Away from the Dinner Table #10: Rampant Mouse Weapons


Those of you who LARP in Europe may be surprised to read that most American LARPs (the ones I've been to, anyway) do not use realistic-looking sculpted latex weapons. Here in the US, we tend to use 3/4" PVC pipe covered in insulation foam, the whole thing covered in duct tape. Why on earth would anybody do this? It's easy to make a sword, and boy, is it cheap! Plus, the large surface area of the 'point' of the sword makes thrusting reasonably safe. The downside, though, is that at the end of the day, you're still swinging a length of padded pipe.

Those of you who LARP in Europe may be surprised to read that most American LARPs (the ones I've been to, anyway) do not use realistic-looking sculpted latex weapons. Here in the US, we tend to use 3/4" PVC pipe covered in insulation foam, the whole thing covered in duct tape. Why on earth would anybody do this? It's easy to make a sword, and boy, is it cheap! Plus, the large surface area of the 'point' of the sword makes thrusting reasonably safe. The downside, though, is that at the end of the day, you're still swinging a length of padded pipe.

I recently had the opportunity to play with some sculpted latex LARP weapons, courtesy of Rampant Mouse Latex Weaponry. What follows are the impressions I got from my time hefting, exercising and sparring with these weapons. If you play in a European LARP, you might as well stop reading now: you probably already know everything I'm going to say. If you're in an American LARP, though, take a look.

All of the Rampant Mouse weapons share a few characteristics. I'll get the objective stuff out of the way up front: The weapons are constructed of latex foam over a carbon fiber or fiberglass core. They are sculpted to look as realistic as possible. Edged weapons have a discernible edge. All of these weapons are surprisingly light (much lighter than PVC or rattan), but well-balanced. I had a very strong fellow haul off and give me a good whack. It stung pretty hard for a bit, but left no bruise or other mark (I've been bruised by overzealous wielders of PVC in the past). Sadly (or fortunately, depending on your point of view), there was nowhere near enough time to try out all of RM's weapons, so I had to focus on four. Here are my impressions of each.

Swashbuckler's Dueling Sword

This sword pulled me toward itself with a force akin to gravity. I tend toward swashbuckler-type characters, and this blade would be a lovely accessory for any of them. The blade is slender and ever so quick, and the bronze-colored basket hilt has the look of a proper rapier. On the downside, the basket hilt is constructed in such a way as not to allow one to hook one's finger around the (nonexistent) quillons, which has an effect on one's control. Apparently, though, I'm not the only person who's noticed this, and the folks at Rampant Mouse say that a redesign is in the works. Once that bug is worked out, the only drawback to this weapon is its hefty price tag. 42", US$225

Knight's Bastard Sword

This weapon is a good solid choice for a stand-up-and-fight warrior type character. The long handle gives it versatility, and it responds as well in one hand as it does in two. Esthetically, it looks very sword-y, like something out of a movie. A good hard hit with this sword will sting a bit if your opponent is not armored. If you're fighting someone wearing actual armor, though, the lightness might make it difficult for him to feel the hit. Be wary of overcompensating. The simpler design of this sword makes it significantly less expensive than the swashbuckler sword. 42", US$135

Katana/Wakizashi combo

When I first saw this paired set, I instinctively wanted to put them aside so they wouldn't get mixed in with the LARP weapons by mistake. When told these were in fact LARP weapons, I was astonished. These swords look just like the real thing at a distance of anything more than about six feet. They even have a simulated temper line along the blade. When you pick them up, you see they are much lighter than their real-life counterparts, but well-balanced. Also, the grip is a bit narrower than I am used to; it felt odd at first but was easy to get accustomed to. The pair I played with had seen some strenuous use: some 50 hours of hard sparring. As a result, there was visible wear on the katana's tip and the first four inches or so of its blade, but nothing some liquid latex and a bit of silver paint couldn't fix. This pair of swords are much more economical than most of the European-looking designs. (Note: the Wakizashi is not yet listed on the RM website, and it can be ordered in lengths from 22" to 32".) 38", US$70 (Katana) 25", US$30 (Wakizashi)

Knight's Practice Sword

If the Knight's Bastard Sword looks like something out of a movie, this blade looks like something from a documentary. It's basically the same sword: same heft, same balance, but with a plainer, more utilitarian design. You can easily imagine such a sword in the hands of a practical warrior who cares little for style, but greatly for quality. 42", US$70

All of the Rampant Mouse weapons share this characteristic: they are light. This is both a plus and a minus, depending on a couple of things. Their lightness makes these weapons quick on the attack and easy to recover from a missed swing. But unfortunately, if they had to parry anything heavier than another latex weapon, they'd be at a disadvantage. If you're going to use them against PVC, you'll want to practice up a bit. They will also all require a bit more TLC than you're used to giving your PVC boffers, and take a bit more effort to repair. Rampant Mouse will soon be offering a DIY repair kit, but this has not yet been posted on their website.

