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Magic in Amtgard
[11/25/2002] [jewishjedi]

Amtgard is a fantasy-based LARP. It’s not a medieval recreation group as some would think. As such, magic is an integral part in the game we play. With close to half the rulebook being set aside for this one aspect of the game, it seems silly to not use magic. But this is just what many people do all too often when they just ditch, play ‘fighting classes only’ games, or belittle magic users.

The first injustice done to half of our game comes when Amtgarders belittle spell casters on the field. Many times I’ve heard people call magic users, wizards in particular, power-mongers or munchkin gamers. The fact is, a wizard is no more powerful than any other class. You’ve just got to know how to beat them, so think a little before you cry about how you lost. Another crime towards magic users is that sometimes they’re called useless. Bards get this a lot. But they’re not useless. Bards take out the power element from the other team using legend or charm. Got a problem with a 6th-level wizard or sword knight on the other team? Well, a first level bard can get rid of them. And healers, many people call them weaklings, but with unlimited heals and eventually eight resurrects, healer is the most powerful class in the game. Remember those eight resurrects they have can translate into eight 6th level wizards if need be. And druids often get a bad rep too, but flameblade a warrior’s improved weapon and they will slice through the other team’s armor like a warm knife through butter. Next time, before you bitch about a spell caster, think about how you can use them and how you can fight them.

When we play games that are just for fighting classes (i.e. no spell casters), all we’re saying is that we can’t handle spell casters. Reeves that run these games are either just too damned lazy to learn the magic system, or too intimidated by thirty-some pages of magic rules. And when we as players play these games, we end up saying the same thing. Running games without the magic classes also shifts the balance of the game heavily to those blessed with the financial ability to buy or make more armor than others. Without lightning bolts, stuns, entangles, and legends, warriors become the ultimate munchkin class as no others can wear that much armor. So please, next time you’re in a class game, if no one else is playing a spellcaster, go write up a spell list and at least hurl some verbal spells.

The final heinous act we do to magic is to just ditch. Sure, ditching helps us become better fighters since that’s all it is, but it harms us in sinister, hard-to-see ways. Firstly, it dulls our minds as ditching tactics are far simpler than class game tactics. Secondly, ditching is also unfair to poor fighters and newbies. Magic balances the game as anyone can play those ‘overpowered’ classes and take a sword knight out with a few short words. Finally, ditching gets rid of the purpose of magic. Magic balances the game against those over-armored metal-wearing warriors on the field. Without armor, there is no need for magic. So don’t ditch when you can strap on some armor and eat a fireball for the betterment of our game.

Magic helps the game of Amtgard by making us think, balancing the game versus armor, and balancing it against the athletes that play our game. So go out there and use magic, use armor, and read those extra thirty pages at the end of the rulebook. Remember, only you can make Amtgard a fantasy-based LARP.

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