Weaponry Rules

The following gives an outline of the various weapons which can be used against other Assassins. It is not an exhaustive list and players are encouraged to use their imagination; however, any weapon not on this list must be shown to the Umpire(s) and approved before its use in the field. In general, all weapons must be completely:

All weapons that are not immediately recognisable as an Assassins weapon must be clearly labelled. If you were carrying a real knife, you wouldn't be able to convince your target that it was a pencil by holding your thumb over the label, so you are expected not to do so in the game either. Weapons should be specific to the victim; killing bystanders is to be avoided (it will send you Wanted), even when the effect is harmless.

Except where noted below, weapons will kill the target instantly if they strike any part of the head or torso. If a limb is hit, then it should be declared openly that it is "injured" and so it can no longer be used for the next 30 minutes for any game-related purpose, including to fire, reload or hold a weapon, to block a projectile, to open a door or window or to run away (although if you have to run away you may use your wounded arm(s) to carry your weapons with you rather than leave them behind, as long as you don't use such weapons again in the encounter). Any assassin who continues to use a limb with the knowledge that it has been injured will find that any associated kills are invalidated and possibly that the exertion is deemed to have caused death from blood-loss. Limbs also respawn after 30 minutes, if the encounter is still ongoing. You must declare this openly.

Projectiles or weapons that are deflected off a weapon that is currently being wielded will not kill (assuming they don't then hit upon bouncing), but this does not give licence to try and cover yourself in weaponry as a form of armour. Weapons you are carrying (but not wielding) behave like bags, and do not block weapons or projectiles. The exception is costumes, which allow you to treat your limbs as weapons, letting you block attacks with impunity with them (although head and body shots still kill you).

If fire is obstructed by an injured limb or a weapon being carried by an injured limb, the players should act as though it were not there. i.e. if the shot would have hit the torso or head, the person is dead etc.Likewise, if fire is obstructed by objects such as bags, or weapons not being wielded, the players should act as though the object was not there.

The weapons you are currently wielding or carrying will never harm you in any way, even if they misfire. A water gun that leaks on your hands when fired is safe to use.

Any weapons that you have constructed or functionally modified must be shown to the Umpire(s) for a safety check.

All the allowed weapons in this game, when used responsibly, pose very little risk of any kind of injury.

0 Labeling Rules:

For convenience, rules (and rulings) on labels have been compiled into one section.

When to label: All weapons that are not immediately recognisable as an Assassins weapon must be clearly labelled. If you were carrying a real knife, you wouldn't be able to convince your target that it was a pencil by holding your thumb over the label, so you are expected not to do so in the game either. There are many examples in this document. ctrl+f and search "label" for an idea of what you can do!

You may not cover labels: While you are wielding a labeled weapon, you should not cover the label. Any kills made with a labeled weapon where an assassin intentionally covered the label will be annulled. Note that if you are killed by a labeled weapon, you "not seeing the label" is not grounds for you to ask for your kill to be annulled as many kills with knives are done from behind. You may reasonably hold and conceal a weapon (e.g. hiding a knife-wielding hand under sleeves) but won't be able to make kills with this weapon while it's concealed (and it won't count as bearing).

Bearing with a labeled weapon: An assassin counts as bearing if they are holding a weapon labeled for assassins, regardless of whether or not the label is visible or if they intend to use it in game at that moment. Assassins may not lie about the labeling status of their items to other assassins if asked. So, if you label a pen "KNIFE", you will be bearing at any time you write with it.

Don't abuse labels: The label you give to something must at least make vague sense. You may of course be creative, but the Umpires will take a dim view to poorly labeled items. For example, pads labeled "Poison Frog" are a stretch, but a regular frog plush labeled "Attack Greninja" is allowed (Greninja is a Pokemon so it fits). Pens labeled knife are allowed, but loose sheets of paper labeled knife are not.

1 Allowed Weapons:

1.1 Ranged Weapons

None of the following weapons may be used in 'No Projectile' zones (see main rules).

If you are found to be using a weapon easily mistaken for a real firearm, you will be heavily penalised or removed from the game. No matter how safe it is, the law is quite strict on this matter, and the Guild has no desire to see its members arrested.

1.1.1 Guns

Any weapon which consists of both solid ammunition and a means by which to fire it counts as a gun. This includes dart blasters (Nerf and similar brands), rubber band guns, foam disc launchers, toy pig catapults, children's toy bows and other similar things. Guns do not have to be labelled, since their method of killing is obvious to their victim.