The reason for these weapons' lightness is their construction: latex foam over a carbon fiber (or sometimes fiberglass) core. As mentioned above, this makes for lightning-fast attacks, but there's also one problem. You should never ever thrust with these weapons. The danger is that the core might poke through a slightly worn tip and do your opponent an injury. RM does reinforce their sword tips to make thrusting safer, but it's just not worth the risk. If your fighting style is primarily a slashing one, you won't have any trouble adapting. But if you've ever fenced, or trained in any other art that teaches thrusting, you may have a hard time adjusting. For me, this was a significant issue.

Another thing all these weapons have in common is their prices. No mater which weapon you choose, you will pay much more than you would for the bits to make a PVC-and-padding sword. Some weapons are more expensive than others, of course, and since Rampant Mouse can do custom work, you can pay as much as you feel like paying for your weapon. But the simple designs found in Rampant Mouse's "Essential Collection" are much more wallet-friendly. You can get yourself a pair of shortswords and a dagger for about the same price as a nice pair of knee-high boots.

Overall, I'd have to rate the Rampant Mouse weapons a B+, with the prices and the lack of thrusting ability keeping them from getting full marks. If you can afford to buy rather than make your LARP garb, though, you'll probably be able to buy from the Essential Collection without flinching.

Game on!

Can't use wood? You can get a cheap bokken or bo staff at a very reasonable price at any martial arts outlet, plus they last forever.

Potter said:

"Can't use wood? You can get a cheap bokken or bo staff at a very reasonable price at any martial arts outlet, plus they last forever."

Hell, no, you can't! You may notice, friend potter: these things you mention are *real weapons*. You can injure or even kill someone with a bokken. According to some sources, the legendary swordsman Miyamoto Musashi killed quite a few people with a bokken.

In a good, safe fantasy LARP, you need to be able to swing excitedly in combat without worrying whether you will *actually* hurt the person you're fighting (as opposed to hurting his/her character or monster). The PVC-and-padding weapons work very well for this. In the group with whom I played Fantasy LARP, thrusting weapons had to have a several-inch stabbing tip of foam with no internal support, so they wouldn't bruise or otherwise injure the players.

Some people call these weapons "boffer," by the way.

Neat article, thecraichead. I had no idea such things existed.

While it was true Mushashi killed with a bokken, it is important to remember that he was extremely gifted, mostly, the bokken was used as an "equalizer" against armed opponents. A cheap, ten dollar job would be hard pressed to do damage without any sort of skill from the owner.

I need to go on record about using unpadded wood (heck, even padded wood) as a LARP weapon. DO NOT DO IT! NOT EVER!

The only wood-like substance that should even be considered for use in a boffer is rattan, which doesn't break into pointy, might-just-kill-you bits. And rattan must also be padded, just like PVC.

I don't know what your experience is with the bokken and other martial arts weapons, potter, but you're dead wrong on this issue. A bokken can do lethal damage, even in unskilled hands.

Cocytus, thanks for the kind words.

All the best,

Jeff B.

Well, you see, there you go: I had no idea people were swinging full force. I have always fought in LARPS with people who were trained in forms and what not, so we knew how to pull punch. A bokken was no big deal.

Well, sir, I envy you your group, then. It must be nice to be able to play with a group that is skilled in actual combat. Myself, I always played with a group that included a lot of wanna-be martial arts jerkoffs (such as myself) as well as people with *no fighting experience whatsoever*. We had the occasional batch of confused frat boys join us on weekends; these fellas had a lot of fun playing, but big, strong, and clumsy as they were, you can bet that some of us smaller folk were heartily glad that they were only swinging boffer weapons.

Sir potter, if you delve into the liability aspects of LARPing, I'm willing to bet that you'll see why hardwood weapons simply won't do. They're a big health risk, and I submit to you, sir: they can be as dangerous in unskilled hands as they are in skilled hands. Just from being a bozo in my backyard as a kid, swinging bokken against my brother and my friends, I can attest that a wild swing with a bokken can really hurt someone.

I'm not saying that a trained martial artist such as yourself cannot be trusted with one of these things: quite the reverse. I'm saying that the average person cannot, and often that is what your LARPer is.

The only problem with most of the arts my guys are trained in: combat lasts, on average, 2.5 seconds. The first one to screw up dies.

Nobody is supposed to be swinging full force. I would not stay at a LARP where people were encouraged to do so. Even padded PVC or rattan can do harm when swung full force.

Also, even with the best of precautions taken, accidents can happen. With boffers and latex weapons like the ones I reviewed, at least there's the extra fail-safe of padding. With bare wood, an accident happens, and at best, you get a bruise. At worst, the weapon breaks and somebody gets accidentally stabbed with the new pointy bit. No martial training is fail-safe.

Potter, where do you LARP? What arts are 'your guys' trained in? And does your LARP require its players to a log a certain amount of hours in a dojo somewhere?


Jeff B.

Thecraichead raises a good point. Perhaps I should clarify: my group "checked everybody out" with boffer weapons prior to play to make sure that basic safety rules were observed. Certain weapons, especially stabbing weapons and two-handed weapons, were restricted to players who had some experience using these things with care.

Most of us practiced on a weekly basis in addition to the regular LARPing.

