Okay, so you've heard about this neat game called Amtgard, where people dress up in funny clothes, go out in public and beat each other up with padded sticks, all the while casting spells at each other and pretending to be warriors, wizards, knights and monsters. Now you're ready to head out to the nearest Amtgard group and give it a try yourself. This is a guide to walk you through that first day, and hopefully get you started on your quest to become a hardcore Amtgardian.
Now that you're here:
Find the person in charge (A monarch, prime minister or chancellor) and sign a waiver. If you are a minor, you will have to have a waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian before you can play.
If you have equipment, have it inspected by the Champion or a reeve. These individuals are responsible for safety on the field. Your first tries at making equipment may not be legal for the field, this is very common. If not, find out why they failed the safety test and ask questions on how to improve them.
Borrow equipment to learn with. Usually a club officer can help you find some loaner gear or extra equipment. If possible try out several different combinations of equipment, such as sword and shield, and florentine (two swords).
Get your first fighting lesson. Have someone go over the legal targeting areas, how to call the shots that hit you, and get them to show you some basic shots. Use this as an opportunity to ask questions and make sure that you understand the combat system. Once you get out on the field, things will be more hectic than a one-on-one session. Before you go out on the field, you should know what shots to take, how to deliver a legal and effective shot, how to take limbs and deaths, what are legal and illegal targets and how to safely use the equipment that you are holding.
There are four basic games we fight, and you may encounter any combination of them your first day. There are also many other types of games and variations:
Sparring is fighting one on one, informally. Often when there is no other battle going on, two people will face off for a few rounds. It can be practice, teaching or just for fun. To spar, you can just ask someone if they want to spar.
A trench battle, or ditch battle, is a battle that involves two sides facing off to fight. The first person killed on the winning side and crosses over to the other team. New players start with the losing team. Trench battles do not use magic or the Amtgard player classes, and no projectiles are allowed. They are common between battle games. Rounds end quickly, and anyone can join in the next round.
A battle game is a battle between teams, using the player classes, magic and projectiles, including arrows and throwing daggers. A battle game may have any number of teams, and there are many possible objectives. The two most popular games are Mutual Annihilation, in which the game is played until the losing team has used up all its lives, or a Flag Battle, in which the object is to capture an opposing team's flag and hold it for a certain amount of time.
Occasionally, there will be quests. A quest is a special scenario that usually contains an object to be found or tasks to be achieved. It may involve any or all of the following: role-playing, special quest monsters, a plot or pre-determined goals or directions.
There may also be some unspoken rules of etiquette where you play, though these vary regionally. Things that may be considered dishonourable are: to stab someone in the back without letting them know you are there, (unless you are playing an assassin) or to appear or pretend to be dead in a battle and then attack someone once they are standing or fighting next to you. If you are killed, you should hold your sword above your head so that everyone can easily tell you are dead. It's also a good idea to you're your teammates of impending danger on the field. You are responsible for calling all shots that hit you, so be careful to protect your reputation for honour by doing so. Calling shots that hit another person is considered rude, though it's probably all right to ask. It's courteous to apologize if you hit someone in the head or throat or any non-target area. It's very important to always ask the owner before borrowing equipment, and to be sure to return it. If you are confused about local etiquette or customs, please ask someone. It's often good to let people know that you are new, so they will be able to help you out, and will be understanding of any mistakes you might make while you are learning.
There will be a lot going on and it may be difficult to absorb, so feel free to ask lots of questions. The Amtgard player classes, magic rules, and fighting rules can be complex, so there may be many things going on that you don't understand. Every Amtgardian was new once, though, and most will be happy to help you out, and explain anything you need to know.
Before You Leave:
Find out how to obtain a rulebook and copy of the Corpora. These will detail the rules of play, and also the organization of the game, both of which will speed your understanding of Amtgard.
Ask about any special events coming up. Many groups have fighter practices, workshops, quests, feasts, and tournaments, and also may have camping events or trips to other groups or kingdoms.
See if there is a group email list. Many groups have email lists that allow for discussion and keep members informed of special events, elections and events in nearby areas. An email list is often a forum where you can get answers to the many questions you will have as a beginner.
See if there is a group web page. The web pages can provide useful information like calendars, group documents, references to helpful resources, local contacts for questions, and other useful information.
Plan to make your own garb and equipment, and ask about patterns or workshops. Having your own garb and equipment early in the game is important, and will increase your enjoyment, as well as your participation. Most items are easy to make and can be made from inexpensive materials. Many groups hold workshops to help players learn different crafts such as weapon making, garbing and making armor. Don't be afraid to ask around about how something was made or what it is made of, most Amtgardians are proud of their garb and equipment and will be happy to tell you all about it.
This site is owned and maintained by Moogie of House Lionesse and House Morrigan. All works copyrighted Laura Brashear 2002 unless otherwise noted. To request permission to reproduce any works on this website please send email to moogie.