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Aratari Handbook

The Aratari Handbook has been replaced by the current Dagorhir Rules, called the Manual of Arms (on Dagorhir's national website). The Manual of Arms supercedes all the rules detailed below, as well as all previous versions of the Handbook, scrolls, and Manuals of Arms. All the rules maintained within the Dagorhir Manual of Arms have been adopted by the Washington, DC Aratari, Dagorhir's Founding Chapter.

However, the Aratari Handbook provides a glimpse into the history Dagorhir. Even though the rules contained in the Handbook have been updated or replaced, it remains a valuable resource for inspiring costumes, characterization, and weapon designs.


Dagorhir

Dagorhir Basic Players Handbook
4th Edition

Please note that the new Ragnarok Manual of Arms supersedes this file.

Table of Contents

  • Copyright
  • Preface
  • Chapter I
    • What is Dagorhir?
    • How did it all start?
    • A deeper look.
  • Chapter II
    • Who can participate?
    • Check-in.
    • Battle locations.
    • Units.
  • Chapter III
    • Characterization.
    • Costuming.
    • Examples.
  • Chapter IV
    • Striking zones.
    • Types of weapons.
    • Archery. 18
    • Damage a weapon can inflict.
    • Armor.
    • Receiving injuries.
  • Chapter V
    • Weapon size chart.
    • Weapon construction.
    • Arrows.
    • Shields.
  • Chapter VI
    • Dying.
    • Healing.
  • Chapter VII
    • Heralds.
    • Woods battles.
    • Field battles.
  • Epilogue.
  • Copyright 1980, 1985, 1987, 1995 Dagorhir Battle Game Association, Inc.

    All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited. Permission to down load and print one copy for personal reading is granted, but must contain this copyright statement.

    Library of Congress Catalog Card Number TXu 50-026
    Dagorhir Battle Games, Inc.

    Cover Design: Bryyn Wiese
    Illustrations: Bryyn Wiese, Kirk Wagnerz
    Preface: Dave Graham, Secretary Dagorhir Battle Game Association, Inc. 1995

    Contributors to this and past editions:

    Marc Leonard, Ellen Chapin, David Vierling, Nicholas Santelli, Susan Leiss, Daniel Awkward, Cindy Cole, Jim Janssen, Jay Kaplan, Rachel Leonard, Jeff Pinkler, Glenn Tucker, Sarah Waff, Ronn Teeter, Mary Dugan Wiese, Matt Roswurrn.

    Original text: Brother Quam "The Unlearned"



    PREFACE

    This handbook outlines the rules used to run Dagorhir games as run by the Dagorhir Battle Game Association, Inc. In all aspects of Dagorhir covered in this handbook, common sense supersedes loopholes. Please read the rules thoroughly. Often a rule is clarified later in the same (or a subsequent) paragraph. These rules are as plain, straightforward, and detailed as possible, but not every angle of every situation has been covered. Safety comes first, playability second, and realism third. Loopholes will not even be considered by the heralds, check-in personnel, officials, or other players. If there is ever any question of what is meant by a rule, a decision will be made by Dagorhir Battle Game Association, Inc. representative, based upon what he/she interprets was implied or intended when that rule was written. All participants must follow all rules and regulations in this handbook. Those who do not will be asked to leave permanently. Appeals may be made to a board of arbitration set up by Dagorhir Battle Game Association, Inc.

    Dagorhir is a full contact sport not unlike football, rugby or wrestling. Being a full contact sport the possibility of injury exists. A release form must be signed before anyone will be allowed to participate. For those under 18, a legal guardian must sign the release form. This release explains that you participate at your own risk and you have agreed, in the event of an accident, to never bring charges or suit against any other participant, Dagorhir Battle Game Association, Inc., or land owners where games are held. In some cases the release form must be notarized.

    Dagorhir limits the minimum age to sixteen (16). For anyone who is over the age of forty five (45), we ask that they make a statement of health for the record. If the statement contains items which we believe may place the person at risk, we may request a statement of health from the person's doctor before allowing them to participate.

    Dagorhir Battle Game Association, Inc., recognizes that it is outside our control to regulate the use of the material in this hand book by the general public. The material in this handbook is for the use of participants in official Dagorhir Battle Game Association, Inc., activities. Use of the materials in this publication outside of Dagorhir Battle Game Association, Inc., activities is considered "Use at your own risk". We do not guarantee that following this manual word for word will result in safe equipment or activities. Dagorhir Battle Game Association, Inc., will only take responsibility for official activities sponsored by Dagorhir Battle Game Association, Inc. Dagorhir Battle Game Association, Inc., is not responsible for activities conducted by any individual or group, incorporated or unincorporated, regardless of use of the word "Dagorhir" in their name.

    Return to Table of Contents


    CHAPTER I

    What is a Dagorhir wargame?

    This is a tough question. It is something that really needs to be experienced in order to be grasped. Basically, it is a group of Dagorhirim wearing medieval or fantasy-type clothing who are divided into 2 or more teams. They battle to achieve some objective, such as "killing" the enemy commander, capturing the enemy's flag, besieging a fort, or eliminating everyone on the other team. Dagorhir is always looking for new, creative, and (most importantly) playable battle scenarios.

    Dagorhir events generally take place outdoors, either in a field or in the woods. All of the aspects of the game (weapons, characters, costumes, dying and much more) are explained in this handbook. But first, here is a look at the history and ideology behind the Dagorhir Battle Game Association.

    How did it all start?

    In 1975, as a college freshman, an actor-artist named Bryyn (Aratar / Crinan MacBrude) Wiese read J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings". Tolkien's trilogy inspired Wiese to combine his new-found interest in fantasy with his love of the outdoors, improvisational acting, and high energy events. This combination planted a seed which blossomed into an idea. The idea was to catapult people from the 20th century into the midst of an intense battle during the Dark Ages; a time when the values and problems of the modern world did not exist.

    Wiese discussed the idea at length with his girlfriend Mary (Edaina) Dugan; his New York City roommate Gus (Rolling Thunder) Hathaway, and close friend Jim (Galarast) Murch. With their necessary input and reflection on the matter, the game began to take shape.

    On October 29, 1977 a prototype battle was held at Riggs Farm in Montgomery County, Maryland. Everyone enjoyed it immensely, but most importantly it gave Wiese a chance to see what would and wouldn't work. In June of 1978 he placed an advertisement on WGTB-FM, a progressive college radio station in Washington D.C., calling for people who would like to be involved in this type of event. Calls began coming in, and the newly formed Dagorhir was on its way. As the number of participants in the battles increased the organization of the events became too difficult for one person to handle. Wiese chose seven die-hard Dagorhir members to form a council, who would vote on new policies and help to run the events.

    What now?

    Since the first battles the game has changed considerably and will continue to change in order to improve and meet new demands. There are now many branches of Dagorhir stretching from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles, CA. Many small groups have popped up only to disappear after a few years. There is little coordination of these activities.

    If you are interested in starting a branch in your area, contact us by writing to Dagorhir@dagorhir.com.

