|E-Samurai Interview: Lukor
[05/06/2003] [The Interviewer]
Please state your full Amtgard name.
Sir Lukor "The Lush" Majika.
Grand Duke, Master Lion, Knight of the Crown, Knight of the Flame.
How did you come up with your name?
I was a big Star Wars junky as a kid, and I always liked the name Luke. Lukor was derived from Luke Skywalker of all things.
Is there any connection between your persona Lukor and the Star Wars Luke beyond the name?
Not really. The Lush part of my name came from my ability to imbibe alcholic beverages at Amtgard Events. There was a large crew including Lyrea, Serendipity, Ursor and others from the early days of Mystic Seas that drank pretty heavily at events.
And the Majika?
Everyone needs a last name, don't they? I hardly ever used the name, except from the early days. Now, I just go by Lukor the Lush mostly.
Okay, let's run through the basics -- what would you say Amtgard’s single greatest purpose is?
A vehicle for recreation. Everyone has their own goals and purposes in the real world. Amtgard is a way for people to enjoy a contact sport, mixed in with Arts & Sciences, and roleplaying without all the hangups of the real world getting involved.
I mean, what other way could you see a group of hard pipe hitting mofos sitting around sewing up garb?
I honestly feel that there is something for everyone in Amtgard, they just have to find the aspect that interests them.
Which part do you enjoy the most?
The fighting. I love being able to go out and hit people with foam padded weapons, and not get arrested for it. It's a great stress relief, and a good source of exercise. I was tought early in life that exercise is essential, and Amtgard keeps me in great shape.
I love the challenge of getting better at fighting. In the Mystic Seas, we have a tough group of fighters that challenge me every week. I love going to tournaments and fighting as well. The battle games are a lot of fun, and challenge me as a leader. Commanding a squad or army in a full class battle is one my favorite things in Amtgard.
Speaking of the battlefield, what's your favorite class?
I find myself playing anti-paladin a lot. My first favorite class was archer. In fact, archery is what got me sucked into Amtgard in the first place. I taught archery at a summer camp for many years, and I couldn't believe that I got to shoot foam padded arrows at people. After that, I went to healer, which I played for a long, long time.
I'd say that overall my favorite class is probably bard, though. I don't think that any other class matches the bard's versitility and raw power.
What's your favorite weapon combination?
You just can't beat it. No other combination gives you the versitility to do just about anything. So long as you're quick on your feet, you can do pretty well with it. I do love picking up a pole, though, as well. There is something about having an 8-12 foot piece of bamboo in my hands that makes me feel good.
On to titles. Why are you a Master Lion?
For service, I'd imagine. Even when I am not in office, I still am actively involved in the goings on of the club. I care a lot about my kingdom, and Amtgard as a whole. I spend a lot of time each week working on projects from 6.1 to PacWar, to just about anything else.
Leadership comes naturally to me. The first time I was king, I had only been in the game for about a year and a half. When I started, we had a great king. Then I saw a king step up that did pretty much nothing for six months. I thought I could do a better job, so I ran, and I've been serving ever since.
What do you think about flame belts?
I have always felt that flame belts and crown belts are pretty much the same thing. Flame knights serve out of office, and crown knights serve in office. Both serve the kingdom and Amtgard by donating their time to make sure things get done. All in all, the flame knights I see are the same type of breed, no matter what kingdom they come from. They are always the ones who run events, step up as guildmasters, and generally give away their time at Amtgard for the betterment of the club.
That merges my next two questions. What did you do to earn your knighthoods?
That's kind of a hard question to answer. I have served as king of the Mystic Seas three times. I received my crown belt after my first reign. I received my flame belt, I believe, mostly for my work in bringing VSR back into Amtgard. They had split off a few years before, and it was a goal of mine to bring them back into mainstream Amtgard. They had their own rulebook, and were playing Amtgard, but just weren't doing it legitimately. That was probably the hardest project I have ever worked on.
