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I'm trying to find the most widely used published safety standards for larp weapons. The pretty latex covered ones, not the ones that are tape covered pool noodles.

enter image description here

Ideally this will include:

  • minimum padding thicknesses
  • maximum core thicknesses and or weights
  • maximum lengths

Because we all need a definitive answer that can be marked 'correct':

Please provide the games and number of participants that have adopted the rules.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ In the US or the whole world? \$\endgroup\$ – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Dec 9 '14 at 2:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm probably more interested in outside the US as larping in the US seems to be lagging behind the rest of the world in a lot of ways. \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Tomes Dec 9 '14 at 2:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ What's this being used for? Are you trying to figure out rules for a big international LARP convention, or build your own weapons that'll be mostly like to get accepted everywhere on your worldwide LARP tour, or...? (You don't have to answer in a comment; just edit the information into your question.) \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Dec 9 '14 at 2:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BESW I'm trying to figure out if there is a standard worth conforming to, or if larping is essentially laissez faire in this regard. \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Tomes Dec 9 '14 at 2:52
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The systems I have played tend to have a fairly standard set of rules for weapons- as you might expect given that there are a limited number of traders and they need to be able to sell to players across different systems for their work to be viable.

The largest system I've played ( The Lorien Trust, about 5000 players at large events, weapon check guidelines here ) uses the following standard:

  • Maximum one-handed weapon length of 42".
  • Two handed weapons must be used two handed at all times.
  • At least two inches from tip of weapon to tip of core.
  • At least one inch between core and striking surface of the weapon - this is the guideline I have used, but I think sometimes with lighter cores this is less of an issue.
  • No stabbing at all by anyone ever.
  • Bows users must pass a basic competency test ( because the bow is non-padded equipment )
  • No core in thrown weapons.

The system I have been playing most recently ( Profound Decisions, Empire, around 1000 player events, weapon guidelines here ) has a similar standard but they do allow stabbing spears ( at least 6" of soft foam at the tip ) which can be used one handed but must only be used for stabbing.

The important thing in both systems is that all weapons must be checked by specialist staff before they are used and that no weapons that have not passed check should be in the game area. A weapons checker has the right to judge a weapon unsafe in their view even if it conforms theoretically to the guidelines. There is usually some visual indicator of check ( UV stamps or coloured bands are examples I have seen used often ) and weapons checkers have the right to check any weapon at any time and typically you have another round of weapons check on the way into a battlefield. This is particularly important because even well made weapons will break with use and one that passes on Friday may have been stood on or damaged by Sunday morning, rendering it unsafe.

Also having refs on the field during combat to ensure that fights are safe and fun for everyone is essential. Anyone using a weapon that is clearly unsafe or using a safe weapon in an unsafe way needs to be pulled up and the weapon/player removed from the field as necessary.

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Friends of mine who organise smaller larps and perform weapon checks at their events told me about one rule they always employ in addition to checking the physical dimensions and condition of any weapon: players have to accept being hit with their own weapon. Those who refuse will have to leave their weapon outside or will not be admitted to the event. The reasoning behind this is fairly obvious: whoever knows about potentially dangerous flaws in their weapon's design will be less inclined to suffer any personal damage from it, making it easier to detect insufficiently built equipment.

(One anecdotal incident they had was a guy who brought a huge, conspicuously heavy 2-handed axe to the larp. During the weapons check he refused being hit with it. Closer inspection found that it was not really a proper larp weapon, but that he had sawed off the pole of a road sign in an attempt to improvise something, using the sign itself as the axe blade, and simply wrapped everything in a thick layer of duct tape to make it "look nicer". No wonder he was reluctant to take a hit with that awful thing.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I used to see that method used a long time ago but it's fallen out of favour. I also don't think it's a good test. I do full contact rattan fighting in the SCA and while I'd be happy to be hit with a piece of rattan many larpers wouldn't be. \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Tomes Dec 10 '14 at 20:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ I can see what you're going at, but I think that your argument only holds for events where a really broad range of weapon types is allowed. As the rules for any given larp will usually be published beforehand, every participant will know what kinds of weapon to expect on their combatants. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Dec 11 '14 at 10:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Additionally, I think the audiences for SCA events and "standard" larps are quite different. I still tend to find the test helpful because of the social component (i.e. you can see if someone gets nervous) in addition to checking the physical properties of the weapon. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Dec 11 '14 at 10:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think the informal way we test and examine weapons is probably pretty similar to most groups. We look at it, feel the heft in our hands, squeeze the foam and whack our forearms to see if there are any surprises. That makes sure that what someone is using at least falls into the category of "a padded weapon". The hard part is when you start saying "this weapon passes and this fails" and can't give a reason other that a gut feeling. Is 15mm enough foam on the edge of a sword? It is if the core is 8mm carbon fibre but what if it's 20mm fiberglass that weighs ten times as much? \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Tomes Dec 11 '14 at 19:36
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I tend to go with the amtgard standards for self made weapons. Ie: stabbing weapon tips should'nt fit into your eye, and at least 1inch wide striking surfaces (no super skinny blades), you should never be able to feel the core of your weapon with a full force hit and one rule we banned was "2handed weapons should weigh more than 4 pounds" ... that rule gives folks concussions so keep things light. I have never used a fancy store bought weapon because I never know how durable they are and can build better for cheaper. LINK TO AMTGARD WEAPON STANDARDS: http://shireofmurkyhollow.tripod.com/amtrules.htm#more.construct

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to rpg.se! Please take a look at the tour and the help center; they're a useful introduction to the site. Please note that Stack Exchange is a Q&A site rather than a forum, so answers need to speak specifically to the question. I've noticed that your answers seem mostly tangential to the specific question being asked, which is why they tend to get downvoted. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Dec 9 '14 at 2:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ For this answer to be better, can you discuss the specific standards involved, and perhaps link to the resources? Also, your previous comment was deleted: insulting other play styles is forbidden. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Dec 9 '14 at 4:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the link. I'm not familiar with what people do at amtgard but it looks a bit like the SCA with pool noodle weapons. \$\endgroup\$ – Derek Tomes Dec 12 '14 at 3:19

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