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© 1994 by Scott Gray and Sharon Tripp. These pages may not be reproduced for profit. They may be copied, provided they are not altered and the authors' names remain attached.

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Props and Physical Representations

For every item that a character owns, the player must have something which "represents" the item. For example, if a character owns armor, the player must wear a costume suit of armor any time that the character is wearing his/her suit.

Be certain always that physical representations, or phys reps, for ingame items are safe. Don't carry glass containers, which might break; use clear plastics.


Anyone wishing to play a native of Uruk must wear eye makeup to mark them as such, darkening his/her eyelids with either black or dark brown eye makeup. Other racial distinctions which are optional are heavy mascara, darkened, thicker eyebrows, darkened hair, thinner lips (use small amounts of black makeup around the edges, smudged, to create this effect) or tanner skin.

Note that if a player starts his/her character with any of these optional racial distinctions, (s)he must continue to have these distinctions in the future. Players should be certain that they are willing to color their hair for every game session, etc.

In many campaigns, makeup represents that a character is of a different race or species. Consequently, a player may not wear makeup that is already used to represent other things, unless expressly allowed or required for the character being played. This would include such things as wearing the dark eye makeup which represents a native of Uruk, or white makeup which is commonly used to represent undead.


Guided nations. The Guided nations include several different countries and cultures. As such there are differences in the dress of people from differing nations.

The common people from the Guided nations generally wear tunics (long shirts), belted on the outside rather than tucked in. Women wear pants or skirts about equally. Simple fabrics are the most common.

Lurian and Aragonian dress is often a bit flashier, both in colors and types of material used, and in design, than most other areas; but this is generally only due to fads followed by a few notables, and not the normal wear of the general populace. Khardokkian clothing tends toward dark, earthy colors, as does much of the northeastern section of the Guided Imperial Republic. The western part of the continent tends more toward medium colors; blues, scarlets, forest greens. Kelby dress is generally either undyed or dark colors.

Military wear generally includes a tabard or surcoat. Only the colors and coats of arms vary from country to country; the distinctions are more often found in the armor and weaponry than in the uniforms.

Court dress will seldom be seen in a campaign set in Isseter. The women wear elaborately embroidered gowns, the fashions of which vary greatly from court to court and year to year. The men wear doublet and hose.

The vestments of the Guiders vary based upon both geographic location and the particular sect. They often wear a long tunic or robe, and many wear a cowl or low hood.

Uruk. Head coverings, turbans and the like, are common. Women traditionally wear veils for formal occasions, in much the same way that gowns are worn for special occasions in the Guided nations. The usual attire for both men and women is either flowing garments or close fitting clothing covered by a loose robe. Tunics are common, tabards are not.

In Isseter, the distinctions between the traditional Urukian clothing and the clothing of the Guided nations has blurred somewhat over the past several decades of occupation.

Below are some suggestions for making simple costumes. These sample costumes do not detail slightly more complex things such as sleeves and pockets. For more advanced costumes, you may want to find more elaborate patterns in costuming books, or design your own.

Surcoat. A surcoat is a sleeveless tunic which is worn over other clothing. The first step in creating a surcoat is to get a piece of fabric. The fabric should be about as wide as the wearer is from shoulder to shoulder (roughly a foot and a half wide for most people). It should be twice the length that the finished surcoat will be (depending upon whether it is to go to the waist, thigh, ankle, etc.).

Fold the fabric over length-wise. Cut a hole in the top for your head.

With most fabrics, you will need to hem the edges. Certain fabrics, such as fleece or wool, tend not to fray, and so are less likely to require hemming.

To make a tabard, follow the same directions, but sew the fabric half way up on each side (leaving space at the top for arms).

Half-circle cloak. Get a large piece of fabric -- one dimension of which is the length that the finished cloak should fall in the back; the other dimension should be roughly twice that. Cut the fabric into a half circle such that the longer dimension is the flat side of the half circle.

Drape the cloak over your shoulders. Attach clasps of some sort (frog closures, a brooch, etc.) to hold it on. Some cloaks are designed so that the sides meet in the center, some are pinned up to one shoulder or the other.

Robe. The simplest robe consists of three pieces; the back and two front sections. The two front pieces will usually be identical.

Get appropriate fabric. The back section should be approximately 40" wide. The front sections should each be roughly 15". These dimensions may vary widely depending upon the particular style of robe. The length will depend upon the length that the finished robe is to be; be sure to leave a few extra inches for seam allowance.

Sew the top of each front piece to the top of the back piece, lining the fabric up with the outer edges of the back section. Sew halfway up the sides, as with tabards.

