The safety call
This is the most important thing to remember: if anyone gets injured, or you think that an injury is imminent, shout “STOP THE GAME!” as loudly as you can. When anyone shouts this, the game stops completely. If you hear this call, repeat it so that players further away can hear it too. Don’t rush to find out what’s happened; if someone is injured then it’s unhelpful for fifty curious players to start buzzing around. When the problem has been sorted out, the refs will resume the game. Usually this happens very quickly, which is another reason for you to hold your position.
Don’t aim for the head, face or neck. From experience, it’s not fun being hit in the face. This applies to guns, melee weapons, thrown weapons, and (in the case of zombies) your bare hands.
Pull your blows. This means when using melee weapons, don’t hit people as hard as you can. We will demonstrate and train you to reduce the force of the blow before it connects. If you’re not sure about the importance of this, we will happily take you into the ref room and hit you as hard as we can with our LARP-safe weapons. This usually proves the point. If you don’t think you’ll remember to pull your blows, it’s best not to use a melee weapon at all.
Whack, don’t stab. The ‘cores’ in LARP-safe melee weapons are fibreglass rods. They are cushioned by the foam around them. But if you are using a thrusting, stabbing motion, the cushioning is less effective and the end of the core is much more likely to painfully jab someone. The safe way is to swing the weapon and whack your target on the shoulders, arms, legs or torso.
Never improvise a weapon. Don’t use your gun as a melee weapon, or a gun or melee weapon as a thrown weapon. And never, ever use inanimate objects from the venue as makeshift weapons. We do our best to remove hazards from our venues, but that doesn’t mean that it’s safe to break the leg off a table and start hitting people with it.
Don’t hit, push or grab. If you’re playing as a human, you can only attack using actual weapon items. If you’re playing as a zombie, you attack by clawing at people using your hands. Grabbing people and/or restraining them in any way is also not allowed. Stroking and gentle caressing are only permitted if you clear it beforehard with the recipient, both in and out of character.
No melee fighting on the stairs. There will be hazard markings at the bottom and top of staircases to indicate the area in which combat is not allowed. When you reach a staircase, ascend or descend it at a reasonable pace – and preferably do not stop halfway. Try not to put other players in a situation in which they might feel compelled to fight on the stairs. If you’re playing as a zombie, slow down in order to allow human players to traverse the staircase before you catch them. If they’re coming up or down towards you, let them get off the stairs before engaging them in combat.
Leave the lights alone. The light levels in the venue have been adjusted so that they meet our minimum requirements for safety. This applies to overhead lights and any lighting which is plugged into a wallsocket, including projectors. Survivors will have access to torches and glowsticks during their run, but any ‘fixed’ lighting should not be interfered with.
Open doors carefully. Don’t ever kick doors open or throw yourself against them – there may be someone on the other side. If someone is holding the door shut from the other side, don’t try to push it open with sheer brute force – the game has rules which ‘break down doors’ non-violently. If a door is wedged open, leave it open. In some venues, we may ask you not to open or close doors at all.
No smoking indoors, and no alcohol. Drunken LARPing is risky enough in an open field in the middle of the afternoon after a good night’s sleep – but drunken LARPing in dark narrow corridors while sleep-deprived is very dangerous. We don’t want to be killjoys, but alcohol and LARP don’t mix. You are welcome to join us in the pub after the game, but don’t bring alcohol to the game itself. As for smoking – don’t smoke anywhere in the venue. Wait for some downtime then step outside.
Three strikes and you’re out
Safety is the only thing that we are completely serious about. We know most safety issues are totally accidental, and you won’t get in trouble for something that’s not your fault – but we do operate a strike system for repeated thoughtlessness or deliberate mischief. A first offence gets the player a verbal warning. A second offence and we’ll take you off the current run. A third one, if it’s non-accidental, means we’ll ask you to leave. We hate doing it but it’s the only way to ensure safety.
However, if we see someone doing something wilfully stupid – kicking other players, using metal furniture as a weapon, that sort of thing – the action will be seen as a major violation and the player will be asked to leave immediately.