By, Adakan Rafenson, Lord Corvus of Ordo Corvus
Running Equipment Check
Running a Combat Equipment Check (often just called “Weapons Check”) can sometimes seem like a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before. In this part of the guide, we’ll go over a good basic structure, and some tips and tricks for running your very own.
After acquiring as many tools of the trade as you can, you’ll need to acquire what is arguably the most important part of the equipment check: Volunteers! Without the right number of volunteers, your check will be slower, less accurate, and overall less efficient. How many people you need depends on the number of weapons and equipment coming through, and is best learned through experience. However, as a general guideline for any decent sized event, you want at least 2-4 people for each weapon class (and additionally, shields) to be in charge of checking those categories. For smaller events you can often get away with just a few people total running the check, though in every case: more volunteers = less work and time saved!
Organizing your equipment check is also important. If you can, try to have clearly marked areas for placing different types of equipment, and one for a pile of passed weapons. For example: an area for people to place Light weapons, one for Heavy, Thrusting, Shields, etc…
It’s important to have a designated area specifically for Bows/Missile weapons and nothing else. This area will have various missiles being thrown and loosed, so even though you should make sure attendees don’t walk anywhere they shouldn’t within a check, it’s most important that they don’t accidentally find themselves in the middle the Missile testing area and receive a sudden *thunk* to their head. Have a separate passing pile here, if possible.
If you have the volunteers for it, have a few people that are either new to volunteering for equipment check in charge of marking passing equipment. There are many ways to mark a piece of equipment as passing, but the most important thing is to not use colors that match the color coding method of weapon identification (blue, red, green, etc…). Often checks will use a single piece of tape, or adhesive wristbands to mark passing equipment. If you don’t have the extra volunteers, then each section of the check needs to have access to the “pass tape” so they can mark the equipment themselves. Either way, have an area designated for passing equipment to be placed for the owners to pick up.
If you’re running a very large event, it’s important to have a clear chain of command in an equipment check, so that when situations appear that less experience volunteers haven’t encountered before they can be handled quickly, such as rule clarifications and final decisions on equipment that skirts the edge of the rules.
Tools of Equipment Checking
- Template: A weapon’s checking template can be made of anything such as wood, metal, or plastic, but the key is for it to have a specific shape and dimensions to aid you in checking combat equipment. The best template will have two holes that are 2” and 2.5” in diameter, and be .5” thick. This allows you to check Thrusting and non-Thrusting tips of weapons, other sections of the weapon, as well as certain armors. The template should also be exactly 6” long in at least one direction. This allows you to measure flail chain lengths and minimum striking surfaces for Light and Heavy weapons.
- ⅜” Dowel: This allows you to check chainmail armor.
- Electrical or Athletic Tape: Have extra tape on hand for all weapon and equipment color types (blue, red, green, yellow, white) in case you receive a piece of equipment that isn’t properly marked.
- Digital Scale: Allows you to weigh Light and Heavy weapons, as well as flail heads for minimum weights.
- Digital Outside Calipers: Allows accurate checking for armor thickness requirements.
- Penny: Useful in checking for spacing gaps in armor.
- Digital Fishing Scale: Used to measure bow draw weight poundage.
- Draw Length String: Used to measure the draw length of a bow while checking poundage.
- Measuring Tape: For checking weapon and various other length requirements.