Sunday, July 15, 2012

Famous Arms of Alphatia

The House of Thera originates from the Kingdom of Theranderol, at least as far as its Mystaran ancestry is concerned.  In fact, like many ancient Alphatian dynasties, it can trace its roots to families who came from another world, hence the six estoiles upon a nightly sky.  Eriadna, as Empress of Alphatia, bears the purpure chief and crown as her personal arms.  Her immediate offsprings' coat of arms are similar save for the bendlet gules and differentiating label.

It is  easy to understand the design of Vertiloch's arms--the vertical green stripe stands for "vert" while the golden key implies a "lock."  Ermine augmentations remind that the District of Vertiloch belongs to the throne of Alphatia.  The popular arms of Theranderol display first and foremost the wizards' sun in its plenitude over and above the spurs of gallant knights.  The field of azure represents the sky while the green is for the land below.  Queen Eldrethila would always fight under her own banner if present on a battlefield.  A military commander of Theranderol's army would otherwise use his own arms or those of Theranderol, perhaps both for good measure.

From the Author: This treatment is my first attempt at designing shields electronically, and using the Gimp application (with varying success I might add.)  It is one step closer to being able to emulate the sort of detail regularly featured in Voyages of the Princess Ark.  Please feel free to comment on the shields' design and make suggestions.  The app I use is another Inkwell Ideas design called Coat of Arms.


  1. Very nice! Alphatian coat of arms are really much needed, in my opinion. Thank you.

    Why exactly 6 stars? Do they have any connection to events related to the founding of Alphatia on Mystara?

    If you don't have a theory yet I'd like to suggest a possible scenario, exploiting info from published materials: the 6 stars could represent the 6 groups of Alphatians into which the original migration split once arrived on Mystara.
    These groups were:
    1) those who stayed in Vertiloch and built
    2) the group who followed Aasla in Haven;
    3) the group who followed Palartarkan (Ar) in Ar/Floaring Ar area;
    4) the wizards who secluded themselves in Blackheart;
    5) the group who established the city of Citadel (it is 2000 years old, accordingly to PWAI);
    6) the group who established the city of Helskir in the Isle of Dawn (this city is 2000 years old, too). Likely this group lately mixed with Dawners, Antalians or Thyatians, loosing much of its "pure" strain.

    Other groups could have been originated by these original six in later times, of course.

    A final note about Vertiloch: another meaning of "Verti-Loch" could be "Green lake" (like the Greenlake river crossing the kingdom), but I like a lot your solution, as if this word actually has a double meaning and there is some hidden significance in it (a secret which maybe needs to be "unlocked"?).

    1. It's a good idea. The newcomers splitting into six groups, or the newcomers coming from six different clans or related regions. I've fine with what you suggested.

      As far as Vertiloch goes, I was merely referring to the sort of puns that are sometimes used in heraldry to suggest the name of an owner. :-)

  2. Hi Bruce, one idea that I've been toying with for a while was that Alphatian heraldry was displayed on objects other than shields. My thought was that for fighters, displaying your heraldry on shields makes a lot of sense... but for wizards, what is the connection to a physical shield.

    Is it possible for the program you are using to set different shapes as the background? Circles, ovals, squares, or even star shapes might all make for good Alphatian heraldry. And I could also imagine that the different nations might have different shape preferences. Perhaps a more martial nation (like Randel) would actually use the normal convention of displaying their heraldry on a shield, while the others use more esoteric shapes.

    Anyway, just a stray thought. I'm really enjoying these articles. Please keep it up!

    1. Yes, but for the sake of showing heraldic designs in a clear, standardized manner (and for simplicity), I'll stick with plain old shields as a practical convention. Wizards would of course be likely to pick all sorts of media to bear their colors.

  3. Another stray comment, but I'm not sure that the bendlet on the House Thera shields should cross over the top of the chief. The chief should probably be drawn on top of the bendlet.... something just doesn't look quite right with the way it currently is.

    1. I'm not disagreeing. I'm actually hampered by the app that does not provide a convenient way to move elements into the foreground or to background layers.


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