Guide to Heraldry:

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Mr_Rieper
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Guide to Heraldry:

Post by Mr_Rieper » Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:43 pm

Part 1 (Short and sweet, general knowledge)
Part 2 (Making a shield and blazon)
Part 3 (Making a full achievement)
^ This is going to be a huge wall of text, I'd recommend watching these first. ^

So for the purposes of Arelith, I doubt we'd ever really need to have or use achievements, except to show the crest. If you watch the video, he shows you how to write the blazon to describe it using words, which is probably good enough. For the rest of this guide I'm going to be referencing those three videos, correcting some common myths and showing how all of it can be applied to Arelith. For now, there is one more video, one found in A Knight's Tale in which Geoffrey Chaucer is a notably fantastic bard and a fantastic herald. You don't need to be a bard to be a herald, but if any class would be the most likely to have heraldric knowledge, it'd be a bard. If you're playing a character with high lore, it doesn't hurt to learn how to identify shields and blazons.
Chaucer acting as herald


So a herald is an expert or knowledgeable person on heraldry/pageantry who performs the role on behalf of whatever organisation or person has hired them. In other words, it's a job that you need to know how to do. Heralds are typically educated on who's who, and are able to "read" the arms of the nobility. Good heralds will know how to create or "write" arms or heraldry as well. Very high ranking heralds were treated as officials or experts in their field and if they were the herald of established royalty, were probably part of an organisation that kept track of every noble in the realm. However you could be the personal herald to a noble, and announce them on their behalf or be their assistant when it came to matters of nobility.

Germaine, who is that?
In the scene you can see Adamar call upon his herald's knowledge to identify who Ulrich is. It's an important role for a noble to have, and helps them stay informed. In Arelith terms, anybody can ACT as somebody's herald, and if you're playing as a noble, you should try to find another character to do so. Even the elven ranger with a passing knowledge of remembering people's armorial bearings can act as somebody's herald, though not really considering themselves as an expert.
Heralds announcing their bosses

So, now to the actual knowledge. This is difficult to find on the internet, people intentionally try to muddle up or confuse terms. It isn't surprising there are a lot of myths about this, and for the purposes of Arelith, I am going to be overly simplifying things here, but I believe all of this to be correct in the most technical sense. So, let's start with some definitions:

Arms, Armorial bearing, shield, heraldric bearing etc

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This is what represents your character. Yes, note I said your character - not his or her family. An armorial bearing or shield is an INDIVIDUAL thing, for a specific person OR it is for an ORGANISATION but NOT an entire noble family. Families would have certain styles or thematic similarities, but each shield would be personal. It's also a simple design that is used for battle and has less show-y or flashy bits, it's the essential part. This is the point of heraldry, it's the colors, design and symbol that is used to identify a character. I'm using the word "shield" and "arms" interchangeably here to prevent confusion but it is basically the same thing.

So Edward Cordor would have a shield. The city of Cordor would have a shield too, hopefully the two would have similarities. Edward's children would each have their own shields. The Banites could have a shield. Guldorand could have a shield. Rannos Susidian has a shield. The Susidian family DOES NOT have its own unique shield. In the case of families, I'd imagine the head of the family would represent the rest. So Edward Cordor's shield would be used to represent the Cordor family, until his heir inherits.
Recognising other nobles by their Achievement.

Blazon - Literally describing somebody's arms or achievement in text. It's just the words used to describe what is being shown visually. There is a format or pattern to it, it's not just a general description. Luckily it's pretty easy to pick up if you look at a few. This is what would be used ingame, and what players on Arelith would see most often, because it uses only text.
E.g: "argent, over a pale gules a lion rampant regardant or"

Charge - If your shield has symbols or animals on it, these are called charges. Game of Thrones calls these "sigils", for reference's sake. People would often try to include the family crest as a charge on their shield somewhere.

Achievement - The full heraldic picture. This is where if people want to show off, they should. It has details that show rank or peerage, so if you want to see if somebody is a royal or lesser noble, this is where it shows. Includes the crest, the helmet, the supporters and the motto (if any), all around the shield. Simple banners use the basic armorial shield's design but fancy banners would include details from the full achievement.
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Crest - Is this part of the Achievement and typically references the main Charge on the shield. This is the part of the heraldry with some actual meaning for families, and is typically shared among family members. If there was an accomplishment or amazing feat made by the family, they'd change their crest to reference it.
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Helmet - Is a display of rank. The video explains this in detail but it doesn't necessarily apply to Arelith as we can make up our own. This is an individual thing, not the rank of a family. The Duke and the child of the duke would not have the same helmets on their achievements.

