Amtgard

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Amtgard

Location
El Paso, Tx
Genre
Fantasy
Established
1983
Chapters
16 kingdoms
Credits
Jim Haren Jr.
Website
Official web page


Amtgard is a fantasy and combat LARP with chapters in the USA, Canada, Croatia, UK and Japan. It is often considered a battle game. The largest concentrations of Amtgard chapters are in Texas and the Central United States.

Style

Battlegames range from one-on-one tournaments to team battles of forty or fifty people to mass warfare with hundreds of players. The largest "grand melees" are held at the major annual events and can incorporate hundreds of members from chapters all over the world. Conversely, scripted "quests" can involve just a dozen or two participants, and may involve puzzles as well as combat. The ditch battle, or trench battle, is a simple form battle that involves weapon use only, not full class play.

Unlike many other fantasy roleplaying games, Amtgard has no established "backstory" to its world. The setting encourages and incorporates elements of historical Europe and Asia as well as the high and low fantasy genres.

Amtgard has a cultural side as well, emphasizing various cultural fairs and competitions as well as various forms of creative expression. Amtgarders often create their own garb and equipment.

Two important structures in Amtgard culture are the Fighting Company and the Household, both voluntary memberships. A Fighting Company is essentially a military structure, much like a "clan" in any multi-player video game, whereas a Household is devoted to some cultural or personal goals, such as the arts, benevolence, common interests, etc. Both generally place a high value on contributing to the club as a whole, and often have a specific mission statement.

The game has an extensive system of awards and honours, similar to that of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

Rules

Amtgard uses a class and level-based rules system, modelled on the tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons. Characters can increase in level, granting extra abilities, based on length of play and passing a guild test. Advancement in a class is not tied to a specific character; players may play different classes at different times, and levels have no relation to in-character deaths.

The primary focus of the rules of the game is combat. The abilities of the classes are generally related to combat. Non-combat oriented talents and attributes are often left up to the imagination and actual capabilities of the players or rules specified in a scenario.

The basic combat rules are nearly identical to Dagorhir, with combat resolved by live-combat using boffer weapons and a "limb loss" system modelling on the Society for Creative Anachronism. A single hit to a limb disables it, and disabling multiple limbs (or the same arm twice) results in death. Armour grants a limited amount of protection to the location covered, effectively acting as a hit points system. Magic is handled though audible calls and thrown spell packets.

Organization

Amtgard is organised into "Kingdoms", each of which is Not-For-Profit Organization registered in their state of origin. Below the kingdom level sub-chapters are organised by size, with smaller groups (called variously a "shire," "barony," "duchy," or "principality," depending on the number of active members and how long the group has been around) grouped under larger or older ones. Each sub-chapter is contractually bound to abide by the official Rules of Play (currently version 8.0) and is sponsored and supported by one of the Amtgard kingdoms.

The following Kingdoms exist:

  • The Kingdom of the Burning Lands, El Paso, Texas, Puyallup, Washington
  • The Kingdom of the Emerald Hills, Dallas, Texas
  • The Celestial Kingdom, Central Texas
  • The Empire of the Iron Mountains, Colorado
  • The Kingdom of the Golden Plains, Amarillo, Texas
  • The Kingdom of Dragonspine, Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • The Kingdom of the Wetlands], Southeast Texas, Louisiana
  • The Kingdom of Goldenvale, Nashua, New Hampshire
  • The Kingdom of Neverwinter, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, West Virginia
  • The Kingdom of the Rising Winds, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois
  • The Kingdom of the Black Spire Oregon, Eastern Washington
  • The Kingdom of Crystal Groves, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania
  • The Kingdom of Desert Winds, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho
  • The Kingdom of Tal Dagore, Missouri, Illinois
  • The Kingdom of the Northern Lights, Western Washington
  • The Kingdom of Westmarch, California and Western Nevada

See also: Amtgard O.R.K. Atlas

History

On February 12th, 1983 the science fiction club of the Local high school responded to an ad placed in their El Paso newspaper by a fellow called Peter Le Grue for an event called 'Attillia The Hun's Birthday Bash'. From this small day of swinging a short sword and a small axe with a mostly photocopied Dagorhir rulebook Amtgard was born.

Nashomi, an early amtgard historian, lists the first Qualifications as having been on March 23rd of that same year. Tawnee was the first Queen, chosen by right of arms, and Joella was the first Champion by virtue of having placed second in the tourney. The first five monarchs all earned their crowns by right of arms. The club voted September 12, 1987, 34 to 23 to change the system so that from then on monarchs were elected by popular vote rather than trial by combat.

Esoum was quoted saying that Amtgard spread proportionally to the number of people who left El Paso.

In the Modern Era there are fourteen Kingdoms of amtgard along with several major principalities. More than three hundred chapters actively play each weekend.

The rulebook originally focused solely on classes and combat rules. Setting information and weapon-making instructions were added in the 2.0 rulebook in 1984. The game is currently on version 8.0 of its rules.

References