Arnoff Ragnarsson

From EastKingdomWiki


Resides: Barony of Stonemarche
Status: You're kidding... Status? We don't need no stinking status.
Awards: Order of Precedence
Arnoff Ragnarsson Arms.jpg
Or, on a bend sinister embattled counter embattled between two dolmens azure, three suns Or.

Arnoff ragnarsson badge1.png Arnoff Ragnarsson Badge Foot.jpg
Argent, a fleam gules.
Argent, upon a winged foot, bendwise and sinister facing, gules, a cross couped argent.
Award & Office Badges
Companion of the Order of the Pelican Queen's Order of Courtesy Companion of the Order of the Burdened Tyger Award of Arms
Knight Marshal Herald Mentor Chirurgeon


Master Arnoff Ragnarsson. Joined the SCA in 1977 in Ostgardr (the unpronounceable Province, New York City), Kingdom of the East. Moved to the Barony of Bjornsborg (San Antonio, Texas) in the Kingdom of Atenveldt. Moved again to western Massachusetts and helped found the Shire and then Barony of Bergental. Lived in and kept in touch with Bjornsborg in what became the Kingdom of Ansteorra. While living in Bergantal was the founding Knights Marshall, autocratted a lot of the early events, organized and produced a calligraphic calander, and lots of other fun things. Spent a lot of time in Carolingia (Greater Boston Area, Massachusetts) working at my mundane job, but lived in Bergental. Eventually settled in Stonemarche (New Hampshire), not that they know I'm here. Was squired to Sir Randall (East Kingdom, but originally from the Middle Kingdom). Was proteged to Mistress Ammalynne Starchild Heraldsdottir (Kingdom of Meridies). Order of the Pelican, Queen's Order of Courtesy, etc.

Proteges (in alphabetical order): Ariel of Caer Myrddin, Aurora Ilfetafether of Steorrwuda, Lyle FitzWilliam, Marieke van de Dal, Þóra Sharptooth. Each of them simply amazing people.


  • 2nd Century Teutonic Tribesman.
  • Lately I've been getting into a Greenland Inuit alternate persona. Think "Eskimo" in contact with Vikings.

Offices & Positions

Hell, I can't remember them all. I was a warranted Marshall, Herald, and Chirurgeon for years and years. I was a Marshall first and longer than I ever was a Chirurgeon, yet I'm remembered as a Chirurgeon. Go figure. I was the first Master Chirurgeon in the East Kingdom. I think they've got me down as a Chirurgeon Emeritus now.

  • East Kingdom Chirurgeon, location: go ahead, guess..., 11/01/1986 to 05/01/1989
  • Deputy War Chirurgeon, location: Pennsic XVI
  • War Chirurgeon, location: Pennsic XVII
  • Chirurgeon General of the SCA, location: everywhere..., 05/01/1989 to 05/01/1992

Event Staff

I'm not even going to try. Lots and lots of these. Ran Yule Feast in Bergantal like the first three years it was held. Autocratted lots of other events. Ran dance practices. Ran fighter practices. Ran storytelling. Ran meetings. Taught classes. Caused classes to be taught. Marshalled in several kingdoms and taught a lot of fighters how to fight. Chirurgeoned everywhere and taught a lot of Chirurgeons and Water Bearers. Even feastocratted an event called the Secret Policeman's Ball. Did a Kingdom Twelfthnight with my protege Aurora (who did an amazing amount of work). Somewhere in there they gave Aurora and me Burdened Tygers.

Projects & Publications

General Projects

Again, I can't remember 'em all. I like to write and draw, spin and weave, design looms and build them, do calligraphy and sew. I've kept a flock of sheep from which I get my own wool since 1989. I've drawn so much knotwork I just do it freehand at this point. I embroider it freehand too. I like to do my embroidery on cloth that I've woven myself - that way you have control of the entire product. If you have a very bumpy wool piece of cloth you've woven then it can be almost impossible to draw on it, so freehand knotwork embroidery is an important skill. I'm a big believer in muscle memory for these types of artistic skills. I research and tie knots. I've been storytelling for decades, including a decade attending Brother Blue's weekly storytelling classes. I'm interested in ancient astronomy and have done academic work in Mayan astronomy (unpublished, tho Master El has been on my ass for years about publishing some of it in TI.) I love to muck about with astrolabes. I showed up at my first event in a felt tunic I'd made since that's what Teutonic Tribesmen wore according to the books I found in my local library. In the era of polyester T-tunics this made people look at me funny. It was authentic AFAICT, but also too hot for a winter, indoor SCA event. I didn't actually make my own felt, but give me a break, it was my first event and I was only 15.

Major Publications

I'll just skip all the minor ones, the informational pamphlets, articles submitted to various publications, etc. I can't remember 'em all anyway.

