Northern Lights Summer Weaponmaster

Heyo, friends! My writeup of the aftermath of the Grand Melee tournament ended up getting a little bit too complex for Facebook, so it’ll be here! This is probably the most overproduced Amtgard tournament result writeup in human history.

For those of you just looking for the numbers, here you go.

If you’re from another kingdom and want to borrow my format, here was the writeup!

The Event

For those of you who weren’t there, the NL Summer Weaponmaster was run primarily as a Grand Melee feeding into top 8 brackets. Participants were each assigned to one of the four reporting stations on the corners of the field. During the Single Short, Florentine, Sword and Board, and Open Weapon brackets, each fighter had 20 minutes to amass as many wins as possible. The eight highest-scoring fighters advanced to a top 8 playoff bracket, with matches determined as a best-of-three.

(In the interest of safety and space considerations, Great Weapon was run as a 15 minute Bear Pit with two fighting rings.)

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A map of the field!

Record Keeping

My favorite aspect of this format is the sheer amount of information we can take out of the records. 1,549 fights were recorded across the four 20-minute brackets. These are the important things I calculated for on the spreadsheet:

  • Overall Winrate
  • Winrate against higher OotW fighters
  • The rate at which someone fought higher-order fighters
  • The average OotW of each fighter’s opponents
  • The number of opponents each fighter faced throughout the day
  • The number of total matches fought by each fighter

These informed my award recommendations, which I’ll get to just a bit further down.

confused math lady.gif
(Me.)

Match Distribution

Reeves were distributed around the field to observe fights and help players find new matches amongst the crowd. Fighters were not allowed to deny a challenge from another player, and one could not fight the same person twice in a row. These factors caused a high variety of matchups for each fighter. Those who participated in all four brackets averaged 30 unique opponents out of a potential 33. Including those who sat out for one or more brackets, the average was 27 unique opponents. Seven fighters fought every potential opponent.

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Here is a shot of part of the war field, with a reporting tent on the left. Credit to Aiden Donnelly.

While I do not have data to compare to a bear pit (our usual format) I have a hunch that this format allowed for a wider variety of opponents due to its structure. Stronger fighters in a bear pit tend to fight a wider variety of opponents due to the fact that they are more likely to stay in the ring between each fight. At its most extreme, a bear pit could have only one or two fighters fighting everyone else who cycles through the line, while those in the line only fight those top fighters. I feel that this format is healthier for fighters of all levels.

Even more important than the variety of the opponents offered by this format is the sheer quantity of matches afforded each fighter. The average number of fights for a player was 91 across the four 20-minute melees. To match this, a bear pit would have to cycle the line more than once every minute! The lowest number of matches was fought by Albel, with 19 matches in one bracket. The highest number was fought by Oromis with 148 matches across four brackets. That’s a match every 32 seconds! Including his 11 kills in Great Weapon and his top 8 matches, he fought 184 matches in one day. Golly!

templars
Deus Vult and all that!

Addressing Cheating

Man, it would suck if I actually had to talk more about this happening!

While there were some errors due to misspellings and mispronunciations, we didn’t have a single case of two players reporting a win for the same match. That’s great news! Due to the use of timestamps and two reporters for every match, I was able to analyze every score sheet and ensure that nothing was amiss. If there were recording errors, they had to have been matches accidentally recorded as draws. (A double loss) This means that even in the case of errors, none of my award recommendations will be tainted with false victories.

monty python
Most folks died when they were supposed to. Hooray!

Future Improvements

If we run this style of tournament again, the number one change will be to assign each fighter a number instead of using names. While a number of players did mention to me that it was nice to learn everyone’s names, it made both record keeping and record analysis a nightmare. It proved difficult to hear names on a loud war field, and even a known name may be spelled differently from how one expects. (What I’m saying is that names bring about too much confusion and not enough Kanphuzian.)

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The three most oft-misspelled names.

Using numbers will ease the burden on our scorekeepers (who did an admirable job considering the circumstances!) as well as the fighters to remember names instead of simple numbers. It will also ease the burden on me, which is nice. Here’s a sampling:

  1. Oromis: Armis, Armiz, Arnez, Aramis, Dromus, Emric, Oloano, Orbis, Oramis, Oranis, Oramiz, Oramas, Orimis, Ormis, Ornis, Oromas, Oromi, Oronis, Trevor, ???
  2. Sir Kalten: Calten, Coltin, Colton, Duke, Kaltan, Kaltin, Kalton, Kolton, Sirduke, Talon, The Blue Swordknight
  3. Mowgli: Mogi, Moggi, Moggie, Moglee, Mogley, Moglie, Moglie, Mohgle, Mokley, Mokli, Moklie, Mowgley, Mowglie

Beyond that, it has been suggested that a fighter be allowed to get some distance away from their scoring table before challenging or being challenged again. Most of the concern was that fighters would often end up fighting people from their own recording station more than the other stations. While this was not borne out to be statistically significant, I do agree that that change is likely to increase intermingling between the stations.

Tournament Results

 

The point of tournaments for a lot of folks is to try to win, and for the path there to be as fair and equitable as possible for all participants.

For the most part, I feel everything went according to plan. While 3 of the 11 players who made top 8 out of the Grand Melee brackets had opponents with less than average Orders of the Warrior, none were significantly below the mean. This means that none of the players who qualified for a top 8 bracket did so by ‘picking on’ lesser-skilled fighters. The few who went above and beyond to challenge themselves during the melees also tended to place higher in their respective brackets.

There was a bit of a mix-up in the score reporting when it came to draft up brackets. While the spreadsheet shows the top 8 overall point scorers in each melee, there are two oddities.

Talius should have qualified for the Sword and Board bracket, but his Sword and Board and Open Weapon scores had been transposed on his score sheet. In addition, his Open Weapon score had been recorded as 16, as opposed to a proper tally of 17. This caused him to fall just shy of the tiebreaker with Drusk and Moose for the final slot in the Sword and Board bracket.

Moose should have qualified for Open Weapon, but his score sheet at the time had a tally of 16 wins, causing him to fall just short. This is likely due to a pair of rather squirrelly looking W’s that may have been mistaken during tallying.

I hope that by reducing the stress on our recordkeepers in the future, we can avoid these sorts of mistakes and take some more time to check the tallies. I feel for Moose and Talius both, as they are tournament contenders who I’m sure could have done very well for themselves.

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Time for Griffons! Gryphons? Griffins? Griphins? Gryfyns? White Bird Lion?

Award Recommendations

My favorite thing about this project is that I definitely won’t miss anyone for award recommendations! Here you go.

Order of the Griffon

As mentioned before, these are being recommended to fighters who showed a willingness to challenge themselves and aim to face the best fighters available.

  • Dartura: 2nd Order of the Griffon for efforts in Open Weapon and Florentine
  • Roz: 1st Order of the Griffon for efforts in Florentine and Sword and Board
  • Roz: 2nd Order of the Griffon for the single most challenging score card in Open Weapon. (His opponents averaged a staggering 5.23 orders of the warrior!)
  • Vexon: 1st Order of the Griffon for efforts in Florentine
  • Drusk: 2nd Order of the Griffon for efforts in Florentine
  • KeLeo: 1st Order of the Griffon for in Single Short
  • D’gar: 5th Order of the Griffon for the highest average challenge rating across all four brackets. (His opponents averaged 4.37 OotW across 108 matches!)
  • Talius: 5th Order of the Griffon for efforts in Single Short and Open Weapon
  • Joker: 3rd Order of the Griffon for efforts in Single, Flo, and Sword and Board
  • Joker: 4th Order of the Griffon for the third highest challenge rating across all brackets. (4.2 across 102 matches)
  • Albel: 2nd Order of the Griffon for seeking challenging opponents during Single Short, the one bracket he was able to fight in.
  • Moose: 5th Order of the Griffon for efforts in Florentine and a high average across all brackets.
  • Kalten: 6th Order of the Griffon for efforts in Single Short and a high average across all brackets.
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Behold, the whackybats mascot.

Orders of the Warrior

These recommendations come in part via analysis of battlefield prowess metrics (such as winrate against higher-ranked fighters) and in part due to streaks. No streaks occurred that were long enough to warrant a new Order of the Warrior in the Great Weapon bracket, the longest being 6 kills. There were also no significant streaks at a level that required a breakdown of the competitiveness of the tournament, though according to information from the ORK we had a rather high-skill pool of combatants in attendance.

