BathLARP Safety Guidelines

Our form of LARP is a contact hobby, and our games normally run on land that is open to the general public. The following document outlines all of our safety guidlines.

There is also a Cheat Sheet version for in-the-field briefings; a copy of this is kept with the First Aid kit.

General Safety

You are asked to adjust your combat style and speed to fit the situation and terrain in which you find yourself. Never initiate combat when a non-participant is nearby or when it is otherwise unsafe to do so. When fighting near obstacles, with bodies on the floor or near hazardous terrain you should avoid backing yourself or your opponent into danger.

Care should be taken with weapons; the shorter the weapon, the closer your hand is to the target, be careful not to strike your target with your fist. You cannot use the weapon to stab, only to swing. Blows should be spaced fairly, with the weapon pulling back after each swing. Never attempt to parry or strike projectiles from the air. Never lean or put weight on the weapon and pull each blow so that only a light contact is made. Make sure you know where both ends of the weapon are and are going. Avoid your opponent’s face and other sensitive areas.

In low light conditions, from dusk onwards, it is often difficult to see your target clearly or for them to see your incoming blows and in cold weather, the weapons are harder, extra care should be taken in these situations.

Periodically you should check the state of your weapons, especially after heavy combat or woodland combat where your weapons may have picked up splinters or thorns.

Weapons should be stored, tip up, in a bag or in a scabbard or Mace Loop when not being used. They shouldn’t be stored in damp, cold or hot conditions.

If, for whatever reason, you feel you are not safe to fight (tiredness, injury etc), tell the GM or First Aiders at the earliest opportunity.

Safety Calls

Man Down

Someone has fallen over injured. Stop what you’re doing and stay still. A first aider will go to the injured person and assess the situation. Do not repeat the call as this can confuse the situation. Feel free to call ‘time out’ if someone appears not to have heard the call though.

Make sure that a first aider is actually needed before calling ‘man down’. Mostly a brief time out for the fallen over person to pick themselves up is fine. If you are in doubt check with person who has fallen over. Do not panic!

Time Out Walkers/Runners/Cyclists
A member of the general public is attempting to use the path. Stop fighting, move to the side and hold your weapons down by your sides where appropriate.
Time Out
To be used if you see someone about to back into something/fall off a ledge. Call it, wait for the fighting to stop, explain the situation and move the fight to a safer area. It is worth noting that the fight has not changed, just because you need to be OOC safe does not mean you can change things to make it IC better for yourself!
Time Out Glasses
Everyone stop what they are doing. Someone has suffered an accidental hit to the face and their glasses have gone flying. Do not move. Look for the glasses if you are nearby, but don’t move unless you can be sure you are not treading on the glasses.

Touch Attacks

Touch attacks should be the lightest of touches delivered with open hands. Never grip or punch the target and try to avoid chainmail or other hard protrusions. If you are running or lunging in to deliver the attack make sure of your footing and always avoid the face and other sensitive areas. This also goes for healing and other beneficial spells.

Grappling

We work on the basis that you should only actually pin, pick up or otherwise actually grapple someone who is happy for you to do so and rarely in the heat of combat. If you want to do something that would in real life require grappling, only loose contact is needed to represent that you’re doing it; if the grappler wishes to resist both the grappled and grappler should call their levels of Strength to determine who wins.

Claws and ‘Fists’

BathLarp is unusual in that it allows physical contact between participants. However it must be done safely and fairly. When delivering a claw or ‘fist’ blow, the blow must always be with an open hand (not a fist) and horizontal and across the target, never vertical. They should be fairly spaced and light, with no real force behind them. They cannot be delivered around a shield.

Throatslit

Throatslit is a special attack and should only be delivered if you feel confident that you are safe to do so (e.g. the target is immobile or slow moving) and the target will not react badly OOC. Never rub the blade of a weapon against the throat of the target. If you are the subject of a throatslit, try not to flinch away uncontrollably as it might result in OOC injury.

For targets that are not OOC comfortable with Throatslit, the alternative method is to turn the weapon around so that the pommel is facing the front and place the hand holding the hilt on the target’s shoulder while calling the damage as normal. All effort must be made to avoid sudden and unexpected close-up movements in the target’s peripheral vision. The normal safety rules still apply.

It is the responsibility of anyone who has Throatslit as a player or monster to find out during the game OOC briefing if anyone is OOC uncomfortable with it being used on them. This is for the safety of both the target and the person using the skill.

Night fighting

During the winter and at residential events there will be times when you are fighting in the dark. When this happens, not only must extra care be taken due to being unable to see your footing, but you also need to change fighting style to reduce the chance of injury.

As much as possible, strikes should come in low (at least below the shoulder) and horizontal to reduce the chance of a head hit, and you should never attack something without being reasonably sure of what you are going to hit – not necessarily who, but at least where the blow is going to land. Slow your fighting down so that you can be sure you will always be in control – and can stop the blow if something goes wrong.

