All weapons, bows, arrows, shields and armour, must be checked by a member of the Profound Decisions weapon checking team before they are used at our events. They check every item to ensure that the design, construction and condition of it is suitable for use at our events. If they are not satisfied that an item is safe for use then you must secure the item in the OOC area and may not use it at the event. The team use the following guidelines when checking weapons.
Not all weapons that are sold online are suitable for use at Empire LRP events - even if they are sold for LRP. It is always advisable to buy your weapons from a trader on site where possible - to ensure the least possible chance of disappointment.
- You must get any item you buy at the event checked before you use it.
Items on sale at all Profound Decisions events have not been checked by a weapon checker. Please take any item that you purchase to a weapon checker and have it checked.
Weapons designed for live roleplaying are commonly constructed from a solid core that is surrounded in high-density foam and then covered with latex. Weapons must meet the following guidelines:
- The rigidity of the foam must protect the core and must not have degraded and become too soft
- The layers of foam must be securely bonded to each other and not be delaminating
- The right kind of foam must be used. High-density foam is the basic material and low-density foam must be used appropriately in collapsible tip weapons or in large hammerheads. This stops weapons being too heavy and having too much momentum
- The whole length of the core must be held securely in place and must not be moving freely inside the weapon
- The tip reinforcement must not be protruding through the surface of the foam
- The core of the weapon must be made of an appropriate material such as fibreglass or carbon fibre - not of aluminium, wood or bamboo
- There must not be any protruding hard or sharp objects such as gems or studs
- There must be sufficient padding on the tip, guard, pommel and haft
- The handle must be securely attached to the rest of the weapon and must not be loose
- The choice of former must be appropriate to the length of the weapon and must not be too heavy and rigid (especially for thrown weapons) or too light making the weapon ‘whippy’ (long weapons)
Bows and Crossbows
These are bows and crossbows designed to fire an LRP safe arrow or bolt. There is no bow competency testing at Profound Decisions events. We require any player using a bow to adhere to the same standards of safety and control as players using melee weapons.
- The string must be in good condition and must not be fraying
- The body of the bow or crossbow, whether wood or fibreglass, must not show signs of cracking
- The string notches must not be worn and must be able to hold the string firmly
- The draw of a bow must be less than 30 lbs at 28” draw. Crossbows are also limited to 30lbs draw weight
Arrows & Bolts
As well as checking before the start of the event, we recommend that you check these before and after each combat, as they may have become damaged.
- The shaft must be made of fibreglass or wood. Carbon fibre, aluminium and dowel are not allowed
- The shaft must not be cracked or damaged
- Flights must be adequate to keep the arrow stable in flight and must be properly attached to the shaft
- The shaft must have a proper nock which is securely attached
- Arrows must have a maximum draw position of 28” clearly marked if the possible draw length is greater than 28”
- The arrowhead must be securely attached and not move on the shaft
- The arrowhead must be at least 50mm across and have a circular cross-section
- The soft foam portion of the arrowhead must open cell foam (often called furniture or upholstery foam), be at least 25mm at the thickest point and must collapse fully under firm pressure (so there must be no latex within 5-10 mm of the face)
- The arrowhead must have some kind of blocker between the shaft and the foam of the arrowhead to stop the shaft pushing through
- Domed arrowheads are allowed as long as the width of the widest part of the soft foam dome, and the foam behind it are of the appropriate thickness
Empire arrowheads must be made using a three part construction, with a robust blocker between the shaft and the foam of the arrowhead, follow by dense solid foam and then a final layer of softer foam which must be at least 25mm at the thickest point. This foam must be soft enough to collapse under pressure, but firm that it provides some resistance to pressure. This means it must be open cell foam (often called furniture or upholstery foam) - anything less dense/softer risks being failed by our weapon checkers.
2020 Arrow Amnesty
- The guidelines for arrows have been tightened at the start of 2022
- Arrows which fail now but would have passed under the old rules can be exchanged for credit at GOD
The requirements for arrowheads at our events have been tightened to make them safer for all participants. To try and ensure the least possible impact for our players, we will offer an amnesty on any old arrows during 2022. Bring them to GOD and we'll *swap* them for £6 of credit on your PD account, usable against any PD event.
To qualify for the amnesty, the arrows must have been legal under the old rules but not under the new rules. This means that either the diameter of the head must be less than 50mm but more than 45mm or the thickness of the soft foam front of the head must be less than 25mm but more than 20mm.
- IDV tear-drop arrows are not usable at our events
- Archery Tag screw-on arrowheads are not usable at our events
IDV tear-drop arrows and archery tag screw-on arrowheads are not acceptable at any Profound Decisions events.
Please take care when using shields in melee combat. You must not use the shield as a weapon. For events currently you will able to use shields with a rigid former at Empire. We will be monitoring rigid shields on an ongoing basis and it is possible that they may be removed as an option in future years. Therefore if you are making or buying new shields we strongly recommend you use a foam and latex shield.
- A rigid former may currently be used during Empire events, but shields should preferably be of full-foam construction
- If you use a rigid former then there must be at least 6mm of high-density foam on the face and no protruding bolts
- The rim must be padded all round. Note that pipe lagging will quickly degrade will likely be insufficient after a relatively short time
- Handles must be securely fixed so that they do not cause the shield to “flap” from the arm/ hand
- Wing nuts must not be used to secure straps and any protruding bolts must be cut short
Your armour must also be checked.
- The armour should not have any sharp burrs or edges or any sharp protusions
- Mail should not include unclosed links that allow sharp edges to be felt
- The armour should not have any loose studs or rivets
- The armour must not have any solid steel tower studs
The armour must have no sharp edges that could damage other player's weapons. The edges do not have to be rolled, but if they are not then they do have to be filed smooth.
Thrust safe polearms
You may only thrust with a weapon that has been passed as ‘thrust-safe’ by a Profound Decisions weapons checker at that event.
- Construction must combine a low-density foam tip with a high-density spear head
- Specific construction guidelines will be forthcoming
Battle props are items that are present in combat, but are not used as weapons. As they do not conform to the regulations that govern weapons and shields they must not be used for offence or active defence. As they are likely to be present in combat they must not have any extremely sharp protrusions. Otherwise they must be removed from the combat preferably in an out of the way area.
All weapons and implements taken onto a battlefield must have been passed by a weapon checker. You cannot use a wooden staff as a mage staff, or a wooden stick as a wand on a battlefield, even if you do not intend to hit anyone with it.
The following items cannot be used at Empire events, either for reasons of safety or because they are unsuitable for the campaign. The traders are permitted to sell these items but only on the condition that they are collected at the end of the event. You must not carry these items on site in an IC area.
- Real weapons, including bayonets, re-enactment weapons and any sort of non-replica firearm
- Modern or futuristic items such as chainswords or power armour as well as novelty items such as inflatable hammers and bananas, rubber or plastic combat knives, nerf guns etc.
- No fireworks or pyrotechnics of any sort may be brought onto the site without the prior permission of Profound Decisions
- Injection-moulded weapons will be treated on a case-by- case basis, as although they tend to soften up with use, some may be too heavy or too hard
- Playing the Game
- Referees & GOD
- A helpful video by Nick Turner that goes through the steps of checking an arrow is safe to fire.