You know that clerk at the convenience store or the donut shop that you’re pretty sure might be a vampire? They may wear an ankh, or you might hear them talking with one of their regulars about swords and magic spells? Don’t worry, they’re more likely to be a fantasy role-player than a satanist who’s going to put arsenic in your coffee. Their natural habitat is at a seat around a dungeon-master’s table, rolling dice and conquering trolls and orcs to save medieval villages. And from their pale appearance, they really don’t get much fresh air, sunshine or exercise.
Until now. If you know a role-player, or better yet, if you are one, be aware of this event: It is the Dargohir society, Nordanmork chapter’s Season Opener, the Invasion of the Chaos Tribes, at Deering Oaks Park (north side of Park St), on Saturday, March 25, at 11 a.m. This is live-action role-playing (LARPing) at its most frenetic. It is a gathering of fantasy gamers who take up foam weapons, take sides, get in character as Vikings or goblins, and beat each other up in an all-out battle between good and evil.
You may be wondering what ‘Dargohir’ means. It goes back to the 70s, when The Lord of the Rings was decades from becoming a film series, but was at the peak of its popularity as reading material. You know the Star Trek fans that actually speak some Klingon? Well, these original LARPers out in the Midwest took the painstaking care required to speak to each other in Tolkien’s invented Elvish language. In one dialect of Elvish, ‘Dargohir’ means ‘Battle Lords.’
And they do battle. Dargohir is billed as ‘both a game and a sport.’ Pent-up frustrations are released. Fresh air is inhaled. Dice and character sheets are forgotten. It’s the intensity of full-contact football, except with no breaks between downs, and no sub-ins. Gatorade? Maybe. If you earn it. In the history of Dargohir, many participants have found themselves slimming down and getting fit. Take the testimony of one poster on a jiu-jitsu-related site: “I was fat when I started Dagorhir. I picked up my foam sword, went out, got my ass handed to me over and over and over ’til one day I looked around and realized I was doing more of the ass handing than having mine handed to me, and I’m 50 pounds lighter.”
Getting in swimsuit shape, while going to war against the Chaos Tribes? C’mon. Go join the fight.