Some Frequently Asked Heraldic Questions

What's the difference between a 'device', a 'badge' and a 'coat of arms'?

Simply put, a device says "this is me", while a badge says "this is mine".

Your device is your primary heraldry, what some call a "coat of arms" (more on that later). It's the design that signifies you; you have arrived at camp, you're coming into court, you're on the battlefield. It's the heraldry you wear on your surcoat, or fly as a banner, put on your shield or your seat or your dinner plate. This is the heraldry that allows people to find you.

Your badge is a sort of secondary heraldry, usually something far simpler than your device, such as a single drum or a cross. Like a "maker's mark", this is put on your stuff; your luggage, your mug, your kids, pets and gameboards. This is the heraldry on the items you leave around somewhere else, so that it can find its way back to you.

A "coat of arms", or simply "arms" is a device owned by someone who has been given the right to bear arms, granted by an Award of Arms or higher level award. Anyone can register a device with the College of Heralds, but you can only call it "arms" if you've received an award letting you do so.

Why does it take so long for my device or name submission to be accepted?

Heralds are a very meticulous lot. Once your local herald finishes their cross-checking, they send it up to Kingdom where there are more eyes to review it and cross-check it. After that, it is shared with heralds from across the Knowne World who spend even more time cross-checking and reviewing. While this may seem like overkill, it is done this way because we want you to be happy with a name and device that is as close to period-style as we can possibly get you, and, to ensure that even if you move to Drachenwald (Europe), you will still be confident that your name and arms are unique to you.

Now, all of this cross-checking takes time, and while, in the past, it sometimes took YEARS for the snail-mailing (yes, snail-mailing), reference book page-flipping, phone discussions, and in-person meetings to achieve the result that we happily now get in weeks and months due to the advent of internet, databases and modern communication wonders, please do remember that all those cross-checking heralds are volunteers too. And since we love our volunteers and don’t want them to burn out, get fired from their day-jobs, or in trouble with their families, we schedule review meetings and decision letters only for specific times each month. If your submission misses the scheduled time, it will end up waiting until the next one.

It is perfectly acceptable to check in with your local herald at the three month or six month mark and ask how things are going.