In Talossa, arms are a gift of the crown. Because of this, the King of Talossa, on the recommendation of the Squirrel King of Arms, must personally approve your achievement of arms. The Squirrel King of Arms is responsible for following acceptable heraldic practice and for maintaining high aesthetic standards. To do this, he has instructed the Kingdom's heralds to create meaningful and powerful designs using a limited number of symbols and colours, often in dramatic contrast. By determining what elements are most essential for inclusion and by taking advantage of the College's expertise, you can ensure the creation of a beautiful and lasting design.
Citizens preparing for a Mundane Petition of Arms should take these steps towards obtaining arms:
- Read - First, visit the Complete Talossan Armorial (part of the College of Arms page), and take a look at all existing arms. You can't have a design that is too much like one that already exists. You should also take time to look over the Kingdom's Rules of Heraldry and the Heraldic Glossary. Browsing the other College of Arms pages is also a good idea.
- Study - Next, begin acquainting yourself with a few of the
basic concepts of heraldry by studying one or more of these
- Examine - As a petitioner, you must examine examples of good heraldry before you make your request. You need an understanding of the proper forms and balance, and you need to understand arms that have been granted before you. The King asks each petitoner to examine many arms, stating:
"We should tell them, before they start thinking about favourite colours or devices they want to include, that they should carefully and thoughtfully LOOK at a couple thousand coats of arms, and think about what they’re seeing. (Some of the SCA sites are good for this, and some real-world heraldry sites as well.) People sometimes have a tendency to think in terms of clichés when they don’t know much about a subject."
Three sites that are required reading are:
Certainly the College of Arms stands ready to advise each citizen.
- Doodle - Visit
heraldry program on the web, and start doodling. Puncher's program doesn't allow for charges (animals or shapes on the shield), but is a good place to start for what colors you want to see painted on your shield. You can see if you like a design like "Bendy sinister of 6 gules and argent, a chief sable"
One caveat about Puncher's program - he's not compliant with the rules of Talossan Heraldry. For example, he lists several colors that are not used in Talossa. Stay away from sanguine, tenne and murray.
Puncher also is less strict than the Talossan College of Arms about the rules
of Contrast and Complexity.
But - Puncher is a good place to start. You might even click on the "Draw Random Shield" button a few times to see what pops up. Try a few of these, and if you like what you see, log the words that you see at the top. You'll see something like "Chequy vert and or, a bordure gules". This is a
blazon, which is a herald's way of defining a design. (Remember - heraldry was invented almost 1000 years before Photoshop.) The blazon is the legal description of record for your design.
The goal for your design is to create a legal blazon that the heralds of the College will approve. A blazon must follow a standard form, so that heralds around the world will be able to recognize your arms. To ensure approval, your
blazon should have the highest possible TCF.
In preparing your design, remember the first
principles of Talossan heraldry: "Avetz Cuntrast, Distintivita, Balançeu, es Simplità" ("With contrast, distinctiveness, balance and simplicity"). The point of a design is not to crowd as
many things on a shield as possible, but instead to build a unique and
memorable design that can be recognized easily from a distance in
the heat of battle.
- Publicly Notify the College - The College of Arms needs to know that you are interested in obtaining arms.
In the old days, a citizen was required to appear in person to
request arms. In today's Kingdom, this can be done electronically. To express your desire to obtain a coat of arms to the Squirrel King and Dean of the College, you must publicly post an official request for arms on the College of Arms board on Wittenberg.
Proper form is important, so make sure you provide this information
exactly as listed (this replicates the old form of scrutiny given to
- Title of the Thread: Your Name: A Request for Arms
- In the body of your posting, you must provide this
information in exactly this order:
a. "What is your name?" My name is _________________
b. "What is your request?" If it so please the Squirrel King of
Arms, I request the assistance of the College in designing
and obtaining arms for myself and my lawful heirs.
c. "What is your favourite colour?" ____________
- You may add additional details below these items, but the first three questions must be answered. It is entirely appropriate (indeed, it is suggested) to include a paragraph or two with information about your honour, provincial assignment, genealogy, history in the Kingdom, notable accomplishments, educational background, success in private adventuring, military service, legislative successes and/or other Talossan accomplishments.
- Note that others in the Kingdom may comment on your posting.
- Note also that arms can only be requested by current
subjects of the King.
- Note also that His Majesty is not required to grant arms
merely because a citizen has requested them. The King chooses to
grant arms to those whom he believes are honourable, upstanding,
and just citizens of Talossa.
Because arms are granted in perpetuity throughout the universe, and
because of the need to research precedents and uniqueness, and because
of the need to blazon correctly for the petition, the process of creating
arms cannot be rushed. By right and tradition, the College must give
priority to knights and nobles that the King has given an extraordinary
grant of arms. Make sure that your request allows for sufficient time to
complete your design.