Coat of Arms: Wearing Your Story

In-Game Screenshot: Coat of Arms being featured in your Hall

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.

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.

 

Coat of Arms in Feudums 

Coat of ArmsCoat of arms in Feudums, just like in real-life medieval life, take an important role as the most promiment, unique visual id for Noble Houses and in-game characters. In Feudums, it is mandatory that each player create a unique coat of arms which will be then used to represent them. Created in the game's built-in coat of arms editor, these heraldic illustrations, called House Standards, will show the fundamental identity and values of their Noble House, serving as the bloodline's heraldic signature during their encounters with other players. Their standard is also visible on their profile or at their posts on the public forums. 

In each Noble House there are also in-game characters. They are the actual representative of a Noble House (a player) on a specified game world. For their important role in immersion, each character can bear their own, slightly personalized coat of arms, in order to reflect their personal character, always derived from the House Standard. Their personal coat of arms are shown on the associated Game Worlds. Coat of ArmsPersonalizing the coat of arms for each character is however not mandatory, but an option. A player can decide to simply use their unaltered House Standard as the Personal Coat of Arms of their characters.

The initial set of the selectable heraldic devices is limited, and established coat of arms cannot be freely reformed whenever the players wish so. Throughout their journey, the players may, of course, find multiple ways to reform their coat of arms and apply new heraldic devices, or enrich the current ones, as it was hinted in an earlier article. Instead of randomly changing them, their coat of arms will develop with their Noble House and characters organically.

 

Editor Screenshot
Make coat of arms great again!

Heraldry 1x1

A coat of arms is made up of individual parts (both heraldic devices and physical attributes) 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).

Heraldic Devices

The main heraldic devices which make up a coat of arms design include: the field (base) of the shield, the division of the surface area (called the ordinaries) and any symbols (also referred to as charges). All of these devices come with a rigorously defined color (called tincture). These devices are the traditional parts of the design and most have their own symbolic meaning.

Field

It is defined by two important factors: the shape of the Shapesshield and it's tincture. Shapes don't have any particular symbolic meaning; instead, they have changed through time and regions and have been adapted to the type of warfare or purpose that they served.  Shape can therefore speak about the origin and age of the coat of arms. 

There are several supported shaped shield designs in Feudums ranging from the classic, to edged, or to the continental look, derived from real-life European heraldic heritage and ages. 

Ordinaries

Ordinaries - SamplesThe ordinaries are the division or partition of the shield. Ordinaries are defined by their type, tincture and if applicable, the lines of partitionMost ordinaries are simple geometrical figures, bounded by lines and running from side to side or top to bottom of the field. There are a multitude of ways a field could be divided up, and we support most of them.

Ordinary Sample - Heraldic CardOrdinaries are often categorized in heraldry into different groups, like:

  1. Honourable (or Honorary): the most ancient of ordinaries; seem to have been originally bands or bars riveted on the shield to strengthen it.
  2. Subordinary: they are geometrical figures similar to ordinaries, differing mostly in the fact that they do not stretch from one edge of the shield to another.
  3. Diminutive: When more than one of a given ordinary is used in armory, they must necessarily be drawn narrower; these are called the “diminutives” of that ordinary.
  4. Division: The field or background of a shield may be divided in several standardized ways into more areas (generally two or four) of different tinctures. This serves the purpose of differentiation, or marshalling.

 

Heraldic Lines - SampleHeraldic lines are used to divide and vary fields and charges in heraldry. Lines are by default straight, but may have many different shapes. Not every ordinaries support multiple variations for lines, but where they do, this is another medium to add to the story.

 

Charges

A charge is an emblem or device occupying the field of a shield. This may be a geometric design or a symbolic representation of a person, animal, plant, object, heavenly body or other device - anything found in nature may appear as a heraldic charge.

Charges - SampleCharges are described by their type, tincture and where applicable, their attitude and position. Technically, most ordinaries are also part of charges, but both for their more specific purpose and for clarity, they are only counted in their own group among heraldic devices in Feudums.

Some of the most frequent charges are predatory animals, birds, plants and monsters, but it may differ by region and age.

Their most typical categories are the following:

  1. Beasts (Animals) describe the animals what heraldry calls "natural beasts". These are the existing creatures that can be found in nature.
  2. Monsters are any creature not found in nature: a fabulous beast, a product of the imagination. In some cases, early artists probably had no better authority for the strange creatures they depicted than the wild tales of exotic travel and their own lively imaginations, which led to the practice that several "beasts" were represented in heraldry on a manner that beared no resemblance to their actual natural form (a common example is the heraldic Tyger). These were later considered separate and classified imaginary creatures.
  3. Charge Sample - Heraldic CardFishes, as used in heraldry, refers to any marine creature that is not a monster.
  4. Birds play a large and prominent part in heraldry. Those which have been impressed into the service of heraldic emblazonment comprise almost every species known.
  5. Objects represents inanimate objects. Very few of them in heraldry carry a special significance distinct from that of the object itself.
  6. Plants are extremely common in heraldry and figure among the earliest charges. This category consists of the fruits, flowers, soil and trees.
  7. Heavenly Bodies includes all phenomena seen in the sky, both astronomical and meteorological, and also the miraculous beings.
  8. Parts of human bodies occur more often than the whole, and animals' heads are also very frequent charges. This category consists of the body parts of any living being.

There are well over a hundred of charges that are currently supported in Feudums, including all the sub-categories described above.

Tinctures

Colors used by knights and heraldists 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 Tincture Sample - Heraldic Cardreason – in this case, royalty. Then, particular colors were only used in specific regions, or ages, typically, where or when the colors could be produced. 

