Amtgard Rules of Play.

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How It Happened
[01/26/2005] [Brennon]

First off, Iíve got a disclaimer: Iím a person and, despite what you might have heard, Iím not perfect. Not even close. This is not THE story of 7.0; it is MY story about 7.0. Iím sure there are inaccuracies in here. Iím sure the time between when the events happened and now have clouded my mind and obscured the truth. Take everything you read herein with a grain of salt.

When I first joined Amtgard almost eight years ago I was told that the new rulebook would be coming out soon, so I would have to learn the rules again soon. After that I never heard about the new rules again for many years, and therefore stopped caring. Life went on as normal and I was just your average newbie. My first class was warrior, and I flailed a lot and hit people in the leg and then ran away. I had always been a smart kid and adapted quickly to the rules. I learned their ins and outs, and eventually decided to play wizard since I didnít have armor, a shield, or more than one sword. I figured I could take a bunch of verbals and my one sword and play that way.

Actually, that is still how I play wizard.

Anyway, I eventually met Kayrana. She had just moved to Waco (part of the Emerald Hills) from El Paso (Burning Lands) where she had been good friends with Aramithris. She and I became friends after a bit of a rocky start and she became a mentor to me. Kayrana had been embroiled in the political intrigue that was rampant in BL at the time and knew all of the major players in every kingdom. It was really an eye-opening experience to realize how much more Amtgard there was beyond my own backyard. Keep in mind we didnít have e-Sam back then, and even the Amtgard-l was unreliable, to say the least. I also didnít travel a whole lot since I was all of sixteen and didnít have a car or any money. Fast forward a couple years and we see Kayrana and Terarin, her then husband, as the rulebook committee reps for the Emerald Hills. They were appointed by Aramithris (as all reps were at that time) to represent our interests in the new rulebook. That didnít sit particularly well with a lot of people in the kingdom, since they were transplants instead of natives. This led to a long string of hostilities and stress between their new home and their old loyalties. Caused them both a lot of grief, in fact. Being young, impressionable, and feeling sorry for my friend I tended to side with her. It wasnít her fault she was a transplant, after all, and I felt she was being treated unfairly. When Clan rolled around, I ended up camping with Claw instead of EH because of my sympathies. I got introduced to Bolt, Ivar, Aramithris, and a host of other famous characters at a young age. Ivar and Aramithris tried to hit on my mom (hi mom!), which was both amusing and disturbing.

Jump ahead a couple more years and Iíve become a reasonably accomplished rules lawyer, and a good strong fighter. Iíve been champion a couple times, held a couple of other offices, won a few tournaments, and am generally well-known and respected in my kingdom (though not particularly liked). Iím semi-known in the Iron Mountains due primarily to Lief dating my mom (hi mom!). The 6.1 project has been going on for a long while, but we are finally starting to see some hope in the form of 6.1 and 6.12 releases. Both of which show promise, and at least a bit of progress. People are actively making noises about it getting finished and starting to care about it fairly strongly. Right about this time Kayrana dies. My kingdom goes from a by-and-large sort of negligent dismissal to an outpouring of grief which, in my mind, can only be described as tacky, tasteless, and too little too late. From my grief stricken perspective it looks a lot more like people being interested in showing off how well they can be sorrowful than showing how much they actually cared about the person they had been mistreating for the last five years.

This is where my famous hate for my kingdom comes from, by the way. Itís really just misguided grief and loss. Clichť, eh?

That year, I went to Clan and attended the rulebook meeting because I was interested in what was going on. For whatever reason, I ended up being the only person from EH who wasnít a total choad to attend the meeting. I go back home bearing news and status updates, and my kingdom suggests that I should just sort of keep at it. Aramithris, who was thankful to have somebody from EH that he at least knew on the committee, thought it was a good idea and had me added to the 6.1 list (eventually, this took a few months). During this time before I was added, apparently some people on the 6.1 list objected to my presence. I had offended a couple people along the way, and apparently they didnít like me too much. This was the point when Aramithris wrote the now infamous email referring to me as Ďperfectí. What he meant is that I was perfect for the job, not perfect in general. I wonder what he thinks about me now? Regardless, I got added to the list and discoveredÖ

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The entire thing was defunct, basically. There hadnít even been any traffic to speak of for almost six months other than arguing about adding me. There was no leadership, and nothing was being accomplished whatsoever. Everybody was waiting on Aramithris to lead and he was incapable of doing. SoÖ thatís it. The project was dead in the water. During the entire year I was on that list, nothing really happened. Clan rolled around next year and there hadnít been any updates. Rumor was that Aramithris wasnít going to be at Clan and there wasnít going to be a rulebook or monarchs meeting.

