by Coblaith Mhuimhneach
The article presented below consists of the
Armorial Section of the
Rules for Submission (RfS)
of the SCA College of Arms with illustrations added to help clarify the meanings of the rules.
Daniel de Lincoln, Jaelle of Armida, Meradudd Cethin, and
Juliana de Luna are owed many thanks for
lending their considerable collective expertise to this effort. Without their assistance,
the images here would be much less accurate, and therefore much less useful.
This document is also available for download in Adobe
Portable Document Format (PDF),
in standard (10-point) and large-print (14-point) versions.
PART VIII - COMPATIBLE ARMORIAL STYLE
All elements of a piece of armory must be arranged into a design that is compatible with period armorial style, as is required by General Principle 1b of these rules. This section defines the requirements for arranging acceptable armorial elements into a design.
1. Armorial Simplicity. - All armory must be simple in design.
a. Tincture and Charge Limit - Armory must use a limited number of tinctures and types of charges.
As the number of tinctures involved in a device increases, the number of types of charge should decrease. As the number of types increases, the number of tinctures should decrease. In no case should the number of different tinctures or types of charges be so great as to eliminate the visual impact of any single design element. As a rule of thumb, the total of the number of tinctures plus the number of types of charges in a design should not exceed eight. As another guideline, three or more types of charges should not be used in the same group.
b. Armorial Balance - Armory must arrange all elements coherently in a balanced design.
Period armory usually places the primary elements of the design in a static arrangement, such as a single charge in the center of the field or three identical charges on an escutcheon. More complex designs frequently include a central focal point around which other charges are placed, like a chevron between three charges, but the design remains static and balanced. Designs that are unbalanced, or that create an impression of motion, are not compatible with period style.
c. Armorial Depth - Armory may not employ depth of field as a design element.
i. Perspective - Charges may only be drawn in perspective if they were so depicted in period armory.
A pair of dice may be drawn in perspective since they were routinely drawn that way in period armory to show the pips. A bear, dolphin, or castle should not be drawn in three dimensions, but should appear only in its standard, flat heraldic form.
ii. Layer Limit - Designs may not be excessively layered.
All charges should be placed either directly on the field or entirely on other charges that lie on the field.
2. Armorial Contrast. - All armory must have sufficient contrast to allow each element of the design to be clearly identifiable at a distance.
Each tincture used in Society armory may be depicted in a variety of shades. Therefore, contrast is not determined by the lightness or darkness of the tinctures on the submitted emblazon, but by the traditional heraldic categorization of tinctures as colors and metals. The colors are azure, gules, purpure, sable, and vert (blue, red, purple, black, and green). Ermined furs or field treatments on a background of one of these tinctures are treated as colors for contrast in the Society.
The metals are argent and Or (white or silver, and yellow or gold). Ermined furs or field treatments on a background of one of those tinctures are treated as metals for contrast in the Society.
Furs equally divided of light and dark pieces, such as vair, are classed with other evenly divided elements, such as paly, per bend, or lozengy.
a. Contrasting Tinctures - Good contrast exists between:
i. A metal and a color;
ii. An element equally divided of a color and a metal, and any other element as long as identifiability is maintained;
iii. A color and a charge, blazoned as proper, that is predominantly light;
iv. A metal and a charge, blazoned as proper, that is predominantly dark.
b. Contrast Requirements -
i. The field must have good contrast with every charge placed directly on it and with charges placed overall.
For example, a pale vair between two owls Or might be placed on a field gules, but not a field ermine because the owls would not have good contrast. Similarly, a field vert with a fess Or contrasts with a wolf rampant overall that is argent or ermine, but not a wolf that is gules or sable.
ii. A charge must have good contrast with any charge placed wholly on it.
For example, a tree placed on a pale azure could be Or, argent, or ermine, but could not be pean or proper.
iii. Elements evenly divided into two parts, per saltire, or quarterly may use any two tinctures or furs.
For example, a field quarterly could be composed of azure and gules, argent and Or, Or and ermine, or vert and vairy gules and argent.
iv. Elements evenly divided into multiple parts of two different tinctures must have good contrast between their parts.
