A persona is your alter ego in the SCA. Some people have only a name, and some have a complete life story that moves through the years with them. We all strive to create an atmosphere that helps us to momentarily be in another place or time. It is up to you whether you dive all the way into the game or not. How much someone wants to get out of the SCA varies from one person to the next.
Choosing a Name
The first thing most of us do is to choose a name. It can’t be a name used by a real person; you may use your own name. Take your time with your choice.
How do you decide who your persona if going to be? Think about whether you have a preference for a certain culture, or time period. Consider the general sound of a name that you would like. Think about how the name feels. Try using it for a while, and see if you are comfortable with it. Consult a Herald if you need assistance with your research.
The important thing to remember when deciding on a persona is that it’s not a restriction. For example, if you choose to be an Italian, that doesn’t mean you always have to dress in that style or only study Italian culture. A persona is a tool for focusing your research, you choose how you want to use it.
You do not have to register a name in order to use it; however, it helps to initially choose a name that can be registered. This is because if you ever want to register a device (coat of arms), you must have a name either in submission or already registered. It would be easier for you if you did not have to change a name that you have been using (and that you like) due to it being unregisterable.
Once you’ve decided on a name, you may want to create a life story for your alter ego, there are questions you want to ask yourself.
When did your persona live? You could choose a year of birth, and have your persona be your age, and advance in years with you. Or you can simply choose a span of time that you find interesting, such as the age of the Vikings, or the age of the Black Prince, etc.
Where did your persona live? Again, you can be very specific by selecting a street in a town. Or you can be less specific and just decide on a country, nationality, or culture.
What did he/she wear? Who made the clothes? What kind of cloth was used, and where did the fabric come from? What pastimes would you have enjoyed? Did you tell stories, sing songs, or dance? Did you sew, spin, weave, or embroider?
As you begin think about what interests you, keep some of these questions in mind. You may find that your persona begins to develop as you learn more. It’s possible to pick a specific time and place, choose an occupation and research everything associated with that. Some people join the SCA just to “play” and don’t develop their persona beyond a time and place. Others love the education. The nice thing is that there’s room for both types to enjoy themselves within the same organization.