What I meant by my anecdote was this: quick boffer training for a weekend's play isn't exactly a thorough course in LARP safety. We had some players swinging harder than they should've done, and though we tried our best to correct them, people still got bruised from time to time.

From my two LARP experiences I can conclude: padded broomsticks hurt a LOT. I have almost been knocked out by one of those things - a wild swing square on the head, and I blocked that one (almost fully) and all I could do five minutes thereafter was sit in the grass and say "ouch" - i did not scream, I just said ouch. I had far better experience with say a flail made of polystyrene and construction foam, with a rock in it under three inches of protective layers - It was heavy, and took some effort to swing, and could knock you off balance, and was hard to defend against, but did not hurt. Not even a little.
I have heard a tale of guys LARPing in real armor, solid metal, with real, albeit bluted weapons (I do not know them personaly, so this is unconfirmed), but their zealous enthusiasm caused one of them to lie in hospital for two months, and his 1000 bucks full plate was reduced to shreds. He pissed too many players off, and well, they made him regret every word he said - even though one is wearing full plate and has a whoop-ass 20 pound two-handed sword does not mean he should get cocky. :D



ouch, indeed. Well, EM, our group didn't allow head shots. As thecraichead says, I wouldn't have kept playing with them if they had. =)

the craichead:

Everybody I LARP with has extensive training in kendo, kenjutsu, aikido, or hapkido. That's just sort of the way it worked out.

The only thing that I can ~begin~ to conclude from your posts is that "your guys" don't actually hit each other with your bokken. If that isn't the case, I ~personally~ cannot take the notion of a typical larp (with 20+ people) functioning in such a way. Am I off base?


When we LARP, we accept the fact that we are going home with some rather sizable welts, bruises, and cuts. That's just the way it is.

I myself am nursing a sizable lump on my knee, and a large bruise on my chest.

Here in Europe, we play only with event-sanctioned weaponry. Before an event, all weapons have to be checked on safety and only those who are truly safe are allowed.

German producers produce high-quality latex-and-foam weaponry for a nice price.

And gues what: I never have injured anything during my 20+ event-life carier.

Well sure, if you wanna be a little girly ballerina about it.

The most important part of LARP-ing is safety. Why? You want everyone to be able to participate. I don't know what groups you play in, but I'm talking about 700+ player events. If, for any case, someone would get hurt by LARP-weapons on those events the party is over. Period.

The majority of our players are guys and girls (Yes, over 30% of our players are female!) who see LARP-ing as a way to Role-play, not to play combat. Combat is not the all-imporant part of larp-ing! Sure, the mean orcs will have to be slain and the great daemon will have to be fought. But there are many players who will non-combative characters, like the blacksmith, the spy, the faction leader, etc.


I play in a tight-knit group of about 50, where intrigue, stealth, and combat rule the day. And if somebody starts to bleed. it's all the more realistic.

That's just reckless.


On August 11, 2003 02:05 PM, potter said:
Well sure, if you wanna be a little girly ballerina about it.

OK. This was so funny I almost hurt myself laughing, thanks for the laugh, Potter.

But it is clear to me, (a non-LARPer) from the threads above, that you and your pals are in the minority LARP combat-wise. Its great that you enjoy it, but it does seem like a lot of potential risk, and it certainly limits the participants. For example I would not be able to participate (not skilled enough with weapons) and would not want to (I have a family to support, so do not take unnecesary health risks anymore).
I am not bashing your group, in fact it reminds me of my friends and I when we were younger playing equipment-free tackle football on the streets of NYC, we occasionally got bruises, scrapes and cement burns, but we had a great time, and very few bones were broken.

Anyway, enjoy your combat, but count me in the foam/latex camp if I ever wind up LARPing.

Honestly, you take a little what, what's the big deal?

It's not gonna kill you.

I've played on many events, both in the UK and the US. There are differences between the two.

In the US, there is, for some reason, always this need for "realism" in the form of having thrusting tips. And yet in these systems, the combat systems often relegate armor to being ablative. Having been injured by an over-zealous warrior who couldn't seem to recall that he was supposed to be role-playing, and thus not pulling his blows, I have to say I'm not a fan.

In the UK systems, armor is not ablative, and it is accepted that combat is a simulation so there are no thrusting tips. Many of my British friends stare at me as if I've sprouted a third eye when I tell them systems in the US have weapons with thrusting tips. Their take is that it is unsafe. I have to say, I've enjoyed the UK system HeroQuest,, much better than a NERO or an IFGS.

But that's my take, and as I can afford to fly over once a year for a go, I'm happy! :-)

My personal observation is that most US players do not control themselves as much as they can and should, and that is the reason why most US systems have such exacting standards for safe weapons that the typical weapon looks like a big padded stick. And the latex weapons are more realistic-looking, but also require a lighter touch. A lighter touch that most UK systems seem, happily, to be able to sustain.

To each their own, but what I've found is that most role-players fall in the "pull your blows, you monkey" category, while the wargamers fall in the "it ain't fun until someone is bleeding" category. Neither is better per se, and each has its adherents. It's really according to your own personal preferences.

