Welcome to the realm of K’lar

Joe Pfender

For most Lawrence students, spring on the Main Hall green means casual sports, tree-climbing and the pretense of studying on blankets. For a few of us, it also means a return to that most pleasant of pastimes, whacking the crap out of each other with foam weapons.
K’lar, created in the winter of 2001, is the Lawrence University “realm,” or chapter, of the national organization Dagorhir, which was founded in 1977. The word “Dagorhir,” in fact, is a word from Sindarin Elvish – one of the artificial languages linguist J.R.R. Tolkien created for his books about Middle Earth. “Dagor” means fight or battle, and the “hir” part means lord or lords. “K’lar,” too, is from an artificial fantasy language and means “great dream.”
The group on campus is small, but relatively recognizable because of the uniqueness of what they do. The regulars include Rebecca Glon, Dan Riebel, Bill Templeton, Dave Studer, Dan Casner and Hannah Starr. They all have different personas when they fight – essentially like roleplaying, but not as in-depth as it might be if the players were sitting around a table. As roleplayers, they use different weapons depending on their personas, ranging from swords to glaives and javelins.
When asked about K’lar’s face in the Lawrence University community, Glon mentioned a comedian a year or two ago who tried to make fun of the group, apparently unsuccessfully. The comic seems to represent a common attitude – that is, an unfocused and negative portrayal of a few people, which is only viable because there are so few of them. Glon acknowledged that people might have a nerdish impression of them, and “if they don’t talk to us… we really can’t change that. We like what we do, and we’re not in high school anymore, where comments like those would keep people from doing things they like.” As trite as it sounds, we have not grown out of the message of acceptance we were taught in elementary school.
The group has designated “build days,” when they all go to Wriston and build their weapons, which are made from PVC pipes, closed-cell (camping pad) foam and softer open-cell (Nerf football) foam. The build days are held relatively infrequently, and are done on Sundays, the official meeting day for K’lar. Pickup battles are every Tuesday and Thursday afternoons on Main Hall green. So if you’re looking to spend some time outside this term, why not check them out?