Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Review: Lake County Dagorhir - The Dunedain

Tim had a halloween party this weekend that prevented us from attending any LARP events this weekend, but we had recently heard word of an Amtgard group in the area that runs practices on Sundays nearby, so we decided to check it out.

I'll start off with the fact that we did suspect something was up, simply because the Amtgard group hadn't updated it's character stuff since 2006, and Tim remembered talking to the guy who sent the email - about Dagorhir. We went out there anyways, because we were just looking for some foam fighting.

Sure enough, we were duped. The mercenary who we talked with (who was not actually part of the unit) apologized when we got there, but whatever. We'll give it a shot.

My biggest fears of Dagorhir were that the game was a bit more physical than I'm used to. I'm a short guy without a lot of strength, so as soon as games start to involve elements like shield bashing and grappling, I get a little worried. In some ways, it wasn't as bad as I expected it to be. In others, it was exactly what I expected.

The Unit - The Dunedain
I believe there were 4-6 people who were part of The Dunedain, a few independents, a mercenary and a member of the ravens (another group).

The members of the Dunedain were actually pretty cool. We never really received any grief for being NERO players (although they kept calling us Amtgard players, since we were looking for Amtgard). They've got a few fighters that were on par with our fighting, and a fair amount of newer fighters that were still green. None of those players got too physical, apologized when hits were in the head, and had pretty decent shot calibration (didn't hit too hard or too soft).

Now, the fighting did at times get a little hairy. The mercenary pretty much runs at one level of intensity all the time, and it shows. While he's a good fighter, he was definitely not shy about getting up and physical with his shield which is totally legal for Dag. However, he did give me a pretty nasty shield rim to the face when I was legged and there wasn't much I could do. In that situation, I don't see any value in shield rimming over shield bashing, other than inflicting physical damage on the down person.

Translation: It's a Douche Move.

I don't want to sound vain, but between that and a pretty solid shot to the face that rung my bell, I am kind of worried about losing some teeth.

I was also a little concerned about the training community there. There was a newer player who the mercenary called his "Noob," but he seemed more interested in teaching him by embarrassing and beating on him rather than actually teaching him how to fight. He actually went so far to tell us about a guy who swings way to hard just beating him to make him not fear getting hit. At one point, Tim and I helped him a little bit with single sword fighting, explaining the use of the off hand for hand blocking, and talking about putting his weight on his back foot for leg control, since he kept getting legged. After we said that, the merc said "You just have to keep telling him," yet I hadn't heard him give one hint about how to fight.

I think the big thing is that they look up to the mercenary, and they back down when he's around. The Dunedain seem like they like to help each other (based on their forums), but the merc's personality is pretty overwhelming.

All and all, I think the group is a lot of fun and it would be great to be a part of it. It was fun playing with everyone, except for that mercenary. However, I think my concerns about the physicality of the fighting and fear of losing my teeth might prevent me from getting big into Dagorhir. Because even if the Dunedain guys are cool, there will always be a douche on the other side of the field that I can't account for.

Edit: After some nice discussion on the Dag boards, the Dag community has pretty much agreed with my assessment that the guy was a douche. This give me hope for Dag. Activity like his is not the norm, and they don't condone that kind of activity.


  1. Mark Henry ~MariusNovember 2, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    What's a few teeth among friends?

    I ran into an old friend who said his buddy was trying to start a dagorhir chapter in the valley. Not sure if there is any weight to that claim, but I'll let you know if there is.

    The game seemed fun, but I think one jack ass would send me over the edge into a violent rage.

  2. Wonder if it's possible when doing a review of a game to put up a brief summary of the game system/environment? It's interesting that that guy was mean, but I'm also intersted in the game in general and your thoughts on it as to whether or not I might want to play someday :) I know you can't get a great idea off of just a Sunday practice thing, but it might be interesting to learn more about the system. While I could read the rulebook, I'm not THAT interested yet!!

