Archive for the ‘Amtgard’ Category


The Game of Amtgard

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Yesterday, a 23$ donation to the American Cancer Society was received from the Amtgard group the Shire of Boreal Dale, located in Sanford, Maine through our Quest for the Cure initiative.  Over half the money the Quest has raised up until now has come from the people and groups of Amtgard.  As such, I thought I would give it my best shot at giving a general description of what Amtgard is as well as how I am involved in the game.

Amtgard is a LARP (Live Action Role-Playing) game where people dress up and fight each other with safe foam-covered replica weapons all over North America.  Players have a choice of several classes to play, from the sword and shield using Warrior, to the bow-wielding scout, to the fireball-throwing and spell-casting wizard.  Every class has its own strength and weaknesses and players are allowed to play as any class they wish at the level they have attained (new levels are granted as players sign in as the same class over again up to 6th level in each class) for every game.  More information on the rules of Amtgard can be found here.

I started playing Amtgard in July of 1997, in the Sudbury group now called the Duchy of Wolven Fang.  Little did I know at the time that my simple desire to experience medieval style fighting would turn into my primary hobby and a large source of friendship for at least the next fifteen years of my life.  While I took breaks from the game as I went away to school, I always returned to it.

As the years went by, I realized that Amtgard was actually a large community, and not something that only happened behind the local high school.  I travelled to larger events in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, New Hamshire, and even flew to New Mexico and California for Amtgard.  At every place, new players were met and new friendships formed.  Amtgard in Canada and the northern US grew, and four groups (the Duchy of Wolven Fang, the Duchy of Caradoc Hold, the Barony of Twilight Peak, and the Barony of Felfrost) came together and formed the first Canadian Principality:  The Northern Empire.

I still play because I enjoy the game.  It’s great exercise and gives me a challenge each and every Sunday, as well as a special event or two every month that I can attend.  I plan to continue to blog about Amtgard, and specifically Amtgard events.  Those events and the people are what really keep me coming.  People like the guys from the Shire of Boreal Dale in Maine – a state I’ve never visited – that are willing to help out a group of people who want to go overseas on a quest to conquer cancer.


A Yule Auction

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On December 10th, 2011, the Duchy of Caradoc Hold held its winter coronation event named Yule.  Yule is an event where people gather to play Amtgard in the snow and are able to retreat to a cabin and gather by the wood stove to warm up.  Warm food is served as the outgoing officers present awards to the deserving players of the past six months before being replaced by a new group of officers that will lead Caradoc Hold until their next coronation event in June:  Tribal Rivals.

I’ve attended the past 3 or 4 Yule events before this one; however the specific reason that Dan and I were drawn to attending this year was that Geoffrey, a local player and the outgoing and incoming Ducal Consort, was running an auction with most of the proceeds being donated to the Wayfarers and their Quest for the Cure.

Thanks to donations from various players in attendance (and a few who were not there but had sent their items in), the items that were auction off were as follows:

–          A nice cane

–          Three inkblot paintings

–          A chain mail brassiere

–          Four scarves

–          Two massages

–          A story to be written with topic chosen by the winner

–          A pie for my face

–          A pie for Dan’s face

The most common winning bid was 15-20$ for each item, with the two pies going for the most money.  I was up for auction before Dan was and it looked like I was going to be pied for a small sum of money, so I outbid the current bid with  bid of 20$.  Seth, the man who had the current bid, was unhappy since he didn’t want to spend so much money.  However, Shawn, a traveler from the Kingdom of Goldenvale, stepped in to help Seth and they bid 22$ together.  To my great delight, instead of hitting me with the cherry pie, the pair decided to eat it, and even shared a bit of it with me.

Dan wasn’t so lucky.

After reminding the room of reasons why they would love to hit him with a pie, the bidding started.  After some fast and furious bidding, Kevin of Wolven Fang teamed forces with Nathan of Felfrost to place a 40$ bid that was declared the winner.

I did not get to witness Dan get pied in the face but I saw him come back into the lodge with a face covered in apple pieces and crust.  I laughed at him, happy I escaped that fate, and completely okay with the fact that his pie raised more money than mine did.  I also offered Dan first run at the shower back at our hotel.

In total, the Wayfarer’s portion from this auction was 150.50$ with an additional 27$ donated directly to the Wayfarers.  All of the proceeds from this event were donated to the American Cancer Society.

The Wayfarers would like to thank everyone involved in this auction, including the Duchy of Caradoc Hold for allowing it to take place, Geoffrey for pushing for it and being the auctioneer, everyone who donated an item to be auctioned off, and everyone who placed a bid, whether a winning bid or a big to bring up the price.  We couldn’t have done this without you!


