SCA Culture Post – The Don’t Speech


A speech/lesson I put together for newcomers in the SCA. Different pieces of advice that came from different people at different times that I put together into one place. I’ve given this speech/talk many times over the past years.

So, you’re new to the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), and you want to do it all! Well, come check it out, find out what you like and explore. You might find something you like that you never thought you would. But first, a word of advice.

In your first year DON’T.

That’s right DON’T.

DON’T register a name.

DON’T register a device.

DON’T join a household, guild etc.

DON’T attach yourself to someone as in an apprenticeship or squiring or other such thing.

DON’T register your name. Once you have registered it you are more or less stuck with it. Once people are used to calling you something they’re gonna keep on calling you that name, yes you can un-register the name but that doesn’t mean people will stop calling you that. The truth is that you will likely find a name or persona that you think is cooler later on. Chill out try a few on and see what sticks. Most newcomers in my experience change names a few times before they settle on one.

DON’T register a device. Same reason as not registering your name really. A device is a symbol that will come to be recognized as you. People will see it and think of you. People will see you not with it and wonder what is wrong. And once you have a flaming moose as your symbol – yes there really is a registered flaming moose – you will never get away from it.

DON’T join a household, guild etc. Hang out with them, get the lay of the land and the internal politics, have fun, get to know people. If they’re cool now, great! But really if they’re cool now, then they’ll be cool in a year just the same. You may find that you like
hanging out with them but don’t really wanna join up. That’s okay. Then again you may choose to join up after that year and you’ll be a better member for it!

DON’T attach yourself. Those kinds of things in the SCA are viewed as permanent and forever. Yes, you can get out of them but it is a BIG deal when that happens and people will talk for years about it. I keep hearing about one split that happened over 15, yes that’s fifteen, years ago. Take your time get to know what you really want to do and what the person is really like and what their reputation is. Once you DO get attached to a person you WILL ALWAYS be judged in that light and will ALWAYS be associated that way. So know the person well before you get attached as a squire or apprentice or other such thing.

There are plenty of stories in the SCA of people having registered names or devices and wishing they hadn’t and being “stuck” with it. And even more stories of having joined a household or guild and wishing they had spent more time getting to know people and things before they had.

Take your time, explore things and research them to your hearts content.

And if anyone gives you any guff over not registering your name or device, or joining up with a household or guild politely tell them to lay off.

I am an apprentice and my Laurel has NEVER registered her name or a device. NEVER. You simply are NOT required to do it. Anyone who says otherwise is flat wrong. The truth is that you should wait around to see what you want to register for certain before you do.

Just remember you are here to have fun and learn and the SCA is a great place to do that. But some things are forever or close to it in the SCA. Take your time and don’t make the mistake of choosing some things too early.

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