Barad Duin split

From AmtWiki

Listed here are first hand accounts of the Barad Duin split written by the players themselves.

Roger Shrubstaff

"There are probably people who can tell this tale better than I, as I was definitely on the sidelines while it was going on and a newbie. However, I can tell what I remember, plus stuff I've heard from others as well. If anyone can tell the story better, please feel free to improve on it.

To begin with, Barad Duin was a large and propserous amtgard group in Austin, TX, a fertile place for Amtgard. They played in Pease Park. Their presence helped start the group Turris Lunae in San Antonio later, all the original San Antonio players had come to Austin first.

At some point around spring 1990 in Barad Duin there was a lot of dissatisfaction with the Burning Lands, the leadership people of both groups did not get along.

Apparently some of the strife had to do with the fact that some of the Barad Duin players were gay and one of the BL'ers had made some derogatory remarks about this at some event. This is all second to third hand, so take that for what its worth.

Whatever happened, the powers that be in Barad Duin decided they wanted to split off the group from Amtgard. They put it up to a vote of their populace.

Now... and this is a key event... sentiments in Barad Duin were towards voting for the split, but it was not unanimous. When the vote was put forth, one of the players from Turris Lunae, Michael Hammer of God who was one of the few people who had experienced Amtgard elsewhere and gone to Clan asked he could speak on the issue, and was told he could not. Maybe they were worried he would influence the vote to leave Amtgard. After this happened, Turris Lunae held their own vote and decided to remain in Amtgard instead of following Barad Duin. The fact that they were not allowed to speak played a role in that vote. If it had gone differently and they had allowed him to speak, and then voted to leave anyway, there is a good chance Turris might have followed them into the HFS, and who knows how the landscape might be today.

But this did not happen. Turris established contact directly with the Burning Lands, hooked up with Bifost in Kerrville (founded by former Burning Lander Theo and went on to become the Celestial Kingdom, which went on to become one the largest Amtgard kingdoms, and much larger than HFS. Some of the Amtgarders in Austin didn't want to leave amtgard and formed a splinter group there, first Brightlands (short-lived) and then Tori-Mar which became a major group."

Michael Hammer of God

"I will tell my story. Remember though that I wasn’t exactly close in the councils of Barad Duin so I only know what was public. Some time in late 1988 or more likely early 1989, I went to my first Amtgard game. It was exactly one week after Roger's first Amtgard game. We lived in San Antonio where we were at school and we made the 90 minute drive to Austin to play with BD. That first day I met Arthon and we have been friends almost ever since. Very quickly those of us in San Antonio were interested in starting a local park. I got into a discussion with the leadership of BD (Nithanalorn was the Grand Duke at the time). He explained that BD was functionally the third kingdom in Amtgard but that for role playing reasons they were called a Grand Duchy. We (San Antonio) were welcome to become a shire under them. I was the first Sheriff and swore fealty as a shire of BD at the mid-reign of Grand Duke Nithanalorn. I have no independent confirmation that the BL viewed BD as a kingdom-level entity and since I know there was friction between the two, it may be that the BL did not.

The BD Leadership had issues with the BL leadership. That was clear even to the populace but BD was relatively good to the San Antonio people. Our park was called Turris Lunae (tower of the moon) since we were south of and vassal to BD. (Minas Ithil and Minis Morgul were both deemed too crass an allusion to the LotR). The school semester ended and most of the members of Turris Lunae went home for the summer. I returned to Colorado and was present and the first few meetings of the Iron Mountains. Rift was an experienced player from the BL and he organized the IM and got it going. He also took five of us to Clan 1989. That was the best Amtgard so far for me. So many people made it so much fun. Very few of the BD people that I knew had made the trip. I explained this with distance but the friction between BD and the BL was part of it too.

While we were away for the summer we had left some of the townies in charge of Turris Lunae. With all the players gone though the shire had nearly died. We got back and got going with it again. I personally was very much energized to build a better game after my experience at Clan. We continued to play with BD and we had many friends there. Shortly after the summer holidays, however all that changed. There were two things that made this change real. First the BL leadership and the BD leadership continued to spat. This culminated in a letter to the Grand Duke (it was now Connor I believe) threatening to remove the BD contract. It is true that BD was making rules changes and experiments. The same week that the letter came, BD was invaded by a reasonably large contingent of Amtgarders from the Emerald Hills. Dallas to Austin is a reasonably short drive and the EH organized a good sized raid.

