So youíve just stumbled onto this website, and
youíre saying, "Iíve been looking for this my whole life!" (even
if you didnít realize it). Youíre a Dagorhir at heart. So how do you
become a Dagorhir in deed?
THE ANSWER: You find other like-minded people, make
costumes, build weapons, and have a battle (and maybe follow it up with a
feast). Hereís how to start:
Go to the Dagorhir Chapters Page and check whether there is a Dagorhir chapter in your
area. If the answer is:
E-mail the contact person(s) for that group and let them know you want to
join. See when and where their next battle will be. Even if you have to drive
an hour to get there, itíll be worth it. Call your friends who might be
interested and tell them about Dagorhir Ė infect them with your enthusiasm
and start a Dagorhir Unit!
NO!Don't be discouraged, start
your own Dagorhir chapter!
Either way, youíll need to know:
Familiarize yourself with the information on the
links above. Donít be concerned if your first attempts at making weapons or
costumes fall far short of what youíd imagined Ė it happens to almost
everyone. Youíll get better with practice and advice (either in person or
online) from other Dagorhir members.
YOUR OWN DAGORHIR UNIT
The Heralds cry, "Lay
on!" and the Units close on one another, circling, vying for
position. The Elven archers find the range and begin to drop shafts on the
Germanic mercenaries whose mighty zwiehander swords offer no protection
from the rain of arrows. The Goblin Horde, seeing their chance, charge the
distracted archers and are among the Elves, dealing death, before the
archers have a chance to react.
Warriors in the Dagorhir are divided
into sub-groups called "units" primarily to allow friends to
fight together and to make choosing teams easier.
The War Band has always been part of
the literature and history of warfare. Whether it was the Fellowship of
the Ring, the Celtic clans who rallied to Boudicca's call, ancient
Irelandís Fenians and Fomorians, The Knights of the Round Table,
Jasonís Argonauts, or the Free Companions of Robert Howard's Conan, the
small Unit of warriors multiplies the power of the individual fighter.
So it is in Dagorhir, where Warriors
form Units to ensure that close friends fight together and can support
each other on the battlefield - even to making a last stand over the body
of a fallen friend.
Units can have any name you wish and
use any symbol that's appropriate to the fantasy/medieval genre of
Dagorhir. Your Unit's Reason for Existence can be anything you and your
friends wish, such as re-creating the Army of the Roman Empire, being a
band of Dispossessed Elven Royalty, or "Just `Cause We Like to Fight
Together." There was once a Unit that boasted more than 20 Fighters
where each claimed to be a bastard son of King Charlemagne! Units instill
a sense of fellowship and responsibility among members, increase
organization at battles, and give every member a way to have his/her views
felt. Dagorhir Units should be tight-knit bands of warriors who fight
together for a reason, are fiercely proud, and are loyal to the rest of
(The Unit websites of Dagorhir
Chapters are listed under each Chapter HERE.
Note that these links show only the Dagorhir Units that currently have
websites; there are other units and also mercenaries who fight solo or in
All Units must have a Standard; a
flag, totem, or banner that tells something about them. Unit Standards
should be brought to every battle. What's on your standard is up to your
Unit: Elves might fly a flag showing a Silver Tree; a Mongol standard
might be a Totem Staff topped with a painted horse skull; Pirates could
fight beneath a stylized Jolly Roger; Warriors from the time of King
Arthur might fight under the Welsh Chimera; and an Uruk-Hai banner would
show the White Hand.
Many units have Battle Cries to strike
fear into their enemies (and to identify one another in the swirling melee
that is Dagorhir combat). Some even use other languages for their
Battle-Cry. In Dagorhir, Warriors don't yell, "Bill and Joanne, I'm
over here!" Instead you'll hear, "Blood and Souls!" or
"Zabiti!" as Units commit to deal death upon one another.
All Units must have a
"commander." This person doesn't actually have to be the sole
leader of the Unit (although in many cases they will be), but they must be
a responsible person that Dagorhir can contact to give information to the
entire Unit. The Unit Commander will be the Unit's way of giving feedback
to Dagorhir concerning rules, battle locations, battle types, and event
The Unit Commander or her/his
designated Second-in-Command should ensure that the Unit provides an
up-to-date e-mail address to the Battle Check-In Staff for timely
dissemination of information.