Ricocheting projectiles will kill you after at most one bounce.

Try to avoid head shots with all guns, as shots hitting eyes have the potential to cause injury, especially over short ranges. If using off-brand darts, make sure they are eye safe (see the banned weapons section).

1.1.2 Throwable Weapons

Stress balls labelled "Moon", paper aeroplanes labelled "Kamikaze", origami ninja stars, attack animals and knives (see below section), and rubber bands flicked from the fingers are all examples of throwable weapons. Throwing weapons must be appropriately labelled.

They must be thrown only using your own arm or hand, with no assistance from any kind of launcher (or else the weapon becomes a gun, as above). Throwables are allowed to bounce once and still be deadly - two or more bounces and they do not count.

Throwables may only be thrown one at a time. Throwables must be safe and must not cause bruising. When using a throwable with significant impact, do not throw it unnecessarily hard.

Throwable weapons may not also be used as melee weapons unless they are a knife or a killer attack animal, or with Umpire approval.

1.1.3 Grenades

Grenades are weapons that produce an obvious area of effect when thrown. This includes confetti in bags made from tissue paper and water balloons, but anything that uses powder, aerosol or gases is banned (due to mess and safety). Use common sense with all of these. Contact with the area of effect will kill or disable limbs as usual. For water balloons, the area of wetness required to kill is the same as for other water weapons, and they may only be used in Full Water areas.

If you use a grenade on someone, you must help pick up the mess.

1.1.4 Boulders and Safes

A large lightweight object, at least the size of a football (eg an empty cardboard box; a beach ball), may be labelled as a heavy one (eg 'Safe'; 'Boulder'), and dropped onto a victim from above or rolled into them. They may not be kicked or thrown. These weapons will kill even after bouncing, and may only be safely picked up once they have stopped moving.

1.1.5 Water Weapons

Being killed with a water weapon is obvious, so they do not need to be labelled. Players may decide as to what extent they wish to allow water-based weapons to be used in their own rooms; this information should be supplied to the Umpire(s) at the start of the game. The default state is No Water. In-Bounds areas have restrictions placed on what sort of weapons may be used in them, and are divided into three categories:

All areas should be considered No Water unless they are on the lists below. In addition to this, players in formal wear are No Water no matter which zone they are in.

The following areas are Water with Care:

The following areas are Full Water:

Note that water weapons inappropriate for the water status of an area may not be fired into or out of that area.

If small water pistols are used, it is a good idea to confirm the kill immediately with the victim who might not have noticed the hit if wearing thick clothing. This avoids arguments later, when the water has evaporated.

A hit (with any water weapon) is continuous patch of wetness roughly the area of a 5p piece or a collection of smaller droplets that add in size to more than the area of a 50p piece. Only clean, drinkable water of a normal temperature is allowed in water guns.

1.1.6 Point-blank shots aka Bang-kills

If you are using a gun, water gun, or anything else labelled as a gun and roughly shaped like one (e.g. a labelled banana or hair-dryer labelled, but explicitly excluding 'finger guns'), you may use it for a Bang-kill. Bang-kills are intended to be a way to avoid causing unnecessary harm to a target from close range, public nuisance, a waste of ammunition or the risk of a misfire.

The following conditions must all be met for the Bang-kill to be valid:

More creative flavours for Bang-kills (magic wands and "Avada Kedavra!", attack ducks and "Quack!") are allowed (and frankly encouraged) if you contact the Umpire(s) to register them first. If you're using an alternative vocalisation, you may need to clarify immediately afterwards that this was a Bang-kill.

It is the duty of the attacker to ensure that they are demonstrably fulfilling the above conditions when they say the word, "Bang!". Failure to do so will result in the kill being annulled. Bang-kills are frequently a source of disputes and complications; if possible, safe, and convenient, pulling the trigger is generally a better option.

1.2 Melee weapons

In the interests of safety with all melee weapons, you should use as little force as possible, pull your blows to avoid bruising, and never aim for the head in a fight. As long as the victim can feel that they have been hit, this qualifies as a kill. Do not use anything particularly pointy, sharp, heavy, or impactful, and be extra careful with anything near the boundary. Weapons that break should be checked to see that no sharp or otherwise dangerous parts are exposed by this, before continuing to use it (timeout can be called for this if necessary, as a safety concern). Anything which is usable as a 'Gun' (see above) cannot be used as a melee weapon, nor can a melee weapon be attached to it (no "bayonets").

The only weapons that can be used as both melee and thrown weapons are knives, killer attack animals, and anything specifically sanctioned by the Umpire(s).

