to adapt to changing sensibilities. That said, I think the East is showing leadership here in their willingness to try new ideas. Remember what the SCA was like 20 or more years ago. Today is a different time where I think we must explore new ways of adding to our game so that we don’t drive people away and that we keep those we currently have.

    Just like we expanded over the years new peerages, it could add much magic our game.

  16. Being a member over 42 years I have seen a lot of change. From the expansion of peerage to older members aging out because they can no longer participate in heavy fighting. It would expand our membership to get the young fighting earlier and older people staying in the fight.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top