The Bellowing Breeze
†THL Njall Olaf Hagerson
Running the field heraldry at a Tourney
††††††††††††††† This month, the tourney season is in full swing. I have seen a number of new faces taking office as regional heralds. So, to that end, this monthís topic will be how to set-up and run the field heraldry at an event. More than a big voice (which is always welcome, at least in some circles), it takes organization to run the field heraldry. But it isnít the kind of organization that is difficult. It just involves a few simple tricks.
††††††††††††††† Before you start, you have to be clear what your goals are. Your primary goal is to make sure all the active fields have a herald, every round. To do that you will have to make sure you have enough heralds, have them assigned to fields and make sure know when they have to be on their field. As part of having enough heralds, you need to train new heralds and make sure all your working heralds feel like they are appreciated.† So, your goals being clear, letís move on to the organizational tricks of the trade.
††††††††††††††† First, make a sign-up list and take sign-ups early and often. Have your list with you wherever you go, prior to opening court. You can also put a sign-up list at the lists table, once it opens. To get more sign-ups, make sure the court herald announce the need for more heralds at court. Also have it announced, when and where field heralds are to meet to get their assignments (15 minutes or so after court is a good time). While you are having the meeting, be sure to write down any last minute sign-ups.† When doing the sign-ups, your goal is to have two more heralds than double the number of fields in use. Iíll cover more about how to run the meeting and what to do with your list in a while.
††††††††††††††† Once the sign-up list is made, the next form you will need is a field map. Take a sheet of paper and divide it up based on how many fields will be in use. Around the margins of your map draw small devices to show where the fields are located in relation to the major pavilions (The Royal Pavilion, baronial pavilions and such). Assign numbers or names (if you are using field flags) to your map, to give you something to call each field, during the day. Make sure you have this map at your meeting.
††††††††††††††† Once you are in your meeting, it is time to use your sign-up list and field map to assigned each herald a specific job. Without specific assignments, your heralds will not know what they are supposed to be doing and may not feel like you really need them. Whenever possible, take the heralds preference for scheduled time and field location into account when giving out assignments. Write the assignments on your field map as they are made. This will make any holes in your plan, very apparent. The ideal plan, when you have enough heralds, is to have each herald only work every other round. You also want two heralds to alternate doing the order of combat (OC) prior to the start of each round. And last, if at all possible, keep yourself free. If you have to assign yourself any job, make it OC. You need to be mobile during the rounds to be able to deal with any problems.
††††††††††††††† As the day progresses, the marshal will start shutting fields down, or opening them up for challenges.† As that happens, rearrange your heralds so that you relieve anyone that is running out of voice first. Next, offer to relieve any inexperienced heralds, if they wish to stop for the day.† Last, ask which heralds want to continue working and which do not. This will take careful balancing to make sure you are still covered without over-working anyone.
††††††††††††††† At the end of the day, offer the job of the final round herald to those that have worked the hardest for you. They may not want it, but they have earned the right to do it, if they want. The last thing for the day is to be sure to take the time and thank everyone that helped you. It may not be possible to get everyone before they leave, but please try as hard as possible to thank everyone. It is so important in a volunteer organization to take the time for a thank you.
††††††††††††††† After the event, be sure to send a copy of your sign-up lists to the event herald, if that isnít yourself, or include that list in your event report, if you are the overall herald in charge. As a final note, if after a few events you see the same names over and over, maybe a letter to the right set of people might be in order.
††††††††††††††† Over the last seven months, I have written everything I know about being a field herald. So next monthís topic will be anyoneís guess. I thank you all for your kind attention to my monthly bits of dribble.