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E-Samurai Interview: Trelath
[01/29/2003] [The Interviewer]

What an awesome hat. State your full Amtgard name for the record.

Trelath J. Mourningwood... do you want titles and the like?

We all want titles.

Lord Archduke Defender Master Sir Trelath J. Mourningwood, Knight of the Crown, Knight of the Flame, Walker in the Middle, Master Rose

How did you come up with your name?

The first name was the name of my very first D&D character. The last name was a joke that stuck to the point that I couldn't change it.

Are you named after Mourningwood Glen or is it named after you?

Heh - it's named after me. Sparhawk, Bowbar and myself started that park after I moved to Arlington, and we needed a name. I jokingly said to name it Mourningwood Glen, and once again it stuck. I hear about once a year or so that they plan to change it, but they never do.

Back to your first name, what was your D&D character and why did you name him Trelath?

He was an elven wizard, and I needed a sufficiently elven-sounding name, so I mutated a few Dragonlance character names till I got to Trelath.

Are you an elf?

Nope. Just needed a name, and it was the first thing to come to mind when they asked me what my persona name was going to be.

I shudder to ask, but what does the "J" stand for?

J stands for "Johnny Come Lately", which has an amazingly long and boring story behind it.

Is there a short and interesting version of the Johnny Come Lately story?

Hrm - I started playing Amtgard about 2 months after the Wetlands first Coronation. Since I wasn't around during the birth of the Wetlands, when I finally started doing things on a Kingdom level, the 'old hands' didn't much care for a newbie running around like he was in charge. So Sable and myself both got called "Johnny Come Lately's" for nosing into Kingdom politics without having 10 billion years of experience.

So you see, there is not a short and interesting version of the story.

Okay... so, what would you say is Amtgard's single greatest purpose?

To allow people to have fun - first and foremost. Beyond the politics, beyond the awards, beyond even the fighting - people go to the park every weekend to enjoy themselves.

Which part do you enjoy the most?

I really try to enjoy the whole experience, whether it's running an event, fighting in a tournament, or whatever.

Nitty gritty questions -- what's your favored class, and why?

Currently, it's paladin - it was wizard for the longest time, but playing paladin has a feel of command to it that I enjoy. When you step out on the field with the giant white bird on your chest, people look up to you.

What's your favorite weapon combination?

Polearm and front sword

Why?

It's very versatile - I can be effective solo or with a team, plus it can intimidate multiple opponents for long enough to retreat, attack, or call in assistance. Florentine fighters can't stop it, sword and board fighters are usually overconfident against it, and I can outreach madu fighters.

Plus, the satisfaction of repeatedly owning sword and boarders who try to 'take out the pole' can't be quantified.

What do you think of the flame belt, and what did you do to earn yours?

I think the flame belt is the easiest belt to earn, but that doesn't lessen the respect that the belt holder should earn. Each of the other three knighthoods requires a certain basic level of skill - a sword knight needs athletic talent, a serpent knight needs creative talent, and a crown knight needs leadership abilities and problem solving skills. A flame knight simply needs the innate dedication to get the job done, and willingness to work hard. While some would label that as a basic level of skill, I see it more as a basic level of personality.

So how come you're a Master Rose?

Because I can't stand watching people work - I have to roll up my sleeves and help. Like I said - a basic level of personality.

What do you think of the crown belt, and what did you do to earn one?

I think the crown belt, at least in the Wetlands, is the hardest belt to earn. I've heard of kingdoms where people get crown belts as their reward for surviving 6 months as King, and I'm really glad it's as hard as it is here. A crown knight is (or should be) someone who isn't afraid to step forward and say "I'll take care of this.", then actually take care of it. As for what I did to earn one, I'm still earning mine, and try to re-earn it every time I step on the field. By the book, I was King, Regent, Prime Minister, Champion, GMR, and held a half dozen local offices, but that's in the past. What I do today is what matters.

I'm a crown knight, too. Do you know the secret handshake?

Nope - Sable was supposed to show me, but he quit before he could teach me.

Do you think there are too many knights in Amtgard?