Heraldic colors are often categorized by their value and purpose, like

  1. Metals specifically represent the "noble" (most prestigious) colours of different metals.
  2. Colors consists of the accepted and limited palette of colors in heraldry.
  3. Stains, sometimes termed stainand colour or staynard colour, are the few non-standard tinctures or colours and are sometimes considered to denote a rebatement of honour.
  4. Traditional tinctures consists of the limited palette of the most common French / English heraldry. 

Both traditional heraldic colors, as well as many of the regional historical palettes are supported by Feudums, although, like shield shapes, some may be reserved for achievements or for sale.

Between field, ordinaries, charges, tinctures, heraldic lines and the like, there are millions of variations in Feudums' built-in editor to design your unique coat of arms. And then we haven't talked a word about...

Physical Attributes

These attributes are not part of the coat of arms heraldry but still play a major role in their visual representation. They 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. 

The physical attributes include: the material of the shield, the type of it's edges, and the additional visual features it may have. Most of these come with a color tone (called shade), based on the material or physical form of the attribute.

Shield Material

Material SamplesThese are the available materials a shield is typically crafted from, like different version of woods, metals and leather. They can all have some variations (ie. elegant or sturdy metal, different planks for wooden, etc.) and those can have a few color schemes. A material is represented by its type and shade. They do not bear any heraldic meaning, but some materials still attributed to have specific symbolic or magical powers.

Edges (Frames)

Frames - SamplesThe form and material a shield's frame (or edges) is typically made from. Similarly to shield material, this is mostly a composition of metals, leather and wood in a dozen or so color schemes. An edge is always represented by it'a type and it's shade. Some of the expensive variations can be used to represent the bearer's wealth.

Features

Features are visual features that are deepening the lore and myths of the first or current bearer of the coat of arms, like damages on the shield.

Shades

Shades represent the color palette for physical parts of the shield, like the material of the shield or the edges. Unlike tinctures, the available shades depend on the material itself (ie. wooden shades for wooden materials, metal shades for metals, etc.).

 

Creating Your Coat of Arms

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

Coat of Arms - Step By Step Reference

During coat of arms creation, there are mandatory and optional elements. Mandatory parts are the shape (and it's tincture), material (and it's shade) and edge (and it's shade) parts. The rest are optional.

At the start, if you choose a shape, a shield with the default material and edge will be automatically assigned. When creating a new coat of arms, you can also use the Randomize button from the top buttons to have the editor create a valid design for you.

Any 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).

Editor Layout

Coat of Arms Editor - GUI Breakdown

  • (1) - on the left side of ther Codex you can always find a preview of your current coat of arms.
  • (2) - the main parts (both heraldic devices and physical attributes). A Yellow line next to the icon means it's the currently selected category. A green marker means that part of the design is considered valid (properly filled). In this case, the currently selected category is "Charges" and every part is properly filled.
  • (3) - the attributes associated to the selected main part. The list may change according to the selected main part. In this case, the currently selected attribute is "Type" and it has two attributes, type and tincture.
  • (4) - the inventory of the selectable values for the given main category and it's selected attribute. Below the cards there are two numbers, one stands for the available items, the other is for the currently filtered subset (see (6) for filtering). 
  • (5) - the Heraldic Card, a reference card for the selected item, providing a preview, a description, the symbolic meaning and any additional note it might have.
  • (6) - the available sub-groups (tags) for the current inventory. Selecting any will filter the inventory to items that has a full match for the criteria. An item might be falling into multiple sub-groups, ie. a Wild Boar head will be both an Animal and a Part. You can select as much tags as you want, but don't forget that they are in an "AND" relation (so you'll filter for items that are matching to all of the selected criterias). Like, selecting both Animal and Part will only output Charges that represent a part (most notably the head) of an animal.
  • (7) - on the right page of the codex, you'll find the heraldic summary of your coat of arms, including any symbolic meaning it may have.

Note: Hovering any part of the UI will reveal further contextual notes and hints.

 

Tips for Coat of Arms designers

Editor Hint
listen to your advisor, then do what you please!

  • Build your legend: Almost every heraldic device have symbolical meanings, though those may vary from regions to regions or religions to religions. These are distinctively shown in both the Heraldic Card of the selected element (where available) and if  the particular device is selected, are written down to the Codex.  When it comes time to design your personal coat of arms, think carefully how you want to be known and use these symbolic meanings to build up the legend of your Noble House and it's most prominent characters.
  • Personal Coat of Arms: when creating a personal coat of arms, it can only differ in physical attributes from the House Standard. Later in the game, you might be able to unlock heraldic device changes for your characters through achievements.
  • Coat of arms heraldic uniqueness: each coat of arms in the game must be heraldically unique. It means that two coat of arms, even if their physical attributes are different, are considered the same if their heraldic devices are the same.
  • No "invisible" colors: you can't use the same tinctures on the field, ordinary and charge on a way that any of those would become "invisible" (like an ordinary with the same tincture as the field).
  • Validating an in-progress design: You can always check if a design is valid without actually saving it by using the Validate option from the top menu.

Real-life 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 a non-traditional metal like Copper or Lead 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 easily 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.

 

Example stories

Sir Malcom of House Emery

Emery's Coat of Arms

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

Killon's Coat of Arms

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.

Be sure to check other, "real-life" examples from our brave players, made with the previous version, at the Coat of Arms Contest. Take a deep breath and post yours too!

 

 


This article has been updated based on the 2019 May Vanguard release.

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