ANST - Re: Amtgard vs. the SCA Long

harry billings psobaka at
Thu Jul 2 11:17:21 PDT 1998

Speaking as a person who plays both SCA and Amtgard (and a few other games
as time allows) I feel compelled to speak.

One reason why the SCA has problems keeping the teenagers is that they tend
(this is from observation and personall experiance) to be seen as just
another set of hands.  Mind the littles kids, do the dishes, clean up the
feast hall.  Then these younger folks see *adults* getting awards (Sable
Stars and Iris of Merit) and  are not seeing anyone thier age getting
anything.  The feelings of resentment engendered by being put to work and
then not getting any kind of thank-you are the sticky point that needs to be

Someone on this list mentioned his 13 year old had an AoA and it was going
to be a long time before he got recognised again.  WHY?  If you are doing
the work why not get the pretty?  Do you have to be over 20 to get anything
other that an AoA?

Parallel digression....

In Amtgard you get awards for doing stuff, very much like the SCA.  The
difference is you can accumulate several of the same "type".  I'm going to
use myself and my awards there as an example.

For the costuming work I do (in both games) I have gotten recognition.  In
Amtgard I acummulated things called Garber Credits.  After doing something
(or several somethings) spiffy I'd be presented one.  After I collected
eleven, the King awarded me a mastery in garbing ( this is just me, I've
seen people get a mastery after as few as five awards and seen one person
collect more than fifty before getting her mastery).  In the SCA I got an
AoA for no apparent reason and five odd years later got thumped with a Sable
Thistle.  I feel more comfortable with the connotations of the Amtgard
Mastery than I do with the SCA Thistle, I could see *why* I got the first
one, I still have no idea why I got the second.

This example is for one of the dozen or so awards you can get for "doing"
something. There is a whole other set for "being" something.  You can get
what is called a class mastery for portraying the best of what a class is
felt to be.  At the last court event I watched a young man (about 16) get
his mastery in the Monk class.  He wore what amounted to loose orange pants
and what looked like and orange sheet and portrayed a buddhist monk.  The
person who conveyed the award from the crown to the young man also had a
mastery in the monk class and portrayed a completely different (european)
personna type.  Niether was over the age of twenty.

In Amtgard you can be elected king at 18, in some places you can be Sheriff
of a Shire, Baron, Duke, or class guildmaster at 14.  In the SCA I don't see
younger ( as in under 20) people in even deputy or assistant offices very often.

I don't *see* very many 16 year olds with Sable Thistles for anything in the
SCA, even those who were born and raised in the society.  Maybe we should
fix the recognition problem for this age group.  Being givin recognition for
their hard work instead of being givin the impression that they deserve to
be worked into the ground until they turn 18 might keep more of them in the
SCA rather than going into other LARPs where the normall adolescent craving
for approval and acceptance in more forthcoming.

The feeling of "you done good kid." that you get by being called up in front
of everyone and having someone *important* like the King tell the whole
world you did something worthy makes up for a lot of time mopping floors or
doing dishes.  That little peice of paper can invoke those feeling of wonder
for years after, and serve as a reminder of *why* we do this.  Not for the
awards, but for our friends, for ourselves, and for the love of the game.

Lady Saffiya 'bint Da'ud Al'Mubbarak
Countess Alara the Drake, Esq.
Mieka Billings

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