As mentioned before, we both needed shields. In fact after reviewing numerous sites, I found none that really stood out. Because of the set patterns, you either find a shield that perfectly fits your concept (Elves and Paladins, it seems are well off) or you’re left with a tiny wooden buckler looking thing, as if you’d suddenly been surprised during a dinner and run outside with a wooden trencher to defend your home and honor.
Instead, XZ and I decided to modify our current shields to make them look less cheesy. XZ covered my 24” punch with some nice black leather and added some trailing tassels at the bottom to accentuate the outline at night. For her own benefit, she glued some extra furry bits around the edges (where the duct tape covers the foam) of her heater punch and then painted the face of it in flat silver and a black wash.
The only noticeable difference was that the shields were heavier than we were used to; aside from that, they were familiar as they had ever been, a nice touch considering I had to entirely re-learn how to attack with my on hand. Having to re-learn my defensive patterns would have been comical to say the least!
Also, I now discovered that I needed Silicone Spray. Originally I was puzzled by this…did Latex, like, absorb it or something to stay pliant? Was it some strange elixir that prevented, uh, corrosion? Does Latex even corrode? The answer is far more interesting! Latex weapons (and to a much lesser extent, plasti-dip weapons) are inherently sticky/tacky. They have an uncanny ability to briefly catch on whatever they hit, before being pulled away. This in turn, means they are prone to tearing. The Silicone spray puts an ultra-slick barrier over the weapon, which allows it to slide off instead of catch and drag. And boy is this stuff slick. Aside from the weapons, I accidentally (and still claim it was an accident!) sprayed XZ’s gloves and boots, making it kind of funny to watch her try to pick anything up for the first 10 minutes of the game and then immediately slide across the cabin and crash into the sink. Whoops. (Note: Certain sites sell Silicone Spray for $11. I am uncertain what is in this spray, gold perhaps? Because you can buy 100% Silicone Spray at Home Deport for $3 and it works just fine).
So what’s everyone else got?
Upon arriving at the Arcane event, and after trying out the set of field plate I thought was a good idea and instead, remembering how much I enjoyed the simple things in life, like being able to bend at the waist and use the bathroom without a squire, I was able to take a look around and see what everyone else had brought.
A number of people had THAT sword, and no one had that mace – thank goodness. The Hell Staff seemed to be a popular choice. One of the most difficult fighting styles to master (in all the years I’ve seen it tried, only Alison Golosokover and Rob Ciccolini have ever really gotten it right…and Rob’s cheating because he’s 9 feet tall) the Hell Staff still presented a reasonable single weapon purchase/full weapon style option.
I call it the Hell Staff because, while designing “realistic” sized 36” swords, the Latex Weapon Manufacturers decided that sending Friar Tuck into battle with anything less than an uprooted sapling would be unfair. The Hell Staff is 84” long, which is monstrous. It is the longest weapon anyone sells, for some odd reason. Forget Glaives, Halberds and Pikes. When it came to seeing off foes from a distance and/or displaying your regimental flag, the hella-long staff was the IT weapon.
It’s also called the Hell Staff because, unlike all the pole-arm sized weapons, it does not have a secondary squishy head (hey now!). This means that from more than 6 feet away fighters are reigning double-handed destruction down with a very thinly padded, inflexible weapon. Finally, because it looks so damn cool, those who carry the Hell Staff tend to walk with it like an actual wooden staff, meaning one end of it wears down pretty damn quick.
For purchases, any number of folks also had short 1 handers: 36” maces, axes and swords. They all looked good, but short weapons are still short weapons (even if the longer ones weigh a bit more and, to dispel the rumor for the 1,000th time, they do not “swing faster,” well, they DO because they do weigh less, so, perhaps that should be amended to read “they may swing faster, but that in no way makes up for their lack of range in 93% of combat encounters”). There were also a fair number of pole-arms that weren’t the Hell Staff: 60” to 72” long weapons with appropriately double-padded striking surfaces on one end. And again, everything looked very, very pretty.
On the DIY side, Josh and Maurice from Monster Camp showed up with a whole team of folks from Requiem and a TON of weapons of their own devising. Fighting primarily sword and board, their one-handed reps corrected a lot of the short comings of traditional latex weapons. They were appropriately long, didn’t come to the pointy-point that the manufacturers love and optometrists hate and were actually soft! They took paint well and all in all were one of the safest and best look reps to come around in a long time.