Monachium -realm interview

1. Where do you come from?
The Belegarth realm of Monachium is located in Munich, Germany, and has 25 paying members as of 2015. It was founded by Lars (a.k.a. Hårdgrim or Perial) in late 2012. Lars had learned of Belegarth while studying in the USA, having there been in the realm of Numenor. After a less-than-successful attempt at a group in Denmark (Holmgang), he made a better start here after moving to Munich in 2010. The first members were drawn largely from the local Google office, but through online announcements and word-of-mouth has spread to be a more diverse group. We now have 25 paying members, and over a hundred people have tried fighting with us.

2. Did your realm have role models or has some formed over the time?
Lars brought some ideas from Numenor, especially the idea of having a knighthood system with formalized squiring, but also having sub-units with particular specialties or styles. That hasn’t really materialized yet, though.

3. What has been a biggest struggle for the group?
The main problem, as compared to groups in the US especially, is the lack of other groups nearby. Having other groups around gives a sense of belonging to a larger community, and perhaps more importantly allows common events. The experience in the US is that once a fighter has gone to an event, they are much more likely to stay around and get more involved.

The group is still very dependent on Lars, partly for having all the loaner weapons and extra materials, part as general organizer and the only one with experience from the US.

With all the weapons construction guides being American, finding the appropriate materials has been tricky, but we managed to find the main thing, a good source of foam, last year. We are now able to mass-produce weapons and shields.

Retention is always a problem, but probably no more so than for other groups. About 50 % of those who try fighting ever come back. Longer-term retention is hampered by the lack of neighboring groups and probably also by not having a very active social aspect.

4. Has anything crucial changed since the group was founded?
Getting our weapons building workflow set up helped make us independent of US suppliers and opened the door to making unusual or personalized weapons, increasing interest.

5. How would you define your group right now?
We’re a fairly relaxed group with all but one having just a few year’s experience. Only a few of us have been to Sotahuuto, and only Lars has been to other events.

6. Is there something that you’ve done that has affected development of the scene?
Outside of being the first Belegarth group in Europe, nothing in particular.

7. In what kind of situations and tactical places does your team excel?
Having had little chance to test our mettle as a group against other groups, we can’t say very well yet. We have trained a fair amount using classical tactics like wolfpack or bull charge and at least have a common understanding of how they work.

8. Which group have you had the most pleasant fights?
8.1 – To battle against:
8.2 – To battle alongside:
The few of us who went to Sotahuuto in 2014 very much liked fighting together with Etelän Imperiumi, but we have little basis for comparison.

9. What or which are your groups strengths?
We spend a lot of time in loose formation fighting and skirmishing. We shall see how that works out when we get a proper flock to Sotahuuto.

10. What or which are your groups weaknesses?
We have little experience fighting spear formations and heavily armored opponents, and none in forest scenarios.

11. Where are you going and how do you get there?
Outside of the obvious goals of growing, having fun, and getting better at fighting, we have two longer-term goals: Making the group not reliant on any single person, and fostering more groups in the surrounding areas.

Currently the group is heavily dependent on Lars for having the workshop and expertise for building weapons, knowledge of weapons checking, experience with Belegarth at scale, and having all the loaner gear in his garage. He’s also the default person to run the practices. We’ll reach this goal through training more of the regulars in the required skills, making an effort to get people to events (both Sotahuuto and in the US when possible), and finding a shared storage and workshop place near the practice.

Our other long-term goal is to have more groups around us, close enough that we can easily come together for events. The events are a large part of what makes the sport popular in the US. We’re doing this so far mainly through personal contacts, in particular by encouraging fighters who move away to start their own group, offering them cheap equipment and coming there for a startup session. This year, we hope to also become more visible in the media, appearing at two local sports festivals and supplying articles to local newspapers.

12. Sotahuuto
12.1 – Preferable opponent: We don’t know the groups well enough to point out anybody in particular.
12.2 – Preferable ally: Etelän Imperiumi, for they have been good hosts before and are offering to be hosts again.

Technical information:

Battle strength and member count: 10 [25]
I hope we can bring a group of 10 or so, but it’s fairly uncertain due to the high travel costs involved and the language barrier.

Roots of the group:
2012 Monachium

Combat style: Skirmish. Random small-unit tactics, some focus on using historical tactics appropriate to the opponent, more focus on individual skill than formation fighting compared to Sotahuutans.

Armor: Light. Only a couple of people use armor, and then only light armor like body-only chain mail or arm/leg protection.

Practices: We practice every Sunday in the summar half of the year in Englischer Garten. Since the grass gets dangerously slick when it rains, we cancel if there’s significant rain.

Hometown: Munich, Germany.

Member in other locations: A couple of members have moved away, two to Zürich, one to Bulgaria, and a couple to other places in Germany. No other group has started yet.

Recruiting, inquiries, information?
Realm name: Monachium
Phone number: +49 8924401533
Facebook group

Interview filled by: Lars, the group founder and current president.

Monachium, Belegarth realm, Munich Germany 2012