This article is intended to help those who don’t know what Amtgard is to understand the game better. In it you’ll find topics on what kind of Live Action Role Play (LARP) game Amtgard is, conversations about the fighting, information about the classes and resources to help you get into the game.
What Kind of LARP is Amtgard
Amtgard is a LARP although it might be best to call it LARP Lite. There is role play in Amtgard but it’s best to temper your expectations. It’s less like Skyrim and more like League of Legends.
You will have the chance to take on the role of a Wizard, Warrior or Druid, just to name a few, but those roles will take place, more often than not, within the context of a player vs player game. On occasion you will be able to play in what we call a “Quest”.
As the name quest implies, you are questing and it’s more often than not player vs environment, so there will be non-player characters and monsters to fight. In some cases this will be a simple linear game, in other cases it could be more complex with a mix of combat and role-play.
Amtgard Foam Fighting
At the core of Amtgard is its foam fighting. The basic rule set is well designed and has produced some of the best foam fighters in all of the LARPs. We are not a lightest touch based LARP. What does this mean?
It means that we swing with force, but our weapons are designed to be safe. Some LARPs are lightest touch because their weapons are not safe to hit at full force and are often made with rubbers or latex. Our weapons are made with primarily foam and tape.
Foam Fighting is very sports like and that is definitely a theme in Amtgard. You’ll find many aspects of the game that are sports like. The games are often competitive, player vs player matches. You can take your foam fighting as seriously or not as seriously as you’d like, but it is the basis of the game that everything flows from.
You can see a few minutes of fighting in THIS video on my YouTube Channel to get an idea what it looks like. They are fighting with a short sword and a shield.
The Classes and Magic
This is probably what you’ve been waiting for, the classes. You’ve probably been asking “When can I play a Wizard?”. The answer is every weekend. There are ten classes that anyone can play, starting the first day they come out and two more once they gain level 6 in any class At the end of the class section I’ll talk a little bit about magic.
Archer is the primary ranged class, they focus on ranged combat with a bow.
Assassin is a hybrid class that focuses on stealth. They get both ranged and melee combat abilities. You can find an introductory video HERE.
Barbarian is a hybrid class. They are mainly a melee class. They get to wear some armor and get some protections from magic.
Monk is a melee focus class. They do get thrown weapons. Their primary role is to kill magic users as many of their abilities gives them protections from magic.
Scout is a hybrid class. They can use a bow, although at the expense of being able to use a shield. They also get abilities to help manipulate the flow of battle. You can find an introductory video HERE
Warrior is the main melee class. They get to wear the most amount of armor and their abilities allow them to overcome death and get back into the fight faster. You can find an introductory video HERE.
Bard is the first magic user in the rule book. They are focused on being able to cast spells while fighting.
Druid is the most versatile of the spell casters. They can do direct damage, enhance other players, crowd control and even enhance themselves so they can wade into melee combat. They can even take a bow.
Healer is focused on, well, healing. Healers can heal players and even bring them back from the dead. They also give out protections to other players and have crowd controlling abilities.
Wizard is focused on combat. They have a range of spells meant to kill people and destroy equipment. They are can melee but typically rely on range to do their damage.
Anti-Paladin is an armored melee class that has special protections, buffs and crowd control abilities. You must reach six level in another place before you can play it.
Paladin is also an armored melee class that has special protections and crowd control abilities, but rather than buffing themselves, they heal, bring people back to life and share their protections. You must reach six level in another place before you can play it.
Magic is a very potent force in Amtgard. By far some of the strongest classes are the magic classes. There are three basic types of magic, verbal, spellballs and enchantments.
Verbal spells require nothing but denoting a target and speaking an incantation loud enough. Most verbal spells are focused around either negating a player’s agency or outright killing them. To cast a verbal spell, or any spell or ability for that matter, you need to speak the proper incantation.
Spellball spells are physical objects that you throw at people for different affects. The wizard is by far the caster with the most varied amount of spellball spells. Different spellballs will be different colors to denote their effects. You’ll have to say the incantation before throwing the spellball.
Enchantments are spells that target other players (although on rare situations, yourself) which provide some kind of affect. Often this affect is protective in nature, the most common is giving armor or a protection against certain spells and abilities. Druid is well known for giving out enchantments.
Arts and Sciences
Amtgard also has a large Arts and Sciences scene. If combat isn’t really your thing then you might find you would like to craft. Most people who participate in the game also dabble in the Arts and Sciences.
