Latex Weapons vs Boffer Weapons

Jcollins316

I <3 Larp Rants
#1
So, One of the Larp games that I play is named similiar to a particular CD burning program... they are wanting to convert to primarily a latex weapon using group.
seemingly this is being done because it increases the level of realism in the game and create atmosphere. The issue I have with this is that Boffer weapons are cheaper to build, rebuild and normal maintenance.. whilest the casual larper will have to shell out 60-100+ bucks for a weapon.. I"m told that self preservation on a latex weapon is easy to learn and do.

even if the cost of the swords is brought down to 30-40 bucks...the game I play has intensive combat.. its not on the level of say Belegarth | Dagohir but as any boffer weapon larper (who's been doing it for a few years) weapons break down.

I think my point is I shouldnt have to learn how to make latex molds or be forced to shell out 30-40 bucks every 6 months up to a year if I fight alot.

anyways... I just hate to see the larp game I play in begin to slowly transform into a UK style larp becuase the management seems to think that is the next evolution of larping.
 

Gimby

Retired User
#2
There is a thread about this a little further down- experience suggests that well built latex weapons can last much longer than 6 months even in pretty high combat systems ( ten year old latex weapons are not completely unknown).

I have to ask- what don't you like about UK style LARP?
 

Nath

Registered User
Validated User
#3
> they are wanting to convert to primarily a latex weapon using group.

Interesting. I hadn't heard that. Through thinking about it (I met Joe himself back in April) I'm not surprised.

>The issue I have with this is that Boffer weapons are cheaper to build, rebuild >and normal maintenance.. whilest the casual larper will have to shell out 60-100>+ bucks for a weapon.. I"m told that self preservation on a latex weapon is easy >to learn and do.
>even if the cost of the swords is brought down to 30-40 bucks...the game I play >has intensive combat.. its not on the level of say Belegarth | Dagohir but as any >boffer weapon larper (who's been doing it for a few years) weapons break >down.

Latex weapons last for years. Even in combat heavy games. Seriously, weapons lasting 10+ years with no repairs needed at not that unusual.

The annoying thing I find is that most latex weapons are not made for stabbing, and so most games don't allow such. However stab safe spears were invented 10 years ago and are perfectly safe.

>I think my point is I shouldnt have to learn how to make latex molds or be forced >to shell out 30-40 bucks every 6 months up to a year if I fight alot.

You don't weapons should last a lot longer than that. Some manufacturers will guantere them a lot longer than that. For example, I brought a broadsword and after 2 years the latex started peeling in the hilt. The maker asked for it back over the winter and relatexed it for free.

>anyways... I just hate to see the larp game I play in begin to slowly transform >into a UK style larp

I'm interested to knwo what in your perception is a 'UK style larp.'

>becuase the management seems to think that is the next evolution of larping.

Well, we use to use boffers here 20+ years ago and evolved past them. Also, I believe Joe has been more influenced by his links to german larp than to UK ones.
 

Havoc

Retired User
#4
I'm not an active fantasy larper, but from what I've heard very few Swedish larps allow boffer weapons any more, and I understand why. If you have to have combat in your larp (I prefer them without) I think it is resonable to require latex. It really do reduce the sillyness.
 

Jcollins316

I <3 Larp Rants
#5
Currently the System that I play in can suck my butt, there isnt any real content for end game.. but thats getting off the point.

A) Didnt see the other thread.. sorry about that, I hate creating a new thread if there's already one there.

B) The converitng to latex nonsense is forthcoming.. I'm expecting it to convert over by 2007 and 2008

C) Is there a manufacturer that you suggest for purchasing the latex weapons?, I tried out the stuff from Knighthawk Armories and they dont seem to bad, the owner of the company is a great guy, but I'm nervous about the use of latex weapons in some of the weather conditions here where I live (The Midwest where it can EASILY reach -20 degrees in the winter) Alot of the chapters I play in here still run events in the dead of winter, so the running around hitting some one with a latex weapon in the cold might go over poorly. Also, people with allergies to latex might cause issues.

D) UK Style Larps: I've not seen alot of characters have alot of carry over if they get experience to the next game, in the game I play in I've played the same character for about 13 years now. It could be I've just not read up on any UK Larps that have carry over, in addition alot of the rules dont seem to be as involved as I like.. very simple effects like 2-10 pages of rules and thats about it. I like something a bit more well.. just more.

E) I dont mind Boffer weapons here in the states, sure combat is much faster but its kinda one of the things that appeal to me... if we could keep the same combat system but slow it down a tiny bit It would be money.

right, perhaps its his German Larp experience that is driving this and not really the UK Larp thing... alot of the european larps have very similiar overtones (again from what I've read..and whilest I know ALOT of just about every american larp (read fantasy combat larp groups) I am not as up to date perhaps I should be on European Larps)

-JC
 
#6
Hitting people with latex weapons in the cold is normally fine as long as the weapons are isoflexed (so they don't get cracks) and the people are wearing adequate clothing (i.e. no bare skin where you're hitting them).

