So the nearest Shire is just that little bit far away ..
Maybe a few people have started to consider making a more local group? Great! There’s a few things we would like to draw your attention to before you start not least a quick introduction to the idea of sizing what you’re able to get started with. This guide isn’t comprehensive, and isn’t intended to be, consider it more a starting point or discussion document. You’ll need to talk to some officers if you want to start properly down the road.
College, Hamlet or Shire?
Some stuff to be aware of before you begin
The process is not fast You need to ask yourself about your motivations - if the local branch is actually quite close but you have a particular set of friends you like to play with in that group maybe a less formal “household” arrangement is what you need? A formal SCA group is geographically-based; it has to include everyone who lives within its borders.
People tend to get territorial about their Shires, tred carefully when you’re starting to express a desire to break from existing groups.
It can’t be just you, you need a critical mass of people who are also willing to put the work in. You will need at least five paid members, and a healthy Shire should usually have at least ten active participants and some have to be willing to be the key officers.
Contact the Insulae Draconis Seneschal
The Seneschal is the person in charge of running the day-to-day affairs of the Principality. They can tell you about the rules for creating new groups and any specific rules particular to Insulae Draconis. They will also act as your advocate in this process and will be making the recommendation to the Board to make you a real shire.
Make sure your neighbours are kept in the loop
They may be able to help you get going, provide some additional experience, and maybe loan an officer occasionally to help you start up.
Start acting like you mean it
You will need at least five paid members, as mentioned earlier - to make sure you maintain the numbers it’s sensible not to just barely make that 5. 10-15 people participating more or less regularly is a good, healthy number. In terms of officers, you need a Seneschal, an Exchequer(Treasurer) who can’t be related to the Seneschal, or live at the same address, and either a Marshal (who runs armored combat) or a Minister of Arts & Sciences.
You will need to choose a name for the group, and should start thinking about a device (a coat of arms). Get agreement in your group and make sure you consult with some heralds about it. Note that the device should have a Laurel wreath somewhere on it; this is the standard SCA way of designating branch heraldry.
Plan an event if you can, you’ll need to be sponsered by another group. They deal with the official parts (the legal evet stewarding, taking care of the money and reporting), while your new group tackle the eventtasks that best demonstrate your abilities. If there’s a nearby branch that you are friendly with, consider trying this out.
The Incipient Shire
Somewhere in this waiting period the Seneschal will tell you that you are an “Incipient Shire”, a Shire in the process of forming. You now need to demonstrate that you can keep your members and officers and are developing the expertise to take on the reposibities of a Shire.