For example, checky argent and gules is acceptable, but checky azure and gules is not.
v. Elements evenly divided in three tinctures must have good contrast between two of their parts.
3. Armorial Identifiability. - Elements must be used in a design so as to preserve their individual identifiability.
Identifiable elements may be rendered unidentifiable by significant reduction in size, marginal contrast, excessive counterchanging, voiding, or fimbriation, or by being obscured by other elements of the design. For instance, a complex line of partition could be difficult to recognize between two parts of the field that do not have good contrast if most of the line is also covered by charges. A complex divided field could obscure the identity of charges counterchanged. Voiding and fimbriation may only be used with simple geometric charges placed in the center of the design.
4. Obtrusive Modernity. - Armory may not use obtrusively modern designs.
"Modern" is defined as anything outside the period of the Society.
a. Pictorial Design - Overly pictorial designs may not be registered.
Design elements should not be combined to create a picture of a scene or landscape. For example, combining a field divided per fess wavy azure and Or with a sun and three triangles Or, as well as a camel and two palm trees proper to depict the Nile Valley would not be acceptable.
b. Modern Insignia - Overt allusions to modern insignia, trademarks, or common designs may not be registered.
Such references, including parodies, may be considered obtrusive. Examples include using a bend within a bordure gules to parody the international "No Entry" sign, variations on the geometric Peace sign, and so forth.
c. Natural Depiction -- Excessively naturalistic use of otherwise acceptable charges may not be registered.
Excessively natural designs include those that depict animate objects in unheraldic postures, use several charges in their natural forms when heraldic equivalents exist, or overuse proper. Proper is allowed for natural flora and fauna when there is a widely understood default coloration for the charge so specified. It is not allowed if many people would have to look up the correct coloration, or if the Linnaean genus and species (or some other elaborate description) would be required to get it right. An elephant, a brown bear, or a tree could each be proper; a female American kestrel, a garden rose, or an Arctic fox in winter phase, could not.
d. Modern Style - Generally modern style in the depiction of individual elements or the total design may not be registered.
Artistic techniques and styles developed after 1600 should not be used in Society armory. Charges may not be used to create abstract or op-art designs, or be patterned after comic book art, fantasy art, pointillism etc.
5. Fieldless Style. - Fieldless armory must form a self-contained design.
A fieldless design must have all its elements conjoined, like the three feathers issuing from a crown used by the Heir Apparent to the throne of England. Since there is no field in such a design, it may not use charges that rely on the edges of the field to define their shape, such as bordures and orles, nor to cut off their ends, such as ordinaries or charges throughout.
6. Documented Exceptions. - An armorial design element that is adequately documented as a period practice may be deemed acceptable even if it violates other sections of Part VIII (Compatible Armorial Style).
Such design elements will be accepted only on a case-by-case basis and only in armory comparable in style and complexity to the documented period examples. The strength of the case for such an exception increases in proportion to: the similarity of the documented examples to the submitted armory; and the number of independent period examples offered as evidence.
a. General Exceptions - In most cases the documentation for a proposed exceptional armorial design element should be drawn from several European heraldic jurisdictions.
The strength of the case for such an exception increases in proportion to the geographical and chronological breadth of the supporting period evidence.
b. Regional Style - Alternatively, a proposed exceptional armorial design element may be documented as characteristic of a specific regional armorial style.
In such cases the submitted armory may be registered provided that all of the following conditions are met. (1) The submitter explicitly requests an exception to the other sections of Part VIII (Compatible Armorial Style) on the grounds that the submitted armory exemplifies a specific regional style. (2) Documentation is adduced to show that exceptional design element was not uncommon in the regional style in question. (3) Documentation is adduced to show that all elements of the submitted armory can be found in the regional style in question.
