Some Musings on LARP/Prop Weapons

A central place to talk about weapons and armour, as it relates to your kit. This is where you show it of or talk about making it. Discussing the relative merits of types of weapons goes in the WMA section.

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Manveruon
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Some Musings on LARP/Prop Weapons

Postby Manveruon » Wed Oct 28, 2020 6:02 am

So I’ve been mulling something over recently, and I wanted to share my musings here to see if anyone else has any particular feelings on the matter.

In the “Membership Tiers” section of the latest Edge of the Wild newsletter I noticed in the description of the “Society Member” tier (which is the most entry-level participatory tier) that foam or LARP style weapons are disallowed from members’ kits when attending Society functions (and naturally this would apply to all tiers above that one as well). This of course makes perfect sense, as the MERS is looking to curate an authentic portrayal of the various cultures of Middle-earth, and of course foam weaponry does not fit in with that mission statement. If authenticity is the goal, then weaponry, when appropriate, should be made in somewhat authentic styles out of somewhat authentic materials.

But that got me thinking...

There are a lot of ways I have tried to bring my kit up to a higher standard of “authenticity” over the years, and weaponry is definitely one of them. For instance, I upgraded from a cheap Chinese knockoff of Strider’s sword from the New Line movies to a much more authentic and functional “Bristol” from Valiant Armory. I also always try to carry a real bow and real arrows when I go out ranging. As a general rule, I want to make sure the things I carry with me on Ranger outings are functional pieces of kit, and not just props.

HOWEVER... I also realize that given the the nature of this hobby and the world we live in, any weapon I carry functionally IS just a prop. I can be skilled in their uses, and they can be totally battle-ready pieces, but ultimately I won’t be shooting or stabbing any orcs, and there’s only the SLIGHTEST TINY MINUSCULE CHANCE that I will end up needing to use them against a hostile animal (even less chance I’ll need to just them against a hostile human). Sure, the bow can technically be used to hunt, but I don’t hunt either, personally. So. They’re props. The only real reason I carry them is because I would feel INCOMPLETE without them.

Now, keeping this in mind, I still try to carry them whenever I am out in kit, and I appreciate the fact that I mostly live in a place where I have been able to do that. But of course not all countries are as open about their weapons laws as the U.S., and furthermore, many many places even here in the States have pretty tight restrictions on them anyway. For instance, I can’t go anywhere in Rocky Mountain National Park armed with anything more than a pocket knife (except in the case of firearms, in which case I could carry a literal arsenal strapped to my person without breaking any rules or laws, but that’s ultimately beside the point). As such, I have generally tried to keep my local group’s outings confined to the outdoor areas with the least strict weapons regulations, but this does limit us somewhat, and I confess that I would love to be able to venture into other parts of Colorado In kit without getting fined or arrested.

This has led me to seriously consider purchasing some LARP weaponry for this specific purpose. Since it’s foam, it doesn’t count as actual weaponry, but there are tons of makers now who offer some really beautiful and realistic-looking items. A few years back I also made a prop bow from foam and thermoplastic and a set of prop arrows that are imbedded in a block of foam and cannot be drawn. These were made for my screen-accurate Aragorn cosplay and worn to a couple local fan conventions that have pretty tight prop restrictions. In fact, those restrictions became even tighter the next year, so I was forced to re-make a set of arrows out of PLASTIC DRINKING STRAWS (lord, that was interesting) that also cannot be removed from the quiver.

All of these things could, of course, be carried with me into a national park or other location where real weaponry is restricted, because they’re “just props,” but then the question becomes, is it worth it? I know a lot of folks who would simply say “then just don’t carry weapons. Duh.” But I know I would feel... somehow naked without them? It wouldn’t really feel like a proper RANGER outing without them.

So what do you think? Are LARP/con-safe weapons and props a viable alternative to the real thing when one wants to explore areas with tighter restrictions? Or would it make more sense to just forgo weaponry? Or even still, would you just avoid any of those places altogether, even though it severely limits where one is able to trek?
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Re: Some Musings on LARP/Prop Weapons

Postby Iodo » Wed Oct 28, 2020 8:20 am

Manveruon wrote:HOWEVER... I also realize that given the the nature of this hobby and the world we live in, any weapon I carry functionally IS just a prop. I can be skilled in their uses, and they can be totally battle-ready pieces, but ultimately I won’t be shooting or stabbing any orcs, and there’s only the SLIGHTEST TINY MINUSCULE CHANCE that I will end up needing to use them against a hostile animal (even less chance I’ll need to just them against a hostile human). Sure, the bow can technically be used to hunt, but I don’t hunt either, personally. So. They’re props. The only real reason I carry them is because I would feel INCOMPLETE without them.

