Running a Dagorhir Battle


Be certain that you and your check-in crew arrive early.  You always want to be the first participants on-site.

On the way to the site, put up LARGE, CLEARLY WRITTEN signs with arrows that say "DAGORHIR" to direct participants to the event.

When the check-in crew has arrived, review everyone’s tasks and duties, ensure everyone has all needed equipment, and set up the check-in area.  You should also assign a couple of veterans to draw up a list of battle scenarios for the heralds (referees) to use in running the day’s events.


  • Waivers/Membership forms (adult and minor)
  • Pens and clip boards for filling out waivers
  • Cash Box and financial records
  • Marking Tape for weapons
  • Measuring tape, “fish scale” (for testing the strength of bows), and templates for checking weapons’ dimensions and safety
  • Spare tunics and weapons to loan/rent to first-timers
  • Yellow tunics for the Heralds

Have one check-in person direct arriving s to the Registration Table at the start of your check-in “assembly line.”


New members fill out waivers/membership forms, show ID to prove they are who they say they are and to confirm their age.

Check-in Crew:

  • collects waivers,
  • checks IDs, and makes sure everyone correctly filled out their waiver/membership form,
  • collects s’ battle fee (typically $3 for a “day” event and $5-10 for a campout or feast). ALWAYS keep careful track of the cash box, and always keep exact records and receipts.  As members of a legally recognized non-profit association, each Dagorhir group’s records must always be open for review by members, as well as federal, state, and local government organizations.




Signature on Waiver (notarized signature from parent if under 18; parents also have the option to come to the new member’s first event and sign the waiver in front of a member of the Check-in Crew).

Next, participant’s costumes are checked to ensure they meet Dagorhir minimum requirements.  You and your check-in crew should try to always set excellent examples by good costumes.  Remember, new participant's will emulate the veterans, so if new people see you wearing an excellent costume and staying in character, they will want to do the same.

When checking costumes, offer gentle suggestions for improvement, and let first-timers slide when you feel it’s appropriate.  Ask people to remove the Metallica T-shirts, change out of blue jeans or camouflage clothing into earth-tone sweatpants or shorts.  In winter, allow a lot of flexibility as long as participant's make an attempt at medieval-looking clothing, such as wearing a loose poncho tunic over a down vest or layers of sweatshirts.

First Timer Costume 





What not to do

Next, send participants to Weapons Check.


1.    Visually inspect the weapon for gaps in padding, torn foam, ripped cover.
2.    Check that the weapon meets the size and weight standards detailed in the Current MoA

3.    Feel the weapon by squeezing for hard spots and gaps in the foam.  If you suspect a weapon is unsafe, don’t hit yourself with it; first hit a fence post or the edge of a picnic table.  If you hear a “thunk,” the weapon is probably unsafe.  See 6C below.
4.    If the weapon meets all minimum dimensions and it feels safe when you squeeze it, test the weapon by hitting a volunteer (other than the owner) on the middle of their back with it.  Hit three times: light, medium, then all-out as hard as you can.  Pause between each hit so the volunteer can say, “Okay,” or “OUCH! – Unsafe!”  If the volunteer says the weapon hurts at any time, stop testing the weapon and reject is as unsafe.  See 6C below.  NOTE: Always have your volunteers place one hand on the back of their neck and lay the other arm across their lower back (in the region of the kidneys) to protect them from a test swing that goes too high or too low.
5.    A. If the weapon doesn’t hurt, slap, or leave a bruise, it passes.  Mark it with the appropriate color marking tape (red, blue, green, or yellow). 
5.    B. If the weapon is borderline (i.e., you feel it’s currently unsafe but a minor repair such as adding more padding to the pommel will make it safe to use for this battle), offer the owner advice on how to fix it and tell him/her to bring the weapon directly back to you when it’s fixed (they don’t have to wait in the weapons-check line again).  Before the owner takes the weapon away, REMOVE ANY MARKING TAPE FROM PAST BATTLES.  A weapon with no marking tape is a weapon that needs to be tested.
5.    C. If the weapon failed for any reason, REMOVE ANY MARKING TAPE FROM PAST
BATTLES and direct the owner to put the weapon in their car (to ensure the weapon doesn’t accidentally get carried onto the battlefield.  Direct the owner to whoever is in charge of rental/loaner weapons, or to people you think might have spare weapons.

As members leave weapons-check, advise them to start sparring and having “pick-up fights” among themselves.  This warms up players, and keeps people from getting bored while the rest of the members finish checking in.