    A deeper look:

    The question "Why should these games exist and what purpose do they serve?" might be answered simply "Because they are fun." There are, however, aspects other than simple enjoyment which make Dagorhir a legitimate form of recreation.

    A. Escape

    Civilized man has always found the need to escape or momentarily put aside the problems and hassles of everyday life. Unfortunately some people have a hard time coping, and end up removing themselves from society completely by seeking constant escape. This is a cop out. However, escaping occasionally through reading, movies, dancing, gaming, etc., is something we all need to do. Dagorhir Battle Game Association are a time to live out a fantasy, act out your character, and make merry with friends.

    B. Aggression

    Few people are ever taught coping skills other than sports. As with other team sports, Dagorhir is an effective and constructive way of venting pent-up frustrations and aggressions. Dagorhir provides an outlet for these feelings that is both safe and healthy.

    C. Team sports

    Unfortunately, most organized team sports in schools and leagues have become limited to the stereotyped "jock" type of person, products of a highly competitive, "win at all costs" society. Thus, rather than providing a release from the tensions of everyday life, many organized sports just become another source of pressure and tension.

    Dagorhir Battle Games, however, are whatever you make them. There is a place for everyone. If you enjoy a physical, hard hitting, athletic game, you could become a front line shieldman or a berserker. If you prefer skill, accuracy, and precision, you might become an archer. If you are an intellectual and a tactician, you could be one of the commanders. If you like pitting yourself against the odds, become a scout.

    One of the best aspects of Dagorhir is that, with thirty or more people on a team, you don't have to worry about anyone seeing you "drop that pop-up fly ball." In fact, you can even turn being killed into a chance for glory and recognition.

    D. Exercise

    Not only do Dagorhir battles provide plenty of fresh air, but they also improve stamina, coordination, strength, and reflexes. Nearly everyone pushes themselves to the limits of their endurance during the game.

    E. Social

    Dagorhir is a great way to get out of your isolated circles and meet all kinds of new and different people. Where else can a middle aged mathematician be seen socializing with college history students and high school punk rockers?

    F. Violence

    "Isn't this game a little violent or dangerous?" is a question we are asked occasionally. A Dagorhir battle is no more dangerous than a game of basketball, and considerably less so than a game of football. Whether you consider Dagorhir to be a violent sport depends upon your definition of violence. One dictionary states "improper use of extreme physical force, so as to injure or abuse." Dagorhir uses controlled and constructive physical force, never intentionally harming anyone or anything. Accidents do happen, of course, but we try to minimize such occurrences by strict enforcement of all Dagorhir safety regulations. Of the handful of injuries that have occurred during Dagorhir events, most happened while the participant was running through the woods, rather than as a result of physical contact with another player.

    Return to Table of Contents


    CHAPTER II

    What is Dagorhir?

    Dagorhir is a group of people, ages 16 to 45, who enjoy improvisational acting and fighting. They meet approximately once a month, year round to participate in outdoor dark age Battle Games, feast, and other events. The only "script" used is the type of battle that will be fought.

    Who can participate?

    Anyone 16 or older may participate in Dagorhir. A release form must be signed before anyone will be allowed to participate. For those who are under 18, a legal guardian must sign the release form. This release explains that you participate at your own risk and that you have agreed to never bring charges or suit against any other participant, against Dagorhir Battle Game Association, Inc., or against anyone involved with Dagorhir Battle Game Association in case of an accident. In some Dagorhir branches, the release form must be notarized.

    All participants must follow all rules and regulations in this handbook. Those who do not will be asked to leave permanently. These rules are for your protection. To participate, you must be either a warrior (who fights) or a herald. Heralds do not fight. They act as referees, time keepers, scorers etc. Observers are allowed only at field battles.

    What is needed?

    The first time you wish to participate as a warrior, you must have:

    1. Your signed release form.
    2. A weapon that passes our safety check.
    3. A costume that passes our requirements.

    Check-in

    Before every battle, you must go through the check-in procedure. Check-in lasts for one hour. If you miss check-in by a half an hour or less, you can often still participate, but you may be asked to pay a late fee. If you know that you are going to be late, have someone register you and we will have your weapons inspected when you arrive. You must register with the herald when you arrive. There is no late fee for pre-registered people.

    All new people must first check-in at the "New People" table before going to weapons check.

    The first thing that is done at check-in is checking your weapon for safety. The weapons check is very strict; if a weapon hurts, it is judged unsafe. Suggestions will be made on how to make the weapon safe, so it is good idea to bring extra foam and tape. (Note that this does not always work, as the weapon may need more repair than you can do at check-in.) If your weapon passes, it will be marked with colored tape to show what weapons class it falls into. Every weapon will be checked at every battle. Unsafe weapons will not be allowed onto the battlefield. Remember that foam padding decays with time and use, so even if a weapon has always been safe in the past it may not pass at a given battle.

    Next, you move to the registration table to register for the battle and pay your entrance fee (usually $2.00). Your costume will be checked at the registration table.

    Rental and Sales

    Before each battle, a few rental tunics and leggings may be available on a first come, first served basis. Costume rental is for first-timers and emergencies only. In addition to rentals, other items will occasionally be offered for sale before each battle, such as replacement headbands. Occasionally, furs, jewelry and items for weapons construction will be available. Generally, no weapons are available for rent at battles.

    Lost and Found

    While Dagorhir can assume no responsibility for personal property brought to battles, for the convenience of participants, a Lost and Found will be located at or near the New People table. Weapons and other items found by the heralds or turned in by participants will be kept for two succeeding battles. If unclaimed, the disposition of the items will be at the discretion of Dagorhir.

    Battle Locations

    Good areas for field battles are large, scenic fields or meadows, preferably isolated ones where there won't be a lot of people. Suburban school athletic fields usually aren't very good. A good area for a woods battle is one that has parking facilities, is isolated and has clear boundaries such as roads, streams, etc., without lots of underbrush, stickers, or poison ivy. A forest of white pine or hemlock would be ideal. If you know of a good location, tell your branch leaders about it. It is also a good idea to scout the area well in advance. Find out where the boundaries should be, whether there is suitable material for fort building, and whether there are any special hazards such as pits, broken glass, barbed wire, or trigger-happy locals.

    Battles are held all year round; they are only cancelled for severe weather conditions. Some battles have even been held in the rain or snow. Keep in touch with your unit and branch leaders for updates in the event of inclement weather.

    Units

    Warriors in Dagorhir are divided into sub-groups called "units" primarily to allow friends to fight together and to make choosing teams easier.

