Middle Kingdom Experimental
Heavy Weapons Information


Last Updated: November 16, 1997

Table of Contents
  • 2.0.0 Experimental Weapons/Rules
  • 2.1.0 Siloflex Weapons
  • 2.2.0 Low Profile Thrusting Tips
  • 2.3.0 Clicker Axes
  • 2.4.0 12' Spears
  • 2.5.0 7 1/2' Polearms
  • 2.6.0 Face Thrusting
  • 2.7.0 Ricasso Great Sword
  • 2.8.0 6' Unpadded Polearms
  • 2.9.0 7 1/2' Unpadded Polearms

  • Note: As of Pennsic War 1997 the following experimental weapons forms are fully legal for use in the Middle Kingdom: Silo-flex/Rattan Core swords, low profile thrusting tips, clicker axes, 12' spears, 7 1/2' 1/2" padded polearms, Ricasso great swords. Three layer siloflex swords are still considered experimental as is face thrusting. Unpadded Pole Weapons are only in experimental usage until Pennsic War, 1997. After Pennsic War 1997 unpadded Pole Weapons will no longer be allowed in Middle Kingdom lists (I.E., demo, practice, tournament, or melee).

    October 1997 Update: Per Their Royal Majesties Palymar and Aislinn, three layer siloflex swords will be allowed in their Crown Tournament and there will be no face thrusting.

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    2.0.0  Experimental Weapons/Rules

    Note: Experimental weapons (especially siloflex swords) will not be allowed at Pennsic War in 1997 unless they are specified for use in a specific battle by the KING. No exceptions. Experimental weapons may be used for pick-up fighting out on the field, but the usual 'checking with your opponent' rules still apply. Anyone caught breaking this rule will receive a suspension from fighting at Pennsic of not less than one full day of battles.

    The following section details the various experimental weapons forms and rules currently in use within the Middle Kingdom Only. If you ARE NOT a resident of the Middle Kingdom, you MUST contact the Earl Marshal of your kingdom for information regarding the use of experimental weapons forms. It also contains information on the construction and specific usage of experimental weapons. Any usage of experimental weapons is as the sole discretion of the Earl Marshal and any subordinates so designated. In order to become an experimental weapon tester, you must contact the Earl Marshal directly. Your name and home group will be added to a roster and you will be given permission to use the experimental forms you have requested. I expect a reasonable amount of feedback over a six month period either in the form of written comments or email. Verbal communications is not acceptable as I am trying to document these experimental forms in order to decide whether or not they are going to be passed in the future. To employ any of the experimental weapons listed below, you must have the permission of your opponent. This means that unless you ask everyone on the other side of a melee, you may not use them in melee. Experimental weapons may be used in Crown or Coronet Tournaments until further notice. If your opponent does not wish you to use an experimental weapon, you may not use it against him or her - period. Face thrusting is a special case of the experimental rules and is covered in great detail in Section 2.6.0.

    2.1.0  Siloflex Weapons

    Siloflex is actually a brand name manufacturer for Silver Line tubing. Silver Line tubing is a flexible, black plastic tubing used in plumbing and outdoor sprinkler/irrigation systems. It can be found in 5' lengths at Lowe's or Builder's Square type stores and is also available from most plumbing supply houses. Silver Line tubing may be used for the construction of single handed arms ONLY of length not greater than 40". The type of tubing used MUST be the 160psi (type is stamped right onto the plastic so make sure you get the right type). For standard construction there are several ways to make a weapon out of this material.

    Note: Latest Update on Siloflex sources. The material known as Silverline manufactured by Siloflex may also be sold under the name "Crestline". It is a material used for outdoor irrigation with a wall strength of 160psi and similar flexibility. If you wish to use this material, contact the Earl Marshal BEFORE trying it out. I need to have detailed info on this material and who is testing it.

    (1) The minimum construction requirements for the weapon are a 1" piece of tubing (this is the ID, the OD of a 1" Silver Line tube is actually 1.25" but always be sure to check), with a 3/4" piece of tubing slid down inside of it. The fit is usually extremely snug, but if its loose, be sure to use PVC epoxy or contact cement to make sure the inner piece cannot slide out of the outer piece.

