|Thoughts from a Frustrated Writer
There is only one way to bust writer’s block, and that is to force through it. After numerous attempts to write a coherent article on a single topic, and falling into the same circular rants and rambles, I decided to just write a few thoughts on the topics that to mind. So, sit back, enjoy the randomness of my brain, and let your mind idle for a bit.
For once in the years I have been playing Amtgard, the game seems to be making positive progress. We have a rulebook that is under regular updating by the Circle of Monarchs. And if this huge step forward wasn’t enough, the CoM has agreed that standardized awards are a needed addition to the rulebook. This decision brings me a sense of security about the future of the game, a few disappointments, and a small, nagging fear.
I am disappointed that a few awards seem to be made obsolete. Deads/Masques, Hydras, and Gryphons should still qualify one for a knighthood (even though Deads/Masques never did). The loss of Gryphons especially disheartens me. It seems that honor is no longer associated with knighthood, and we have severed the final tie of our knighthood to that of the period we emulate.
I know that my fear will make me sound paranoid… well, I am. I can count the people I genuinely trust on my fingers, and my parents aren’t even on that list. I worry that standardization of awards will eventually lead to a standardized corpora, and thus an end to kingdom individuality. The only thing that is really a subjective variable in the awards standards is how one steps into the offices that lead to qualification for Crown knight. If this was standardized, then kingdom corporas become nothing more than fluff pieces. Kingdom individuality is a fragile, but vital, piece of the game. Without it, what is the point of even having Kingdoms?
Dor Un Avathar
I am also happy about the standardization of the Dor Un Avathar, and its placement under the IKCOM’s domain. I am, however, one of the few Amtgardians who supported the Dor proposed by the Burning Lands. Did it rip off months of work by the Amtgard 7 group? Absolutely, and they should have been given the majority of the work’s credit. But I feel the current Dor Un Avathar is too long and contains way too many summonable monsters. As a sixth level druid, I can summon an air elemental, a stone golem, and a bear to fight along side me without violating the rules. This is an absurdity, plain and simple. The Dor needs the fat trimmed out in a big way.
Of course, I am also the oddball that isn’t a big fan of the numerous “Suppliments” the Amt7 group is releasing either. It is making the game have too much of a Magic: the Gathering feel - pick your expansion and go. The expansions lend far too much to the deviation from the standard rules by creating too many variants. The only positive I find in them is that they are the work of a game-wide body open to suggestions from pretty much anyone and not that of a single kingdom, or worse yet, a single person.
I am still eagerly awaiting one supplement that the Amt7 group has had in the works since the Dor that would be their greatest contribution to the game yet: the Construction Book. An easy-to-follow book with instructions on how to make legal weapons, armor, and easy garb would solve one of the most common issues the game has with retaining new members. I have seen more new blood leave the game over frustration when their best attempts at legal weapons fail, and the ridicule that some veterans normally include with it, than I have seen leave because of parent approval, asshats, and football season combined.
I have read a bit of the debate about whether Crystal Groves should become a Kingdom or not, and my opinion on Kingdoms as a whole seems to dominate my mindset on the matter: the more Kingdoms the game has, the better off it will be. I think that a kingdom does need a strong land to rally around, but I don’t see why confederacies and principalities are the devils the BLBOD seems to think they are. If you have a duchy with an average attendance of around 65, and a few stable baronies within a 100 mile radius, then why not make them a kingdom?
More Kingdoms will lead to geo-centric kingdoms, more input on the Circle of Monarchs, and a more stable governance system for the game. For example, the Rising Winds span from Wisconsin down through Arkansas on one axis and from Missouri to Ohio on the other. It has also been one of the most politically unbalanced kingdoms in recent years. Yes, they are a young kingdom, and political unrest will occur, but the converse of this is Goldenvale, which after having lost lands to Neverwinter via the Principality of Winter’s Edge and the Rising Winds, is becoming more stable.
More kingdoms lead to more stability as a whole partial because it eliminates a great deal of the impersonal governance done via Internet and third parties. When a Kingdom is only 200 miles wide, meaning about three to four hours drive from border to border, the populace mingles much more when even an hour is tacked on to the end of the drive. Can we honestly expect someone who is a 5 hour drive one-way to attend Althings regularly, or for a monarchy to attend events of its subgroup? Realistically, no we cannot. The closer the seat of power, the more likely the populace is to be actively involved in its government, and that is what make stable governments.
Okay E-Sam readers, I have fanned the flames. Grab your keyboards, your Amt-slang thesauruses and… FLAME ON!
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