    Forming Units

    Unit organization can increase organization at battles, instill a sense of fellowship and responsibility among members, and give every member a way to have his/her views felt. A Dagorhir Unit should be a tight-knit bands of warriors who fight together for a reason, are fiercely proud, and are loyal to the rest of their Unit. In some branches, members are required to belong to a unit by their third battle. The other rules governing Units are as follows:

    1. All Units should have a standard. This may be a flag, totem, etc., that tells something about them. It should be brought to every battle.
    2. All Units must keep a list of its members and make it available to the Dagorhir organization.
    3. All Units must have a "commander". This person does not actually have to be the sole leader of the Unit (although in most cases they will be), but they must be a responsible person that Dagorhir can call in order to give information to the entire Unit. Also, they will be the Unit's way of giving feedback to Dagorhir concerning rules, battle locations, battle types, etc..
    4. Finally, all Units should turn in a written outline stating what the Unit is, why its members fight together, what their standard means, whether they are accepting new members, etc. This does not need to be typed (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 will be put together in a booklet that will be available to all members, so that everyone can learn about the other Units. Unit outlines can be submitted at check-in or sent in the mail.

    Return to Table of Contents


    CHAPTER III

    Characterization: The Art of Living and Dying

    In the attempt to set the mood and re-create the atmosphere of battle it is very important that each participant become some character he or she has made up. Just as in improvisational acting, you should act out your part; accents are recommended if they sound believable.

    For the most part you have free reign over what you wish to be, but you must choose characters that would use medieval weapons. Common choices are Saxon, Elf, Viking, Pict, Dwarf, Goth, Hobbit, or Vandal characters. However, Arab, Samurai, Zulu, or Roman characters are also fine. Things that would not be allowed are laser-packing Cylon warriors, Nazi storm troopers, fire-breathing dragons, basilisks, etc..

    Celt and Saxon

    Everyone should make up a name and a basic character for themselves. Many veteran warriors have entire life histories and family trees made up for their characters. Always call people by their "battle names" (don't be afraid to ask what they are). Nothing is worse than hearing someone yell: "Hey, Larry, where's Bill and Joanne?").

    Being in character also means obeying your commander, grieving over or avenging a comrade's death, and screaming or moaning when wounded. Germanic tribes would fight to the death over their fallen commander's body. If your character is nobility of some sort, do not expect people outside of your unit to address you as such. In Dagorhir all people are equal and you must earn respect from your peers.

    Elf and Viking

    Sound effects also help, such as yelling, screaming and cursing in battle. Cursing is defined as using oaths, sayings or expressions consistent with your character. "By Odin's eye", or "Thor's red beard" are excellent cries for Norsemen. Twentieth-century foul language is not conducive to maintaining a suspension of belief and is not allowed. Drums, horns and bagpipes add a very realistic sound, as well as being great for sounding alarms, leading charges, marching, sounding retreats, calling for help, etc..

    Goth and Frisian

    The setting for Dagorhir is generally Europe in the Dark Ages (the Great Migration Period). However, characters and units may emulate any society that existed before the use of gunpowder.

    First Timer

    Costuming The battle costume is the single most important factor in re-creating an atmosphere of fantasy in Dagorhir. A truly good costume often takes months to assemble, about the same amount of time it takes to really learn how to use your chosen weapon. You will may find that those with the best costumes are also the best (and most experienced) warriors.

    The following are the minimum costume requirements and must ALWAYS be met or exceeded, starting at your first battle:

    1. A tunic of crotch length or longer.
    2. Medieval-style pants.
    3. Medieval-style footwear.

    Only first timers are allowed to wear mundane shoes, and even then are required to wear leggings with them. While leggings do not completely cover the shoes, they draw attention away from them. If you must wear mundane shoes, avoid brightly colored sneakers. Plain leather shoes are preferable.

    Tunics are blouselike garments extending to the mid-thigh, usually belted. Medieval style pants are similar to sweat pants; loose-fitting pants gathered by a draw string, without buttons or zippers. Blue jeans are forbidden. Medieval style footwear consists of soft leather moccasins or knee high boots, not to be confused with modern hiking boots. Leggings are simply cloth or fur wrapped about the shins and held on by rope, cloth, or leather straps. If you are wearing knee-high boots or other properly medieval footwear, leggings are not required.

    If you don't have medieval pants, then you should wear shorts that are covered by your tunic along with leggings or knee high boots. You may also wear "normal" pants, such as corduroys (not jeans or camouflage) provided that the fly and pockets are covered by your tunic.

    Veteran

    The costume you choose should reflect your character: a Viking would dress differently from a Celt. Nobility might have crushed velvet, but a yeoman wouldn't. Female warriors would probably wear pants and tunic while "ladies" would wear fine dresses. Check the library for ideas. See the following pages for examples. The tunic can be bound about the waist with rope, though most civilized folk wore belts. Almost all warriors were fond of jewelry and many also had elaborate embroidery and designs at their hems of their garments. The Saxons wore large quantities of fabric. The Vikings had fur and leather. Vikings braided their hair and even their beards. Celts were fond of checks and plaids.

    Realist

    Leather and fur can make a costume very realistic. The use of fake fur and leather on costumes is discouraged because it is difficult to make these materials look natural. Cotton is the best fabric to use for a three-season costume, while wool is best for winter.

    Avoid synthetic fabrics like polyester, rayon, stretch fabrics, etc. Synthetics of any type are not realistic. Also avoid prints, most patterns, and modern fluorescent colors. Colors that should be used are white, black, browns, grays, burgundy, scarlet, rust orange, dark greens, and deep or "royal" blues.

    All hats must be medieval. No cowboy hats, hunting or baseball caps, etc. are allowed. If your wear glasses, we suggest wearing shop goggles over them, securing them with string or a safety band, or wearing sport goggles. Quite a few glasses have been knocked off and lenses popped out, and the battle will not stop for you.

    As in any other sport, knee pads recommended and men should consider wearing a jockstrap and cup, and women might consider an athletic bra.

    What Not to Do

    Return to Table of Contents


    CHAPTER IV

    Combat

    In combat, as in all the other aspects of Dagorhir covered in this handbook, common sense supercedes loopholes. Please read the rules thoroughly; often a rule is clarified later in the same (or a subsequent) paragraph. These rules are as plain, straightforward, and detailed as possible, but not every angle of every situation has been covered. Safety comes first, playability second, and realism third. Loopholes will not even be considered by the heralds, by check-in personnel, or by other players. If there is ever any question of what is meant by a rule, a decision will be made based upon what was implied or intended when that rule was written.

    Striking Zones

    For combat purposes, the body is divided into five areas:

    1. Legs - From the ankle to the torso.
    2. Arms - From the wrist to the shoulder joint.
    3. Torso - This area includes the shoulders, chest, stomach, crotch, sides, back and buttocks.
    4. Off-limits areas - This area includes the head and neck.
    5. Non-affected areas - This area includes the hands and feet.

    Penalty points will be assessed against fighters who repeatedly strike the areas that are off limits. Suspensions or restriction from further participation in any games will be issued to those who continuously violate this rule.

    Those who wish to acknowledge strikes to non-affected areas may do so. This is encouraged because it adds to the realism of the game. You may never intentionally block blows with the hands or feet, and may never grip the 'blade' or 'point' of a weapon with your hands.