Supporters - The animals beside the shield. Typically matches the crest, but it's a design choice. If an achievement has supporters on it, it's typically a member of a royal family (the relative of a king or queen) or a prestigious organisation (or church).

Motto: - Again, an individual thing and is only ever displayed on the full achievement. Historically these are often in latin, but I don't believe the language exists in Forgotten Realms. I don't recommend using the ingame translator for elven or dwarven nobility, it's just a word garbler for words that aren't specified in the language's dictionary. Just use a motto in plain english. Daily reminder that Cormyrians don't speak French, Damarans don't speak German, Amnians don't speak Spanish. Again, I highly recommend just Common if you aren't sure of the translation, use a cultural phrase or just not use a motto at all. They aren't required and are just an embellishment.

There are a few myths here that need to be dispelled:

Coat of Arms - This doesn't mean what people think it means. A coat of arms is literally a coat. Yes, a coat. Like a tabard. It has your arms on it. So it's a coat of arms. You could call it a tabard of arms to make it less confusing. But yes this is referencing an article of clothing that has somebody's heraldry on it. What most people are thinking of when they use the term is actually called an "achievement" and is the full heraldry in all its glory and splendor, typically only ever seen on very important pieces of paper. If you want to mention somebody's shield, you can just talk about their arms or bearing. Using the adjective "armorial" is a good way to specify.
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Family's coat of arms - This is something that is often exploited and people intentionally make misleading. Your heraldry is a personal thing, but there are a few things that carry over between family members. The "crest" (referenced in the video) is the most common hereditary thing. This is also often the thing used for badges or pins that retainers wore, or more finely made banners. Many people had the crest as a charge on their shields, but it wasn't required. Family names are NEVER on the achievement, only mottos.

The Right to Bear Arms - No, this is not a reference to America's 2nd amendment. The right to bear arms is the explicit recognition that a character's shield is a legit thing. If you have the right to bear arms, it means you can have your own shield and achievement. Characters that are noble born, or have been knighted or recognised for their service would have the right to bear arms. If a character does not have the right to bear arms, it could be seen as grossly arrogant or huffed up, and would draw some hostile reactions. Characters that don't have their own arms or shield typically just used the one of the noble or organisation they served. Drow heraldry is up in the air, but I recommend that only the highest ranking members of each house or Temple would have their own arms, and they would be very similar in design and theme. The Sorcere and Melee Magthere would have their own arms as organisations. The arms used to depict the house or temple themselves would be that of the respective heads of each faction, and would change when leadership changed.

**EDIT** - It appears I've missed the Forgotten Realms part of doing my research, there is actually an organisation in lore that records the arms and pageantry of the Realms who call themselves The Heralds. https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki ... aer%C3%BBn
Useful sites:
https://worldspinner.com/heraldry/device_editor/ - Use this to design arms for your character. It auto-generates the blazon. Remember the rule of tincture - no metals on metals or colors on colors. It's important that the arms are easy to see from a distance.

https://drawshield.net/create/index.html - If you want to know what the arms or shield looks like, you can just paste the blazon into this, and it should draw an approximation for you.

As for achievements, I don't really know what else can be used besides drawing it yourself or asking it to be drawn for you. Achievements are nice, but for the purposes of Arelith, all we really need are arms or shields.
CosmicOrderV wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 4:55 pm
Be the change you want to see, and shape the server because of it. Players can absolutely help keep their fellow players accountable.


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Mr_Rieper
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Re: Guide to Heraldry:

Post by Mr_Rieper » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:48 pm

So I had a discussion with somebody OOC about this stuff, and I feel it's important to mention this.

The ones who decide on the rules of heraldry are the Colleges of Heraldry in certain countries, in RL. They develop the heraldry system and "balance" it. All the rules, etiquette and styles are judged and deemed worthy by them. And they are given authority by the state, whomever that may be.

What this means for Arelith is that this guide is by no means a definitive one. You have to take what you read here and go IC with it. Argue the logic behind it IC, seek to modify it IC, and set a standard IC. Arelith would have its own unique heraldic conventions that make sense for Arelith. It would ideally have its own player-run College of Heraldry.

Should heraldry represent individuals or families? What if an individual wanted to use his own arms instead of his family's, would that be against convention? Who should have the right to bear arms? If a person favors Or, Sable and Vert on their arms, does that mean they are a Banite?

