Cheap Costumes and Boffer Weapons?

Hi! My sister and I are planning on joining Alliance, but we don't have a lot of money.

I've been searching through thrift stores for our costumes, which I hope will fit in alright. Is there anything I should avoid in a costume that may not be obvious?

Also, I need to either buy or make a boffer weapon for each of us. She would like to use a staff for role-playing purposes. I'm not sure what I want to use yet. How can I make a good staff? What are some other easy weapons to make? Is there anywhere that sells them cheap? They don't need to be anazing, but it would be great if they could last until we can afford new ones.

Any help you can give would be appreciated! Thanks a lot! :)


I'm not an expert on costuming, but the biggest things to avoid are jeans and sneakers. Black or brown sneakers aren't too bad, but white shoes really stand out. Another thing I've seen a lot of people do (and I did at my first couple events) is get a cheap leather jacket from a thrift store for some extra armor points. It almost always looks really bad, but with some creative use of scissors and a little bit of sewing, you can turn the right ugly leather jacket into a badass doublet.

If it's at all possible, you should have someone who has made at least a few weapons help you make your first weapon. The instructions are all there in the rulebook, but first-hand experience goes a long way. Here's some general advice, though:

For a staff, you probably want to use 3/4" PVC pipe. It'll be a little heavy, but not ridiculously so.
The first thing you want to do is figure out where you want to place the foam on your staff. These are the dimensions I would use. The PVC core is 5 feet long - that way, you can get two staves out of a 10' length of PVC.
It's not required, but I like to use double-sided duct tape to attach the foam to the PVC. It tends to make weapons last just a little longer. It also cuts down on the amount of tape you have to use to anchor the foam on each end, which tends to look ugly. You can also use spray glue or contact cement to do this, but I don't have much experience with that.
3/4" PVC is a little tricky in that the 5/8" thick 3/4" pipe foam isn't actually large enough and 1" pipe foam is too large. If you get 1" foam, you'll have to carefully cut a thin section of the foam (lengthwise) to make it fit. If you get 3/4" foam, you'll have to take a long thin section (or several short sections) from another piece of foam to fill in the gap - this isn't the best method, but it's not unsafe. Make sure you have the foam extend 1 inch beyond the PVC.
Most people like to put the crush tip under the main layer of duct tape, but I like to do it over the top. The crush tip is one of the most likely things to break and this makes it easier to do repairs.
When you're putting the duct tape on, don't press it down on one end and flatten it across. You'll get wrinkles and bubbles and it'll look bad unless you're extremely careful about it. Instead, take one edge of the duct tape and lightly press it down on the foam from one end to the other. Then, starting in the center and working outward, use the duct tape roll to roll the tape down onto the foam.

That same advice applies to just about any weapon. Short swords are pretty easy to make - for those, I'd use 1/2" SDR-11 CPVC (it'll seem way too bendy when you see it in the store, but it's stiff enough for short weapons) and 1/2" diameter 5/8" pipe foam. You won't have to worry about trimming the foam down for this size, thankfully, and a pair of short swords work pretty well if you want to use two weapons. That said, if you're feeling a little more confident in your weapon-making abilities or you get them from someone else, most weapons that aren't swords look cooler than swords. :thumbsup:

As for buying weapons, it depends on your area. If you're going to play at SoMN or Chicago, I can make you some weapons - this is some of my most recent work. Something like one of those would cost more, but basic weapons are pretty cheap.


Oregon Staff


KyleSchmelz said:
Another thing I've seen a lot of people do (and I did at my first couple events) is get a cheap leather jacket from a thrift store for some extra armor points.
Ooh a cheap leather jacket is not a bad idea (especially since I'm wearing robes over top of it, so the 'looking bad' part is somewhat negated.
These are all great ideas! Thank you! :D

I've been looking through thrift stores to try and find some good costume pieces. It's coming along okay, but no luck on any type of armor yet.

As for the weapons, holy catolie, that sounds complicated! Maybe I'll have one made.

