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E-Samurai Interview: Arthon
[05/03/2004] [The Interviewer]

State your full Amtgard name for the record.

Arthon of the Golden City.

Any titles?

Warlord, Knight of the Sword.

How did you come up with your name?

ehh .. . cheesy, but I came up with Arthon ‘cause it seemed to be unique (unbeknownst to me, there is a town in France with that same name) and Golden City is a poor play on words with regards to my home town, Richland Hills.

When did you start Amtgard?

March, 1988 - the first official meeting of the Emerald Hills.

What's your earliest Amtgard memory?

One of my early memories involved me, Drakknar and Dorien (long since gone). We were all best friends in high school and so I drug them out to Amtgard with me. We were all scrawny cheese-eating high school boys and really didn’t have the muscle mass to wield the weapons of the time. But, I was a scout, with my three points of naugahide-covered tin armor, my five foot long bow, my quiver of arrows, my 8” thick coach-foam sword and my 18” round shield, I was ready to do some damage. Drakknar and Dorien, however, took a more pragmatic approach to Amtgard tactics at the time. They played a mage and druid respectively . Each had made for himself an eight-foot staff. They were constructed of PVC, covered in duck tape with huge bulbous ends. Read: giant silver Q-tips that wobbled.

Well, we were playing in a battlegame and all three of us were together. We were in thick woods that were choked with thorn-bushes. We heard the enemy in a clearing up ahead. I mouthed “charge!” and took off at full speed. I didn’t have so much of a problem because I could lower my head behind my shield and push through. Drakknar and Dorien, on the other hand, were constantly catching face-fulls of thorns and their wiggle sticks would always turn and catch between trees if they didn’t hold them ramrod straight like lances before them.

I busted out into the clearing and, thinking my magic-slinging buddies were right behind me, yelled as loud as I could, “I am Arthon of the Golden City! Turn and face my wrath!”. Needless to say, I was all alone. In the clearing were Nevron and five of his friends. They obliged me by turning around, trotting over, and making a greasy spot out of me. They then waited a moment or so until Drakknar and Dorien came bursting out of the foliage. The look of shock on my friend’s faces was quickly turned to dismay as they were mowed like a lawn.

The only reason I actually remember this story at all is because Drakknar and Dorien berated me with it for years afterwards. I don’t think they ever got over being angry at me for that one lapse of judgement. An object lesson, I guess, for newcomers about the folly of pride.

Didn't you used to be some kind of flurb?

Read the answer to the last question, should be obvious.

Stick jock or flavah?

I think if people are going to play the game, they should wear garb. I don’t think a phony English accent is required but people look like complete idiots doing half-and-half - i.e. jeans, sneakers and a tabard or a t-shirt and a squire’s belt. Looking good is half the fun of playing Amtgard. If you aren’t going to wear garb, might as well just wear shorts, cleats and a tanktop and treat it as a sport - although the mental picture of a bunch of people in shorts hitting each other in sticks doesn’t do much for me.

How'd you end up as a Torch?

We formed the company back in 1991. It was done as a joke, initially. We were trying to make fun of the Corsairs (who we considered brutal and obnoxious at the time) so we made these ratty , unhemmed tabards and spray-painted torches on them and called ourselves high priests of “BoB”. We were charged with bringing his light into the world. We’d trot out onto the field, find someone at random, surround them, channel the spirit of BoB and determine if they were worthy or not. If they weren’t worthy, we’d pummel them mercilessly with swords and run off laughing. BoB is a harsh god, and unfortunately for most, few were found worthy. It was pretty amusing at the time (for us at least). Eventually, it turned into a real fighting company with all the schisms and bickering that comes with that. A story for another day, perhaps.

What do the Torches mean to you?

They’re generally my best friends in or outside of Amtgard. Of course, at any particular time, I generally hate at least one of ‘em. I’ve been in the company for over thirteen years. I can’t imagine not being in it and can’t foresee a time that I wouldn’t be (if still playing Amtgard).

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

Purpose? I haven’t really thought of Amtgard in terms of ‘purpose’ before. If pressed, I’d say that it’s purpose is to be a social club which caters not just to folks enamored of the fantasy genre, but to those who would take it one step further and immerse themselves a little deeper either by role-playing, fighting, or striving for excellence in any number of different ways.

What's your favorite event?

Torch New Year’s Party. It’s been badass the last four years running. If you were referring to an Amtgard-wide event, I’d have to say SKBC. I have a direct hand in it and it’s really the most innovative concept going right now.

What's your favored class, and why?

Whichever class allows me to use a shield and not get zorched by spell casters. So, either Barbarian or Paladin, depending on the opposing magic users.

What's your favorite weapon combination?

You’re just asking that to hear me sputter. There is only one true combo and that is Sword and Board. If all shieldmen would learn to stab properly, no one in their right mind would pick up two swords and we could wipe the blight that is florentine off of the face of Amtgard.

What's with that weird shield you use?