Standing in front of the Interkingdom Circle of Knights at Spring War 2 and asking them to recognize aproximately twenty VSR knighthoods that were given outside of Amtgard was a stretch. Suprisingly, a huge majority of the knights voted to recognize those belts in an effort to make the transition for VSR back into Amtgard a little easier.
Do you think there are too many knights in Amtgard?
Not at all. As time goes on, the hardcore people come back to Amtgard year after year. Those are the people who you tend to see get knighted. If someone deserves a belt, why should the number of knights have anything to do with it? In my year and a half as king of Mystic Seas, I knighted a large number of people. 90% of those people are still considered established leaders in their given area. I don't regret any of the people I have dropped the sword on. They continually prove why it is they were knighted in the first place.
I can't speak for other kingdoms, because I'm not present there. I can say that I have met a few knights in my day that make me scratch my head and ask, "How did they ever get belted?" There is always the chance for corruption in Amtgard. I'm sure there a few people who were given belts based off of politics rather than merit. All in all, I'd say I think the system is a good system that rewards the people who shine.
The Mystic Seas has been at odds with the majority of Amtgard on many things lately. How do you explain the unique perspective of the northwest?
I wouldn't call our perspetive unique. More so, I would call it old school. The majority of people in the Mystic Seas have been playing Amtgard for 10-13+ years. We have had a really special opportunity because of the people who are in our group. Some have moved to the Celestial Kingdom and played there, and seen how things are run. We had Sir Guy come from the Iron Mountains and bring the Iron Mountains way of doing things here. We really have a diverse way of doing things because we have been exposed to many different leadership styles.
In the last year and a half, we have been trying to rebuild and get back to the basics. The leadership from three to four years ago left many things unanswered, undocumented, and then left. As of a year ago, we had zero corpora clarifications, yet some poeple were trying to say that we had all of these things going on. When asked to produce an Althing rulings, or corpora clarification, no-one could do so. I saw my most recent term as king as one of rebuilding and redocumenting everything that we were doing. It was a pretty huge task.
Do you think you accomplished that task?
Not entirely. I don't think six months was long enough to do that. I think that my administration got the ball rolling, and several people are continuing to keep the momentum. I'm not crazy enough to do another back to back term. I had holders of sponsored groups asking me to run for another six month term at the end of it, so I must have been doing something right.
All in all, I think that a lot of progress was made. We created a grand duchy status for Stormhaven in Spokanne, WA, a group that was largely ignored by previous monarchs because of their distant location. We had some groups leave and more groups join. It was my strategy to do what I thought was best for Amtgard overall, and if the sponsored groups decided they didn't want to stay with Mystic Seas after that, let them find another group to be sponsored by. Some did, others praised the revertion to the basic form of government.
I think this goes back to a popular argument today. Floating Crowns versus Static Crowns. I feel that floating crowns and confederacies encourage people to go to events at their local park, rather than having people meet at larger kingdom-level events. I share the opinion with a lot of the old timers that kingdom-level events should be large, with everyone attending that can, even if those events are only twice a month instead of every weekend.
To encourage people to attend larger kingdom-level events, I scheduled an event at our northern groups (near Seattle, WA, about a two and a half hour drive from the kingdom's main park) once a month.
Do you think the Mystic Seas stance on the Wetlands issue of last year was also old school, or did it come about for different reasons?
What people don't realize is that this wasnt the first time the Mystic Seas has had to deal with that kind of situation. When VSR first split off, they were playing a bastardized version of Amtgard. At that time, the monarchy and populace decided to not support them at all. We have a basic sense of loyalty to the club, and to the Burning Lands. As of now, they are the only body of people empowered to police Kingdoms. When people start snubbing their nose at that authority, it encourages anarchy. I think that many people feel that we need to support our leaders and assist them rather than being stand-offish and rebeling.
You also have to take into consideration that a small band of rebels in our northern groups were basicly doing the same thing to the Kingom of the Mystic Seas that some of the other kingdoms were doing to the Burning Lands. All in all, I'd say that the people of the Mystic Seas made a very educated decision.