And that's what makes the world go around, isn't it? :-)



Yeah, I gotta say, we're basically wargamers who enunciate.

I'm from Canada, by the way.

potter said:

"Honestly, you take a little what, what's the big deal?

It's not gonna kill you."

I think you're missing the boat, jack. The thing is, some of the weapons you're describing *can* be lethal. You don't have to be a Musashi to break someone's hand or rib with a bokken. If you hit someone hard enough in the wrong place with a bokken, the blow can be a lethal one.

You seem to have a group of trained martial artists. Hey, that's nice for you. But it doesn't describe any of the LARP groups I've ever heard of, let alone played with, so your advice just isn't very good for the rest of us. We're dealing with untrained people, some of whom are a lot bigger than others. Using wooden weapons is *out of the question* for us.

Also, many of us reside in the litigation-happy US of A, where a fractured bone can result in a lawsuit. I don't know about your group, but none of the ones I've played with have a treasury large enough to withstand a judgment of several hundred thousand US dollars and up.

You say you're a trained martial artist. Ok, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and believe you. Just try to remember that other people's conception of LARPing is very, very different from yours before you go making fun of people for being girly ;)

Well sure, anything can be dangerous if you're a dick about it. I can stab someone in the eye with a pen, but they let me bring them into science class. But they won't let me bring a knife or a odd.

Seriously, if you're careful, nothing much'll happen.

On August 13, 2003 01:59 PM, Cocytus said:
Just try to remember that other people's conception of LARPing is very, very different from yours before you go making fun of people for being girly ;)

I think your post about sums it up, most folks are not good enough with sticks to not hurt one-another, and are not interested in getting bruised up in an RPG. Potter's group being a notable exception.
But you have to admit, the ballerina crack was pretty funny. :)

On August 13, 2003 02:25 PM, potter said:
Seriously, if you're careful, nothing much'll happen

The way all the other LARPers choose to be careful is by using harmless weapons.
No one is attacking your group's practice, it is just not appropriate for most groups. But since your having fun, more power to ya.


Good post, John.

Game on, people!

The swords I'm accustomed to are made with 5/8" pipe insulated pvc with a minimum 3" thrusting tip and pommel, 2" of which is open cell foam, instead of closed cell like the rest of the blade. in jersey we have three sorts of fights, mostly. Some people fight quickly, sort of tippy tappy, if you know what I mean. A smaller group of mostly guys will fight harder than they should, but they only fight this hard against each other. Being located in the scumbag state also means that we have a few dirty fighters that will hit you in the nuts. Head shots are not allowed, but everyone knows they happen, and as long as a fighter isn't too out of control consistently, we just roll with the swings. The game I staff at has it's entire rulebook online, if anyone would like to check out the specific rules about weapon-crafting. Check out

As far as latex weapons go, I can't believe that NERO passed them. We've playtested them on and off for five years now, and I just don't think they are safe. I think the fighters here swing too hard, after being used to foam, so the latex really hurt, with the smaller surface area and all. Plus in the winter they get really cold and relly hard. That sucks.

Also, in our combat, we play realistically: one hit kill. You're not going to get hit too much.

see, that makes way more sense now.

But is also makes martial training a neccesity.

Potter: You speak of using wood, the bokken, the bo, and martial arts such as Aikido in your LARP. Have you ever stepped into a well handled bo? I was practicing the basic attack and defense kata (Nihon Goshin Aikido) with one of my students when she stepped the wrong way and instantly had a dislocated shoulder and broken collarbone. Using a bokken, a wrong step could snap a neck. I fail completely to believe you are honest, and if you are, I believe laws could have you arrested much like a gang member.

You are engaging in dangerous activities with weaponry that can, accidentaly or with force be used to kill. The number of injuries I have seen from people slipping while learning the weakest of Bushido Katas has been horrific. Nearly every day in a bustling dojo someone is injured to the point (Blue belt to brown on average) because a wooden knife, a Bo, or a bokken has hit, fallen, slipped, or been fallen on to cause serious injury.

A charismatic fool can act knowledgable, at least until the scholar shows up.

On potter's mention of the pen versus the knife or gun: The pen is a good bit easier to wrest away from you, and less likely to accidentaly do damage, as well as having a practical use in a school. I could say nearly the same thing. Only I wouldn't use a pen, the bare fingers, applied with force, can crush the larynx quite easily on their own. People can be deadly no matter what, schools simply won't allow you to bring in a weapon with no purpose other than being a weapon, or purposes not related to your subjects. Understand?

Mugajak, whatever the hell your name means, you're a dick.

Hey, Potter, don't call names. That's childish. If you think Mugajak's wrong, say so, and say why.
Calling Mugajak a dick just makes you look bad.

And you know what? This is waaay off-topic. Maybe someone would like to write an article on the pros and cons of martial arts weapons on the LARP field, but not me. I'd rather talk some more about Rampant Mouse-style weapons vs padded PVC-style weapons. Anybody have anything germane to add?



After reading the article about the lates Rampant mouse weapons I just can't help myself from writing this.