7. Augmentations of Honor - An augmentation of honor must be compatible with period armorial style.
An augmentation is an honor bestowed by the crown, taking the form of an addition or alteration to the honorees device. While the right to an augmentation is bestowed by the crown, its form is subject to the normal registration process. The augmentation must itself follow the armory rules; if it has the appearance of being independent armory, for example a charged escutcheon or canton, then it is independently subject to the normal rules of armorial conflict. The augmentation may, however, on a case by case basis break the rules in relation to the original armory. For example, Sable, on a chief argent a lion passant maintaining, in augmentation, an escutcheon gules charged with a cross throughout argent is acceptable even though it breaks RfS VIII. 1. c. ii. , Layer Limit. Gules, a lion argent, and in augmentation a canton argent charged with a tower Or is not acceptable, as the augmentation internally breaks RfS VIII. 2. , Armorial Contrast.
Since an augmentation is an earned honor, it may in some cases violate RfS XI. 3. Marshaling or RfS XI. 4. Arms of Pretense and Augmentations of Honor. Arms in their augmented form are subject to the normal rules of conflict.
PART IX - OFFENSIVE ARMORY
Offensive armory may not be registered, as is required by General Principle 2 of these rules. Armory may be innately offensive from its content, or because of its usual associations or the context in which it is placed, such as the swastika which, although used in period armory, is so strongly associated with the Third Reich that it offends a large segment of the population. Armory may be considered offensive even if the submitter did not intend it to be. This section defines the categories of designs that are generally considered offensive.
1. Vulgar Armory. - Pornographic or scatological items or designs will not be registered.
Obscene images, sexually explicit material, bathroom or toilet humor, etc. are considered inherently offensive by a large segment of the Society and general population.
2. Offensive Religious Symbolism. - Magical or religious symbolism that is excessive or mocks the beliefs of others will not be registered.
Magical or religious symbolism is not usually inherently offensive, but offends by context. Both devotees and opponents of a particular religion may be offended by an excessive display of the symbols of that religion, for example, a Calvary cross surrounded by four Paschal Lambs and surmounted by a crown of thorns and a whip. Similarly, although a Paschal Lamb is a standard heraldic charge, dismembering the lamb and surmounting it by a pentacle creates a context that could be offensive.
3. Stereotypical Designs. - Allusions to derogatory ethnic, racial, or sexual stereotypes will not be registered.
Such stereotypes, even if documented from period sources, are innately offensive. This is true whether the stereotype is inherent in the usage or created by context, like placing a Moors head within an orle of watermelons.
4. Offensive Political Symbolism. - Symbols specifically associated with social or political movements or events that may be offensive to a particular race, religion, or ethnic group will not be registered.
Even if used without prejudice in period, such symbols are offensive by their modern context. Thus, designs suggestive of the SS, the Ku-Klux Klan, or similar organizations, may not be used.
PART X - CONFLICTING ARMORY
A piece of armory may not be too similar to other pieces of armory, as is required by General Principle 3a of these rules. Period armory frequently distinguished between immediate relatives, like a father and his son, by making a single change to the arms in a process called "cadency". The changes made in such circumstances can be considered the smallest change that period heralds would recognize. This section defines ways in which submitted armory must be changed to be sufficiently different from protected armory.
1. Addition of Primary Charges. - Armory does not conflict with any protected armory that adds or removes the primary charge group.
Most cadency systems did not involve addition or deletion of the primary charge group, so this automatically creates an independent design. For example, Argent, two mullets gules does not conflict with Argent, a pale between two mullets gules, and Vert, a lion rampant Or and a chief indented argent does not conflict with Vert, a chief indented argent.
2. Substantially Different Charges - Simple armory does not conflict with other simple armory if the type of every primary charge is substantially changed.
These types of changes were normally seen between complete strangers in blood, and were not usually used to indicate any form of cadency. For purposes of this rule, simple armory is defined as armory that has no more than two types of charge directly on the field and has no overall charges.
The following examples are simple, with at most two types of charge on the field: Argent, a fess sable. Sable, three lions Or. Vert, two eagles and a maunch argent. Vair, a bordure gules. Per pale gules and argent, a fess between three lozenges counterchanged. Or, on a chevron between three clarions gules, three garbs argent. Purpure, on a pale dancetty within a bordure semy-de-lys argent, a millrind sable between two roses gules.
