Archery and Bows

Herofest LARP allows bows and arrows to be used in the game and here are the rules for their use

Every LARP game works as hard as they can to ensure the safety of their players, their crew, and anyone who engages in the game. For Herofest LARP we now ensure that all weapons that come on to the field of our game are tested by trained game team members and by the faction representatives. LARP is a contact sport that involves many different styles of combat, and while we exclude stabbing and thrown weapons due to an abundance of caution, we do allow the use of bows, crossbows, and their arrows or bolts. 

Bows, Crossbows, Arrows, and Bolts, are some of the most dangerous weapons in any LARP combat. They cannot be entirely made safe by wrapping them in foam or latex, and if handled incorrectly can cause people serious injury.

With all of this in mind, LARP archery is a hugely exciting part of the game and great fun to play. A single archer can change the way an entire fight is going, and can be very handy covering fellow warriors. 

Archer with Quiver on the floor

Larp archery is one of the most fun things you can do at an event, as long as it is done safely

Rules for your Bow or Crossbow

  • Bows and Crossbows cannot have a draw weight of more than 30lbs at a 28″ draw, or a 13kg at 70cm.
  • Bows and Crossbows must be checked to be sure they are in good working condition. The arms of the bow must have no stress fractures, the string nocks have no splits, and the handle provides a good grip. For Crossbows, the bow must be solidly attached to the stock. The string must also be in good condition with no fraying beyond cosmetic.
  • You must NEVER use your bow or crossbow to attack someone in melee or block a melee weapon. Doing this will see you removed from the game for the rest of the event, and potentially banned from future events.
  • When firing at targets closer than 15ft with a bow, you must reduce how far you draw. No arrow or bolts should be fired at closer than 5ft.
  • You must be able to clearly see your target and have chosen to fire at them before you fire. Firing blindly into a fight is not allowed.

Rules for your Arrows and Bolts

  • The shaft must be made of fibreglass or wood. Carbon fibre, aluminium and dowel are not allowed.
  • The shaft must not be cracked, have no splinters, and show no other damage.
  • An arrow must have 3 flights, a bolt must have 2. They must be firmly attached to the projectile.
  • The shaft should have an appropriate knock that is aligned correctly and is securely attached
  • Arrow and Bolt heads must be securely attached and not flex or twist.
  • Arrows and Bolts cannot have a latex or rubber coating over their foam. We specifically ban “Golf Ball” type arrows, IDV Teardrop arrows, and Archery Tag screw on arrow head arrows.
  • The soft part of the foam must be at least 25cm or 1inch thick, and fully collapse under presure.
  • The arrowhead must have some kind of blocker between the shaft and the foam of the arrowhead to stop the shaft pushing through.

Rules for checking your Arrows and Bolts

  • You must perform a check of each arrow before you fire it.
  • Feel the foam on the face to ensure it collapses fully. Sometimes the foam can soak up water if it falls in a puddle or is left out in the rain. Please squeeze the water out before firing.
  • Check that the head is securely attached to the shaft.
  • Gently flex and twist the shaft to ensure no stress fractures or splits have formed.
  • Check the flights and nock are still attached properly.
  • Check the nock is not fractured or damaged.

If your arrow or bolt is damaged, or you are not sure if it is safe to fire, please step out of combat and find a game organiser or ref to pass it to.

Here is a very good video on how to check your arrows before you fire them

Rules for Archery Combat

  • You must fire your bow or crossbow with minimal trajectory, arcing your shots or “lobbing” your arrows is strictly forbidden.
  • Do not fire directly at someone’s head, or aim above head height. Your target should always be the shoulders or below.
  • No bow use is permitted once it begins to get dark. We require some common sense here, but the rule of thumb is when the light is fading, put your bow down. 
  • When you are being charged by someone, unless they are more than 20ft away, you must not fire. Run away somewhere safe to put your bow down before drawing a melee weapon.
  • No bow use is permitted in high winds or while it is raining.
  • No trick shots.
  • Do not try to catch arrows. 
  • Do not throw arrows. 
  • Do not try to hit an arrow out of the air with another weapon.

Rules are one thing, putting them into practice can be quite another.

Bow Competency Training

At Herofest LARP, we require you to partake in a bow competency training to demonstrate the reasoning behind the rules, ensure you are aware of all of them, and how to apply them as part of the game.

Everyone who wants to use a bow at any point while on site must complete the training, even if your current character does not have the bow use skill. It is you the player that is undergoing the training, not your character. 

Once you have undergone your training, your name will be taken, and the event you completed your training. You will be required to redo the training every year, or even sooner if rules are changed or updated. This will be announced at the start of each event. 

Training will take place before time in on the Friday of each event, but can be arranged with the event organisers if for some reason you were unable to make it.