Approved by the Council, May 3, 2008 

A pdf version of the Varangia Bylaws is here.

 Bylaws for the Aratari Chapter are here.

The official Dagorhir Manual of Arms is here.

The Bylaws of Varangia

I. Introduction

Varangia, a unit of the Aratari chapter of the Dagorhir Battle Games Association, encourages positive, safe, enjoyable interaction between people of diverse ages, backgrounds, and interests, while promoting the best foam-fighting medieval-style combat experience. 

II. Conduct

We expect our members and visitors to uphold high and honorable standards. The following rules apply to

i)               Varangian members wearing the Varangian ensignia, regardless of location.

ii)             Anyone at Varangian-sponsored events or inside Varangian encampments.

Encouraged: Kind speech, constructive criticism, courteousness, characterization

Discouraged: Profanity, put-downs, excessive arguing, slander

Prohibited: Use of drugs, tobacco, and/or alcoholic beverages; stealing; vandalism; fighting with intent to injure; behavior dirtying the name of Varangia, the Aratari, or Dagorhir; behavior endangering Varangia’s privileges for land or equipment use; violation of local, state, and/or national laws.

Prohibited or consistent, discouraged behavior will lead to:

i)               Request to change or cease behavior.

ii)             Confiscation of prohibited material.

iii)            Demotion, expulsion, or the discretion of the Council.

III. Participation

Participation is open to all. Fighting is limited to English-speaking humans, at least 14 years of age, with an official signed Dagorhir waiver on file. If under age 18, the fighter must have their waiver signed by parent/legal guardian at an event or notarized. If a member, the fighter must also be current on their dues and wear appropriate garb, as explained below.

IV. Membership

Become a Member (a recruit):

i)               Create a character name (battle name).

ii)             Attend three official Varangia events.

iii)            Sign the membership agreement.

iv)            Be officially inducted.

Expected of a Member:

i)               If a combatant, advance to Warrior rank by your third official battle.

ii)             Annual dues: $5 for first year, $20 each following year, collected in May or within three months of new membership and used for purchases for the Varangian Armoury, advertising, and special events (some events have an extra participation fee).

iii)            Attend two or more official Varangia events per year including at least one battle.

iv)               Garb appropriately for every battle. Put the Varangian cross on any shields.

V. Weapons and Garb


i)               Make ‘em safe, legal, and appropriate to the character and historical period.

ii)             Don’t use ‘em unless you’ve been instructed.

iii)            Borrow from the Varangian Armoury if you must, but make your own this weekend!

iv)            You borrow ‘em, you break ‘em, you pay $3, unless you’re a first-time visitor.


i)               Make it safe, legal, historical, and appropriate. We’ll help you get started.

ii)             Wear it at every battle (practices exempted).

iii)            Avoid glasses. Consider knee pads/athletic support/protection.

VI. Organization


Varangia uses a refreshingly simple two-rank system which reflects the history of the original Varangians, the Viking mercenaries of the Byzantine era. Historically, a Varangian Warrior was any fighting member of the Varangian Viking community. The true fighting elite, however, were the members of the Varangian Guard. In the Byzantine Empire the Varangian Guard was tasked with protecting the life of the Emperor. 

Here in the Aratari unit of Varangia, new members join having no rank, as a recruit, by signing the Membership Agreement. After a recruit has fashioned a weapon and garb and been tested in battle, they advance to Warrior.  After extensive experience, preparation, and approval by the Council, a Warrior may attain the honored rank of Guard. Requirements for the ranks of Warrior and Guard are set forth at the end of this section of the Bylaws.


Like its military ranking system, Varangia's political organization is as straightforward as possible, so that the majority of its members need not worry about politics and can get on with the business of being a Viking.

The Varangian Council makes and enforces all final decisions in the unit, subject to the official Dagorhir rules and Varangia Bylaws. The Council consists of three or more Jarls, each having one vote. Jarls may retire from office or be removed by unanimous vote of the other Jarls, and shall be replaced by a qualified Warrior or Guard chosen by the Council.

VII. Ranks

Warrior requirements

1) Pass a basic verbal test of knowledge of the Dagorhir Manual of Arms.

2) Make basic garb (T-tunic or better) which satisfies Dagorhir requirements and follows the Varangia colors of forest green, brown, and black.

3) Make a blue-, red-, or green-class weapon which is Dagorhir legal and passes weapons check at an official Aratari battle.

4) Fight in an official Aratari battle and kill at least one opponent according to Dagorhir rules.

Guard requirements

1) Be a Warrior for at least one year and attend at least four official Aratari battles.

2) Develop a historically based characterization and post a description of at least 50 words in the biographical section of the Varangia website.

3) Make full Dagorhir-legal armament which uses both hands in battle, and for those wielding two-handed weapons, includes a back-up weapon on the belt. Possible examples include dual axes, sword and shield, two-handed sword with dagger on belt, or spear with mace on belt. 

4) Wear regular battle dress which is complete and detailed in appearance, follows the Varangia colors, and has a large Varangian cross clearly and prominently visible from the front, either on shield, armor, or tunic. The Varangian cross is also encouraged as a smaller ensignia wherever appropriate.

5) Have at least one first-time participant in a practice or battle attend because of Guard candidate's invitation. First-time participant must engage in combat or in a capacity deemed appropriately involved by the Council, but need not join Varangia as a member.

6) Donate at least one Dagorhir-legal weapon to the Varangia Armory for the use of first-time participants and recruits and remain responsible for upkeep and repair of the donated weapon(s).

7) Obtain at least one Award or Honor as described in the Varangia Bylaws.

8) Present a formal Application for Guard Rank to the Council, which the Council will consider and then accept or return. The Application shall affirm the candidate has fought fiercely and fairly and has upheld the highest standards of Varangia both on and off the field. A returned Application shall not be resubmitted until 90 days have passed, during which time the candidate shall try to develop himself or herself according to the recommendation of the Council.

9) Attain final recognition of the Council through a ceremony to officially award the rank of Varangian Guard.

VIII. Awards and Honors

A variety of regular Awards and Honors are bestowed by the Council. One-time awards may be made as well for simple achievements such as defeating 300 foes with both hands tied behind ones’ back, translating the Manual of Arms into Old Norse, or fighting in two places at once. 

IX. Events

Speak with the Council about a special event for your youth organization, faire, school, dojo, etc.; we welcome new ideas!

Regular Events

Practices: 2-3 Saturdays per month

Financial and Armoury report: first practice of May

Induction of Warriors and Guards: after official battles

Official Aratari and Regional Campouts (dates estimated)

April                Gates of Fire (Somerset, PA)

May                 MAYhem

June                 Ragnarok (Cambridge, OH)

July                   Althyng

September       The Battle of Badon Hill (Somerset, PA)

Official Day Battles (no campout)

January             New Year’s Day Battle

November         Thanksgiving Field Battle

Other months    Various field or woods battles

X. Web Presence


It’s your website: contribute character storylines, photos, and whatever your expertise allows.


Register your battle name on the Dagorhir Bulletin Boards; participate!

iii)            A Varangia Facebook presence is maintained by the Council.

iv)            Email the Council.

XI. Community Service

Varangia is always interested in bringing life’s enjoyment and blessings to our community, whether through service to Dagorhir or to real life causes. In Dagorhir we show new people they are welcome and wanted through the selfless offering of advice, assistance, training, and equipment. We also welcome ideas and opportunities to donate time, money, or whatever else we can to deserving real-life causes, individually and as a unit.