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Bows and crossbows are one of the more dangerous weapons in LRP, if they are used inappropriately. If you are planning to play an archer at Empire then you must make sure that you follow all these safety rules. Failure to do so will result in you being excluded from the battlefield. This page referrs to arrows, but all relevant information applies to crossbows and bolts as well.

To be a safe archer, you need to be a competent archer. Knowing one end of a bow and arrow from the other, and being able to generally hit what you're aiming at is competent. If you have never shot a bow before, then take some lessons from someone who knows what they're talking about with respect to archery before you start shooting at people with LRP arrows. Shooting a bow is not as easy as shooting a gun. It will take you a little time to get the hang of it, but if you're keen enough, you'll grasp the concept soon enough...Have patience, and have fun.

Nothing in this world is guaranteed. Bows and arrows are killing tools and must be treated with the utmost seriousness and care. Once you let that arrow fly it's out of your hands, and no matter how good you are at archery, fate will play its part one way or another. Check your arrows before every shot!


  • See the weapon checking guidelines

There are strict limits on the poundage of any bow or crossbow used at Empire events - as well as the construction and condition of the bow. Please read the weapon checking guidelines for bows to ensure that your bow will be legal to use at our events.

Weapon Check

You must take your bow to the weapon checking team and have it checked before you use it. When you take a bow to weapon check they will ask you to string the bow and then fire it at a nearby target. The aim is to ensure that you know how to string a bow safely and how to pull your shot when firing on nearby players. If the weapon check team are not satisfied that you are able to use a bow safely then you will receive a quick demonstration lesson in how to use a LRP bow safely.

From IDV tear-drop arrow

Bow Safety

  • Ensure that your bow is correctly and securely strung
  • Take the distance to your target into account before firing. DO NOT full draw a long bow at a target 10m or less away.
  • You must not aim a bow or crossbow at the head.
  • Do not parry or strike with your bow! It is NOT a melee weapon
  • You may not use a bow on any quest or skirmish that starts at dusk or later

An incorrectly strung bow is a danger to you and other players as well as demonstrating a lack of experience with a bow. You must know how to string a bow correctly.

Modern LRP bows and crossbows are capable of firing a LRP arrow much further than most of the older equipment in use by the hobby a decade ago, even though their poundage at full draw has not changed. It is not safe to fire an arrow at high speed at a close target. If you have a bow you must reduce you draw when firing at nearby targets. You must not draw the bow to normal extension when when firing at a target that is 10m or closer to you, you must reduce the draw proportionately.

Arrows must be checked every time they are used

Crossbows fire much slower than a bow with equivalent poundage. As you cannot reduce the pull for a crossbow you must not fire it at a target closer than 3m.

Archery is not permitted after dusk at Empire. The official times for dusk will be published on the wiki before each event on the page for that event. You must not use a bow in Anvil after this time - nor take a bow on a quest or skirmish which starts at this time or later. The official cut-off will be the time the conjunction begins, so you may use a bow on any quest or skirmish that starts before this time even if it ends afterwards.

Using your Bow

  • You must check the head, shaft and nock of any arrow or bolt you are given or recover yourself before shooting. Failure to do so may see you removed from the battle or skirmish you are on.
  • If your bow has a high poundage, ensure that the limbs are warmed before a large fight

Arrows must be checked every time they are used. It is particularly important to check every arrow before you reuse as an arrow recovered from a battlefield has a high chance of being unsafe. You must choose to either check every arrow before you put it in your quiver - OR - choose to check every arrow before you nock it to fire (you must not switch between these two methods on the battlefield).

The guidelines for all archers checking their arrows are below; if you are unsure then ask a ref or a member of the weapon checking team.

Checking Arrows

  • Check the head is secure and free from debris
  • Check the shaft is not cracked or split
  • Check the arrows does not have missing or loose flights
  • Check if the nock is loose or split

Please see the weapon checking guidelines for details of the acceptable construction for all bolts and arrows used at Empire events.

Recovering Arrows

  • You must not put an arrow in another archer's quiver

All participants are welcome to recover arrows and pass them to an archer - but you must not put an arrow into an archer's quiver for them under any circumstances. Some archers check arrows when they put them on the bow, but some archers check their arrows into their quiver. Either method is acceptable - provided that players do not swap between them, but this rule only works if other participants do not add arrows to another archer's quiver.

You may pass an arrow to an archer - but do not put in their quiver under any circumstances - pass the arrow to the archer and allow them to deal with it.

Bows (and crossbows) are lethal weapons in the hands of a skilled user.
Arenal of the Summer Crows

Further Reading


  • A helpful video by Nick Turner that goes through the steps of checking an arrow is safe to fire.