The following examples are all non-simple, with more than two types of charges on the field, or with one or more overall charges: Argent, a fess between two lions and a lozenge azure. Vert, a chevron between three swords, a bordure Or. Gules, a bend between two roundels argent, overall a lion Or. Per bend argent and sable, a bend gules between a tree and a cross crosslet counterchanged. Argent, a dragon sable, overall a bend gules.
Argent, a fess sable does not conflict with Argent, a lion sable. Vert, two eagles and a maunch argent does not conflict with Vert, three lozenges argent. Azure, a fess between three cups Or does not conflict with Azure, a chevron between three cups Or. In each case the designs are simple and the type of every primary charge has been substantially changed.
Per chevron gules and argent, three oak trees counterchanged does conflict with Per chevron gules and argent, three fir trees counterchanged, because the type of charge has not been substantially changed;
they both conflict with Per chevron gules and argent, two mullets and a fir tree counterchanged because not all of the primary charges have been substantially changed.
Vert, two mullets and a clarion argent within a bordure Or conflicts with Vert, three gauntlets argent within a bordure Or because the first design is not simple, with three different types of charge on the field.
3. Required Charges Transparent. - Two pieces of official Society armory that share required charges may consider their Difference of Primary Charges as if the required charges were not there.
This is to avoid penalizing the slight increase in complexity caused when official armory includes required charges like the laurel wreath or crown. As an example, Gules, a hammer within a laurel wreath and on a chief Or three fleurs-de-lys gules would not conflict with Gules, a mullet within a laurel wreath and on a chief Or three fleurs-de-lys gules.
Required charges always count normally for difference themselves, this rule only ignores the complexity they add to a design. This provision may not be applied when comparing official Society armory with any other armory.
4. Significant Armorial Differences. - Two pieces of armory will not be considered to conflict if two clear visual differences exist between them.
a. Field Difference - Significantly changing the tinctures, direction of partition lines, style of partition lines, or number of pieces in a partition of the field is one clear difference.
In general, if the tincture of at least half the field is changed, the fields will be considered different. Per chevron azure and gules has one clear difference from Per chevron azure and sable.
Per pale azure and Or has one clear difference from Per bend azure and Or and from Per pale embattled azure and Or.
Bendy argent and sable has one clear difference from Per bend argent and sable.
Barry gules and argent has one clear difference from Barry and per pale gules and argent.
There is a clear difference for reversing the tinctures of a field evenly divided into two parts, per saltire, or quarterly, but not for reversing the tinctures of a field divided in any other way; Per pale nebuly ermine and gules has one clear difference from Per pale nebuly gules and ermine, but Paly ermine and gules has no clear difference from Paly gules and ermine.
Field treatments are considered an aspect of tincture, so Per fess gules and argent has one clear difference from Per fess gules and argent masoned sable.
Per fess dovetailed gules and argent has no clear difference from Per fess embattled gules and argent because the difference between dovetailed and embattled lines is not significant.
It suffices to change significantly the style of at least half of the partition lines, so Quarterly per fess wavy argent and sable has one clear difference from Quarterly argent and sable;
Paly and per fess argent and sable has no clear difference from Paly and per fess indented argent and sable, however.
Gyronny Or and sable has no clear difference from Gyronny of twelve Or and sable because the difference between eight and twelve pieces is not significant.
i. Charged Fields - If charges other than an uncharged peripheral ordinary are present, at most one clear difference may be counted for changes to the field.
For the purposes of this rule the peripheral ordinaries are
There is just one clear difference between Per chevron ermine and azure, a pale gules and Per bend wavy Or and vert, a pale gules.
ii. Field-Primary Armory - If neither of two pieces of armory being compared has charges, or if each has the same uncharged peripheral ordinary, they may derive greater difference from changes to the field. Such armory will be called field-primary armory.
For the purposes of this rule the peripheral ordinaries are
(a) Substantial Change of Partition - If two pieces of field-primary armory have substantially different partitions, they are considered sufficiently different and do not conflict, irrespective of any other similarities between them.
Any divided field is substantially different from any plain field: Per pale azure and vert is substantially different fromAzure.