  • Dartura: 1st Order of the Warrior for a streak of 3 in Single Short
  • Jeanne: 1st Order of the Warrior for a streak of 3 in Single Short
  • Smurf: 1st Order of the Warrior for a streak of 3 in Florentine (And a 52% winrate against all comers, to boot!)
  • Tassadar: 1st Order of the Warrior for a streak of 3 in Open Weapon
  • Tassadar: 2nd Order of the Warrior for a streak of 5 in Florentine
  • Roz: 2nd Order of the Warrior for a stellar winrate against the single most challenging scorecard of the event in Open Weapon
  • Drusk: 3rd Order of the Warrior for a 50% winrate against higher-ranked fighters in Sword and Board and qualifying for the top 8 tiebreaker, as well as strong showings in Single Short and Open.
  • Unum: 3rd Order of the Warrior for a 50% winrate against higher-ranked fighters in Sword and Board as well as a strong showing in Florentine.
  • Zuriel: 4th Order of the Warrior for another top 8 qualification in Great Weapon as well as a greater than 50% winrate against higher ranked fighters in Single Short and Florentine.
  • Dakaran: 5th Order of the Warrior for a streak of 13 across Sword and Board going into Open. That more than qualifies him for his 5th order.
  • Heathen: 6th Order of the Warrior for a streak of 15 in Florentine.

Other Recommendations

While I am sure to have missed some folks, and there are some folks who give so much to us that I’m not sure they’ll be rewarded for their excellent efforts during this very hectic event, here are some other tournament-relevant recommendations:

  • Aiden Donnelly: an Order of the Dragon for his video showcasing the first year of Blade’s Edge, published just before the tournament.
  • Aiden Donnelly: an Order of the Rose for his constant videography and his creation of a new heraldric device for Blade’s Edge, in support of building up his land.
  • Kieran the Lucky: 1st Order of the Rose for for volunteering to keep score.
  • Luna Rocket De Mouse: 1st Order of the Rose for volunteering to keep score.
  • Kayna/Lefty: 1st Order of the Lion for putting forth the idea of reeves matching up loose players, which greatly enhanced the flow of the tournament.
  • Gregory: 2nd Order of the Rose for volunteering to reeve.
  • Larpdad: 2nd Order of the Dragon for continually taking footage of kingdom events for use in videography.
  • Milo: 3rd Order of the Rose for volunteering to keep score during the grand melee.
  • Guin: 3rd Order of the Lion for noticing the scorekeeping lines and organizing volunteers to get a second scorekeeper at each table within the span of two minutes.
  • Kayna/Lefty: 4th Order of the Rose for volunteering to reeve.
  • Murphy: 4th Order of the Rose for volunteering to reeve.
  • Sir Damian: 6th Order of the Rose for volunteering to reeve.
  • Aiden: 6th Order of the Rose for volunteering to keep score.
  • S
  • Daciana: 7th Order of the Rose for volunteering to keep score.
  • Kithiandra: 7th Order of the Rose for volunteering to keep score.
  • Miller Time: 8th Order of the Rose for volunteering to reeve both battlegames and the tournaments of the day.
  • Guin: 9th Order of the Rose for volunteering to reeve.

Players to Keep an Eye On Next Time

  • Talius: Currently at 4 orders of the warrior, starting to peek into top 3 placements and has a strong winrate against high-OotW players. He clearly spent the tournament seeking out strong fighters to test himself against.
  • Moose: He’s had a series of strong showings at tournaments over the past year, and this was no exception. He boasts a strong winrate against the top fighters of the kingdom and is starting to make himself known in tournament standings.
  • Devry: As the outright winner of two brackets and solid performances in recent kingdom tournaments such as NLCC Spring, Devry is clearly approaching the cusp of winning overall at a kingdom tournament.
  • Oromis: The only 9th Order of the Warrior player in the tournament, he definitely came out ready to fight. He fought 148 matches across the melees – more than anyone else – and still managed by far the highest winrate at 75.68%, more than two standard deviations above the mean of 41.19%. (Most folks did not hit 50% due to draws counting as double losses.)

This was a fun first tournament! Thanks again to all of the fighters, reeves, scorekeepers, and other volunteers who helped make it happen. The format for our Quals tournament is currently undecided, but I’ll be asking for some feedback soon!

-Lady Heron, Champion of the Northern Lights

Warrior Wednesday #32: Warriors of the Nine Blades

This week marks the third chapter of my attempt to interview two paragon warriors from everywhere in Amtgard. Not just the kingdoms, but the principalities, too! This time, we have a pair of paragons from the Principality of the Nine Blades in eastern Canada.

My questions below will be in bold, and they will generally end in question marks. Sometimes they will look more like statements and not be questions at all.

Sir Gwynn the Valkyrie

Sir Gwynn hails from the Shire of Twilight Peak in Toronto, Ontario. She is a Knight of the Serpent, and has held several offices, including Guildmaster of Warriors of her park. According to the ORK, she has been playing Amtgard since at least 2013. She was awarded the title of Paragon Warrior just four years later in October of 2017.

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Photo by Alex Missett
What is unique about you as a warrior that sets you apart as a paragon?
Gwynn: I am known as the immovable wall. I may not be the best stick out there, but if you put me on a point and tell me to hold it, it will not fall.

What is one piece of advice you wish you had been given on your path to paragon warrior?

Gwynn: Play the other classes. All of them. Repeatedly. As a plate warrior you are going to draw a lot of attention, and knowing what is happening around you or what could happen to you is very important. Knowing how the other classes play will make you much better at your own class, and more able to plan for what the other team could do.
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Do you feel that warrior is well represented in the Nine Blades or is there just a small group of serious warrior players?

Gwynn: I think Warrior is both an excellent class for new players, and a serious threat on the field when played really well. We have a good range of newer players who love the class, and a few seasoned players. We are  – as most places are – missing that middle ground. Warrior really needs armor of some type, the more points the better to be at its most useful. Armor is expensive, and a big buy-in cost to commit to playing the class.

What is one challenge you’ve overcome as a warrior player?

Gwynn: I started playing just as the rules were changing, and warrior has been my class since day one. I knew what my class did, but I had to learn what everyone else was doing to me once in v7, and then immediately again in v8. Since I wasn’t a magic user and had never played those classes, I spent an unnecessarily long time figuring out what else was happening on the field.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Gwynn: Ask questions. You’ll never know what you need to do if that’s your goal, if you don’t ask the people making that decision. Ask other Warriors you admire, ask Paragons of other classes what they want to see in a warrior.


Upperclassman Jeet

Hailing from the Barony of Lichwood Grove, Jeet is one of the few Amtgarders who saw that Upperclassman (Senpai) was an alternative to Lord and actually went through with it. Also, he was awarded the title of Paragon Warrior this past February, which follows his Paragon Barbarian award in early 2017.

Jeet
We’re going to pretend this sash was always purple.

What do you think sets you apart as a warrior that makes you a paragon?

Jeet: Endurance, aggressiveness, and self awareness. A lot of warriors see themselves as defensive players who are meant to guard an area or a flank. I play the class as a lightning rod getting the attention, whacks and spells of the other team. The best way to do that is to get in their face and to let my team know that I’m going to need a release or Rez immediately. I like to play as a wrecking ball to open a way up for my team or to clear out the enemy. That requires a lot of movement and a lot of energy.

 

I drop armour points for mobility and endurance. Without enchantments I typically run 4 points everywhere. I also know when to take a break. I see a lot of warriors who don’t last through long battlegames because they go too hard or don’t take breaks. I have no problem taking a break and playing defensively before going out again.

 

Most warriors go to the closest druid to get the golem enchantment suite, then engage the enemy and get dispelled immediately. That is a waste of your druid’s abilities and your potential. I ask for a couple of lower enchantments and test the enemy line with them hoping to burn some dispels.

 

I love playing aggressively, too! After all, if you’re not in the process of killing a spellcaster, they get to cast at you for free! It’d be handy for the article if you had a picture of yourself in your kit, but I’d also like to ask what you generally wear for armor.

 

Jeet: I wear chain torso, with a mix of a gambeson, leather and plate for the limbs.

JEET2
He didn’t have a picture, but fortunately I was able to hire a talented sketch artist to fill in.

What causes you the most difficulty in battlegames? Could be a class, a type of objective, whatever seems to cause you to be less effective than you’d like to be.

