So, you’ve joined the LARPers at the park and you’re all excited and ready to go! Good for you! Amtgard is a lot of fun. When you’re new, you may spend a lot of time looking for resources. This page is an attempt to help you. Here, you will find basic information to get you started. As you progress in Amtgard, you will find that there is much more out there and many directions to go. This information is designed to help you get moving in your first month.
Information on Amtgard
The first item of interest for a new member of Amtgard should be the Rules of Play (RoP). The current RoP is version 8.0. Become especially familiar with SAFETY and LEGAL STRIKES. No headshots, no wild swings and no dangerous behavior.
There are some other great websites about Amtgard in general. My favorite is probably the Amtgard Wiki, aka AmtWiki. It can answer many, many questions for you. This is an excellent place to spend some time.
Alona Two Trees has a great, informative website, as well! Check her’s out for tutorials of all kinds.
The Amtgard Facebook page is the next stop in the Amtgard information firehose (ever try sipping from a firehose?). Do not be frightened! There is a lot of good information to be had, but there is also some strange behavior to be found. Take the good and leave the bad.
Finally, get your park’s Facebook page and your kingdom’s Facebook page. These will keep you plugged in.
Making Your Character
There are a few items of immediate interest in getting started: a weapon and a tunic. Without these, you may be at the mercy of someone else to loan you these things, and that will only work for so long. You can also start getting your persona together. Who are you in the world of Amtgard?
A couple of things to consider with Persona. This is where you start to build who you are to the game. Remember that this is a Live Action Role Playing (LARP) game. Have fun with it, and remember, this is fantasy! Make of it what you will.
A name is personal and it is what you will be hearing when people call you, so consider it carefully. Remember that Amtgard is a fantasy roleplaying game. Your name doesn’t have to be realistic. But it should be pronounceable. Here are a couple of ways to make a name:
- Name generators. They’re everywhere! Search google and see what I mean. If you generate it enough times, you may stumble upon something you really like. Thanks to all of the MMORPGs in the world, there are plenty of name generators!
- Make something up. Jumble letters together. You’ve heard a ton of names in your life, just try putting sounds together.
- Historical or fantasy names. Just grab one you like! It is generally frowned upon to take the name of someone famous (like, don’t even do it) but there may be minor characters with which you can get away with this. Sagas and the like are packed full of names. If you do pick a “famous” name, make sure it is also a “common” name. You can get away with Leif (as in Leif Eiriksson) but you won’t get away with Gandalf.
- Mix and Match. In many cultures (even some fictitious cultures), names are combinations of smaller elements. For instance, Celeborn in elvish is Celeb (silver) + orn (tree). Kveldulf in Old Norse = Kveld (night) + ulf (wolf). Cenris in Anglo-Saxon is Cene (bold) + ric (power). Mix and match can combine these different cultures to make a name, as well. Kveldorn could be night (Old Norse) + tree (elvish). Google “name elements” to find out more!
Where are you from? This may have some influence on your name, what you wear, what you think of others, and even your accent! Consider how where you are from now makes you different from the people you meet. People from Texas, for instance, think they know how to make BBQ. People from Washington State are into grunge (still?! No, probably not). People from England wear fezzes and bow ties. People from the East coast of Africa are pirates. This detail can provide you a lot of information about your character.
All weapons have a “core” – a rigid material in the middle. This can be PVC, graphite, kitespar or bamboo. It is very tempting to look at that list and say, “I’m going to use PVC because I know where to find it and it is cheap.”
NO! Get graphite: it is lightweight, incredibly durable and also very cheap. Go to Goodwill, find their golf clubs and pick out one that has “graphite” written on it. It will cost you $3 but this is really what you want. Take a hacksaw (not the goblin, the tool) or a pipe cutter to it to remove the golf club head. Tape over that rough end and you are ready to make a sword.
There are various weapons that you will want to try out, but the most basic and standard weapon is the Short Sword. A Short Sword is a sword that measures from 18″ to 36″ in length from pommel to tip. Any class can use a Short Sword.
There are two different makes of Short Sword:
- Omniblade – a round “blade” often made out of pipe insulation or pool noodle. This video tutorial is found on the amtgard.com website and lays out how to create a sword using pool noodle. This would be an excellent place to start because it is an easy sword. Pipe insulation will last longer than pool noodle, but this is your first sword. If you can find some pool noodle, make it! You’ll be making another one in about a month because they don’t last, but they are cheap and easy.
- Flatblade – a blade with a distinct edge and a more “sword-like” appearance. This is an excellent tutorial on how to make a flatblade. Flatblade construction uses flat pieces of foam sandwiched together and glued with DAP contact cement. Flatblades can be a little heavier, thus slower.
Garb is clothing you wear to Amtgard so you look like a fantasy/medieval character. In the newest version of the Amtgard rules (coming in August 2014), you can get bonuses for looking the part. Also, you can only ever play the “Peasant” class without garb. That means you can only use a dagger and you will have no special abilities.
Luckily for you, it is very easy to make your own garb! See this “T” Tunic demo to learn how.
Look around your house. Do you have some pajama bottoms you can wear with that “T” Tunic? Or maybe you have some plain, decent (non-cowboy) boots you can add. Did you pick up a crazy hat at the Ren fair? Add these in and check out the mirror. You know what fantasy characters can look like. You may have the makings of some garb just waiting to be worn to take your garb to the next level!
- Have your park champion check your weapon to make sure you made it well.
- Ask someone to teach you the right way to take and give shots with your new sword. You don’t want to hurt someone and you want to do well. This advice will take your reputation at your park the farthest. Nobody wants to play with someone who hurts them or doesn’t call their shots.
- Try out all of the fighter and magic classes! Your first idea for what you want to play may not be as exciting as something else for you.
- Write up a brief biography of your new character. If you’re having trouble, find a list of questions online for describing your character like this one. Put as much as you want into it and no more. Keep it fun!
- Draw a picture of yourself for how you want to look in the end. Get a goal for your garb.
- Ask questions, offer to help and have fun! You’re off to a great start!