It was obvious that day that the EH Amtgarders didn’t have a high respect for BD. I don’t know the why’s or wherefores but the hard feelings between BD and the EH were evident. The EH were successful in the raid and celebrated with much crotch grabbing and name calling. The average members of BD many of whom were my friends were understandably offended. The next weekend the BD leadership called for a vote to leave Amtgard and make a new game. There were two main arguments advanced for this. First, some of the BD people wanted to try a points based leveling system where you could buy spells and abilities with attendance credits. My sense was that more of the leadership was interested in this. Second the BL was bullying BD. The letter was read in the allthing as proof. The real argument (which wasn’t made overtly), was that Amtgarders (as represented by the EH players from the week before) were assholes.

I wanted to speak in the allthing even though we from Turris as a shire didn’t have the right to vote in the BD allthing. The BD leadership didn’t allow me to. My experience at Clan made me want to recommend staying in Amtgard. The allthing voted solidly to leave Amtgard. The weekend after that in Turris, we chose to stay in Amtgard and to cut our association with BD. The fact that BD didn’t even give us a voice in leaving was a factor in our decision. Shortly thereafter, I heard about another old BLer starting a group in Kerrville (Bifost). Theo and I met and agreed to make a kingdom in South Texas combining Kerrville and San Antonio. The rest is CK history."


"As far as the fealty thing goes. We certainly didn't feel that we had any say or control over the way other chapters ran their groups. The BL (and other lands) tried to control awards and other stuff -- I think some of us at BD tried to block a couple of your Knighthoods (man, we took those white belts so seriously -- I hope that's changed). One of the founding principles of HFS was that each group was completely autonomous -- I think it was the biggest strength and weakness of the club."

"If I remember correctly, I was Regent at the time (or just about to be -- the mind has grown fuzzy with time) and I remember the frantic nature of the Allthing. It was totally mass hysteria. I don't remember there being any discussion about letting Michael (or anyone from the other chapters) speak -- and if I had, I certainly would have argued to allow it. There's never any harm in letting someone has his or her say (as long as they agree with me)."

"It's a shame that it happened and it's a shame that it had such an effect on people."


Culled from a facebook thread - cain was the excuse, not the reason. There was a lot of perceived animosity between EH and Barad-duin. None of which made sense to me, because they always treated me nice. But nonetheless, it was used as a great excuse, and at the court where they made the decision to break off, they asked me to talk against it. They kept going on about barad-duin being so different in mentality. To sum up, "we are the civilized people, and they are uncivilized barbarians". This was not meant in an RP fashion. The only time EH was unfriendly was when they came to raid the park. Most of barad-duin never traveled. So they didn't really know EH. I think i was as i am still, one of the few to actually travel. Yes we were a kingdom, but they talked us into continuing to call ourself a grand duchy, because we were different, and the idea was that somehow a grand duchy could be better than a kingdom.

so go ahead and add me to the list that says that barad-duin was a kingdom. I remember the court where they announced it, and we discussed and voted to keep the title of grand duchy, and not call ourselves a kingdom.

yeah, i just remember when cain stood on top of that picnic table, going, "omg, that's it". The split had been growing for a while at that time. I remember that there was a lot going on between barad-duin and BL also. They tried to make a deal that barad-duin would live with. You guys in the EH were actually very nice with the populace of barad-duin. It was the people in charge that drove you all nuts. I'd say that nithanalorn that really got you crazy. If i had to guess, he probably was "impolite" at the first EH coronation. heh, after the fact, i still get a giggle at the site of cain presenting his gift from the king. But then, mentality wise, i always did fit in better with the EH. Face it nev, you probably laughed your ass off afterwards. It was pretty damn funny once the dust settled. The evidence as to EH being nice to the populace, is there are many senior CK knights, such as myself, rufus and zephram who stayed with amtgard. Somebody had to have been nice for that to happen.

