The Order Of The White Rose
History of the Order of the White Rose
The Order of the White Rose was initially founded to inspire fair play and fun in a battlegame
where pettiness and vendettas were running rampant. When it was formed in Mordengaard (soon after it was founded
and before it was even CALLED Mordengaard) in 1988, there were no companies in the area and our group had
never been exposed to an outside influence. We had yet to see a member of another group and most of us had NO clue
that Amtgard existed beyond the boundaries of our group. As in any such competitive venture, there were those that
took unfair advantage of their peers and those that would go out of their way to impose their will on others. A need
was seen for some leadership and, above all, some 'good guys' to save the newbies from unfair pressure and
superior-skilled opponents. Thus, the Order of the White Rose was created and with it, the chance to make a difference.
Among the founding members were myself, Vaargard (a Warrior), Crinos (a Warrior), Medic ( a healer), Spear (a Barbarian), Q (a.k.a. Lothar, a Barbarian), Aragorn (a Scout), Smeagol (a Scout), Gilgrick the Neverpresent (a Warrior), and a handful of others who have since disappeared. We stood together for about a month before several found college too taxing and subsequently dropped out of Amtgard . Membership fluctuated greatly. Sometimes our numbers were as great as 10, (a heck of a lot in a 20 person universe) sometimes it dwindled to only two or three stalwart companions but we kept on with our ideals and followed our code of honor. This saw the advent of the renowned White Rose belt favors. We had little money (we were in college!) and no sewing machines so, at the time, it was the best we could do. Three and a half years saw many new members and the graduation (and sudden disappearance) of many more. I myself left my home group (which was later named Mordengaard) in 1991 to seek my fortune in Houston, carrying the White Rose banner with me.
Upon arriving in Houston, I quickly tried to contact the 'mythical' Bear Creek Park group and the University of Houston group. Both had their flyers in the local game stores but upon attending the parks, no one was to be seen. After a few months of frustration, I decided to get my own group started (again). I went to the store where I fed my comics addiction and lo-and-behold, a flyer of 'unusual craftsmanship' seeking Amtgarders was on the Coke machine. I called the number on the flyer and the rest is Wetlands history. The shire of Granyte Spyre saw the reappearance of the White Rose and the creation of the familiar black tabards. When it became known that I had not 'quit', the other members in other groups resurfaced and proudly wore the White Rose tabard. This time we were multi-kingdom and well respected wherever we found ourselves. As the Confederacy of the Wetlands grew, so did the Order. We tried to recruit the best from the individual groups so we would be well represented and well known in our budding new 'capital kingdom'. As of November 1996, after the Wetlands had become recognized as a formal Kingdom by Amtgard, we had well over 50 members, 40+ of them active. We had 1 Lieutenant, 4 sergeants, and one Heirophant. Today, our more rigorous code and political changes have streamlined the membership of the Order and largely redefined how we participate in the game of Amtgard. We are one of the most respected groups in Amtgard and we have had members in several Kingdoms. I never envisioned that my personal retinue of trusted fighting companions would blossom (*wink*) into the major force for good and fair play that it is today and I am most proud of the gift that you, my company of honored Brothers and Sisters have given this 'Old Man'. I hope I can continue to lead through example for years to come, but with such excellent companions in arms, I need no longer carry the burden alone.
Symbolism of the Order of the White Rose
As long as the Order has been around, I have been notoriously close-lipped about the inspiration
and symbolism of our group. It was more of a selfish desire on my part to keep some mystique to the 'inner cadre' but
I now realize I was horribly wrong: such knowledge only inspires pride in our Brothers and Sisters and broadens
the scope of the role-play within it. For this I apologize. I hope you find inspiration and deeper meaning in these
words that will increase the enjoyment you find by participating in Amtgard and give you a deeper understanding
and perhaps a bit of insight into what it means (or at least my perception thereof) to be a member of the Order of
the White Rose; after all that is my most fervent desire for those around me: that they have even more fun than I
The symbol of the Order in its entirety is a white rose blossom on a black field. The white rose in nature is an unusual occurrence and is usually at a disadvantage ecologically, but when a white rose bush survives, it is something beautiful to behold and stunning in is simplistic beauty amongst its garish 'normal' brethren. For this reason above others, I chose this symbol to represent myself and later, the Order. In a world of 'Dragons', 'Claws', 'Fists', 'Lions', 'Corsairs' and other violent images, the rose stands out as a symbol of unique beauty, survival, and like the thorns of a true rose, hidden danger should it be underestimated or approached without care- all traits I strove to emulate.