I've never thought about becoming a MERS member, I like my sewing machine and modern walking boots to much for that :lol: but I completely get your point, after years of going to comic-cons dressed as various things (fantasy, post apocalyptic, steampunk etc...) with whole arsenals of different kinds of prop weapons, and my pirate garb for the annual pirate festival, wearing any kind of costume at all and not caring some kind of weapon feels odd, but in the UK, a land where you can't even carry a prop weapon because people call armed police when they see someone with a foam sword:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-52677514

there's absolutely nothing, short of owning my own forest, that I can do about it. So to help with the "odd feeling" of not having a weapon I've learned the basics of quarterstaff, and carry a sturdy walking staff that people don't recognize as a weapon, and a throwing sling rolled up in my pocket along with a bush-craft knife carried inside a belt pouch and out of site to avoid awkward questions (if anyone ever did find it on my person it's legal providing I have a good reason to have it, ie. I'm in the woods and intending to practice bush-craft). It's hardly the most dwarven combination but it's the best I can get away with

Back to the original question:

Manveruon wrote:So what do you think? Are LARP/con-safe weapons and props a viable alternative to the real thing when one wants to explore areas with tighter restrictions? Or would it make more sense to just forgo weaponry? Or even still, would you just avoid any of those places altogether, even though it severely limits where one is able to trek?

As a non MERS member I'm not qualified to answer but my opinion is, if your laws ban you from carrying real weaponry, and you can still get away with the LARP equivalent, it's better than nothing so why not, after all, a properly balanced fiberglass cored latex sword can be great for HEMA practice anyway :P
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Re: Some Musings on LARP/Prop Weapons

Postby Ghostsoldier » Wed Oct 28, 2020 2:43 pm

I'm not a MERS member either and can't speak to the "go authentic or go home" aesthetic, but here's my two-bits.

Here in Florida where I live we have some very generous weapon-carrying laws; I'm not one to personally go around packed to the gills and bristling with authentic pointy, stabby things, so I avoid the hassle when visiting public places (in kit) by using a poly plastic training sword and dirk, instead of my live steel... they are obviously not lethal, and are particularly con-safe for those types of events, when I frequent them.

Having these placebos strapped on does make my Ranger kit feel more 'complete' to myself, as well as to others whom I might have interactions; I also carry a hardwood walking stick as a compliment to the edged weaponry, just in case any issue should arise from carrying 'live plastic'.

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Re: Some Musings on LARP/Prop Weapons

Postby Elleth » Wed Oct 28, 2020 3:26 pm

All of these things could, of course, be carried with me into a national park or other location where real weaponry is restricted, because they’re “just props,” but then the question becomes, is it worth it? I know a lot of folks who would simply say “then just don’t carry weapons. Duh.” But I know I would feel... somehow naked without them? It wouldn’t really feel like a proper RANGER outing without them.

So what do you think? Are LARP/con-safe weapons and props a viable alternative to the real thing when one wants to explore areas with tighter restrictions? Or would it make more sense to just forgo weaponry? Or even still, would you just avoid any of those places altogether, even though it severely limits where one is able to trek?


Personally, I think the best way to balance those conflicting needs is to have the real version for your MERS impression and/or private property events.... and then if you're having an event in a public place where that's not legal/practical, have a prop version of the same thing. That way everything sits the same on your body, the straps are all in the same place, you're moving with the same constraints (eg, carrying a bendy-bow instead of leaning on a stick going uphill), so forth and so on.

( Pretty darn handy that LARP sword company based their line on your insta photos, hunh? :mrgreen: )

For my part, I tend to stick to our property, and since I've run into coyote and (smaller) wildcat - and the neighbor's game camera has seen black bear - I keep the real things close to hand, especially since I'm usually alone except for the family dog.
(Everything I've ever seen has been more spooked by people than vice versa, thankfully.)
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Re: Some Musings on LARP/Prop Weapons

Postby Greg » Wed Oct 28, 2020 5:05 pm

There’s nothing wrong with taking a hike with fake weapons to be able to access more and varied properties. I’m all about finding new awesome places to trek, and have been disappointed more than once by rules and regs.