There are too many people with white belts in Amtgard. You can never have enough knights, though.

What would you do to fix the problem?

That's the catch - how do you legislate morality? How can you say "You're not knightly enough, give back that white belt" to people? All we can do is try and choose people for knighthood who seem to want to help, and hope we made the right decision.

What's your thoughts about the Wetlands crisis from last year?

I think that the whole thing was an overblown attempt of the Burning Lands BOD to try and demonstrate their power, which failed. I caught a lot of flak from my Kingdom for being willing to negotiate with them, and was just a bit frustrated that we ended up negotiating at the end. All in all, it was helpful for the entire game in showing that simply because you claim you're in charge doesn't mean you really are in charge.

On a lighter note, Zulu spears. Good, bad?

Usually bad, because I know about 4 people in the game that can use them safely. The rest of the people who use them are rib crackings waiting to happen.

6.1. Good, bad?

Good in premise, bad in execution. While there are parts of 6.1 I really like, most of it looks like it needs more work.

IKBOD. Good, bad?

Good, so long as it has the power to go along with the responsibility.

And for our Rising Winds readers, an invasion of Iraq. Good, bad?

Good - I don't like the idea of American soldiers dying in a foreign country at all, but I like the idea of a madman with a nuclear weapon killing American civilians at home even less.

What's your single fondest Amtgard memory?

Being able to knight Sir Sable and Sir Lakus. I wasn't a knight at the time, and Wetlands knights are (or were) always knighted by knights rather than by Monarchs. Sir Vaargard was running their ceremony, and just handed me the sword. It was amazing - I don't know very many squires who got to knight their own knight.

What's your worst Amtgard injury?

Spring War 3 - I got hit in the eye with an extremely illegal duct-tape throwing dagger. I couldn't see out of it at all, it tore my contact lens in half, and hurt like I'd been burned. At the time, I was young(er) and stupid, so I just had someone cover it with a patch and gauze, and went back out to fight. I then discovered that depth perception is a handy thing for a polearm fighter - I kept stabbing people really really hard, thinking they were 15 feet away when they were only 10 or less. Took about 12 hours, but I got my vision back - the scratch took only about a week to heal.

Who do you most admire in Amtgard and why?

I don't really have a single person I admire - I admire certain facets of different people. I admire Forest's ability to fit in anywhere, Lief's fighting ability, Michael's staying power and patience.... the list goes on.

What is the greatest misunderstanding people have about the Wetlands?

That we're all a bunch of xenophobic flurbs who shun all things that aren't thought of, implemented by, and maintained for Wetlanders. In total truth, only about 95% of Wetlanders are like that.

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

I'd choose VSR, because I've never been there and want to meet them to find out what all the noise is about. Rising Winds, because new kingdoms can make even older burned-out people excited about Amtgard again, and Goldenvale, to mock their sword knights because Spyn told me to, and Rogues have to do what Spyn says - it's in the contract.

Speaking of other kingdoms, do you think all kingdoms should use the same awards standards?

Absolutely. The only way that true game unity can occur is if we're all playing by the exact same rules.

Speaking of awards, do you remember what you got your first and last rose for?

Yup - my first rose was from then-Baron Sable Cacophony for bringing a cooler of water to the park on my fourth weekend out. My last rose (number 17, I think) was for reeving a Kingdom-level Ironman tournament at Pope O'Banion's Midreign.

Speaking of... I have no segue for this, but what do you think about the situation in Alamogordo?

There's always going to be a kid who can't play well with others - someone who takes his toys and goes to a different sandbox. I just don't think that Mommy needs to step in and force them to play in the same sandbox.

What do you see in your Amtgard future?

Me getting out of the way. While I'm always willing to provide leadership, advice, or the occasional bit of smacktalk, I think that sometimes the greatest service a knight can do for his kingdom is to allow the next generation to step forward and wear the Ugly Brass Hat.

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

To steal a quote from a favorite movie - I'd love to say something classy and inspirational, but that just wouldn't be my style. Quit reading this boring interview and go have fun.

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