As the last people are going through the check-in line, assemble the Unit Commanders.  Write down the names of each unit, and the number of fighters they brought to the battle.  Ask for volunteers to command armies.  If you have more volunteers than you need, have the volunteers fight in a free-for-all; the last two alive become commanders.

Close up Check-in and be sure the cash box and all equipment is locked away securely, preferably in the trunk of a car.




Form up all of the units.  If you have fighters who are not in units (“mercenaries”), give them the option of banding together into a temporary unit or being chosen individually. Have the commanders pick teams.  The commander from the smallest unit picks first and continues to pick until his team has more participants than the other commander’s unit.  Then the commanders take turns; whoever’s team has fewer warriors picks next.

The battle has the following units

Gray Claw 12
Battle Bards 10
White Wolves 10
Free Companions 7
Guild 5
Orcs 3
Mercenaries 3
Redi Knights 2

Alaric of the Guild is one commander and Mikekose of the Battle Bards is the

Alaric chooses first, since the Guild has fewer fighters.  The unit selection goes like this: Guild chooses the Orcs (3).  Since the Guild still has the fewest warriors on their team (8), they choose again, and take the Gray Claw (12).  This gives the Guild 20 on their team, to the Battle Bard’s 10.  The Battle Bards choose the Free Companions (7) and the White Wolves (10).  Guild then gets the rest of the Warriors – Mercenaries (3) and Redi Knights (2).

The teams end up like this:

Guild 5   Battle Bards 10  
Orcs 3   Free Companions 7  
Gray Claw 2   White Wolves 10  
Mercenaries 3        
Redi Knights 2        
  25     27  
The teams are approximately even, and you’re almost ready to fight!

Hand out headbands to each team (blue to one, red to the other).

Often warriors who are unable to fight due to a pulled muscle or other problem will offer to herald (referee).  If you don’t already have volunteers to be heralds, draft them.  A good rule of thumb is one herald for every 20-30 fighters.

In the scenario above, you’d probably draft two Heralds from the Battle Bard’s team, which would make the teams exactly even.  Fighters may rotate Herald duty; that is, two Battle Bards could serve as heralds for the first hour of the battle, then two Free Companions could take over for the next hour, and so on.  That way, everyone gets to fight and no one feels left out.

If you are doing “resurrection battles” where healers would be appropriate, tell your commanders to choose one healer for every 20 fighters.  In the battle above, you’d probably have two healers per team.

Heralds serve as timekeepers, referees, and scorekeepers.  When there’s an disagreement on the field as to the validity of a hit, Heralds will mediate the dispute.  But the Heralds’ main job is to keep the battle flowing smoothly.  Be sure you give the Heralds the battle scenario list mentioned near the beginning of these instruction.  With that list in hand, the Heralds always know what battle comes next, and when it’s time to suggest a break.  Also, if the teams prove to be lopsided, the Heralds will work with the Team Commanders to trade players in an effort to even things up.

Start your battle with a mass-melee, such as “every unit for itself” to get everyone’s blood burning.  (Don’t be surprised if everyone gangs up on the biggest units first, to remove the biggest threats!)  Then divide into your two teams and begin working through the battle scenarios on the list.

Examples of scenarios you can use: 


Capture the Flag (two or three teams)
Kill the King
Capture the Princess/Pope
Bridge/Road/Causeway Battles
Fort Sieges



Grand Melee
Unit Battles
Free-for-all (every man, woman, and child for themselves)
Weapons Class
Chess Battle
Kill the King/Queen
King/Queen’s Choice
Race Riot
No Shields or Armor
Boat Battles

Make up and try new scenarios, or variations on the battles above.

A word of warning: Complicated scenarios often fail.  Try new things, but remember that the more rules you add in, the harder it will be for players to remember all the rules, and the easier it will be to find loopholes that may torpedo your “nifty” scenario in the first 15 minutes.  Before testing a new scenario, it’s a good idea to discuss it with other veterans to see if a fresh look will reveal hidden flaws.

Ensure the Heralds’ tunics and any headbands that haven’t been lost in the woods are turned in to the Check-in Crew.
Collect any rental/loaner weapons or costumes.
POLICE THE BATTLE SITE, making sure Dagorhir leaves the site cleaner than it was when you arrived.
Take down the “Dagorhir” signs on your way home.

Good fighting.  LAY ON! 

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