Land’s End Amtgard

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Land’s End Amtgard

Maria Uni Smotherman

Maria Uni Smotherman

Maria Uni Smotherman

Olga Kopp, Arts & Community Writer

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The world would not be as exciting without games, especially when you can live in it 24/7.

 

If you were ever curious who was that crowd of people dressing up in medieval costumes and running around with foam and wooden swords at University is, I’ll introduce you to Land’s End Amtgard.

 

Some people like fishing, some people like hunting, many other people enjoy doing sports, this Amtgard, however, like to do something more exciting and extravagant: playing games.

 

Land’s End Amtgard is a live-action fantasy role-play game that combines live-action battling with medieval fantasy elements with chapters primarily based in the United States and Canada as well as Germany, Croatia, South Korea, and many other countries.

The original Amtgard was created by Jim Haren Jr, also known as Peter LaGrue, in El Paso, Texas in 1983. Taking pieces from the rulebooks of both Emarthnguarth and, he advertised in the newspaper for an event known as “Attila the Hun’s Birthday Brawl.” Though only a few people showed that first day, it was a hit, and soon the game spread throughout the state and then the country. The largest concentrations of Amtgard chapters are in Texas and the Central United States, but groups are found throughout the United States as well as in Canada, Croatia, Japan, Finland, Germany, Korea, and Russia. Amtgard is named after two very good friends of Peter La Grue’s from his Emarthnguarth days, Matthew and Katy Amt, who now participate in Roman Legion recreations on the east coast, according to Wikipedia website.

Land’s End Amtgard group in Grand Forks was formed by Jordan Bremer, a.k.a. Kite Avicenna, in 2003. Bremer has been playing this game for as long as 16 years.

 

Kite began playing in the early days of Starmount with his friend Baine while living a double life in Minneapolis MN and Grand Forks ND. He didn’t get to fight enough, so he started Land’s End in 2003, but the park didn’t really take off until 2007 when Kite returned from a brief stint in Wyoming and met Jinn, Dallaran and Horune. Land’s End quickly exploded and has now become a stable regional hub partnered with Wildgard and Crimson Plains, according to Amtgard Wiki website.

 

Currently, there are around 20 to 30 participants in Land’s End Amtgard in Grand Forks, but they always welcome others to join their group. 

 

“This game is all over the country. There are around 20 to 30 thousand people who play this game,” Bremer said. “We are fighting all over. We travel a lot, which makes it even more exciting.”

 

Kat Burgener, a.k.a. Fuzz LE, is another member of Amtgard, titled as Woman-at-Arms DreadLord Mangochop Fuzz. She has been a member of Amtgard for six years since she was 14-years-old. 

 

“Amtgard is divided into kingdoms based upon your region. Imagine districts, but we are fancier, we are kingdoms because it medieval themed. Kingdoms are broken down into several parts. Our park is called Land’s End. We usually fight at University Park,” Burgener said.

The primary focus of the rules of the game is combat. The abilities of the classes are generally related to combat. There are non-combat oriented talents and attributes which can be a part of players’ imagination or rules specified in a scenario.

The most exciting events are battle games that can 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, according to Amtgard Wiki website.

No matter if it is snowing or raining, nothing can stop Amtgard from their battles and combats. Amtgarders are always excited to battle with each other as well as having great fun with it.

“We made the news one time when we were out there in the rain battling it out. We fought the tournament when it was a downpour before. We fought during the winter. This can get crazy, but we love it,” Burgener said.

If a player gets hit on the arm or leg, they are unable to use that limb. If a player is hit in the torso, they are out. The rules like this are a very important part of the game.

Battles can be tough, but Amtgarders can always find time for joy.

“We like to do battles, but we also like goofing around with each other which makes it more fun,” Bremer said.

While they are fighting, they are also learning things that nobody can teach them in real life. Older members are teaching newcomers following rules on how to fight while staying concentrated. They are also learning how to make weapons, costumes, etc.

“It’s more than just hitting each other for fun, it’s a learning process. You passing on the information to each member. You are learning how to communicate with each other, how to be calm. There is etiquette how to ‘murdering’ each other with wooden sticks,” said Burgener while laughing. 

Amtgarding has a great outcome for your physical and mental strength. Your reflexes are getting better, your speed is getting faster, your body is getting stronger, and the level of adrenalin is rising in your body. You can become a completely different happier person.

“I used to be shy and easily frightened when I was a kid. Since I joined Amtgard, I became a completely different person: I am more confident, more talkative, and less frightened. I made many friends here. Now I am winning tournaments and doing the growling. I love it,” Burgener said.

It was an awesome adventure for Fuzz, which proves that anyone can reach their goals if they want to.

You can find any kind of activity you like in Amtgard, from witchcraft, magic, and fighting to singing, crafting, and acting. 

 

“I would describe our hobby as something like a mix of sport, crafting, and art competition which includes everything from speech, singing, acting to fighting: hitting each other with foam and wooden swords, shooting arrows at each other, and using magic,” Burgener said. 

 

As a tradition, Land’s End Amtgard group members are making all of their weapons, costumes, and accessories. There is a system of awards and honors based on best contributions and accomplishments. There are awards for all sorts of arts and crafts, ranging from making weapons, costumes, and jewelry to singing, painting, etc. 

By achieving 10 ranks of most awards one might also attain the Masterhood for that award, according to Amtgard Wiki website.

Amtgard members can create their own costumes using imagination.

“Kite is amazing at garbing. He is making the outfits himself. He is also good at making the armor,” Burgener said.

 

The best part of Amtgard is that you can do whatever you like, and be whoever you want.

Amtgard members usually can pick their own name which they want to use during the game. In most cases, Amtgarders prefer to use their fictional names in real life. Thus, they are calling each other by the names of their game characters. 

Character creation in Amtgard is class-based; that is, players pick an archetype with pre-established abilities, similar to systems used by Dungeons and Dragons and other tabletop roleplaying games. For instance, one player might play an Assassin, and another Warrior, according to Amtgard Wiki website.

Land’s End Amtgard’s honor system includes titles and ranks as well. Titles such as Lord/Lady, Duke/Duchess, Marquis/Marquise, and Viscount/Viscountess are titles bestowed on members in recognition for work in the game or holding offices.

“It is a unique rolling political system as well, where people are making sure that we are funding for events. It’s evolving, which makes it interesting,” Burgener said.

 

Anyone who range in age from 14 and up can join the team, but be prepared for the extraordinary battles and fun. 

 

Undoubtedly, the most exciting achievement from being a member of Amtgard is finding new friends and family.

 

“I found many friends here, and now I can do what I like with my wife and kids. It is amazing,” Bremer said.

 

“This game brings people of all ages together. It’s like a big family. We found friends all over the country, and this is what makes it all worth it,” Burgener said.

If you wish to participate in competitive sports fighting, finding an outlet for your creative talents, or honing your leadership skills, Amtgard is your best destination to achieve your goals.

If you are interested in becoming a member of Land’s End Amtgard, you can stop by University Park in Grand Forks. There are battles going every Saturday at 12 pm.

 

“We are super friendly people. Don’t be afraid, just come and talk to us. We will teach you all the information we know. Come and join, you won;t regret it,” Burgener said.

For more information, visit Land’s End facebook page called Official Land’s End Amtgard page, or visit their Kingdom page called The Empire of Rivermoor.

You can also visit  www.amtgard.com, or wiki.amtgard.com.

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