Dagorhir is a full-contact live action role play (LARP) sport that uses foam weapons to conduct battles on campus, or in events that are hosted throughout the state and country.
Gage Zurawski aka Bolvar “The Butcher” Quickblade, president of the Dagorhir club explains “Dagorhir takes its name from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Elven language and it translates into “Battle Lords”. “
Dagorhir, however, is just the sport that this club plays and these Dagorhir players identify with another group. Since the sport is inspired by medieval battles and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, there are units (clubs/group) that spread across the country. Regionally, these units come together and make a realm.
The club at Oakland University comes together to form the “Imperial Guard” unit with black and purple as their colors. The realm in which the Imperial Guard is stationed is called “Eryndor” which encompasses Michigan and Ohio, but some players in this realm come from surrounding states as well.
Besides having regular practices on Sundays from 1pm to 4 or 5pm, Dagorhir attends events that are either day-events, lasting a full day, or campouts that can range from a weekend or a full week in length. Zurawski tells me “The largest battle of the year, Ragnarok, is a week long, and takes place in Pennsylvania. Here people camp together for a week, surrounded by fellow fighters, merchants, and friends.”
Dagorhir isn’t just a smash one another with foam weapons for hours on end kind of activity. Even though Dagorhir is a full contact sport, it works off of the honor system. If an opponent is struck, but doesn’t acknowledge the hit, you cannot call them out on it, but you are expected to hit them in that spot harder next time.
If struck in the arm, you are expected to drop what you were holding and put that arm behind your back. If struck in the leg, you go down on your knees and continue fighting. Head strikes are prohibited unless it is by a projectile. Being struck in the torso equals an instant death. Ankle and below along with wrist and hand strikes do not count toward loss of limbs in the fight.
To get a better understanding of the weapons and how they fit into this sport, Zurawski provides an explanation:
Weapons are divided into color categories
Blue – basic one handed swung weapons (swords, clubs, flails).
Green – stabbing weapons (daggers, spears, some sword/polearm tips). Do not count to limb loss, meaning you can be stabbed in both arms and legs, and still be alive. If you are stabbed in the torso though, you are dead. Single-handed greens do not penetrate armor and do nothing to an armored opponent. If both hands are on a green, it goes through armor
Red – two-handed power weapons (swords, polearms). When swung with two-hands and with sufficient force, destroy armor and whatever it protects (excluding helmets). Also two “Red” strikes to a shield, break a shield.
Shields – can be various sizes. Protect against all strikes except “Red”. Only one shield may be carried by a fighter at any time.
Yellow – Projectiles (arrow, javelins). Penetrate armor. Kills if it hits the head. Counts as a stab everywhere else so no limb loss
White– Rocks. Can only do damage if they hit the head for instant death.
Armor provides one additional point of protection and protects only what it covers. If a person is wearing a brace, it allows them to be hit there once, and then the next hit there goes through to the arm.
Winter practices are held in the Rec center and after mid-march, practices will be held outside of the Oakland Center right next to Bear Lake.
“Anyone is welcome to join; we don’t care what race or gender you are, if you fight or don’t, come out to every practice or event, or have the same type of fantasy base as anyone else”, says Zurawski, “We accept people for who they are and we never exclude anyone”.