    (2) There is no requirement to cover the tubing, but you still need to mark the blades. If you do wish to cover the tubing for looks, I recommend just one layer of duct tape.

    (3) The sword may be mounted into a basket hilt using pipe clamps, bolts or screws. Pipe clamps are the most command and do the least damage to the tubing. If you are going to use bolts, I recommend going all the way through the hilt and bolting it securely. If you want to use screws, please see the next section for additional construction information.

    (4) You must bevel the striking end of the sword to break the sharp edge (as per standard rattan swords). Using a rasp or coarse file works very well on the plastic.

    (5) You may also use a rasp or coarse file to shape the handle. Be aware of the wall thickness when carving away the grip. It is also possible to heat the tubing with a propane torch to make it malleable enough to shape by squeezing. I have also seen a grip made such that the outer of layer (the 1") was removed right at the handle leaving only the 3:4" piece underneath giving a much more comfortable grip for the smaller hand. See the section below for details on this construction.

    These five requirements are the minimum requirements for the construction of a siloflex weapon. Below I have listed some additional suggestions for construction of a silo-flex weapon.

    (A) An additional piece of tubing of size 1/2" can be slid into the weapon to increase the rigidity. There are two types of 1/2" tubing available: 100psi and 120psi. DO NOT use the 100psi as it is just to flimsy. You will also find that the 120psi tubing does not fit as tightly as the other two layers, so it will be necessary to put some sort of epoxy or flue on it to hold it in place.

    Option 2: You can also take a second piece of the 3/4" tubing and split it down one side. It is then possible to curl it and force it in as the third layer. This greatly increases the rigidity and "trueness" of the sword, but also makes it much heavier. Getting the third piece in can be difficult so I recommend using a little soapy water to help the fit. Once you get the end started you can pound the third piece in with a hammer.

    (B) If you wish to put a thrusting tip on a siloflex sword, you must put a leather cap on the end of the weapon. I use a very light clothing type suede and epoxy it in place. This is to keep the thrusting tip from accidentally being forced down inside of the sword. While this isn't really a problem with the three layer swords, it could present a danger with the minimum two layer weapons. In either case, a cap is required if a thrusting tip is going to be used.

    All marshals should be sure to thoroughly inspect siloflex weapons for construction and weight. It has been noted that three layer swords at the 40" length seem exceptionally heavy once the basket hilt is introduced. Make sure to weigh these weapons. Again, the 5 lb rule is there for safety - enforce it.

    April 30, 1997 Update: With all of the siloflex testing that's currently going on in the Middle Kingdom, several things have become apparent in the last six months.

    (1) 2 layer siloflex swords seem to be too light to get a reliable calibration from the average opponents. The two layer sword is just to flexible and absorbs too much of the impact making a blow register light for most opponents.

    (2) 3 layers siloflex swords are better than 2 layer swords for calibration, but there are still problems feeling blows from a three layer siloflex weapon, especially against non-rigid or heavily padded armour.

    New Optional Construction: Although it might seem to defeat the purpose of testing siloflex, several fighters in the Middle Kingdom are testing a rattan-core silosword. This is just a 1" piece of siloflex tubing with a shaved down rattan stick forced down inside of it. This weapon hits much more like a normal sword, but the siloflex cover should greatly increase the overal lifespan of the rattan stick. I am encouraging people to try out this option. It takes some work to shave down a stick to a small enough diameter to fit down inside of the siloflex tubing, but I've been using this type of sword for about six months now with no appreciable wear on the weapon. This construction also makes the mounting of hilts a little easier as it can be easily drilled into without compromising the structural integrity of the weapon. It also does away with the need to cap the ends of the weapon if you are planning on using a thrusting tip.

    2.2.0  Low Profile Thrusting Tips

    Low profile thrusting tips construction is as follows:

    (1) The thrusting tip must match the diameter of the sword. It may not be smaller than the diameter of the blade

    (2) It must have 1/2" of progressive give without bottoming out. "Without bottoming out..." means the thrusting tip must compress at least 1/2 an inch and then still have a little more room to compress (1/8 to 1/4 additional is fine). The operative idea being that the thrusting tip should not dead stop on a normal thrust.