Jeet: The most would be certain spells. Stun is the worst because if/when you die you are down most of your armour so True Grit is useless. Icy Blast + Shatter + Steal Life sucks. Pyrotechnics is really annoying. The class that’s the most troublesome is Druid I’d say. It has a lot of crowd control, has access to their own Ancestral Armor, and can dispel you.

 

Games that have me standing still for a long period of time or have me attacking choke points cause me some difficulty. Both leave me open to spells, polearms, and arrows all at once.

 

I think it’s interesting that you dislike games with choke points, because so many people conceive of Warrior as a class that is primarily defensive and would assume they would excel in a situation like that. I know that I personally feel very limited by close boundaries because of how much I like to flank.

Jeet: I don’t like attacking choke points because there’s no division of attention. I love defending choke points that just makes my job easier

 

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a better warrior, whether they’re new to the class entirely or have been at it for a while?

 

Jeet: Choose three values of the class you are physically capable of doing and be the best example of those on and off the battlefield. Volunteer at Amtgard events and functions. Talk shop with other classes to get an insight on how they work and how they view your class. Use that knowledge to your advantage.

 

For example, archers say dealing with warriors is easy, you just hit them with a pinning arrow. I made it my mission to make sure they never thought that about me. Also, you can just do the punch shield drop to deal with specialty arrows from archers.

There are a lot of kingdoms left to cover! If you know of some folks who need interviewing, comment on my blog or message me on Facebook or Discord. Learning from a variety of players will improve anyone’s play, and this resource only gets stronger as we go.

-Heron

 

Warrior Wednesday #31: Forearm Armor

Folks have been asking me for more information on how I made a set of bracers that I’ve been working on, and I think it’s a great opportunity to start a series of guides on cheap, efficient armor.

Forearm armor is one of the first things to acquire as a new warrior. If you fight at range, the forearms are the place people will hit you the most. (Especially if you fight at range or with a shield!) It is also the easiest location to make armor for, because all you need is a glorified tube.

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Behold, a glorified tube.

Set Some Goals

When you’re planning your kit, you should take a few things into consideration. You’ll need to decide what material to work with as well as the style of the piece.

What tools do you have?

Can you cut metal? That will allow you to make butted, brigandine, or lamellar armor out of sheet metal or bar stock. Can you shape metal? That opens up the possibility of plate. If you can sew, that will help you put together brigandine or padded armor. As long as you have a sharp knife (or heavy duty scissors), you can work leather.

How many points do you want?

More is better, but sometimes it’s worthwhile to trade that 5th or 6th point of armor in for increased mobility or decreased weight.

How heavy are you willing to go?

Different materials are going to encumber you differently. A heavy bracer on your forearm will tire you out if you tend to swing a lot or have noodle arms like me. However, if you’re up for it, you can usually get more points with heavier armor.

What level of maintenance are you comfortable with?

Leather bracers are easy to make and will last for a while without upkeep, but oiling them now and again will make them last for a long time. Mild steel is easier to work than some steels, but will rust in the wet. Stainless steel is harder to work but will not rust unless you severely mistreat your armor. (Don’t clean it with steel wool!) Aluminum is going to survive any weather, but may be somewhat easier to bend out of shape if you take a tumble or accidentally drop your armor into a trash compactor.


What I Wanted

For my bracers, I decided to go with aluminum splints. This qualifies as butted plate, which caps at 4 points. My overall goal for my arms is 5 points, but 4 will be fine here because I intend to hit 6 points on my upper arms. (It’ll average to 5.) I like aluminum because it’s low-maintenance and low weight. It’s a challenge for me to work with because I lack metalworking tools and experience, but I think it’s worth the effort.

sketch

Above is my rough sketch of what the bracers are going to look like. They’ll cover from wrist to elbow, with care not to impede the motion of either. My splints are going to be made out of 1.5″ wide 16ga bar stock, so there will be a number of panels encircling the arm. I also want to do some etching on the splints, but we’ll get to that later.

What Did I Use?

I went and found myself a whole bunch of 16ga aircraft aluminum bar stock from a website called MetalsDepot.com. I found out that you can get it for pretty cheap if you order in bulk, so I got a few 8 foot sections of their 1.5″ wide stock, already perfect for splints.

wiggly boi
One wobbly metal noodle.

It took most of one of those strips to make each bracer. Other materials used included:

  • A small amount of leather for strapping
  • Four buckles for the straps
  • A power drill
  • A belt sander
  • An angle grinder
  • Gumption

In order to make it fancy (by etching the metal) I used the following:

  • A bottle of hydrogen peroxide
  • A bottle of muriatic acid (you can find this in most hardware stores)
  • Two plastic tubs
  • A friend’s Cricut machine
  • Cricut-compatible adhesive vinyl

We’ll get to how each of those were used in a little bit!

Shaping the Splints

Step number one was to get those 8 foot lengths cut down into something reasonable for an arm. Nine inches was the longest I figured it would need to be, so that’s what we aimed for. Fortunately my partner (Drusk) is pretty handy with an angle grinder, so he did the cutting-to-length for all of our splints. Because angle grinders are an imprecise tool, we erred on the long side. You can sand the splints down, but you can’t add more metal later!

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Here’s what the splints look like in the end.

I figured out how long the splints needed to be on the inside and outside of the arm, and drew a smooth curve between those lengths. The middle splint of each arm ended up being 8.25″, with the end pieces being about 7.5″ long. Each 9 inch piece was tapered to be the full 1.5″ on one end and .95″ on the narrow end. This is so that it would fit my forearm without gaps or overlap.

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Here’s what they looked like in the beginning! Careful, all that dust is made of tiny aluminum.

As you can see by the remains of some labeling, I started by tracing out four template pieces. I needed two of the middle splint (one for each bracer) and four copies of each of the rest. By using a template, I ensured that the bracers would be symmetrical both within each bracer and with one another. The sanding was tedious but straightforward. I simply had to move the piece back and forth across the sander until I’d sanded the permanent marker away. The metal gets very hot, which causes the marker to smear off, so I had to re-apply it a few times.

strap-lines.jpg

I drew lines here to make sure that the straps would be straight and symmetrical on both arms. At this point you’ll also want to mark where the holes will be to rivet on your straps. I’m putting the strap for these on the outside because I want to minimize gaps and weight, but you could rivet these to an underlying leather bracer if you want to.

drilling
The holes came out awl-right in the end.

Drilling through aluminum is a lot like drilling through wood, except a lot slower. A regular steel bit should work just fine. I highly recommend marking your holes with a metal working awl first. This puts a little divot in the metal to guide your drill bit. (Otherwise the bit will wander over the metal, which will cause unsightly scratches.)

Acid Etching

I decided I wanted to make this armor something special, since nothing’s worth making that isn’t worth making twice as complex! On the left below is my translation of the Ancestral Armor incantation into Quenya. (One of Tolkien’s elvish languages.)

tecendil bnw

Nai cauma sina varyuva lyë ilya raxellorMay this armor protect you from all dangers
Nai úrë i nárwa uan usta lyë / May the heat of the flame not burn you
Nai raumo ilwëor uan pet lyë / May the storm from the heavens not strike you
Nai cotumo pilindintya uan ter lyë / May the arrows of your enemies not pierce you
Nai cauma sina varyuva lyë ilya raxellorMay this armor protect you from all dangers

It’s pretty close, anyhow. I used that image and my friend’s Cricut machine to cut the elvish out from some adhesive vinyl.

weeding
It’s a lot like dentistry but for dweebs.

After that, it was just a matter of picking out the characters from the background! I had to take care not to lose the floating bits in the middle of some of them, and had to stick them back on if I goofed. I goofed quite a few times.

applying vinyl

I cut out each line and stuck it onto the bracer, taking great care to line the pieces up properly. The vinyl will act as a resist for the acid. However, as it only covers a small section, I had to tape the rest of the splints. I tried it on a test piece with some tear-resistant blue vinyl electrical tape, pictured below. Unfortunately, the glue did not like my acid solution, so it peeled up and left some odd lines. I tried again with regular ol’ packing tape as my resist.

