Dagorhir Battle Games is the oldest and arguably the largest live-action roleplay / combat organization in the United States, with chapters in nearly every state from Maine to Hawaii, and several others around the globe.

In 1977, a group of friends who shared a passion for medieval history and the fantasy world of Tolkien created a battle game. Using the Elvish languages of Middle Earth, they called it “Dagorhir,” meaning “battle lords.” Dagorhir spread across the United States and beyond as battles turned into weekend camping trips, and weekend camping trips into week-long immersive medieval/fantasy experiences with participants numbering in the thousands.

Participants (called “Dagorhirrim”) create an alternate persona for the game. This persona can be as involved as the person likes–some create elaborate backstories and character genealogies, others just select an alternate name to be known by in the game. Personas can be from any time period prior to the common usage of gunpowder in Europe, or any compatible fantasy setting.

Participants’ characters don’t cease to be when a player is “killed” in Dagorhir combat.  Instead, players remain “dead” for set periods (depending on the battle scenario) and then are resurrected (“rezzed”) to live and fight again in the next scenario.

Battle scenarios vary widely; in some, fighters on each team get one life and the fight is over when only one team remains standing; others allow fighters to rez during the scenario, returning to the fight over and over until an objective is achieved or time runs out. No experience in martial arts or medieval combat is necessary to get involved.

Although Dagorhir originally focused on combat and role play, the culture of Dagorhir has expanded in the forty-plus years since its inception to include “medieval arts and sciences” where members vie to outdo one another in creating “period” equipment, garb, artwork, or even competing via songs, stories, or poems.

There is an enormous culture of crafting within Dagorhir, and many participants create their own clothing, weapons, camping equipment, artwork, and armor. These “non-combatant” activities enhance and enrich the Dagorhir experience, and even persons who are not interested in the combat side of Dagorhir find rewarding experiences at events.

While all gear was originally hand-made by members, a cottage industry of vendors has evolved, providing members with options to purchase garb, weapons, armor, feast gear, and other items to complete their Dagorhir kit in style.  Links to Dagorhir vendors can be found on the Resources Page on this site.

Dagorhir Battle Games Association, Inc., is a federally registered nonprofit recreational group. Each member Chapter runs its own events: battles, practices, feasts, and campouts.  “Realms” (as many members refer to chapters when speaking “in character”) range from small, new groups up to some with hundreds of members. Welcome to the Great Game!

“The outnumbered attackers strove to cross the stream and gain a foothold on the far shore. Their enemies, both on the shore and inside the fort lashed together from fallen trees, fought back ferociously, with sword, spear, and bow.

One attacker, shot through the neck with an arrow, fell screaming and was carried off by the water. Determined to make the enemy pay for his death, his comrades redoubled their efforts. Blocking a sword and a spear simultaneously with his shield, one attacker drove the enemy back and finally pulled himself to the top of creek’s steep bank.

Without sparing a look back, he shouted over his shoulder, “We take them NOW!” to the rest of his force.

It didn’t matter that they were outnumbered, or that water, muddy banks, and strong walls stood in their way. They charged.

THAT’S Dagorhir. A game, a sport, a martial art…a chance to live an adventure.”

Dagorhir Board of Directors

Meet the folks behind the curtain.

David 'Graymael' Vierling

Vice president


Paul 'Pekko' Shelton

Erin 'Roadie' Doherty

Hitstoohard hoodornament
unofficial spokesgnome