The first object that carried the symbol of the Order of the White Rose were the belt favors. They were very simple due to necessity and the first were made of scrap tee-shirt and custom iron-ons. They consisted of my personal symbol (Blossom, thorned stem, and four leaves) on a white field. There was very little symbolism to the favors themselves, but quite a bit to the symbol upon them.
When I first designed my personal device, I put a lot of thought (believe it or not) into the elements that composed it. I had just finished reading the Black Company series, by Glen Cook and was greatly influenced by the bleak but hopeful outlook of its protagonists- the Black Company the series is named after. I decided I wanted something a bit less ominous and aggressive and took from these inspirations the ideals around which the Order of the White Rose is based, even today. The blossom symbolizes the obvious: a thing of rare beauty that survives despite the odds yet gives pleasure to those around it by virtue of its uniqueness. The thorned stem symbolized the potential danger that is not strictly concealed, but still often overlooked by casual observation. Even when observed, the thorns are commonly underestimated (and rarely overlooked twice.) The four leaves are the least known and most symbolic of the design. In nature, leaves are the 'body' and provider of the plant's existence. The leaves number four (clockwise from lower left) for Honor, Courage, Humility and Sacrifice; the virtues which would allow the symbolic 'blossom' to survive. The ribs on the leaves symbolized the many others who went out of their way to instill each virtue within me and reminded me that, no matter how high I might climb, it would always be on the ideas and support of others.
When things seemed darkest, the black field was added and the meaning altered to suit an entire company. I could no longer 'force' my views on those around me, but I could lead by example despite the actions of those around me and I wanted to surround myself by like-minded individuals who gave selflessly and looked to their success in aiding others as its own reward. The black field represents the rest of Amtgard: a huge chaotic undefined darkness that is all around us. The black field represents the commonplace and the shortcuts to victory that seldom have honor: in short-everything in Amtgard that I wish to avoid and hoped my Brothers and Sisters would avoid. The single rose blossom represents the Order- an obvious contrast to the world around them; a thing of beauty in a world of ugliness; something familiar and welcome in the darkness that surrounds it. With that simple but bold imagery, coupled with the traditional biases of white being a symbol for good and black being a symbol for evil, my vision found a simple, yet elegant expression.
Raiment of the Order of the White Rose
Traditionally, the bare minimum symbol of membership is a white belt favor with the entire rose plant. It
is given upon acceptance to the Order and serves as a personal marker. The belt favor denotes active
membership even in the absence of the battle tabard. It is small and easily misplaced but doing so indicates a lack of
respect for your company and for yourself. When you receive your Mark, you should personalize it in some
unobtrusive fashion so that it can easily be identified as yours should it become lost or stolen.
The black tabard with the rose blossom has become the true mark of a full Brother or Sister in the Order. It denotes an active willingness to pursue the goals of the Order and to win or lose by its precepts. The wearing of the tabard lets all know what you stand for and what you represent; that you are but one of many who they may face if they chose to ignore your allegiance. You are representing the Order, and the Order will be behind you, guiding you, assisting you, and sometimes keeping you 'on the path'. To lose your tabard is a disgrace. The bearer may name what punishment he wills for its return (within reason). Loss of your tabard (barring theft) is about as bad as stating openly you do not care for your organization nor what it represents. Please try to keep your tabard with you and don't let it fall into the hands of agitators, malcontents and 'headhunters'. You are encouraged to personalize your tabard, but you should only add an area approximately the size of the rose. Any more than that tends to lessen the impact when we take the field as a group. You should never give your tabard to another outside the order for any reason as they tend to be misused. Disfiguring an Order tunic is an open insult and will be dealt with accordingly. The basic tabard should be worn at all times that a Brother or Sister is representing the Order on-field.
