What are "Peer-like" Qualities?
by Odierne Lion
If you’re active in the SCA, eventually you’ll run across the term “peer-like qualities”.  If you ask
what that means, many people will hem and haw and say something like “you’ll know it when
you see it” or “it’s what makes a person a peer”.  Unfortunately, those phrases are often less than
helpful.  To me, a person who has “peer-like qualities” possesses all the virtues of chivalry to the
degree expected of a member of the peerage.  You can possess peer-like qualities without being a
peer.  You can also be a peer without possessing peer-like qualities.  But again, what are they? 
Many sources have lists of differing lengths with different qualities.  Here is a list I like to use. 
The list, definitions, and examples were gathered during reading, philosophy discussions,
listening to other people, and just putting things together for myself.  If you like my ideas, feel
free to use them.  If you don’t, feel free to come up with your own.
Prowess:  Work to improve your craft to make your local group, Kingdom, and friends look
good. Do it because you like what you’re doing, think it’s fun, and think other people would
have fun doing it too.
Largess (generosity):  To display this quality, you can give of your time to help others.   Give
stuff to the Crown so they may give largess and be seen as generous.  Give others the benefit of
the doubt until they've proven they're not worthy of your good will.  You can learn, even from
beginners, and in learning, teach.
Loyalty:  Kindly let your friends know they are about to make a serious social mistake.  Help
them out, even though you must go out of your way to do so.  Stand by them so they will feel
supported--even when they are taking the consequences of their actions.
Courtoisie (courtliness):  You can show others how to be courtly (the manners and deportment of
a courtier), and in doing so get better at it yourself.  By using soft words, help others calm down
so they can think things through and not make social gaffs.  Learn about protocol so you may
teach others and ease their passage from being newcomers and uncertain about what to do and
how to behave to being active, productive members.  You can be courteous, even when others are
being discourteous, thereby helping others become better people.  Try to convince people rather
than coercing them; build people up rather than dragging them down; and try to understand them
and their reasons rather than becoming defensive.
Franchise:  You can show nobility and respect for others by the way you treat them, the way you
act, and the way you dress.  Your actions can bring acclaim for your friends, local group, and
Since these are ideals, nobody will be a perfect exemplar of all of these virtues.  The trick is to
keep improving and become better than you were.  You may never become a peer, but you will
become a valued member of society—both in the SCA and in modern life.
    For more information, see the library at www.chronique.com