 

The setup is pretty simple. I filled one plastic tub with two parts hydrogen peroxide and one part muriatic acid, that’s where the splints go to etch. They’ll start reacting immediately, and hydrochloric acid solutions produce chlorine gas, so be sure to wear hand and eye protection, as well as a mask. Don’t do this inside, either. Have a second tub nearby filled with water and baking soda to neutralize the acid when you’re done etching. Mine took about 15-20 minutes to reach the necessary depth, but I checked every five minutes to be sure. If you leave the pieces in too long, the acid can eat away too much of the metal and you’ll lose some of the fine detail of the etching.

bracer
All finished!

After the etching, it was just a matter of peeling off all the packing tape and vinyl. That took some effort, but acetone (a solvent found in most nail polish remover or hardware stores) definitely made it easier. I cut a couple leather straps and attached the splints at regular intervals. I opted to use eyelets instead of rivets just in case I later decide to utilize arming points on my gambeson beneath.

Warrior Wednesday #30: Warriors of The Wetlands

This week, I finally follow up on an earlier format! I interviewed some warriors from the kingdom of Blackspire a few months ago, and plenty of folks said they’d like to see more of that sort of thing. My goal is to interview two warriors (preferably paragons) from every kingdom eventually – we’ll see how that goes!

For now, I’ve found a pair of excellent paragon warriors from the Kingdom of the Wetlands, in southeast Texas and western Louisiana. As before, my questions and comments will be in bold, and mostly end in question marks.

Lord Bovine Landen

Bovine hails from the Barony of Stormwall in Texas, and has been playing since 2003. While I haven’t had quite as much time to get to know him as some warriors, he has a definite enthusiasm for the class! The ORK says he played Warrior at least as far back as 2005, and he was awarded the title of Paragon Warrior in December of 2018.

bovine 1
Now with extra sashiness

My first question is super straightforward: What distinguishes you as a paragon warrior?

Bovine: I’m aggressive. I take the fight to the enemy. I also use everything at my disposal whether it be an ability or weapon.

Would you say that being aggressive is important to being a good warrior? I know a lot of folks play rather defensively and try to hold a location. Kind of like a violent, dangerous, speedbump.

Bovine: It’s very important. Most players don’t know how to deal with someone bearing down on them with lots of armor so it’s a good way to keep your armor topped off.

What do you find most challenging in battlegames? It could be something strategic, a spell, a type of objective, whatever puts you on the struggle bus.

Bovine: Anything that makes me move involuntarily. E.g. Shove or Lost

Why is that? I know late in a battle game my runs back to base get a lot harder. I actually went for the Bracelet of Solidity as a quest reward specifically to counter Lost. For you is it just the positional disadvantage or is it the physical wear?

Bovine: I play in East Texas with a 45 pound black steel lam kit. It wears you out pretty quick.

That makes a lot of sense! The Pacific Northwest is a lot milder. My kit weighs a third of that, and it still wears me out.

What advice would you give to someone who has been playing Warrior for a long time but is getting discouraged by being “handled” by spellcasters? By that I mean either dying to kill spells or being chain-disabled.

Take it as a compliment. You are a threat they can’t ignore. Keep on them and make them focus on you letting your team mop them up however they can.

Field Commander Edler Von Rom The Extremely Cross, Iron Cleric of the Inquisition, Maester and Ambassador of Sunfall Abbey in the Kingdom of the Wetlands

Rom has been a member of Amtgard since 2008, and is a citizen of the Duchy of Sunfall Abbey. He also has an impressively long title on his Amtwiki page, which I have lifted wholesale. Rom was awarded Paragon Warrior in December of 2017. 

What sets you apart as a warrior that makes you a paragon?

Rom: It isn’t just knowing class abilities, but when to use them, and more importantly WHERE to use them. I find myself consistently in the right place at the right time.
That’s a skill that takes time to develop. It’s one thing to be able to get in the mix but its another entirely to know how to read which way the battlefield will move, where the next push will come from, and when you need to pack up and get going.

Battlegames can be very complex, but when you say “the right place”, where does that generally tend to be? What are you looking for?

Rom: The right place is basically where your particular class is going to be best utilized. A warrior in large amounts of armor, for example, should probably be mainlining with the rest of his buddies, trying his best to be a big goddamn target. A warrior in lighter armor might be doing more flanking and skirmishing, getting out there, drawing off a few people, killing them, and going on about his business. Maybe you’re going to second line in some cloth with a metric ton of javelins.

Regardless of where you are, when you’re there is what really determines your impact on the battlefield. This is a part of every class, not just Warrior. What you can do and how you’re going to play determines where you should be and when you should be there.

If you’re determined to push the flank, there’s no need to be there when you’re being engaged by seven or eight people determined to keep you off their side. That’s throwing your life away needlessly. Just because you have lots of armor doesn’t mean you need to sit there and just stick it out if your team is retreating. On the other hand, if you’ve got a heavy presence to one side of the field or the other, that might be a good time to apply your face to the enemy and scrap it out.

One of my favorite things to see is running out wide on a flank and seeing a handful of players leave the objective behind to deal with me. It used to be that I’d overcommit and fight those folks to the death, but I eventually learned that it’s often better to just keep them away from their team and mine.

Rom: Track star warrioooooor!

I generally try not to fight people unless I know I’m going to win! What’s one thing that you feel you could do to improve your battlegaming?

Rom: Truthfully? My physical fitness. I am still grossly out of shape right now and as a result I can’t sustain the way I used to.

Endurance is definitely important if you’re planning to run around in armor all game. Can you tell me a little bit about your preferred armor kit?

Rom: My preferred armor level is 4 to 6 points, with 5 being my sweet spot. Plate is too restrictive for me right now, so until I can manufacture my own aluminum stuff, I’ll need to stick with what I have. My armor is a mixture of localized plate pieces, a lamellar torso, and scale or heavy leather upper legs and arms. At park level, I generally just wear heavy leather and a 2 point aketon. Anything more overwhelms the many, many newer players at my park.

That’s smart, I think. You can still sustain a lower point value with Scavenge, but it gives them the chance to get the drop on you or wear you down more easily with the odd hit. I imagine it’s a whole lot friendlier to play against.

My last question is: what advice you would give to an experienced Amtgarder who is picking up Warrior for the first time?

Rom: My first advice is to get an armor kit. Don’t play warrior if you don’t already have the armor for it. Heavy leather is easy to make and relatively inexpensive if you do some shopping around. You can make your first armor out of a single side of thick cowhide, some grommets, paracord, a utility knife, and single hole puncher. 75, 80 bucks gets you 2 or 3 points all over. Your armor purchases should come in this order: Forearms, thighs, shins, torso, upper arms. Ideally, have at least one point in every location. Making leather armor actually allows you to later enhance it by attaching metal plates or thickening it.

Second advice: Learn to fight. Warrior is not a class that allows you to avoid fighting. If you can’t at least hold your own without armor, you’ll never be able to hold off with it. You aren’t a speedbump, you’re the goddamn juggernaut. Act like it, fight like it. Attend fighter practices and git gud

Third advice. You’re going to be sustaining yourself a lot in battlegames. Do not be afraid to tell people what to do. Take command and control your team.

There are a lot of kingdoms left to cover! If you know of some folks who need interviewing, comment on my blog or message me on Facebook or Discord. A multitude of perspectives will improve everyone’s understanding!
-Heron

Warrior Wednesday #29: When Not To Kill People

Sometimes, you don’t want to kill your opponents. This may seem strange, considering that Warrior is a class that is almost entirely focused around hitting opponents with weapons, but I assure you that it’s true. Sometimes, it won’t accomplish anything, which is a waste of your time. In certain situations, killing an opponent will even benefit the opposing team. (That’s bad for you!)

speedwagon
…Except for sometimes!

When you see an opponent that you can kill, here are some questions to ask yourself.

How Do Lives Work In This Game?

In some games, lives are a resource. A player or team will have a limited number of lives that they must conserve. In this situation, killing an opponent is generally a pretty good idea, and you can be pretty sure you’re not harming your team’s chances of victory by doing so.

In games where lives are unlimited, death can be thought of as more of a temporary disable. Killing an opponent removes them from the field for a time, but generally isn’t the goal of the game. In games like this – the majority of games I’ve played in the Kingdom of the Northern Lights – you’ll need to think a bit more about what to do.

Will the Opponent Die When You Hit Them?

people die

If someone is killed, they’re dead! Except for sometimes. If you’re not able to kill a player by hitting them, you are wasting your time. (Unless you are just trying to occupy their attention.) There are a few different effects that will complicate matters. Here’s how to handle them.

