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SYSTEM Information

 

 

Combat Props

Combat is resolved with a staged system which uses props for weapons and spells. To ensure that these props are safe, certain guidelines on their construction are necessary. Weapons and packets must be checked at each and every event where they might be used. You are responsible for the safety of any prop you swing or throw in combat, so plan on checking them yourself several times during the course of an event.

Each person attending the game as a player or a directed character ("staff" or "NPC") is responsible for bringing their own weapons and packets. We will try to have weapons and packets to rent at our events, but we can make no guarantees about the availability of these props. We reserve the right to fail any weapon or packet we deem unsafe. It is not uncommon for weapons to fail or break, so please attempt to bring a backup weapon and materials to repair your props.
Weapon Construction

Constructing a weapon requires time and patience, but it is not that difficult with practice. We describe the steps to create the various weapons below, and include helpful details along the way. Please note: weapon materials may vary wildly, even within the same brand name. Even if you follow the suggestions, it is remotely possible that a weapon could fail because of a strange inconsistency in the core or foam.

1. Choose Your Weapon
2. Create The Core
3. Pad The Striking Area
4. Add Cross Guards
5. Add The Pommel
6. Add A Thrusting Tip
7. Cover with Tape

Packets

1 - Choose Your Weapon

First, determine the type of weapon you wish to create, and read below for length and construction requirements. Two handed weapons are marked with a "*" in the length table. Each type requires its own skill, but anyone can use small weapons under 24" in length.

Blades:

These weapons represent daggers and all types of swords. A bladed weapon has a striking surface that covers at least 2/3 of its entire length. The weapon may have a cross-guard or hand-guard, but the guard must be made entirely of pipe foam or the equivalent.

Weapon Type Minimum Length Maximum Length
Dagger 18" 24"
Short Sword 25" 36"
Long Sword 37" 46"
* Great Sword 50" 64"

Axes:

These weapons represent hatchets and all types of axes. An axe requires padding which covers at least 1/2 of its entire length. The striking surface is a head of open-cell foam at least 8" in length, which extends at least 4" from the shaft, and looks like an axe blade.

Weapon Type Minimum Length Maximum Length
Hatchet 18" 24"
Short Axe 25" 36"
Long Axe 37" 46"
* Great Axe 50" 64"

Hammers:

These weapons represent maces, hammers, and all types of smashing weapons with metal heads. A hammer requires padding that covers at least 1/2 of its entire length. The striking surface is a head of open-cell foam at least 6" long which extends at least 4" from the shaft, although this could be 2" on both sides for a mace.

Weapon Type Minimum Length Maximum Length
Blackjack 18" 24"
Short Hammer 25" 36"
Long Hammer 37" 46"
* Maul 50" 64"

Staves:

Staves have a striking surface on both sides of the weapon. Each striking surface covers at least 1/3 of the entire length. The middle section of the staff must also be padded, though you can use 3/8" padding for the grip of the staff so long as the full 5/8" is used for the striking surfaces. Because both ends of the staff are striking surfaces, the middle of the staff must be made from aluminum, and each end must be made from PVC or CPVC. The staff must have a thrusting tip on both ends.

Weapon Type Minimum Length Maximum Length
* Staff 48" 64"

Spears:

The spear is the only long weapon that may be used one-handed. A spear can only be used to stab an opponent - it cannot be used to slash or swing. A spear must have padding that covers the striking end at least 1/2 of its entire length. You cannot fight with a spear and another weapon if that weapon is longer than 36".

Weapon Type Minimum Length Maximum Length
* Spear 48" 64"

Polearms:

This category encompasses all types of longer pole weapons. Polearms have the advantage of reach. A polearm must have padding which covers the striking end to at least 1/2 of its entire length. The striking surface must cover at least 12", and must include additional padding of open-cell foam which extends at least 1" from the shaft or another layer of pipe foam cut in half.

Weapon Type Minimum Length Maximum Length
* Polearm 60" 72"

Clubs:

Clubs represent weapons made entirely from wood. A club must have padding which covers at least 1/2 of its entire length. The striking surface must be at least 6" long - this may be either open-cell foam which extends at least 1" from the shaft, or an additional layer of pipe foam.

Weapon Type Minimum Length Maximum Length
Blackjack 18" 24"
Short Club 25" 36"
Long Club 37" 46"
* Great Club 50" 64"

Claws:

These weapons represent some kind of natural weaponry. A claw must have padding which covers at least 2/3 of its entire length. The striking surface is the padded area of the weapon above the grip. If you are able to use claws, you may use one short claw and one long claw. Claws are not affected by Fumble effects. If a claw is affected by a Destroy effect, the character will take a Maim effect to the limb holding the claw.

Weapon Type Minimum Length Maximum Length
Short Claw 25" 36"
Long Claw 37" 42"

Thrown Weapons:

These weapons represent daggers, darts, and javelins. These weapons must be at least 2" in length, but larger thrown weapons such as javelins are allowed if game staff deems them to be safe. Larger thrown weapons may be weighted with birdseed, but at least 5/8" of foam must be between the birdseed and the surface.