    To wound or kill your opponent you must use a weapon; kicking, using karate, etc., are not allowed. However, wrestling your opponent to disarm him (or her) or using a good clean body check is okay. Any type of medieval cutting or stabbing weapon that can be documented with a photograph from a book, can be fit into the standard damage classifications, and can be constructed safely is allowed. Some weapons that aren't allowed are darts, throwing axes, nunchucks, bolos, throwing stars, and staves. All weapons must have existed before 1400 (in other words, before the use of firearms).

    You may never use anyone else's weapon without their permission. You can, however, throw or shoot other people's arrows, rocks and javelins, but only when returning a volley or in a melee situation. You may not use someone else's javelin as a spear, and you may not cart anyone else's arrows, rocks, and or javelins around with you. Return them to their owners.

    Types of weapons

    Green

    Any weapon marked with green tape may be thrust with. Spikes must be four inches or longer. Spears, pikes, knives and arrows are strictly green weapons. Javelins will be marked with yellow and green tape (yellow means you can throw it). Only its original owner may use it as a spear.

    Red

    Any weapon marked with red tape is a two-handed cleaving weapon. A red weapon must be used with both hands to count as a red weapon. If used with only one hand, it only counts as a blue weapon. All Red weapons when used two-handed can destroy a shield with two good, hard hacks, such as would split a log or make a home run. Light or glancing hits to a shield do not count. When a shield is destroyed, the shieldman must immediately drop it. If a third hack is delivered before the shield is dropped, the shieldman loses his arm. A fourth hack to the shield would be death. These third and fourth blows may be made with any type of weapon; the shield is already gone.

    Blue

    Weapons marked with blue tape are one handed hacking and smashing weapons and cannot be considered a red weapon even when used with two hands.

    Yellow

    Weapons marked with yellow tape are missile weapons, and can be thrown or otherwise launched. This applies to javelins, and to throwing knives in those branches that allow them. Rocks and arrows are not necessarily marked with yellow tape because their purpose is unmistakable.

    No weapon may exceed either its maximum or minimum length requirements as indicated in the section V. A few of the weapons do not have a limit on either maximum length or minimum length. No weapon may have a spike or blade at the butt end.

    Archery

    Archery is probably the most hazardous area of Dagorhir combat. In order to keep the game as safe as possible, the rules on archery combat and arrow construction must be followed carefully.

    No one may be an archer until they have fought in at least 2 official Dagorhir battles (i.e. until their third official battle).

    All bows must be 35 lbs. pull or less. This is strictly enforced.

    Arrows must always be shot; they can never be used as hand weapons.

    At close range, arrows must be shot at half draw or less!

    Arrows penetrate any type of armor on the first shot. The only things which can stop arrows are shields and plate helmets. Arrows cannot be caught, blocked, deflected, or knocked out of the air by anything else, including hands, feet and weapons. Leather caps, chainmail coifs, band helms, or helmets made out of other than period metals do not stop arrows. If an arrow is blocked intentionally with anything other than a shield or helmet, the warrior doing the blocking is dead automatically.

    If an arrow strikes a person's hand or any weapon (including another bow) which prevents it from striking a fighter, the arrow is considered to have struck that fighter anyway. This includes hits to limbs, torso, head, or neck. This is done for realism; in an actual combat situation, arrows move too fast for anything as small as a sword or bow to be able to block them, and an arrow striking a hand would pass through the hand and continue on.

    If an arrow strikes a limb that has already been hacked off, the arrow is considered to have continued as if the limb were not there, hitting whatever is in its path.

    Glancing arrows do not count. A glancing shot is one in which the arrow touches a target, but continues on in the same exact flight path. If the arrow is deflected even minutely, it is considered to have hit.

    Once an arrow has hit an object and bounced off, changing its path, it is harmless. An arrow cannot strike strike multiple targets.

    Bows may be used to turn aside thrusts without suffering any damage. However, if a bow is hacked or smashed by a red or blue weapon, or used to stop a thrust, the bow is considered broken. It may not be used to parry thrusts, block weapons, or shoot arrows. A bow may be mended by being taken to Valhalla by a dead fighter, or being healed by a healer, just as if it is a wounded fighter. If a fighter whose bow is broken is healed for a wound, the bow is considered mended. Healers may not heal their own bows.

    All arrows must be marked at the tip with an insignia that is registered at check-in. Arrows that are not so marked will not be allowed onto the field.

    You may not ever carry another warrior's arrows around without their express permission. You may return fire with arrows that have been shot at you, but if you leave the immediate area where the arrows were fired, you may not take any arrows other than your own with you.

    Rocks and javelins, when thrown, are considered missile weapons. As with arrows, javelins may not be thrown with full force at close range, especially if you are aiming for the head (half force or less!). Rocks must be 4" to 6" in diameter and covered by as little tape as possible. Remember, rocks are used in field battles only, in woods battles rocks are too often lost and left to litter the woods. Rocks only count when they hit the head.

    A thrown javelin is treated as a loosed arrow in every respect, except that it may be caught or knocked out of the air. You cannot block thrown javelins with your weapon; you must deflect them. If a javelin is to be caught, it must be gripped behind the head, on the haft. If you attempt to catch or deflect a javelin and the point strikes you anyway, you are hit.

    Damage a Weapon Can Inflict

    • When any weapon strikes your torso, you must die.
    • When any weapon strikes a limb, you lose the limb.
    • Death also occurs when two limbs have been hacked by a red or blue weapon.

   

Weapon Types

Dag_weapons.gif (12439 bytes)

Strike Zone

Blue Red* Green

(One Handed)

Green

(Two Handed)

Yellow White
Torso Death Death Death Death Death No Effect
Leg or Arm Lose Limb** Lose Limb** Lose Limb Lose Limb Lose Limb No Effect
Feet or Hands No Effect No Effect No Effect No Effect No Effect No Effect
Head or Neck Not Allowed Not Allowed Not Allowed Not Allowed Death Death***
Armored Torso Stops 1st Hit Only Death No Effect Death Death No Effect
Armored Limb Stops 1st Hit Only Lose Limb** No Effect Lose Limb Lose Limb No Effect
Armored Head Not Allowed Not Allowed Not Allowed Not Allowed No Effect No Effect

* One hand red counts as blue.

**Any (2) limbs hacked/smashed with red/blue weapons is death.

***Rocks have no effect on the neck.  

 

  • Armor Classification

    We believe in padding the weapons, not the participants. For this reason you do not have to wear any armor.

    In medieval times there were many different types of armor: leather, ringmail, brigantine, chain mail, plate. However, to keep Dagorhir simple, there is only one type of armor, called mail. To count as mail, the armor must meet the following requirements:

    1. It must be of an authentic style and design, reliably documented.
    2. It must be made of either iron, steel, brass, or bronze, of a gauge no thinner than 16.
    3. Chainmail links must meet the size/gauge minimums in the table below.
    4. The metal sections in scale, banded, splint, ring, or similar mail must be no more than 1/2" apart, and must be securely attached to each other or to the backing.

    A gambeson of quilted padding or heavy leather does not have to be worn under mail, but is strongly recommended.

    A plate helm will stop all arrows, rocks, and thrown javelins to the head. If you want to wear a helm for protection, it must be constructed according to armor construction specifications.