Do you guys think it's better to NPC my first event rather than PC it? That way I could get a look at all this stuff and get a better idea about it. Although I do like tge idea of PCing my first event. Oh, decisions... :p


PC vs NPC... This is an argument that's been covered a lot, and there are a lot of good arguments on both sides, but the way I see it, it boils down to this.

NPC Pros:
You can get a better idea of how the game works.
You have more time to get your costuming together.
You don't have to provide your own weapons to NPC.
You can get some fighting practice with a few different styles.
Playing different types of characters as an NPC helps you figure out what type of character you want to play.
You can get a little more build before starting your character out - the first couple blankets will get you at least 10 more build to play with. Goblin blanketing a couple months in addition takes you to 32 build.
You can get to know the plot team a bit, and they can get to know you. If they know what you as a player would like to see, it's more likely to come into game.
You get some goblin stamps without having to donate anything but your time. Like I said before, extra XP blankets will give you a lot of build early on, and you can buy one blanket each month using goblins.

PC Pros:
Most chapters let you play your first event for free, so PCing lets you take full advantage of that offer.
You get more of a sense of wonder - everything will be new and shiny.
You can start getting involved with plot stuff earlier.
Sometimes NPCing can be boring, especially since new players are less likely to play anything "interesting". You make your own fun as a PC.
You can get to know the other PCs. It's always good to get in good with the big healers, and you might get invited to join one of the PC groups/organizations.

I NPCed my first event, and it's probably a little easier for you if you do that, but if you're really excited about playing your character and just want to get started right away, go for it. The vast majority of players and staff are really friendly and they're more than willing to help you out, so don't feel too intimidated coming into game for the first time.


siriuslyyellow said:
As for the weapons, holy catolie, that sounds complicated! Maybe I'll have one made.
Yeah, I probably made that sound more complicated than it really is. Simple version:

Use a 5' long 3/4" PVC core. Put some duct tape over each end to cap it off.
Mark out where you want to put your foam (the dimensions I posted before still apply).
Put the first piece of foam on the pipe, making sure to leave 1" of open space on each end. Anchor the ends with duct tape.
Push some scrap foam into that open space on the end.
Put on the crush tip. You can get the open cell foam at just about any craft store.
Tape along the length of the weapon. The smoother you can do this, the better.
Repeat that process for the other pieces of foam.
Wrap some electrical tape around the exposed part of the pipe. You can also use tennis grip or something like that, but with 3/4" pipe, it's already going to be a little thick.

The only part of that process that's any different for a sword is the crossguard. There are a few different ways to make a crossguard and the book has instructions on how to do one of the easier ones. Generally speaking, if you follow the instructions in the book when you're making a weapon, you should be fine.
Thanks, Kyle!! :)

Those instructions were a lot easier, lol. I could actually envision doing it in my head, so maybe I'll be able to make one that works! :)

My sis and I are torn about NPC vs PC, but our first event is going to be the Crossroads event in June, so we're trying to make a decision quick! :p


HQ Staff
I'm pretty sure if you're NPCing Crossroads the aforementioned boredom will not be a problem :)

Since Crossroads is a low level chapter it's a great one for your first game - on either side of the fence. NPCing as mentioned is also a great opportunity to learn how to make weapons, or make connections with people who can make them for you, as well as getting more ideas on costuming and giving you more time to get your own gear together.

When NPCing bring all black base layers - they'll have costuming in stock for you to use for all the roles you'll play, from townsfolk to monsters. The folks who were talking about footwear were dead on. Sneakers in general are the biggest no-no, especially white or ones trimmed in white or other bright colors. They really detract from the overall look and can be very jarring. If you have solid black ones that's not nearly as bad, and hiking boots in dark or neutral tones are also a good idea.
Thanks! :D

I was looking up some weapons to buy online. I searched "boffer" on eBay and got 9 results. I also found the Nerf N-Force line on Amazon. Are either of these acceptable choices, or are some boffer weapons considered not safe?
each weapon has to be inspected by a weapons marshall at the game. If you're NPCing you don't need your weapon yet, those are provided. If you're PCing you may want to hold off buying an already made weapon unless its from an Alliance playing weapon maker who comes highly recommended. If you buy a boffer off the internet for $50 it may not pass Alliance weapons rules...which makes one sad.

