THE RULE OF THUMB COMPLEXITY COUNT

by Daniel de Lincolia

There are two common misconceptions about Rules for Submission VIII.1.a, the "complexity rule of thumb" for armory:

  1. Tincture and Charge Limit - Armory must use a limited number of tinctures and types of charges. As a rule of thumb, the total of the number of tinctures plus the number of types of charges in a design should not exceed eight.

    One misconception is thinking that it's a hard-and-fast limit. It's not. It's a rule of thumb. For example, consider (from the Laurel LoAR for April, 1995):
    Isabel of Biconyll. Device. Or, a beacon sable enflamed gules atop a mount sable, a bordure vert semy of oak leaves Or.

    Though this has a technical complexity count of nine with five types of charges (beacon, flames, mount, bordure and leaves) and four tinctures (Or, sable, gules, and vert), it is at the same time so visually simple that its technical complexity is not sufficiently excessive as to warrant return under the rule of thumb of RfS VIII.1.a.

    As well, a complexity count of seven has contributed to return. From the LoAR for March, 1992:
    Elena Anne of Lostwithiel. Device. Per pall inverted vert, argent and purpure, in chief two chevronels counterchanged and in base a rose between four crescents in cross argent.

    Despite a rule of thumb "complexity count" of "only" six (with three types of charge and three tinctures), this device is extremely complex. It does not appear to follow any period style of armory that any of the commenters could find.
     
  2. The other misconception is thinking that lines of division are counted in the rule of thumb. From the Cover Letter to the LoAR for the March, 1995, Laurel meeting:
    Another "complexity" comment which has been appearing periodically in commentary is the inclusion of a complex line of division in a submission with the "complexity count". The "rule of thumb" included in RfS VIII.1.a. is clear: "the total of the number of tinctures plus the number of types of charges in a design should not exceed eight." While it is true that a complex line of division may add some "busy-ness" to a piece of armory, it does not do so nearly to the same extent as adding different types of charges or more tinctures. As a consequence, a complex line of division should not be included in an VIII.1.a. "complexity count" when addressing an armory submission.

6 July 1998 Daniel de Lincolia (Tim McDaniel)

 


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