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From the Archmaester

by Chris Schoenthal

It is with great regret that I come to you today to announce that, due to irreconcilable differences, the remaining Maesters of the Conclave have chosen to dissolve the organization.  We were dealt an incredibly rough hand, trying to save a game where the community thrives on in-person interaction amidst the early stages of a pandemic that it appears will consume the remainder of the year, at very least. Still, I had hoped that the spirit of the community and the greater good would lead us out the other side, and allow for the continuation of a unified, global community.  This, to me, has always been an essential strength of the game, but unfortunately, those bonds have been strained and tested by the events of the last couple of months, and have now been found wanting.

I can only guess as to how differently things might have turned out had we been able to put a strong focus on playing cards, meeting up, and seeing friends old and new.  Unfortunately, the spectres of sexism, tribalism, and pridefulness, along with the public sabotage of the group that played out here, caused irreparable harm to the community, and pushed existing divisions within the Conclave itself to new depths. I am perhaps most discouraged that in the end, these forces managed to win out, and the haters and naysayers can point to this as an excuse to continue bullying and harassing others in the future.

Ultimately, you all placed your trust in me to be the one to lead us into the future, and I have failed that trust.  I am sorry that I wasn’t equal to the task. I cannot stress enough how saddened and disappointed I am by this result, and I offer my humblest apologies to you all. I am still uncertain what I might have done differently- where I wasn’t decisive enough, when I didn’t make the hard choice- but in the end, the facts of the matter remain as they are.

It may come to pass that others will try where I have failed, and new groups will press forward.  I hope for the sake of this great game and those who continue on with it that they find success, but I have my strong doubts that they will fit the unified, global vision that I believe is required for a player-run group to be truly successful.  The game is not the game if Americans are not climbing the steps to Stahleck, and the game is not the game if our European friends are not braving the frigid winters of Roseville to crowd into Joe Senser’s. Without these elements, I cannot endorse such efforts.

On a personal note, I’d like to deeply thank the community for this opportunity, and for all of the many, many friends that I’ve made over the last ten years of playing this game.  Each of you has enriched my life to an unspeakable degree, and I will miss all of the good times that we’ve had together, and mourn the ones that should have been in the future.  It will remain one of my greatest regrets that I could not hold this community together and keep us progressing forward.

Valar Morghulis.

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