I play LARP in Europe (Belgium) for over 16 years now and have always used a latex weapon. The fact that you people use pvc pipe covered in insulation foam just raises my hairs on end! A weapon like that would NEVER pass weapons control in an European larp .
The lates weapons we used are subject to a number of rules too : the main one is that the foam they are made of should not have a too high density...
In Belgium most UK produced latex-weapons are considered to hard , so if you order in the Uk you must state that your weapon is to be used in a Belgian larp...they use different foam then.So as far as safety is concerned...believe me they are safe!!
I've been clubbered several times by latex swords of all sizes, maces, axes an clubs and never even had a bruise.
I there is someone wounded it is rather because he fell onto a rock or twisted a foot or something NEVER by a Latex Weapon. Main reason for the rigid rules is insurance : if you want to start an organisation, Larp or whatever, you must legally provide an insurance to cover your players in case of injury... This leads to a very strict safety policy and finaly to the use of Latex-weaponry.
An other nice thing about latex weapons is that you can make them yourself if you are a bit handy . I've used foam camping mats around a carbon core. the foam can be cut into a rough shape and then by use of a scouring machine gradually made into shape.Tthen we turn this into a real latex weapon by "painting " it with liquid coloured latex. Once you get the knack of this you can make very individual weapons to a reasonable standard depending on your own skills.
In Belgium there are a number of companies that make Latex Weaponry for reasonable prices which look "cosmetically" better than the home-made stuff but both are accepted at the local Larp organisations...

I hope I've been able to get rid of the possible prejudice about Latex Weapons ... Believe me they are a lot safer than a pvc -pipe...
I also forgot to mention that in our Larp's it is forbidden to stab some-one unless you use a special constructed weapon ( read coreless) one. Idem on throwing knives , stones etc...
A surf-session on the web might bring up more details for the ones interested...

Keep on adventuring! keep it safe!


I am a fan of Latex-weapons as well, but on some accounts you are wrong. US weapons will pass the weapons control in Europe (I play in the Netherlands, sometimes with Cauldron) since they are much more padded than the european ones. Where my Latex (shatzkammer) scimitars have 5 cm foam between the core and the edge, US weapons have more, all the way.

Lastly, I remember that stabbing weapons with a core are allowed, if they have a special reinforced tip with much foam between the core and the tip.



@ Reginald

You're right : I 've made some omissions and made the failure to take some things for granted about the Us-build weapons ( lack of research ;) )
the truth of the matter is that there are different organisations with different rules so there is a ( large) marge going both ways...
My main point was to prove that Latex -weapons are not necessary more dangerous than other... . I may have been a bit hasty to write down my opinion hence the omissions...

If you sometimes play with Cauldron ( Formanterra? ) there is a good chance we will "bump" into each other on one of their Larps :)

Hey Gang!

Based on the report here at GameGrene, I visited the Rampant Mouse site.

I discovered, by digging a bit, that RM used to sell weapons made by Cloak & Dagger, a UK-based latex weapon company. C&D is no more, and the Diaz', who run RM, then turned to Ex-Caliber, That means that RM is a distributor for Ex-Calibur, who do not sell directly to the public.

Interestingly enough, Ex-Caliber also get distributed by Games Online,, which is owned and operated by Epic Adventures, LLC. EA also run NERO Boston, (NERO Boston is part of NERO International. NERO Alliance does not support or allow the use of latex weapons.)

Apparently the EA folks went directly to the EC folks. And the RM folks were a bit unhappy.

Ex-Calibur have distributors who handle Belgium, France, and Finland; Germany; Germany; Sweden; and Germany. These in addition to the 2 in the US.

Now, I also purchased a sword from RM, a 24-inch short sword. Since I have used other latex weapons, I thought that I'd make a comparison.

From the moment I took the sword out of the package I was not impressed. The foam does not spring back when I press a fingertip lightly. And when I struck myself hard with the weapon, I was concerned that more fragile players might not appreciate being hit by such a weapon.

I have better weapons made by Simon Medlock in my personal armory. Simon works with a group called Eldritch in the UK, I also bought one from Palnatoke in Denmark,

I know that thrusting is popular in the US systems out there, and most systems require that you have a thrusting tip on your weapon. No latex weapon manufacturer that I am aware of, even Ex-Caliber, makes weapons with thrusting tips.

What this means is that any US system that allows latex weapons, as they exist now in the marketplace, is going to have to modify its safety rules to allow for weapons without thrusting tips. In effect, they are going to have to make thrusting a forbidden melee tactic.

Personally, I would welcome such a move. But in my experience, the people who would make such a decision in these groups seem to be vehemently against banning thrusts, claiming that thrusting is a valid technique. I wouldn't disagree, but I've seen thrusting happen with weapon types that historically were slashing types. So the apparent stand on "authenticity" makes no sense to me. And besides, these same systems use armor systems where the armor is ablative--so ablative that after one encounter your armor could become useless, which is not too realistic. These systems also emply magic systems where the only types of spells are touch and small bags filled with birdseed. When you hit your target with the bag, the spell effects them. Not as encompassing as some of the magic systems in use in the UK and Europe.

