Wearing Your Story: A Coat of Arms Primer

  

It’s thought that initially a knight’s coat of arms was developed to make it easier to identify the armored warriors while they were fully suited.  The original markings were crude, but served their purpose so well, the system eventually grew until they became the colorful images we know today.

In Feudums, each player will create their own unique coat of arms which will be used to represent them.  Created during game registration (current registered players will get to create their coat of arms once the player module is online),  the player's coat of arms will be displayed on in-game elements to identify the player from others.

Whether it’s true coat of arms were first used to identify knights or not, there is no doubt the images eventually were used in this manner.  Coat of arms’ images grew larger and more widely used over time.  Eventually, all nobles and knights were using the system and the image grew until you could tell, not just the noble’s house, but his liege lord, wife, position, and even any honors he had been awarded.  In a sense, a life story.

A coat of arms is made up of individual parts and Feudums’ players will have an extensive selection to choose from although there will be some designs, colors, and symbols set aside for achievement unlocks or Golden Forint purchases (game play will not be affected).

The parts which make up a coat of arms include: the shape of the shield, the division of the surface area (called the ordinaries), heraldic lines, color, and any symbols (also referred to as charges).

Shapes

There are several supported shaped shield designs in Feudums ranging from the classic, to edged, to the continental look. 

 Classic   Curved   Edged   Elegant   Beveled 

Beveled Smooth

 Continental 

Ordinaries

The ordinaries are the division of the shield.  There are a multitude of ways a shield surface could be divided up.  Here are just a few examples: 

Bars Fusily Barry of Six Per Chevron Cross Pall Chief

Bend

Bordure

Bendy of Eight

Fess Per Fess Pale Per Pale

Heraldic Lines

Heraldic lines refer to the lines which separate the surface area that makes up the ordinaries.  These lines, if present at all, are another medium to add to the story.  Here are two examples:

Fire Air or Clouds

 

Colors

Colors used by knights were limited to the available hues at the time.  Some colors were limited because they were not available yet or were reserved, such as purple, for a particular reason – in this case, royalty. The historical heraldic colors will be supported by the Feudums Coat of Arms Creator although, like shield shapes, some may be reserved for achievements or for sale. No pink My Little Ponies allowed on your shield. Sorry.  

Charges and Symbols

The charge or emblem is any object or figure placed on the shield.  Anything found in nature may appear as a heraldic charge – even objects and geometric shapes may be used.  Apart from the ordinaries, the most frequent charges are the lions, eagles, stags, wild boars, and fish.  Even imaginary animals like dragons and griffins can be used. Eventually hundreds of emblems will be supported by the Feudums Coat of Arms Creator. The charges can be used in different variations such as frontal or side views, or if an animal, standing, rampart or all legs on the ground (and so forth - it is called their attitude ).  Between shape, color, design, and charges, there will be hundreds of thousands of possibilities.

Here are some examples:

Pillar Cross Griffin Rose & Griffin Rampant Lion Bear Tower & Leopard

We wanted to bring medieval life closer to our players and depict medieval heraldry in detail, but also maintain an intuitive and easy-to-use system. Focus has been put on the latter (as "user experience" is more important than historical accuracy), so we simplified some of the "real world" rules of heraldry. Still, with some of the complexity removed, the main intention was still to save the unique lore, vibe and feel of medieval heraldry and to show it's rich and deep territory in a gamified way. Hopefully, with some success.

Creating Your Coat of Arms

When it comes time to develop your own "tale" via the Coat of Arms Creator, doing it is as easy as following 7 steps:

Coat of Arms - Step By Step Reference

Several different parts make up a Feudums coat of arms:

Required Parts

  1. Shape: the shape of the field.
  2. Material: the basic material of the shield, ie. various reinforced woods, leather or metals. Metals, Wooden and Leather can all have some variations (ie. elegant or sturdy metal) and those can have a few color schemes, called Shades (of the Material).
  3. Edge: the design and material of the frame (edges) of the shield. Same color schemes as for Materials.

At the start, if the player chooses a shape, a shield with the default material and edge will be created. Later, any of these parts, or their attributes can be altered individually, though dependent parts are updated accordingly (ie. if you have chosen a metal variation with a golden shade, and at a later time switch to a wooden material, the golden shade is reverted to the default wooden shade).

Optional Parts

  1. Ordinary: a shield can optionally have multiple divisions, defined by the ordinary. It can be colored with the heraldic tinctures. Some ordinaries can be further painted in multiple variations, using different heraldic lines (up to 14 heraldic line variations in 8 groups - some have two alternates).
  2. Charges: currently, it is limited to a maximum of 1. Can be colored with the heraldic tinctures.
  3. Features: physical alterations of the shield. For now, mostly different levels of a battle-hardened attitude. 

These 7 categories can be also grouped this way:

  • COA design parts: shape, ordinary, charges and their colors and variations. These are "standard" part of any coat of arms design.
  • physical attributes, like material, edge and features: these are meant to add an additional layer to a coat of arms "design" by putting it to a down-to-earth environment, ie, how you would typically encounter with it on the field. These physical attributes may depict the bearers as much as the coat of arms itself (like a shiny, never-seen-a-battle coat-of-arms may adds a level to the depicted image, same for a sturdy shield with a mass of battle scratches).