    (3) The tip must be colored substantially different that either the blade or the blade mark coloring.

    Make sure to break the edge of the rattan when mounting the thrusting tip. Danger of exposure to the naked edge of the rattan is much higher without the larger diameter tip to blunt the force of a blow. Also, as with current thrusting tip rules, the tip cannot be bent over to expose the rattan edge. I recommend a 1" collar of the very light leather taped around the end of the sword (after the edge has been rasped down). The collar should be approximately half an inch below the end of the sword and half an inch above the end of the sword. This keeps the rattan from being exposed even if the tip folds over a bit.

    2.3.0  Clicker Axes

    A clicker axe follows the same basic construction rules that clicker maces do except that the axe has only one or two striking surfaces. A pieces of rattan is submerged into the striking face in the same manner as with clicker maces (see Section 1.2.3). Clicker axes are strictly single handed weapons. Under no circumstances may any sort of clicker be introduced into a two handed weapons.

    2.4.0  12' Spears

    The only change to the current rule is the increase to the maximum length. All other rules governing the use and construction of spears are still in force. It is generally considered that 9' is the maximum length for a rattan spear due to the nature of the flex in the wood. However, as long as weapon is not too unwieldy (I.E., does not present a safety hazard), rattan can be used for any length spear up to 12'.

    2.5.0  7 1/2' Polearms

    The only change to the current rule is the increase to the maximum length and that this weapon may ONLY be used in melee. All other rules governing the use and construction of polearms are still in force.

    2.6.0  Face Thrusting

    Face thrusting is still in experimental mode. It may be used by anyone who has completed a face thrust authorization. There are two types of face thrust authorization: Single Handed and Two Handed. Each must be completed separately. Face thrusting may ONLY be employed against an opponent whose helmet has passed a face thrust inspection. Under no circumstance may face thrusting be used in Crown or Coronet Tourney. It may be employed in any other tournament provided BOTH parties have been inspected for face thrusting compliance and are agreed that face thrusting may be used for the fight. Face thrusting may only be employed in melee if all of the combatants have passed face thrust inspection and are agreed to allow the use of face thrusting. Given the potential dangers, I want to see the testing of face thrusting carried out by the books. If any opponent expresses reservations about it being used against him/her, it will not be used. I do not want to see anyone in a face thrusting melee who is not fully inspected. Anyone caught breaking these rules will be dealt with severely. I do not wish to see anyone get hurt, and I want to make sure we carry out all possible safety precautions when testing face thrusting. Unlike some other kingdoms, the only legal face thrust area is the front area (if the helmet had a grill face that would be the legal area). The convention is touch/positive force. This means the person being struck must actually feel the strike, but if he/she feels it even a little, the blow is good. Excessive force in face thrusting is strictly prohibited. It requires practice to get good at face thrusting. Anyone caught repeatedly using excessive force in face thrusting is likely to have their card pulled for a short period of time. I do not want to see anyone get hurt and the rules will be enforced. When using face thrusting BE CAREFUL.

    To pass a face thrust inspection:

    (1) No bare metal from the helmet may be pushed into contact with the skin of the face or neck. Clarification: If the helmet facing is adequately padded so that only pad comes into contact with the skin, that is acceptable. I strongly recommend a strap that passes in front of the chin and is permanently attached to the inside of the helmet (not adjustable). This helps to keep the helmet in place from direct (face-on) strikes.

    (2) The chin strap must not allow the helmet to be lifted more than an inch off the wearer's head. Keep in mind when enforcing this rule that all helmets are different. Some helmets ride low enough that an inch does not present a problem. Others expose the wearer to danger when lifted only half an inch. Use common sense when inspecting helmets for face thrust. The important thing you are looking for here is that if the helmet is lifted straight up is the wearer exposed to any danger BEFORE the chin strap stops the movement of the helmet. Coif attached to the helmet generally increase protection, but are still not sufficient by themselves if the helmet leaves large areas of bare skin exposed beneath he camail. Take the time to check this part of the helm inspection out closely. It is not just a rule for face thrusting, and it probably doesn't get looked at as closely as it should be.

