24 March, 2015

Fantastic Heraldry

Quite busy with the move. All hobby supplies (save one little EM4 mini sitting by the computer) have been packed and mostly transported. Even the computer is gone... I type now on an old laptop. Going to be like this for a while, until summer when the house is complete, and we've unpacked.

Until then, I've been worldbuilding the old fashioned way... in spiral notebooks. Getting ideas together in anticipation of my kids playing D&D...

So, since I have a moment, here is what I've been working on:

Fantasy World Heraldry Guidelines (WIP)

Under the Imperial system there were seven castes; commoners, yeomanry, gentry, peerage, nobility, royalty, sovereignty (listed in ascending order).

Commoners were not granted, and not permitted, arms of their own.

Yeomanry were permitted a simple arms of 3 complexity points. Each color, charge, field division, and non-standard line was worth one point. Thus, upon entrance to a military order, a new knight was granted arms, typically in the Order's colors, featuring a single charge, division, or ordinary. For example: Argent, a cross sable (3 points = 2 colors + 1 cross).

Gentry. Should an exceptional knight be awarded a holding, he or she was authorized an additional point of complexity (4 points total). In this case our knight added an ordinary: chief sable. The most common modification was to add a line of division and countercharge.

Peerage. Attaining a position in the this caste was difficult, and those who attained it were awarded another TWO complexity point (6 points total). In the case of our knight, she has added three griffon heads, in a third color, to the chief; the number of heads is immaterial as the group is counted as a whole.

Nobility. Again as our knight advances in status, she is awarded the right to make her Arms more complex (7 points of complexity in all) as well as the right to use a bordure - in this case she has altered the line on the chief.

Royalty. Really getting up there now. Royals are permitted another point of complexity (total of 7 pts.) and the use of furs. Our knight has chosen to alter the field to ermine.

Sovereignty. The top level has no real limits on what they can or cannot do, however there are no known examples of an arms bearing more than eight points of complexity - represented here in with a bordure or.

Of course the addition of complexity was a privilege not a requirement, and there were humble knight-kings who bore simple arms of three complexity points.