Updated: Apr 19, 2019
One of the more unique features of the Hearthlight combat rules is the addition of ‘Healing Staffs.’ Healing Staffs allow a combatant to heal multiple fighters at once and heal from a distance, even while carrying a shield to protect themselves. Because healing is only disrupted if the Healer or a person being healed takes damage, healing has the potential to be a big factor in any battle plan, particularly in larger battles.
Normally, to heal a combatant, a Healer must make physical contact with them while they recite their healing poem. Though any fighter can heal a comrade, they may only heal one at a time.
The Healing Staff changes that. Now, contact can be made with the staff and any number of people can be healed at once, so long as they remain in contact with the staff throughout the entire recitation of the healing poem. The Healer can also reach out with their staff, healing people who would otherwise be out of reach from a position of relative safety.
There is a lot of confusion about just what a Healing Staff should be. I want to clear that up and give an example of one that I was delighted to see when it showed up at Victory IV this year.
A Healing Staff must be between 5 and 6 feet (152 cm and 183 cm) in length and must not be able to pass more than .5 inches through a 2 inch hole. It must have a solid core, and it must be padded for incidental contact. Though it is not yet specified, most weapon checkers will probably expect the entire staff to be padded. As a weapons checker, I’m looking for incidental padding similar to what I would see on the haft of a javelin or a spear, meaning a single layer of pipe insulation is probably enough. Healing Staffs also need three white bands in the center of the staff to mark it as a healing staff.
There are a number of options for acquiring a Healing Staff. The most straightforward one is to simply purchase a staff from a vendor like Calamil, Epic Armoury, or Forged Foam. If you are going this route, make sure that the staff passes all the rules prior to purchasing it. Not all LARP items will meet all of our rules for healing staffs, and it is no one’s fault but your own if you are not allowed to take your $200 healing staff on the field because it fails the template test.
The other option is to make one yourself. A Healing Staff can be a very simple affair. A simple PVC pipe, capped on both ends and covered with pipe insulation will pass. Wood-grain duct tape or a brown fabric cover will provide a presentable, if not stellar, staff. Of course, a plasti-dip staff will look even better, and we are lucky enough to present a tutorial on how to create your own Healing Staff, presented by Ironjaw of the Freeblades of Corinth:
How to Check Healing Staves
Insert by, Adakan Rafenson, Lord Corvus of Ordo Corvus
Healing staves are also an easy item to check! First look it over to make sure it has a proper covering, and that it is entirely padded at least in a manner where incidental contact will be unlikely cause injury. Usually a thin, single layer of commonly used foam over most cores will suffice. Make sure the staff is within the allowed length requirements, that it fits the Aesthetic Standard, and that it has the required three white bands in the middle.
Learn how to check other equipment here with our "Equipment Checking Guide"