You wipe the sweat from your face as you move across the open field. You creep forward slowly, seeking your foe. Your teammates are gathered around you. They are looking to you for leadership and guidance. Suddenly the treeline ahead explodes into movement as a dozen men armed with spears, shields, bows, and swords rushes forward. You draw your own sword, steady your shield, rally your nearby allies, and prepare to meet the enemy.
The Thrill of Battle
Does that sound like fun? It’s a short dramatization of what you might find in a game of Dagorhir. Dagorhir, at its most fundamental level, is a medieval battle game played with foam weapons. It is one of many such medieval battle games played today, but it is one of the most popular. The Dagorhir site gives this description: “Dark Age Europe meets Tolkien’s Middle Earth in a safe and action-packed national live action battle game.”
However, the participants do not settle for it being “just a game.” According to David “Graymael” Vierling, “Dagorhir [is]… A game, a sport, a martial art…a chance to live an adventure.” It is easy to see that these “warriors” are serious about their roles in these Dagorhir battle games. Like the player quoted above, each member of a Dagorhir group must have a player alias, and a fabricated history makes a nice touch.
Closer Than You’d Think
While Dagorhir may seem a bit strange to us mere mortals, there may actually be a group right under your nose. There are Dagorhir groups sprinkled across the entire United States. The map is found here. Check it out!
Every year, the summer is marked by Dagorhir participants as a time for the great Ragnarok celebration. People come from all over the United States to participate in Ragnarok, a giant battle for Dagorhir players. Ragnarok is named after the great battle predicted in Norse mythology, and the Dagorhir fighters do their level best to make each battle at Ragnarok as tough and interesting as possible.
What You’re Missing
There are plenty of videos on YouTube of famous Ragnarok battles being played out by hundreds of Dagorhir fans, and there are even practice battles to see how to train oneself to participate in a Dagorhir battle game.
The basic rules of the game are relatively easy to follow. There are plenty of regulations, but the main focus for organizers is to place the safety of the participants above all else. Many of the participants have even played with their own weapons and armor that they personally created out of safe materials!
So, if you’re interested, check out their site for more information. And if you’ve ever played in this safe, live action battle game or been to Ragnarok, please leave a comment. I would love to hear about your experience!
(Photos courtesy of Zagref, a Dagorhir participant, retrieved from the photo library at http://eryndor.com/eventphotos.php)