Weapon Type Minimum Length Maximum Length
Dart 2" 12"
Dagger 4" 12"
Javelin 8" 36"

Bows:

These weapons use thrown projectiles and a prop for the bow made from padded PVC. The "arrows" should be standard spell packets (see below for packet construction rules), with 3 or 4 ribbons attached as streamers - the colors of the ribbons represents your fletching. You must draw the arrow prop, touch it to the bow, and draw it back to your ear. You may then throw it to represent the arrow.

Weapon Type Minimum Length Maximum Length
Bow 36" 48"
Arrow 2" + 8" 2" + 8"

Crossbows:

These weapons use thrown projectiles and a prop for the crossbow made from padded PVC. The "arrows" should be standard spell packets (see below for packet construction rules), with 3 or 4 ribbons attached as streamers - the colors of the ribbons represents your fletching. You must draw the arrow prop, touch it to the crossbow, and draw it back to your ear. You may then throw it to represent the arrow. The crossbow must have a length between 18" and 36", and a bow width between 18" and 24". We also allow NERF type crossbows if they meet the size requirements and the crossbow and bolts are painted so they are not brightly colored.

Weapon Type Minimum Length Maximum Length
Crossbow 18" x 18" 36" x 24"
Arrow 2" + 8" 2" + 8"

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2 - Create the Core

Next, you must create the weapon core (for thrown weapons you skip this step).

Your core materials depend on the length of the weapon, which you determined in step one. The weapon core will need to be 4" shorter than the overall length of the finished weapon. Each end must be capped with a coin or strapping tape, so there is no hole at the end (this is to prevent the cut end of the core from slicing through the foam padding). Each pipe insulation overlap will need to be 1" in length, and the foam thrusting tips must be 2" in length.

The permissable core materials are described below:

3/4" PVC:

This common core may be used for one-handed weapons, and must used with aluminum to make two-handed weapons. Look for Schedule 20 PVC pipe with a thin wall (there are Schedule 40 pipes with thicker walls, but they are too heavy to make good weapons). This core may also be bent into bows by applying either very hot water, or softening it with the heat of a stove or gas burner (be careful).

1/2" PVC:

This core is too "whippy" to use for longer weapons, howeverm, weapons up to 36" long may be safe with a 1/2" core. This material is not permitted for any other type of weapon.

3/4" CPVC:

This core may be used for one-handed weapons, and must used with aluminum to make two-handed weapons. Look for Schedule 20 CPVC pipe with a thin wall (there are Schedule 40 pipes with thicker walls, but they are too heavy to make good weapons). This core may also be bent into bows by applying very hot water, or softening with the heat of a stove or gas burner (be careful). CPVC has more "whip" than PVC, but it may be used for weapons up to 42" in length. Some types of CPVC might theoretically be stiff enough for slightly longer weapons, but you must be aware of the level of "whip" closely, or the weapon will fail inspection.

Aluminum:

This material has no give whatsoever, so it cannot be used for one-handed weapons. The purpose of aluminum is to give two-handed weapons more stability, and less "whip". Two-handed weapons should use a combination of 7/8" galvanized aluminum and 3/4" CPVC core. The cores should be chosen so the CPVC fits snugly into the aluminum. They should overlap by approximately three inches, and be secured together with a strong adhesive like Plumber's Goop or with a good amount of strapping tape wrapped around the seam. We would suggest a combination of both the adhesive and a small amount of strapping tape, for extra security. Suggested lengths for long weapons are as follows:

- 72" weapons should have 48" of aluminum and 23" of PVC: with 3" of overlap, this results in a core that is a total of 68" long. This will provide room for the required 1" overlap of pipe foam on each end and a 2" thrusting tip.

- Since 64" weapons are a little shorter, you can use slightly more PVC. Use 36" of aluminum and 27" of PVC: with 3" of overlap, this results in a core that is a total of 60" long. This will provide room for the required 1" overlap of pipe foam on each end and a 2" thrusting tip.

- Two-handed weapons of different lengths should use similar ratios to those listed above so they are not too "whippy", but have give at the striking surface.

- Staves should have aluminum in the middle of the weapon, with PVC on either side (where the striking sufraces will be). You must cut the cores a full 6" shorter to give room for 1" of overlap and 2" of thrusting tip on both sides. The staff should use the ratio of half its length as aluminum in the middle, and one fourth as PVC on each side.

.505 Ultralight:

The core this refers to is actually called "spiral-wound fiberglass tubing". Intended to be used as a kite pole, the core is light, durable, and has an acceptable amount of give. One-handed weapons use the .505 diameter pole which sells for under $10.00. If you wish to purchase these cores, search online with the keywords "GlasForms Fiberglass Tubing" - examples of kite supply stores which carry the core are Goodwinds Kites, Gone With The Wind Kites Online, or Into The Wind.

