Imagine this – Your standing on a field, looking around, searching for your enemies. Your job is to protect the Dragon egg behind you from any disturbance. You hear a noise to your left, when you turn you see three of your teammates fighting a Bear. You see an enemy Warrior sneaking up behind them. Quickly you yell out a warning, but your teammates don’t hear you. You raise your bow, pull your arrow back and take aim. It’s all down to you. You have one chance to get this right, or everyone’s going to die. You take a breath, release it and release the arrow. It flies straight into the enemy warriors back. He puts his hand over his head and yells, “Dead,” in a sullen voice. Smiling, you once again scan the field for more opponents. You have just played 5 minutes of Amtgard. Amtgard is a form of Larp, or live action role play. It’s like a video game, but instead of sitting on the couch as your character runs around, you go out to parks and fight with foam weapons that mimic swords, but cause no actual injuries. Before I joined Amtgard I had never even heard of Larping. I was attending the Escondido Renaissance fair when I turned a corner and found an Amtgard group. There were people with swords, people with bows, all fighting together. I asked if I could play, and I’ve been playing ever since. I started helping run game days in 2008, and now I am the president of the local chapter. In order to play you need to learn the point system, what the basic classes are, and how to level them up. Playing Amtgard is one of the most entertaining things you can do, but it all starts with the Point System. Amtgards works on a two point system, so once you lose two points, you die. The arms and legs are worth 1 point each, the torso, which is the area that would be covered by a girls once piece bathing suit, is worth 2. The head and neck are 0 points because even with padded weapons, shots to these areas could cause injury. If you are hit in an arm or a leg, you lose 1 of your two points, and are unable to use that limb further.
Once you have lost both points, which happens when you are hit in the torso, or if you lose 2 limbs, you must put your hand on your head and call dead. Now that you know the point system it’s time to add some flavor to the game by creating a character, which we do in Amtgard by choosing a class. There are 12 classes, which are character types you can choose from, but all 12 fall into 3 major categories, Melee ,Magic, Meta. Melee Classes fight with lots of different weapon types including ranged, wear armor to protect them from other melee attacks, and gain ability to restore items or ignore magic at higher levels. Magic classes use points to buy spells, gaining more points and more available spells as they rise in levels. Meta Classes are ones that only become available if you gain an order of the Knighthood. There are 6 Melee classes, and they are Archer, which shoot all kinds of arrows with special affects, Assasins, who are great at snesking, Barbarian, which are good at breaking shields and armor and too stupid to be controlled with magic, Monks who swipe arrows out of the air and ignore magic, Scouts who are a little good at everything, and Warriors who fight well and wear lots of armor. There are 4 Magical classes which are Bards, who fight their enemies with song and help their friends with magic, Druids who have a lot of nature friendly magic and weapons, Healers who fix the wounded and raise the dead, and Wizards, who kill you with magic in many horrible ways.
There are two Meta Classes which are Paladins, holy knights of good who fight only for good, and Anti Paladins, knights of evil who try to turn all too bad. Of course as anyone who’s played a video game knows, you don’t just need to choose a class, you need to level it as well. You level a class by coming out to parks, practices and events and playing the class you are leveling. Regular park days earn 1XP to 1 class per week, Traveling over 100 miles doubles your XP, and events give 1xp per day that the event runs, which is generally between 2-4.
The XP required to level a class is tiered, so the second level is pretty easy to reach requiring only 5 points, the third is harder requiring 12 points and so on up the ranks. You have to take a level test that shows you know all your new abilities before you are allowed to play the class. The costume requirements also go up as you level, with Jeans and a T-shirt being fine for a first level, but completely inappropriate for a 6th. Now you know everything you need to if you would like to start playing Amtgard. You know how many points you must take to kill, how to tell if an opponent is dead and show it for yourself, what the different classes available are and how to level them up. for more information come out to one of our park days, check out our website and join our very active facebook group. (search in groups for siar geata)