Section 5: The Field

Now that we’ve gotten tinctures out of the way, we can begin building devices. We shall start with the most basic of armorial elements: the field.

The field, as mentioned before, is the foundation of your device, the background upon which all things are built. You can have your field plain, or divided into different tinctures. You can have it clean, or festooned with items. There are very few limits to what you can do with a field. In fact, if you work at it, you can actually register a device that is nothing but a field!

“But Cormac,” you say. “The game’s been going on too long. Surely all the fields are taken!” This is a common belief, one that’s been around the SCA for decades. And because your predecessors believed it, they too avoided registering plain fields. But if you’re patient and flexible, you too can have a field-only device all your own. I myself recently registered three pieces of field-only armory; two for myself (including the arms of Poore House, which you may have seen on the way in here) and one for my lady.

But back to the field. As I said before, you can have a plain field, or have the field dividided up in a number of ways. These ways include:

Per pale
Per chevron
Per fess
Per bend
Per saltire
Per bend sinister

With the exception of gyronny, each of these field divisions can be two colors, two metals, or any combination of fur variants that are the equivalent. Due to gyronny’s more complex nature, it must be one color (or fur equivalent) and one metal (or fur equivalent). As a side note to my Viking readers, pre-heraldic Viking shield designs frequently used gyronny, particularly a variant on it called gyronny arrondi:

Gyronny arrondi

The field divisions above are all done with straight lines, but you can use different types of lines to achieve the same result. Here are some of the various lines of partition:


These lines of partition can also be applied to the charges in the next section, so keep them in mind.

You can do other things to the field besides divide it. You can scatter small charges all over it. As long as they’re identifiable and adhere to the rule of tincture, the sky’s the limit on what you can scatter. There should be at least seven of them, and should be spaced relatively equally about the field, as in this example:


The scattering doesn’t need to be as structured as above, and doesn’t need to have charges laying over the edge of the shield, but you get the idea. By the way, strewn charges like this are called “semy of ____”. More vocabulary for you.

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