About Knights and Nobles and Rougues
Knights and Nobles and Rogues (KANAR) began in 1983 when four thirteen-year-old Junior High School students during a Dungeons & Dragons game got into an argument about the number of attacks per turn their characters received per level. They thought it was improbable for a sword to be swung only once every six seconds as stated in the D&D Player's Handbook.
Thus, they armed themselves with some wooden swords that were purchased at the Michigan Renaissance Festival, some trash can lids and a stopwatch. Soon they learned that they were all 15th-level fighters, attacking once every two seconds!
They had so much fun that the game was forgotten, and the combat continued through several swords, then broomsticks, then finally to Wiffle Ball bats. In the end, they decided that actually fighting was much more fascinating and enjoyable than rolling dice for a fictional paper. Plus, they could actually make costumes and wooden swords and “become” their paper characters. It was that same year that the “leader” of that group, Jason Monarch, moved out to Milford, MI, and was forced to leave his sword fighting friends behind.
This would have been the end of the story had not Jason met two fellow D&D players, Quinn Fox and Adam House. They became friends, and began to play “tabletop” D&D. Soon they decided that they wanted to play in costume, by candlelight, to enhance the game.
At the age of 16, Jason’s parents recorded a tiny news clip about the Ann Arbor chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Once again, the urge to swing sword and feel the fun of the fight filled him. One month later, Jason’s father took them to an SCA event, they were enthralled. Shortly after, Quinn’s mother took them to an SCA meeting in Ann Arbor. They learned about the SCA and their rules of combat, and even got to hit a pell with an SCA legal weapon.
Then the heartbreak... you had to be 18 to fight in SCA activities. Quinn and Jason were crushed!
Instead of standing for this setback, they decided to bring the SCA to kids. They called for a kumitae (yes, the Jean-Claude Van Damme type) and invited all their D&D tabletop friends. They set up a makeshift arena in Jason’s backyard of stick tripods and crossbars. They began to fight with dowel rod swords and saucer sled shields in the costumes they had for enhancing their tabletop games. Over and over was heard the pounding of Anvil of Crom! They chose character names to be called when at the “kumitae,” some of which are still in use today. The attendees of the first “Kanar” event were Jason Monarch, Quinn Fox, Adam House, Dave Oldfield, Merl Namowitz, Bill Lewis, Scott Dolkowski, and Cyril Oatley. They fought until all the weapons were broken, and not having their fill, continued on with hand to hand fighting. When it became dark, they lit candles and role-played far into the night. They imagined that they came from the elven Duchy of Alandar, called to tournament by its Duke Kieran and Duchess Laurana, where Sir Aspen Silverleaf and Sir Cyril Shadowalker were his knights. They hired the secretive Chalyn as their scout, and were entertained by Bill Lewis juggling skills. It was decided that they should do it every month in the summer during vacation.
There was one more “kumitae” in the backyard, until the group became annoyed by the constant mundane reminder of the house and cars. It was decided to move the Kanar, as it was now known, out to the open wilderness behind Jason’s house. There a fighting field was built, a viewing stand and tower for archery.
Kanar went on for four years in much the same fashion (except the discovery of pipe insulation, which made the fighting much less painful), until Chris Jozwick received a Dragon Magazine (September 1991, Issue #173) with an ad for live action role-playing inside with a group called N.E.R.O. It was decided to give it a try.
The fantasy Duchy of Pelanor became reality. A history of the land and a map was created. We used washers for silver coins. The rules were lax and simple; "have fun" was the theme of the day. We wrote our own rulebook (the infamous blue book later replaced by the problem-laced Kanar book), and Kanar was a full live-action game with about sixty members.
In 1993 a new, small group of people were brought into Kanar. It was just about the time we were losing the site that we were playing on because we had nearly one hundred members. It was decided that a new site would have to be found. Jonathan Sher (who found our current site), Jim Pigtain and Jason Monarch searched feverishly to find a new site. When one was found, it was through the generosity of a few members (Jonathan Sher, Paul Lyons and Chris Rennolds) the $10,000 down payment became a reality and the current land known as Ilveresh was created.
The rest... is history.