The General Trials
The Study Guide
All candidates must have equipment applicable to their testing for their exclusive use during the trials.
There are a 3 sets of trials.
- The General Trials are applicable to all candidates regardless of area of expertise, listed below.
- Each of the four ranks has their own specific trials. Sergeant, Yeomans, Forester and Gallant
- A set of OPTIONAL trials are available for those who wish to attempt them. While not required, these optional trials serve to show the well-roundedness of the candidates and can be used to bolster results received in the General trials.
The General Trials
Test of Persona Development
All candidates are expected to have developed a persona. To this end, all candidates will submit a 200-word write-up to the Baroness one month before the trials. This can be, but does not have to be, written in a medieval style.
All candidates will present themselves to the baroness giving a brief introduction in persona in opening court.
What year is it? (how old are you?) look for period style reckoning
What is your job?
What do you eat? (When do you eat?) daily eating schedule/composition
What country/region/town do you live in?
Who is your ruler?
What is your faith?
How does your normal day progress?
What are your hopes and plans for the future?
To display the candidate's knowledge of heraldry, when they present themselves at opening court, they shall wear or carry (any or all) a surcoat, banner, shield or buckler bearing their device which they have submitted to the heralds for registration. These items should be large enough to be clearly viewed at 20 feet distance. If a candidate has been unable to register their device due to difficulties at the College of Heralds, they shall not be penalized; however, their name and device must be in submission prior to the commencement of the trials.
The Populace Challenge
All of the candidates will be asked to present themselves individually to a "Question Period" and to answer 1-2 questions from the populace. Questions might be things like "Why do you want to become a Serjeant?" or "What do you expect to change in your SCA life after earning your Serjeantry?"
Each applicant will choose and request, for approval,
ONE OR MORE of the trials to be conducted
in period style and related to their persona:
Test of Heraldry
Candidates must have created and submitted their own heraldic device to the College of Heralds prior to the trials weekend. Each candidate will also display their chosen device on some personal item such as a shield, armour, clothing or banner.
In addition the candidates must identify 70% of the following:
Be able to identify the following: Arms of An Tir, Arms of Tir Righ, The Baron and Baroness of Seagirt, the Principalities within An Tir and the Branches within Tir Righ.
Be able to identify at least 5 arms out of a selection of members of Seagirt (from the An Tir Roll of Arms).
Be able to recognize a number of devices of the Sergeantry, past and present.
Be able to identify the badges of the Kingdom, Principality, and Baronial Offices.
Be able to answer questions about basic heraldry; colours, metals, furs, field divisions, and charges.
Blazon their own device, that of Seagirt.
Test of Geography
Members of the Sergeantry must be knowledgeable in the geography of the Known World. Candidates must:
Be able to locate the Kingdoms of the Known World on an outline map.
Be able to locate all Principalities An Tir on an outline map.
Be able to locate at least 10 other branches of Tir Righ on an outline map.
Test of Chivalry, Courtesy and Etiquette
Members of the Sergeantry are expected to be exemplary models of chivalry and courtesy. This behavior is not only expected during the testing period, but at all times. The Baroness will host a chivalry court where the candidates' behavior, courtesy, and service to the Barony and its populace will be discussed and reflected upon.
These standards will be guidelines for this judging:
The courteous person knows their worth. They have no false modesty. They are quick to praise others but not themselves untruly.
The courteous person on their honour will not break their word and thus never give it lightly. They speak the truth or remain silent.
The courteous person speaks gently and with respect to others.
The courteous person is always the first to offer their help to those who require it.
A courteous person is always ready to offer hospitality, be it ever so meager and to receive with grace the hospitality of others.
To further demonstrate courtly manner, candidates must learn the definition, how to identify and proper address for the following SCA ranks:
King and Queen
Crown Prince and Princess
Prince and Princess
Duke and Duchess
Count (Earl, Jarl) and Countess
Viscount and Viscountess
Baron and Baroness
Peers of the Realm
Test of Gaming
To demonstrate the candidate's ability with games, they shall set up a chess board, name the pieces, describe their moves and be able to play at least 10 moves against the Games Tester.
The applicant shall play a game of Nine Mens' Morris so that tactical ability may be tested.