How do you think the Mystic Seas has emerged from the brief secession movement earlier this year?
I'd say we dealt with it very well. There were some people in our kingdom that wanted to simply remove the quarreling groups from sponsorship. After six months of traveling, we got to find out that the people who were griping on the internet were a small majority of the populace. Two groups left. One of them is under Burning Lands sponsorship, and one went to VSR. We gained two new groups, and built stronger relationships with the groups that stayed.
I think that we are a stronger kingdom because of it. The groups that left can now work with other kingdoms to get what they want, and the groups that stayed have a good voting populace who will continue to vote on what they think is right. I think the movement really showed us what people really want to work on the issues versus those people who just want to complain until someone else does their work for them.
6.1. Good, bad?
Well, seeing as I'm on the 6.1 Committee. . . just kidding. I really think that 6.1 is a great thing. Our current rulebook is very cryptic to read and has a lot of grey areas that cause problems at interkingdom events. I have felt that we need a new rulebook for many years. Some people might recall my previous rounds of battle with the Burning Lands over a new rulebook.
Some people are angry that 6.1 is not enough, but I have yet to see those people submitting ideas, or even a proposed rulebook to the Burning Lands. Anyone can write an Amtgard Rulebook to submit to the Circle of Monarchs and the BLBOD. Nothing in our kingdom contract prohibits us from writing a new rulebook, just not using one. If someone really has a complaint about 6.1, I suggest that they work on their own project and submit it as a proposed new rulebook. It would say a lot more than just complaining.
IKBOD. Good, bad?
In its current form, I'd say it's the antichrist. I would much rather see the Circle of Monarchs be empowered more than any sort of Senate. Of course, my first choice would be the BLBOD taking a more active role in the policing of kingdoms, which they really have been doing as of late. As a three-time king, I know how frustrating it can be to work on interkingdom politics, but I also feel that the BLBOD worked very hard with me on any and all issues that I brought forth to them.
Moving to some lighter questions. . . what's your single fondest Amtgard memory?
I'd say it was the first campout I went to. I was a spindly, level one archer, cruising around with my friend who was a mighty, level two wizard. We were at a VSR campout when they were using their own rulebook. They had a Knights and Squires versus the World battle. Needless to say, the teams were WAY overbalanced. The knights team even had a 6th Level Wizard/Werewolf as a squire.
Anyhow, me and my wizard buddy were the last two people on the peasant side. We snuck around, picking them off with arrows and spell balls. When they came running after us, we would flee to the woods and retrieve our gear. Eventually they gave up chasing us, and called the battle game, even though we were constantly killing them. By the end of it, we had killed ten to fifteen of them in about thirty minutes.
Other than that, my first year in Amtgard was my favorite. I was sixteen, living on the coast. I hitched a ride up to Portland (about an hour and a half drive) every weekend just to play Amtgard. On campout weekends, I usually didn't get back to my house until 4:00am on Monday, just in time to get a few hours of sleep and get to school.
Eventually, I started my own group at the coast which met on Sundays, and people from the kingdom came down to help. It was so much fun jugging on the beach in the hard sand. Soft sand sucks to run in.
What's your worst Amtgard injury?
I have two. One was getting shot in the eye with an arrow. Luckily the arrow was very well made (thanks Rogue), but everytime I saw a bright light for the next four months it made my eye water.
The other was when I took a year off during my ex-wife's pregnancy. When I came back, I had put on forty pounds, and blew out my knee. Once I lost the weight, my knee pretty much fixed itself, but it still bothers me from time to time.
Who do you most admire in Amtgard and why?
The newbies. Everytime I meet someone who is new in the game, they have a certain spark in their eyes. I can usually pick out the lifers right away. It's the newbies that make it all worth while. Showing them a game that they can fall in love makes my day.
When a newbie comes out on his second week, has read the rulebook three times in the last week, and has a boatload of questions about grey areas, it just makes me smile.
Any newbie in particular that you've noticed recently?
