Going Medieval

The dust of battle choked the air and thickened it with the smell of sweat and the sounds of the wounded screaming. His ruined left arm cut off at the elbow, Tiberius Eaghra clutched his cumbersome eight-foot spear with his good hand and accepted that the enemies had broken through the castle gate, and that with them would come quick death.

Hundreds of similar true stories could be told about the War of the Iron Fist, held last September in Kansas City. But even though the castle walls were plywood, Tiberius’ spear made of foam and his amputation imaginary, the realism of a Dagorhir battle is undeniable for everyone involved.

“You can feel it pulsing in your veins as arrows are whizzing past your head and warriors are screaming as they fall to the ground,” said Tiberius, known to his Edmond North High School classmates as seventeen-year-old Ryan O’Haro.

“If you are there, you’re feeling it. There’s no way that you can’t be,” said Szabo Erinach, a.k.a. Cody Nichols, also seventeen.

Dagorhir is a warfare simulation that combines elements of J.R.R. Tolkein’s “Middle Earth” books (which includes the Lord of the Rings trilogy) with historical accounts of the Dark Ages of Europe. It started in Maryland thirty years ago, and now there are approximately 5,000 members worldwide, with ages ranging from early teens to old men with gray hair.

“We have a wide variety of people who play. Not just stereotypes like geeks and jocks. And there are a lot of girls who play,” O’Haro said.

Each participant is encouraged to use a ps