Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ways of Warriors and Warlords

Over the past couple weeks I have been exploring the gaming scene in Champaign-Urbana (CU).

From talking with some people I found out that there is likely not going to be a large market for Amtgard in this area, because there are several Dagorhir and Belegarth groups (Belegarth is another LARP like Dagorhir that focuses mainly on fighting) in the area, and most of the people in the area who are interested in LARPing are already going to one of those. (This probably explains why there are Amtgard groups in Peoria and Springfield but not CU, as well as why there didn't seem to be anyone currently going to one of the other Amtgard groups that lived closer to CU than to their park.)

I did find that there is a bus that goes to Peoria every day, including weekends. The bus ride is 2 hours long and costs $19 each direction, so it's definitely not something I will want to do every week. But it might be worth doing occasionally, like if there is a special event.

Additionally, I went to some gaming stores to check out the board gaming scene. There's a store, Armored Gopher Games, that is about a 20 minute bike ride away from home that has regular miniatures and Dungeons and Dragons (D+D) campaigns. I joined a D+D campaign that runs every other Friday and played one session so far. There were some funny things that went on. One of the rooms had a puzzle that consisted of a set of 16 plates, each with a different word on it, a door on the east side, and a statue on the south side. We assumed the goal was to open the door, and "door" was one of the words on the plates, so we tried combinations of plates like "Open East Door" and "Unlock East Door" and got nowhere. Then we remembered that we had got a scrap of leather in the previous room that had a picture of a left hand with a down arrow on it. So we tried "Left Hand Down" and that didn't work either. Unfortunately while we were doing this, one of our party members got greedy and tried to pry the gems out of the statue's eyeballs. This triggered the "Open Hell Gate Now" and forced us into combat with hell-spawned monsters. After defeating the monsters we discovered that the puzzle plates were now locked and inoperative. We also discovered that the door on the east side of the room was never locked in the first place. (We also later learned that we almost solved the puzzle: if we had stepped on "Left Hand Down Open" then the statue would have slid away, revealing a shortcut. Since we had to go through the door we had to take the long way around.) The "long way around" consisted of a trap room with traps that pulled us under the floor and attacked us with spears. Some of the characters didn't have the skills required to get out of the trap, so they kept failing their skill rolls to get out, and they were about to get crushed. However we were saved when after 5 rounds, the trap abruptly stopped (because that's what the description of the trap said) and let us out.

Finally, I found a real-life martial arts place, called Hwa Rang Do, in the same shopping center as Armored Gopher Games. I had learned about Hwa Rang Do from the Champaign Arts Festival, and there was a coupon for a free lesson. During the free lesson I learned about some of the basic moves, and also did some grappling, which is like wrestling. Hwa Rang Do grappling is a competitive sport where you get points for putting the opponent in specified positions, for example on the floor with you sitting on top of him or on the floor with you lying on his back. So in order to get the most points you have to shift between the different "scoring positions" while not allowing the opponent to get the upper hand. The cost of tuition at Hwa Rang Do is $90 per month for two 1-hour lessons per week, or you can sign up for the "Warrior's Path" which is $660 up front for training all the way up to the green belt level (green belt is the 4th out of 10 belt levels, IIRC) which on average takes about 10 months. I have not signed up for it, because I'm not sure if it's something I will want to do.


Dan Mont said...

Sounds like there's lots of opportunities for things to do. Glad to see that you are taking advantage of it. The martial arts thing also seems like good exercise...which might be hard to get during long, cold Illinois winters

By the way....did you see the thing I sent you about the clowns disrupting that KKK protest? I thought it was great.

Thanks for posting, by the way. I just learned today that you were posting again.

Alexander Mont said...

What thing about the clowns? I didn't get anything about any clowns.

Dan Mont said...

How about another post? What have you been up to? Ever get the clowns thing?