    Armor only protects the surface it covers. It must weigh and look like the real thing.

    All edges of plate mail must be padded. This is accomplished by folding and securing foam over all edges. Any corners should be rounded to at least 1/2" radius. There may be no spikes or other protruding objects on armor.

    Armor may not be concealed. It must remain fully visible to other players. You may wear a surcoat or tabard over armor as long as the edges of the mail remain uncovered.

    Caution! Armor can be dangerous. Use caution when grappling and climbing over dead bodies. People wearing armor may never initiate a grapple.

     Wire gauge     Maximum size for links
    ---------------------------------------
        16          1/4"
        14          3/8"
        12          1/2"
      8 or 9        3/4"
      Other         Ask
    

    The Protection Armor Gives

    • Armor will not protect you against red weapons or a two-handed green thrust.
    • A one-handed green thrust has no effect on amour.
    • The first blue hit to armor has no effect.
    • The second blue hit to an armored torso is death.
    • It takes two blue hits to an armored limb to lose it.
    • Arrows and thrown javelins penetrate any kind of armor except plate helmets.

    Remember - blue hits to armor are cumulative. The second blue hit to armor counts no matter how much time had passed since the first hit (unless the affected warrior was healed in the meantime).

    Receiving Injuries

    You may never "fake" death or wounds during a battle to mislead your opponent (or any other person). Remember, if our weapons were real, they would leave gaping wounds and a lot of blood, so "playing dead" would not be practical. It is imperative that you strike your opponents as hard as possible (the weapons are checked for safety at each battle). Hits should be full force, not only because many people do not realize they have been hit when they are in the middle of a melee and their adrenaline is up, but also because in real life a weak hit that had no force behind it wouldn't do much damage, and our scoring is based on the maximum damage possible received from a weapon. When you hit someone let them know they has been hit. A good spear thrust should drive the person backwards. Whenever you strike an opponent from behind, simultaneously call out the color of your weapon so that s/he will know how to react.

    When you lose an arm drop anything that is in that hand and put the arm behind your back. Note: If the arm was hacked off, any other strike to the same arm counts as a torso hit, because in real life the arm would not be there to intercept the blow, arrow, etc..

    If you lose a leg, you must kneel on the knee of the leg you have just lost. To move from place to place you must either crawl, dragging the injured leg, or have comrades carry you. Hopping around on the good leg is not allowed. However, you may make a lunge off the good leg towards an opponent. Any strike to a leg that has already been lost does not count. You may not kneel if you have not lost your leg(s).

    If a blow strikes a sheathed weapon (i.e., one that is hanging from your belt or over your back), the attack is considered to have hit you anyway. A weapon must be in your hand to intercept an attack.

    Smashing, hacking, and thrusting to an off limits area (the head and neck) is not allowed. Overhead swings are more likely to hit the head, and thus should be avoided. You should notify your team's Valhalla herald if you believe someone is intentionally striking you in an off limits area. Ask the name of the person they are required to answer. People who are frequently reported for such violations will be penalized. The only things that count as death when they hit an off-limits area are arrows, rocks, and thrown javelins. Rocks count as a death only when they hit the head, not the neck.

    As part of the acting, moan and cry out when you are wounded. Sometimes a situation will arise that the rules don't cover, and you will have to judge for yourself; think of what would have happened in real life. If a disagreement does arise, both players must raise their weapons over their heads (this is a signal that no strike shall count). They should either settle it themselves or call for a herald. Once the herald has made a decision, there is to be no argument. Continue when the herald says to do so.

    Strikes to the groin on males or to the breast on females should be avoided if there is another area open, even though technically they are legal.

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    CHAPTER V

    Weapon construction

    Real Weapons

    A safe weapon is one that will not leave bruises, break bones or noses, or knock out teeth when an unarmored person is struck with a full-strength baseball bat style swing. If a weapon hurts at all when someone is struck with it, it is not safe.

    All weapons are subject to rejection for ANY safety or construction discrepancies at the discretion of the weapons check committee at check-in. Further, all weapons are subject to removal from the field of battle if they should prove unsafe for any reason during the battle. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE FOR WEAPONS WHICH ARE NOT FULLY SAFE AT ALL TIMES. Bear this in mind and bring spare weapons or weapon construction materials with you to check-in in case your weapon does not pass. All weapons and shields will be checked every battle.

    Dagorhir Weapons

    The entire surface of the weapon must be padded with foam rubber (except where it is held) including the butt end of the weapon, or pommel. If a cross guard or quillions are added, they must also be padded to meet Dagorhir safety requirements.

    Only duct tape, electricians tape, strapping tape or glue (i.e. rubber or contact cement) may be used in weapon construction. No masking or cellophane tape.

    All hacking and smashing weapons must have cloth coverings on all striking surfaces.

    Hafts on axes, morning stars, maces and the like must be padded as safely as a swordblade except for a reasonable area for a handhold. This is to prevent injury if someone is struck with the haft, rather than the head of the weapon.

    Weapons made with a 'blade' shape (i.e. swords or axes made to resemble actual weapons more closely) must have the 'flat' of the blade padded safely as well as the edges. This includes 'single-edged' weapons such as sabers and cutlasses. NOTE: It takes a good deal of practice to make a safe insulite sword, and the people who make them have generally been at it a long time.

    All red or blue weapons, with the exception of pole arms, must weigh a minimum of 1/2 oz. per inch of overall length, from the tip to the pommel. A weapon which is made too light is often not felt in combat, and therefore causes problems. Javelins may weigh no more than one and one half pounds (24 oz.). If a sword is pommel-weighted, the balance point must be at least two inches above the hilt.

    If you wish to use a weapon type which is not covered in this handbook, you must present written documentation of the weapon's existence, how it was used, and what time period it came from to the weapons check committee at check-in. All new weapons must still pass weapons inspection every battle.

    Construction

    The best way to make safe weapons for Dagorhir is through 'progressive resistance'. This means making the weapons in layers, each one more resistant than the one outside it. In some cases, only two layers are needed, in others, more. Some successful weapon designs use the reverse of this technique, using a very firm foam for the outermost layer, with softer foam underneath.

    Use a good firm foam rubber to pad the weapons with. Don't use the soft squishy kind. Look in the Yellow Pages under the Rubber 'Foam and Sponge' heading, and buy it from a wholesaler; they are cheaper than retailers. Foam is best cut with a new single-edge razor blade, or small-toothed hack-saw. Another remarkably efficient tool is an electric kitchen knife.

    Weapon cores may be made out of a variety of materials; fiberglass rods, PVC tubing, bamboo and rattan are all good core materials. Metal rods or tubing of any sort, baseball bats, and axe handles are all strictly unsafe and weapons made with these materials will not be allowed. Thinner and lighter cores are easier to pad safely, but will also be more likely to break. Also, weapons with small, flexible cores have a tendency to wrap around and "snap" at the tip, making them unsafe.

    If you are using a PVC core and wish to mount quillions, weights, or other fixtures, avoid drilling any holes in the PVC. The holes will weaken the pipe, and it will eventually break.