That is laziness on my part. It’s an oval shape because it is a waiter tray. I threw that together when I was running for Champion a few years ago after my old snowdisk had broken. Any shield I use takes a lot of abuse (most of which is illegal in NeverWinter) The oval one’s a tough little bugger (made of fiberglass) so I haven’t felt a burning desire to build another. Spynthift has given me a new snowdisk core and my squire, Rand, has built me a door shield, so I suspect you will see less and less of that shield in the future.

What's your favorite shot to throw?

The spin shot, of course.

What's the origin of the Golden City All-stars?

It all started as an excuse so Dalos could wear a hockey jersey. Over a decade ago, Dalos’ last name (yes, he had a persona last name) was Krilastone. Well, apparently he thought it’d be funny to mock me and started calling himself “Dalos of the Golden City”. So I decided that the Golden City was located in the Lost Desert of Krilastone. We developed all kinds of folklore about the place - how the fountains ran with Coca Cola, the red-light district took up 75% of the city, ...etc.

Nothing more was really said about it for ten years. Recently, he decided he wanted to wear a sports-related jersey so that he wouldn’t have to be all ‘flurby’ and wear ‘garb’. The problem was, we needed a team - thus the Golden City All-stars were born. Once he started pimping his new garb, we became a hot commodity and the rest is history.

You're a sword knight. How'd you get that?

Four years of fighting three to four times a week. Easy as that. Heh. Here’s the real answer. I enjoy fighting and do it whenever I can. I am also tall and fight well in tournaments. These three factors really help your chances for recognition which is what you need to get a Sword belt.

What does the sword belt mean to you?

The meaning has changed for over the years. Now, I regard it as a simple mark of respect. At different times, I have held the belt as the pinnacle of Amtgard virtue and conversely as the cause of all Amtgard strife.

Do you think there are too many knights in Amtgard?

No ..not really. It’s only a problem in the older kingdoms which are having a problem recruiting new players. That’s a different sort of problem altogether.

Zulu spears. Good, bad?

That’s not even worth touching. If we are going to allow ultralights, we might as well finish walking down that road to hell and allow Zulu spears. Again, if I can get everyone to stab people who use these things, no one would use them anymore.

6.1. Good, bad?

I have not done a thorough review of the rules. The SIM/AC hybrid is an abomination. The haiku was at least an attempt at making the rulebook pleasant to read. The Paladin ... well ... it’s not worth playing. The magic rules are what will really be important and I haven’t read those yet. I’m pretty sure the project has stalled, if not gone completely dead-in-the-water. If so, I’ll wait until the next revision comes out before reviewing it.

IKBOD. Good, bad?

Like the UN, a good idea in theory. Hopefully, unlike the UN, it will be a good idea in practice.

BLBOD. Good, bad, and why?

Indifferent. There needs to be a central governing body and until there is a fully functioning IKBOD, the BLBOD will, for good or bad, have to suffice.

What's the best thing to happen to Amtgard in the last five years?

Well, we now have kingdoms coast-to-coast, which is exciting. Also, with the popularization of online forums such as E-Samurai, everyone can participate in the national game.

What's the worst thing to happen to Amtgard in the last five years?

The core kingdoms are slowly dying from lack of new blood.

What's your single fondest Amtgard memory?

Learning how to drink beer with my knight. We went through all kinds on many different nights over the course of a year.

What's your worst Amtgard injury?

I was wearing sunglasses in a tourney and got my face smashed with a six-foot great sword. First time I’d had stitches in 25 years.

Who do you most admire in Amtgard and why?

Michael, Hammer of God. I’ve known him for as long as he’s been playing Amtgard and he’s never lost his optimism about the game. I’ve tried time and time again to convince him to join me on the dark side, where contempt is king and served with a side dish of loathing. He never gave in, and always tried to make the game better.

What does the Celestial Kingdom mean to you?

It’s my back yard. It is where I play. I used to detest it and disassociate myself from it. Those times are past. I like the people here and wish almost all of them well.

What is the greatest misunderstanding people have about the Celestial Kingdom?

People in the core kingdoms seem to think, that in some way, the CK is fundamentally different from other Amtgard kingdoms. Either it’s more thuggish, more banal, more redneck, more political ... doesn’t matter what. We have our share of all of those elements but since I’ve really started traveling, I’ve note that all kingdoms face the same sort of problems. It angers me when some newcomer that I’ve never heard of derides the CK. It’s some sort of knee-jerk response learned from an older Amtgarder and it makes me want to perpetrate banal, redneck, thuggishness on the individual so doing.

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

Goldenvale, Rising Winds and the NorthWest kingdoms. Why? because I’ve never been there. It’s fun to put names to faces from E-Sam and also meet new drinking buddies.

What do you see in your Amtgard future?

Walking the earth, like Kane in Kung Fu. Also, hitting people with foam sticks. If ever the urge to run for office lodges itself in my mind, I promise to drink myself into a stupor until the urge dissipates.

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

I’m going to go ahead and out Brennon. He’s actually a really nice guy with a caustic turn of phrase.

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