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Safety First

The safety of all participants is extremely important, your own personal safety is your responsibility and so it is important that you know how to fight as safely as possible whether it be with melee weapons or bow and arrow. Before considering combat of any kind, you need to understand and be aware of the following rules.

  • If you are unsure or this is your first larp event you must attend the new player briefing held at each event.

Blows must be pulled so that the person being struck feels a light tap and nothing else.

  • You must only strike with the striking surface of a weapon, never the pommel or hilt.
  • If you are using a 2 handed weapon you must hold the weapon appropriately.
    • This should be with one hand at the base of the weapon and the other approximately halfway up the shaft or a minimum of 18 inches apart.
  • You may only making stabbing attacks with a "collapsible head" spear.
  • Never aim to strike the neck, face or groin of an opponent.
  • Avoid placing blows on heads or breasts where another location is available and never stab at them.
  • You must not grapple during combat encounters.
  • Never catch or try to grab weapons including arrows.
  • Never parry arrows with a melee weapon.
    • You may block arrows with a shield but do not parry them away.
  • You may gently push with a shield but must not barge with it.
  • Bows can be extremely dangerous and more details can be found below.

Bow Safety

You will be asked to demonstrate your competency with a bow before you will be permitted to use it.

  • This can be competed at games control at advertised times where you will be given a certification laminate to carry with you at all times.
  • If you are found using a bow with this certification or registration on our system you will be escorted to games control and potentially asked to leave site.
  • You must understand how to securely string your bow and ensure this is always correct when in use.
  • Never aim for the head or groin.
  • Never fire the bow at full draw when your target is at less than 10 metres away.
  • Only fire at targets you can see, never fire lob shots into an area you cannot see.
  • Never use the bow as a melee weapon.
  • You must understand how to check an arrow correctly and ensure this is done every time it is fired.

Weapon Phys Rep Safety

All weapons, shields and armour must be checked by a Carcosa Dreams rep before use.

  • This will be done at games control when you collect your character pack and sign into the event.
  • You must bring the weapons you intend to use during the event, it is not acceptable to bring your group weapons.
  • Note that where there is an access requirement exceptions can be made.
  • For more details see Weapon Safety Guidelines.

Personal Responsibility

You may not engage in combat if you have been drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or are under the effects of any medication which will impair coordination.

  • Anyone found or suspected of being “drunk” and engaging in combat will be removed from the combat by CD staff as a safety issue.
  • Further action, up to and including removal from from site when sober may follow.

Accidents Do Happen

Live roleplay is a contact sport and as such, even when following all of the rules, it's still possible for accidents to happen. If they do, keep a cool head and follow these instructions.

  • In the event of an accident or other dangerous incident please shout clearly shout SAFETY followed by the issue happening.
    • So for example if someone has fallen and is injured you should shout SAFETY FIRST AID.
  • If you hear a SAFETY call please stop role-playing straight away and remain where you are so that the games team can find and deal with the problem sooner.

Safety in Different Areas and Environments


Ensure your camp is always as safe as possible, do not leave real tools, glass, cans or other hazards around.

  • Never participate in combat near camp fires or cooking equipment.
  • Be sensible as a group, time out and move to a safer space before continuing the combat.
  • Where a threat is obvious and you are able to do so, we expect participants to in character flee the camp or in character leave the camp to engage the threat away from tents and fire places.
  • Be careful and take care to avoid fighting in and around tented areas due to ropes and pegs.


  • Wooded areas can be slippery and will contain many trip hazards.
  • Take extra care to watch your footing and avoid running at full speed in dense areas.
  • Never jump streams or ditches, if you cannot climb through them safely due to water or height then do not cross.
  • Never climb trees.
  • Be aware of branches and twigs at head and face height.


  • Take your time on slopes and avoid running down them at full speed.
  • Be aware of your limits. Combat on slopes can be extremely tiring and put a strain on the body.

In Darkness

We expect all participants to take additional care when engaging in combat when it’s dark.

  • Never run at full speed in wooded or heavily obstructed areas such as camps.
  • Do not aim for the head regardless of locations available.
  • Reduce your fighting speed to a safe level so that you have full control and only strike where you can see.
  • Never make blind strikes into the dark!
  • Always carry a light source on your person, even if it’s just a small torch in your pouch.


Take additional care in the rain and be more aware of your footing.

  • Avoid running at full speed.
  • Ensure you have a place to dry yourself and your costume.

Hot Weather

  • Keep hydrated. This is your responsibility.
  • If you feel unwell leave the combat and let others know you are feeling unwell.

