That Highly Sought For SCA Ambience

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Oct 26, 2016 by Rua Lupa

NOTE: Much of this is a repeat of what I’ve said on the original post on Facebook.

Recently I read and joined a discussion that occurred on our SCA Kingdom’s facebook page about achieving that highly sought after ambience – that full immersion sensation where you forget about the modern world and feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

With that discussion came lots of good ideas.

Much of what was said was that each person does what they can to bring that ambience to the table and it does take money and time. Which should be respected and shouldn’t pressure people into doing something that they simply aren’t able to.

Much of what the original post talked about had some merit though. My experience has been good, but that fully immersive experience never really occurred with me since I’ve started a few years back – came close a couple of times though. I do try to capture it with photo angles that leave out the parking lot and mundane things that commonly slip in, such as water tanks and coolers. And as pretty as they are, I think modern string lights take away from the experience that most are striving for. The biggest hurdle in achieving that immersive ambience looks to lie with the issue of how to get there in the first place.

This, I think, calls for more A&S (Arts & Science) classes that are about bringing that ambience.

As an example, here are some things I’ve been inspired by and want to emulate for ambience in no particular order:

  • Period Convincing Canvas Tent (check – planning on painting it and adding an awning later for social space)
  • Period Convincing Feast Gear (mostly) – I noticed at one event that people had a basket with a table cloth, lantern with faux candles, napkins and serving spoons – all things I could and plan to add
  • Camping Furniture (limited space for travel, long term goal when have bigger vehicle for tables and chairs)(plan on painting canvas ground cloth as “carpet”, and having hanging shelves and bags)
  • Banners (not yet, is next on list, just wanted to have devices registered first!)
  • Lighting (have period styled lantern materials all together now – just need to do the make part)
  • Hanging Walls / Curtains / Tapestries (not until we have a bigger vehicle I think, useful for closing in that ambience – especially hiding modern walls and vehicles)
  • Bardic Arts (Learn more songs to sing, and want to learn period instrument, plan on having bone flute and Gemshorn at some point)
  • Garb (have basic garb, want to A&S to fancy it up more)


All these things I’ve seen and been inspired by from others, and would definitely attend an A&S class for. And I think that those who know the ins and outs of this stuff could definitely consider doing something to get those who are unfamiliar started, thereby causing a ripple of A&S (as that tends to happen in the SCA) that brings about more of that sought after ambience.

In relation to this, in the discussion the name Roak had come up as a reference to what was done well. Unfortunately no image of that well regarded set up was available. I hope to see it for myself and learn how they accomplished this at some point as it indeed was awed over by those who did see it.

I think it would be handy for the parking lot at major camping events to have a dedicated cart or two, and volunteer haulers for those who are unable to pull it themselves, to bring in supplies after initial set up. That way avoiding the amount of vehicles coming in and out of camping areas. Personally I’d love it if there were a pony to haul it, but can see how that would be difficult to arrange.

One thing that I find really brings the ambience is the field games that both fighters and crafters can join in on. I hope to be able to bring more of that where ever I go (will try to remember to bring my Hunker Hausen Rope! and hope to find adequate logs!)

Today I even came across a book by a SCAdian on historical games that we could use.
past-times-sports-and-games-of-medieval-europe-by-jeffrey-s-johnstonThere was one comment that suggested that people who can could bring their wall hangings to indoor events to help create that atmosphere. Making it easier to accomplish for those that are hosting. Which I like that idea and hope that it takes off!

I think it would be a great idea to encourage everyone that can, to have a kingdom and barony banner and wall hanging that not only they can use but can contribute them to indoor events. Perhaps doing the same for outdoor curtain walls as well – so that those that could bring them can together contribute to hiding the parking lot. And perhaps having a layout plan ahead of time for placing the modern tents inconspicuously.

Banners & Flags at Trillium War 2016

Banners & Flags at Trillium War 2016

As for recruitment. I don’t know what everyone is doing, but I think it is doable for each Canton to have the goal of one public demo a year. Perhaps one kingdom wide one every few years?

I for one enjoy taking photos of SCA events and sharing them, which I think also helps in recruitment (can see what I’ve got here on this Blog)

Along with a Youtube playlist

And have done up one promotional poster for fun,


All of which everyone can feel free to share as SCA promotion and hopefully inspire others to do something similar too with their photos and videos 🙂

Lets show off our kingdom, canton and baronies!

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