Welcome! The SCA Home Page has an enormous amount of information on it, sometimes more than you can easily absorb. Due to this, we have a small mailing list of volunteers, who can answer some questions about the Society and how it runs. However, there are certain questions that we get asked all the time, over and over again. So, before you send a question off to those volunteers, we ask that you take a minute to skim through this list, and see whether your question is already answered here. That way, we can save wear and tear on the question answerers.
Of course, this is only the most common questions. If you don't find an answer to your particular question, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SCA is divided up into a number of Kingdoms, which are further divided into Shires, Baronies, and other local branches like that. Most people get involved through their local branch, and the system is mainly designed around that. So your first step is usually to find your local branch.
The SCA Home Page has a couple of sections which can help make this easier. Go take a look at the discussion of Locating an SCA Group Near You. This gives a lot of pointers on how to get in touch with your local branch. Once you've found the local branch, contact them and tell them that you're interested in joining. They should be able to help from there.
There is a national Corporation, which helps keep the SCA running by purchasing general insurance and the like. You don't have to be a member in order to play, but it is helpful if you are, since it helps with the funds to do all this -- it's generally regarded as good form to become a dues-paying member if you become really active in the Society. The most basic form of membership costs $20 per year; a full Subscribing Membership costs $35, and includes Tournaments Illuminated (the SCA magazine) and your local Kingdom newsletter. Family discounts are available.
The membership form is now available online.
The SCA Home Page has a page specifically on Locating Your Local SCA Group. This lists several different ways to find it; at least one of them should work.
Yes, with a couple of restrictions. First, you may not be able to participate in armored combat -- due to real-world regulations, many Kingdoms can't let anyone under 18 fight, and none allow fighters under 16. Second, some large SCA events (such as Pennsic) require that you be accompanied by a parent or appointed guardian. Third, you won't be able to take a few specific officer positions yet, again due to legal restrictions.
Other than that -- yes, you are certainly welcome to join in.
The SCA membership form is now available online, in a variety of formats. We can't send it out otherwise; if you need a hardcopy, you'll have to talk to Membership Services.
There is no single central directory for the entire SCA, but there are several approaches that may work.
First, if you know where they live, ask around that area. The Geography page lists all of the Kingdoms in the Society, and many of the home pages for those Kingdoms list some or all of their local groups. If the group has an email list or a Seneschal listed, you might try contacting them through those.
Second, you might try The Rolls Ethereal, which is a sort of online directory of SCAdians on the Net. It only lists people who enter themselves in it, so it's only a small fraction of the Society, but it sometimes has just the answer you need.
Third, if you have access to newsgroups, try the Rialto, which is available as rec.org.sca. This is a world-wide SCA discussion group, with many thousands of people on it. Post a brief request there, and make sure that you include your email address so respondees can contact you. This doesn't always work either (and should be used very sparingly), but when it works, it's very quick.
Finally, the Membership Services office may be able to help. While the SCA does not give out anyone's address, they are willing to forward mail if you need to contact someone. Call the Corporate Office at 1-800-789-7486; given the person's legal name, they should be able to tell you if that person is a paid member. If so, you can send a letter, with a pre-stamped envelope with as much information as you have (their legal name, at least), to the Corporate Office. They will fill in the person's address, and send it on through the mail. This is generally the slowest mechanism (since it relies on postal mail), but probably the most reliable if the person is a paid member.
Information about SCA events is principally disseminated through Kingdom newsletters, not online. But there is a partial database of events worldwide, and the really big ones mostly have home pages. See the Events Page for more information.
The SCA doesn't officially endorse merchants; however, a large listing of SCA-oriented merchants can be found at The SCA Merchants Page. One of these may be able to help you out. Also, the SCA Marketplace carries a small number of useful items -- see the Member Services page for online forms for the Marketplace.
A detailed answer to this one can get rather complicated; if you want the official rule, see Corpora, Section II.F, currently on page 14 of the SCA Organizational Handbook.
Put simply, the policy is that you shouldn't push religion into peoples' faces. You specifically can't have any kind of religious ceremony that implies any kind of official endorsement by the SCA of a religion, and should therefore generally keep religious ceremonies out of the main focus of an event. Yes, this isn't very historically accurate, but is necessary, since the people of the SCA are of all sorts of faiths.
However, this should not be construed as any sort of general ban on religion -- so long as it's kept low-key and personal, it's fine. Many people in the SCA have clerical personae, and it is fairly common to have religious ceremonies at events. The key is that they have to be off on the side, not a key or official element of the event.
Most SCA events happen on Saturday or Sunday, which can be a nuisance for the religiously observant. This isn't meant as a slight to anyone; it simply recognizes that, for most members of the Society, the weekend is the only time available to engage in serious, large-scale events. However, note that most SCA groups have at least some meetings and practices on weekday evenings, so you can still participate even if weekend events are a problem for you.
The Known World Handbook is a compendium of various information about the Society. It can be obtained from the SCA Marketplace, which is part of Member Services.
Households are unofficial entities as far as the SCA, Inc. is concerned. The rules don't generally provide either guidance or rules about forming them. That means that you have a lot of leeway.