All Units must have at least five active
members, (i.e., they have fought in at least one of the last four battles)
and a list must be kept by the Unity of its members. All five members do
not have to show up at a given battle or all at the same time, but each
must show up at least once every four battles to be considered active.
Units must keep a roster of members
and make it available to Check-in Staff if requested. Your Unit may be
organized any way you wish it to be. Your Unit may be run as a democracy,
where all members are equal and get a vote on group decisions, such as
what your Standard will look like or whether you want to volunteer to run
the next Feast. Or your members might decide it would be fun to declare
your Unit to be a "country" with a Queen or King supported by
Thanes or Baronesses. Other Units style themselves after military
organizations, with Generals, Captains, and Soldiers.
Many Units wear matching costumes or
uniforms. Others often wear similar clothing (such as Celtic War-Bands,
who dress mostly in plaid wool) that shows them to be a united People.
Some Units have no standard garb, encouraging each member to show their
individuality and character (like the Fellowship of the Ring).
Recruiting is important to keep your
Unit alive and vital. Over time, members drift in and out of Dagorhir
depending on school and work schedules, moving, health, family, and other
interests. Unless your unit continues to bring in new members from outside
of Dagorhir, it may eventually stagnate and cease to be. Having a website
can be an important component of attracting new members to your unit in
the Information Age. A Unit Website gives you a way of recruiting new
members 24/7; provides you a place to publish the history of your Unit and
pictures of members and your banner, give directions to battle-practices,
and provide contact information (email, phone, address, geographical
area(s) where members are located, etc.) so interested people can apply
for membership. You can even get your web page started for free, using any
of the no-cost web hosting services. Most Dagorhir Chapters maintain
websites and will link unit websites onto their main site.
Finally, all Units should turn in a
written outline describing the Unit to their local Chapter, explaining why
its members fight together, what their standard means, whether they are
accepting new members, etc. This does not need to be typed electronically
(although it is requested) but it must be legible. If you wish to submit a
duplicate copy in your Unit's native language, that is all right. These
outlines should be posted on your website, so that everyone can learn
about the other Units. Unit outlines can be submitted at check-in or sent
YOUR OWN DAGORHIR CHAPTER
A Dagorhir "Chapter" is a collection of people in a
geographic area who hold and participate in Dagorhir events. A Chapter may have any
number of Dagorhir participants. Some Chapters have hundreds of
warriors. New Chapters may just be a handful of friends. A
"Unit" is a sub-group within a Chapter who fight
together because of friendship, shared interests, common character
goals/history, or other reasons. Units typically have a minimum of four or
five active members.
Carefully read the Dagorhir
Chapter Contract. It outlines the benefits and responsibilities, and
DBGA's responsibilities to you.
To legitimately license "Dagorhir," use Dagorhir rules, and
receive advertising here for your Chapter and events, please send your
name, e-mail address, location, with two signed and notarized copies of
Chapter Contract and a
self-addressed stamped envelope to:
11714 Stonington Place
Silver Spring, MD, 20902
contact addresses and phone numbers for your new Chapter. As you spread
the word, you or someone will have to act as a coordinator, organizing events,
weapons-making sessions, and answering questions. At first, someoneís home
phone number will suffice, along with the email addresses of key members, and
hopefully a website for the Chapter.
The key to founding a successful Dagorhir Chapter
is recruiting members. If you are "a Chapter of One," you have
no one to fight! Start by sharing the idea of Dagorhir with all of your
like-minded friends Ė people who read the same books, play the same games,
and/or like the same movies. Team with them to form your Chapterís first Unit.
Dagorhir members will come and go. Many
die-hard members of today will eventually lose interest in Dagorhir, move
away, or quit because of medical conditions or age. Often theyíll keep
contact with their Dagorhir friends, even if they no longer play the game. So
your Chapter will need a constant stream of new people to replace the old.
Units can be critically important to a new
Chapterís growth and longevity. Each unit will recruit its own new members,
resulting in more and more people swelling your groupís ranksÖmeaning MORE
PEOPLE FOR YOU TO FIGHT!