Distances are harder to judge in the dark, so you also need to be careful about where your weapon is pointing when not in use – the last thing you want is for someone to leap out of the darkness and accidentally impale themselves – so keep it fairly vertical if it’s in your hand.

Dealing with the Public

Weapons, Shields and Armour

These guidelines are not a rigid set of rules and each weapon should be judged on an individual basis. A weapon is always only as safe as the person wielding it.

Melee Weapons

Melee weapons can have a striking surface, a non-striking surface and a handle. A striking surface is any surface that could make unpulled contact in combat.

The striking surface must have at least 12mm of weapon grade foam between the surface and the core. For a non-striking surface, there should be at least 6mm of foam between core and edge. For a handle, it is not necessary to be padded if the hand covers more than 50%. If the handle is larger, it should be counted as a non-striking surface. Layers of foam should be firmly glued together and foam should be firmly glued to any core.

There are many different types of weapon construction. Foam should be High density foam, not furniture foam and the core must be fibreglass or plastic – never wood or metal – if you have any doubt about the weapon, ask the maker which guidelines they have used.

Weapons should be stored, tip up, in a bag or in a scabbard or Mace Loop when not being used. They shouldn’t be stored in damp, cold or hot conditions.

Thrown Weapons

Thrown weapons should be made for that purpose, they should have no core or weighted with any rigid weight (leather or rope is acceptable). Layers of foam should be firmly glued together and foam should be firmly glued to any weighting. The foam should be at least 12mm thick on all surfaces. Never aim for the face or other sensitive areas.

Shields

Shields may be of any size and shape but must be approved by a checker. Shields cannot be used as a weapon in any way and punching or barging with your shield is not allowed. Kicking, punching or otherwise forcing your opponent’s shield out of the way is also not allowed. A shield may be constructed out of wood, plastic or foam, but should have at least 12mm of foam padding firmly attached around the edges. The front face of the shield should be free of any metal or similar hard protrusions.

Armour

Metal and rigid armour should be checked over before each game and after any heavy combat. No edge should be sharp or protruding, buckles and straps should be secure and blunt. Chain and ring mail should be checked for any loose or sharp links.

We are quite relaxed as to armour construction – however we tend to avoid obvious velcro, zips and modern fastenings. Also try and avoid metal in direct contact with skin, as it is cold and tends to rust. Don’t leave leather or metal armour wet for long periods of time as they will go mouldy or rust or both.

Archery and Projectiles

These are guidelines rather than strict rules, but potential archers should bear in mind that arrows are potentially the most OOC dangerous weapons in the game and should be treated with extra care. Every bow etc. will be considered on its own merits, and so will every archer – all archers will need to have gone through a Bow Competency test before they will be allowed to use their bow on a game.

Bows and Crossbows

A bow, crossbow or similar weapon will be considered unsafe if:

Active prod crossbows (i.e. the ones that actually work like a bow and aren’t a bit of bungie cord on a stock) are acceptable, however be aware that metal strings can take a chunk out of you quite easily if you have a finger in the wrong place.

Other bow-like weapons follow the same safety guidelines.

As a general rule, check your bow before a game, and check it again if you’ve put it down or it’s been out of your sight before using it again.

Arrows and Bolts

Obviously, real arrows and bolts are Not Allowed.

An arrow or bolt will be considered unsafe if:

IDV arrows are allowed, but version 3 onwards is preferred (to avoid the bounce issue). If neither you nor the trader knows what this means, probably worth using a different trader.

Always check your arrows before the game and before each use.

Archery for Archers

Mostly the same safety rules apply to using a bow as any other weapon, however there are the following extra rules:

Archery for Non-Archers

Archery safety applies as much to the target as well as the archer; non-archers need to be aware of the following:

‘Loose’

Loose is a special call that can be used in specific close combat situations.

Loose may be called if within 10’ of an opponent who is incapacitated, prone, or otherwise unmissable, and it is not necessarily safe to actually loose at them.

The archer points the bow and nocked arrow at the target and calls Loose followed by their current standard damage (e.g. Loose Swift Piercing 6); they may not use any levels of Sniping nor any special strikes. The ‘arrow’ automatically hits the target in the chest, although may be taken elsewhere at the target’s discretion. The actual arrow must be unnocked and returned to the quiver before the next shot may be taken.

First Aiders

At the beginning of every game the GMs should appoint a Player and a Monster First Aider; these are the first points of contact should someone be injured or ill during the game. The First Aiders must either have a mobile phone on them or know who in the player/monster crew has one in case of emergencies, and is responsible for filling in the Accidents Record (stored in the First Aid kit) if an accident has occurred. At the end of the game, the First Aiders should fill in the Incidents Log with any incidents, near misses and medical kit used.

Any member who wishes to be a club first aider can become one by telling the committee they wish to and bringing a certificate or other proof of suitable qualifications. We will accept qualifications equivalent to First Aid For Work Level 2 or higher. Qualifications solely for specific demographic groups, e.g. children or the elderly, are not suitable. The committee will take a photo which will be stored on the website, for the unlikely event of proof of first aid qualifications ever being needed.