Any two of the following partitions are substantially different from each other except the pairs
Checky is substantially different from all other grid-like partitions (i. e., those formed by two sets of parallel lines, like lozengy and barry-bendy ); these other grid-like partitions are not substantially different from one another.
Barry and per pale argent and vert is substantially different from Checky argent and vert, but it has only a clear difference from Bendy and per pale argent and vert.
Per chevron Or and gules is not substantially different from Chevronelly Or and gules, nor is Per pale wavy purpure and argent substantially different from Paly wavy argent and purpure, though in each case there is a clear difference between the fields.
(b) Complete Change of Tincture - If the fields of two pieces of field-primary armory have no tinctures in common, they are considered completely different and do not conflict, irrespective of any other similarities between them.
The ermine furs and their variants are considered to be different tinctures, so Per bend ermine and azure is completely different fromPer bend erminois and gules and from Per bend argent ermined gules and sable.
The addition of a field treatment is also a change of tincture, so Per fess argent and gules is completely different from Per fess argent masoned gules and sable.
(c) Other Field-Primary Armory - In any case, independent changes to the tincture, direction of partition lines, style of partition lines, or number of pieces in the partition may be counted separately when comparing two pieces of field-primary armory.
There are two clear differences between Per chevron argent and azure and Per pale nebuly argent and azure.
iii. Fieldless Difference - A piece of fieldless armory automatically has one clear difference from any other armory, fielded or fieldless.
Tinctureless armory and Japanese mon are considered to be fieldless for this purpose.
b. Addition of Charges on the Field - Adding or removing any group of charges placed directly on the field, including strewn charges, is one clear difference.
Each charge group may be counted separately, so Argent, a pale gules has two clear changes from Argent, a pale between two owls all within a bordure gules.
c. Addition of Charges Overall - Adding or removing a group of charges placed overall is one clear difference.
Or, a lion rampant purpure would have one clear difference from Or, a lion rampant purpure and overall a fess sable.
d. Tincture Changes - Changing the tinctures or division of any group of charges placed directly on the field, including strewn charges or charges overall, is one clear difference.
Changing the tincture of at least half of the charges in a group is one clear difference. Or, in pale three bulls heads gules differs from Or, in pale a bulls head gules between two more sable ,
but not from Or, in pale a bulls head sable between two more gules.
Separate differences may be counted for changing the tincture of different groups of charges, so Vert, a pale between four mullets Or, all within a bordure argent would have three clear differences from Vert, a pale ermine between four mullets argent, all within a bordure checky argent and gules.
As with the field, only one change can be counted for all tincture changes to the same group of charges. Tinctureless armory may not count difference for tincture of charges; the Fieldless Difference will count for one change and the second change must come from a category that does not involve tincture.
e. Type Changes - Significantly changing the type of any group of charges placed directly on the field, including strewn charges or charges overall, is one clear difference.
Changing the type of at least half of the charges in a group is one clear difference. Types of charges considered to be separate in period, for example a lion and an heraldic tyger, will be considered different. A charge not used in period armory will be considered different in type if its shape in normal depiction is significantly different. This means a lion would not be clearly different from a puma. Separate differences may be obtained from changing the types of charges in different charge groups. Changing Vert, a pale between two lions argent and a chief Or to Vert, a fess between two horses argent and a chief Or produces two separate differences.
Since the edge partition line of a charge is part of its type, the change from a pale wavy to a pale embattled is one clear difference.
Changing from a pale wavy to a fess embattled is also one change of type, not a change of type plus a change of edge partition.
f. Number Changes - Significantly changing the number of charges in any group placed directly on the field or overall is one clear difference.
One, two, and three are significantly different from any number, four is significantly different from six or more, and five is significantly different from eight or more. Six and higher numbers, including sem of charges, are not significantly different from each other.
g. Arrangement Changes - Changing the relative positions of charges in any group placed directly on the field or overall is one clear difference, provided that change is not caused by other changes to the design.
Changes to other parts of the design frequently cause changes to the arrangement of charge groups, so changing fromArgent, a fess between two unicorns within an orle purpure to Argent, a pale between two unicorns within an orle purpure requires that the unicorns move from in pale to in fess. Changing from Argent, three unicorns purpure toArgent, four unicorns purpurewill also cause some change in arrangement. These changes do not provide independent difference.