Having Units also makes it easier to
organize events and disseminate information. Dagorhir Aratari, the original
Dagorhir Chapter, draws active members from more than 10 counties and the
District of Columbia, and fields from 70 to more than 100 participants at each
event. Without a vibrant Chapter structure, Aratari wouldnít be able to draw
people from West Virginia, Virginia, and half of Maryland.
Encourage new members to form their own
units, with fresh ideas and fresh members. Diversity in Chapters, Units, and
members is one of the key elements in Dagorhirís success. Dagorhir includes
lawyers, scientists, students, and former gang members, as well as elves,
dwarves, human, and goblins.
Provide your email address and contact
information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Dagorhirís national advertising campaign attracts other players in your
area, we'll help direct them to you. Please understand that having a website
does not automatically make you a chapter. Dagorhir Battle Game
Association will gladly list you as an interested local point of contact at
first to help put you in contact with other interested people in your
To find new members, you have to
advertise. This includes word-of-mouth (you tell two friends about Dagorhir,
and they tell two friends, and soon you have dozens of people showing up for
battles). When youíre first launching your new Chapter, you probably donít
know very many people who are interested in Dagorhir, so you need to get the
word out to every proto-Dagorhir in your area.
Only about one person in 200 to 300 will
be interested in Dagorhir. Your goal is to find #301. But chances are that
every person you interest has a group of friends who would also be interested.
Try to put your ads in places that YOU might go (school, hobby/gaming shops,
etc.). That way you have a better chance of finding other people whoíll
share your passion for the Dagorhir Adventure.
Pursue as many of these strategies as you
can, and think of new strategies too:
- Encourage word-of-mouth advertising:
ask your members to drag their friends to ONE battle or practice. If theyíre
Dagorhir material, one battle is all it takes to hook Ďem.
- Use the Web: put up a web page and link
it to www.dagorhir.com.
- Put up posters in bookstores, gaming
shops, comic-book stores, arcades, libraries, outside schools, coffee
shops, or anywhere else in your area that might be frequented by the sort
of creative, intelligent people who are attracted to Dagorhir. Click HERE
for a sample of a poster you can download. Be sure to customize your posters; include
your Chapterís name, your Chapterís website and/or your email address, a
contact personís name and phone number (some people donít have easy
Internet access), and the dates of some upcoming events. You may want to
say, "Local and regional events with up to 500 participants," a
true statement that will help boost the number of people showing up for
- See if you can get local progressive
radio stations to run ads before your battles.
- While in costume, hand out Dagorhir
posters, flyers, or business cards outside movie theaters that are showing
movies that would attract Dagorhir members, like The Fellowship of the
Ring, Gladiator, or A Knightís Tale.
- Send emails to local talk radio
programs describing Dagorhir and offering to come on the air to talk about
- If your treasury can afford it, place
ads in local newspapers or high school papers.
- Call or send letters and/or emails to
local TV stations and/or newspapers describing Dagorhir. Do your homework
first; figure out which reporter is most likely to cover a Dagorhir event
and go to that person. Be sure to include links to www.dagorhir.com, so
the station will see pictures of HUGE Dagorhir events like Ragnarok, with
excellent examples of costuming. See if you can entice a feature reporter
to cover your next event. If a TV show IS going to cover your event, TELL
EVERYONE WHOíS EVER FOUGHT IN YOUR CHAPTER ABOUT IT. Nothing brings out
inactive members like a big battle or the chance to be on TV.
- The list goes on. Click HERE
for additional ideas that Dagorhir members throughout the country have
used with success.
THE HARD PART: CREATING A CHAPTER OUT OF
You and anyone helping you start your Chapter
will need to be able to inspire others to feel the way you feel right
now. Founding a Chapter doesnít take a great fighter: it takes a visionary
with good organizational skills. Sometimes it takes an actress who can
describe a Dagorhir battle to an audience at a local library and sweep them
into her vision. Sometimes it takes a quiet guy who will stay up half the
night addressing envelopes or stapling posters to telephone poles around the
local high schools. Usually it takes a combination of both types of person.
When Falcon founded Dagorhir Pentwyvern in
1980, he was a tall 13-year-old with a Dagorhir rulebook and a couple big,
round, "pillow swords." But he had that rock-star ability to draw
people to the game, and to ensure that the battles kept happening. He was the
right person in the right place at the right time. Twenty-one years later
Pentwyvern is still going strong.
