It’s two weeks ‘til ‘Rakis, where the kingdoms will meet to discuss the 6.1 rulebook. With no BLBOD narcs around for hundreds of miles to call the police, the meeting may produce some good dialogue about what is Amtgard’s first major rules revision in years. After that, we’ll have Clan, where soon-to-be King Raphael Andalsa will host another meeting and talk to the monarchs some more about 6.1 and why they should fall into line and support it for the good of knighthood, Amtgard, and kittens – in that order. There will be much merriment, someone will complain about the minutes, and we’ll all go our separate ways. This is all well and good, but it hides a fundamental problem about 6.1.
It may come as a surprise to you, but 6.1 has a singular, critical problem. No, it’s not the poor editing – we’ve had a Corpora and Rulebook for half a decade that were edited at the 6th grade level and they’ve worked out all right. It’s not the silly class examples or the outrageously bad train wreck of Amtgard and Japanese culture that we know as the haikus, either. No, the problem with 6.1 is communication.
We ran a poll on e-Samurai a few weeks ago asking people if they knew what their 6.1 rep was up to. Before I go on, let me just say a few things about the phrase 6.1 rep. First of all, it really has nothing to do with 6.1 The rulebook we’ve been given is a full revision and not a minor upgrade – an accurate name would be 7.0. Second, the ‘rep’ part is deceptive. A representative must, by definition, represent. Even the appointed senators of the early part of American history were appointed by elected representatives. Most lands have no real representatation on the 6.1 Committee because their representatives were appointed by the unelected committee itself. You call it 6.1 rep – I call it 7.0 appointee. You say 6.1 Committee – I say BLBOD Politburo Subcommittee. Anyway.
The response to our poll was alarming. Only 33% of respondees had any idea what their representative was doing. Of the remaining two thirds of Amtgarders, half didn’t know who their representative even was! This is a huge problem for the 6.1 committee because it means two things – first, there is a huge communication gap between the people in power and the people who will be forced to play by the rules, and second, most Amtgarders are so disinterested and disenchanted by the entire situation that they haven’t even opened up the first page of 6.1 to find out who their kingdom representative is.
e-Samurai can’t walk on water, but today we’ll do our part to remedy part of this mess.
The Kingdom of the Burning Lands is well-represented on the committee. Sir Garik is technically the kingdom rep, but he doesn’t play in the main park of the kingdom and Sir Aramithris and Sir Raphael are both so heavily involved in telling people what their opinions ought to be that the project doesn’t need a kingdom rep from the Burning Lands. Still, the important thing is that they are represented. The subjects of that kingdom have a say and know who to talk to, whether it be Sir Garik, Sir Raphael, or Sir Aramithris himself.
The Emerald Hills had problems because they elected three people to serve on 6.1 and had each of them rejected because Aramithris didn’t like them. One of these people includes the newly-elected king of the Emerald Hills himself! Stepping-down King Larin made several attempts to contact Aramithris on the AmtgardInc list, and eventually made contact. Stormie is the current representative and she was at the Monarchs’ Meeting at Clan last year, so she’s in the loop, but the most recent news is that Larin is to be the Emerald Hills contact.
Sir Theo represents the Celestial Kingdom. He’s one of the oldest Amtgarders and a former member of the Burning Lands. They may be distracted out there due to the hullabaloo over the dissolution of the Grand Duchy, but they have someone to talk to. Sir Arion, currently their king, is also an active representative for 6.1 but isn’t yet an official rep. He’s good enough for Aramithris, though, and is a good avenue to send 6.1 suggestions.
The Kingdom of the Golden Plains is represented by Sir Euric, who served as king for a full year recently. He was an active part of the kingdom the last time I was there and has a minor e-mail presence, so anyone in the Golden Plains who has thoughts on the project ought to get a hold of him.
