Vigilation – Becoming a Full Member
The process of vigilation is one that every club member has to go through. If you pay attention, ask good questions of your fellow club members, and start from good historically accurate sources, the process is fun and challenging. On the other hand, if you start from fantasy artwork or hollywood sources, and don't listen to advice, you will find the process expensive and frustrating, and you may even end up getting turned away from events. The principle of “Garbage In, Garbage Out!” is never more true than here.
Once you have your full portrayal put together, contact a vigilator and get the process going. If you have everything ready ahead of time, the process can take as few as fifteen minutes, during which you and the vigilator discuss your portrayal. At the end, you will have one of three verdicts. You shall: Pass, Conditionally Pass, or Not Pass. Here are examples of each:
The ideal example (you shall pass):
An LMC member wants to portray a town-person from mid-15th century France. The member has gone online and looked up various manuscript illuminations from the time period, as well as some extant garments from an online museum repository. Following the minimum standards, the member puts together a complete outfit, making or buying everything on the list. Their name is congruent with late medieval France, and they know the name of their king and current Pope. They can describe broad details of current events, and know the specifics of seasonal climate in their general region.
Result: The member looks like they stepped out of a medieval manuscript and have a basic understanding of the life they would have led. The vigilator passes the member with flying colours and asks that member to be a reference for 15th century France for others in the future.
An okay example (you shall conditionally pass):
An LMC member likes the look of a modern picture of an Irish Kern from an osprey history book, and wants to portray that, but the picture is too late to be considered “medieval”. The member interpolates that Irish Kerns probably looked the same thirty years prior, and does some research that backs this up with a little bit of modification. Unfortunately, there aren't very many illustrations from that period or region, so a little bit of “reading between the lines” is necessary. The member puts
together the outfit. The cloth for the outer garment is a synthetic mimic of linen, which looks okay, but some people can tell it isn't linen from a few feet away. The member read a Wikipedia article about the period and has a vague idea of local geography and habits.
Result: The vigilator conditionally passes the member for one event, with the requirement of upgrading the outer garment (to linen, rather than synthetic fibre) in time for the next event. In the future, the member is also encouraged to start from period sources, rather than a modern picture, and work from that starting point. The member is expected to have a historically accurate name, and a better concept of self for future events
A “store-bought” example (you shall conditionally pass):
An LMC member wants to attend an event, but they don't have enough time or inclination to do much research, or make things themselves. So, the member asks a vigilator for a reputable supplier to buy an outfit from. The vigilator makes some recommendations, and tells the member what to avoid. The member buys a complete 13th century English outfit from an online vendor. Unfortunately, one of the outfit components, the hat, is a poor example of an obviously modern rendition of an obscure extant artifact. In other words, it is obviously “a copy of a copy”, and doesn't look at all medieval. For their persona, the member selected a name from Anglo-Saxon England, and is basing their behaviour off a Youtube “Medieval English Way of Life” video.
Result: The vigilator passes the member, on condition that they aren't allowed to wear their hat, and must select a temporary name more appropriate to their time for the purpose of the event. The member hasn't really learned much about the middle ages, but they also aren't going to disturb anyone else at the event by being blatantly modern, so this isn't a problem.
The member is expected to seek out some more reputable sources upon which to base their persona for the next event.
An unacceptable example (you shall not pass):
An LMC member shows up to an event in a fantasy costume, with no evidence to support the historical existence of any part of the outfit. When asked, the member simply replies that they thought the outfit “Would be good enough. After all, if they had it, they would have used it! And it totally looks medieval!” Their ‘persona’ bears an uncanny resemblance to a character from a popular television show.
Result: The outfit does not pass. The member is not allowed into the event without a suitable outfit; other members are kind enough to help out, and lend the member some stuff for the day that does pass. A quick conversation with a vigilated member familiar with the time period in question reveals no understanding of appropriate behavior or culture. The member has to start over from scratch – although, at least they now own a killer cosplay outfit!