Essentially what the purpose of that clause in the Tiers is that anyone who has gained MERS membership cannot make public any images or other content of themselves or their kit including fake weaponry and associate it with MERS. You can do it all you want, and I don’t think less of you...some states are trickier than others. But if one becomes a member, any pics or content that are tagged as being MERS-affiliated need to have the real thing.
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Re: Some Musings on LARP/Prop Weapons

Postby Manveruon » Wed Oct 28, 2020 9:38 pm

I should clarify, since I think the point may have been missed in my original post, that I wasn’t commenting on the MERS policy as-such, and I am not, myself, a MERS member (yet), but reading about the various tiers and then looking around at the rules and regs of local hiking spots, etc. did start me down a rabbit-hole of thought on this subject, which is why I bring it up at all. In general, my question was mostly about what people tend to do and think regarding weaponry, and how out-of-place it would be to carry foam alternatives when the rest of one’s kit is at least an attempt at authenticity. Sometimes I find myself, for instance, coming to a moment of “well then why even carry it,” but then that leads to “well then why even dress up at all,” etc. etc.
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Re: Some Musings on LARP/Prop Weapons

Postby Greg » Thu Oct 29, 2020 11:17 am

I guess it really comes down to what you're wanting to get out of the hobby. There are so many ways to approach what we discuss here on the forum, from costuming for conventions through hands-on experiences like LARPs all the way down to solitary long-distance trekking with bushcraft skills and zero moderns present. I, personally, find something very "real-feel" about having a sword hanging off my belt, and would feel rather naked without it at this point. In certain situations, I don't think I'd have a huge problem with wearing a well-made foam one in its place, but there'd have to be a good reason. I'd probably not be at an event I created myself, and I'd be doing it to fit in with another crowd, not just so I could have a sword on in a place where they aren't allowed. Definitely a food-for-thought conversation.

I will also throw in a quick disclaimer that I believe I literally live in THE MOST weapons-friendly state in the lower 48...there are ZERO blade size carry limitations (I could walk straight into Wal*Mart with a Zweihander strapped to my back and no one could stop me), there are ZERO legal hunting broadshead restrictions (the arrow must have a sharpened object affixed to the tip...even knapped flint is legal for big game take here), and we have some of the most relaxed wilderness area regs in the country, so we can literally camp and set up a fire all over the place. Suffices to say I haven't ever had to give the subject much thought, but I've camped in Colorado and actually left early because they were so restrictive that I couldn't take my Dog anywhere. Very frustrating...I get your situation.
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Re: Some Musings on LARP/Prop Weapons

Postby Eofor » Thu Oct 29, 2020 11:55 am

Manveruon wrote:my question was mostly about what people tend to do and think regarding weaponry, and how out-of-place it would be to carry foam alternatives when the rest of one’s kit is at least an attempt at authenticity.


Here in Australia you can be in posession of an 'offensive implement' in public provided you have 'reasonable cause'

Finding a clear defenition of reasonable cause is impossible. For our living history stuff we have a governing body here in Australia who issue us with membership cards and I don't think that we'd have any issues with that.
Ranger stuff is less clear as there's no such body to sanction our actions.
I have found that initiating any public interaction, giving a big warm hello and answering any questions is all that is required to avoid concern regarding our appearance.
Perhaps it's been luck but we've had many, many interactions and not one has been less than great.

As to the second part of your question - it's all going to be personal how you feel about larp weapons. If carrying them enhances your enjoyment of the hobby and you are clear and up front about their lack of credentials then you're not hurting anyone.

For myself I wouldn't carry them for the same reasons you're struggling with it. To have an amazing authentic kit and then lower its standard by strapping a toy to my waist would make me question the effort I had put into the rsst of it.

If the laws changed here I'd probably follow Iodos lead and carry a stout staff shod with iron. Or alternatively explore a persona who doesn't need to carry weapons at all.
I believe that when Strider meets the hobbits in Bree he is very lightly armed?
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Re: Some Musings on LARP/Prop Weapons

Postby Greg » Thu Oct 29, 2020 12:19 pm

Eofor wrote:I believe that when Strider meets the hobbits in Bree he is very lightly armed?


