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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!

Revisiting the Arrow Conversation

Updated: Feb 14

Love em, hate em, or just don't like em'- we're here to talk about arrows, our controversial decision to pull modular arrows from play last year, and what that means for this upcoming event. TLDR: You can use modular arrows again.

No gloriously mustachioed members of blue camp were harmed in the making of this photo. (Seriously, Rob was fine.)

"Some arrows passed me and I heard rattling. Please advise."

The radio call was simple and to the point. our blood ran cold.

Multiple arrow heads in play had detatched partially from the shaft. We had to do something, because that's how an event of any size can end up with some of the most serious possible larp injuries.

Our operations center and comms were abuzz with discussion, and we deliberated for a while, but we could not pin-point the poorly affixed arrowheads. We made the difficult call to remove modular arrows from play. We did know that there were multiple offenders from several camps, but in the thick of things, we couldn't identify the specific parties. While we did not want to use such broad ruling, we felt we had to put a moratorium on modular arrowheads, as arrow maintenance had dropped off at some point in the week.

We know that modular arrows are typically very safe- and we agonize over any decision to remove equipment from the field. We know that this directly affects someone's enjoyment and ability to engage, so it's not something we take lightly. Was this upsetting to many involved? Definitely, and perhaps rightly so. We ask ourselves all the time, did we make the right call? Not always, but we think this one was. After all, we didn't have to treat any arrow related injuries (Unless we count Rob's pride). Safety is our top priority. Our cousins in Germany have spent over twenty years keeping air tight records of incidents and procedures related to this kind of horseplay. We lean on their protocols and experience to create a safe environment. We know we're not the same exact game, but no one is more meticulous than our partners overseas when it comes to mitigating Festival Larp safety hazards. It would be foolish to not make use of that resource whenever possible. Additionally we are (mostly) happy with the results of that choice. We're proud to say that our first year saw extremely low medical hazards. Our most severe issues didn't even require a trip to the hospital--just some time out of the sun. That said, we know we can improve, and ref training around combat is a huge focus this year. We're pulling in folks from different larp styles to create a more effective conversation around how we make calls on the ground.

With all that out of the way... last year's contest was last year. Modular arrows are back in play.

How can we avoid making categorical rulings about arrows in the future? Good news, it's easy.

Simply put, check every arrow you pick up before firing it again. Always. Forever. No exceptions. Battle Refs observed many people picking up arrows and firing them without inspecting them first. Damaged arrows, when fired, become high speed safety hazards. The more we see people firing without checking, the more careful we have to be around arrow safety.

If we all take care of our arrows, and remove broken arrows from play immediately, we can avoid making a call like that ever again.


Bonus round teaser information...

We know from your feedback that our archery rules need some updates. In the next rules release, you'll see allowances for crossbows, their poundage requirements, and a clarification in language around acceptable targets. Yes, if you get shot in a limb, it counts. All professionally manufactured arrows and bolts will be allowed. Thank you for your patience. Stay tuned for a post about our upcoming schedule of info drops!

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