Changes that are made on their own, like changing fromthree mullets in fess to three mullets in pale , or from six mullets on an uncharged field to five mullets in cross, are clear differences.
h. Posture Changes - Significantly changing the posture or individual orientation of charges in any group placed directly on the field, including strewn charges or charges overall, is one clear difference.
Changing the posture of at least half of the charges in a group is one clear difference. Changing a sword fesswise to a sword palewise, or from a lion rampant to a lion passant, is one clear difference.
Multiple changes to the posture or orientation of the same charges may not be counted separately, so a lion passant bendwise is one clear difference from a lion couchant to sinister.
Changes of posture or orientation of separate charge groups may each be counted. A change of posture must affect the orientation of the charge, or significantly change its appearance. Changes in the position of the head, for instance, are not significant, nor is the change from statant to passant, which essentially moves only one leg.
Changing from passant to couchant, however, visually removes the legs from the bottom of the charge and is considered significant.
i. Addition of Charges on Charges - Adding or removing any group of charges placed entirely on other charges is one clear difference.
For example, charging a pale with three martlets, or charging a bordure with eight martlets, provides one clear difference.
j. Changes to Charges on Charges - Changes to a group of charges placed entirely on other charges may create one clear difference.
No more than one clear difference can be obtained from changes to the same group of charges on other charges.
i. Making two or more visually significant changes to the same group of charges placed entirely on other charges is one clear difference.
Changes of type, number, tincture, posture, or independent changes of arrangement may each count as one of the two changes. Generally such changes must affect the whole group of charges to be considered visually significant, since the size of these elements and their visual impact are considerably diminished. For example, Sable, two mullets and a fleam argent and on a chief Or three mullets gules would not have a clear difference from Sable, two mullets and a fleam argent and on a chief Or a mullet between two lozenges vert.
ii. For armory that has no more than two types of charge directly on the field and has no overall charges, substantially changing the type of all of a group of charges placed entirely on an ordinary or other suitable charge is one clear difference. Only the new submission is required to meet these conditions in order to benefit from this clause. A charge is suitable for the purposes of this rule if (a) it is simple enough in outline to be voided, and (b) it is correctly drawn with an interior substantial enough to display easily recognizable charges.
Sable, on a pale argent three lozenges sable has one clear difference from Sable, on a pale argent three ravens sable.
Or, on a heart vert a pheon argent has one clear difference from Or, on a heart vert a cross moline argent.
Argent, on a fess azure between two pine trees vert a spear argent has one clear difference from Argent, on a fess azure between two pine trees vert a rose argent.
Or, on a chevron between two millrinds and a lion passant gardant sable three escallops argent does not have a clear difference from Or, on a chevron between two millrinds and a lion passant gardant sable three crosses crosslet argent because there are more than two types of charges directly on the field.
Gules, a lion rampant, overall a bend argent semy-de-lis sable does not have a clear difference from Gules, a lion rampant, overall a bend argent billetty sable because there is an overall charge.
Gules, on a pale Or a crescent between two fleurs-de-lis gules has a clear difference from Gules, on a pale Or three mullets gules. However, it does not have a clear difference from Gules, on a pale Or three crescents gules, because the type of all of the tertiary charges has not been changed.
Argent, a lion rampant gules charged with a cross crosslet Or does not have a clear difference from Argent, a lion rampant gules charged with a heart Or because the lion is too complex in outline to be voided.
Gules, on a mullet of six points Or a cross crosslet sable does not have a clear difference from Gules, on a mullet of six points Or a pellet because the interior of a correctly drawn mullet of six points is too small.
As a new submission, Argent, a lion rampant and on a chief gules three fleurs-de-lis argent does not conflict with Argent, a lion rampant between three mullets and on a chief gules three crosses crosslet argent, even though the latter does not meet the conditions of this rule. The new armory has only two types of charges directly on the field, so there is one clear difference for substantially changing the type of the tertiary charges; the second is for removing the mullets (see RfS X.4.b). If, however, the second armory were new and the first already registered, the second armory would conflict with the first; as there are more than two types of charges directly on the field, there would be just one clear difference for adding the mullets.