The main first steps are putting together the people, the organization, and the name. You can have anyone in the household that you want; the initial members of the household tend to define its style more or less permanently. In general, you want a group of people who are friends, who share a common vision, and who can work well together in the long run.
There are many organizational models for a household. Some are strictly feudal, with a lord and vassals; these tend to be headed by a Peer, but there's nothing requiring that. Some are more or less democratic and egalitarian. Figure out what model works for you. Most importantly, figure out early how the household will induct new members -- this is most often the biggest bone of contention if it isn't well-defined.
You can use whatever name you want, but it's generally a good idea to consult with the heralds in choosing a name. Odds are good that you'll eventually want a name that can be registered with the College of Heralds, so working with them early can smooth the way.
In practical terms, it's usually a good idea to get involved locally before creating a household. Some local branches have policies about households, which can help you out. And some branches have been burned by household politics, which sometimes causes stigma to attach to households in general. None of this prevents you from creating one, but it's a good idea to know what you're getting into before you do it.
All of this is just guideline, though. The simple fact is that households are what you make of them, in every sense. You have a great deal of flexibility to craft one that works for you.
We can't, but you now can -- there is now an Online Change of Address Form which you can use. You'll need the full information about your membership, including your membership number and old address, in order to use this. Also, members in Australia have to use plain mail, because they have a separate registry. If you can't use the Online Form, contact the Member Services Office.
Unfortunately, the answer to these and most related questions is that we at www.sca.org can't help. As mentioned above, this is just a group of volunteers answering questions; we don't have any formal relationship to the membership office. For most questions of this sort, you need to talk to the Member Services Office.
There is no global policy on merchanting, either for or against; this is handled on a strictly local basis, and often case-by-case. You should certainly first attend some events as a private individual, to understand how the SCA works. After that, figure out some upcoming events that you would be interested in selling at, and contact the autocrats of those events. Merchants may sell at events solely at the discretion of the autocrat.
The process varies from place to place and situation to situation. But you can find the general outline in SCA Group Creation 101.
Both the adult and children's waivers can be found online under the Official Documents Page.
For the answer to the first, see the Society Treasurer's Page, which contains the membership totals for the past ten years.
Official numbers for local groups are generally not released except through official channels. The branch seneschal can get a membership list for official business such as baronial elections and the like, but this is generally kept private. However, most branches have a pretty good unofficial estimate of how many people are active in that branch.
As for demographics, there really is no hard data. There are many anecdotal guesses about questions such as how many attendees at events are paid members, the age breakdown of the Society, or the income or career distribution of the SCA. But the fact is that these guesses vary quite widely, and no one has done any truly scientific surveys.
There is now an official Membership FAQ, which provides answers to many common questions about SCA membership. This is a helpful resource for dealing with many common problems and questions.
The SCA, Inc. also now has its own list of Frequently Asked Questions. That list is far more detailed, covering much more depth of precisely how the Corporation runs, particularly the legal and official side of things. If you don't see the answer to your question here, and it relates to the official workings of the Society, check the other FAQ out, at http://www.sca.org/docs/scafaq.pdf. Note that the other FAQ requires Adobe Acrobat in order to load.
Your best bet is to go dig into the SCA Arts and Sciences Homepage. This has lots of links to various topical pages, and pointers to other sources of information about period, as well as archives of Rialto discussions on particular subjects. While it doesn't have absolutely everything, it's one of the best starting points for finding topical information. Also, you might check out Stefan's Florilegium, which is a compendium of interesting articles culled from the Net over the years.
Not all subjects have answers on the Web, but many do. It's worth checking Google and asking about your subject. As often as not, it turns up exactly what you're looking for.
And, of course, you shouldn't underestimate the power of the local library -- while sometimes less convenient than the Net, it's more often than not the best place to find depth and detail...
The SCA per se doesn't do these, but there are a number of sites devoted to period-style weddings. A good starting point is The Medieval and Renaissance Wedding Page; also, check out the webring that links to.
If you're looking for music/dance performers for the event: the SCA doesn't have any central clearinghouse for such things. Your best bet is to contact your local group, and see if there is anyone there who is capable and willing to perform. For info on finding your local branch, see the section on How to Find Your Local SCA
The SCA does a substantial number of this sort of "educational demo", but this is handled entirely by the local branches. Some branches have a lot of people who are experienced and enthusiastic about these; some don't have the expertise, or simply prefer not to. (Also, some simply don't have anyone who can come during school hours.)
The best way to set something like this up is therefore to contact your local branch and ask whether they'd be interested. You can find information on contacting your local branch on the page about Finding Your Local SCA.
Although we're both about historical re-creation, the SCA doesn't have anything to do with Renaissance Faires, really. Whereas Faires are mainly spectacles designed for an audience, the SCA is more participatory -- all attendees are in period garb and being part of the period experience.
If you want information about upcoming Faires, it's probably worth checking out Renaissance Magazine, Scribe and/or The Renaissance Faire Homepage. All have very good listings of upcoming Faires around the country, as well as other information about how Faires work.
Questions not answered on this page should be sent to email@example.com, the SCA Questions volunteer mailing list.
This page is maintained by Justin du Coeur, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.