Gift of Air

If you wound them with a non-crushing/breaking weapon, they go insubstantial instead. Bummer, because you can’t pull them out of insubstantial! An ally with magic (Dispel the opponent, Bear Strength for you, any sort of kill spell) can also handle your target, but sometimes that isn’t an option. If you can find yourself a crushing/breaking weapon, you can bypass the enchantment yourself.

Song of Survival

This Bard spell functions a lot like Gift of Air, except it only happens once, and can trigger on anything lethal. Nothing can enable a Bard to activate this more than once per life, so you should generally always force it to trigger if able. They won’t survive twice.

(Greater) Undead Minion

If someone is an undead minion, their Healer can continually send them back into the fight without expending lives or much time. An ally can remove their enchantment or kill them while they’re insubstantial, but sometimes nobody has a direct solution. Instead of killing the minions, go kill their Healer! It’ll end the cycle, and you should be killing Healers anyway if lives are being tracked.

rattlerattle
This one has layers, bear with me.

How Long Will They Stay Dead?

Some would think that killing an opponent right next to a Healer is a waste of time, but you can actually come out ahead by doing so. Not only are you disabling that player until they can be resurrected, you’re occupying the time of a Healer who might otherwise be disabling your teammates or Releasing their other allies. After all, you can just kill one or both of them again. However, if you have to hit and run, you might not have the opportunity to delay the resurrection, or mop up the resurrectee. In this case, aim for the Healer first if possible, so that your other opponents stay dead.

If the respawn timer is very short, or even instantaneous, killing someone is only going to benefit you in the immediate future. In this circumstance, coordinate with an ally so that they can freeze, stop, or stun opponents while you engage their attention.

The ‘jailbreak’ mechanic has become popular recently. With this rule, players either count out a death timer or simply return to life if a certain number of players are dead and in their spawn area. If you’re playing a game that uses this mechanic, keep an eye on how many opponents are already dead. If killing your current target would cause their allies to respawn, killing them will benefit your opponents! Try to disable them by legging them, or wait for a more opportune moment. If a different opponent dies, or if one of your dead opponents respawns via timer, killing your target will no longer trigger the jailbreak.

wouldnt die
You see, because of the resurrection.

Will Killing Them Benefit Them?

Consider this situation. There’s a Bard on the opposing team who has been casting Awe and Lost nonstop on your team. You haven’t been able to reach her, but you notice that she’s not casting much anymore. With less crowd control to deal with, you see an opening to rush in and kill her at last. Do you take it?

Unless lives are extremely limited, I’d actually say no! As you’ve already realized, your opponents are having trouble keeping their line stable without her spells. If she dies, she’ll get her per-life spells back, and you’re right back where you started! Instead, leg her, engage her while your team takes advantage of the situation, or call for an ally to disable her with magic. In her situation, being frozen is much worse than being killed.

This is something to consider when dealing with any caster who has been alive for a while. You should also keep an eye out for Assassins who have used up all of their per-life abilities, because they are much less of a flanking threat when they have no escape abilities left.

What Can You Do If You’re Not Killing People?

As I mentioned before, Warrior is a class that really doesn’t do much more than kill folks, so you have to think outside the box. Get creative! Think about all the other ways to use a sword.

gutsu.jpg
Roses are red, Violets are blue…

Checkmate Them

Let’s say that you’ve whapped a wizard into Gift of Air, trapped a Druid in Stone Form, or happened upon an otherwise insubstantialstunned, or frozen opponent. If killing them immediately isn’t your goal, you can simply stand behind them with a sword at the ready. You can hit them if they try to leave of their own accord, or when the timer on their state runs out. Some players will call dead immediately, others will let you effectively keep them out of the game for a period of time. Be aware that this occupies you as well, so make sure your team can afford for you to spend time doing this.

Leg Them And Leave Them

A legged player can still act, but their lack of mobility makes them much less of a threat to your team. You’ll want to make sure that you interrupt any potential healing cast upon them by either driving away the would-be healer or Insulting them from a distance. If you want to be clever, you can even use a legged player as Healer bait.

Sandbag

If you can’t or don’t want to leg them, you can just fight an opponent for an absurdly long time. Stay close enough that they can’t get past you. If they’re physically fighting you, try to block and pick a limb. If it’s a caster, pop in and out of casting range and waste as much of their time as possible. If they’re trying to deal with you, they’re not fighting your team!


Killing your opponents is a great skill to hone, but sometimes a winning strategy requires being careful about who you’re killing and when you’re killing them. It takes a sword and a noggin to win battlegames.

Warrior Wednesday #28: Questing

It’s time for another Relic Quest in the Kingdom of Northern Lights, and that means it’s time to learn how to quest! Last reign, we talked about the rulebook relics and how to decide between them. This time around, we’ll be talking about how to succeed in quests and acquire those relics.

mantis
I don’t have a joke for this, I just love this picture.

Being the Front Line

Minor or wandering monsters tend to be susceptible to Insult, which means that you can draw one or two monsters away from your allies while they collectively deal with the remainder. This is especially handy if you’re up against monsters that are largely immune to the spells of your allies.

On the other hand, every single scenario monster in the Dor un Avathar X is immune to Command, with the exception of one variety of Dragon. This means that in many ‘final encounter’ scenarios you won’t be able to rely on Insult to draw their attention, but will instead have to physically interpose yourself.

On the other hand, nearly every scenario monster (and quite a few powerful regular monsters) has some combination of armor breaking, armor destroying, shield destroying, or armor destroying. The neat thing about Harden is that it doesn’t care whether a strike is shield crushing or shield destroying. If it isn’t magical, it doesn’t break your shield. Ancestral Armor is also not affected in any special way by Armor Destroying. As long as you aren’t dispelled (and few monsters carry Dispel Magic!) you will have full access to you armor against anything you fight.

troll
These two should probably switch spots, really.

Party Composition

Many quests, including the upcoming Relic Quest, will have the players divide themselves into teams of 2-5, depending on the event. You should come up with a checklist for what you need to cover with your members. This is what I would aim for, if I were more interested in competing during quests:

  1. At least one person who can fight the monsters who can’t be beaten by anything but whackybats. Hopefully, this person is you, because most of what a Warrior does involves whackybats.
  2. Access to healing, and optimally resurrection. Parties who don’t have this are in for a bad time if someone gets legged, or if lives are limited.
  3. Enchantments. As mentioned before, monsters rarely have Dispel. Protection from Magic is often a trap because it makes you immune to a lot of necessary allied spells, but Imbue Weapon, Flame Blade, Enlightened Soul, and the like are a huge force multiplier.
  4. At least a bit of long-term sustainability for single lives. This can mean mends for armor, confidence/empower/restoration from a bard to restore ability uses, or experienced abilities that can be recharged and used for every encounter, rather than running out as you progress.
  5. Redundancy. If you only have one source of resurrection and they die, everyone else is out of luck. If only one person can be in your front line and they die, everyone else is out of luck. You get the idea. Having a backup plan if the person who is primarily filling a role is taken out is always good. A Monk or Paladin who can either front line or resurrect the healer in a pinch is one good example.
black knight
A Warrior and an Assassin team up for some impromptu healing.

Unorthodox Strategies

Sometimes, the constraints of a quest will require you to use your abilities in strange ways. Here are some ideas:

  1. If you are legged and your party has no access to healing magic, consider having an ally kill you so that you can use True Grit. A legged player has a hard time getting around a quest!
  2. Even if an enemy is immune to Insult, you can probably put your roleplaying hat on and come up with some heinous shade to throw. Sometimes a monster player will go along with it, letting you take the heat for your party.
  3. Your shield is literally immune to anything but magic, when hardened. Is there a (metaphorical) swinging blade trap, or something else that an invincible shield could block? Ask a Reeve if you can use that shield to bypass the obstacle for your team.  It’s less useful in magical situations like a fire wire maze, of course.
  4. If there is a terrain effect that imparts a state, like a spider web that stops you, you can use Shake it Off to just sorta plow on through rather than having to dodge the webs. Useful if your armor catches on things easily.
  5. Is there water that causes heavily armored people to drown? Either ask an ally to Teleport you across or get creative! If you drown and use True Grit, and there is a metaphorical block of ice around you, it’s possible that you could float with an ally pushing you along. It’s kinda nuts, but some reeves appreciate the creativity.