He's just about UNarmed! "Not much use, is it Sam?" Seems to imply that the broken sword was broken in a place that made it essentially useless, and no other weapons are mentioned. He doesn't use it at weathertop, either, but rather chases off the Nazgul with two torches.
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Re: Some Musings on LARP/Prop Weapons

Postby theowl » Fri Oct 30, 2020 5:54 am

I've definitely done a few hikes where I was over the line in regards to the legality of what I was carrying, but that was when I was a brash young man.

These days when I actually manage to get out in kit and carrying a long sword is ill-advised, I carry something more on the "big knife" end of things. Or like Iodo said, a quarter staff is a formidable weapon, and a useful hiking tool.

I'd say if you don't feel authentic without a sword on your hip, and a foam sword is all you can carry, then foam sword it up.
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Re: Some Musings on LARP/Prop Weapons

Postby BrianGrubbs » Fri Oct 30, 2020 1:39 pm

I have an idea that I've been kicking around for a while that deals with this very subject. Between conventions, renaissance festivals, blade restrictions while roaming, and the fact that the only European style sword I own is non functional anyway, the desire to have something authentic in appearance, but nonthreatening in function brought the concept to mind. Build a sword and scabbard that are one piece. The scabbard would be a solid piece of wood, and the hilt would be attached to it. I'm guessing with the right wood, the weight would end up being very close to an actual sword, and to all eyes in would look like a real sword resting in its scabbard. This would get you authentic materials and appearance, while maintaining non-weapon status for any situation you would find yourself in. I haven't attempted this yet, but it is on my (incredibly long) list of projects.

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Re: Some Musings on LARP/Prop Weapons

Postby Manveruon » Tue Nov 10, 2020 1:50 am

Thanks for the response, folks! Sorry it's taken me a minute to get back in and go through them all. These last couple weeks have been... interesting, to say the least. :lol:

Anyway, to try to address some of this point-by-point...

Elleth wrote:Personally, I think the best way to balance those conflicting needs is to have the real version for your MERS impression and/or private property events.... and then if you're having an event in a public place where that's not legal/practical, have a prop version of the same thing. That way everything sits the same on your body, the straps are all in the same place, you're moving with the same constraints (eg, carrying a bendy-bow instead of leaning on a stick going uphill), so forth and so on.

( Pretty darn handy that LARP sword company based their line on your insta photos, hunh? :mrgreen: )

For my part, I tend to stick to our property, and since I've run into coyote and (smaller) wildcat - and the neighbor's game camera has seen black bear - I keep the real things close to hand, especially since I'm usually alone except for the family dog.
(Everything I've ever seen has been more spooked by people than vice versa, thankfully.)


I will say that having a sharp sword and even a bow and some arrows has comforted me somewhat on a couple occasions when hiking in areas with a lot of known bear or mountain lion activity, but I admit that they would probably be a lot less effective in defending me against those predators at need than I would like to pretend, haha.

But you're ABSOLUTELY RIGHT about that LARP sword! That's actually the EXACT sword I was thinking of getting anyway (particularly if I ever end up participating in the Weekend Warrior LARP or something similar), precisely because it does resemble my actual Bristol so closely. Then I would just whip up some kind of scabbard system with the same basic suspension as the one I normally carry, and voila!
I'm still laughing about the fact that somehow Greg and I managed to make the Bristol into a universally recognized "Ranger sword!" :mrgreen:

Greg wrote:Essentially what the purpose of that clause in the Tiers is that anyone who has gained MERS membership cannot make public any images or other content of themselves or their kit including fake weaponry and associate it with MERS. You can do it all you want, and I don’t think less of you...some states are trickier than others. But if one becomes a member, any pics or content that are tagged as being MERS-affiliated need to have the real thing.


Yeah, that makes perfect sense to me, no worries. When running an organization like that it's important to set clearly defined standards and boundaries, particularly if you're trying to achieve a quality, cohesive look across all members. It's essentially the same reason the big Star Wars costume groups like the 501st and the Rebel Legion have such specific costuming guidelines - they need to achieve a certain level of quality because they are in some way representing Lucasfilm, and they want to set a standard so that everyone looks good enough as to not detract from the overall aesthetic of authenticity they're aiming for. Same goes for historical groups that have minimum garb standards, etc.