Turban. Get a piece of lightweight fabric, roughly one foot wide and at least six feet long. Place one end atop head, then proceed to wind the rest of it around head (from the forehead around to the back of the neck and back to the forehead; this should be done multiple times). When the fabric runs out, tuck what s left into the wound fabric. For a turban which covers the lower half of the face, do one or two of the wraps is down around the front of the neck rather than up at the forehead.

Customizing clothing. Simple costumes such as those described above can be modified to fit the particular characters they are made for. For example, a tabard for a wealthy merchant character should be of a rich looking fabric, perhaps velvet or silk. The same costume for a beggar might be made out of sackcloth, or a very coarsely woven cotton. The rich character's tabard might have some sort of trim. The beggar's costume might remain unhemmed, with perhaps a few rips.

Accessories are a simple way to dress up a costume, and useful in differentiating between multiple characters of the same player. The merchant described above might have a plumed hat. The beggar, rather than an accessory, might smear some dirt into the costume.

The organizer and players should decide upon the level of costuming necessary. A pair of sweat pants and a loose shirt may be passable for non-anachronistic clothing in a low budget game.


As with other physical representations of game items, armor should be both safe and realistic looking. There are various sources of information on making replica chain mail, plate or leather.

Bear in mind when making metallic armor that any armor which is too heavy will be disallowed because of the possible damage to a wearer who trips; use aluminum, fiberglass, or a very thin gauge metal.

When making metallic armor, also be certain that there are no sharp edges or corners. This is especially important when making helmets (or masks for certain creatures). Another important safety requirement for masks and helmets is that they not obstruct the view of the person wearing them, especially if the person intends to engage in combat; but even if (s)he does not intend to, circumstances in the game may place him/her in a situation where (s)he is in the midst of a combat.


Materials necessary to make a boffer melee weapon:

What follows is the process for making safe boffer representations of non-headed melee weapons. (This includes small weapons, weaponless combat reps, swords, clubs, bastard swords, two-handed swords, and zweihanders.)

1) Get the appropriate size pipe for the weapon (as detailed in the weapons list). Weapons under 24" length must be made of 1/2" or 3/4" CPVC pipe. Weapons between 24" and 44" may be made of either 3/4" CPVC or 1" PVC pipe. Weapons greater than 44" must be made of 1" PVC pipe. Cut the pipe to a length about 6" less than the finished weapon will be.

2) Cover both ends of the pipe with duct tape so that the foam thrusting tips won't slip through.

3) Get 5/8" green pipe insulation for the size pipe being used -- 1/2", 3/4" or 1". Cut the foam to about 4" less than the total length of the weapon's blade or haft. Note that almost the entire weapon (except hand grips) should be covered by this foam. If the blade exceeds 36", two lengths of the pipe insulation are needed.

4) Place the insulation over the pipe until one end is flush with the end of the pipe. Secure the blade/haft with duct tape on the end, and tape it to the pipe at the base of the blade/haft.

5) Optional: Cut a short length of the green foam to use as a cross guard. At the halfway point, cut a circular hole in both sides of the foam, so it may be pushed up the pipe to the blade.

6) Next, place tape on the blade/haft. Use black duct tape to represent iron weapons. Use silver/gray duct tape for steel weapons. Use brown for wooden weapons. Red duct tape should be used for weaponless combat reps. Silver/gray duct tape, with a length of thin red duct tape along the blade, should be used for silver weapons. When taping a weapon, use as little tape as possible. Additional tape adds weight, making it harder to wield and making the foam "give" less when it strikes an opponent. Run the tape the length of the weapon. Four strips running from end to end of the blade should cover it with very little overlap.

7) Use any color and/or pattern of duct tape for the cross- guard and the grip. The grip should be no longer than is necessary for the wielder to hold the weapon comfortably. Cover any portions of the remaining pipe that aren't going to be used as a grip with green foam. Have the green foam come flush with and be secured to the end of the pipe, as was done with the blade.

8) Thrusting tips must be put on both ends of the weapon. Cut a 2" x 2" x 3" cube of open cell foam. Place the foam onto the end of the weapon and tape it securely. Cover it with tape as well. If necessary to give the tip more bounce, poke pinholes in the tape so it can breathe. Remember that the top must be firm but soft. Repeat the process for the opposite end of the weapon.

The GM is responsible for seeing that all weapons are checked for safety. (S)he may appoint one or more people, who understand weapon construction and safety, to safety check weapons for the game. In large games, players are given safety tags for any weapons that have passed safety inspection. Any person found using a weapon which has not passed safety inspection will be subject to disciplinary action, and will be barred from engaging in combat in the future.

Hafted weapons

Making a boffer hafted weapon is similar to making a boffer sword, with the following differences:

Longer grips may be necessary. If the weapon is wood- hafted, use brown duct tape. If metal-hafted, use metallic or black duct tape. Remember that damage is from the head only, so it makes little difference whether the haft is iron, steel or silver.

