Making bucklers, buying swords

So E1 was my first ever larp (absolutely great time, thanks so much PD) but I noticed my choice of short sword in one hand and nothing in the other didn’t turn out too well in combat. My plan to solve this problem is to get a longer sword (my current one’s about 32") and a buckler.

So point number one: Does anyone have suggestions for good, relatively cheap, and long yet still one-handed swords?

Point number 2: I’m planning on making this buckler myself but I’d rather get some advice first. The current plan goes as follows - layer and stick foam mats, cut to size, (maybe smooth the edges with sandpaper,) layer of latex paint, layer of colour paint, another layer of latex paint, handle. Would this work? Are there better ways of doing this?

Thanks and I can’t wait for next time.

Hopefully someone more knowledgeable will be along shortly, but the first thing I can think of is you should add some strong cloth layers for extra strength and rigidity. Don’t stint on the glue. You also want your handle to be attached several layers down so it doesn’t just rip off, so think about how you’d achieve that.

Without wishing to dampen your enthusiasm - once you add up your supplies, random sundries, time and frustration, it will probably work out cheaper overall to save up and buy a buckler. But if you’re interested in the making experience, excellent, go forth and have fun!


Thanks, I’ll bear that all in mind.

Also check the sizes for a buckler in this system. They’re smaller than you think…

As for the swords, it’ll be a case of check the traders, I’m afraid.

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Regarding swords:

  • according to the skill rules, anything longer than 42’’ is technically a great weapon and requires Weapon Master and two hands to use, so that’s your upper limit to keep in mind.
  • I carry a 42’’ sword and I use it like a longsword. I wouldn’t even attempt to carry it one-handed…
  • …but then I’m 5 foot tall and have no training in single-handed swordfighting :smiley:
  • from what I’ve seen, prices tend to be higher for longer weapons, so you’re easily looking at 60-80 pounds for a sword bought on the site. (Which is still a pretty good deal, a good sword will serve you well.) I don’t know of any cheaper options that don’t compromise safety or quality.

To sum up: a weapon of greater length may be considerably heavier and harder to control than a shortsword, especially for those that don’t have a whole lot of training and/or upper body strength. If you’re considering a buckler (possibly upgrading to a shield later on), I personally would give it some time and see how your old weapon fares in that combo before you go buying a longer sword. And if you’re 100% sure a longer weapon is the way to go, try to buy on-site so you can have a feel for how it handles.

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nolanis makes some good points.

You’ll probably do a lot better with 32" sword and a buckler than with just a 32" sword. Even a small buckler can be very effective if you’re fast and accurate with it.

Personally, I’ve fought a lot with a 20" round shield in conjunction with both 32" and 42" swords… and the advantage from the extra reach is clear-cut but not dramatic. (In fact, in close-up fights or confined spaces, the shorter sword can be better.)

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Making bucklers are not impossible and there are a couple guides and recommendations on the forum already. The foam needs to be a certain weight to work well. And a bucklers size is 15 inches diameter

I thought it was 15 inches for Empire?

The wiki sides with Hellcat here:

“Any character can use a buckler, a small shield up to 15 inches in diameter. If you have the shield skill then you can use a larger shield. The maximum dimensions for a shield are based on the shape, listed in the table below.”

Shield Type Max Dimensions
Buckler 15" (40cm) diameter
Round shield 40" (1m) diameter
Tower shield 40" by 24" (1m by 60cm)
Kite/Heater shield 48" by 24" (1.2m by 60cm)
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Sorry my bad. Ive changed my original post.

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Finding a good sword is like finding love: You’ll handle one and you’ll know that sword was made just for you.

If you have the cash to spend, there is a huge selection of one handed swords and other weapons in each empire. I would advise to just try them in the store before you buy them. Make sure that the grip is comfortable and that you like the weight balance. The closer the gravity center to the handle the faster you can use that sword, but at the same time feels less “powerful” and it becomes more difficult to control the hits.

Your plan for the buckler sounds perfect for me.