Lily Sumac: An Interview

This interview was conducted by email between Squire Lorelie Sweetcheeks Silverheart and Dame Lily Sumac.

Lorelie: When did you start playing Amtgard, where, and how old was the game?

Lily: I started July 1997 as a founding member of the Shire of Darkwater East in Gainesville, FL.

Lorelie: Who brought you into Amtgard?

Lily: My DnD group decided to try out this new LARP that Sir Kitirat (before he was known to anyone but our DnD group) had tried back home in West Palm Beach, FL.

Lorelie: Were you attracted to the fighting aspect initially or the Arts & Sciences of the game?

Lily: I was initially attracted to the social aspect. I wanted to hang out with my friends and make new friends.

Lorelie: How many women fighters were in the game when you started and how have you seen it change?

Lily: I started with one other gal, but there were only 10 players total so the odds were not bad. As DWE grew we have always had many women fighters since we actively promote women in the game. Where the women go, the men are sure to follow!

Lorelie: Were there many obstacles for women fighters and what role did you take to help put some of them to rest for the new fighters coming in?

Lily: Personally, the women face the same fighting obstacles as men in Florida, a lack of trainers. I have tried to educate the new female fighters. But ultimately, I myself am looking for a good teacher to start some hard core training… hence my interest and support of SKBC.

Lorelie: Who were your influences in fighting, both women and men.

Lily: I’d like to break this up into a couple of time frames…
When our Kingdom was young, I admired Sir Kitirat and Sir Tonbo for their style and enthusiasm as well as their battlefield prowess. Sir Squeak and Sir Moogie both convinced me to pick my sword back up from a two year hiatus, without them I would not be answering these questions. Since returning to the battlefield, I have really come to admire Sir Arthon’s flair, Sir Brennon’s strategy, and Sir MHOG’s perseverance.

Lorelie: What big events do you feel help promote women fighters?

Lily: I don’t think there are any that specifically promote women fighters, all events promote fighting and I encourage all women to participate.

Lorelie: How have you changed in Amtgard over the years? (and not just getting older and more broken).

Lily: I take on responsibilities and actively work as a leader which I am not sure I would have done in real life.

Lorelie: Do you think the overall experience of Amtgard women has changed?

Lily: I don’t think the experience has changed in Neverwinter, but I can see the attitude change in the other Kingdoms.

Lorelie: What advice would you have to new women fighters?

Lily: You’re a fighter… remember that and don’t give up you place on the field.

Lorelie: What suggestion do you have to help new women fighters to overcome the stigma of being lesser fighters?

Lily: Perhaps it is naivety on my part, but I have seldom felt this stigma. Neverwinter has a strong female support structure.

Lorelie: What are your suggestions for necessary equipment for new female fighters?

Lily: You need the following:

  • A good sports bra (for support)
  • Knee pads of some sort – whatever is comfortable (for safety)
  • Padded gloves (for safety)
  • Some nice garb (for comfort, investment, and confidence)
  • Your own weapons/shield (for comfort, investment, and confidence)
The first three are obvious, but if you feel like you are part of the group you will more likely act like part of the group. It is more difficult to deter someone who has an investment in the game (even if it is just a social/emotional investment).

Lorelie: What are your views on the difference between women fighters and men fighters?

Lily: Women change this game from a geeky form of tag into a social society.

Lorelie: What was the representation of women on the field? What was the status of female fighter?

Lily: Women make themselves known on the field (it is our way), but the status is that of just another fighter.

Lorelie: Do you see much difference between kingdoms of how female fighters fight, how they are treated, and how hard is it for them to make it to the top of the fighting lists? Which kingdoms do you feel promote female fighters the least and the most?

Lily: I have yet to travel across the Amtgard realm, but from what I have seen… women are highly encouraged in Neverwinter, but the top fighting lists are hard to break into. Most everywhere I have traveled outwardly encourage their women as a whole, but there is always that one guy who looks at me oddly when I hit their shoulder and wait for their “dead” call.

This page last updated 01/02/06

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