    The face thrust authorization:

    (1) Each form (one handed or two handed) must be authorized separately. The person attempting the authorization must already have standard one-handed or two-handed thrust relative to the face thrust type they wish to authorize. A fighter MAY not attempt both standard and face thrust authorization at the same time.

    (2) The opponent for the authorization must be an authorized face thrust user.

    (3) During the authorization, the marshals are looking for both the use and ability to receive and call good face thrusts. The opponent should allow him/herself to be hit several times in order to gage the force of the person attempting to authorize. More than two instances of excessive face thrusting force not related to foot movement of the target will result in an automatic failure to authorize. Once again, safety is our number one concern in this type of authorization.

    (4) Any single handed weapon with a legal thrusting tip may be used for the single handed face thrust authorization. Polearm or two handed sword are the only weapons usable for the two handed face thrust authorization. There is not individual spear/face thrust authorization and two handed face thrust MAY NOT be authorized in a melee setting. Remember, you are looking for how the person gives and receives face thrusts. Even in a staged melee, it will be very hard for the person attempting the authorization to get thrust by another spear user. Two handed face thrust must be authorized in a tournament style bout.

    2.7.0  Ricasso Great Sword

    In period, many great swords had an area above the cross guard that could be gripped when the user became to tired to hold it using only the guard. Employing our current rules, such a weapon could be created, but it would have to be padded over 1/3 of its length and it would fall under the construction rules for a polearm. The following proposal was put forth to create such a weapon that would not be a polearm and would still retain the look and feel of a two handed sword. Construction requirements for a Ricasso Great Sword are as follows:

    (1) A standard two handed sword is constructed with a standard grip length chosen by the user, but not to exceed 18". For purposes of explanation our experimental great sword will be six feet long with an eighteen inch grip.

    (2) A distinctive mark is clearly made on the standard grip some distance up from the pommel(I recommend a ring of colored leather). For purpose of explanation, this ring will be placed twelve inches up from the pommel and clearly marked.

    (3) Measuring from our marker on the grip up the blade of the weapon a total of eighteen inches, another colored ring of leather is attached to the blade of the greatsword. The area of the blade from the crossguard up to second ring of leather is not marked as blade. What we have now done in the construction of this weapon is to clearly mark two eighteen inch areas on the weapon.

    Usage: The user of the weapon now has two distinctive length handle areas to grip the weapon . At all times the users hands may not be more than eighteen inches apart, but if the user gets tired or finds him/herself in a situation where it might be more advantageous to have a shorter weapon, he/she can switch grip areas while still maintaining the eighteen inch spread between his/her hands. It is critical in the construction of the weapon that both eighteen inch areas be CLEARLY marked so there is no question about the position of the users hands. In all cases the hands may be further apart than eighteen inches.

    For its initial experimentation, the sword may have only two clearly marked handle lengths. These two areas should be marked in an obvious fashion, and the user should explain to his opponents before hand how the weapon works to avoid confusion when it is being employed. This construction may only be used on two handed swords whose standard grip length is at least 12 inches to begin with.

    2.8.0  6' Unpadded Polearms

    A 6' unpadded polearm is basically a piece of rattan with blade marks and, if desired, a thrusting tip or butt spike. An unpadded polearm must have the blade clearly marked and can have no more than two striking surfaces. The surfaces must both be in the same plane (I.E., no unpadded mauls). I recommend a hand stop at the base of the blade. If your hand slips up onto the bladed area, you lose the use of that arm the same as if you had been struck.

    2.9.0  7 1/2' Unpadded Polearms

    A 7 1/2' unpadded polearm is basically a piece of rattan with blade marks and, if desired, a thrusting tip or butt spike. An unpadded polearm must have the blade clearly marked and can have no more than two striking surfaces. The surfaces must both be in the same plane (I.E., no unpadded mauls). I recommend a hand stop at the base of the blade. If your hand slips up onto the bladed area, you lose the use of that arm the same as if you had been struck.

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