Coloring the parts

  • Tinctures: color palette, based on historical heraldic tinctures, for coat of arms parts, namely the field (background of the shield), ordinary and charges. Same tincture palette is offered for all coat of arms parts. Contains all the "traditional" colors, and some non-traditional (but existing) ones.
  • Shades: color palette for physical parts of the shield, like the material of the shield or the edges. Values depend on the material itself (ie. wooden shades for wooden materials, metal shades for metals, etc.)

Symbolism

Most tinctures, charges, and even ordinaries and the way lines are drawn have symbolical meanings, though those may vary from regions to regions or religions to religions. These are distinctively shown in the item's tooltip (where available).

Coat of Arms in-game

Each Noble House may have a House Standard, which is a coat-of-arms unique to the player. 

As a player can play on multiple worlds at once, and he or she may want to emphasize a different strategy or "in-game personality" on each world, the game allows a single customization of the House Standard for each world the player is playing on (ie. a different or extra charge, a different shade or tincture of a certain element, etc). These are linked to the game world and is described as a specific Noble Person (or more technically speaking, a game avatar) of the House (player). This is entirely optional for players, though we might (on-demand) launch experimental RPG-ish game worlds where "roleplaying", and as such, custom avatars can play a major role.

 

Hints for Coat of Arms designers

Heraldry had some basic rules for making more distinguishable and generally good-looking coat of arms. These rules are not mandatory in Feudums, but may still be useful for designing your family coat-of-arms.

  • Proper Colors: A charge that is coloured as it naturally appears is called proper or "the color of nature". Certain charges are considered "proper" when portrayed with particular colors, even though a range of different colours is found in nature; for instance, a popinjay proper is green, even though wild parrots occur in a variety of colrs. In some cases, a charge depicted in a particular set of colors may be referred to as "proper", even though it consists entirely of heraldic tinctures; a rose proper, whether red or white, is barbed vert and seeded or. Some non-traditional tinctures has been developed almost exclusively to bring particular Charge categories a proper color, like Carnation, which has been used as a proper color for human skin.
  • Rule of Tincture: The most basic rule of heraldic design: metal should not be put on metal, nor color on color. This means that Or, Argent or the non-traditional metal Copper may not be placed on each other; nor may any of the colours (i.e. the traditional colours of Azure, Gules, Sable, Vert and Purpure) be placed on another colour. "Proper" charges (a charge coloured as it normally is in nature) are exceptions to the rule of tincture. The main duty of a heraldic device is to be recognized, and the dark colours or light metals are supposed to be too difficult to distinguish if they are placed on top of other dark or light colors, particularly in poor light. Though this is the practical genesis of the rule, the rule is technical and appearance is not used in determining whether arms conform to the rule.  This "rule" has at times been followed so pedantically that COAs that violate it were called false arms or arms of enquiry; any violation was presumed to be intentional, to the point that one was supposed to inquire how it came to pass. One of the most famous arms of inquiry was the shield of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, which had gold crosses on silver. This use of metal on metal, that is to say white and gold together, is seen on the flag and arms of the Vatican, and the bishop's mitre in the arms of Andorra. It indicates the exceptional holy and special status of the Coat of Arms. An example of "color on color" is the arms of Albania, with its sable two-headed eagle on a gules field.

Telling Your Story

When it comes time to design your personal coat of arms, think carefully how you want to be known.  Maybe even come up with your personal back story.  Here are a few examples:

Sir Malcom of House Emery

Coat of Arms - Example

Ser Malcom grew weary waiting for his liege lord's decision to advance and engage the infidel army spread out in front of him.  When he saw his lord's messenger riding his way, without hesitation, he charged forward. Although a few of the enemy's arrows bit him, Ser Malcom was solely focused on engaging the enemy infantry.  Unknown to Ser Malcom, his early start forward propelled him nearly 100 yards ahead of the rest of his knights.  Upon reaching the enemy line, enemy soldiers tried to drag the lonely Ser Malcom from the saddle but he bravely fought them off.  He personally slew more than 12 enemy infantry despite four arrow wounds and numerous sword cuts.  After the battle was won, his priest administered last rites because no one thought he would survive his wounds.  Upon his miraculous recovery, his lord allowed him to change his heraldry to announce to the world his courageous acts on the battlefield that fateful day.

The emblem rewards Malcom's memorable battlefield success as well as his recovery while the charge recognizes the joy he felt slaying the infidel soldiers.  The colors reinforce both his battlefield prowess and the happiness he had being a weapon for his lord. 

 

Lord Affron of House Killon

Coat of Arms - Example

As a cousin to his Royal Majesty, Lord Affron has always had access to the king.  But his blood wasn't the only thing that allowed him such familiarity.  Do you remember the seige of Mortage?  Affron was called upon by his leige to sally forth from the city to engage the enemy and did so without hesitation despite the odds.  Or the time Affron called out Lord Remay's champion for single combat because of his callous words regarding his liege?  Affron has proven his loyalty to his Majesty time and time again. 

His small use of the royal purple recognizes his blood line. The eagle shows his utmost loyalty to his leige.  The ordinary recognizes his unique place as one of the king's most loyal retainers.

So, what's your back story..?  Check out the Contest Area for a new contest!  If your back story is deemed one of the best, you will be eligible for a prize!