Because I’m on a roll with posting info lately and we have had an influx of new players over the past couple of events and we want you to feel welcome and safe here, I’ve compiled some information you should be made aware of. I know that the Player’s Handbook can seem burdensome to read and I also know it does not cover all of your questions or, for that matter, the exceptions you might see at SOLAR so here’s some helpful information on weapons for you. Also, as a new player – keep in mind that you can always borrow a weapon for your first event or two, either from Monster Town or from a helpful veteran player that has one to spare. (Note: the majority of this information is on page 248-253 of the PHB)
Waylay Widgets: 6-12″ long weapons constructed entirely of foam (and tape) with no pipe. These are either carved out of open cell foam and covered in tape or closed cell foam or they can be purchased from some SOLAR vendors on site as well as online so long as they specifically state that there is NO latex present in the weapon. For example, an unaffiliated SOLAR vendor called Dark Knight Armory has a variety of non-latex all foam daggers and axes for sale that are completely SOLAR safe.
1H & 2H Melee Weapons:
If 12″ – 24″ (dagger size), they must be made with 1/2″ PVC pipe + 5/8″ thick pipe foam
If 25″+, they must be made with 3/4″ PVC pipe + 5/8″ foam (400 PSI/schedule 40 for weapons 44″ and over)
Specific additional information on crafting Polearms, Staves, Spears, and 2H weapons is found in the PHB.
We are playtesting a new style of weapon (link under documents on the FB group) that are only able to be crafted to SOLAR standards by 5 SOLAR-approved boffersmiths. There is no latex in these weapons but they have a much more realistic look than the standard boffer above. If you are a new player, we would advise not spending the additional money on these until they are approved for open use. These weapons use a 3/8″ structural fiberglass rod core w/a cross-linked polyethylene blade and Eva foam cross guard.
Missile Weapons & Thrown Weapons:
These must be made entirely out of pipe foam and open cell foam. They can be any shape or size but the longest dimension cannot exceed 18″ and the minimum is 8″. Thrown “rocks” have at least a 4″ diameter. Especially small thrown weapons can be of closed cell foam. These are either carved out of open cell foam and covered in tape or closed cell foam or they can be purchased from some SOLAR vendors on site as well as online so long as they specifically state that there is NO latex present in the weapon.
These weapons are made entirely of pipe foam with an open cell foam thrusting tip, weights may be placed in one end so long as they are covered in foam. Word of warning for new players – in 20 years I’ve never seen anyone successfully use javelins.
Bows & Crossbows:
These may not have more than a 15-pound pull and arrows/bolts must be entirely made by foam or safety approved by an Archery Marshal. Bows should be padded with pipe foam, however, new techniques have brought forth the ability to coat bows and crossbows with polyethylene foam or similar non-latex foam. That said, see your Archery Marshal (Nichole Head) before you spend time and money to do so as this technique is not automatically approved like pipe foam is.
1) Old style arrow construction listed on page 255-257 in the PHB. This is mostly phased out as the arrows did not work very well.
2) Purchasable arrows, see page 257 in the PHB. Special low-speed fiberglass arrows have been approved for SOLAR, these are commercial-grade LARP arrows you will see at most other LARPs however due to safety issues in the past these MUST be approved/modified by the Archery Marshal (Nichole Head) and you must order through the Archery Marshal (at cost). If you want to get into archery, it is a costly endeavor – play around with the Archery Marshals’ bow and arrows before opening ceremonies to get a good feel for how it works before dropping $200 on arrows + a bow.
All this said – the only commercial-grade LARP weapons allowed at SOLAR – that is, purchasable at Ren Faire, online, etc. are Waylay Widgets/Thrown Weapons (non-latex weapons only) and LARP Arrows (ordered through the archery marshal). We’ve tried allowing the stuff that other LARPs use and the online mass-producers sell and the durability and safety simply do not adhere to the incredibly active nature of SOLAR-combat.
If you have any further questions on SOLAR-safe weapons, please do not hesitate to ask the FB Group!