Starting a Chapter

It’s always more fun to play with others. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to bring the others to you! If you’ve taken a look at the Amtgard Atlas and discovered there are no existing parks nearby, don’t fret. Starting a new chapter is a pretty simple process; at least the administrative parts are.

Attracting your first members can be a challenge, but founding a chapter is also a rewarding experience. Lucky for you, new chapters have been formed literally hundreds of times in the past so there are some very experienced people who would be happy to give you advice. This guide covers the administrative details and legal requirements for starting a chapter.

Step 1: Pick a Name

Before you can get started with contracts, you need a name, of course. Once you have a couple of ideas in mind, you should stop by the Amtgard Atlas or do a search on the Amtwiki to make sure the name you want hasn’t already been used. Multiple chapters with the same name is confusing!

Changing your Chapter’s Name If you are a Kingdom-contracted chapter, talk to your Kingdom Prime Minster to have the name updated in the ORK. If you are a Freehold, you will need to update your contract. Contact the Amtgard Contracts team at contracts@amtgard.com.

Step 2: Submit an Application

Starting a group that uses the name Amtgard requires a contractual relationship with Amtgard International. This is the legal entity that represents Amtgard as a whole. To register as a new Amtgard chapter and host Amtgard activities, the applicant chapter must complete this application. The application provides insight and guidelines for approval. It may take a week or so before you receive a reply. Please feel free to contact the contracts team at contracts@amtgard.com if you would like to see where your application is in the process.

Step 3: Create Your Chapter Heraldry

While the team reviews your contract application, you should develop a heraldic device unique to your chapter. Most chapters have a heraldry somehow related to their geography, their name, or an important event in their formation. Some have heraldry that just plain looked cool. Be as creative as you like! All that matters is that the heraldry is unique.

If you’d like more information in Heraldry, take a look at the Amtwiki article on Heraldry. The Amtwiki also has a a page showing heraldry for all parks.

Step 4: Talk to nearby Kingdoms and Chapters

If you haven’t already, now is a good time to start talking to the kingdom your chapter will be a member of. Kingdoms hold sway over geographic regions, so there’s likely already a Kingdom in your area for you to join. During the application process you should have identified the closest Kingdom(s) and Chapter(s). Take this time to start a conversation and relationship with those Amtgard programs. A key aspect of the Amtgard game is in growing the community and cooperating with other Amtgard chapters. Those nearby Kingdoms and Parks will likely be asked for input during your application process, so build that positive network as soon as possible.

You can always look on the Amtgard Atlas for your closest kingdom or Amtgard International can help you get the contact info of the right people when dealing with contracts. If you’re really far-flung, you may be eligible for sponsorship by a number of kingdoms, or you may remain a freehold. Otherwise, the Circle of Monarchs has issued some guidelines about the distances between new groups and kingdoms. Don’t worry, again, Amtgard International can help you through these issues when you start your chapter.

Here is a list of the current Kingdoms of Amtgard.

Step 5: Sign a Contract

After the application has been reviewed and the application is deemed positive for both parties, a Chapter Agreement/Contract with Amtgard International Inc will be sent to the applicant to be completed. This contract requires your group to abide by the Freehold Corpora, that is, a set of rules for how your chapter will be structured, until you join a kingdom. Freehold is a catchall term for groups that are not part of a kingdom.

What is this “Shire” business? Amtgard Chapters (also called Parks, lands, or groups) are given a designation based on the number of active players. The exact requirements varies somewhat from Kingdom to Kingdom, but here’s a brief guide to the active player ranges:
  • Shire; 0-5 players required
  • Barony; 15-20 players required
  • County; 21-30 players required (only used in the Golden Plains)
  • Duchy; 30-40 players required
  • >Principality/Grand Duchy; 60-75 players required (requires subgroups in some Kingdoms)
  • Kingdom; 75+ players required, as well as several other factors
Regardless of size, a group can’t advance beyond Freehold status without a sponsoring Kingdom.