Welcome to The Grand Melee! Here, you will find all the information you need for our annual Realm of Strife LARP Battle Event, hosted in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on Thanksgiving Monday each year.
What is a LARP Battle?
LARP stands for Live Action Roleplaying. But don’t let that intimidate you. Really, this is just a large-scale battle using LARP style weapons. You don’t have to dress up or come in character, though we LOVE when people do!
The event will be a series of outdoor battle games fought over the course of several hours, with breaks in between. There will be a mix of team battles, 2v2 tournament matches, objective matches, and of course The Grand Melee: a free-for-all battle to earn this year’s title of Grand Master. Full details will be provided at the event.
WARNING: LARP Battles are a “soft contact” sport, meaning you will be struck by padded and/or foam weapons. However, all participants are asked to not take full strength swings and limit stabbing motions to light jabs only. Though head, neck, hand, and groin shots are strictly prohibited, accidental hits will occur and there is ALWAYS a risk of injury. All participants accept this risk by entering the field of battle, and the organizers are not responsible for any injuries that may occur.
When is the next event?
Our 3rd Annual Grand Melee is on Monday, October 9th 2023. We’ll run from 10am to approximately 3pm. You are welcome to join for only a portion of the day if that works best for you!
Where is the event taking place?
The Field of Battle will be the same as previous years; the Northeast corner of the soccer fields at Our Lady of the Evergreens elementary school. The simplest way to access the field is to park along Everhollow Ave SW and walk through the asphalt pathway onto the field. Alternatively, you can park on Everridge Drive SW and walk across the field.
Who should come?
Everyone is welcome! Read more…
This is an “all ages event”, language and aggression are expected to be appropriate for the presence of children.
Children under the age of 14 must have parental supervision at all times. Parents of younger children should be aware that this is a contact sport, and while no one will intentionally knock a child down, it is a possibility. All participants are asked to consider the age of their target and to adjust the strength of their swing appropriately.
Anyone with a preexisting health condition that might cause a risk of injury or adverse health consequences should consider being a spectator only. Check with the organizers if you have concerns.
What do I need to participate?
WEAPONS ARE NOT PROVIDED!!!
Those who are participating are expected to make arrangements to have a weapon at the ready.
There are a variety of possible options and prices. Here is what you’ll need to participate: Read more…
- At least 1 valid weapon (either purchase one or see below for instructions on making your own)
- Comfortable running shoes (we will be on our feet all day)
- Long sleeves and pants (recommended to prevent cuts and/or abrasions)
- A water bottle (it’s gonna get sweaty)
- A bagged lunch (there is no food provided)
- Costumes and/or body armor (optional)
You are free to bring as many weapons and/or types of weapons as you wish, including shields and throwing weapons. But all weapons MUST be inspected and approved for safety purposes by the organizers prior to use.
- Stabbing-type attacks will be discouraged as many weapons are not designed to do this safely
- Intentional head, neck, groin, or hand shots are prohibited
- While this is a full-contact event, participants are asked to pull back on strikes to prevent injuries, particularly on younger players
- Melee weapons MUST be under 7 feet in length. Longer “polearm” style weapons may require a designated “Strike zone” to be accepted for general use (i.e. a spear-style weapon can only wound with the spearhead not the shaft)
- Throwing weapons MUST be under 2 feet in length and sufficiently padded to prevent injury. Not all game modes may allow throwing weapons.
Here are two ways to get your hands on a weapon Read more…
1. Buy weapons online
Check out Epic Armoury Weaponry (ships from Denmark, so be aware of shipping times if you want your weapon to arrive in time)
Another option is the Calimacil LARP Store, which ships from Eastern Canada with better shipping rates and includes some Epic Armoury products.
You could also try Amazon, but beware, searching for foam swords may give you some VERY poor-quality results that will break very quickly.
2. Make your own foam weapon (aka a Boffer weapon)
It is actually surprisingly easy to make a simple foam weapon (commonly referred to as a Boffer) that will work very well for this event. It generally requires duct tape, hockey tape, a pool noodle, and a length of PVC pipe. This is a very affordable option if you want to put in some effort.
Here’s a tried-and-true material list to make your weapon. Going in on materials with two or three people greatly reduces the costs.