Treadmill Woes

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Twenty-three kilometers into our training walk last Saturday, I felt a dreadfully familiar twinge in my left leg.

Five years ago, I slipped on some sand during a LARP combat and tore the hamstring in my left leg. I didn’t realize what was wrong – it was just a searing pain, but I could still walk, albeit shakily – so I kept fighting. For two hours or so, it was hurting but I tried to play through it (and even succeeded, for the most part). That night, after an hour of sitting down for a meal and chatting, I found myself decidedly unable to walk.

It was five months before I could walk comfortably without a pronounced limp; three of those were spent walking with the help of a cane. I have understandably been more careful since, stretching before my LARP days and before training such as Saturday’s.

Despite those stretches, though, my more-sedentary lifestyle this winter has taken its toll. I wasn’t nearly as tired as I expected to be, but when the pain started and didn’t work itself out on the treadmill (as other soreness tends to), I ended up stopping two kilometres – just 24 minutes – shy of our goal. I put some essential oils, meant to help with pain and soreness, on the back of my knee when I got a chance to lie down a few hours later; yesterday I was still sore and applied them again. A combination of time and oils have brought me to a nice, subdued, bearable soreness today – much better than the pain I was fearing.

All-in-all, training went well on Saturday… and taught me that I need to start more regular training on my own again to shake off some of the rust that has been gathering over the winter.


The Battle of the Dens Site

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This past weekend while some of the Wayfarers were off on a training walk, I went home to Sudbury for a visit with my family.  My parent’s property also happens to be the site of Battle of the Dens (BotD), the largest Canadian Amtgard event.

Since Dan discovered a nice app that can track our walks on our phones, I decided to do something I wanted to do for years:  walk all the trails on the site, as well as walk around the tenting areas, parking areas and the open field we use to fight in order to get an accurate map of the area. You can find a link to my walk here.

Battle of the Dens is an event that is now being run yearly (it happened more than once a year when it began) that has been run since 1997.  In the past BotD was run at different locations, but since the summer of 2001, BotD has found a home on the Grylls property.

In order to fit the 150 people that have come to the event in the past two years, a lot of the forest in the area had to be cut down to provide room for tents, cars and fighting.  This map taken from my walk shows the state of the area that most of BotD is spent in. 

Two separate areas for camping have developed over the years.  The one closest to the road is now known as the ‘family camping zone’ since it has space for RVs and is furthest away from the fire pits and the nighttime noise.  A larger tenting area is found on the opposite side of the ditch which holds most of the attendees.  Between every event some site work is done, and for next year, I expect the ditch field to be widened a bit and the family camping area to be extended as well.

An orange dot on the map indicates the ‘storage bus’.  This bus was found on the property when my parents purchased it, and is a great place for Wolven Fang to keep items that BotD can use year after year.

Most people who’ve been to the site can picture this area without help from my GPS assisted map.  I’ve even drawn up a map that almost looked exactly like this one, and I’m horrible at drawing things.  The main purpose of my walk was to map out the trails and locate all the structures in the forest that we use for quests, but most importantly, for Battle of the Dens’ main event:  Capture the Flag.

Over the years, the trails have expanded greatly.  The first few BotDs on this site featured just three bases, named Base 1, Base 2 and Base 3 at the time.  Now they are, in order:  Eagle’s Point, the Ruins and Duchy Base.  As you can see from the proximity of the three bases, the field was much smaller then.

The Hut was the next base that was built.  Standing on the rock between Eagle’s Point and the Ruins, a new trail was made that lead directly to the Hut.  As time went on, Base 2 was ignored (the base in the middle got the least use) and fell into disrepair and earned the name Ruins.  The Hut often battled against the forces of Wolven Fang, which used Base 3, so that base gained the name of Duchy Base.

Magnus Blackeagle spent some time and resources on the site and built up Base 1 with some impressive walls.  Since he went on to do so much work on the base, he got to name it and chose Eagle’s Point.

In 2008, the idea came up to try a different sort of CTF game where each team would have to defend two bases.  The Ruins were located poorly and needed too much repair, so Fort  Goldenleaf was born to be
the partner to the Hut.

A couple years later, Fort Goldenleaf would face off against Eagle’s Point (using the Hut as Nirvana) and a new trail and the Control Point were created.  The Control Point was simply a zone that teams could gain points by holding and never earned itself a true name.

This past year, the autocrats did the site a small disservice by severely limiting the amount of field that was useful to play in.  The game was the Hut versus Eagle’s Point with the Ruins as the Nirvana base.  So many more trails and areas could have been used.  Even so, the game itself was still an entertaining defensive game.

It is my hope that future BotD autocrats take this map and use it to help plan their CTFs and their quests.  The BotD site has a lot to offer, and with more hard work and love, can be expanded even further.