Once I get to Clan, I confirm that the rumors are actually true. Nobody knows anything, and there is no progress to report to the members of the committee, much less the populace at large. For some reason I canít exactly remember I decided that monarchs meetings were important and I should try and organize one. So I did. I gathered together all the monarchs on site (I think seven or eight of them) and representatives from those monarchs not present directly. The meeting was amazingly progressive, and I managed to run everybody through a fairly substantial list of items and get a lot of common ground hashed out between the people present. Kurseís attempt to revitalize Clan as a truly interkingdom event is one result of that, and the promise to have the rulebook completed in six months is another.

Let me point out that I didnít bring the rulebook up at that meeting. I think either Snicker or Feral did. Kurse suggested that the only way to get anything done was to just do it. This entire thing wasnít my idea. What I did do was convince the separatist factions present at the meeting to give me six months. I told them that if they would hold off for six months, I could get the rules committee to produce a rulebook. If it isnít obvious by now, I just made that number up. I didnít have any status, ability, or backing to say anything even remotely like that. I just bluffed my way through the entire meeting.

So I get home and post to e-Sam about the incredibly productive monarchs meeting and that there will be a rulebook in six months. Ironically, since most people on the committee knew next to nothing about what was going on, they just all assumed that I had some information they didnít from a meeting at Clan and didnít bother to mention it on the 6.1 list. The day after that I emailed Roger and Phocion and told them what was really going on. They agreed it was probably the only way, and the worst that could happen is nothing got accomplished, much like what was already happening.

After that, things moved of their own accord almost. Phocion, Roger, and I did a bunch of revisions and peer-reviewed each others work. I had the most spare time and energy for the project, so I ended up being de facto editor. The bones of the project were already there, it just needed to be fleshed out, cleaned up, organized, and have loopholes fixed. We also took a stance on the SiM/AC thing and nixed the hybrid. All in all, 7.0 is a lot closer to a cleaned-up version of 6.0 than 6.12 was. Eventually we got it to a point where we could release our updated version to the rest of the committee and the online community. That took about two months of constant, grueling work.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to completely re-write a rules system? I advise against trying it.

When we released our work to the committee, it caused a bit of a stir. Some people were immediately against it. Others were cautiously for it. Aramithris, working through Garik and Raphael, threatened to have us all removed from the list and kicked off the committee along with anybody who supported it. There were deadlines and ultimatums constantly, it seemed. Eventually, we got the rest of the committee more or less behind us. Our main selling point is we had a product that worked and the people seemed to genuinely like. Also, I think everybody was relieved that something had been done, regardless of who did it. Iím not sure what happened with Garik kicking us off the list. I donít know if Aramithris backed down or Garik simply decided it wasnít worth it to kick 90% of the committee off the list. I do know that Garik has offered some really helpful input into the current rules, and Iím glad he chose to participate rather than try to stop it.

The committee as a whole got behind the project and started soliciting feedback. Once that was largely done, I compiled the best stuff into the 6.5 rulebook, along with a large number of rules fixes. Phocion and Roger kind of took back seats at this point. Roger was being attacked by hurricanes in Florida and Phocion was traveling the country having just graduated from college. They were still around when I needed them and a great help, but I had to do most of the driving and managing of the project on my own. At that point though, it really was mostly a one-person job. Editing by committee is a pain in the ass. It works a lot better to just have the committee review each offering, give feedback, and then have one person incorporate the good stuff into the finished document. I handled that process until the thing was released in its current form. Now I handle the updating process for the Circle of Monarchs, but they have control over the issues and agenda.

And thatís basically it. Iím glossing over a whole lot of details, strife, arguments, and skipping all the information about the political machinations I went through to get the rulebook passed. If I wrote all that down, though, it would be another five pages. Eventually Iím going to release the email archives pertaining to the 6.1 list and the process. That has a lot more gory details and is way more entertaining. This synopsis should answer most basic questions though.

Itís been a lot of hard work. If I had known how hard it was going to be, I never would have started this project. Iím glad itís done. The sheer amount of bullshit Iíve had to put up with from annoying power-gamers, idiotic monarchs, and utter retards has almost driven me mad at times. If it hadnít been for Phocion, Roger, Randall, Rath, Kurse, Juju, Franchesca and a host of others this thing would have never gotten done. They each have their own story to tell, and Iím sure itís probably more interesting than my own. Garik in particular has been there from the beginning, and heís probably the only one who got to see everything as it happened. I think heís still a little pissed off at me though. I would like to stress that everybody (with the exception of Lukor) on the committee has been incredibly valuable in one way or another. Iíve been the public face on this effort a lot of the time, but it was a total group effort. Even the dissent has made the rulebook stronger by pointing out flaws and correcting them. Only Lukor managed to not contribute anything at all and be a completely useless, whining ass.

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