The Iron Mountains is also represented by a former monarch. Sir Belgarion was Emperor and is very active in both the empire and the internet. There’s even a 6.1 meeting scheduled at ‘Rakis, as I said earlier, so the Iron Mountains folks have a definite place to go to get their input heard.
The Mystic Seas – empire, kingdom, whatever they are – is represented by Sir Lukor. Lukor may have a controversial reputation, but he is always available online and travels around lots of parts of the Mystic Seas. More importantly, he has challenged everyone to put their money where their mouth is and offer up suggestions for 6.1 instead of just complaining. If anyone would do this, he’d no doubt be obligated to do likewise and pass on whatever input he received to the 6.1 committee. The Mystic Seas is not lacking for an active advocate.
The Kingdom of Dragonspine is represented by Sir Phocion. Phocion attended Amtgard an average of once every six months in the past three years, but his graduation from college means he’s coming to fight every Saturday now. Despite his hiatus, he’s always been easy to get in touch with online and maintains a very strong and active presence on e-Samurai, where he solicits ideas about Amtgard’s armor system. To many Amtgarders, he is half of the public face of 6.1.
VSR is not represented in the 6.1 committee. Aramithris did his best to keep the kingdom out by first making fun of Lord Nobody’s name and then insisting that the entire Northwest have one representative. He also asked for Queen Aristiri to get in touch with him. She posted her phone number and e-mail address to the Monarch’s List several times, and each time Aramithris posted asking why she wasn’t making any effort to get in touch with him. She even called him – I sent her his number myself -- to no avail. Aramithris therefore managed to politicize the entire rules process by using 6.1 as a bludgeon to try to force the two Northwest kingdoms to work together. It didn’t work. Curiously, he has worked hard to drive a wedge between the two Southwest kingdoms, even though we are much closer, our history of antagonism much more complex, and our potential to work together to do good things much greater. That’s a different rant and relates to another area of Aramithris’s ignorance of modern Amtgard altogether, but it serves to highlight how 6.1 is used as a political weapon due to inconsistent application of his varying standards.
Goldenvale has Sir Amren as their contact. He’s active in the kingdom, online, and at Amtgard events. Goldenvale has also done extensive testing, including Sir Blackhawk’s Amtgard-wide 6.1 quest. The Burning Lands has few kingdoms that are better friends than Goldenvale, so while the citizens of Goldenvale have little say in their kingdom affairs, the kingdom at large has good representation on the 6.1 Committee.
The Wetlands got a 6.1 representative when it came back into Amtgard. Sir Franchesca doesn’t play a lot, but she goes to some events and is very active online. It’s therefore easy and possible for Wetlanders to send their 6.1 suggestions to the committee via her. The BLBOD and the 6.1 Committee acted quickly to give Wetlands a rep as soon as the Wetlands was reinstated, so the avenue exists and has existed for awhile now.
If Phocion is half of the public face of 6.1, the other half is Sir Roger of Neverwinter. He’s maintained a rational, reasonable voice online since the 6.1 rulebook went public and has always been around to answer questions and entertain suggestions. Anyone – not just folks from Neverwinter – can offer up ideas to him and he’ll always do his best to give them a fair look. The Kingdom of Neverwinter, and Amtgard international, therefore has a solid rep in Sir Roger.
Finally, the Kingdom of the Rising Winds is represented by the very first person knighted by a Rising Winds king – Sir Rigel Orionis. Rigel keeps up with Amtgard and even entered the last Olympiad. The Rising Winds has an active yahoogroup list, too, which Sir Rigel reads.
The system certainly isn’t perfect. It can’t be. A more perfect system would allow the kingdoms to choose their own representatives and work together for the betterment of all. Instead, we have appointed individuals who are sometimes as much in the dark about what’s up with 6.1 as we are. The project has been shrouded in secrecy and paranoia for so long that it’s invariably going to be tainted, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try to make it less tainted. A third of Amtgarders had no idea who represented their kingdom, but now they know – and now they have a chance to get their voices heard.
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