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E-Samurai Interview: Crosser
[10/16/2002] [The Interviewer]

State your full Amtgard name for the record.

Righto. The long and short of it is: Baron Sir Crosser. =)

What would you say is Amtgard's single greatest purpose?

Amtgard provides a community and an outlet for those of us who want something more out of our lives. We offer more awards and less structure than many organizations or sports, yet still provide our members a chance to put on some airs and lay down some smack.

What's your favored class, and why?

I like Antipaladin. It's got built in roleplaying and it's got sheer presence. Other classes will do more damage on the battlefield, but everyone pays ATTENTION to the guy with the Black Phoenix. And if I can keep 6 people nervous about just me, the rest of my team can do some serious damage when they're not looking. =)

What's your favorite weapon combination?

Sword and board, no doubt!

You are both a Crown knight and a Flame knight. What are your thoughts on those belts?

Both belts are earned similarly, as leadership and service really go hand in hand in Amtgard. You can't lead without first having served, and it's hard to serve without soon teaching others how do do the same. I've seen some Flame belts looked down upon though, as being easier to earn than other belts, but there's nothing easy about dedication: it has to be demonstrated over and over again.

Do you think there are too many knights in Amtgard?

No, I don't. With our knighting system, the majority of awards individually are fairly easy to come by, and dedication will almost always pay off over time. We don't want to discourage anyone, and anyone who is dedicated enough to Amtgard to stay the course for several years will one day be recognised for their efforts. The older the game gets, the more knights we will have, and the percentage of knights will go up over time, as it is the dedicated folks who are the ones who stick with it the longest. And I see nothing wrong with that.

Zulu spears. Good, bad?

A sound idea for a weapon, but I think they work best in lands with frequent weapon checks and reeves. Let's face it, most of them are a foot of fun noodle on the bottom of a graphite stick. That padding REALLY takes a beating, and there's a lot of bare shaft there. The only ting that keeps them from being a safety hazard is the manner they are used: short thrusts with little real power. A good case for maintenance and courtesy padding.

6.1. Good, bad?

The core rules are good. Been playtesting it once a week or so, and minus the editing it's a good system that improves a number of things, especially with regard to melee combat. It still needs some editing and paring down, though. While the fundamental changes they made to magic seem to balance out in the end, Druids still don't seem useful any more. But the real failing of the new rules (besides the editing) is the appendix stuff. Multiclassing and GM/Master abilities just don't work well. They unbalance things terribly. And the alternate knight belts are irrelevant to most of Amtgard and make no sense besides (I'm a flame knight Antipaladin, so I can choose to NOT be immune to flame. eh?) Oh, and did I mention the bad editing?

IKBOD. Good, bad?

I think an IKBOD is needed for Amtgard to evolve. I guess the real questions are whether Amtgard NEEDS to evolve, and if so... how? I think we do need to centralize rules and safety, certainly, and the IKBOD could accomplish that. Getting much more out of it, though, might be too big an effort without restructuring how the kingdoms govern themselves.

You were Dragonspine's last baron. Any wisdom, memories, or stories about that?

I recall going camp to camp at Clan that year, proud of the fact that we had over 20 people there. By far my fondest memory, though, has got to be the first Master of the Hunt tourney. I think it showed all of us just how entertaining a battlegame can be... Being a Barony is an uncomplicated time in the growth of a land. All you really have to concentrate on is improving education and attendance, and few of the ills that plague larger groups (awards, politics...) have yet to make any conscious impact. Alas, Babylon. =)

You've had a prominent role in raising three different lands. What have you taken from that, and what advice to you have for others?

Running and building an Amtgard chapter is all about providing for others over yourself. The decisions that allow the most people to have the most fun, not only today but also a year from today, are almost always the right ones. Oh, and write stuff down. Twice. =)

What's your single fondest Amtgard memory? Other than that hunt thing?

That would have to be receiving my first knight's belt, my Crown belt. King Phocion gave it to me during the first Harvest of Souls war, our fist interkingdom weekend event, and my first time autocratting anything that big. I was tired, I was shaking, I was overwhelmed.

What's your worst Amtgard injury?

Hmm... tough one. I'm on record as notoriously lacking in grace, you understand. =) It would have to be a knee injury. After 12 years, I finally tore a ligament, and that one just doesn't go away. Wear your kneepads, kids! The full shin ones are best.

Do you remember how you tore your ligament?

Vividly. A sudden turn on wet grass while running, and down I went.

You've been a member of Dragonspine for years. What is the greatest misunderstanding people have of Dragonspine, and of the lands you've lived in?

Most people I've talked to designate kingdoms into (at most) 3 types: Their Kingdom, the Old Kingdoms, and the Other Kingdoms. People are aware of their own lands and kingdom, obviously, and most are aware of the Iron Mountains and the older Texas kingdoms. Everything else is remote, far away, Shangri-La. You really have to have been someplace, to some event, before anyplace registers as "someplace" in Amtgard. We often wonder why interkingdom organizations don't have the momentum that we want... perhaps this is a contributing factor.

People spend a lot of time talking about what makes a good knight, but there's other belts out there. What makes a good squire?

Well, not having been a squire myself, I'm still searching for my answer to this one. I would think a good squire is one who works hard, not for the person who belted them, but for everyone around them. Squirehood is the time to gather respect and reputation through their actions. I can only wonder how well I might have done.

Who do you most admire in Amtgard and why?

Sir Goldcrest. He's had to balance leadership and service in Amtgard with a busy military career, and he's come through crises both Amtgard and mundane. And through it all, he's remained someone to respect. When someone asks me who I think of as an example of Knighthood... my answer is Sir Goldcrest.

If you could visit three (and only three) kingdoms, which three would you pick? Why?

Dragonspine (call me homesick.), Goldenvale (they have some great folks, and I've never been there), and Neverwinter (because it would make a great vacation trip too!).

What do you see in your Amtgard future?

A lot of advising. Playing in the smaller groups in the Midwest, there are a lot of Amtgarders who have never been to a kingdom event, who may not understand how or why things are done, and to whom I have the burden of representing knighthood as they know it. It's time to teach others how to lead and how to make good precedent, all without doing it FOR them. I see it as being a challenge for a long time to come.

Living so far from the heart of Amtgard, you were often one of handful of knights around for a thousand miles. How did that affect your views of knighthood, and what do you think about the experience in general?

As I said, it's been a deep responsibility. Everything I say or do can be taken as parable if I'm not careful, and heaven help me if I misquote a rule! (which I have...) Everyone gets upset now and again, but people really remember it when us few knights do it. With so few white belts in the area, each one is larger than life, and I don't think I'll ever be comfortable with that.

Of your various awards, which one are you the most proud of?

Master Reeve. It's not so much the award that holds the honor, but rather that people know me for it. That means a lot.

Do you have anything you'd like to say to the readers of e-Samurai?

You mean stuff like "stay in school" or "take yer shots, ya sluffing cheeser"? Yeah, I do. Just keep in mind that the more fun you help make Amtgard for other people, the more fun you'll have too.

[ You can read more about Crosser here. ]

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