In the final analysis, I personally will not be purchasing any more items from Rampant Mouse, er, Ex-Caliber.

As always, YMMV!


@ Leander

In two weeks: Shadowrifts! U goin too?

I'm still looking for a player-group, u have someting available?


Sorry I won't be there REginald...
THis year I will not be able to do much more (only Poort By Oneiros )
But Next year I'll be on Formanterra (you know Migs? )
Were a bunch of players from Bruges and Ghent that got to know each other on one of the Poort Games by oneiros and we play together for about 10 years but there is allway's room for a new player . If you want to keep in touch I'll be glad to give you my mail-adress...
I must warn you however about our age : the youngest player is in his 30 the eldest is 46 ( that 'll be me:) )

In "Poort3 we play the temple of Gnu , Godess of life and formanterra we probably be a bunch of veteran soldiers ...kinda like the "Space-cowboys -movie":
old geezers doing young guys stuff ( which isn't far from reality either (lol)

Just a quick question Chris. Do you mean Simon Meldock (Medlock Armoury) or Simon Morgan (Eldritch)?

Sounds like US players are well behind. A friend of mine, who was part of a group of early larpers in the 70's, and later played at Peckforton, first started with broom handles and carpet armour, progressed to pvc piping, and quickly started padding it.

Not being able to thrust takes nothing away from combat - or at least it's never caused me a problem - and is a hell of a lot safer.

I've taken blows to head, eyeball, bollocks and all sorts, and foam latex weapons are the only way forward. In the UK, we've been using them for years, with more injuries from tripping over logs than from weapon strikes.

Mind you, I suppose it's like the whole rugby/american football thing. We're just utterly hardcore in my country, is all.

Hey you guys.

You really should look around the European market, to shop for latex foam weapons. The Ex-Calibur line does not even nearly compare to European standards.
Even if I don't know the NERO organization, their approval can only be a sign of lack of alternatives.
Great priceings, but in German
Nice selection, but also in german
Extremely durable, and with english version
Nice range, and with english version

Well, go now go!

Wow, Potter's attitude about injury and his disrespect of the martial arts is appalling. I have never LARPed and probably never will, but his willingness to endanger himself and his friends is stunning. I am trained in Shaolin-Do, under Grandmaster Sin The', and we are taught to always respect our weapons and forms. Potter sounds like an irresponsible martial artist who is more interested in "bashing skulls" than gaining valuable spiritual and physical training. Sorry to get on the soapbox, but I am adamant about this. This LARPing he does is incredibly dangerous. There's nothing fun about hurting people.


I'm a guy who has never Larped, but I have done several Martial arts in my younger days ( Karate, wing chun, kempo jitsu, numerous freestyle semicontact bouts). I have also studied martial arts techniques and philosophy (book of 5 rings, tau of jeet kun do etc).

I want to comment on this subject in two respects. Firstly from an authenticity point of view. Secondly from a safety point of view:

Of course its imposibble to be 100% authentic. The players are generally not as strong, as fit, or as skilled as trained fighters. Also weapons cannot be as heavy as real ones for safety reasons. Also, as anyone who has done semicontact or full contact martial arts knows, real pain and real damage, completely alter the nature of combat, making fighters much more cautious. The purpose of Larps is surely not to be very authentic, but to have some fun in a physical way. Of course a measure of authenticity is necessary in order to maintain the fantasy. My own opinion is that thrusting strikes by pointed weapons should be allowed because there are many weapons that are meant to be used in this way. Such weapons can surely be adequately padded, or eye and throat protection worn to minimise the risk of injury.

Note that there has been a lot of disagreement about safety in this thread. This is because safety is a matter of attitude. Some people genuinely prefer to take greater risks in order to achieve a more realistic or stimulating experience. Even within martial arts philosophy, there is a vast range of attitudes to safety and the purpose of combat. In general, modern and recreational martial arts thinking tends to emphasize safety and self defence. But traditional, professional, and military martial arts teaching can be much more aggressive. There is a great deal of nonsense spoken by particular schools and particular teachers about the superiority of their philosophy over other philosophies. Its important to realise that the level of realism and danger required depends upon the purpose of the activity. My own opinion is, that Larps are not about serious combat. They are about a fun physical activity that should be performed in a safe way. If using latex weapons, then there should be little risk. If using harder weapons as suggested by Potter, then head, face and throat protection, heavy clothes and gloves should be used. My problem with Potter is not that he likes a more physical game. This is a matter of preference. But he does not appreciate the risks and take adequate precautions. His attitude is cavalier.

The debate here is about PVC weapons being better or worse than Carbonfibre/fibreglass cored latex weapons.

However, IMNSHO regardless of the relative safety of the boffer vs the latex, I don't think I could actually bring myself to use any of the boffer weapons Ive seen on various US LARP websites. Id be too embarrassed to be seen with such a (from my POV) crap looking weapon. And I suspect the vast majority of UK and European LARPers would agree with me on this point. Sorry guys, but your weapons just look poor.

Have a look at:

With boffer weapons, the issue is not how they look; frankly, they look pretty dumb. But they're pretty safe to use.