Every quest is different, but most quests will allow you to function as more of a “tank” than Amtgard usually allows for. NPCs and Monsters are much more likely to attack you first in a quest, whereas in a battlegame they would be looking to avoid you. Have fun, and get your roleplay on! Quests are a great time for you to figure out the flavor of your persona beyond just wearing armor and hitting people.

-Heron, Northern Lights Guildmaster of Warriors, Paragon Warrior and Warrior Enthusiast

Warrior Wednesday #27: Using Your Abilities (Part 1)

This week, we’re going to discuss how to remember to actually use the abilities you have. It doesn’t matter whether you know the strategy surrounding Insult or Shake it Off if you never actually use them in the first place, right? You should think about one or two abilities you want to work on, then try the exercises below.

scavengers.png
Pictured: Slaying Foes

Scavenge

Most Warrior players go out onto the field with the intention of slaying their foes. If you don’t, that’s probably something to work on first. Since every Warrior who owns a sash can use Scavenge, all that’s left is to use it! Try to use it five times in one life. If your sword skills need a bit of work, just aim for five times in a game, or some other achievable-but-difficult target number. Here are some ideas to help you get there:

  1. If you own, can be enchanted with, or can borrow armor, that’s the most common thing to repair. Everyone gets hit eventually. Ask for Stoneskin, if nothing else!
  2. If there are shield-crushing weapons about, use Scavenge to fix your shield if it isn’t Hardened. If you have allies with shields that can be broken, use your Scavenge trigger to fix their shield. Remember that Scavenge has a range of “self”, so you’ll need to touch the handle of the shield, at least!
  3. If there are archers on the field, there are likely to be broken bows or weapons at some point. Tell your archer friend to come to you to get their bow fixed, if they’ve already expended their Mend.
insult stock photo
Here you can see the writing on the wall.

Insult

Insult is a bit of a strange ability because anyone you cast it on will respond in a unique way. Some players will immediately try to fight you, some will run away, or anything in between.

Challenge yourself to Insult every player on the opposing team at least once in a game. (Excepting the Monks, Barbarians, Paladins, and Anti-Paladins who are immune to it.) If you play at a very large field, or tend to play games with limited lives, aim to get to everyone over the course of a park day, or 10 people per game.

Here’s what you’re trying to do with this exercise:

  1. Observe how different people react to being Insulted. Take note of whether they still manage to be useful during the duration. If Insulting someone essentially takes them out of the game, they’re a prime target.
  2. Practice actually using the spell twice per life. By trying to get to every player, you have an incentive to get the spell out there.
  3. Get used to casting it. It’s a bit of a strange incant, and one of the few abilities in the game that are inherently ambulant. Practice chasing people down with it, and make sure you have a hand free.

Having Armor

If you were a rhetorical construct of the author, you might say, “Gee, armor isn’t an ability, I don’t have to practice that!”. And if you did, you’d be wrong, because armor is hard to get used to! A lot of players have never worn physical armor, and some have never even been enchanted with armor. If you forget it’s there, it won’t help you at all! Here are some ways to practice:

drills 2
Is this a drill? Yes, it is.

Regular Sparring

Find a friend who also wants to practice counting armor points. If either of you don’t have physical armor, just use imaginary (magical) armor.

  1. Figure out your armor value. If you’re using Stoneskin, for example, you have two points everywhere. If your armor is more tangible, get your local monarch, GMR or champion to rate it for you and use those numbers.
  2. Fight! Verbally announce when you’ve been hit in armor by saying “point”, “taken”, “one off”, or your favorite variant. If something hits you directly, rather than hitting your armor, remember to be wounded rather than counting off the point.
  3. When someone dies, try to figure out how many points of armor you each have left in the five locations. (Left and right arm, torso, and the left and right legs.)

 

drills
Violent drilling!

Memory Exercise

If you’re already familiar with what constitutes hitting your armor, sometimes the most helpful thing to practice is just keeping track of the points in your five locations.

  1. Have a friend hit you a reasonable number of times in various locations. Start slowly, so that it’s easy to count the strikes. As you get used to counting, up the pace until you’re at a normal combat speed.
  2. Report how many points you have left, or call dead when you would be killed.
  3. If you listed your points correctly (and called dead appropriately) you succeeded!
  4. If your friend is also practicing, go through the same process with them. Make a game of it.
drills 3
Weird drilling!

Sparring But With Theoretically Infinite Armor

If you want to practice trading armor for easy strikes, you can play a strange game with your friends.

  1. Everyone starts with the same number of armor points. One or two points work best so that this doesn’t take forever.
  2. Try to kill each other.
  3. If you lose all of your armor, you get it all back. This means that people will have to try to hit you in the same place multiple times, and you have an incentive to block shots with your arms or force people to swing for your leg.

If you want to play this with a group, you could even incorporate Scavenge to get points back by killing people, and set a respawn time.


These are some things that almost anyone can work on, because every level 1 Warrior can do them, and literally everyone is at least a level 1 Warrior by default. Later on, I’ll write up some ways to practice all the higher level ability, for those who have more Warrior credits than they know what to do with!

-Heron

Warrior Wednesday #26: Studying Up On Scouts

Recently, I’ve found myself teaming up with all sorts of Scouts, and figured it was about time to do a breakdown of the class. By analyzing every aspect of scout, one can think about how best to take advantage of its strengths and limitations as an ally and as an opponent.

The Scout

Equipment

Sash: Green
Armor: 3pts
Shields: Small (without Bow)
Weapons: Dagger, Short, Long, Heavy Throwing, Bow (without Shield)

Abilities

Look The Part: Heal 1/Life (ex)
1: Tracking 2/Life Charge x3 (ex, ambulant)
2: Heal 1/Life (ex), Release 1/Life Charge x3 (ex)
3: Shadow Step 1/life (ex), Dispel Magic 1/Refresh (ex)
4: Evolution (trait)
5: Hold Person 1/Life (m)
6: Adaptive Blessing (self-only) 1/Life (ex)

Equipment

Most of what we discussed last week for Assassins will hold true here, as well. Comparatively, Scouts can have one more point of armor, as well as potentially a small shield. Scouts do have heavy thrown, but won’t have the scads of light thrown that some assassins employ. Depending on the gear each of you use, a Scout will likely pose a larger threat in melee than an Assassin. A small shield is enough to make them less easy prey for your polearm, and three points of armor is enough to be obnoxious for anyone to deal with.

aragorn the scout
One certified Scout, per the Rules of Play.

Tracking

The signature ability of the Scout. You may be thinking,

“Gee, Heron, Warriors can’t go insubstantial, why should I care about tracking?”

And the answer to that rhetorical question is that it’s really useful to take advantage of when a scout is on your team! Consider the following situations:

  1. A Bard keeps making you Lost. If your allied Scout comes along with you as you rush the Bard, they can track you out and allow you to keep up the pressure.
  2. You’re Teleporting! If you have a Scout on your team, they can track you out with no need to do the return incant yourself. This can really surprise folks who were waiting for you. On the other hand, you do need to watch out for opposing Scouts trying to end your teleport early.
  3. If an opposing player is insubstantial, a Warrior has no way of removing them from that state. A Scout does, so you can use this to deal with Gift of Air, Song of Survival, Undead Minion, Blink, and more.
robin as scout
Also a scout, albeit a silly one.

Heal

They say an easy 62 words, and someone gets healed. This works just like it does for Druid or Healer, but with a key difference: it’s extraordinary! This means that a Scout can heal people while under the effects of Insult. Moreover, they only need to be touching the target with their foot, since they don’t require a free hand. This means that they can fight you, or shoot at you with arrows, while healing. Practically speaking, this means that if you want to prevent a Scout from healing an ally, you’ll have to kill one of them. Insult can’t interrupt this one from afar.

Release

Just like Heal, this ability is Extraordinary. This means that you won’t be able to stop a Scout from releasing an ally by Insulting them. They can also remove the effect from themselves. However, Scouts only have one Release per life without charging it, so you can waste plenty of their time by using Insult anyway, for lack of a better target. If an allied Scout is on your team, they can use this to remove effects if you haven’t charged Shake it Off, or if you’re really in a hurry. It’s definitely handy in a pinch!

paul
Paul Bunyan is also a scout by the rules of play. Hide your flapjacks.

