Weapons Guidelines

General guidelines

In general, I want to make it feasible for you to bring your weapons from other games to Solitude. Simple “boffer” weapons, commercial weapons with nice decoration, and weapons for heavier-contact games like Amtgard and Belegarth are welcome at Solitude.

At the same time, Solitude’s gameplay is different from some other games, which means I may need to make different determinations about weapon safety. When possible, we will modify how you fight with a weapon rather than excluding the weapon entirely.

If you have a weapon that you use for other games but conflicts with the rules below, reach out. I may be able to make an accommodation or modification.

Weapon rules


Weapons 46 inches (~117 cm) and shorter may be used with one hand. Weapons longer than this must be used with two hands. When using a >46” weapon, you may not use fighting techniques that involve using just one hand (e.g. “casting” the weapon), and if you lose the use of a hand (e.g. due to the Maim effect) you cannot strike with the weapon, although you may block with it as long as you hold it in a way that can be easily controlled. Spears have some special exceptions to these length rules; see below.

Weapons longer than 72” (~183 cm) are strongly discouraged.

Weapons should have some kind of padding over at least 2/3rd of their length. This rule is most relevant for hafted weapons like polearms, so that accidental strikes with the haft are mitigated by at least some padding.

DIY weapon materials

If you are building your own weapon, we strongly encourage you to use materials that make your weapon lighter and softer. Lightweight weapons hit softer even if their construction isn’t perfect.

I recommend 0.5” fiberglass-wound epoxy tubing (aka FWET, kitespar) for one-handed weapons and 0.75” FWET for two-handed weapons. FWET is much lighter and stronger than PVC pipe of similar size, and so PVC is discouraged.

I recommend cloth covers instead of duct tape covering the foam. You can make an easy cloth cover by buying inexpensive stockings (closed-toe) from Walmart or Target. Girls size M tends to work well for one-handed weapons, while Girls size L or larger is good for two-handed weapons. Cut off one leg, stretch it over your weapon, and tape the end shut around the handle. Nylon ripstop tape makes another lightweight and soft cover. Duct tape is discouraged, as it tends to harden with use.

I recommend at least 5/8" of foam thickness on striking surfaces. If you are building a long-hafted weapon, most of the haft should be padded with at least 3/8" of foam to prevent accidental strikes with an unpadded haft.

Tip and Pommel Safety

If a LARP weapon’s hard core breaks through the foam, especially around the tip of the weapon, this creates one of the most dangerous conditions a LARP weapon can be in. Any weapons used should include reinforcement of the foam around the tip of the weapon to reduce the risk the core will break through. Most commercial weapons and professionally-constructed boffers do this by default.

If you are building your own weapon, you are encouraged to add additional tape to the tip of the core, which makes it more difficult for the core to burrow through the foam. You should also ensure the core cannot slide forward, which can be prevented using a tough layer of tape or kevlar.

Pommels do not need to be fully padded, but the construction of your handle should be sufficient to prevent the pommel from impaling someone if the weapon ends up loose.

Stabbing Weapons

For Solitude, weapons used for stabbing must have a soft stabbing tip. This rule is different from the stabbing standards at some games, which emphasize only tip reinforcement sufficient to prevent serious injury. To achieve our standards of lightest-touch combat, in addition to good tip reinforcement we require additional techniques to soften the tip of the weapon.

A good target for a soft stabbing tip is that it can be pressed gently against your eye and will compress before it hurts you.

Many commercial weapons already use extra-soft foam at the tip of the weapon. If you are building your own weapon, you are strongly encouraged to add ~4” of open-cell foam to the tip (after the reinforcement) to make your stabs softer.

If your weapon’s stabbing tip is not soft enough, you’ll be asked to not stab with that weapon. This is probably the most likely way we’ll ask you to modify your fighting to meet our weapon rules.


Spears that are used only for stabbing can be used one-handed even if they are over 46”. When using a spear one-handed, you may not aim higher than the armpit. Spears can pose a special tripping risk due to being extended horizontally, often at leg level, so if you are fighting with a spear we will make sure to do an in-person calibration and safety discussion covering the issues that spears are especially prone to.

Exotic Weapons

Flails, scythes, chains, tridents, “hulk hands” foam fists, hinged staves, etc., etc… they sound cool but can be a big risk for tripping people or knocking them over. No matter how soft the weapon is, tripping and hitting the ground hurts.

I will apply a skeptical eye towards all exotic weapons. There are safe ways to make at least some kinds of exotic weapons, but they generally need a lot of forethought. If your exotic weapon is made to the standards of another game I am more likely to OK it, although I may still exclude it from play.