Greg wrote: In certain situations, I don't think I'd have a huge problem with wearing a well-made foam one in its place, but there'd have to be a good reason. I'd probably not be at an event I created myself, and I'd be doing it to fit in with another crowd, not just so I could have a sword on in a place where they aren't allowed. Definitely a food-for-thought conversation...
...Suffices to say I haven't ever had to give the subject much thought, but I've camped in Colorado and actually left early because they were so restrictive that I couldn't take my Dog anywhere. Very frustrating...I get your situation.

^ This is fairly close to my feeling about it as well, if I'm understanding you correctly, but ultimately my desire to hike in places like Rocky Mountain National Park might eventually overtake my desire to carry authentic weaponry with me as much as possible. There are just too many amazingly beautiful areas within the park that I want to explore in kit, and yet I would hate to look and feel incomplete without all my gear. If I'm remembering correctly, we've talked about your experiences camping out here in the past, and as I recall that was also within RMNP, right? Anyway, it would make sense, because the park specifically has EXTREMELY restrictive rules about... hell, just about everything, and pets included. One of the other reasons I don't ever really hike up there is that Sarah and I can't bring our dog. It's rough. Luckily most other areas in the state are more relaxed about that stuff, but some specific areas, like Jefferson County Open Space, don't have the same kinds of pet bans, but they do have some very tight restrictions on weaponry, and there are a number of great open space areas in Jeffco that I'd really like to visit with our Ranger group as well.
In the end, if it comes down to a decision between not visiting these areas at all, visiting them without any weapons whatsoever, or visiting them with foam/prop weapons, I think I'd rather be able to visit them and feel complete, even if I have to cheat a bit, rather than avoiding them altogether, or going completely unarmed. (Not that I tend to go out bristling with weaponry either, but generally I do like to carry at least a sword and bow).

Eofor wrote:Here in Australia you can be in posession of an 'offensive implement' in public provided you have 'reasonable cause'

Finding a clear defenition of reasonable cause is impossible. For our living history stuff we have a governing body here in Australia who issue us with membership cards and I don't think that we'd have any issues with that.
Ranger stuff is less clear as there's no such body to sanction our actions.
I have found that initiating any public interaction, giving a big warm hello and answering any questions is all that is required to avoid concern regarding our appearance.
Perhaps it's been luck but we've had many, many interactions and not one has been less than great.


That's good to hear! We've definitely had a couple less-than-great encounters out here, mostly with the local park rangers, but we've never gotten into any REAL trouble, thankfully. It's just always a possibility lurking in the back of my mind, unfortunately. But mostly we try to greet strangers in the same way as you've mentioned, and that does help a lot.

Incidentally, with regard to the governing body that issues membership cards for living history activities, could you not just roll with that and say you're participating in a living history reenactment, even if you're technically doing Tolkien stuff? Most laypeople almost certainly wouldn't know the difference, especially if you're using a mostly historically-inspired kit. Just a thought.

Eofor wrote:As to the second part of your question - it's all going to be personal how you feel about larp weapons. If carrying them enhances your enjoyment of the hobby and you are clear and up front about their lack of credentials then you're not hurting anyone.

For myself I wouldn't carry them for the same reasons you're struggling with it. To have an amazing authentic kit and then lower its standard by strapping a toy to my waist would make me question the effort I had put into the rsst of it.

If the laws changed here I'd probably follow Iodos lead and carry a stout staff shod with iron. Or alternatively explore a persona who doesn't need to carry weapons at all.
I believe that when Strider meets the hobbits in Bree he is very lightly armed?


This is of course a fair point. For my own part though, as I mentioned above, I think I'm leaning the other direction. I think I'd rather make a small compromise in that area to allow myself to feel "complete" and still be able to explore otherwise restricted areas. But you're right about Strider! He was described as literally only carrying the broken pieces of Narsil. Unfortunately, I don't feel like this was a very well-thought-out detail on Tolkien's part, and I think it likely that most of the Dunedain Rangers went about armed in a more serious manner (though perhaps not in the town of Bree proper or other civilized areas).

theowl wrote:I've definitely done a few hikes where I was over the line in regards to the legality of what I was carrying, but that was when I was a brash young man.

These days when I actually manage to get out in kit and carrying a long sword is ill-advised, I carry something more on the "big knife" end of things. Or like Iodo said, a quarter staff is a formidable weapon, and a useful hiking tool.

