Joining The Unit
If you’re interested in becoming part of the Royal Dragoon Guards, there are a few steps to joining up. Becoming a member of the RDG is not just like joining a tabletop gaming campaign, because the Royal Dragoon Guards is much more than any single campaign. The RDG is an organization for which gaming is the primary activity, but it’s not the only activity. By becoming a Dragoon, you’re joining a group that participates in tabletop and online gaming, road trips to conventions and museums, organizational outings to restaurants and films, cosplay events and more. Before submitting an intent to become a member of the RDG, be sure the customs and traditions of the organization are for you. If you’re good with the way the RDG rolls, contact us and let us know you’d like to become a member.
Step One – Contact Us
The first step to becoming a Dragoon is letting the organization know you’d like to be one. Contact us through the website at TexMechs.org, on Facebook, or through a Dragoon you already know. Let us know why you want to become a part of our organization, where you live, and what activities of the group interest you. You will be brought into the group with the organizational rank of Recruit, and assigned a member as a mentor. Organizational rank, along with our award system, is how we recognize our members for their participation and service. Awards are usually given for service rendered to the club. Ranks are earned by qualification tests in a number of topics designed to educate the member about the organization and the games we play, and also to denote members who are in positions of leadership within the organization. Any member can work their way up from Recruit (E-o) to the grade of E-6. Leadership billets, specifically officer billets, have additional requirements.
Step Two – Select Participation Level
You will be added to one of the RDG’s Platoons. A Platoon is a subdivision of the RDG that helps organize the members and provide a clear chain of communication. There are currently four active Platoons in the RDG. First Platoon Able Company is made up of Dragoons who are able to attend Austin area meetings regularly – at least one every two months. Second Platoon Able Company are the cadets, under-18 members, and their leadership. Third Platoon are distance members of Fort Shorncliffe who live outside the Austin area but wish to participate online, or cannot commit to at least one meeting every two calendar months. Sandgate Castle and her platoon represent the Home Guard. As of 23 August 2016 there is no longer an option for new members joining the organization without joining TRMN. All new members will, as a condition of membership, procure membership in TRMN. They may join any area of TRMN, but Army and Home Guard are preferred. If enough members go Navy, the RDG may spin up a ship chapter as a companion to Fort Shorncliffe and Sandgate Castle.
Fort Shorncliffe and Sandgate Castle
All members of the Royal Dragoon Guards are encouraged to take advantage of our organization’s affiliation with The Royal Manticoran Army. The RMA is part of the official fan organization for David Weber’s Honorverse novels. There is no cost for membership, and one does not have to have read any of the novels before joining. Being a part of Fort Shorncliffe or Sandgate Castle allows members access to the RMA’s King Roger I Military Academy, the RMA rank and promotion system, and the RMA’s awards system.
Sandgate Castle represents the Home Guard, those soldiers of the Queen who are civilians in normal life, but drill with their units on weekends much like the US Army National Guard. What does that mean in a fan club? It means that Home Guard members have access to all the TRMN programs listed above, but are under no obligation to use any of them unless they feel it would be entertaining or fun. The Home Guard represents a casual way to participate with TRMN without going “whole hog” and also helps your fellow Dragoons earn their gaming qualifications.
I’m not an Honorverse Fan, why should I join the RMA or Home Guard?
Aside from membership being free of charge, there is one major reason for becoming a Home Guard member even if you are not familiar with the David Weber novels – the Marksmanship Program. The RMA Marksmanship Program is an award system that recognizes members for participating in games- all kinds of games. Each category of game is a fictional weapon category, such as casual games counting as “grenade” while tactical computer games count as “plasma rifle.” Hours played are logged, and certificates are issued for hitting Marksman, Sharpshooter, Expert and High Expert qualification levels. The trick is, that the number of hours earned for any given game are multiplied by the number of additional TRMN members participating in the game beyond two, to a maximum multiplier of four. This means in a game with four TRMN members, each hour played is logged as three hours. A game with five or more members counts each hour played as four hours. Players who are not TRMN do not count toward the multiplier, so even if you are not interested in earning the awards, being a Home Guard member allows you to help your fellow Dragoons earn theirs. There is no obligation to read the novels or take any of the promotion examinations unless you choose to do so, although we do highly encourage at least taking the E-2 exam.
