What is Dagorhir?
Forming a Unit
Aratari Units in the DC Area
Where Are Other Units?
Dagorhir Aratari Handbook
"How To" Pages
Battles & Upcoming Events
Practices & Directions
Aratari Information Line:
Join Aratari's Mailing List!
Dagorhir's National Website
Join our National Community
on the Dagorhir Bulletin
"Do we walk in legends or on the green earth in the daylight?"
"A man may do both," said Aragorn. "For not we but those who come
after will make the legends of our time."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
Dagorhir Battle Games are many things to many people. Dagorhir
combines fast-paced, full-contact combat simulation with elements of live
action role-playing. Dagorhir combines elements of both history and fantasy.
Dagorhir is both a sport and a game. Dagorhirís participants experience their
fantasies on a variety of levels. This wide-ranging appeal is the reason for
Dagorhirís nationwide success.
Dagorhir was founded in 1977 by a bunch of college friends who shared an enthusiasm
for Tolkien's Lord of the Rings and medieval history. Regular "battles" were held,
and friends were encouraged to come out and play. Over the next couple of years,
Dagorhir was featured on a number of local college radio shows. Demonstrations
were performed at Maryland's local Renaissance Festival. Dagorhir's membership
began to expand in the Maryland/Virginia area. Dagorhir was featured on a variety
news show called PM Magazine in 1982, and hundreds of new members joined. This show
was featured across the country, and new chapters, or realms, sprouted in
various locations including Ohio and Illinois. By 1986, a national event called
Ragnarok was held in Ohio. Ragnarok has grown every year, drawing hundreds of avid
Dagorhir enthusiasts from all over the United States.
As with many well known role-playing games that started as a fad in the 1970ís,
Dagorhir was originally based on Lord of the Rings. The name "Dagorhir" is derived
from Tolkien's Sindarin Elven language, and translates as "Battle Lords". While
there are some similarities between Dagorhir and role-playing games, Dagorhir
boasts many advantages.:
Dagorhir is a sport, not a tabletop game. Dagorhir is athletically
challenging. Its participants learn sportsmanship in an environment that fosters
healthy competition and team spirit. You do not have to be an athlete to enjoy
Dagorhir. Dagorhir caters to everyone. Dagorhir is an exciting form of exercise
that improves coordination and balance.
Dagorhir is social, and allows for interaction among a diverse group of people.
Role-playing games restrict social interaction to oneís immediate friends. Computer
games are even more limiting in this respect. Dagorhirís participants include a vast
range of people, including college professors and high school students, construction
workers and accountants, computer geeks and goths.
Dagorhir challenges creativity and imagination. Dagorhir members make
costumes, armor, and (safe) weapons for use in Dagorhir events. Dagorhir inspires
historical research. Our members learn knowledge of arts and crafts as they build
and create accessories to help them more fully enjoy the game. Members interact
improvisationally with characters they develop and portray in a historic/fantasy
Dagorhir is also a healthy outlet for aggression and frustration.
Though Dagorhir is hard-hitting and physical, there is an emphasis is on safety.
Dagorhir "weapons" are well padded to prevent injuries. Dagorhirís combat rules
outline safe conduct for all of our members, and these rules are strictly enforced
by the "Heralds" (referees). Within the rules, combatants may slam, wrestle, and
even "kill" their opponents. In our civilized age this "weekend warfare" is a
gratifying relief from the stresses and anxieties of everyday life.
First-time participants create a historically or fantasy-based
persona to portray. This imaginary "character" should coincide with
the participantís fantasies. A new member must bring or borrow a
costume and weapon for their character to use. They will be required
to sign a release form and provide proof of age. Minors ages
fifteen and up may participate only with
All participants are required to submit themselves to the "check-in" process before the event starts. During check-in, experienced Dagorhir members will evaluate each participant. Each weapon is measured against stringent safety standards, each costume must meet the minimal requirements, then members pay their dues and register their characters. New members are often discouraged when they are confronted by skilled participants with many years of experience. Donít be discouraged. By your third event you will begin to develop a "combat sense," and reflexes that will help you to survive.
Dagorhir allows us to build our fantasies into a shared reality. To experience
Dagorhir is to grasp at the unobtainable. Dagorhir allows us all to realize our
dreams beyond the mundane existence of everyday life.
- Sean (Dominus) Richey