Weapon and armour construction guidelines

All weapons and armour must be checked by members of the Legacy LRP weapons checking 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 on site at an event but below is a guide on acceptable construction for use at Legacy LRP events (based on guidelines originally created by Emma Woods).

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 a weapon.
  • Surfaces not intended to be striking surface such as the flat of a blade or pommel must also be padded sufficiently so that an accidental blow will not cause injury. Any wrappings on hafts or pommels must be a soft material such as thin leather. 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 of a weapon, and if built in layers, the layers must be securely fixed to each other.
  • A hilt or handle must be securely affixed to the core of a weapon and any wrapping on a hilt must also be affixed to ensure the weapon does not turn in use or become uncontrolled.
  • A hilt or handle that will never be striking surface may be of solid construction such as wood e.g. the handle of a one or two handled sword is not a striking surface but the haft of a polearm may be a striking surface so must be padded as per non striking surfaces.
  • Any protrusions such as a guard, quillons, spikes, studs or jewellery must be coreless and made purely of foam or other suitably soft materials. Protusions on striking surfaces such as spikes on a mace head or the back of a war hammer must be collapsible.
  • Thrusting weapons must have a collapsible tip of securely attached low density foam on the outside and a layer of higher density foam underneath so that the impact of a thrusting blow is moderated and dispersed and the core cannot protrude.  
  • A 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. A core must be a material that is resistant to shattering but that will spring back to shape after flexing. As a guide cores 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 coreless striking surfaces. The link must be made of a 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 a hooking area is not ripped off or the core exposed. A hook must still be padded as per a striking surface.

Missile weapons

  • Bows must have a draw weight of 30lbs or less at 28 inch (71 cm) draw and crossbows must have a draw weight of 30lbs or less at full draw. Both must be of solid construction with no cracks or sharp protrusions, notches or triggers, 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 of an arrow or bolt must be completely blunt with no metal head and have a solid stop between it and the striking end of the head so 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 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 of a shield 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 is 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 so that they 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.

Setting considerations

Setting appropriate weapons, shields and armour should generally reflect dark ages to early middle ages styles, either historical, mythological or fantasy. Late middle ages, renaissance and modern styles are not suitable and you may be asked not to use them.

Appropriate historical examples:

  • Seax, Gladius or Spatha, Scimitar, Poleaxe or Dane Axe, Spears and Pikes
  • Furs, leather, chainmail, breastplate, vambraces and greaves
  • Longbow or recurve bow, two handed crossbow
  • Round, tower, kite or tear drop shields

Inappropriate examples

  • Rapier, basket hilted broadsword, chainswords, baseball bats
  • Articulated, gothic or full plate, colonial marine or power armour
  • Pistol crossbow, musket, compound bow
  • Riot shield
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