I'd say if you don't feel authentic without a sword on your hip, and a foam sword is all you can carry, then foam sword it up.


That's my feeling as well, ultimately. And yes, I too have definitely hopped over that line a few times in my day, haha. But the older I get the more concerned I am with having absolutely NO negative encounters with law enforcement if I can avoid them (particularly when trying to practice a hobby I do for fun and relaxation, ultimately), so finding ways to make everything nice and proper and legal is high on my priority list these days.

BrianGrubbs wrote:I have an idea that I've been kicking around for a while that deals with this very subject. Between conventions, renaissance festivals, blade restrictions while roaming, and the fact that the only European style sword I own is non functional anyway, the desire to have something authentic in appearance, but nonthreatening in function brought the concept to mind. Build a sword and scabbard that are one piece. The scabbard would be a solid piece of wood, and the hilt would be attached to it. I'm guessing with the right wood, the weight would end up being very close to an actual sword, and to all eyes in would look like a real sword resting in its scabbard. This would get you authentic materials and appearance, while maintaining non-weapon status for any situation you would find yourself in. I haven't attempted this yet, but it is on my (incredibly long) list of projects.

Brian


Okay, so it's funny you should mention it, buuuuuuut... I've totally already done this for a convention, and it worked out absolutely great! Behold! My con-safe Strider sword!

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My only real issue with this is that I wasn't able to take the sword out for any photos, and I often like to be able to do that, because posing with a sword is so DYNAMIC, darnit! :lol: Ultimately I would like to make one that comes out of the scabbard for just that purpose, but this one certainly works in a pinch, even if it is a little rough around the edges, since it was my first ever foam build of that kind.
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Re: Some Musings on LARP/Prop Weapons

Postby Ghostsoldier » Wed Nov 11, 2020 12:26 am

That's an amazing replica you've made there, Michael! :P

You wouldn't happen to have a tutorial or set of construction photos of the build that you could share, perchance?

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Re: Some Musings on LARP/Prop Weapons

Postby Manveruon » Wed Nov 11, 2020 1:49 am

Ghostsoldier wrote:That's an amazing replica you've made there, Michael! :P

You wouldn't happen to have a tutorial or set of construction photos of the build that you could share, perchance?

Rob


Thanks so much! Oh boy, I wish I had thought to do that at the time, but I’m afraid I was on a really tight deadline, and most of it was just a lot of trial and error. I definitely learned a lot in the process though, and my next endeavor of that kind should go a lot faster.

For a basic rundown though...

Firstly, I built the whole thing on a long synthetic dowel I got at the Home Depot (they’re bright orange and I believe they’re used mostly for things like marking driveways), and a short piece of PVC pipe. The PVC pipe served as the grip of the hilt, and I reshaped it slightly with a heat gun to give it the proper taper. Then I used layers of EVA foam to create the guard, pommel, and scabbard itself, sort of carving them into shape with a Dremel tool sanding tip. It was... quite the process, haha. I tried to sort of build up the pommel with several layers of foam, filling them in with Bondo and then sanding it all down smooth, but that was VERY difficult, and I would probably never do it the same way again. For the details on the pommel guard, as well as all the scabbard fittings, I used Worbla (and another similar thermoplastic), and I also used that to cover the pommel itself and the guard, in order to give them both a bit of rigidity. For the scabbard, I covered the whole thing in a thin layer of craft foam to sort of act as the “leather” wrapping on an actual scabbard, and then all the Worbla parts went over the top of that. After I had assembled all of that using Barge cement to hold it all together, I coated the entire thing extensively in Plasti-dip to help smooth out some of the rough spots, and also to seal all the foam parts, since EVA foam and craft foam disintegrate when spray-painted. Finally, I masked everything off and spray painted the various colors layer by layer.

There was a lot more fiddly detail involved of course, but hopefully that gives a basic idea of the process!
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Ghostsoldier
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Re: Some Musings on LARP/Prop Weapons

Postby Ghostsoldier » Wed Nov 11, 2020 4:05 pm

Wow...that's a great run-down of the process, and it give me an idea of what you had to do to create such an awesome con-safe sword. :P

Thanks for explaining it to me, as I'm considering doing something along the same lines; I have a couple of poly weapons already for con use, but I'd like to construct something that has a bit more of the Middle Earth aesthetic to it than what is available mass-market.

Rob
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