Founding and running a Dagorhir Chapter takes a lot of dedication. If youíre not willing to spend AT LEAST 20 hours
a week on Dagorhir, either give up now, or find hardworking people to help
As you attract the interest of more
members, you need to start scheduling and running regular battles, fighting
practices, weapon- and costume-making sessions, and occasional business
meetings. If membersí schedules allow, aim for weekly practices (with or
without costumes) and monthly battles, with a feast or party thrown in from
time to time. Always plan events at least two or three months in advance, and
stick to the dates scheduled. Consider announcing rain-dates in case of
Recruit a group of people to help set up
and run battles, especially the Check-in portion of events. These must be
responsible, organized people. Donít be afraid to "let someone go"
if they arenít pulling their weight. They will probably be happier to be
relieved of their responsibilities, and will enjoy simply coming to battles or
other events to fight or feast without the headaches of being
You will need to recruit people to perform
the following jobs at battles:
- Collect Waivers & Membership Forms
- Collect Event Fees
- Check Weapons for safety
- Mark Weapons that are safe
- Check Costumes
- Supervise Selection of Heralds and
Picking Fair Teams
Weapons-Check is probably the most
difficult job in Dagorhir. Itís physically tough, because sometimes you get
bruised testing a weapon that proves to be unsafe (even if every weapon you
test IS safe, testing weapons still means standing still and letting people
hit you with swords, spears, and axes over, and Over, and OVER again). But
more than that, Weapons-Check is emotionally draining, because you have to
tell people (including your friends), "Iím sorry, your weapon isnít
safe so we canít allow it on the battlefield. Yes, I realize it passed last
battle. No, I donít care if youíll fix it next time, you CANíT use it
today." When someoneís favorite weapon fails, they often get upset. As
a Weapons-Checker, you must remain nice but hard-nosed. For more information
on setting up and running a Dagorhir Battle, click HERE.
In addition to the jobs above, the
following work must be done in between the battles:
- Scheduling events including reserving
parks, updating telephone hotlines and/or websites, setting reasonable
fees for events (e.g., a campout will probably cost more than a one-day
- Accounting for dues collected and
expenses related to running your Chapter
- Recruiting new members/advertising
- Interfacing with other Dagorhir groups
Urge everyone in your Chapter to help with
advertising by putting up posters in bookstores, libraries, or around schools;
helping to administer your website; and by telling their friends about your
Also, make sure that all of the more
experienced fighters take turns as Heralds (Dagorhir Referees).
As you set up your Chapter, remember that
EVERYONE burns out eventually. Plan to retire from administration someday. Set
up a timetable for elections for administrative positions. This empowers
everyone in your Chapter, follows the US Democratic Ideal, and provides you a
time to retire, so youíll be able to just show up and fight, rather than
having to WORK at every battle. As your Chapter grows, you will need to
share responsibilities and form an organization capable of servicing the needs
of your membership. For an example of how one successful Dagorhir Chapterís
Organizational Structure, click HERE
As with any human endeavor, positions of
authority in Dagorhir will sometimes attract people who mistakenly associate
responsibility with "power." If you think running a Dagorhir Chapter
will be "cool Ďcause you get to be the king," think again.
Starting and running a Dagorhir Chapter is a lot of work, with no
"power" attached. Remember that in accepting responsibility for Chapter
administration mean working hard providing service and fun battles for
your membership. The only benefits that comes from running Dagorhir events
1. People occasionally thank you; and
2. You get to fight in well-run battles and events.
Donít kid yourself that thereís more
That said, Dagorhir is the best thing out
there. Members pay no dues outside of your Chapterís event fees. In addition
to your local events, Dagorhir hosts Inter-Chapter events with hundreds (soon,
thousands) of participants. We're excited that you're going to be a part of
Dagorhir allows you to live the adventures
youíve only read about or seen in the movies: holding off an enemy army on a
bridge to buy time while your friends escape; sieging (or defending) a fort
with seven-foot walls and a working gate; or smashing into a shieldwall in a
See you on the battlefield!
by Graymael, Dagorhir Aratari
Help, questions, suggestions? Post them on the Dagorhir