Fighting safely

  • You must pull all of your attacks so that they land with virtually no force
  • You must avoid hitting the groin, neck or face
  • Try to avoid hitting the breasts or head where there is an alternative target
  • You must avoid combat if you are drunk

It is essential that you know how to fight as safely as possible using the practices common to most British live roleplaying events. If you are new to live roleplaying then please speak to a member of our GOD crew and they will arrange a suitable demonstration for you so that you can be confident that you are following all the rules:

  • When you use a weapon in combat, you must pull the blow so that it lands with negligible force. Your opponent should feel a light touch and nothing more.
  • You must not thrust with any weapon unless it is a thrust-safe pole-arm.
  • You must avoid hitting the groin, neck, or face; you should avoid aiming at the breasts or head where there is a viable alternative target.
  • You must not strike another character with the pommel or hilt of your weapon. You must not grab or trap an opponent’s weapon when they are wielding it.
  • You must not attempt to parry an arrow or bolt with a weapon.
  • You must only throw a weapon if you know a Profound Decisions weapon checker has approved it for throwing.
  • If you are using a bow then you must not pull the bow to full draw when shooting at a character who is nearby. You should adjust your pull appropriately for the distance of your target to ensure your arrow does not hurt them. You must not aim a bow or crossbow at the head.
  • If you are using a flail then you must drop the weapon immediately if it becomes entangled in your opponents weapon or costume.
  • If you are not using a one-handed weapon then you must follow the appropriate weapon grip rules for the category of weapon you are using.
  • You must avoid combat if you are drunk.

These rules exist to reduce the dangers inherent in combat at a live roleplaying event to an acceptable minimum, but they do not constitute a guarantee of safety. Our safety record is excellent, but by choosing to attend an Empire event, you agree to accept the risks inherent in taking part in a full contact sport.

Safety in Battles

Please read the additional battle safety guidelines.


  • You must not touch or physically attack anyone with their hand in the air
  • You can put your hand in the air to indicate that no one should touch you
  • If you do this, your character is reduced to 0 hits and is now dying
  • Profound Decisions do not guarantee that you will not be hit

You may have health reasons that mean you wish to avoid becoming involved in combat. If this is the case you may put your hand in the air to indicate that you do not wish any player to make physical contact with you. This is called being non‑contact and, while its use is uncommon at events, it is important that you understand the rules so that you can ensure the safety and well-being of other players.

If a fight starts near you then you can put your hand as high in the air as you can and keep it there, to indicate that you are non‑contact. If you indicate that you are non-contact, then you immediately lose all your body hits and start dying. You may move yourself out of the immediate melee before lying down or leaning against a tree or similar or may remain standing with your hand clearly raised. You may cease being non-contact at any point by putting your hand down, but you should not do this if you would become involved in the same melee.

It is up to the individual when or if they choose to go non-contact. There is no requirement at all to go non-contact at the start of a fight, or because a fight has happened near you. It is perfectly acceptable to move away from a melee while remaining in-character and mobile and only become non-contact if a character moves to attack you.

If you see any player indicate that they are non-contact then you must not hit them with a melee weapon, fire a bow or crossbow at them, or touch them. The player is still IC and you may roleplay with them normally but you may not hit or touch them while they are non‑contact.

It is important to note that nobody can guarantee that you will not be hit while you have indicated that you are non-contact. A live-roleplaying melee is a deeply confusing experience and mistakes can happen. If you have health reasons that make it critical that you are not hit with a latex weapon then you may need to avoid combat entirely and you must decide whether the event is safe for you to attend at all.

Weapon checking

  • All your weapons must be checked at every event

You must take all weapons, bows, crossbows, shields, and projectiles (arrows and bolts) that you have brought to an event to a weapon checker to have them checked. These items must be checked at every event you attend. If a weapon checker does not approve your equipment for use then you must put the item in your vehicle or leave it at GOD for the duration of the event. If you are not satisfied with the decision then you may request a second opinion from our head weapon checker. The decision of the head weapon checker is final.

Any suit of armour that you use at an event must not have sharp protruding edges. If you are in any doubt about the safety of your armour then you should have it examined by a weapon checker.

