“We get together and hit each other with foam weapons. And I recommend staying off the field unless you’ve signed a waiver. It’s a little bit dangerous.”
That was Michaela Clifton’s description of the live action role playing activity Amtgard.
Clifton, a nursing major and member of the Amtgard club at American River College, joins her fellow club members every Tuesday from 1 to 5 p.m. in some of the open grass areas on campus, usually near the student center.
In the club meetings there are two factions: Thor’s Refuge and Mistyvale. Both are entry level factions which give them the classification of Shire. They can grow in rank through size and annual six month audits.
While the essential activity of the club is sword fighting, club member Maleea Grisham says being involved is about much more than just using a sword and shield.
“We make our own weapons,” she said. “Some people actually make their own clothes.”
If students are interested in creating their own sword they can find the instructions on the Amtgard website.
Amtgard, originally created in 1983 by Jim Haren Jr., more commonly know as Peter LaGrue within the Amtgard world, consists of players who gather for LARPing, or live action role playing, and duking it out.
Broderick Cross, a history major and another member of the club, describes the activity as “a nationwide thing.”
“It started in El Paso, Texas,” Cross said. “(There are) several (clubs) in every state. Except Montana, they only have one.”
According to their website, the Sacramento chapter of Amtgard has 322 members.
Each state chapter of Amtgard is also known as a kingdom. The name of the California chapter is the Kingdom of Westmarch.
Kingdoms are broken up into lesser sections with different names depending on their membership size.
Grisham also added that Amtgard is more than just a fun participatory act.
“Very good stress reliever for me,” said Grisham. “Also a good way to exercise.”
“It makes me excited to run around and hit people for fun. I also enjoy the artistic aspect,” she added.
Teresa Bergman, known by club members as “Lady T,” is the vice president of the Amtgard club.
“A good workout. You learn how to make garb, we make our weapons, create your own persona,” said Bergman. “You can write a backstory on the amt wiki.”
“You get to stop being you for a little while,” she added.
The club is considering adding a meeting on Thursdays, also from 1 to 5 p.m.
Bergman enjoys overseeing the club and is a veteran in her involvement of Amtgard.
“I’ve been in Amtgard for close to seven years,” she said.