.610 Ultralight:

This core can be used for one-handed weapons and is used with aluminum to make two-handed weapons (in combination with the Schedule 20 CPVC pipe with a thin wall). This core is a thicker version of the .505 spiral wound fiberglass tubing. Note that it is almost twice as expensive as .505, but is needed if you intend to make ultralight two handed weapons. Ultralight two handed weapons will require extra padding down one side of the blade, consisting of either 1" of open-cell foam or an extra layer of 5/8" pipe foam. If you wish to purchase these cores, search online with the keywords "GlasForms Fiberglass Tubing" - examples of kite supply stores which carry the core are Goodwinds Kites, Gone With The Wind Kites Online, or Into The Wind.

Because ultralight weapons are so light, we are especially careful to ensure that those using these weapons roleplay their swings properly. Though we allow the use of these cores, this is considered a privilege and players who perpetually swing from the wrist and machine gun will lose this privilege. Roleplay your swings.

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3 - Pad the Striking Area

Now, add the padding to the striking surface of the weapon.

Padding should be 5/8" pipe insulation. The green Climatube 80 pipe insulation works fine, but some people have found insulation that fits over the ultralight cores without needing to be cut. Pipe foam varies wildly in consistency, so make sure the foam you are buying is really 5/8" thickness. The pipe foam should fit snugly over the pipe without rattling. If the foam is too big, you may add a strip of weather insulation to the core, or use strapping tape to pad out the core at three or four points. We prefer to use weapons with a diameter of around 2", but we will permit a wedge to be removed from the pipe foam so long as the diameter of the weapon is no less than 1 3/4". We reserve the right to restrict such weapons if this proves to be problematic.

The pipe insulation must extend past the end of every core by at least 1", and the resulting empty insulation must be filled with a rolled-up piece of pipe insulation. Use strapping tape to hold the filler insulation in place.

Once the basic padding is added, you may add extra padding to two-handed weapons using either another layer of pipe insulation (cut in half to fit over the foam) or a narrow strip of open-cell foam. Weapon heads must also be made from open-cell foam. Attach the extra padding with strapping tape to secure it for the final layer of duct or kite tape.

It is suggested that two-handed weapons, particularly staves, cover the grip area or at least most of the grip area with a thin-walled pipe insulation to protect against accidental contact with the grip. This is not required unless a player is reported to hit opponents frequently with the grip of the weapon.

4 - Add Cross-Guards

Cross-guards and hand-guards may be added to blades using pipe insulation or similar materials. All guards must have give, and be deemed safe by game staff. We discourage cross-guards on other types of weapons, but if the player can show us an example of a medieval weapon with a similar feature we might consider it if the cross-guard is deemed safe. Other weapons may have a small hand guard if it only protects that hand.

5 - Add the Pommel

If the weapon is a blade, it will need a pommel. The pipe insulation must extend past the end of every core by at least 1", and the resulting empty insulation must be filled with a rolled-up piece of pipe insulation. Use strapping tape to hold the filler insulation in place.

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6 - Add a Thrusting Tip

The tip of the striking surface must have a thrusting tip. The tip should be constucted of 2" of open-cell foam (longer thrusting tips tend to bend).

- Cut the foam to size to cover the tip of the pipe insulation.

- Use duct tape or kite tape to secure and cover the tip: place a length of tape over the tip so that the center of the tape covers the end of the tip and extends down both sides, attaching the tip to the weapon. (If the tip is round, use a razor to cut the corners so the tape conforms to the tip.)

- Add a second piece of tape in the same manner, so it goes across the end and down the other two exposed sides of the foam tip. Use a razor to cut the corners so the tape overlaps slightly and conforms to the tip.

- Finally, poke many tiny holes all over the tip, so that air can escape and the tip can contract and expand freely.

- If the weapon uses other open-cell foam, you might find that when the foam compresses that the tape wrinkles as it sticks to itself. You can prevent this by covering the open cell foam with plastic wrap used for food storage before taping over the foam.

7 - Cover with Tape

You may now cover the entire weapon with duct tape. Kite tape is also allowed. The tape should run down the length of the weapon, and overlap slightly so that no foam is exposed. It should not be wrapped in a spiral around the blade. Even duct tape varies in weight and thickness, so you should look for a thinner, lighter tape. The majority of the weapon should be black or gray where there is metal, and black or brown where there is wood. Bright colors are not allowed as the primary color of the weapon, though decorations are allowed.

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Packets

Packets are small bean bags which are thrown to represent magical attacks or special powers. They should be made of stretchable fabric and filled with birdseed. You should use only small birdseed with no larger or sharper seeds - packets with any other material inside will not be allowed. A square of fabric is pulled around the birdseed and its corners are gathered together to form a "tail" and closed up with strapping tape. You may also sew a packet shut. Sealing the packet with rubber bands or other types of tape will be allowed on a case by case basis, and the packet should have give in any case.

The head of the packet should be between 1 and 1.5 inches in diameter, and the tail behind the tape should not be longer than 3 inches. The fabric cannot be pulled so tight that it no longer has give. You should be able to squeeze the center of the packet and almost touch your fingers together.

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Madrigal | 170 Salem Street, Lawrence MA, 01843 - Phone: 978 683 6404 - Email: madrigal@accelerantgames.com | Copyright 1999 - 2011, Chimera Entertainment, Inc.