Thrusting hafted weapons (spears, polearms, etc.)

Soft-sculpt the head in the same manner that one makes a thrusting tip, making it larger and letting it bulge. Coat it with the appropriate colored tape for the head, and attach as a normal thrusting tip.

Non-thrusting hafted weapons (maces, axes, hammers, etc.)

Soft-sculpt the head with a hole in it large enough to slip the hafted weapon through it. Coat it with the appropriate colored duct tape. Secure the head such that the thrusting tip extends a short way beyond the head.


Constructing a staff is similar to constructing a sword. The main difference is that the use of handgrips on a staff is even more limited.

There are two options for the handgrips on a staff. The first is to not have handgrips, covering the entire length of the pipe with green foam. The second is to have handgrips within the center three feet of the staff, covered with the thinner black foam.

A staff must always be handled with two hands during combat, and both hands must be kept within the center three foot area. If there are handgrips, hold the staff at those points to prevent them from contacting an opponent. Bands of tape may be placed on a staff to mark the legal area for holding the staff.

Soft-sculpted weapons

Certain weapons, including all thrown weapons, battering rams and certain other siege weapons, must be completely soft sculpted. This means that no piping, but only foam and duct tape, may be part of their construction.

As with any weapon, soft-sculpted weapons must be approved by the person organizing the game (or a safety inspector duly appointed by the organizer).

Cloth weapons

The striking surfaces and/or bodies of these weapons are made primarily of soft, heavy fabric (suggested: thick polar fleece). Any other parts of the weapon are soft-sculpted.


To make a chain, cut nine 2.5" lengths of thick polar fleece, about a foot shorter than the total length of the weapon. The fleece should be of appropriate colors for the type of material being represented.

Braid the nine lengths of fleece together. Sew the braid together at one end, and duct tape the other end to a soft foam handle; the black foam is sufficient. Do not use pipe.

Chains may only be swung underhand. Overhand swings tend to go wild, are more likely to hit an opponents head, and are more likely to trap boffer weapons.


A whip is made like a chain, except that the whip tapers rather than remaining the same length. To make the whip taper, cut three of the cloth pieces to full length, but cut the other six to various smaller sizes.


A net is made out of a single piece of white polar fleece, with the four corners gathered and held together. It will look like an empty sack. The fleece may have a gridwork drawn on it.


There are three parts to a flail-type weapon. The handle should be made of black foam, with no pipe. Any weapon head(s) should be made of open cell foam and wrapped in duct tape; the foam should not be compressed when the heads are taped. The joining chain should be made with three braided pieces of thick polar fleece, in the appropriate colors, attached to each end with duct tape. The length of the chain plus the longest dimension of the head should not exceed fifteen inches.

Cat 'o nine tails

Before beginning to construct the cat 'o nine tails, determine how long the striking surface will be on the finished weapon. Cut a piece of thick polar fleece (of appropriate color for the striking surface) in a rectangle, 18" on one side and 5" over the length of the striking surface on the other. Along the 18" side, cut 8 slits spaced two inches apart. Cut the slits up the length of the other side, until each slit goes the length of the striking surface with 5" of material left uncut.

Next, cut a piece of the black PVC foam the length of the grip. Place the top of the grip even with the base of the slits, so that the unbroken 5" of fleece material runs along the top 5" of the grip. Wrap the fleece around the grip several times, and fasten with duct tape.

The tails should not be braided or modified. The grip may be customized.

Distance weapons

Because of the difficulty in constructing home-made projectiles, no bows or arrows are allowed except commercially available foam type toy bow and arrow sets.

Use foam arrows or bolts especially designed for your bow. Do not attempt to carve, color or customize the arrows. Any such "customizing" may make the arrow unsafe.

Bows can be customized with duct tape, if none of the modifications will obstruct the firing mechanism. If the bow represents a regular bow, use brown duct tape. If it represents a composite bow, use alternating bands of brown and black or white duct tape. Crossbows should be covered in black duct tape.

Though these bows and arrows are safely constructed, and inspected by the manufacturers, it is still important that they be safety inspected by the people involved with the game. As with other weapons, it will not be allowable to use any bow and arrow without proper safety inspection.

Customizing weapons

Any customizing done will be subject to approval, not only for safety, but also to be certain that the weapon can't easily be used to trap another weapon. The safety inspector also must ascertain that the customizing does not make the boffer weapon appear to represent a different type of weapon. (For example, placing too much red on a steel sword might cause it to be confused with a silver one.)


Making shields is a different process from making weapons. A shield is made out of firm but lightweight material, such as aluminum or plastic. First, cut the material into the shape and size that the finished shield will be, minus a half-inch on each side. Be certain that none of the sides are left with sharp edges. Get enough 5/8" green foam to surround the entire perimeter of the shield. Cut a slit in the foam along the scored edge at which the foam was initially joined. Slip the foam over the sides of the shield, and surround the shield with the foam. Secure the foam to the shield with duct tape.

