Got a craving for medieval-style combat? Give Amtgard a whack
RIVERDALE — What better way to spend a casual Saturday afternoon than donning medieval costumes and bashing your friends with foam swords?
The answer to that is easy for members of Amtgard, an international live action role-playing organization that gives participants an outlet for medieval fantasy and combat, exercises that members say foster a great community feeling.
The local chapter usually draws 30 to 50 people to Riverdale Park each week. In the Amtgard world, the park is “Wymzee Dayle,” the fictional “duchy” the local group claims as home.
Tiersi Kook, known at the park as Frostleaf Blackthorne, described her alternate persona as a feline folk druid from the Feywild. She’s been in the group for more than two years. She said she enjoyed her time serving as a prime minister, which she said “is essentially a treasurer and secretary rolled into one position.”
“When I’m at recruiting events, I usually tell people that at Amtgard our love language is hitting our friends with foam sticks,” she said. “It brings them over to the table.”
In addition to role playing and combat, devotees also engage in arts and crafts and other activities.
“It’s a chance to be with your friends and leave the stress of life in the parking lot,” Kook said. “Which applies to fighters and noncombatants.”
Anthony Lee, known as Gunder, said he was introduced to Amtgard through one of his friends.
“After a while of going, I decided to move to Wymzee Dayle, which was closer to where I lived,” Lee said. “After moving to Wymzee Dayle park, I found a bunch of amazing people who I related with and had a blast being around.”
Lee said there are so many reasons he loves Amtgard it’s hard to list them all.
“Some of the big reasons can start with (because) the people you meet at Amtgard are some of the nicest, inviting people I have ever met,” Lee said. “They will always make sure you are having a good time while also ensuring you are learning the rules so you can understand what is going on.”
Another thing Lee enjoys about it is the environment each gathering brings.
“Every park day does not feel like a normal day,” he said. “Instead, it feels like a whole event with a bunch of really close friends.”
On Oct. 28, the group got together for an event called Endreign. The group’s calendar runs on six-month cycles bookended by Endreigns, with Midreigns every three months.
“It’s a chance for our monarchy teams to switch over to host a feast and to have court,” Kook said. “Court is the time when people of our park are honored for their actions. There are several awards that can be given out, some of which even lead to knighthood if the person works hard enough.”
For anyone interested in joining, Kook said to show up as you are and be ready to learn.
“We have loaner weapons and plenty of veterans happy to teach you how to play,” Kook said. “We encourage people to come in garb of whatever variety makes them happy.”
If interested, you can swing by Riverdale Park, 4250 S. Parker Drive, on Saturdays at noon.