Following the initial piece on Larp Safe Walking sticks we had some feedback that I thought should be shared here.
Two distinct schools of thought emerged – one was the argument for Inclusiveness in LARP. That is if you need an aid to walk you should be able to use whatever you need. The other was for lets look at the problem of making a walking stick (or whatever), larp safe so protecting people and their equipment should things get carried away.
Lets start with the inclusiveness. Before we go I’d like to declare a bias – I firmly believe that we should be allowing people with as wide a range of disabilities and health issues to participate as is possible. However that does not rule out larps existing in places that cannot be suitable for all can and in fact should take place.
This batch of comments is from the LARP Europe Group on Facebook
Yes, that’s easy!
Just use an ordinary walking stick.
If somebody tries to forbid you from carrying it for “safety reasons”, first laugh at him, then tell him it is against the law… (in most countries, organizers/shop owners and so on are expected to provide “reasonable adjustments” not to discriminate disabled people).
If some organizers actually try to prevent people from doing that, I think this is a problem that calls for a “social” solution, not a technical one (e.g.: convince organizers to change their stupid idea).
As an organizer, the only thing I’d worry about is aesthetics (for historical/fantasy larps).
Period-looking walking stick are not so hard to find in flea markets and the like.
Alternatively, wooden crutch like these are REALLY easy to build and just as comfortable as a modern one:
On a second post from Francesco
Yes, that would be a pleasure. Since I see you’re from the UK, the linked law might interest you. I’ve heard that in Northern Europe most people actually care about laws smile emoticon so it might be effective to talk some sense to organizers!
like has been said if you need a stick you need a stick, just don’t hit people with the non larp safe one
So that is nice and clear. People in need of walking sticks, crutches should be using them (in fact the right exists in law) and as larpers we should be making sure this is not a reason for excluding people.
That said lets switch to the problem of making a walking stick larp safe. There are a couple of reasons for this – first of if we include people and make life safer for everyone then this is a good thing. Secondly if a person who needs a walking is also playing a character who would also fight with that stick – be it a cane, quarter staff, wizards stave or so on then we should look to making that possible. After all we all want immersion don’t we? And carrying two sticks has real nuisance value.
So lets turn to Google+ (yes there really are people on Google+).
Part of the problem, IMO, is that anything with padding on it that you set on the ground and put any kind of weight on is going to get torn up pretty quickly. I used to fight with staff, and it is just natural to set the tip on the ground when you’re standing around. One thing that I saw that pretty much solved that problem (but looked very anachronistic) was to cut open a tennis ball and put that on the end that was going to touch the ground. I believe this was in a game where you were allowed to use a staff single handed for blocking if you “planted” the end of it on the ground (which inevitably involves a whole lot of pivoting and variable amounts of weight). It could bear the weight, wasn’t going to get torn up, and if someone gets clocked with a tennis ball on the end of an otherwise boffer safe staff, it’s not a huge safety risk. I assume that there is probably a way of doing this that will look a little more in keeping with the setting, if someone wants to tinker around with it.
My take a on this would a design that goes along these lines. A traditional design of larp stick with a solid core that is light enough to not hurt anyone but strong enough to bear weight. Taking the rather good tennis ball idea we look to constructing an end which like a tennis ball is light and soft enough to not hurt anyone but which will protect the end of the stick from becoming torn up from the pressure of being shoved and worked against the ground. These end “plugs” should probably be replaceable for the sake of safety for all.
I’m going to put these posts back in front of larpers and see if a bigger conversation emerges. I’d also like to hope that any organisers who do not allow walking sticks or other equipment on a larp safe argument have a rethink. I’m also keen to put the construction ideas in from or kit makers and see some good ideas come out.
The image for this post comes via Flickr User: Chris Isherwood. You can learn more about this image and its licence here.