Material List for Making Boffer Swords:
Estimated material costs for 1 boffer sword: $13
Estimated time to construct 1 boffer sword: 1 hour
- ¾” PVC Pipe – ~$17.71 for 10 feet
- can be found at Home Depot
- creates the stiff structural component of the weapon
- that’s enough to make 3-5 swords, depending on the desired length
- if you go in with some friends that’s about $4 for a 2.5-foot long boffer sword
- Pool Noodle or Pipe Insulation Foam – $1-6 for 6 feet
- the foam covers all parts of the pipe for safety reasons, ensure the ends of any pipe have at least 2-3″ of foam extending past them to avoid any stabbing injuries (see videos linked below)
- pool noodles can sometimes be found on clearance from Walmart for $1 each
- pipe insulation foam from Home Depot also works, just double-check it fits your PVC pipe size
- you can probably get at least 2 swords from one piece, so call it $3 for 1 sword
- Duct Tape – ~$10 for 1 roll
- can easily be found anywhere that you are sourcing your other materials, including Walmart and Home Depot
- used to hold everything together and protect the foam from splitting/tearing
- you can likely get at least 2 swords out of one roll, so $5 per sword
- Hockey Tape – ~$6.50 for a 4 pack
- can be found at places like Walmart or Canadian Tire
- used to create a final “soft” layer for the weapon to avoid cuts and scrapes when striking exposed skin
- ~1 Roll per sword, so call it $2 per sword
- save the leftovers to do field repairs on the day of the battle
Here are some instructional videos for reference. Feel free to also get in touch with the organizers as they have experience making boffer weapons.
Advanced Method (more durable, but more materials required)
You can find many videos on YouTube for alternative methods, as well as crafting things like Boffer Shields, Boffer Axes, Boffer Hammers, Boffer Spears, etc…
Armor is not required in any way to participate, however, you may see some participants wearing it. Armor does NOT include fabric based costumes or accessories, but rather rigid plastic, metal, or leather components.
Any armor worn during a LARP battle must be free of any sharp edges and/or points. If the organizers believe that your armor could cause injuries they reserve the right to ask you to remove it.
Functionally in battle, depending on the armor material, size, and placement, you may receive additional “protection” from simulated wounds. This is addressed on a case-by-case basis.
EXAMPLE: A pair of metal bracers MAY be agreed upon to provide you one free hit on the arm before causing a wound to that arm.
Rules of Play
Realm of Strife LARP Battles follow what is referred to as “Black Knight” rules, an homage to the classic Monty Python scene.
Being struck by an opponent’s weapon causes either a wound or a killing blow, depending on where the blow landed. Glancing blows do not count. The person being struck can call a glancing blow, but honesty and fair play are essential to this event and is expected and enforced. Arguments will not be tolerated and may result in players being asked to sit out.
Being struck in a limb is not a killing blow, but instead counts as a wound, and immediately prevents any further use of that limb. Being struck in the torso is a killing blow.Read the rules…
Off limit Strikes
Strikes to the hands, head, neck, and groin DO NOT COUNT, so do not aim for these areas. Accidental strikes to these areas are possible but still do not count as a wound or killing blow.
Full-force strikes of any kind are prohibited! Players are expected to hold back on their swings, particularly when battling younger/smaller opponents.
Strong stabbing motions with weapons are prohibited, with the exception of light jabs with no follow-through. Impaling-style attacks are also prohibited.
Warnings will be given to anyone deemed to be swinging too hard or using prohibited strikes. The person on the receiving end of a strike has the right to call a strike as being too forceful, within reason. Repeated offenses will result in removal from the event.
Being struck anywhere on your torso is an immediate killing blow, removing you from the match (depending on the type of match you may be able to respawn). The torso is defined as any part on the front or back of your body at or above your waistline, below your neck, and inside your shoulder joint.
Being struck on the arm is a wound. The arm is defined as being anywhere from the wrist up to and including the shoulder. If suffering an arm wound you must immediately drop any weapon held by that arm. The weapon must be dropped to the ground, i.e. you may NOT pass the weapon to a free hand or to an ally. That arm is then held behind your back to indicate that it is wounded. If both arms are wounded you are not technically “dead” and can still use your body to block for your allies.
Being struck on the leg is a wound. The leg is defined as being anywhere from the foot up to just below the waistline. Leg wounds include being struck on the butt, relative to the left side or right side. If suffering a leg wound you must immediately go down onto the knee of the wounded leg. While you can still move around the battlefield, the knee of the wounded leg must remain on the ground at all times (i.e. no hopping around on one leg). If both legs are wounded you are still viable and can fight and move from a kneeling position, but BOTH knees must remain on the ground at all times.
If you have suffered a wound to all four limbs you may be executed by an opponent if they touch a weapon to your torso (even a glancing blow). A non-contact motion of a weapon across your throat also counts as an execution. At any time you may choose to execute yourself, provided you have suffered at least one wounded limb.
Additional rules may exist for specific game modes and matches. Further detail will be given on the day of the event.