1.2.1 Knives

A knife is a long, thin object appropriately labelled (usually as 'Knife', but other creative labels such as 'Dagger', 'Radioactive Fuel Rod' etc are all acceptable), and can be used as both a melee and a thrown weapon (see throwables). This includes knives made of foam, rubber or cardboard, prop knives with retractable blades (plastic only), pens with lids on and without a metal barrel or sharp ends, or any other vaguely knife-shaped objects, may be used as knives. Anything which is not obviously a knife should be labelled "KNIFE", with the exception that Nerf (or other brands of) darts may be used as knives without needing a label.

Pens must have their lids over the nib at all times. Knives must be under 20cm long (or else they are Swords). No metal objects may ever be used as knives. No cutlery of any kind, or actual knives of any kind may be used as knives. Be extra-careful when throwing knives, as they can cause eye damage if they hit at a bad angle.

1.2.2 Coshes

Coshes are nonlethal weapons that may be used to pacify illicit targets without sending you Wanted. They are represented by a cardboard poster tube, a newspaper rolled up and stuck with Sellotape, or similar implements with Umpirical approval (inflatable mallets, etc). They should be clearly labelled 'Cosh' (unless told otherwise by the Umpire(s)). The effect of a cosh lasts 5 minutes and depends upon the location of the hit:

Unconscious Assassins may not take part in the game until they recover, including warning or informing other Assassins. They may not leave the immediate area without forswearing any involvement in the immediate events. Coshing an innocent will still send you Wanted, as will coshing an illicit target who is killed (in any way by anyone) before the effect wears off. An unconscious Assassin may be coshed again to keep them under should there be genuine tactical advantage for doing so, and with the caveat above regarding being able to leave so long as they do not use this for their own game advantage.

Immobilised Assassins may not take part in the game physically and may not move without foreswearing any future involvement in immediate events, but may communicate with others around them in the context of the game, including warning allies of an impending ambush (as long as they don't move).

1.2.3 Swords

A sword is a melee weapon longer than 20cm but no longer than 2m. They are not limited to looking like swords, and include flails, axes, wolverine claws etc. Anything which does not obviously look like a weapon should be labelled. Very realistic weapons (such as Latex LARP swords) must get Umpirical approval before they can be used.

With swords and other melee weapons, be very aware of how much force you have behind the tip, it's probably more than you think, and cored LARP weapons can be dangerous to stab with. Swords may not be thrown.

1.2.4 Killer Attack Animals

Fluffy animals may be used as attack animals as long as they are labelled 'Attack Animal', 'Killer Rabbit', etc. The object in question must be recognisably an animal (and not a random object labelled as one). Regardless of their size, they can be both thrown and used in melee. You're encouraged to register them first (mostly because Umpires like to see what embarrassing fluffy animals Players keep in their rooms).

1.3 Contact Weapons

Contact weapons can be used to kill someone by touching their skin or clothes directly. With any type of contact weapon, it's important to remember that Assassins is not an excuse to grope, unwantedly kiss or hug, or otherwise violate personal boundaries - if it wouldn't be appropriate outside of the game, it's not appropriate in the game either. If in doubt, tap lightly on their shoulder with the tip of a finger, and don't use these weapons with strangers. People can put in their Notes that they wish to be 'No-Contact' to opt out of being attackable with these sorts of weapons.

1.3.1 Costumes

People may wear a costume and become a weapon themselves. The costume must be decent (i.e. have taken some effort to make and appear obviously different from normal clothing) and must include a clearly visible label saying 'Killer [whatever you've dressed up as]' (or similar). When in a labelled costume, your whole body is a contact weapon (and you count as bearing!). This lets you block other weapons with your limbs without them being disabled, but you can still be killed with hits to the head or torso. You may not wield any other weapon whilst wearing a killer costume.

1.3.2 Contact Poison

You may colour any part of your body that is not hair or nails ultramarine blue (the colour of a Nerf dart body) in order for that body part to become a contact weapon. The patch of colour must have an area at least the size of a 10p piece. Do not use any colouring that could transfer to your target and not be immediately wiped off. You're bearing if any visible part of your body is coloured blue as above - so we recommend using something that washes off quickly! (People who are sometimes coloured blue for non-Assassins reasons can get it put in their notes that they are not a weapon and hence not bearing while blue).

