Combat and Weapon Safety
1: This is a lightest touch game. This means that we only allow you to swing a weapon up to 90 degrees. A simple test is to put your arm straight out ahead of you, then bring it back to where it is out to the side parallel with your shoulder. If you bring your arm back farther than your shoulder then you are swinging the weapon too much. This prevents you from putting too much force behind your swings. You should only hit people hard enough for them to register the hit, the object is not to beat the tar out of your opponent. Full force, full strength, or "baseball bat" swings are not permitted, as they can lead to serious injury.
2: Weapons should only be swung horizontally, parallel to the ground, or at a slight angle. Never swing a weapon downward vertically from over your head as you are likely to hit someone in the face or groin.
3: You are permitted one 90º swing per second per weapon in order to attack an opponent. You must pull your weapon back at least halfway to 45º between swings to prevent quick repetitive strikes. This fighting technique, often called machine-gunning, is not allowed because the hits strike in such rapid succession that it can be both painful and impossible for a target to register just how many hits made contact. This can lead to character death if you are unable to call your protectives accurately. If you take the illegal hits due to confusion, that is your choice, but it is not required. You should point at your attacker and indicate (nicely) that it was machine gunning and you are not taking the hits. Most people get excited and honestly do not realize that they are machine gunning. When the adrenaline is pumping, it's easy to do. If you point it out and there is still a problem, you may check with a Safety Marshal after the combat. If it is a serious or repetitive issue from the same person even after you have called it the their attention, you may call a Hold to have it resolved by a Marshal during combat. Repeated offenses from the same individual will result in that person being pulled from combat. Anyone pulled from combat will be given an immediate refresher course in safety before the Marshal clears them to resume play.
4: Legal target areas are arms, legs, and torso. Head, hands, feet, and groin are not legal target areas. Hits in these areas do not count. The only exception to this is packet-delivered effects, which may hit these areas or a person's clothing or shield and still take effect. Packets may not be aimed at these targets under any circumstances, but, if they happen to hit them, the effects of the packet should be taken as appropriate.
5: You should never come into physical contact with another player during combat. The only contact allowed between players in combat is by weapon or packet. Punching, hitting, kicking, tripping, tackling, etc are strictly prohibited for safety reasons. Similarly, any attack with a weapon, such as a leg sweep, that results in purposeful tripping or grappling of an opponent or their weapon is forbidden. Grabbing an opponent's weapon is illegal, as contact should only be made from weapon to weapon or weapon to shield/armor. You may not purposefully pin or entangle another party's weapon. If this happens by accident, you should stop, disengage, and each take a step back before re-engaging in combat. Likewise, shield bashing (hitting someone with your shield in order to knock them off balance) is not permitted, and you may not use your natural strength or body weight to force someone's weapon or shield aside as it can lead to serious injury.
6: Charging is not allowed in combat situations. Charging is defined as running full speed into combat or directly at a specific opponent without slowing. This results in forcing your opponent to backpedal or step aside for fear of being hit. The easiest way to prevent charging is to pay attention to your speed and distance. Melee range is defined as 5 feet from your opponent. A good way to judge this visually is to put your arm straight out and touch fingertips with another person doing the same. That double fingertip length will illustrate roughly 5 feet so that you may have a point of reference. Another way to judge melee range is if your weapon (whatever the length) is able to touch the tip of their weapon (whatever the length). Longer weapons have a wider melee range. You may run until you reach melee range, but only if you can safely stop immediately. It is recommended that you begin to slow at the 10 to 15 ft mark in order to be at a complete stop before you engage in melee combat at the 5 ft mark.
7: Crowding is also not permitted. Please be respectful of others' personal space, particularly in close quarters and field battle situations. When a wave of enemies is pushing you back, it's easy to trip over the wounded if you get caught up in combat and don't check before you step back. Please try to maintain the line, and be conscious of your surroundings at all times so that no one gets stepped on. If you are being crowded simply ask the people around you to back up and give you some space. Try to be conscious of this, and leave everyone enough space to move and turn freely in close quarters.
8: Archers must be certified by an Archery Marshal prior to using a bow or crossbow in play, and must complete the archery safety course. All arrows must be constructed according to the guidelines detailed in the Dark Passages Weapon Creation Guidelines. Max draw weight for bows is 30 lbs. Max draw weight for crossbows is 25 lbs. There will be absolutely positively NO compound bows allowed in play at Dark Passages. There are significant safety reasons for this, which we will be happy to explain if you wish to know. While we realize that there are a select few individuals who understand the mechanics and can fire them safely, the technology does not exist in game to make them, and the majority of people who attempt to use them do not understand how to do so safely in a consistent manner, thus we cannot make any exceptions to this rule. For crossbows phys-reps we will allow Nerf-style crossbows to be used.
9: Firearms phys-reps allowed in Dark Passages may be of several varieties. The foam ball shot spring loaded type commonly seen in other local LARP's is fine, as are any variety of foam dart weapons. We recommend Nerf/Air Dart/Air Blasters/etc as affordable budget weaponry, but please be aware that foam ball and foam dart style weapons do not fire well in windy conditions, have a fairly short range, and may not be felt through heavy armor. We also allow phys-reps that fire rubber band style shot, and we will consider other varieties of firearms phys-reps and shot on a case by case basis, but only after a thorough safety inspection and test firing by a Safety Marshal. Firearm phys-reps should be painted or designed to look as historically accurate as possible so as to not break suspension of disbelief. Please do not bring a bright fluorescent yellow gun to game, at least make an effort to spray paint it brown or silver. There are a variety of plastic paints on the market, if you have any questions, please email Plot and we can send you detailed instructions, advice, and recommendations. Single shot pistols or rifles, shotguns, repeating rifles, or six shooters are allowed. For six shooters on a budget we recommend the Nerf Mavericks.