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Conflict Checking Class Notes

posted Feb 12, 2011, 2:16 PM by Jennifer Smith
This is a class outline for a Conflict-Checking 201 class I did, back in Aug 2007. Some bits may be dated or even incorrect, and if so please do let me know so I can correct and update! Also attached at the bottom (hopefully) is a Powerpoint presentation that went along with this class, with examples of the rules and a step-by-step conflict-checking exercise.

Commenting on Armory – Conflict-Checking and Beyond 
HL Emma de Fetherstan, Bordure Herald, Aug 2007

This is only a rough outline of my class, but hopefully will be enough to jog your memory or otherwise point you in the right direction in the future. This is by no means a comprehensive overview of the art and science of conflict-checking armory, but aims to be a decent start.

I. Tools needed: RfS, Glossary, OandA.
  • Rules for Submission - http://heraldry.sca.org/laurel/rfs.html. Also available through Stock Clerk
  • Glossary of Terms - http://heraldry.sca.org/coagloss.html. Also available through Stock Clerk
  • OandA - http://oanda.sca.org/. Armorial is listed by registrant names, Ordinary by categories; you actually want the latter, so use the “on-line SCA Ordinary” link. 
  • Offline OandA – “genord” program - http://www.panix.com/~tmcd/ 
II. Basic Blazoning Refresher.
  • Definitions to remember: 
a) parts of the shield
b) tinctures
c) field divisions
d) complex lines
e) arrangement
f) postures
  • Blazon roughly in order: 
a) field (including fieldless) – top to bottom, left to right
b) charges – number, type, and any other adjectives (location, arrangement, posture)
(1) primary charges
(2) secondary charges (except peripheral charges)
(3) tertiary charges (except those on peripheral charges)
(4) peripheral charges, and tertiary charges on them
(5) overall charges
  • Use the Glossary! 
III. Heraldic Style and Other Issues.
  • Go to the source: 
RfS VII. Compatible Armorial Content – allowable charges and elements
RfS VIII. Compatible Armorial Style – the basic “rules” of design
RfS IX. Offensive Armory
RfS XI. Presumptuous Armory
  • Can it be easily blazoned? Remember: difficulty in blazoning indicates non-period style. 
  • “Argent Snail's Armory Insta-Boing Check List” by Jaelle of Armida - http://heraldry.sca.org/laurel/boing.html 
IV. The Point of It All.
  • Inappropriate Claims (RfS I.3) – no conflicts or presumption 
  • In period, a single change for cadency, two or more for unrelated armory 
  • Types of “differences”: 
a) substantial
b) significant (aka CD)
c) insignificant (not a CD)

V. Conflict Checking Using RfS X.
  • RfS X.1 Addition of Primary Charges - don't need to check field-only against primary charges 
  • RfS X.2 Difference of Primary Charges - if "simple" armory, don't need to check against any other primaries if substantially different 
  • RfS X.3 Required Charges Transparent - rarely comes into play 
  • RfS X.4 Significant Armorial Differences - tricky but logical! Where CDs come into play 
X.4.a - field changes
X.4.b - addition/removal of charge group
X.4.c - addition/removal of overall charge
X.4.d - tincture changes of at least half of non-tertiary charges
X.4.e - type changes of non-tertiary charges
X.4.f - number changes of non-tertiary charges
X.4.g - arrangement changes of non-tertiary charges
X.4.h - posture changes of non-tertiary charges
X.4.i - addition/removal of tertiary charges
X.4.j - TWO changes to tertiary charges (but see X.4.j.ii for ordinaries)
  • RfS X.5 Visual Test - trumps all of the above, very tricky 
VI. Methodology.
  • What to compare against? Use the OandA. 
  • Don’t touch complex search form until you’re more practiced! 
  • Go to Ordinary; good place to start is primary charge category. 
a) Compare first item on the list with proposed armory.
b) Do they both have primary charges? Yes, skip to X.2. No, skip to X.4.a. One does/one doesn't, STOP, go to next item.
c) Are they both simple, and have substantially different charges? No, skip to X.4. Yes, STOP, go to next item.
d) Count CDs from X.4. More than 2 CDs, STOP, go to next item. Less than 2 CDs, possible conflict!
e) LAST: check for other non-X.2-simple conflicts! Assuming 1 CD for change of primary charge, check field or secondary categories

VII. Precedents.
  • Laurel rulings used to clarify rules. Can be overturned! 
  • Archive of Precedents - http://www.sca.org/heraldry/laurel/precedents.html 
  • Search form for all LoARs - http://www.morsulus.org/ 
  • Commonly Used Precedents: 
a) mullets/suns conflicts – Kouac Myklos, 02/2002
b) bottommost of three charges 2-and-1 is half the charge group – 08/1990 CL
c) No CD for placement on the field versus a fieldless badge - Lecelina O'Brien of Mountshannon, 12/2001
d) Do not register inverted animals - Eiríkr Þorvaldson, 10/2000
e) bird differences – 11/2003 CL
f) sword-and-dagger rule – Desiderata Drake, 03/2007

VIII: Writing Commentary.
  • Check blazon, style, conflict. 
  • Suggest alternative without problems, if possible. 
  • Mention everything “bad” found - and cite specific rules to explain why! 
  • Mention close calls during conflict checking, or things you’re unsure of 
  • Raise questions! 
  • Remember the point is not to tear something down, but to help ensure that it is registerable, and to educate both yourself and your readers. 
Suggested Reading:
  • Laurel Educational Articles - http://heraldry.sca.org/laurel/education.html 
  • “Basic Conflict Checking” by Teceangl Bach –http://www.antirheralds.org/education/basic_conflict_checking.html 
  • “The Philosophical Basis of Difference, or What are Little CDs Made of” by Dom Pedro de Alcazar - http://heraldry.sca.org/laurel/what.html 
  • “Counting Complexity in Devices and Badges” by Dmitrii Volkovich - http://heraldry.sca.org/laurel/complexity.html 
  • Brooke-Little, J.P., An Heraldic Alphabet, Robson Books Ltd., 1996. approx $6.50 used on Amazon.com
Jennifer Smith,
Feb 12, 2011, 2:53 PM