And with latex weapons, they are also safe to use, as long as the person using it isnt a complete idiot and it is checked.

Tbh, it seems that American LRP uses the safer weapon construction because they are unwilling to fight more safely. I havent yet seen a serious accident caused by a latex weapon (touch wood, I never will) regardless of the situation (as we also allow alcohol at UK events), far more injuries have come from simple accidents like people running into trees or putting their foot in a rabbit hole. Teach your people to fight safely and you can all use the nicer looking weapons.


I would have to agree. And scince we have been playing with latexweapons in Europe for more than a dacade, we might even have some merit in our claim? ;)

But i do understand why you could get the idea of latexweapons being unsafe, if your only referance is the crappy South African sweat shop thingys from Ex-Calibur. Those are both a waste of time, money; and eyeballs...

Why is it, that US players still belive, that they are more cable to create safe foambased weapons in their homes, than experienced professionel craftsmen of Europe?
Eldrith, Medlock, Skain Mohr, Palnatoke or even GV Latex...


Well, lots to address.
1. Folk have made fun of the padded-PVC weapons. Well, I think they're right. Padded-PVC swords just look goofy. Why, then, do USA LARPs use them? For a few reasons. First, it's just what's done here. PVC swords are what folks are used to. Second, if everyone else is using a PVC sword, yours looks less stupid by comparison. (Anyone remember the fashions of the 1970s? My point exactly.) Third, you can go to the DIY store and get all the stuff for a PVC boffer for about US$10-15 as opposed to 80 pounds sterling for a latex shortsword. Fourth, the fact that the tip of a PVC sword is 6.5 cm across, and latex swords can come to a much smaller point, gives folks the _perception_ that the PVC one will be less likely to poke out your eye.
2.Folk have said that US LARPers fight unsafely compared to Euro LRPers (the missing A was intentional). I can neither confirm nor deny this, never having been to a LARP outside the USA (more's the pity). But I can tell you this: in all my years LARPing, I've never seen an accident caused by a PVC weapon (touch wood I never will), and US LARP injuries are also caused by tripping over roots or running into trees.
3. Folk have asked why an American amateur might think he can make a safer weaon than a European craftsman. I'm not sure they do think that. (See above for other reason we use PVC) But for those who do think that, I imagine it's for one or more of the following reasons: a. Jingoism (the false belief that an American can do stuff better than pretty much anybody) b. The tradition of Yankee ingenuity (or, "How hard could it be?") c. mistaken(?) beliefs about the narrowness of the latex weapons' tips being eye-poke-y.

Here's a question: Has anybody actually seen an injury caused by a LARP weapon (either PVC or Latex)? If so, what were the circumstances?


Couple of things.

1. £80 for a latex shortsword?! *jaw drops in disbelief*
I wouldnt consider paying more than £35 maximum for anything up to 36" in length, and my full 48" longsword cost me £45. Surface freight isnt that expensive, so latex weapons could be acquired by those of you over the pond for considerably less than £80. Still not at $10-15, especially considering the current exchange rate, but personally, the improvement in looks is worth the extra cost for me.

I said earlier I've never seen a serious accident (touch wood). I have however been involved in a minor incident at an LRP event.
It was dark, I was facing off against a couple of skeletons, and suddenly hear a shout from my right "LOOK OUT!!!". So I jumped to the right. As I jumped, a ghoul hit me from behind. Since I was in the air, the blow spun me round a bit (didnt hit me hard at all, I was just jumping that way anyway) and my sword tip went up, flicked his glasses off, and lightly poked him in the eye. Total accident, really bad luck, extremely painful nonetheless. (the guy was fine after a rest and a sit down).

The circumstances that contributed? Really bad luck is about it. I'd have jumped the same way in daylight, and a US style weapon would have taken his glasses off as easily as my UK style weapon did. The larger head of a US weapon might even have caused more damage than the small tip of my sword did, equally it may have done less. There was no suggestion of unsafe play by either person, the general consensus was "poor bastard, that was soooo unlucky"

Cor blimey thats quite a long post for me.


Hello all,

I have been reading the discussion here regarding RM weapons, and I would like to be able to address a few items.

First off, I would like to thank the gentleman who did his research into the company. Yes, we used to carry C&D weapons, and we were very happy with the quality, if not the rather high costs, when shipping into the US and customs fees were taken into account. Unfortunatly, C&C closed down, and we had to search elsewhere for a source of product.

Currently, we stock Ex-caliber weapons, as was mentioned. The story behind the Ex-caliber - Epic/Games Online connection is simple. Nero refused to approve the weapons in their LARP unless they sold the weapons and got "a piece of the pie." They even tried to get Ex-cal to cut RM out and make us purchase from Games Online.

Basically the weapons sold by both companies are identical. RM has been working with Ex-caliber to improve the quality of the weapons manufacturered. Our foam is a new type and is a higher quality foam designed to absorb impact, rather than designed to insulate pipes. ;)

We have new weapons coming out fairly often, and I must state that if you are interested in trying out latex weapons, go with a long sword or percussive weapon as they are more representative of the group. Short swords and daggers have an intrinsically smaller profile, and are not as useful as a test of the equipment.

