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The Wizard's Desk

The Wizard's desk is a blog space where our staff and creative leads offer their insight and experience on engaging with DrachenFest US! We're excited to share what we can, so pull up a seat!

Changes to Ranged Attacks in 2024


After the 2023 event, we collected a lot of feedback and data about Ranged Attacks at DrachenFest. In order to make good decisions about how to update our rules, we assembled an Archery Safety Panel composed of both player and referee archery experts. Numerous types of arrows were tested, data was collected and analyzed. This post will talk about their mission, the updates we've made, and centralize information about ranged attacks. This will continue as an ongoing iterative process.


ENORMOUS THANKS TO

Players: Tony D'Imperio, Justin Godey, Paige Hermann, and Jeffery Mclean

Referees: Rhys Benson, Michael Davidson, Red Flammhar, and Spencer McGhin


The panel’s mission

  • Identify specifications for “safe” arrows, and recommend manufacturers.

  • Review the organization’s existing archery rules and pinpoint weaknesses in content and presentation

  • Compare the organization’s rules to those of other larp events who allow archery

  • Identify teachable actions that can be taken on player, camp, and rules/ref levels to improve the archery experience


Their recommendations have been folded into referee training, and the rulebook/warbook.


The DrachenFest Ranged Weapon Rules

Rules which are new in 2024 are italicized


  • Ranged Weapons do 1 hp damage & ignore armor. They do not affect Large Monsters.

  • Your shots must directly target a specific, visible person. You may not arc your shots in order to target a more distant target or a person behind cover. Never fire blindly into a crowd.

  • Don’t aim at the head, neck, or groin or fire within 10'. 

  • You can pick up and fire other people’s arrows, but always inspect them first.


Bows and crossbows can’t block weapons, and Melee Weapons can’t block your ammunition. Arrows cannot be used as melee weapons.


Requirements & Specs

Rules which are new in 2024 are italicized

All archery ammunition must be purchased from a professional manufacturer. If you’re unsure about ranged weapons and ammo, here's what makes equipment legal to use at DrachenFest:


  • They must look medieval. No guns.

  • Bow max draw strength is 30 lbs. Its max draw length is 28 inches.

  • A Crossbow's max power stroke is 420 inch-pounds. Power Stroke = inches between the resting and cocked positions of the string, multiplied by the crossbow’s draw weight.

  • Bolts and arrows must be constructed by a pro manufacturer, and must have a metal or high-impact plastic stop so the shaft can’t pierce the foam head. 

  • Arrow and bolt heads may be constructed with a flat face of open-cell foam with a cloth cover; or be teardrop-shaped or flat-faced and made of sealed EVA foam. 

  • The head can’t move in relation to the shaft Ie. No twisting, wobbling, or rattling. Modular/screw-on heads must be permanently affixed to the shaft. 

  • Arrows and Bolts must have at least two full vanes/fletchings. 

  • Arrows must have a nock, and a “draw stop” (tape is fine) placed a maximum of 28 inches away from it on the shaft. 

  • Arrow shafts must not be made of metal or bamboo.


The following arrows/manufacturers are recommended for use

All recommended arrows have been tested and safety team approved for a 30lb draw limit

  • Gorg the Blacksmith - Modular flat-head open cell foam arrowhead with a cloth cover, and the corresponding 31 inch carbon-fiber arrow shaft with plastic nock purchased separately. Can be bought in a multi-pack.

  • iDV Round Head Sleeved Arrows - Static teardrop-shaped iDV arrowhead on a 30 inch epoxy-glass resin shaft inside a shatter-protection sleeve with plastic nock. Includes a 4 year warranty on the arrowhead and shaft.

  • iDV Elven Wood Arrows (High Speed) - Static teardrop-shaped iDV arrowhead on a 29 inch fiberglass shaft with a larger, rounded plastic nock.

  • WOARCHERY Round Foam Tip LARP Arrows - Static teardrop-shaped EVA foam arrowheads on 34 inch epoxy-glass resin shafts with plastic nocks. Purchasable through Amazon in sets of six.

  • TY Archery Broadhead Foam Arrowheads - Modular flat-head EVA foam arrowheads. Shafts not included. Purchasable through Amazon in sets of six. Bright lime green or orange heads only.


Player Buy-In to Safety Culture

DrachenFest’s player safety culture starts with camp leadership. As of this year, the camp-appointed General will hold teaching/training sessions for the camp army, and incorporate feedback from other Generals into briefings/trainings/drills. This new feedback loop will be detailed in our blog series about camp leadership, as well as in the handouts given to camp Generals. A bow poundage scale will be available in each camp.


The Safety Inspection: Step By Step process

You’re in battle, and an enemy’s arrow lands next to you. Can you pick it up and use it? If you fire an arrow from the ground without inspecting it, a Referee will issue a warning or strike.


How to check an arrow:


  • Visually inspect the arrow as a whole. Any obvious defects?

  • Feel the arrowhead. Does the foam compress and spring back appropriately? Are there any cracks or tears? Is it waterlogged?

  • Wiggle the arrowhead. Is it firmly attached? Does it wiggle or twist independent of the shaft? Are there screw threads visible at the base?

  • Feel the shaft. Is it in one solid piece? Are there any cracks? Is it straight or is it bent/curved? Is a draw stop visible?

  • Observe the vanes/fletching. Are there at least two? Are they in good condition? Are there cracks, tears, or chunks missing? Are they loose?

  • Observe the nock. Does the arrow have one? Is it cracked or broken? Is it loose?


Removing Unsafe Equipment From Play

During a fight: Players should not use any arrow that they have not personally inspected.


If you find an unsafe arrow that isn't yours: Give unsafe arrows to an on-duty Ref and let them know what's wrong with it. If an arrow’s owner is identifiable, the Camp Ref will return it upon request and advise that it be removed from play. Unidentified damaged arrows will be held at the nearest Ref Stand until the end of the event, and will then be disposed of.


After a fight: Players should collect any arrows they find and move them to the side of the battlefield (often in a large pile). Players should identify their own arrows and inspect them for safety and usability. Err on the side of caution, as arrows can become damaged during any fight. Players should remove unsafe arrows from their kit. Damaged arrows must be thrown away, or taken back to one's camp/car where they are unlikely to be mistaken for viable ammunition.


Conclusion

There are limitations on the scope of what this group could address, while remaining within the realm of possibility, feasibility, and legality. We believe that the above actions, taken in whole or in part, will result in improved safety for the use of archery in DrachenFest-US.


We also acknowledge that this process is ongoing, and far from complete. Each and every year, we will continue to collect data, both on site and with your feedback, observe the findings, and make appropriate changes to create a better and safer DrachenFest-US.



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