Shadow Step

Much of what we discussed last week about Assassins will carry over to here, but there are key differences. Most importantly, a Scout only has one Shadow Step per life, and so has less opportunity to use it as an escape. Once they’re out, they’re out. Pay attention to when an opposing Scout expends their Shadow Step, because that is your opportunity to kill them.

A lesser-known difference is that the Scout’s version of Shadow Step is not ambulant, unlike Assassin. This means that if a Scout is running away from you, you are generally clear to hit them. They’ll only be able to Shadow Step if they’re holding still.

Dispel Magic

This functions like any other Dispel, with the minor difference that it’s extraordinary. This means that a Scout can cast Dispel on you while wielding a sword or shield in both hands. Because they can also wear armor, it is much harder to rush a well-equipped Scout to cancel their Dispel than it is to shank a wizard. However, they can’t move while using the incant, so you can avoid them if necessary.

A Scout only has one Dispel Magic per refresh, so a Sleight of Mind from a Bard will keep your enchantments safe. Also take note if you see their Dispel expended! That’s a limited resource.

george the scout
President, General, Third Example of a Scout in the Amtgard Rules of Play

Evolution

This allows Scouts to have an extra enchantment slot. You won’t have to interact with this much, since you have no enchantments to give them, but it does mean that they’re likely candidates for Golem/Essence Graft enchantment stacks, or a pair of enchantments from a Healer. Ask opposing Scouts what enchantments they’re carrying if you see spell strips, and advise your teammates to Dispel them if able.

Hold Person

A Scout can force you to stop for 30 seconds once per life. Fortunately, you have access to Shake it Off, so use that to reduce the time, then recharge it while you wait. If a Scout stops your teammate and rushes to finish them off, intervene to kill the Scout or drive them away for the duration.

With an allied Scout, you can turn their Hold Person into an effective kill setup. If they stop someone, the two of you should be able to kill that player within 30 seconds unless their team rushes to help. Not every Scout is going to be looking for help, so keep your eyes open and make sure to help them take the fullest advantage of this ability. No player ever wants to deal with two opponents at once, and Hold Person removes their ability to reposition to avoid that situation.

Adaptive Blessing

Once per life, a Scout can make themselves resistant to one school of magic. If they chose Command, that means your Insult won’t work the first time. This is usually a moot point, because there are often better targets for Insult who don’t have a pile of Extraordinary abilities. However, if you see that a Scout is coming out with resistance to Command, consider using Insult to burn it anyway. You have a second Insult, assuming you’re properly garbed, and your team will have a much easier time controlling that player for the rest of their current life.

If you have a Scout on your team, chat with them about taking out a particular caster on the opposing team. If they can resist a spell that that player is likely to cast when you engage, the two of you can put them in a really sticky situation. Have the Scout go in slightly ahead of you to draw their attention and eat the spell they’re resistant to, and then rush in yourself. As we discussed a bit in my article about dealing with verbal magic, no caster wants to deal with two players at once.

Conclusion

I’ve heard now and again that Scout is one of the worst classes in the game, but recently I’ve found that they can be an important asset to a team as long as their abilities are pushed to maximum efficiency. Teamwork is overpowered in Amtgard, but it doesn’t always take prior planning or collaboration to work as a team. Pay attention to what the Scouts on your team are doing, make sure their abilities count, and you’ll be glad they’re there. On the other hand, paying attention to an opposing Scout will reduce the occasions where you’re surprised by one of the many one-off tricks up their sleeves.

Warrior Wednesday #25: What to do About Assassins

This week, we’re going to talk about a different class. Assassins are a lot like warriors, except with less armor, smaller weapon variety, ranged options, and the ability to turn into smoke and vanish six times a life.

The Assassin

Equipment

Sash: Black
Armor: 2pts
Shields: None
Weapons: Dagger, Short, Long, Light Throwing, Heavy Throwing, Bow

Abilities

Look The Part: Poison (self-only) 1/Life (ex)
1: Shadowstep 2/life (ex, ambulant), Assassinate Unlimited (ex, ambulant)
2: Poison (self-only) 1/Life Charge x3 (ex)
3: Blink 2/life (ex, ambulant)
4: Hold Person 1/Life (m)
5: Teleport (self-only) 2/Life (ex)
6: Coup de Grace 1/Life (m)

Now that we know what they get, let’s look at each piece.

Equipment

Unless you are very lightly armored yourself, you will generally have an edge in melee combat with an assassin. They don’t have shields or greats, and can only wear two point armor at best. As with most classes, if you get within striking distance, you have the advantage. Unlike Archers, the arrows of Assassins don’t impart any unusual effects, so if you have decent armor coverage you are relatively safe at a distance. Just be wary, as with all ranged fighters, of them picking down your armor before you engage.

Poison

Poison is an ability that every assassin has access to, but one that should matter very little to you if you have proper gear. If you have armor gaps, it’s a bit of a different story. If you lack leg armor, for example, watch out for assassins diving for your shins with a cry of “Wounds kill!”. If you do have armor, just kill them before they get a chance to wound you.

stabby
See, this warrior here goofed by not wearing a metal jumpsuit. Exposed arms, always a killer.

Assassinate

This ability only matters if an Assassin kills you while standing within 20 feet of you. If they do so (and, critically, remember to use this ability) you will be cursed! That means True Grit won’t work, and you’re dead for real unless a nearby healer can Greater Resurrect you. (Or Greater Release and then Resurrect you.) If you do manage to use True Grit before they Assassinate you, however, you’re in the clear. Assassinate has no effect on living – albeit frozen – players.

Shadowstep

When you get into melee with all but the most confident of assassins, they will generally Shadowstep to break the engagement. Unfortunately, a warrior has no method of releasing the insubstantial state, so you’ll need to do one of two things.

  1. Sit and wait, effectively keeping both of you out of the game for the duration, though you can make use of the time by recharging Shake it Off or casting Insult on another nearby player.
  2. Call for an ally to release them from the state while you wait. At this point the assassin will either return to the physical world themselves so that you can whap them with your sword, or your friend can release the assassin while you whap them.
  3. If nobody is available to release the assassin, you have the option of asking an ally to camp them for you while you go fight other people. Just make sure the friend you call won’t be an easy target for the assassin if they leave Shadowstep! Monks can be great for this, because unlike you, they are immune to the verbal magic that the Assassin’s allies are likely to use to get you away from their teammate.
smoke bomb
Shown here, the Assassin vanishes.

Blink

This is the other option many assassins will use once you close distance. It will make them insubstantial very quickly, but unlike Shadowstep they may move freely within 50 feet of their original location. Another difference is that they may not leave Blink entirely freely as they can with Shadowstep – as long as a living opponent remains within 10 feet of them, they are stuck in Insubstantial. With that in mind, here are some options.

  1. Call out where they’re going and make sure your allies are ready for the assassin’s arrival.
  2. Call for an ally to release them from the state so that you can whap them with your sword.
  3. Chase them around for the rest of the game, because they can’t do anything meaningful while insubstantial and can’t leave the state without taking a death or getting 10 feet away from you for long enough to use the return incant.
  4. Get a friend with more energy than you to chase them around. You can even take turns!
blink

Serves them right for turning invisible, really.

Hold Person

If an Assassin uses Hold Person on you, you should use Shake it Off to remove it. If you don’t have Shake it Off charged, charge it and then use Shake it Off to remove it. I’ve found that whenever an assassin stops me, it’s so that they can start hurling throwies or shooting arrows at me. Try to limit the amount of time that they can do that for.

Teleport

Teleport is a lot like Blink, except slower to start, less flexible in the destination, and easier to come out of. The assassin must do the incant while stationary, and then may only travel in a direct path to their destination. However, they may exit while moving, so be aware that they can even exit while running a few feet in front of you. If you see an assassin teleporting, try the following:

  1. Ask where they’re teleporting to. Let your team know. If they don’t tell you, make your best guess and communicate that.
  2. Since you know they have to leave the state when they arrive, follow the assassin to their destination and kill them.

Unlike the other insubstantial abilities available to an assassin, it usually isn’t advisable to have an ally (Greater) release, planar ground, or track them because it allows the assassin to maneuver freely rather than being restricted to a straight line. They may no longer be insubstantial, but you won’t know precisely where they’re going. Better to keep things predictable.

teleport 2.png
*Teleports behind you* “Nothing personnel, kid.”

