Published February 22, 2019
A Saturday afternoon on the North Campus looks a lot like your typical college campus: students spend their free time with friends, pursue extracurricular activities and study hard in the Silverman or Lockwood libraries. But, take a walk around the campus, and a group of people in medieval-style clothing carrying foam swords and shields will surely stick out.
This group of UB students, alumni and other Buffalo-area residents makes up Tartarus Invictus, the local chapter of a live-action, role-playing game called Dagorhir. The group can be seen almost every weekend in the courtyard next to Clemens Hall — even when Buffalo’s frigid winter is in full swing.
Dagorhir was founded in 1977 in the Washington D.C. area by a group of friends who shared a passion for medieval history and the fantasy world of Tolkien, according to the Dagorhir Battle Games’ website. The game has since expanded throughout the United States and Canada, with thousands of people joining in on the fun.
Participants create alternate personas to role-play through many battle scenarios as medieval warriors. Along with making their own medieval garb and foam weaponry, each player may expand upon their character’s backstory to enhance the experience.
Rebecca Glon, one of the organizers of Tartarus Invictus, explains the scenarios in the chapter’s bi-weekly meetings can get intense, even if they are simple contests, like last team standing and capture the flag.
Otherwise known in the game as Sirilay, Glon is a veteran of the Dagorhir community. Growing up in Northern Illinois, she first heard of the game after reading a newspaper article, which led to her forming a group in Wisconsin while she was attending college. When she returned to Illinois, she established a chapter on her own that still exists today.
Since moving to Buffalo, Glon has become heavily involved with Tartarus Invictus. She says members are incredibly grateful that they can practice on the North Campus, adding that several current students, as well as alumni, are members of the chapter.
She notes the group welcomes anyone in the community who is curious or interested in the chapter, especially because battle role-play isn’t the only activity Dagorhir has to offer. Group members also plays tabletop games together and hold “medieval arts and sciences” contests where members try and outdo each other in creating garb, artwork or even stories.
“You only get to live once, so if it’s something you’re vaguely interested in, there’s no harm in doing it,” she says. “There are a lot of different aspects of Dagorhir that will appeal to everybody.”
Tartarus Invictus will hold its fourth annual regional event, Krampus Rampus, Feb. 22-24 at the Seven Hills Girls Scout camp in Holland. The event will center around battles between Krampus, a half-goat, half-demon in Central European folklore, and Santa Claus. Along with games of king of the hill and capture the flag, there will also be a medieval arts and sciences table.
More information on Krampus Rampus can be found on the event’s Facebook page. Seven Hills Girls Scout camp is located at 10299 Savage Rd, Holland, N.Y., 14080-9315.
Those interested in learning more about Tartarus Invictus and participating can also visit their page.