If a weapon checker approves an item then they will attach a coloured elastic band to the item. We change the colour of the elastic bands for each event. You must not use any item for melee purposes unless you know it has been approved for that use.

You can carry items such as a walking stick, wooden staff or banner but they must never be used in melee, so they do not need checking with the weapon checkers. We do not allow anyone to have metal weapons at events except for display or sale purposes, so you may not carry one without our prior approval for each event.


If you are in any doubt about an item of costume or armour then show the item to a weapon checker who can tell you if it is acceptable.

  • Metal armour must be of a grade where it will not tear in use revealing sharp edges.
  • Metal armour must have its edges rounded off in such a way there are no burs or snags which could damage props or players
  • There must be suitable straps and attachments so armour does not come loose
  • There must not be any protruding sharp decoration such as spikes that could damage weapons or people

Grappling, body contact and shields

  • You must not grapple or make bodily contact while fighting
  • You may hook shields with an axe but may not grab weapons with your hands
  • You may push with a shield but you may not shield barge

You must try to avoid body contact with other players during combat. You must not grapple or trip another player.

If you have the prior permission of your opponent in a small fight then you may both decide that you are happy to allow each other to grapple or use other techniques. You must have the explicit permission of your opponent beforehand and you can only do this in a small, carefully planned fight between individuals such as a duel or display. Permission must be given to you personally; you must not assume that a player who is happy to grapple with a trusted friend is happy to grapple with you.

You may hook a shield with an axe or similar hooked weapon, to pull it out of the way. You should be aware that some LRP axes are specifically designed and built to support this, the axe head is heavily reinforced with leather to allow it to withstand the force. If your weapon is not designed for it, you will break the weapon by doing this.

You may push with a shield, if you are moving at a slow walking pace or less but you must not shield-barge, you cannot run into another player using a shield or other similar item. You may not use a shield as a weapon to strike another player.

General safety

  • Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility
  • Do not attempt to defend a tent

Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility at an event. Be aware of any potential hazards, and if a fight begins then move away from tents, guy ropes, and other hazards such as tables, chairs, and braziers. It is not enough to be aware of such dangers when fighting; you must move away from such dangers to ensure that other participants in the fight are not at risk.


If your character has fallen over in a fight then you should crawl out of the way of the combat. You must make sure that anyone who has fallen over has room to move away.

Please ensure that you pay particular attention to safety when fighting near tents. Tents present an additional hazard for anyone fighting so you must not use them as a defensive feature.

All tents are considered to be highly flammable in the Empire setting, so your character can easily fire a tent to force the occupants to come out. Obviously, you must not set fire to any object of this kind at an event; you must obtain a referee if you want to force other characters to come out of a tent in this manner.

The nature of an event is such that trip hazards such as uneven ground, tree roots, guy ropes, and tent pegs are unavoidable. Given the poor lighting conditions that prevail at night, one of the most important safety precautions you can take is to ensure that you wear footwear that combines good grip with firm ankle support.

Man down

  • You should call MAN DOWN if you see anyone suffer a real injury
  • You must move away from an area if you hear this call

If a player suffers a real injury then you should call MAN DOWN. This call alerts all players to the fact that someone is genuinely hurt. If you hear this call then you must move away from the area so that no roleplaying or fighting is taking place near the injured person. You should alert the nearest member of crew.

Weapon Safety

All weapons

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)

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

Missile weapons

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.

  • You must check the head, shaft and knock of any arrow or bolt you are given or recover yourself before firing. Failure to do so may see you removed from the battle or skirmish you are on.
  • 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 arrow must have some kind of blocker between the shaft and the foam of the arrowhead to stop the shaft pushing through
  • The head must be securely attached and not move on the shaft
  • The arrowhead must be at least 50mm (55mm recommended) across and have a circular cross-section
  • Dome headed arrows 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 diameter
  • The soft foam portion of the head must be designed in such a way as to allow it to collapse fully (so there must be no latex within 5-10 mm of the face)
  • Any gaffer tape used on the arrowhead must not be within 25mm of the face of the arrow


Please take care when using shields in melee combat. You must not use the shield as a weapon. For events in 2013 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 avoiding rigid formers is strongly recommended.

  • A rigid former may be used during 2013 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


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.

Banned items

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