  3. >There was a newer player who the mercenary
    >called his "Noob," but he seemed more
    >interested in teaching him by embarrassing and
    >beating on him rather than actually teaching
    >him how to fight. He actually went so far to
    >tell us about a guy who swings way to hard just
    >beating him to make him not fear getting hit.

    I have seen this before. There are some interesting aspects to the culture of Dagorhir. You would probably be interested to here what I have to say about it in my new book Battle Gaming (https://www.createspace.com/3458894). It will be available December 16th.

  4. Silk of Gwynedd, Aratari DagorhirNovember 5, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    Sometimes people (in any game) can let one person be a huge influence over their events. A lot of times this is positive, unfortunately it can also be negative. From your article it looks like this guy had the stereotypical "high-school jock" attitude. I'm sorry you had a bad experience with him at your first Dagorhir event. While Dagorhir is a more physical sport than most larping we as a community try to make up for it by adhering to the idea that we're out to "Kill our friends, but not hurt them." The underlying idea is that if everyone stops to remember that we're all there to have fun and if you chase people off there will be fewer people to play with.
    Bottom line, that guy was a jerk, but he doesn't speak for the community, and it's a shame that it seemed like the group you visited let him speak for them.

  5. I had a great time, Bill got beat up a little more than me. I can see his concern, there is definitely some danger to teeth in dagorhir. I really like foam fighting though... I wish there was a regular Amtgard chapter around here.

  6. I'm a VERY long time NERO player (18+ years) but I've also been playing Amt now for 4 years and then recently (2 years) been playing Dagohir and Belegarth.

    I wouldnt worry about the teeth thing man..and head shots happen..its the nature of any more physical game.

    Shield Rimming/Edging is legal and its a valid tactic when encountering some enemies on the field.

    Overall I'd say there is a higher level of skill in Amtgard followed VERY closely by Belegarth and then Dagohir. I'd slot NERO/Solar and others behind Dag.

    Jeremie Collins
    Squire Thorpe Nemoralis

  7. @Silk
    I'm very inclined to agree with your vision of leadership, and I'm sure that I haven't had enough experience in Dag to make a statistically significant determination of how many "high-school jock" attitudes are out there. I'm more concerned with my ability to find a unit in my area that I can get behind.

    I understand that head shots happen, and I was hit in the head a number of times (and hit people in the head as well). The concern is that this guy was one of those that swing harder and wilder out of frustration. Tim and I are no slouches on the field (despite our NERO background), and I feel like this guy was concerned about his alpha male status rather than fighting some good fighters.

    I understand that there is a time and a place for shield rimming. I just don't see that being a time when a player is legged with essentially nowhere to go. He could have just as easily bashed me shield-to-shield to get over to my back.

    As for fighting quality, I would agree that the average Dag player is probably better than the average NERO player, but the standard deviation on NERO players is probably a bit higher, since NERO is also built to accommodate for people with lower fighting skill. I will say that there are a number of NERO players with decent enough fighting that, if given the time to translate their skill into other games, would fare pretty well.

  8. I have heard all that stuff about skills being so different from game to game. I can buy it as an average but I have fought with Amtgard dudes at Origins and some other places, it is just an average, the top end of both games comes out to around the same place.

  9. Alright guys. I am Thrace of the Dunedain. I am one of the leaders of the team. I would like to say that the merc that comes to our practices is awesome. He has been doing dag for a long time and goes to many many things. He is an asset to our practices and fun to have around. I was the one running practice that day and I saw nothing outside of dag rules happening or I would have said something.

    As far as the "teeth" thing, the merc hit shields with light force and the players shield went into his own teeth. He stepped off the field, I asked if he was good, he said yes and got a drink and came back a minute later.

    As far as "noob" and picking on him. He doesnt have a dag name yet, therefore, we call him noob. He chose it and he likes it. We were doing pit fighting (where you call in a few people to fight eachother from a circle). I called him in a lot. We were working on endurance and stamina for some of our newer members. I asked if they needed water when people looked tired, they said no, we kept fighting.

    I love having new people come out to our practices since we are a new group. I have been fighting for about 4 years in a few different units.
    I just wanted to clarify and clear up any misunderstandings.