What is the Silver Suns Free Company?
The SSFC is the SSR's registered Household for the SCA. We are a mercenary company that serves as a standing company in service to the Barony of the Citadel of the Southern Pass (El Paso, TX) and the Kingdom of the Outlands (Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and El Paso in Texas). When our crown and/or coronet takes the field, the SSFC fields our forces under their banner. If neither is present at an event then the SSFC is free to fulfill mercenary contracts. We have members scattered throughout the country and our dispersed members fall under the same rules. If several members meet up at other events then they are free to fight for their own crown or fulfill contracts. When the Condottiero or Capitano di Ventura are present, the members gathered shall fight under the contract or crown/coronet to which they have pledged their fealty.
The Company is based around 1430-1460 Renaissance Italy based out of the Florentine Republic.
How is the Company organized?
The Company is led by a Condottiero who is responsible for contracting and organizing the condotta. The Capitano di Ventura acts as the executive officer for the Condottiero and fields the forces under the condotta. If multiple mercenary companies are sub-contracted under the condotta then there can be multiple Captains of the Venture or Capitani di Ventura.
The basic fighting unit is the Lance. A Lance is made up of 3 to 5 soldiers depending upon how the unit is organized. Siege Lances may only be made up of 2 soldiers and their equipment. Each soldier begins as a Private having entered into a private contract with the company. Once a member completes a contract they are awarded veteran status and appointed as assistant to leading the Lance as a Lancepesades. The commander of a Lance is called a Corporal or Lance Corporal. The non-commissioned officers are known as Sergeants. Sergeants who hold official positions are known as Staff Sergeants. Senior sergeants who are first among their peers are granted the position of First Sergeant. Officers who obtain a commission from the Condottiero and may perform leadership functions on behalf of the Company are known as Lieutenants. The Officer who is responsible for the Company's banner is known as the Ensign. The most trusted senior officers are known as Captain or Capitano; Captains or Capitani. The Capitani form the advisory council for the Condottiero and may fulfill separate contracts on behalf of the Company as long as it doesn't conflict with the Company's prior commitments.
The ranks and positions within the Company are based upon 15th Century Italian conventions.
Do I have to fight with a certain weapon style?
Yes and no. If participating in a war/melee then the Condottiero/Capitani will dictate the weapon style and configuration of the Company. If fighting in an individual or melee tournament then the fighters may choose whatever weapon style they wish.
The recommended starter fighting style, which is also the standard convention in the SCA for newcomers is a shield and one-handed weapon. The Company encourages members to fight with a broad range of weapons including Combat Archery to gain exposure to these styles learning their strengths and weaknesses. The standard Lance configuration is a shield and sword fighter up front; a two-handed spear/pike fighter and a combat archer. Some battles/melees do not allow combat archery, so a second spear or two-handed weapon fighter would be substituted. Some scenarios may call for more shield fighters and others may require all 2-handers or the inclusion of florentine (dual wielding fighting style) fighters. When fighting with a shield members may use sword, axe, mace/hammer, one-handed spear or any other single handed weapon.
Am I required to have my own weapons/armor/tents/garb/etc.?
In order to be considered a full member of the Household you are required to have your own kit. Those who do not will qualify as members of the Auxiliary and can fight with the Company without signing the Condotta. Those who serve in the Auxiliary may rank up to Man-at-Arms forming a student relationship to one of the House members. The Auxiliary is available to those who are new to SCA or cannot afford to own/maintain their own kit. Loaner kits, garb and other equipment is retained by the Company, but made available at events for Auxiliary members. Availability of Auxiliary equipment is on a first come, first served basis and isn't always the highest quality gear, but it will always be maintained to be safe and suitable to fight in.
Those who require tents or garb may still be considered full members, but will stay in the barracks tents, which are 10' x 10' squares and split between two people. The tents fit two members comfortably with all of their gear. Garb will be provided by the Quartermaster, but will be a standard, one size fits all uniform in the Company's colors.
Dress armor/weapons for Royal/Baronial/City Guard contracts will be provided by the Company at events. Currently the Company has a set of halberds, sallets and uniforms when performing guard duties.