|The Northern Experience
About a year ago, I wrote about what I thought Amtgard would be like in the North. Things are a bit different here compared to my isolated homeland in Texas, but none of these differences detract from the game at all.
Let me address my expectations from the previous article.
1. Different Fighting Techniques. I expected that, while the majority of fighters would have different techniques than the styles I was used to, that wouldn’t mean they weren’t as good at fighting. For the most part, I was right. However, I was wrong on how many fighters wouldn’t fight like those in the South. Despite the permeation of different games in the area, and the number of crossgamers, most Amtgardians here fight like those in the South.
2. More Roleplay. There is a bit more roleplay in Amtgard here, but it stays online for the most part. Not everyone roleplays on the field up here like I was led to believe. Even at Knoblander, one of the biggest roleplay events in Amtgard, not everyone was running around being elves or darklords. The event still kicked ass, but nothing like I expected. Oddly, the lack of roleplay actually reassured me rather than disappointed. I guess I was subconsciously afraid that heavy roleplay would turn me off Amtgard because it wouldn’t have its familiar feel.
3. More Indoor Events. Granted, I have not been to any event that ran between Thanksgiving and Spring Break up here, but not all events in fall and early spring are indoor. I attended a Rising Winds Midreign, and it got rather cold at night. Despite the cold, a lot of people still made it out and camped. The only real difference is there were more campers than I was used to, but since there were more people at the event than I am used to, it wasn’t that big of a deal.
4. Less Bickering. To some extent, my prediction has been right, but as with any group of humans, bickering and arguments still have their place. However, there is a greater sense of unity despite the bickering. There are more constructive discussions than flat-out "you are a dumbass flurb" arguments. That much is at least welcomed.
5. More Stress. Yep, I was right. Founding a shire has been more stressful than I thought. I always want to see the things my hand help form flourish and thrive, and keeping a shire going has proven to be a great challenge to that trait. I am proud of what my land has accomplished in its first year, and hope it continues to improve upon this foundation. And maybe, one day in the far future, I will feel comfortable enough to let it go.
One of the biggest differences in my experiences in the south and up here has been the attendance at events. Coming from the smallest kingdom in the game, I thought getting about eighty people at the kingdom’s tenth year was a big thing for a non-interkingdom event. That notion was shattered early on. The first event I attended up here was Pelenor Fields. This shire-hosted event had around one hundred and fifty people. Knoblander had about the same numbers. The Rising Winds Midreign had about one hundred and eighty people, if memory serves, and I was told that was a low turnout for them. That blows my mind away.
The number of merchants at events also is an interesting thing. I began my own little merchant operation back in Texas, and I thought twenty bucks was a good profit as the sole merchant. Up here, there are usually about three or four merchants other than us, and some of them pull several hundred in profit per event. I like this. Having a Merchant’s Row is an awesome experience that creates a good environment for those who do not fight. Rather than being left to gossip with one or two other people, there are several places to wander to and many people to talk to.
All and all, I think I enjoy Amtgard even more now that I have moved. Granted, I miss a lot of my old comrades and miss seeing them prosper. (I have missed the knighting of several friends). But I feel as if the shell of a protected childhood has been broken and the world stands before me.
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