  • al-Qanun - a magazine for Chirurgeons and other interested parties - bimonthly inter-Kingdom / international newsletter (pre-Internet. Many Kingdom Chirurgeons redistributed it to their folks as their official newsletters with their own messages inserted. This was done at my suggestion for those who would find it useful. I produced this bi-monthly for three or four years.
  • Compleat Anachronist: Issues in Chirurgery, A Collection from Al-Qanun
  • The Weavers and Spinners Network - bimonthly inter-Kingdom / international newsletter (pre-Internet).

And some articles that I care about:

  • "Anatomy of a Storm" - article about the emergency response to the effects of a tropical storm hitting the Pennsic War encampment.
  • "All This Could Be Ours" - widely republished article about tent fires in large SCA encampments.

More Information

I was a fencer mundanely before I ever heard of the SCA. I was inspired by an uncle who was a world-class fencer. Fencing was not yet a part of the SCA when I joined, so I fenced occasionally with the League of Renaissance Swordsmen in NYC. I fought heavy list in the SCA. One day, in the early 90's I think, I picked up a rapier and fooled around a little with Duke Morghun Sheridan and nearly beat him despite being decades out of practice; he wanted to warrant me as a Marshall of Fence, but I think he needed me to have actually fenced a few times at SCA events first.

After fighting in the SCA for over a decade I entered my first tourney: Golden Sword. I won, but I'd been fighting so long Arastorm asked if it was OK to give the prize, an SCA sword with gold duct tape, to the newcomer who had placed second. That was fine with me. It had been a good day with great companions, which is why I was there in the first place. The newcomer was thrilled with his new golden sword. The reason it had taken me so long to enter a tourney was that I was marshaling, chirurgeoning, or heralding at all the others I had attended, if I wasn't actually autocrating the event. I was simply too busy making tournaments happen to actually fight in one. I can tell you something about Golden Sword: Arastorm cooks a really great feast.

The people who helped me start in the SCA were Adrian of Huntington and Andreas de Vulpas. Great folks. In 1978 Andreas had the idea of making 12 gauge helms for local fighters. He asked if I could use the equipment at my High School's metal shop to roll the helms into cylinders. I did the first twelve (or was it more?) and then moved to Atenveldt. I found our years later that he'd made loads of them and the fighters who wore them were called the Clone Army. I still have mine - one of the first.

Mundane background affects SCA career in my experience; here's a little about mine. I've been a long-range wilderness canoeist since I was a kid, and before I'd even heard of the SCA. Used to travel through the Hudson's Bay region of the Canadian sub-arctic during summers on forty day trips back when there weren't any roads up there. I did four trips like that before and around the time I joined the SCA. That, and many smaller trips (generally a week or so long) where I was wielding a paddle all day is one of the reasons I took to pole arms like a duck to water. Aikido was another reason, but that's a different story. When Pennsic got hit by a tropical storm and everything and everyone was wet and hypothermic, tents were down and flooded, and it was dark and nobody had a clue, I knew what to do, and did it using Chirurgeon's Point as a base. It all looked normal to me because it was. Cold, wet, hypothermic? Sounds like a standard day during a northern Canadian summer. No problem.

First award: AoA. Second award: Pelican. Figure that one out.


Jaella of Armida and the Chirurgeonate

It was 1983, and I was at my first Pennsic War. I had been in the SCA since 1977, but simply had never made it to Pennsic before '83. At the War I discovered there was such a thing as the Chirurgeonate and, since I was an EMT mundanely, I decided to volunteer. (In the SCA I was a Marshall, an Autocrat, and an arts type, and I'd never heard about the Chirurgeonate.) Well, one thing led to another and I wound up spending a huge amount of time at the Chirurgeon's Point. In fact, after a while, that was almost all I did at the War. I'd get up in the morning as soon as I was coherent enough to put on my garb, drag myself out of my tent, and immediately stagger down the hill to the Point. The second day I did this I realized I could cut through some campsites to make the journey shorter. One of these campsites was Jaelle's - I think I mumbled a salutation as I went by. The third day that I staggered down the hill something hit me in the chest as I passed through Jaelle's campsite. I reflexively clutched it and, since it hadn't killed me, kept staggering. At the point I discovered it was a large wooden bowl full of breakfast. And not just any breakfast: An omelet and other yummy and nutritious things. I ate it while I was briefed on what had occurred while I was sleeping. A charming young lady came by later in the day to pick up the bowl. The next morning the same thing happened (stagger, stagger, thump!). And the next. And the next. And so on. On the seventh morning I stopped, looked at Jaelle, and said something along the lines of: "Why are you doing this?" She smiled. She said she'd been watching me work at the Point day and night and the way she figured it, if she fed me breakfast she was doing her bit to support the Society. She then said it like it was an equation: Support the Chirurgeon so the Chirurgeon can support the Society. She also said it was pretty predictable when I'd emerge - when the sun rose high enough so my tent got too hot - so I was easy to cook for. Now there's a woman who had her head in a good place, and knew something about cooking too. Those breakfasts were tasty!

With gratitude and a long memory, RIP Mistress Jaelle, and thank you for supporting the Society.

Master Arnoff Ragnarsson, Former Chirurgeon General of the SCA, OP, QoC, etc.