Question about coat of arms.

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Question about coat of arms.

Postby DrewVolker » Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:34 pm

Hey there everyone.
I've been toying around with the house creation rules for while now to make my own house for the setting. I plan on having the house be in a game I will be running as an ally to the house the players are from, but I also want to make my own house simply because who does not want to make their own noble house for westeros? No one, that's who.
Haha, all kidding aside, I had a question about how coats of arms as handled in westeros.
I know the direwolf running on a grey shield is the coat of arms for the Starks, but would any other house be able to use the direwolf on their coat of arms? I was planing on the coat of arms for the house I am making to have the head of a black direwolf on a (still debating the color, but thinking about going with dark-grey) shield as their coat of arms. This house would have close ties with the starks going back to the age of heroes, but I was wondering if there was some rule stated somewhere that minor houses can not use similar coats of arms as the great houses.

Thanks in advance for any information.
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Re: Question about coat of arms.

Postby DaimosofRedstone » Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:50 pm

There is no rules for this (monopolizing a specific coat of arms).
Even several real world dynasties who were important at one point or another had sometimes quite similar coat of arms.
Sometimes out of pure coincidence, other times because of shared ancestry.
An established house *might* come down hart on a newly landed knight who decides to rip of their coat of arms though even that would be quite a drastic and therefore rare step.
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Re: Question about coat of arms.

Postby DrewVolker » Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:57 pm

Ah, that is what I was thinking, but didn't know for sure so I thought I might as well ask others.

Thanks for the information, I do appreciate the time you took to answer my question.
If I ever become the king of the 7 kingdoms, I will make you liege lord of any realm you wish. xP

Thanks again.
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Re: Question about coat of arms.

Postby Pytorb » Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:05 pm

With House Lannister, House Osgrey and House Grandison for example all sharing the lion on their coat of arms I don't think you would have a problem. If the use of the direwolkf could be confused with House Stark then it might be rejected by the King's court and if it was offensive to them there may well be pointed words between House Stark and your house at court...
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Re: Question about coat of arms.

Postby DrewVolker » Sat Jul 28, 2012 3:15 pm

Pytorb wrote:With House Lannister, House Osgrey and House Grandison for example all sharing the lion on their coat of arms I don't think you would have a problem. If the use of the direwolkf could be confused with House Stark then it might be rejected by the King's court and if it was offensive to them there may well be pointed words between House Stark and your house at court...


I think to a common man it could possibly be confused, but to any noble who has been taught coat of arms they would know it was not the sigil of house stark. As house stark has a full direwolf on theirs, and this house's sigil would just be a direwolf head. (Which isn't that different from a normal wolf, so to the common man it might just appear to be a wolf head). As to the Starks taking offence to it, with the planned history I have for the house I don't think that'd be the case. I plan to have the house have its history steeped in the age of heroes, it's first lord receiving his lands and title from Brandon the builder, and since has always had close ties to the Starks. Does that sound like it'd work out to anyone else?
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Re: Question about coat of arms.

Postby Ser Arnafell » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:17 am

While using someone elses coat of arms is considered rude (and possibly criminal both in real world and Seven Kingdoms), using the same animal on otherwise different (different colors, different background, perhaps different position the animal is in and so forth) coat of arms is not. We take the example from real life.

The Finnish coat of arms is Gules, a crowned lion rampant Or striking a sword Argent on armoured dexter arm, trampling on a sabre Argent; surmounted by nine roses Argent. Similarly the Norwegian coat of arms is The crown of the King of Norway (on a royal crown a demi-lion rampant or, crowned and bearing an axe with blade argent) . While in many parts similar, there is a clear distinction between the two coat of arms and they can not be mixed if one knows anything about heraldry.
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Re: Question about coat of arms.

Postby Kajani » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:39 am

But I must say, I am not sure if in Westeros there is indeed a institution which keeps an eye on such things. I mean, Westeros is as big as Europe (or bigger?) with very different backgrounds (at least 4 main - the andals/ first men on the mainland, the North with mainly first men, the Iron Isles - andals and first men with some special aspects - and Dorne with andals, first men and Rhoynar. And there are smaller differences, too. Given the fact that the land is so huge and the arms are so many (the two kings who faced Aegon on the field of fire summoned up to 600 banners and much more knight from which several sure bear own arms), I think it is very well possible that identical arms exist on different locations ins at least some cases.
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Re: Question about coat of arms.

Postby Ser Arnafell » Sun Jul 29, 2012 12:44 am

While there might not be an official instance (though it might be the king has a herald to keep such records), the houses themselves will probably keep tabs about their own heraldry and if someone else is spotted carrying a similar device, there will be an altercation of some sort (the sort depending on the houses in question). Most probably the older house would be the one to keep the device while the younger house would have to revert to an alternate design, unless they desire to fight for it.
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Re: Question about coat of arms.

Postby Pytorb » Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:07 am

If there are any cases of identical arms, and Kajani has a very valid point about the possibility given the size and diverse origins of the noble houses in Westeros, they would have to be sorted out immediately if the two sides were to meet on a battlefield. Whether they are on the same side or opposite sides you would not want any confusion over orders or indeed whether to attack someone or not one battle was joined. So I can imagine, if it happened, that there would be a swift change of arms in a similar fashion to the red and green apples of the Fossaways. Perhaps the easiest change would be to add an Ordinary such as a Bar, Bend, Bordure, Chevron or Chief.
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Re: Question about coat of arms.

Postby Zorbeltuss » Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:09 am

At least with maesters around, I imagine that there are fairly exhaustive lists of the heraldry of each house, and it's important enough that there would be men who's only job is to know every one of them. So as long as we're dealing with an established house, I imagine they should be able to avoid confusion.

Individual knights and such? That's where it gets murky.
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