The sleeves (if any) are reserved for decoration as the owner sees fit. Decoration is only limited to the desires of the tabard owner. (The sleeves are often detachable so as not to be a distraction on the field and to be worn when ever ceremony demands)
The Order of the White Rose has few internal awards to bestow upon its members. Our own credo defines that we should not question the validity of an individuals achievements nor should we seek to attempt to 'make up for' awards that we feel 'should have been given'. We do not perform as we do for 'award recognition' nor should we presume to 'know better' by trying to add to (or detract from) the recognition given to players by the rules of Amtgard. Our achievements are defined by what we accomplish as a group, not by the accomplishments of any specific individual. While we encourage each member to do his or her best, it is not the individual 'trophies' and awards that define an individuals merit; rather it is the selfless dedication to representing oneself as a member of the Order and the prestige that accompanies an individual as having represented the Order while participating, not any resulting prizes or failures. When an individual wins, the Order wins, but even when an individual fails to place, the Order still wins because that individual did his best and chose to represent the Order while doing so.
Above left is the standard battlefield tabard of Brothers and Sisters of the Order of the White Rose.
On the right, is a sash most commonly seen on initiates.
Charter of the Order of the White Rose
General Guidelines: The Order of the White Rose is a group of individuals who strive to uphold the honor and ideals of chivalry and fair play. Members of the Order take upon themselves the personal responsibility of setting examples of excellence both in achievement and attitude, and to exemplify what is great about the game of Amtgard. The Order was founded by, and is currently governed by Lord Defender Sir Vaargard Malorius. The Order of the White Rose has chosen to take the path of honor, truth, courage and sacrifice and by so doing, show that the game of Amtgard can be played successfully without taking advantage of the rules or at the expense of the fun of others. In role-playing situations, the Order of the White Rose usually accepts its assignments based upon compatibility with Order ethics and the White Rose code of honor. While it would not be unusual for the Order to assist a deposed Duke in regaining his Duchy, for instance, the Order would only, under very unusual circumstances, lend members to an assassination plot or a subversive scheme. Members of the Order of the White Rose should at all times exemplify 'knightly' ideals, fair play and courtesy to one's opponents. Membership is gained upon sponsorship by an existing Brother or Sister in the order, successfully completing the rite of initiation for the Order, and passing a vote of acceptance by the existing members of the Order. Membership does not require any dues, but it does require one to follow the doctrines and practices of the Order at all times. Membership can be revoked at any time, but only for just reasons. Members are expected to aid each other under any circumstance.
White Rose General Rule
"If you don't like something that is done to you or your friends, don't do it to others"
- Play by the rules. In cases of doubt, play by the spirit of the rules. Display good sportsmanship.
- Call your shots and only your shots. You are responsible for your own honor, no one elses.
- Encourage good behavior and encourage others to excel. Set the example you wish to see others follow.
- Assist others where you find opportunity.
- Respect the Order and your fellow Order members.
- Remain calm and cooperative on the battlefield. Discuss disputes off the field.
- On the battlefield, do not seek unfair advantage over your opponents. Treat your opponents with respect and try not to take advantage of superior numbers or unfair tactics or situations.
- Order disputes and Order business are to be settled privately within the Order.
- Observe both 'club' and 'mundane' laws.
The Order of the White Rose was founded in 1988 by Lord Defender Vaargard as a way to further the ideals of chivalry and knighthood without the necessity of actually holding that title. The organization itself is purely for fun and shouldn't carry beyond the realm of Amtgard. These rules are in existence to promote the good that can be found in Amtgard. While it may seem a bit pretentious and overbearing, you may find that these guidelines carry with them a certain measure of respect and responsibility. It is upon your shoulders that the reputation of the Order lies. It only takes one person to tarnish a reputation that many others have struggled to build. You may find it difficult to comprehend why observing these rules is important but you need only look to the existing members and the behavior they display to see that it can indeed be done and without sacrificing fun, play balance, or reputation. If you have any other questions about the Order of the White Rose ask a member of the Order or consult Lord Defender Sir Vaargard at the Kingdom of the Wetlands (specifically, Houston, TX).
Final note: I have been trying to achieve the goals which I set for the entire Order for several years. It is not easy and it is not always possible. The important part is to try. If you succeed or if you fail, it is not so important as that you tried. For someone who says that this is just a game, these restrictions may seem a bit hypocritical. The White Rose is my contribution to Amtgard and it is your actions which will see my vision through or see it fail. All I ask, in my capacity as the instigator of this part of that dream, is that you do your best. If you do that, then no one could ask for more.
Charity Work of the Order of the White Rose
Over the years, The Order has strived to set an example by hosting tournaments and events that benefitted various charities. Below are some of the charities we have been known to work with either as a group or as individual contributors.