5. Visual Test. - If the tinctures, shapes, or arrangement of the charges in a submission create an overwhelming visual resemblance to a piece of protected armory, the submission may be held to conflict even if sufficient theoretical difference can be counted between them.
A piece of armory is registered and protected, not the verbal description used to record that armory. The use of different terminology to describe two designs that are visually similar does not affect any potential for conflict that may exist. Thus, Or, a fess vert is not different from Vert, a chief and a base Or even though one could theoretically count sufficient difference between them from these blazons.
Unusual cases may occur where contrast is weak and unusual arrangements of charges are employed, and in such circumstances the cumulative similarities between two pieces of armory may outweigh any specific differences. As an example, the cumulative effect of the similarities between Vert, ermined Or, on a mullet argent a lion rampant azure within a bordure embattled ermine and Vert, ermined Or, on an estoile argent a lion rampant azure within a bordure embattled erminois creates a strong possibility of confusion.
PART XI - PRESUMPTUOUS
Armory may not claim status or powers the submitter does not possess, as is required by General Principle 3b of these rules. This section defines categories of presumptuous armorial claims.
1. Reserved Charges. - Armory that contains elements reserved to or required of certain ranks, positions, or territorial entities, inside or outside the Society, is considered presumptuous. Symbols reserved or required solely inside the Society may only be registered to those entitled to the status associated with those symbols.
Examples of such elements include the field Azure, semy-de-lys Or, which is restricted to French royalty; a laurel wreath, required for official Society branches; the knights annulet of chain, etc. Lists of these charges can be found in the glossary. Some elements, like the French royal field, are always restricted. Others are limited to specific segments of the Society. For example, individuals may not place laurel wreaths on their armory, while only those who are royal peers may use the insignia of those ranks.
2. Charge and Name Combination. - Armory that asserts a strong claim of identity in the context of the submitters name is considered presumptuous.
Some otherwise permissible names and armorial elements cannot be used together because joining the two creates too strong an association with famous individuals from myth, literature, or history. For example, while Rhiannon can be used as a given name, and horses can be used as charges, the two cannot be used together as it suggests the Rhiannon of Welsh myth. Similarly, charges that merely allude to a specific name on their own may become presumptuous if several such charges are used.
3. Marshalling. - Armory that appears to marshall independent arms is considered presumptuous.
Period marshalling combined two or more separate designs to indicate descent from noble parents and claim to inheritance. Since members of the Society are all required to earn their status on their own merits, apparent claims to inherited status are presumptuous. Divisions commonly used for marshalling, such as quarterly or per pale, may only be used in contexts that ensure marshalling is not suggested.
a. Such fields may be used with identical charges over the entire field, or with complex lines of partition or charges overall that were not used for marshalling in period heraldry.
b. Such fields may only be used when no single portion of the field may appear to be an independent piece of armory.
No section of the field may contain an ordinary that terminates at the edge of that section, or more than one charge unless those charges are part of a group over the whole field. Charged sections must all contain charges of the same type to avoid the appearance of being different from each other.
4. Arms of Pretense and Augmentations of Honor -Armory that uses charges in such a way as to appear to be arms of pretense or an unearned augmentation of honor is considered presumptuous.
Period and modern heraldic practice asserts a claim to land or property by surmounting an individuals usual armory with a display of armory associated with that claim. Such arms of pretense are placed on an escutcheon. Similarly, an augmentation of honor often, though not necessarily, takes the form of an independent coat placed on an escutcheon or canton. Generally, therefore, a canton or a single escutcheon may only be used if it is both uncharged and of a single tincture. For example, Argent, a fess gules surmounted by an escutcheon sable charged with a roundel argent has the appearance of being arms of pretense or an augmentation. Or, in saltire five escutcheons sable each charged with three roundels argent does not have this appearance, as it has multiple escutcheons, as so is acceptable.
The exception to the restrictions of this rule is when the submitter is entitled to an augmentation as described in RfS VIII. 7. Augmentations of Honor.