All of this needs to be decided in-character, through roleplay. This guide is just a simple one intended to convey the basics of how heraldry was intended to work. As we all know, it became rather complicated in its later years.

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^ the names of the colors if you are confused by the blazons. Silver + Gold are metals. Red, Blue, Black, Green and Purple are colors. You cannot have a metal on metal, or a color on color. Or perhaps you can on Arelith, but that convention needs to be set.
CosmicOrderV wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 4:55 pm
Be the change you want to see, and shape the server because of it. Players can absolutely help keep their fellow players accountable.

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Mr_Rieper
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Re: Guide to Heraldry:

Post by Mr_Rieper » Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:06 am

So as it turns out, there are several shields models that have heraldry on them, in-game, already.

So Tormak did a write-up on them, as a bit of a demonstration on how blazonry works. In other words, how to describe the heraldry in text.


TimeAdept wrote:Everything after this line:
Fields can be described in various methods. I will use one method to maintain consistency, but small variations are common. For example, the first one could be described as "A field Tenne party per pale Or" (A field divided into two, vertically down the center, with the left hand orange, the right half gold) or "Per pale, a field Tenne and Or", or even "Per pale Tenne and Or". Small variations are possible as long as the overall message and ordering is maintained so the scribe and readers can understand the symbol.

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#1: A field Tenne per pale Or with sunburst dexter and stars sinister inverse, charged with a tooth in eschutcheon.

['per pale' means a vertical divide. 'dexter and sister' mean right and left, and 'inverse' means the colors of those objects are the reverse of the field's colors. 'in escutcheon' refers to the tooth being within a circle in the center of the shield and main charge.]

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#2: A field Argent saltire Or, checky Purpure and Sable fesswise between a dragon rampant chief Purpure and three tower base.

['rampant' refers to the pose of the dragon on the shield]

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#3: A field Bleu-Celeste with dragon Purpure.

[Breaks tinture rule: Has a color field with a color charge. Typically it was metal on color, or color on metal.]

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#4: A field Gules two bars Sable with dragon Argent.

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#5: A field Or with stag's head guardant erased.

['guardant' refers to the animals' face towards the viewer, and 'erased' means it's only the animal's head, not the entire animal.]

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#6: A field Argent with dragon Purpure.

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#7: A field Azure with eagle displayed Or.

['displayed' referring to the pose of the eagle on the shield]

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#8: A field Vert per pale Argent with dragon Purpure.

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#9: A field Argent and Gules a bend Or between a dragon Purpure dexter chief and tower base.

[The 'Bend' is between a dragon on the top-right on the shield, and a tower in the bottom center.]

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#10: A field Sable per fess dancetty bordure Or.

['dancetty' refers to the chevron-style repeating pattern across the shield. Fess means horizontal, and 'bordure' means that the charge isn't filled in - it's only border lines.]
CosmicOrderV wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 4:55 pm
Be the change you want to see, and shape the server because of it. Players can absolutely help keep their fellow players accountable.

TimeAdept
Posts: 1229
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2017 7:02 am

Re: Guide to Heraldry:

Post by TimeAdept » Fri Jun 21, 2019 6:59 pm

p.s.: there's a couple typos in there, oops. also i don't claim to be an expert at all in any of this, mostly I'm just self taught from the three websites I linked above, so don't take me for any sort of authority. :D

TimeAdept
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Re: Guide to Heraldry:

Post by TimeAdept » Sun Apr 12, 2020 12:26 am

I was given some extra advice/mentions by Tathkar Eisgrim, and figured I'd add them in.

Heraldry on Shields: It might be stating the obvious - but this is to identify 'important personages' during the rough and tumble of battle. This also had the up and downside of making them stand out - which could lead to their capture and potential ransom by foes, just as it could their helpfulness with their own troops.

Heraldry on Coats of Arms: Typically used and worn in courtly fashions and important sessions - this isn't something you'd wear just walking around town unless you had a reason to, or were purposefully trying to show off.

Heraldry and Law: Heraldry of a local ruler is typically emblazoned about the premises of the local judiciary - used in this fashion empowers a court to act in the name of and with the power of a local ruler. Would be common in say, Cordor, for the judiciaries to fly the heraldry of House d'Cordor.

Heraldry and Trade: A royal warrant given to a business gives them prestige to show they are recognized for their works and standards and representation of the realm. A business would be proud to display the heraldry of a well regarded house who recognized them in this way - it would be a huge boon to business. It could also cause jealousy among other houses seeking to court commercial and political power among the guilds.

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