I may have missed something in the thread about whether or not to PC or NPC first but I gotta say, I NPC'd for an entire year before ever PCing and it rocked. I tried every race possible. Found out what type of costuming I really found comfortable and what type of armor was good for me. Learned how to make weapons so that when I came in with my PC, I was already 8th level and had made myself a weapon, etc.

Honestly even after all that preparation I continually make changes to the costuming though. Figure out if you want to play for the role playing or for the beating bad guys. You will costume yourself appropriately. If you want to RP and you're playing a merchant who runs and hides alot, you may not need a ton of really heavy duty armor (which can get really pricey).

I cannot tell you how important it is to make sure you put the majority of any money you spend on footwear. It's worth it to spend $80 - $100 on boots that look cool and are kind to your feet (which you will be on for 15 hours a day). OR If you have a pair of black sneakers that are supremely comfortable for you, make some calf/shin shafts of leather that lace down over the top of the sneakers and poof...armor, comfortable, period-looking!

If you are going to PC a race that requires a ton of make up, figure out which make up works best for you BEFORE you get to the camp site. Make sure you bring everything you will need to apply and unapply that make up while at camp. Bring a mirror so you don't have to ask NPC camp "can I use your mirror?"

I would really encourage you to NPC at least 1 even before PCing but it's all up to you. Most importantly just have fun.


I'll agree with what just got said about weapons. The Nerf ones won't pass, and if you NPC Crossroads, there are some expert weapons makers that staff and NPC that chapter.


Yeah definately stay away from the Nerf. They look like a good idea, but they are cheap. One of the guys here was trying the axe out in a combat day and it wrapped itself around the Epic Armoury sword the other guys was using when it got blocked. Great for little kids but don't stand up to LARPing. Also I personally find the Epic Armoury line of clothing pretty cheap as far as it goes. Pants and shirts for around $35 to $50. I bought a scarf at Value Village for $3, paid $35 for my pants and my shirts were $50 each. I bought a second as I found one isn't enough when you're out sweating up a storm on a weekend.

As far as money goes, you can probably do it cheaper, looking around and stuff, but I found the amount of time looking around or finding a seamstress, $50 isn't that big a deal. Boots OTOH are a bit more expensive, though I bought two pairs through Dark Knight Armoury, one was $80, and the other $35. Personally I've been funding the majority of my LARP gear by selling miniatures I don't use and other gaming paraphanelia I haven't touched in years. And tons of Overtime.
Thanks a lot for all of the helpful info! I'll avoid the Nerf weapons, haha. :p

Is the Epic Armory store online or IG? It sounds like something I should look into. :)


They are a Canadian distributor, so you have to find a retailer that carries their products (for us that's easy since the chapter owner ALSO owns a gaming store and orders stuff in from them)

Looking at their list, they operate mostly in Quebec and Ontario with a couple outlets in Alberta that carry their stuff.
I'll check them out. :) Thank you, again! :D :thumbsup:


There's a fair few online shops in the US that carry their stuff. It all actually comes out of Europe. I believe Medievel Collectibles/Dark Knight Armoury among others carry them. Weapons themselves go for around $75-$100 an upwards. But the clothing line itself is pretty decent.
Now I jusy need money to actually buy/make a boffer... Thanks! :p


What kind of weapons were you looking to build/get? This way if someone knew what you were looking for they could either give you a price for the reps or see if you could borrow some reps to start with...


If you play in the Northeast and can make it to a New Hampshire game, there's a guy, James, who has a website that sells latex weapons. A post he made is here and he can bring weapons to the game so you can avoid shipping charges.

Otherwise, throw a post in the Catskills OOG forums and someone can probably hook you up with a loaner weapon or materials. A few of the players and a bunch of the staff are probably at the Connecticut game that's this weekend, so you might not hear much til Monday.