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The Bottom-Feeders of Amtgard
[01/05/2003] [Kuma the Painted]

Going through the E-Samurai archives, I have noticed quite a bit of articles on knights and aspiring knights. How to not become one, the virtues of the knight, interviews with the peerage, studies of why they’re particularly prone to wear pants as a hat…this is all well and good. But what about us commoners? Those who don’t have a title, a belt, or knees that make funky noises? What about the newbies? I’ll gaurantee that, contrary to popular belief, even the most grizzled of the white-belted didn’t spring full armed, armoured, and belted from the forehead of La Grue. Everyone was a newbie once, and some of us still are.

It’s a good thing to have newbies. Other than providing insurance that the game will go on after Grand Duke Sir Sir Sir Syr What’s-His-Face’s knees finally give up, newbies provide a variety of uses.

1) Recycling. After two, three, or fifteen years in Amtgard, you’ve got a lot of stuff left over that you don’t use anymore. The experimental weapons, the ugly-ass too small garb, that one pair of bracers that you made but never use anymore…you can’t really give these things to the Salvation Army. However, there’s many a pimple-faced newb who would gladly that that bat’leth or pinky and yellow tunic so you can finally have some closet space back.

2) Creativity. When you get a newbie, you get a cup brimming with new ideas. Yes, most of their ideas have been tried back in 1503 when Sir So-and-So first put foam to PVC and have been tried again and again since with no luck. However, each newbie has a slightly different spin on the Eternally Stupid Idea. Who knows if that skinny kid with a “No, I will not fix your computer” shirt will add that final touch to bring the Eternally Stupid Idea to full fruitation? Or if that girl with a wench costume she got at Wal-mart last Halloween will be able to see how to defeat your wicked J-hook, if only because she doesn’t yet know it’s impossible to defeat?

3)“Cool!” This Christmas my seven year-old niece squealed “Cool” at every single present she was given. This is a prime example of another newbie trait. “I can be a goblin? Cool!” “So all I have to do is say this a bunch of times and peg someone with a ball and the can’t move? Cool!” “I get to go berserk and heal myself at first level? Cool!” Everything is new to us. We just found a game where we can really play out the adventures of Orstus Redhat and his Mighty Dwarven Companions. We can hit people! We can use magic! It’s all just plain neat. The “cool!” effect can get on any veteran’s nerves after long enough, however. But, now matter how annoying a newbie gets, it will always make you feel good when a new guy stars at you with slack-jawed wide-eyed admiration and says “That was so cool! How’d you do that?”

4)Sword Fodder. If any of you have had a large force of newbies on the battlefield, one knows how useless they are. They can’t fight worth a lick yet. Really, though, for a lot of tactics, they don’t have to fight. Point them towards an enemy and have them yell a lot. You can either use this as a distraction while you run behind enemy lines and stab everyone with spears, or merely as free entertainment.

5)Cheap Labor. A newbie would love to help out, given the proper incentive. An old sword, a scrap of garb, or a fighting lesson will almost always get someone to carry your gear to your car, or go grab you something from McDonald’s. Hell, for a yellow belt, I’m pretty sure you can get your house painted or, if you’re lucky, a promise of their first-born.

These are only a few of the virtues and uses of the newbie. There are dozens more, of course, but I’ve got to stop writing. There’s this guy who promised to show me something with greatsword if I mowed his lawn.

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