There are any numerous things you can do, from creating historical or fantasy inspired clothing to building amazing looking weapons and shields and many things in between. Painting, drawing, photography, cooking and just about any art form, focused on historical of fantasy topics, are accepted in our community.
We have contests at least every six months where you can show off all the things that you’ve made. Often times you’ll find more frequent contests and some themed contests, depending on where you’re located.
Unlike some LARPs Amtgard is completely volunteer driven. You won’t find any paid staff here. Every person, from the person running a game up to the person running the organization, are all volunteers.
This structure gives people a lot of chances to learn in grow. People have come away from Amtgard with new organization and leadership skills. If you are into serving a community Amtgard is a good place to go. You can find leadership roles, such as helping run your local park and there is event planning such as helping run some of our yearly weekend long events.
If leadership is not your thing but you want to help, there are other avenues as well, You can design games for people to play, help clean up sites, referee games or any numerous support roles throughout the game.
Along with game, the Arts and Sciences and the community there is also an awards structure. We have awards for doing many different things, the five main themes are Service, Arts and Sciences, Leadership, battle gaming and Foam Fighting.
You can get an award for just about anything, there is even an award for good sportsmanship, the Griffin. Many of the award paths lead to a final award, Masterhood. These are Ladder Awards and they are detailed at the end of the rule book.
Once you achieve Masterhood in an Ladder Award path, you have the chance of becoming a Knight, which is an acknowledgment of your service to the game of Amtgard. It’s something along the lines of a lifetime Achievement award and will take several years to achieve.
On top of the Ladder Awards there are also titles such as Lord, Baron or Duke, just to name a few. Titles of nobility are often associated with running a park or a region of Amtgard. While a person is a leader of a park they have the temporary title of nobility associated with their park’s level. Once leaving office, they may be awarded a title of nobility of their own, separate from their park, if the officers of the region they belong to think they did a good job in their office. Lower level titles of nobility can also be given out as acknowledgment of a person’s service to the game.
Cost of Play
You might be wondering what it costs to play Amtgard. Our weekend practices are free! Sometimes we’ll have a weekend long event which will cost a fee to cover the cost of the event but our normal weekly events are free.
You don’t even need any gear to start either. Just come out to your local park and start playing. Most parks will have equipment to loan out to new players. You will eventually be expected to get medieval/fantasy clothing and your own weapons but people are usually pretty open to helping you obtain them.
There is a dues system that helps support the parks and regions, but dues are optional. You don’t need to pay them to participate in Amtgard. The amount varies it costs vary by region. Typical benefits to paying dues is to be able to vote in elections and to get print copy of the rule book.
Where to Play
Now that you know a little bit about Amtgard you might be asking where can you try out this game. Luckily we have groups throughout the USA and into Canada. Group sizes can run from a few people up to several dozen every weekend. For special events you might even see several hundred people! You can find the group closest to you by using this handy online tool we call the Amtgad Atlas.
In this section I’m going to list some good starting resources. For a more comprehensive list check out my Resource Page.
- Rule Book: This is everything you’ll need to start playing, it details the combat rules, the classes, how armor works and the different weapons types and weapon construction rules.
- How to Make a Short Sword: This is a basic video tutorial demonstration how to make a short sword. Even if you don’t know if you want to make your own equipment, it’s a good video to learn about our weapons.
- Valid Weapon Shots: This video explains what a valid shot is in Amtgard. The video is very helpful in explaining the rules. It gives a demonstration of the various shots and their effects.
- Main Amtgard Facebook Page: This is the main way we communicate as an organization. If you have any questions I didn’t cover you can send me a message or post in this group.
I’d like to thank my Patreon supporters. You can see the tier 2 and tier 3 supporters on my Patreon Supporters page.
[…] The demo was scheduled for 11am -1pm. I was surprised we had a two hour block, but we used it. The demo was sparsely attended, we waited 10 minutes before starting the demo and a few extra people popped in. Kormac and I gave a bit of a lecture about what Amtgard is. I briefly mentioned the classes, A&S, service and awards before getting into the combat. I also let people know that Amtgard is more like League of Legends than it is Skyrim. The whole talk took 10-15 minutes. If you’re reading this and new to Amtgard, I wrote an article that explains what Amtgard is which you can read HERE. […]