Cold Weather

  • Wear suitable warm layers.
  • Weapons can become hard, check them before engaging, they may need warming with your hands.

Weapon Safety Guidelines

All weapons and armour must be checked by members of the Carcosa Dreams team before being used. This team and the referee team will also arrange for training on how to fight safely.

All weapons and armour will be judged individually but below is a guide on acceptable construction.

Melee Weapons

Striking surfaces such as the edge of a blade, mace head or a haft of a pole arm must be padded with sufficient foam to prevent the core from being felt on a blow. As a guide a thickness of at least 12mm LD45 foam is generally sufficient for one handed swords.

For large flat striking surfaces such as a hammerhead a low density foam layer is recommended to reduce both the weight and impact of the weapon.

Surfaces not intended to be used as a striking surface such as the flat of a blade or pommel must also be padded sufficiently such that an accidental blow will not cause injury. As a guide a thickness of at least 6mm LD45 foam is sufficient on the flat of a one handed blade.

Foam padding must be securely affixed to the core along the entire length, and if built in layers, the layers must be securely fixed to each other.

The hilt or handle must be securely affixed to the core and any wrapping on the hilt must also be affixed to ensure the weapon does not turn in use or become uncontrolled.

Hilts or handles may be of solid construction such as wood if clearly designed to be a completely non striking surface – e.g. the handle of a one or two handled sword is not a striking surface and may be made of solid material, the haft of a polearm may be a striking surface so must be padded as above and any wrapping must also be a soft material such as thin leather.

Any protrusions such as a guard, quillons, spikes, studs or jewellery must be core less and made purely of foam or other suitably soft materials. Protrusions on striking surfaces such as spikes on a mace head or the back of a warhammer must be collapsible.

Thrusting weapons must have a collapsable tip of securely attached low density foam on the outside and a layer of higher density foam underneath such that the impact of a thrusting blow is moderated and dispersed and the core cannot protrude.

The core must be sufficiently rigid such that the weapon is not too ‘whippy’ but with sufficient give to reduce the force of a blow, especially for heavier weapons. The core must be a material that is resistant to shattering but that will spring back to shape after flexing. As a guide core made from glass reinforced plastic or carbon fibre are suitable but wood, metal or bamboo are not suitable.

Thrown weapons should not have a rigid core or be too heavy.

Flail type weapons must have core less striking surfaces. The link must be made of soft flexible material and the overall length of the flexible section must be short enough not to wrap around a limb or neck. As a guide links made of foam, leather or soft string are sufficient and common designs feature two half links attached to handle and striking head with one full link connecting them.

Hooking weapons must have internal reinforcement to ensure the hooking area is not ripped off or the core exposed. The hook must still be padded as per a striking surface.

Missile Weapons

Bows must be 30lbs or less at 28 inch (71 cm) draw. They must be of solid construction with no cracks or sharp protrusions, notches must securely hold the string and the string must be in good condition.

The head of an arrow or bolt must have at least a 2 inch (51 mm) diameter head, the front of the head must be a low density foam backed by a flat faced medium density foam such that the head cannot penetrate an eye socket and compress the eye. The low density foam must compress to absorb the impact such that the arrow or bolt does not unduly bounce backwards on impact, and must be free of debris.

The shaft must be completely blunt with no metal head and have a solid stop between it and the striking end of the head such that it cannot protrude into the striking area under any circumstances. The shaft must be securely attached to the head and made of a material that is free of cracks under light flexing and is resistant to shattering. As a guide shafts made of some woods or fibreglass are suitable and materials such as or carbon fibre, wooden dowel, bamboo or metal are not suitable.

The flights and nock on an arrow or bolt must be securely affixed.

Shields and Bucklers

Shields and bucklers with solid cores must have a layer of foam padding on the front to protect against accidental strikes. There must not be any un-padded surface on the front. The rim of a shield must be padded in line with the striking surface of a weapon (although it is never to be used as such).

The handle must be securely affixed such that the shield can be controlled at all times.

Any metal bolts securing handles or straps must be cut down and filed smooth to remove any sharp edges.

Where a centre boss in present it must also be fully padded and preferably collapsible.


All armour must have smooth edges (filed or rolled in the case of metal) and chain links must be fully closed such that it will not cause injury in the case of accidental contact with skin or damage to weapons.

Fibreglass, resin or other types of brittle material must not be cracked or worn to the point they may crack during combat revealing sharp edges.

Studs or rivets must be secure and tower studs or metal spikes are not permitted.

You must be able to fall over safely in your armour.