Kubla in Greenwood Keep. He's been out a little under a year, I think. I was at an event up in GWK when tensions were high betwen them and the kingdom. I was doing dishes, helping clean up, and we had a great chat about Amtgard in general. He reminded me so much of myself eleven years ago when I first got into Amtgard. Now I heard he just got voted in as their new prime minister.
What is the greatest misunderstanding people have about the Mystic Seas?
That we're the vile oppressors. It is true that people in the Mystic Seas have little tolerance for shady politicians. We are rough on people who we think mess with the game to promote their personal politics. People forget that we have been dealing with those kinds of people since pretty much day one.
If you could visit three (and only three) kingdoms, which three would you pick?
The Emerald Hills, because their politicians seem to judge everyone else so harshly. I'd like to see how they do things, and what makes them think they are so mighty.
Wetlands, because I wanna visit Weasel and Dakota.
Dragonspine, because I hear so many mixed things coming out of there. Seeing it firsthand would be sweet.
Oh yeah, and Dragonspine because I think Deathstalker is the best overall fighter in Amtgard, and seeing him once a year at Spring War doesn't get me enough learning time in.
Dragonspine? You've piqued my curiousity. What have you heard?
Well, you guys are a static crown, and I hear people who both like and dislike that fact. Also, I'm curious to talk to the populace members who were involved with the Burning Lands running their elections, and see what they think about it. We hear from the politicians all the time, but rarely from the people they represent.
I think Mystic Seas and Dragonspine have a lot in common, and I think I could learn a lot of things that I could apply to Mystic Seas politics from visiting.
Speaking of other kingdoms, do you think all kingdoms should use the same awards standards?
Definately. However, it's always going to boil down to discretion. I mean, we can all require ten roses for a Master Rose, but some places may give out ten roses a lot quicker than others. Awards standardization won't fix all our problems. It's still going to boil down to each individual kingdom taking responsibility for making sure that people are measuring up with the rest of Amtgard.
A kingdom's knights speak measures about the kingdom. If a kingdom has crappy knights, then people will think that the kingdom itself is crappy.
Speaking of awards, do you remember what you got your first and last lion for?
No. That was like eight to ten years ago. Lemme think back.
Okay, I remember the first. It was given to me by Whitewolfe the Hunter for helping out with a demo that brought in like fifteen people. We had a lot of those poeple, enough to start their own group in Oregon City, for many years. Out of all of them, the only one that we still have is Sir Rogue.
The last one I got was after the Masterhood and was for my service outside of Office on the BOD, running events, etc. It was for eight months worth of service.
What's your position on a possible union between Mystic Seas and VSR?
Nothing could make me happier. That was my first intention when I started working on bringing them back into Amtgard so many years ago. I honestly feel that if VSR and the Mystic Seas merged, it would make one of the strongest kingdoms in Amtgard. Mystic Seas tends to have more fighters, where VSR is stronger in A&S. Put them both together, and you have a very diverse kingdom.
I think that the outgoing VSR regime was against it, but I have a lot of faith in the system. VSR just voted in a new regime, and from their coronation, it was apparent that they are ready for new blood to lead them. I think that the new monarchy will do some great things for them.
What do you see in your Amtgard future?
A lot of fighting. Working on 6.1. I see myself running for king again sometime in the future, although not anytime soon. If there is some kind of IKBOD seriously discussed, I would have to make time to be a part of that. Right now, I am focusing on 6.1 and also helping run PacWar next year.
Do you have anything you'd like to say to the readers of e-Samurai?
Don't always believe what you read on the net. The people who speak on the internet only show a small percentage of the actual people who play Amtgard. No matter how many times they say something, it's still the same people talking. Get all the sides of the story, and form your own opinion. Work with your elected reps on the issues. The BLBOD are an approachable set of people. Give good input for 6.1 instead of griping. COME TO PACWAR! September 11th - 14th, 2003 at Fort Flagler State Park in Washington, across from the Puget Sound from Seattle.
That's about it. ;)
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