    Once you have selected a core, it is best to pad the tip and quillions (if any) first. Even if the weapon is not intended to be used for thrusting, it is easier to pad the tip first, rather than after the blade is finished. This will also protect the outer layers of foam from the core.

    In order to make a safe thrusting tip, see the section on arrow construction. This is the easiest, safest way to make a thrusting tip. Tips will have to be made larger for spears, swords, etc., but the principle is exactly the same.

    It is best to make the innermost layer of any blade out of either closed-cell foam (such as insulite or pipe insulation) or a very dense open-cell foam, preferably the 4 lb. type. Do not use the type of pipe insulation which looks like styrofoam; it does not provide enough padding to be safe. Secure this layer to the core all the way from the tip to the handle in such a way so that it will not twist, using either tape or glue. If you are using tube-shaped pieces, it is a good idea to split the piece lengthwise.

    If you are making a large weapon, it is a good idea to add another layer of this very dense foam before going to the softer kind.

    Once the inner layers and the tip are finished, use layers of firm foam, compacted as little as possible, until the weapon is fully safe all the way around, without any dangerous areas. It is a good idea to make these layers out of thick foam (at least two inches) so that less glue or tape is needed to secure them.

    Remember that duct tape, even when cloth covered, tends to slap, and weapons with too much tape on them may not be safe.

    Nerf soccer or basketballs are the best things for the heads on morning stars. Morning star handles must be well padded at the top (where the "chain", joins the handle) as well as at the bottom. The handle of a morning star must be at least half of the total length. The "chain", regardless of whether it is made of rope or cloth, must have foam wrapped around it in sections and taped. No part of the "chain" may be exposed at any time. To make a morning star, first secure the chain to the handle by drilling a hole in the handle, passing the chain through, and tying it securely. Fasten the chain to the ball by making a bag of cloth or net, placing the ball in the bag, and tying the chain securely to the bottom of the bag. Pad the pommel and handle the way you would pad those on an axe.

    Using these guidelines (with some variations) you should be able to produce safe, usable and good-looking weapons. It is still a good idea to look at the way other people make their weapons before making your own.

    Archery

    Archery is probably the most hazardous area of Dagorhir combat. In order to keep the game as safe as possible, the rules on archery combat and arrow construction must be followed carefully.

    Arrow construction

    The construction of arrows must follow precisely the steps listed below. Arrows which do not precisely follow these steps will not be allowed to be used at any Dagorhir battles.

    General guidelines

    • Mended arrows may not be used.
    • All arrows must have at least two full fletchings (feathers).
    • Only duct or strapping tape may be used in arrow construction.
    • All non-aluminum arrows must have their shafts wrapped in tape.
    • All arrows must be marked on the tip with an insignia that is registered at check-in.
    • No closed-cell foam may be used in arrow construction.
    • There must be no tape covering the outer layer of foam at the tip of the arrow.
    • The head of the arrow must not be able to be moved from side to side.
    • The "head" of each arrow must be large (bigger than most doorknobs) to be safe. The size of the head will be tested with a gauge: If the arrow can pass through a 2.5" diameter hole without excessive force, it will judged unsafe.
    • The quality of the arrows you buy is up to you. The cheap wooden kind do not fly as well and tend to break more easily, but are less expensive than aluminum or fiberglass arrows.

    Making the arrows:

    1. . Remove the metal tip.
    2. . Roll duct tape around the end of the shaft until the shaft is at least the diameter of a penny.
    3. . Place a penny on top and secure it well with duct tape. Use several layers.
    4. . Place a block of foam 3 inches square on top and compact it firmly. Make sure that this foam is not compacted so tightly that it looses all of its cushioning effect.
    5. . Lastly, fold a 2.5x2.5x8 inch piece of foam loosely over the top, taping the sides tightly, but not the top. Make certain that the head cannot be moved from side to side.

    These construction rules are final. No deviations will be tolerated. Anyone who is constructing arrows for Dagorhir for the first time is advised to speak to veterans who have made arrows before in order to make construction safer and easier.

    Shield construction

    Shields

    All shields must be padded as safely as any other Dagorhir weapon; be certain that your shield cannot injure yourself or other players.

    All shields must be covered with a layer of foam that is at least 2" thick (the heavier the shield is, the thicker the foam should be). Cover the foam with canvas. The height of your shield should not exceed the distance from your ankles to your shoulders.

    No circular shield can have a diameter exceeding 3 feet.

    All shields must have a minimum of an 18" height and width.

    All shields must have closed cell foam folded over the edges. We suggest insulite or pipe insulation, attached directly to the core of the shield.

    Spikes must extend at least 4" above the face of the shield and should be made of dense or compacted foam. Nerf footballs work well.

    Any shield with a surface area bigger than a saucer sled must be made of 3/8" plywood at the minimum.

    A light, durable shield can be made from an aluminum saucer sled. Punch holes in it and string some rope through to form an arm strap and hand grip. Put some foam on to pad your arm. Tape or glue closed cell foam around the rim of the sled. From a large sheet on foam, cut out a piece of foam which has a diameter ten inches larger than the sled so you can fold the foam over the edge of the sled.

    Cut out a piece of canvas at least one foot larger than the sled. Fold the edges and sew it, and work some rope through the newly formed hem. Put the sled, foam, and cover together and pull the rope tight, drawing the foam over the sled's edges. If you have extra rope, make a strap so you can wear the shield on your back. Paint a design on it (maybe your character's symbol).

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    CHAPTER VI

    Dying

    The instant that you are "killed", you must scream in mortal agony and collapse lifelessly to the ground. The more real it looks and sounds, the better. If people ask whether you are okay, you've done it right. You shouldn't have to scream at your opponent "Okay, I'm dead, quit hitting me," as it ought to be obvious that you have died. Heralds will give bonus points for really good deaths.

    While you are dead, you are dead. Lie flat on the ground -- in a dramatic pose, if possible -- and move as little as possible. Do not sit up and gawk at those still battling (we are simulating combat, so the dead people should look dead, for the benefit of any observers). If you fear you might be stepped on, curl up into a ball. If there are so many dead that no combat can take place without stepping on them, the living should either drag the dead out of the way or pile them up.

    At no time may the dead speak to the living; they will be penalized for doing so. They may talk to each other, but only when the living are not around (keep it to low tones). Those who strike the dead will be penalized.

    Once you are down and the battle has moved well away from your area (out of sight) tie your white head band around your head and go to Valhalla. The white headband shows other players that you are dead, and must be kept on until you are brought back to life.

    In field battles the dead have the option of either lying there or, once the battle has left their immediate vicinity, running off the field with their weapon held over their heads and then watching from the sidelines. The white headband is not necessary.

    If you are actually injured (i.e., if you get a bloody nose or lip, or are stunned) people need not strike you with a weapon to kill you. They may finish you off with a simple touch of the hand. There have been cases of people who were momentarily injured falling to the ground, thus causing everyone else to think them dead. Once they felt better they stood up and fought again. If your enemies think you are dead and therefore ignore you, you must let them know you are alive before you may attack them. A curse, such as "Dog, I'm alive!" is a good warning.