If there is anything I can do to help purchasers of our product in any way, or if you have questions regarding RM as a company, please do not hesitate to email me at


Grace Diaz

Ok well here we go...

First off I would like to say that all of your vews are very intreaging and thaught provoking.

1) About the difference between American and Europian LARPs; Being an american larper I have noticed that we here in America are more into the combat aspect of LARPing and therefore have different requirements from the weapons that we use (more combat more combat oriented weaponry). And in my reaserch of Europian larps they tend to be more role play oriented so there weapon requirements mach (keep in mind I may be wrong here being that I have never been to a Europian LARPing event):(

2)About the "goofy" look of pvc foam weapons.. yes I will admit that there are some larp groups that still use that pvc coverd with isulation foam construction but it isn't true that all american larps do, the larp that I attend uses a fiberglass or carbon-fiber (or other like material) core with "blue foam" or camping mat foam layered over and around the core and an open-cell foam tip then covered with duct tape. This results in a very realistic looking and functinal boffer weapon now I have play tested all types of boffer weapons from the old pvc to the super hi-tech latex foam weapons, and I have found that my "Blue foam" weapon is the one that fits my groups needs and is still safe. now in my opinion the latex weapons do look better than any foam weapon that ive seen but they are also less functinal and in a test between my large 56 inch bastard sword and and a 27 inch latex long sword, my sword was lighter and easyer to weild than the latex sword also if I happen to break my sword (get it stuck on a tree branch or something) I can repare it in a matter of minuets using duct tape. a feature that a latex weapon does not have. So I guess my pointe is that the home made weapons of an American LARP arent exactly the "foam covered stick" that they are made out to be.

Well ok I am done ranting and please check out my LARPS webpage at go to the books section and check out some pics of us and mabie that will help clear up some of the confusion about us larps.


Dear Leander,

I'd like to know a bit more about how you construct your weapons. You say:

" I've used foam camping mats around a carbon core. the foam can be cut into a rough shape and then by use of a scouring machine gradually made into shape.Tthen we turn this into a real latex weapon by "painting " it with liquid coloured latex."

Sorry to be so naiive but where do you get these products?

I'm not into this LARP stuff (whatever that is) at all, but my daughter and her husband are. I just like the idea of making things for them.

Peter (K. Sharpen)

P.S. Please e-mail me as I am not part of this Forum

I don't know which American LARP you are a part of, but if you think we are more interested in combat I would say Dagorhir or Belegarth... I am avery active member of both and must agree, our foam on a stick days are long gone, I even bevel my edges and create as accurate a weight on my weapons as I can. It's good to see others out there trying to show others what LARPing has become, and here are a few websites for the curious...

the last two are personal ones, one is the "realm" I run, the other is my personal site

Grace, I ordered some weapons from you about 10 days ago. I paid via paypal, so you've got my money. My order isn't shipping (which might be okay), and you won't answer my e-mails about what its status is (which is not okay in my book). What's up with your company?

Well, the worst LARP weapon injury that I've ever seen is one that I sustained two days ago (which I think was the worst ever in my group over at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA) which was a swollen elbow. Now, its almost completely healed up (then again I have the metabolism of a small rodent) and still aches a bit but there's still a small smattering of blood blisters on the surface. It was caused by a PVC shortsword in a duel.

My friends and I usually play nice, but in duels we appoint seconds and a Master of the List who decides the rules and terms of combat... which can be much different from normal sword-foolery. Needless to say, that time we overdid it (Yes, us crazy, violent Yanks). ;-)


I've played several different boffer larps over the years and have seen several ugly combat injuries, but only one due to a flaw in weapon construction. I had my hand fractured when I was struck by the unpadded handle of a longsword, which had a 7" bolt in the handle.

Aside from that, most of the injuries I've seen have been caused by accidental elbows and legged/killed players getting stepped on during tightly packed melees.

As for latex vs. foam... I don't think one is any better/worse over all, I think it's a matter of being better/worse w/in a particular LARP. While latex is great for NERO, I would NEVER want to see one used for Dagorhir, which tends to be high impact. The only boffer weapons I object to are the amtgard standard "Funoodle on a stick" type weapons as they have a tendancy to fail in combat w/ alarming frequency.

I agree that the standard Amtgard "funoodle on a stick" boffer is a weak construction design, however, Amtgard is designed with the casual/poor gamer in mind. This lends itself to needing cheap, easily replacable weaponry to use on a weekend. For $5, I can have a single longsword, and for another $15, a shield to match. $20 for an intial investment, plus a roughly $9 a month repair bill is a heavy attractant for the newer player.

Personally, I use kitespar covered in a micro-cel foam. I've had one sword that's lasted through 4 years of hard abuse, and even had to replace the core of it once when it shattered. It really all just depends. I play Amtgard exclusively, now. I started with KANAR in '93, but didn't care for the quasi-algebraic equations. I've been intrigued by Dag and Belegarth, but the Marine Corps was hell on my knees, and I'm afraid that I just won't be able to keep at the heavy pace required for those games (a shame, really).