Definitely ask in advance if you are planning on bringing an exotic weapon.

Foam Arrows & Archery

Foam arrows are used safely in a variety of games, but I personally am unequipped to check the safety of foam arrows. Also, the Solitude game rules were not designed with foam arrows in mind. I’d like to support foam archery at some point, but it’s not currently a priority.


Any shield should be small enough that it leaves at least part of your body (beyond just your head) uncovered. Very large tower shields are not allowed. As a general guideline, shields larger than 36” in any dimension are discouraged, but I will be flexible for interesting designs that do not obstruct all valid targets.

The edges of shields should be at least lightly padded.

Shields may not be used to strike or shove another player.

Shields must be held in a hand or strapped to the forearm to provide protection, i.e. you may not strap a shield to your back or shoulder to block hits. You may use a small shield when using a two-handed weapon 64” or shorter.

Throwing weapons

Throwing weapons are cool, but they pose a special risk of eye injury. As such, they’re allowed at Solitude but they are not intended to be a primary play style.

You may use foam throwing weapons at this game. Any thrown weapon must be entirely made of soft foam, without any harder core inside. Try poking yourself in the eye with the throwing weapon before you bring it and ask “how bad would this be if I miss my throw and accidentally hit someone in the eye?” Throwing weapons that do not have any small points able to enter an eye socket are encouraged, but not required.

In each battle, you may throw throwing weapons up to three times. These uses do not reset during the battle. Yes, this is not a lot–it really is three tosses per battle, not three per weapon or three each time you refresh armor and energy. You may pick up your throwing weapons after using them, but this doesn’t affect the limit of three uses per battle.

Throwing weapons, unlike packets representing magical attacks, are negated if they strike a shield or a weapon. While you may block throwing weapons with a weapon, please do not try and swat them out of the air–we want blocked throwing weapons to fall to the ground, not go flying off in random directions.

When throwing a weapon, you must aim low: no higher than your opponent’s stomach. Consider who is behind your opponent and whether a miss might hit the head of someone on the ground. Any throwing weapons that strike a head, even accidentally, are likely to result in you being required to stop using throwing weapons.

You may only use throwing weapons you personally brought to the battle. If you are borrowing weapons you did not bring to the event, you are responsible for checking them before each battle to be sure they are safe to use. If you have brought weapons to the event, you are responsible for checking their safety before their event and instructing anyone you loan them to in the safe use of throwing weapons. 


A packet is a small bundle made out of stretchy cloth and full of birdseed. They are used for delivering magical abilities at range. Packets pose a special risk of eye injury because they are used as a primary playstyle by some characters, which means there can be a lot of packets thrown around during a day of play, increasing the number of chances of accidental eye strikes.

Packets should pass the “pinch test”: you should be able to pinch your fingers through the packet until your fingers touch. This test ensures the packet is not so full that it becomes overly firm and dangerous. If your packets are failing this test, fill them with less seed.

If birdseed becomes wet, it can permanently harden. Before each game, check all packets you have brought to the game to ensure they pass the pinch test. Discard any packets that fail. We don’t want too-hard packets lying around and accidentally picked up for use in a moment of (in-game) desperation.

Dart Blasters

Most characters at Solitude cannot use dart blasters (Nerf and similar). They are restricted to specific PC abilities and NPC types. When dart blasters are allowed, they must meet these requirements:

Dart blasters must maintain a suitable dart velocity for close-quarters combat. That is generally less than 70 feet per second. Most Nerf-brand blasters meet this requirement, with the exception of the Rival line. Other brands are welcome, but some brands specialize in high-performance blasters that fire darts significantly faster than is allowed.

Dart blasters may be modified for appearance, convenience, or reliability, but any modifications should not increase the performance beyond the above level.

Dart ammunition should be safe. Modified darts may increase the velocity beyond allowed limits. Darts should be clearly visible on the ground to facilitate easy pickup, and anyone using a dart blaster is responsible for cleaning up their darts.

Dart blasters must be spring powered rather than battery powered. They must shoot only one dart each time the spring is primed. They may use magazines or other devices that do not require manually loading a dart for each shot.

Dart blasters used in Solitude should resemble bows, crossbows, or hybrids between a bow and a gun (ala Monster Hunter bowguns). Off-the-shelf models such as the Nerf Crossbolt or Stratobow are good examples, but a cosmetic modification to another blaster to give it a bowlike appearance is allowed.

Dart blasters should be painted to appropriate colors for the Solitude setting. This paint must not obscure the orange tip of the blaster that makes it clearly distinguishable from a real firearm. We play in public parks and we do not want to alarm anyone!