Click HERE and choose Royal Manticoran Army, enter Texas (or your state of residence) and scroll down to Fort Shorncliffe if you plan to be an active FS member, or HG Sandgate Castle if you wish to be Home Guard.
I joined up, how do I start to get promoted?
Glad you asked. You can earn your first award ribbon by completing the first Enlisted exam for your TRMN track.
ARMY/Home Guard click HERE and choose Royal Manticoran Army / Army Enlisted Training Center / KR1MA-RMA-0001 Basic Training Exam
NAVY click HERE and choose Naval Enlisted Training Center / SIA-RMN-0001
Step Three – Get Connected!
Our major information sources are the Royal Dragoon Guards Facebook Group and Facebook Events Group, as well as this web site and the forums and blogs contained therein. If you have a Facebook account, make sure to join the two groups linked here. If you are a distance member, make sure to join the Distance Dragoons group as well. Set up your Forum login here on TexMechs to participate in the Forum discussions and Play-By-Post games. Make sure your mentor and Platoon chain has your email address and phone number so you can be reached for event notifications and changes.
Facebook sometimes fails to give notifications of posts or events, especially if a Facebook user is in a number of groups and has a very active feed. For this reason, when event notifications go out, your Platoon chain (Platoon Leader, Platoon Sergeant or Squad Leader in larger Platoons) has been instructed to contact you by your preferred contact method if you have not responded to an event announcement by the Wednesday before the event (if on a Saturday) or 72 hours before the event in any case. This is so that the event organizers and Game Masters have lead time to prepare the games and events. For larger events, or events requiring more lead time, your Platoon Chain may be instructed to contact you directly to get responses in a faster time frame.
Active members are expected to respond routinely to the Facebook event notices. If an Active member has to be reminded to RSVP more than four times in a three-month period, they will be downgraded to Reserve status. If a Reserve member fails to RSVP in a like manner and has not made other arrangements with their Platoon Chain regarding their availability or interest level, they will receive a warning, then be downgraded to Inactive status. Inactive members who do not communicate with the organization within a twelve-month period will be removed from the rolls of the RDG completely.
Active members who are communicative and RSVP reliably have priority when participating in the RDG’s tabletop campaigns. Reserve Members who reliably RSVP are next. Any class of member who does not RSVP or arrives late to a meeting without a valid reason will be last in consideration for a seat in any given game, at the discretion of the Game Master. Members who must arrive late for reasons of work, school or family must communicate this to their Platoon chain before the meeting begins. Board games and card games will be available for members who are late, or who do not have a seat at one of the ongoing games.
- Royal Dragoon Guards Facebook Group – General discussion and announcements.
- RDG Events Facebook Group – All all-hands events are created in this group.
- Distance Dragoons Facebook Group – For members living outside the Austin area or wishing to participate in online events.
- TexMechs Forums – Our official discussion forums for the club and our games.
Step Four – Get Into Uniform
Uniforms are not required to serve in the unit, but if you are going to represent the unit at a recruiting table, gaming table, or other event, the “Convention Minimum” uniform is required.
The Con Minimum Uniform is as follows:
HEADGEAR – Beret with RMA flash. (NOTE: Other headgear may eventually be authorized)
TOP – RMA Polo shirt in Dark Green, RDG Polo Shirt in Black, or Button-Up Shirt with RDG or RMA Logo.
TROUSERS – Jeans or slacks are acceptable. The unit standard is Propper Tactical Pants.
FOOTGEAR – Any closed-toe shoes are acceptable, black preferred. Black boots are preferred, but they may be zip-up tac boots rather than traditional combat boots.
More involved garb is available at the member’s discretion. Campaign t-shirts, Battletech t-shirts, actual uniforms and AFG (Action Figure Garb) is all authorized and encouraged. Any TRMN uniform is authorized for members depending on their TRMN affiliation. The more garb, the better! Cosplay and uniforms help get people into the atmosphere of the RDG. Some Game Masters reward players with bonus XP for displaying their garb.
Step Five – Attend an Event
Refer to the Facebook groups or the RDG calendar on this web site and find an upcoming event to attend. Online events will be planned as needed, and monthly meetings, referred to as “Drills” occur typically on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month unless a convention or other event forces a reschedule.
RDG Drill schedules are discussed HERE.