Coup de Grace

This ability is a little weird because it won’t harm you at all unless you’re already wounded. Avoid wounds by managing your scavenges to keep armor coverage on your limbs. If you do find yourself in a situation where you are wounded and an assassin is trying to murder you with words, either try to kill them before they can finish the (rather quick) incant, or get outside of 20 feet.

Additional Thoughts

Teamwork is essential when facing an opposing Assassin. Unless you’re at a large skill advantage, you should be able to defeat one in melee, but they can be hard for a warrior to catch. Your allies can help you control them so that you can kill them, so communicate with your team!

Also, nothing will make you sadder than poisoned weapons to your armor-less shins. Remember your leg armor!

-Heron

Warrior Wednesday #24: Shake it Off

This week, we’ll be covering a long-overdue subject. Shake it Off is one of the most complex abilities in Amtgard, and it is one of three abilities unique to the class. (The others being Scavenge and True Grit.) It is also my favorite ability in Amtgard, and I think a solid contender for the most useful.

Also, I’m integrating some Amtwiki links now because they’re handy.

What Is It?

Incant: “I shall overcome”
Verbal, Spirit school, Self, Extraordinary

Effect: 10 seconds after activating Shake It Off the player may remove from themselves one State or effect of their choice which was present at the time they activated the ability.

Shake It Off may be activated at any time the player is alive, even while the player would otherwise be prevented from activating abilities by Stunned, Suppressed, or similar.

shake it turtle
It helps you have fun, like this turtle.

How Do You Get It?

As long as you’re at least level 5, you can use Shake it Off once per refresh, charge x3. This means that if you want to use it more than once in a game, you will need to know the charge incant. The more you use the ability, the better off you’re going to be, so it really is worth learning how to charge spells. The charge incant is as follows:

“Out of battle I pause to rest.
I take some time to catch my breath.
Return to me my fleeting power.
To aid me in my darkest hour.”

In this case, you’ll need to say that poem three times.

In order to say the incant, you must have a free hand. (Though your free arm can have a small shield strapped to it, as discussed in To Shield Or Not To Shield!) You need to say the name of the ability “Shake it Off” before you start, and you can’t move your feet until you finish or decide to cancel charging the ability. If you stop partway through, you have to start over again. For example, you can’t just say the incant once, move, then say it two more times.

shaq it off
Shaq It Off?

When Can You Use It?

All the time! Literally use it as often as you can, unless you’re expecting someone to follow up a minor state like Stopped or Fragile with something obnoxious like Stun or Frozen. Let’s talk about each state and effect!

Agoraphobia – As long as you’re far enough away from everyone that your feet aren’t moving, you can use Shake it Off to remove this. It’s only really worthwhile if you can get away from people very quickly, else you’re not saving much time.

Amplification – You should never do this, but if a bard has given you the opportunity to Extend your next Insult, you can throw it in their face by removing it.

Awe – This is really handy to remove, because many Bards aren’t quite ready for you to get back in melee range before the 30 seconds is up. Many Bards take a pile of Awes, but you can burn through them very quickly by running away, using Shake it Off, charging it, and running back to repeat the cycle. If you manage to run through most or all of their awes, make sure that you and your team leg-and-leave or otherwise disable them so that your hard work doesn’t come to nothing!

Cursed – You can use Shake it Off even when you’re cursed, but you’re immune to the effect. Don’t bother with this!

Fragile – If a Wizard is trying to snag you with the Ravage/Wounding kill combo, you can remove the fragile state by using Shake it Off and then staying out of range of their Wounding for the next ten seconds. (Though, as always, if you can just kill them instead of evading them do that.)

spook it off
Behold, the warrior escapes the clutches of frozen death.

Frozen – This is primarily what Shake it Off is used for. Stray iceballs are less of a problem, and you are less likely to be Shattered in ten seconds than in 30 or 60. Try to make eye contact with a teammate when you use Shake it Off so that they know to cover you until you’re out, lest you be shattered or someone drumrolls you as you exit. Notably, you can use this to reduce your True Grit timer from 30 to 10 seconds, and that can be very powerful.

Insubstantial – If you are stationary, you can remove the state. This means you can escape Astral Intervention or Shadowstep, for example. Since you aren’t moving anyway, you can recharge Shake it Off while you wait!

Insult – If you’re insulted, you’re still allowed to use Shake it Off. You can either spend the next 10 seconds fighting the person who did it, or repositioning so that you can fight someone else afterwards. As the charge incant isn’t magic, you can even recharge Shake it Off while you wait.

Lost – Lost requires you to move, so you won’t be able to remove it until you get to base, at which point you should just exit the usual way.

Planar Grounding – This is unlikely to happen unless you’re void touched or have some sort of relic, but you can in fact use Shake it Off to remove planar grounding if someone’s trying to keep you substantial. (It could also come up if you were an undead minion.)

Shove – You always have to move during this, so no dice here. Even if you could, it’s probably not worthwhile.

Stopped – Since you’re not moving your feet anyway, you can recharge Shake it Off while the 10 second timer elapses. If you have an open hand, you can even defend yourself and fight people while you do it! If you don’t have Shake it Off charged when you get stopped, you should still have time to charge it, use it, and recharge it before even a 30 second stop elapses. You really should never be stopped for more than 20 seconds, maximum, unless you don’t have a free hand available.

Stunned – If I had a dollar for every time someone cast Stun on me and then didn’t do anything for the next 10 seconds while I escaped scot-free, I would have a lot more dollars.

Suppressed – Just because you can’t use magic or abilities doesn’t mean you can’t activate Shake it Off! This is handy for if you want to be able to Scavenge after you kill the caster who suppressed you.

Terror – This works just like Awe, except they’re per refresh, so every one you can get them to burn on you is a definite win.

Throw – You always have to move during this too, so usually you can’t use Shake it Off. If you can by use of a relic, it may be worthwhile if you are walking very slowly along the line.

shakeitor.gif
Shake it Off is great for foiling the plans of evil skeletons, too.

The Many Clarifications

Can you use Shake it Off to un-heat a heated weapon? No. Shake it Off only works on you, not your equipment.

Can Shake it Off be used while cursed? Yes, but it doesn’t affect you because you’re immune to spirit. Don’t do this.

Can Shake it Off be removed by Greater Release? Yes, oddly. If someone greater releases you between your incant and the end of the 10 second timer, you won’t be able to choose a state to remove.

Can Shake it Off ‘remove’ shield crushing hits from your shield? No, those aren’t a state or effect, and your shield isn’t you.

Can Shake it Off remove Greater Undead Minion from you? Yes and no. It can’t remove the enchantment directly. However, if you ‘die’and become insubstantial, you can remove the insubstantial state instead of going back to your healer. However, removing insubstantial in this way will kill you for real. Probably unwise, unless you have other persistent enchantments that you want to keep. (As dying in this way isn’t precisely the same as taking a death, which you can do at any time.)

Can you recharge Shake it Off without naming it first, since it’s your only chargeable ability? No. You have to name the ability before you recharge anything.

Can a Warrior enchanted with Vampirism benefit from Shake it Off? No. Despite the enchantment causing you to be cursed and thereby immune to spirit, it doesn’t work quite how other innate immunities do.

Can a Warrior who is a Vampire from the Dor Un Avathar benefit from Shake it Off? No. Even though you are cursed as a trait, it is not the same thing as having ‘immune to spirit’ as a trait.

Can you use Shake it Off to remove the cursed state from Golem or (Greater) Undead Minion? No. Not only because those are components of the enchantment and can’t be released, but you are immune to the effects of Shake it Off while cursed.

If you activate Shake it Off and your cursed state is removed before the end of 10 seconds, do you benefit from the ability? No. Shake it off cares about your immunities at the moment of the incant.

If you are affected by a state and use Shake it Off, then your buddy releases you, and then you are affected by that same state within 10 seconds, can you remove the second instance of the state? No. Even though you were affected by the same state ten seconds ago, it has been clarified that a frozen state is not equivalent to all frozen states. Two separate ice balls impart two distinct frozen states. However, as noted in this thread on the same subject, many states may be ‘extended’ via re-application, with no gap to separate them into distinct states. In this situation, you would remove the state as normal after 10 seconds, even if you have been (for example) stopped for 65 seconds rather than 60 or fewer.

doggo.gif
The bold warrior, 2019, colorized.

Wrap-Up

Holy moly, this ability is complicated. Let me know if you have any further questions about how it works, because I definitely feel like this is the ability that makes this class one of the strongest in the game!

Where arts meet crafts.