if you could get Curtis Wade to, that might help. well zephram was in barad-duin at the time. I'm not sure if he was there the day that cain "weighed in". roflmao As horrified as i was at the time, i just have to laugh so hard now. It was almost a relief tbh. i had just discovered amtgard, my home park was telling amtgard to go fuq itself, and there was no place else to go.

i really thought amtgard was done. I never realized that for me it was only a hiatus. Within 6 months i'd be down in san antonio playing in turris lunae, and that within 8 months i'd be sitting down at the first coronation of the CK. I thought amtgard was done for me.

i know it's hard to believe. I still feel it was the final nail, though it shouldn't have been. However, it was more of a thumb tack. it was the excuse they used. It did get everybody ticked off. To me, it would have been like opening up a cold beer, finding it was flat, throwing it on the ground and swearing to never drink beer again!! It should never have been enough, but they did use it. I'll never forget that court and that discussion. i went there, expecting something, afraid of them trying to leave, but only because i'd been hearing about it. There had been plenty of discussion before that.

During that day, i remember dreading, hoping nothing would happen. In retrospect, getting that upset over cain's presentation seems unreasonable. I've since learned that when a reason makes no sense, its because it's bullshit. You guys were the reason given to the populace, because they needed to sell the new game. I was one of the few dead set against leaving. My friends were all in EH and BL.

I remember sitting in on a meeting at your first coronation. Tbh, i'm not sure why, but i've always blamed BL for the split. I was never one of the people making the decisions, but I just have this feeling that there was far more going on between bl and baradduin than anything else. It was probably in the letter wars. I didn't get to read them. It's been long enough now, that i remember impressions better, but i'm usually pretty good at that kind of thing.

HFS was indeed born out of all that, because the first thing they did after leaving amtgard was put together the first HFS rules. Many senior knights of the CK came from that. CK was born from turris lunae and bifost. Except for myself, the rest of the barad-duin people came back to amtgard when we regained a park in austin. When we did that, about half of then barad-duin populace rejoined amtgard with tori-mar.

btw, i also recognize the fact that i'm probably biased. I probably blame bl and bd because i don't want to blame EH.

When asked about the Cain incident: well basically Eh came down and raided barad-duin. It was a difficult day, with a lot of complaining on both sides about sluffing. At the end of the day, Eh was gathered around one of the big picnic tables, when cain stood up on the picnic table, and shouted, (to paraphrase) "hey barad-duin, i've got a gift for you from the king/EH/.", and grabbed his crotch and flipped us all off. tbh, i remember the eh was laughing at it. Unfortunately after all of that, many of the people who were on the fence over the split proposed by the bd leadership got mad, and that very evening they had the allthing and the vote. I definitely agree with michael. i have always felt that they wanted to split.

barad-duin was formed as a duchy under the burning lands. If i remember right, we were later elevated to grand duchy status. towards the end, probably in an attempt to keep us, we were given the rank of kingdom. At which time we had an allthing, and voted to keep the title of grand duchy. My only problem is i can't remember exactly how we got the grand duchy title. i want to say we were elevated to it, but i'm not sure if we were given that title exactly, or whether it's what we gave ourselves when we became a "kingdom".

From the same thread Michael Hammer of God added: My perception was the leadership wanted to leave Amtgard and do their own thing no matter what. They might or might not have gotten the populace to agree. The Austin players my age (ie college kids) were happy as things were but suspicious of the BL. As Danielle says the Cain incident was used to galvanize that suspicion into a very strong vote to leave Amtgard. Would that measure have passed without that? No telling but my feeling at the time was it would have failed. I do remember that the leadership Black and Connor specifically told me I would not be allowed to speak in the althing since the San Antonio group couldn't vote.

Paul, it [becoming a kingdom] wasn't at all clear cut back then. The Emerald Hills sort of took permission for themselves. The Celestial Kingdom it was authorized by a single BL monarch. Andralaine made the choice. And we thank her for it. Golden Plains and the iron mountains were the next to. And by that time the burning lands was trying hard to establish a formal procedure. They more or less did and those two kingdoms came in with the permission of the burning Land Board of Directors.

Sarah, the incident was pretty much as Michael said above basically a nothing short of deal. He grabbed his crotch and called the Barad Duin people a bunch of names. Some of the insult were homophobic. Basically it became important because the park was considering leaving Amtgard anyway.

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