1.4 Other Weapons

It is possible to use many other weapons not in the "allowed weapons" list. However, you must contact the Umpire(s) to register any other weapon first so that the Umpire(s) can decide whether it is fair and safe. Be prepared to present the weapon for the Umpire(s) to inspect in person in order to get it licensed. Any kills you make with an unlicensed weapon may be disallowed.

Examples of previously-licensed novelty weapons include poisoned umbrellas and cardboard double-decker buses. In general you can probably licence anything that is safer and more difficult to kill with than the items already on the list. Creativity is encouraged. The Umpire(s) may award bonus competence and/or chocolate to those making kills with interesting weaponry, and the coveted Leek and Safe Award for most interesting weaponry is given each term.

1.5 Shadow Games

A Shadow Game is a written contract between two Assassins that kills one of them when fulfilled. The contract must be written beforehand in a document that is signed (real names) by both parties in red ink (or red coloured font if digital), and sent to the Umpire(s) via email from the email addresses of both Assassins involved (remember that breaking into someone else's email is strictly banned). In the contract, the conditions for one of the signees to die must be explicitly stated, and when fulfilled, they must both report the death to the Umpire(s), with the kill granted to the surviving Assassin. Kills using shadow games are always counted as licit. The Umpire(s) reserves the right to reject any contracts that could potentially exploit the game.

The nature of Shadow Games allows activities that would not usually be covered by the Guild rules to be used to kill people, such as a high-stakes game of chess, or a pie-eating contest. However, this is not a licence to misbehave in the name of the Guild. Please do not break any laws of the land or the University, nor do anything that would bring the Guild into disrepute. You are responsible for your own actions. If the activity would be done in an Out of Bounds area, it may still be allowed, but explicit Umpirical approval of the contract will be needed.

A contract can be broken by emailing the Umpire(s) before it has been fulfilled. Doing so will send you Wanted (which may be better than being dead).

2 Banned Weapons:

Some weapons are disallowed for reasons of safety, security and Umpirical sanity. Using any of the weapons below will result in annulled kills and the perpetrator either going Wanted/Corrupt, or being removed from the game. If we have good reason to suspect that you are using an unsafe weapon (or a "safe" weapon in an unsafe manner) with deliberate intent to hurt people, we have the right to ban you from the society - that's not what Assassins is about.

If you see another Assassin using a weapon you think is banned or should be banned, tell the Umpire(s) as soon as possible.

The lists below attempt to set out an explanation behind the reasons why certain weapons are disallowed. Nevertheless, we are not required to justify a ban or listen to reasons why you think a weapon should be unbanned.

2.1 Gun Muzzle Velocity

In order to ensure that players don't have to wear eye protection to participate in Assassins (since in a 24/7 term-long game with bystanders, that would be incredibly impractical!), we operate a blanket ban on any ranged weapon with a muzzle velocity over 80 feet per second (that's about 30m total angled range). Bear in mind that the harm caused by a projectile varies approximately with the square of its speed. Stock Nerf blasters have a muzzle velocity of up to about 70fps. Banned weapons include:

Any gun that has been functionally modified, or constructed from scratch must be approved by the current Umpire(s) for use in the current game. As of Michaelmas 2022, the Umpires have access to a ballistic chronograph, and will be happy to test your guns to ensure that they meet the fps limit.

2.2 Bruising & Other Injuries:

Any weapon which may cause bruises, cuts, significant pain, eye damage, or other injuries even when operated in a (fairly) responsible manner is banned – signing up to Assassins is not consent to be physically injured the way e.g. Paintball is. This includes:

2.3 Realisticness

We don't allow any weapon that could cause alarm to the public, porters or the real POLICE by being mistaken as something highly dangerous. This includes:

2.4 Mess

Assassins generally aren't happy about having their clothes ruined by strangers. For these reasons we don't allow anything that could cause stains or messes that can't easily be cleaned, including:

If you make a mess with an allowed weapon when fighting another Assassin, it's your responsibility to clear it up. Failure to do so will annul the kill and probably send you Wanted.

2.5 Game Balance

All weapons must not unbalance the game. You're not allowed to make a voodoo doll of your target and stick a pin in it.

The Ubiquity Rule: If an item is small enough to conceal and a regular person stopped on the street would be expected to have one, that item is not allowed to be used as a weapon in assassins (labeled or not). For the most part, this comprises mobile phones, mobile phone cases, CamCards, your ID, and your wallet.

The list of banned, unbalanced weapons includes:

Remember: The list of banned weapons is not exhaustive; any weapon not explicitly allowed must be personally checked by the Umpire(s) before being used in the Game.


The history of these rules may be found here.