They shall also name four additional medieval games and be familiar with the rules for playing them. These may be active, board, dice or card games and the candidate should be able to verbally describe them and rules of play. The candidate shall teach and participate in playing a medieval game of their choice.
Test of Dancing
Candidates will be expected to dance a minimum of two dances, preferably one Court dance such as a Pavanne or Gailliard and one country dance such as a Bransle or a Montarde.
The candidates will be expected to teach a dance of their choosing to a selection of novice dancers.
In addition, candidates will be expected to perform the Saracen's Bransle in armour.
The candidates are responsible for ensuring that the music is available for their dances. They may choose to use a modern music player or may employ live musicians.
Test of Bardic Arts
As was expected of a gentle of the Middle Ages, a member of the Serjeantry should be able to offer a song or story or in some wise entertain. These performances must be period or in period style; no modern music. They may be about any person, event, place or thing from either the Middle Ages or the Current Middle Ages with no mundane references or terminology. Any music performed should be on a period instrument. A candidate may have accompaniment with his performance. Group entries are also permissible but must be cleared with the Baroness ahead of time.
a period song, story or poem
an instrumental performance
an instrumental performance of an original piece of music
an original poem in period style
an original story written in traditional form
a song fitted to a period piece of music
a dramatic performance
Any original piece must have been written or composed by the candidate. This is a test of ability to perform a piece in public, a test of confidence; the judges aren't looking for professional-quality performances or writing.
The military sciences offer the key to victory on the battlefield. As the primary training force in the SCA, the members of the Serjeantry must have a level of expertise that will allow them to train others adequately. As they may be called upon to offer training in many periods and types of terrain, they must have a knowledge that spans centuries and continents. To be successful the candidate must show a good comprehension of military sciences. These include:
Castles and fortifications
Candidates must be able to explain the history of a castle; i.e., motte ==> motte and bailey ==> curtain wall ==> curtain walls and donjon with projecting towers, etc. Candidates must also show a working knowledge of the terminology associated with castles and fortification design, and be able to identify castle components. They must also be able to discuss how to attack and defend various types of castles, and give examples from history of sieges and castle defenses.
The candidate must have a firm understanding of siege weapons and the laying of sieges in a historical context. This will include identifying basic siege mechanisms such as tension, torsion and traction machines, and basic weapon types and how they were used in battle.
Arms and Armour
Candidates must demonstrate an understanding of armour designs from before the 12th century through the Middle Ages. Candidates should be able to identify different types of armour (construction and styles) of the most commonly worn suits throughout the above periods.
Field Rations (Forester only)
The candidate will prepare and describe two kinds of field rations. One for their personae, and one as if they were from another region. The one for their personae should include how being a forest manager/forester would relate to what they brought and how it would feed an army of 1000.
Knowledge of historical battles
Historical Battles The candidates must display knowledge of historical battles or wars by presenting a verbal presentation on a chosen historical battle. This should include composition of the opposing forces, terrain, reason for the battle, the leaders of the opposing forces, the outcome of the battle and its effects. Some examples:
- Tours 732
- Stamford Bridge 1066
- Hastings 1066
- Horns of Hattin 1187
- Siege of Jerusalem 1187
- Fall of Acre 1291
- Stirling Bridge 1297
- Bannockburn 1314
- Crecy 1346
- Agincourt 1415
- Poitiers 1356
- Siege of Harfleur 1415
- Bosworth Field 1485
All Serjeant, and Yeomen candidates must have SCA legal armour and weapons appropriate to their discipline. Gallant candidates must have armour for Rapier combat. All combat candidates must be able to lead an SCA force in a battle scenario in their chosen venue, and show their knowledge of tactics. Leadership will include proper usage of troops, movement of them and various styles of field leadership. Candidates must be able to actively lead their troops and utilize them in battle. Candidates will be expected to be able to take over groups of fighters on short notice and attempt to use tactics and leadership in battle.
Candidates must be able to identify, on map, specific areas of the Knowne World including: All of the Kingdoms, all of the Principalities within An Tir, the Regions within An Tir, most Baronies of An Tir and the majority of the branches within the local area.