    Reincarnation

    When all the living are gone and only the wounded and dead remain, the dead may get up, collect their weapons and go to Valhalla. If a siege at a fort has been going on for more than 20 minutes, the Herald may call a momentary cease fire to let the dead leave for Valhalla. During a cease fire, the living and wounded must freeze. Under no circumstances may players other than Heralds call a "freeze" or "hold," unless there is an injury or other emergency. However, if both armies agree, the commanders may call a temporary truce and carry the bodies out of the battle area. This is a much "classier" way to get the bodies out of the way, as it encourages characterization and honor.

    When a freeze has been called by a herald, the living must immediately stop whatever they are doing and stand still with their eyes down. They may not move or speak until the Herald gives the order to resume.

    When you arrive at Valhalla, go to your Herald, get in line, wait your turn, then tell your Herald your battle name. The Herald will record the time. You are released from Valhalla either ten or fifteen minutes from this time, depending on the scenario. Once in Valhalla, you may not leave until the heralds tell you to go, although permission will be granted "when nature calls." The living may only enter Valhalla to report a foul, and then leave quickly. You are generally allowed three reincarnations. The fourth time you die you should go to Valhalla and stay there. (Most people leave their food and drink at Valhalla, and so are often pleased by the chance for a rest). When the Herald tells you that your time is up, you may leave Valhalla. Once you are out of Valhalla, you must remove your white headband and "return to life." If you wish, you may keep your headband on until you are out of sight of Valhalla, but to do so you must move in the direction of your own fort.

    In a field battle there is no Valhalla. The dead come back to life after every scrimmage.

    Healers The function of Healers is to heal the wounded and mend broken weapons. The Healers are chosen by the team commanders at the start of each battle and cannot be changed during that battle. There is usually one Healer for every 20 people on the team. When a Healer dies and goes to Valhalla, s/he may remove 5 minutes from her/his time in Valhalla. Anyone may become a healer. Usually, volunteers are called for after the teams have been chosen, before the beginning of the battle. Some people, due to the nature of their characters, choose to be professional healers, volunteering for this duty whenever possible.

    Healing

    The Healer cannot heal her/himself. To heal another person, the Healer must be in direct physical contact with the injured person and may not be under direct attack. A Poem of Healing must then be recited or read aloud. When this is finished, the wounded person is whole and may resume the battle. If the Healer or injured person is attacked or distracted, or contact is broken for any reason, the entire Poem of Healing must be read or recited again.

    If you have lost a leg and are way out in the boonies and alone, you can wait for someone to come by and send them for help, crawl to where you think you can find help, or commit suicide. If you have both legs stabbed, or pierced with arrows, you cannot even crawl anywhere. You can only drag yourself with your arms. It might be advisable to kill yourself, if your character's personality permits doing so, so that you can go directly to Valhalla.

    Here is a sample Dagorhir Healing Poem. Copies of it will be made available to healers at each battle, if they do not provide their own.

    Child of Valor, Bairn of Battle at my feet you lie,
    Runes to trace and Spells to cast as fallen comrades die.
    Armor rent and mail torn by weapons caked in gore,
    Those who fight like snarling wolves and razor-tusked boar.
    Cloven helm and severed limb the battle axe has hewn,
    Bodies sprouting feathered shafts about the field are strewn.
    Carrion fowl and battle raven circle over head,
    With taloned claws and beaks to pick on bones of warrior dead.
    Child of Valor Bairn of Battle harm has come your way,
    Blood of Bravery be renewed to fight another day.
    Sword of Arthur, Hammer of Thor, Silver shield and spear,
    Rise and wield your weapon now against the Danger near.
    Fang of Cobra, Bite of Spider, Heat of Dragon Flame,
    Warrior unto the gods rise, and back from whence yea came.

    If you wish to write your own Healing Poem, it must be no fewer than 180 syllables long, and should refer to healing. (A drinking song is not quite appropriate). Poems will be approved at check-in.

    Return to Table of Contents


    CHAPTER VII

    Heralds

    Rule one of the game: the Herald's word is law. What is a Herald? The Herald is the Dagorhir equivalent to a referee. The Herald will interpret and enforce the rules if asked or if there is a dispute. Also, in some battles, the Heralds have special functions such as time keeper or flag bearer. If you wish to become a Herald, see the check-in committee during check-in. You must have fought in at least two previous battles to be a Herald.

    Heralds must sign a release and go through check-in, but need not pay the battle fee. Heralds are distinguished from other players by their gold headband and/or gold tunics. If there are not enough volunteer Heralds, they will be drafted. Heralds are also responsible for making sure the area is policed and all players are accounted for.

    Roving Heralds

    There is usually one roving Herald assigned to each team. That person's job is to stay with the action, keep the game flowing, enforce the rules, settle disputes, and report penalties or give bonus points when deserved. There are usually 2-4 Heralds monitoring the battle in addition to those at Valhalla.

    Valhalla Heralds

    Each team should have a Valhalla Herald. S/he must stay at Valhalla, but otherwise do everything a roving Herald does, as well as penalizing those who arrive without headbands. If someone has lost his or her headband, s/he must either purchase one from the Herald or stay in Valhalla till the game is over. The Heralds must also keep the living out of Valhalla and the dead in, and prevent conversation between the dead and the living.

    Flag Heralds

    At Flag Battles, each team will have a flag Herald. Flag Heralds must be athletic enough to keep up with the flag wherever it goes. They must never leave the flag. They must do everything a roving Herald does, as well as counseling her/his team in its choice of a site to plant the flag. S/he must make sure it is not a hazardous area (such as a cliff area with many large rocks). In addition the flag Herald must do the following:

    Make sure that there is a six-foot cleared area (no trees or brush) around the flag. See to it that no living trees or bushes are harmed in fortifying the area around the flag. Make sure that the flag is always returned to the original position. At the beginning of the battle, the Heralds makes sure that all team members are assembled around the flag. S/he keeps notes on everything that happens to the flag and the time at which it happens. (For example: Blue team captures Red flag at 2:10, Red team re-takes its flag at 2:15, Red team returns flag to its camp at 2:20). Flag Heralds must see that the flags are returned to Valhalla.

    When walkie talkies are in use, they must never leave the Herald's possession. They should always be turned on and switched to the appropriate channel. They are used to keep in contact with the other Heralds, so that the Heralds always have a clear idea of what is happening.

    Types of Battles

    Dagorhir battles generally fall into 2 categories - field battles and woods battles. Field battles are fought in open or very lightly wooded areas that are relatively small. Woods battles are held in larger (up to one square mile), more densely wooded areas that often include streams, hills, and swamps. Dagorhir tends to hold woods battles more often. Field battles are usually held in the hot summer months, when the woods are overgrown with thorn bushes and poison ivy.