Drill small holes in the shield and attach rope or leather thongs to use for holding the shield. Be certain that it is easy to get a good grip on the shield. Attach the thongs securely, so that the shield won't slip or wobble in unpredictable ways. A small wood or metal handle at one end of the shield back, where a character wearing the shield can grip it in combat, will add stability to the shield when worn.

Cover the shield with cloth or leather to disguise the foam and materials used to make the shield. The material may be stapled on, or held on with thongs and rope in the back. The shield covering might be painted or decorated before or after it is attached to the shield.

Traps and Dangers

Triggers vs. signals. Trigger refers to the ingame mechanism which is set off. Signal is the out of game mechanism used to represent this. For example, bang snaps are the signal that someone has stepped where the pit is; the ingame trigger, concealment, is the rug which hid the pit.

A trap or danger will usually have an out of game signal that alerts players when it has been sprung. A note should placed on or near the trap, which tells players exactly what the ingame trap looks like to their characters, and which parts of the out of game trap are actually part of the ingame trap. For example, a tripwire that sets off an alarm might be represented by a thread attached to a mousetrap; the mousetrap signal is part of the ingame trap and may be disarmed. But if the ingame trap is supposed to be a thin piece of wire, designed to cut people who run into it, the mousetrap would not be representing anything ingame, only serving as an out of game signal that the trap had been sprung, and the trap could not be disarmed by tampering with the mousetrap.

Tripwire. One simple type of trap is a tripwire. Put thread across a corridor or path. (Nothing heavier, both for concealability and to prevent tripping players.) Placing it near ground level is usually best, but certainly no higher than thigh level. High tripwires might be at throat level for some people, and so are considered a safety hazard. Tie one end of the string to something sturdy (such as the base of a tree). Tie the other end to a set mousetrap. When someone pulls on the tripwire, the mousetrap will snap shut. The sound is the signal which alerts the players that a trap has been set off. They can then check the tag for the trap, which should be taped to the mousetrap, to see what type and amount of damage was done -- whether it was a trigger for firing off poisoned darts, or setting off an alarm, etc.

A trap with a mousetrap as an ingame trigger (rather than only an out of game signal) would be legally disarmed by unsetting the mousetrap. This keeps it from snapping shut and making the noise that signals that the trap has been sprung. Untying the thread is also an option, albeit a much riskier one than simply unsetting the mousetrap. Cutting the thread may also be considered to disarm it -- the thread should be cut near one end or the other, so that there is still enough to reset the trap later. However, damage to any expensive or hard-to-replace trap parts will usually not be allowed.

Pit. An example of a danger would be a pit. Put a thin board on the floor to represent the area of the pit. Place bangsnaps (these can be found in joke/magic shops) underneath the board, raising the board with folded paper as necessary to avoid having the bangsnaps set off immediately. Put whatever is ingame covering up the existence of the pit over the board (a rug, leaves or other camouflage). When someone steps on the board, the bangsnaps will go off, notifying the players that there was a trap or danger. The details of the damage and effects should be taped somewhere on the board.

Dangers cannot generally be "disarmed." However, some dangers, such as pits, can be neutralized. If characters discover a pit, they may remove whatever camouflage was hiding it, whether or not any of them possess set/disarm traps ability. (However, to properly hide it again once it is uncovered requires someone with the ability.) A plank may be placed across the pit (preferably raised over the board in order to avoid setting off the bangsnaps). If the players are willing to waste the time both in and out of game, the characters may "fill the hole."

Use common sense. If someone steps on a pit or similar danger and someone notices it, but the signal does not go off, it still works. A signal is meant to let people know out of game that the character has triggered a trap or danger; a faulty out of game mechanism for a trap that doesn't have such a mechanism ingame does not mean that the trap does not work. However, if the signal does represent an ingame trigger (such as the mousetrap tripwire), then the signal must be set off for the trap to work.

There are various other types of traps and dangers which can be done. They must be safe, and meet with the approval of a GM. Possible materials that might be used for making traps/dangers include: string, mousetraps, clockwork wind-up engines (like those used in little walking toys), nets, rope, bang snaps, boffer rocks/darts/other all-foam weapons, duct tape or sheets to mark off the area of a trench or such.


Locks are represented by one tumbler luggage locks. To lock a box or chest, simply lock it with the lock. If there is no latch on the box, follow the rules for putting locks on doors. The rules on locks are described in the section entitled Locks.

The best way to find an out of game lockpick is to buy a one tumbler lock and try various means of picking it. Then use whatever works best for you. Some suggestions, however, are dental picks, crewel hooks, bent nails, etc.

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