When taking part in any LARP, there are always rules to learn, but you shouldn’t worry too much if you don’t know them all. Safety is the big exception.
The safety rules are extremely important, and all players must know and adhere to them. People should only take part in LARP if they play safely.
With that in mind, please read and become familliar with these guidelines before starting to play.
Your own safety
- Nobody else is responsible for stopping you from doing something silly. If you jump in the river, or throw yourself to the ground in an elaborate but leg-breaking fashion, then it’s your own fault. If you are injured or tired or feel unwell, you should remove yourself from play and let a ref know. Use common sense. If you have a condition that other players should know about, then inform the refs before entering play, so they can inform everyone before play starts to keep you safe.
The safety of people around you
- If you see something unsafe happening, or feel that someone is acting in an unsafe manner, then you should do what you can to make sure they know about it. There are a number of ways to go about this:
STOP THE GAME
- STOP THE GAME is an out of character “call” that any player can use to alert all players to a dangerous situation. If somebody shouts STOP THE GAME you should immediately drop out of character, and stop moving. Repeat the call to people who may not have noticed it. You should use the STOP THE GAME call if you feel unsafe for any reason, if a genuine injury occurs, or for other situations where you need to stop play. We also use STOP THE GAME in CLS for lost glasses, which is why it’s important to stop moving if you hear the call.
Informing the player responsible
- If appropriate, raise the attention of other players if they are in danger (such as if they are about to fall in the river) or if they are acting unsafely. If somebody is hitting too hard, you can either inform a ref or call TOO HARD.
Informing a referee
- For non-immediate issues, inform a referee. If you have a problem with a specific referee, you can inform a different referee or you can inform a member of the exec.
Informing the exec
- If you would rather speak to the exec about a safety issue, that’s fine too.
Listening to additional safety briefs
- There is usually a brief on safety for any new location we use to play (such as scout camps, forests and the like) - if you arrive late, ask a ref if there’s anything you should be aware of. (For example, we often use coloured glowsticks to mark out hazards in the dark.)
ONLY FIGHT WITH SUITABLE WEAPON PROPS
- It is vitally important that you only fight with weapon and shield props that have been specifically built for LARP combat and that have been checked by an experienced weapons tester. Never hit people with any other item or prop.
Don’t hit non-contact players
- Some players can’t be hit for OOC reasons. Be very careful to respect this, and use the non-contact rules if you do wish to attack them IC.
Never stab with non-stab-safe weapons
- Larp weapons tend to have fibreglass or carbon fibre cores. Stabbing with them can cause the core to slip along the weapon and make it unsafe. It’s also not nice to do it to people. This also applies to stabbing inanimate objects - resting a sword on the ground then leaning on it could also make it unsafe, so try to avoid this.
- In CLS, stabbing is only allowed with two-handed compressible-tip polearms that have been specifically designed for that purpose. It is your responsibility as a player to ensure that any polearm you pick up is “stab safe” before using it to stab with. Both your hands must remain on and in control of the polearm at all times. Running the haft through your leading hand (also known as “snooker cueing”) to increase the reach is not acceptable.
- If you wish to use a polearm, you must undertake a polearm competency check by the safety officer.
Pull your blows
- When striking with any larp weapon, try to land as light a blow as possible. If you are hitting someone too hard, they will tell you. If you feel that someone is hitting you too hard, you should tell them. Be especially mindful of this in the cold, where the foam in the weapons tends to become a little harder. Be especially mindful of this at night, because you can’t see people in the dark. Be especially careful when throwing weapons, and practice beforehand to get a feel for their speed in the air.
Be especially careful with head attacks
- Hitting someone hard in the head is completely out of order. Do not do it. As a general consideration, only attack someone on the head when it is the only viable target (a large shield is the most common reason for this), and even then you should exercise cautious judgement.
Check your weapons regularly
- Damaged weapons can become unsafe to use, so inspect them for damage from time to time. If the society safety officer tells you a weapon is unsafe, it is unsafe regardless of previous rulings.
There is no grappling or shield bashing or physical fighting in our game
- Do not manhandle other people - it’s not polite and we don’t allow it. You may if you wish make a personal arrangement with another player to engage in more physical combat, but you must arrange this with each and every individual you wish to grapple with, and it is well worth checking on a per game basis that they are still fine with it - someone who is fine to grapple one week may have an injury the next. Similarly, just because one person is comfortable grappling with another does not mean either would be comfortable grappling with you. You should stop and ask before engaging in any physical interactions (such as picking someone up) unless you have arranged otherwise beforehand with them and know they will be comfortable with the situation.
Don’t throw cored weapons
- There are specially designed larp weapons that do not contain cores that are designed for throwing. Don’t throw other weapons.
Don’t fight hand-to-hand with throwing weapons
- The person you are fighting will not know your weapon is uncored, and if you parry with the uncored weapon, they won’t be expecting your weapon to bend.
- We use bows and crossbows in our game. If you wish to use a bow or a crossbow, you must first undertake a bow competency check with the society safety officer or somebody delegated by them. This will include how to check your arrows for the damage they will inevitably sustain. After an encounter you should check all arrows for damage, any that have been damaged should not be used. When firing judge your distance sensibly: if you shoot someone at point blank range the arrow will rebound straight into you - pointy bit first!
Arrow safety for all players
- Arrows/bolts cannot be blocked by anything except a shield or a person. You cannot parry them with weapons or catch them out of the air, as this poses unacceptable risk that the arrow will spin and start travelling pointy end first.
- When fighting, it is good practice to break from fighting for a second and try to throw any arrows out of the way or move the fight away from a fallen arrow. It is also good practice not to hit people doing this. There are two excellent reasons for this:
- Arrows are expensive - if you break them the archer will get upset.
- Broken arrows are a world of sharp, and if you land on one you will get upset as it impales you.
Physical and emotional wellbeing
Participants in all of our games must follow the Society's Equality and diversity policy, which contains several topics that should never be raised.
If a situation arises that makes you uncomfortable out-of-character, you do not need to continue roleplaying it if you do not want to. If this occurs, drop OOC and get a ref, and they will help resolve the situation OOC without further roleplaying. It is absolutely fine to call STOP THE GAME in this situation.
If there is a specific issue that is likely to upset you and you are OK telling the refs about it, we’re happy to discuss how we can avoid that situation occurring in the game. If you’d prefer to speak to the Exec, that’s fine too.
A list of some time honoured Cambridge Larp advice passed down through the ages
- Don’t fall in the river (on Granchester Meadow)
- If it is cold, remember to dress warmly.
- Remember to bring drinking water, especially if it is hot.
- Always wear appropriate footwear, especially if it is muddy.
- Don’t lie on the floor behind people. If you are lying down in the middle of a melee and feel unsafe, quickly move yourself to be out of the way. Refs will also help move you, if they think things are looking unsafe