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by 'carry-over'. Most of the live combat UK larps I've been to have been ongoing campaigns where your character gets XP every event and you take them on to the next event. In some of them character turnover is high (i.e. the chance of your character dying is quite high) or even enforced after a certain level (in CUTT you can't advance beyond a certain level and are encouraged to retire uber-powerful characters), in others there are scatterings of 13-year-old characters (LT, Forever's Destiny). Occasionally systems try giving 'loyalty bonuses' where if your character dies you gain more XP for the next one if you've been playing a certain length of time, but that's quite rare and generally causes arguments.

There are UK style larps with huge sprawling rulebooks. Labyrinthe (which only has the very first set of rules online), Forever's Destiny (which has their rules in a pile of five or so ring binders), Hero Quest, Frail Realities (which has quite a lot of their rules online but even more rules in the background which you get hold of if you find out how to get those powers in play). The general trend recently has seemed to be 'simplicity is good', which is a trend I agree with when it comes to system (setting should be complex, system should be simple), but that's another argument and there exist UK LARPs catering to the 'complex system good' crowd.

You can fight quite fast with latex weapons, you just have to learn how to pull your blows. This leads to a safer experience all round (because you don't suddenly get a professional weightlifter or something in your group who can cause serious damage fighting full force and then goes on to do so, they learn to pull their blows too).
 

invisible_al

Registered User
Validated User
#7
Btw Isoflex is a transparent sealant that the majority of UK larp weapons are coated in on top of the latex. It waterproofs them and makes the weapons generally more durable. I believe it's a roofing sealant but I'm not sure if it has the same name in the US as that's probably a trade name.
 

Ryan Paddy

big picturist
Validated User
#8
While latex/boffer may be the most obvious difference between US and European larp styles, the real philosophical difference is around character death and ressurrection.

In most US fantasy larps, characters die but just keep coming back through resurrection. That's how you can have lots of characters around that have been played for over a decade, while still having lots of "deadly" combat.

In most European larp, character death is permanent. Some larps have some ressurection, but it's the exception not the norm.

Both UK and European larps have character advancement between games (although Nordic fantasy larp less so, but then they typically don't have abilities to advance), but permanent death puts a natural limit on it in the case of European larps.

Still, I don't see any reason that adopting latex weapons should lead to a total "Europeanisation" of your larp. I've used both boffer and latex without starting with any particular bias.... and I've found latex to be far preferable. Then again, I like permanent death too. But the two things aren't linked.
 
Last edited:

Illithidbix

Unisystem Zombie
Validated User
#9
If you're going to convert to Latex, then I think a point should be need that if you are going to convert to Latex weapons, have decent latex weapons.

As Nath said a *good* latex weapon, if well treated, will last a damn long time, I've got weapons that I've used for 2 years of regular LARPing (often once a week on adventures still in damn good quality, unless something tragic happens, re-latexing is all you need to do for a damn long time.

I get the impression that the Market for Latex weapons is far smaller in the US than the UK, hense perhaps the demand for quality is less high, or at least suppliers lack the experience or the desire to make very good weapons.

Amongst my local LARP group people are *strongly* discouraged from buying a LARP weapon from websites, even if they're made by a normally reputable company, there has been a few times when the reffs have checked such a weapon and replied “Umm, I’d prefer that *not* to be in the system…”

As a personal principle: *Always Pick up and test a weapon for weight, balance and general *wangyness*, and try a practice duel and see if it's a weapon you can rely upon yourself to be able to use safely.

If making Latex weapons, a good idea to make a fair few practice ones, then try them, also er on the side of caution with padding etc, even if the weapon doesn’t look that pretty as a result.

Just how viable an option this is for your groups.
 

Jon H

dot dot dot
Validated User
#10
invisible_al said:
Btw Isoflex is a transparent sealant that the majority of UK larp weapons are coated in on top of the latex. It waterproofs them and makes the weapons generally more durable. I believe it's a roofing sealant but I'm not sure if it has the same name in the US as that's probably a trade name.
Just a note of caution to anyone using Isoflex Special Primer as a varnish themselves - it is a very nasty substance. Just to show my credentials here for credibility, I used to manage the workshop at Kin Cheap under James Morris. We always used isoflex whilst wearing boiler suits, gloves and respirators, as well as having a 24 inch extractor fan running at all times.

Other toxic sword making substances like contact adhesive generally enter the body and leave after a time. Isoflex's ingredients remains in the body, according to its health and safety specs. Not a fun thing to mess about with. It can mark the skin for a week or so, which contrary to some hobby swordmakers, is not "funny". That's poison right there on your skin.

Be careful with it if you must use it yourself. Never use it indoors without extraction and respirators. I personally wouldn't use it outdoors without a respirator either. Nasty nasty stuff.

edit: some info on isocyanates, which are found in Isoflex.
 
Last edited:
Top Bottom