    Woods Battles

    Flag Battle

    A woods battle is most often a capture the flag type battle. After the teams have been selected, both teams will be led to Valhalla, where the times for the battle's start and end are announced (about a four hour span). Each team heads off in its own direction to look for a strategic place to plant its flag. Once a site is chosen, the area around the flag is fortified by lashing fallen trees and logs together, then piling up brush on top. (Rope is very useful. Your teammates will bless you for bringing it). No living plants may be harmed. At the start of the game the entire team must be assembled around the flag. Wise commanders will by this point know what strategies and tactics they plan to use.

    The goal is to find the enemy flag, capture it and return it to your camp, where you must plant it next to your own. Then your army must defend both flags from the enemy, who are sure to be in hot pursuit. If you return to your camp with the enemy's flag and find that your own flag is gone, you should quickly plant the enemy's flag where yours was and then try to recapture your own.

    Your team gets one point for every time one of the enemy is killed, and one point for every minute that both flags are planted side by side in your camp.

    Whenever a flag is voluntarily touched by someone, that person's team has only 15 minutes to get it back to the team's camp. The team loses five points for every minute that it exceeds the 15 minute grace period.

    Note: The flags must always be on their poles. If you get to camp with only half a flag (either the pole or the banner is missing), your team will begin losing points unless the other half of the flag is found and reattached before the 15 minute grace period is up.

    Gold Battle

    These battles are just like flag battles, with the addition of gold. At check-in each warrior is given one gold piece (a metal washer or some other small metal disk) to place in his/her pouch or to hang around her/his neck. The goal is not only to remain in possession of the two flags, but also to end the battle with as much gold as possible. Gold can be collected through murder, extortion, robbery, or persuasion. You may collect as much gold as you want, but keep in mind that you may not conceal its presence from someone who is looting your dead body. It may not be hidden, buried, etc., although you may give it away to your teammates, so long as you keep one piece; warriors may not give away their last gold piece for the purpose of safeguarding it. Killing may not be necessary to collect an enemy's gold; you can always threaten to kill them if they do not give up all their gold (you may give your last gold piece to an enemy, if you are dead or under threat of death). Nor does killing an opponent automatically give you the right to his/her gold; if someone takes it before you, you may have to kill that person to get it back. If dead people are inside a fort, and the Herald calls a cease fire to send the dead to Valhalla, and you haven't had a chance to get the gold off of the dead, TOO BAD! You may not search spirits going to Valhalla.

    Capture The Unit Flags Battle

    This is a variation of the normal flag battle. The difference is that every unit is a team and has its own flag (a unit banner). In other words, instead of two teams and two flags, there could be nine teams and nine flags. Each unit must supply its own flag Herald, who must stay with the flag, as in a standard flag battle. However, because the flag Herald is allowed to fight in these battles, s/he does not act as a referee. S/he only records times of possession. Rather than going to Valhalla when s/he is killed, s/he resumes the job of a normal flag Herald for 15 minutes. Then s/he can fight again.

    Also, in this version, the flag does not have to be planted at a team camp. It merely has to be in a team's possession (held by a unit member) which means that the flag can be mobile. A team may also capture as many flags as it wants; if a team has three flags as well as its own in its possession, it gains three points per minute.

    Field Battles

    Field battles last about four hours. The fighting is nonstop, one scenario after another. The dead come back to life at the beginning of each new scenario. Here are some examples of the various kinds of battles, (some variations of which are also used in woods battles):

    Grand Melee

    Battle between two or more opposing teams until there is only one team left alive. This could mean that only one member of that team survives.

    Kill the King

    Each team has a designated king or queen (who does not have to be the commander). The object is to kill the other team's monarch before they kill yours. The monarchs are immune to missile weapons. This is usually a two team battle, but can involve more.

    Save the King

    This is really two battles in one and is timed. The object is to save your monarch from being killed. The team whose monarch lives the longest is the victor.

    Chess Battle

    The two teams stand facing each other with a shield wall in front of each team. The Herald calls for different types of combat in the following order:

    1. Missile weapons only.
    2. Retrieval of missile weapons by owners.
    3. Honor challenges (eye contact honor battles).
    4. Red berserkers (red weapons attack each other and the shieldwall, trying to cleave shields).
    5. Grand Melee.

    Note: The shield wall cannot 'travel'; one foot must stay planted until the Grand Melee. Warriors standing behind the wall may not advance to the center unless they are competing in the specific battle of the moment.

    Flag Battle

    There are two type of field flag battles. In one, the flag is placed in the center of the field and two teams race to capture and hold the flag. The team with the flag at the end of the grand melee wins. In the second, each team has a flag and fights to defend its flag and capture the other one(s).

    Cavalry Battle

    Each team has part of their team stand (on horseback) and everyone else kneels (footmen). When a horseman loses one or more legs, he becomes a footman. The first lost leg counts as the horse's death, so the limb is still there for battle purposes. Leg armor counts as barding, so a knight would actually take four hits to a leg before losing it.

    Meat Grinder

    The two teams form up into columns. The teams march toward each other. The columns cannot move to the side or flank, but only march straight ahead. The teams march towards each other until the pile of dead is too high to get over.

    Unit Battles

    Each unit fights as a team in a grand melee.

    Race Riot

    A grand melee in which teams are selected on the basis of character races or nationalities.

    Shield vs. Non-shield

    All shieldmen form a circle and all other warriors attack.

    Honor Circle

    All warriors form a circle and challenges are called for honor battles in the center.

    Free-for-all

    Every fighter for his/her self until only one is left alive.

    Honor Free-for-all

    The same as the previous one, but all combat is honor-bound; eye contact must be made before a fight is begun.

    Nomads

    Occasionally, one unit may fight as nomads. They have no alliance to any team and have no interest at all in the flags, if such exist (they are not allowed to touch them). All they do is kill.

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    Epilogue

    Musicians, Campouts and Feasts

    After reading this lengthy handbook on the rules of our wargames, one might think that battling is all we do. Please read on. We also have overnight campouts, meadhall parties and feasts. We try to announce where and when medieval films are being shown. When we have a feast, you will have to pay in advance so that we will know just how much food and drink to buy, and have money to do it with, but the price is always reasonable. If you can't afford to pay, well, volunteer cooks are often welcome. Please note that full costume is required at all events.

    We always welcome musicians to all activities (if they have their instruments) with open arms. They are the only people who may come to woods battles without paying, fighting or heralding (as long as they keep playing).

    Finances

    We are a non-profit organization. All of the money we collect goes into the group: paying phone bills, buying marking tape, accessories, advertisements in magazines and newspapers, etc. All of the receipts are kept and the treasury book is open to anyone for inspection.

    Know The Rules

    Because of the length of this handbook and the many rules and regulations it contains, it is hard to absorb it all in one reading. We highly encourage, in fact we insist that you read it more than once, especially before battles. On your way to a battle, it is a good idea to have one of the people in your car go through the handbook quizzing the others on the rules. You'll be surprised at the number of little things you may have forgotten. A good, clear understanding of the rules is vital to the smooth functioning of the game, and to guarantee a good time for all.

    Some branches require their members to take a written quiz on these rules at the member's third battle.

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