Potion Bottles

A lot of time, thought, research and testing has gone into developing a potion bottle that is logical, practical and safe. Yes, it’s a beautifully simple design, that took over 3 years of looking at every single way of making a bottle that was; lammy oriented, easy to build kit for and ticked all the other boxes. If I was willing to settle on glass (which is a fantastic idea for any combat environment including IC – NOT) things would have been so much easier.

So, why did I spend the time and money working on an answer to a question no one seemed to be asking, well not out loud anyway. Well, it’s been bugging me since I started LARPing (1986 btw) when the small Panda pop bottles were considered fantastic as a phys-rep as you’d actually bothered, and you were serious about your LARP if you’d soaked the label off first. Bear in mind white trainers, blue jeans, curtains hanging off your shoulders and a broom handle wrapped in pipe lagging was fairly standard back then.

I still couldn’t get my head round the “My life may depend on this liquid, and everyone seems to think it’s a good idea that I put it into something like a glass bottle, hmmm”. So yeah, bugged me for too many years to admit out loud, and it being generally accepted that potions are hard to phys-rep and though some systems made real efforts, not all, it was generally not the done thing to ask, “So where is your appropriate phys-rep” (fart in a lift syndrome, don’t ask just put up with it).

The final straw with me and glass in LARP happened on a night-time linear, that was a very hard fought and intense game. I was playing your classic front line dwarven warrior who had literally been knocked on his arse a few times, now’s the time to mention – potions in a bum bag thing – battle boarding on the fly – ref dead set on minimal time outs to keep the flow. I discovered I had broken my glass phys-rep potion bottle when I was picking glass out of the ends of my fingers after I had hurriedly tried to retrieve one from my bag. On a lighter note, I did make the ref wince and I got a 5-minute time out too to sort my fingers out, which involved a lot of picking followed by the use of gaffer tape to help with the finer bits and super glue to seal the cuts. (It’s what I used to call my first aid kit; super glue, gaffer tape and a hipflask.)

So, back to the question, why the effort? Well, just look at where LARP is now. It is better supported than it ever has been, kit is fantastic, good god actual IC coins! Yet still nobody is asking the question, why? Well, there has not really been a satisfactory answer that I saw anyway.

In Character Thinking

  • A potion container is going to be needed in combat, so glass and pottery are a bad idea.
  • It’s a fairly standard everyday object that has cost limitations so overly ornate is a no.
  • The container is generally going to be slung after use, you’re not going to be considering your deposit on the bottle whilst a big hairy troll thing is having a heated debate with the rest of your mates, so it needs to be cheap which means low-cost materials and easily made.
  • If kit is being made to carry them securely, they will need to be a standard size and shape.

Out of Character Thinking

  • It needs to be combat safe. No sharp edges or leave dangerously sharp pieces if broken.
  • It shouldn’t be able to hold any liquid. Drinking anything of dubious origin or left over from previous events is ill advised and can be dangerous.
  • It should have a removeable cork to allow for full IC drinking action.
  • It needs to be biodegradable in case lost in the woods, on a field or anywhere else really.
  • It needs to be animal friendly in case lost in a farmer’s field where animals might eat it (wood + cork = twig).
  • It will often need to be used with a lammy, so make it lammy height to make it easier to store them together.
  • Create a colour range so they can be colour coded.

So, where does all that leave us? Well, I believe my potion bottles tick all the IC and OC boxes. It also leaves you in the position to ask the un-asked question. Seriously though, if you do buy some show them to people running the systems you go to and other small crafters.

And yes, I hold a fully approved design right for these but that will not be used to ensure that I am the only one making them. What it will be used for is to work with other actual crafters, so they are made by hand to a standard. It will also be used to ensure that mass production and cheap crappy imports don’t flood the market and strip actual skilled makers of LARP kit from yet another way of paying the bills. Free licence to make and sell is available on request and approval. Standards will only continue to improve whilst those with the skills to improve them can make a living whilst doing so.

Intellectual property protection is fully supported by Telford and Wrekin council.

If you have any issues or questions, please don’t hesitate to message me using the Contact Us tab, or find me at one of the events I attend. If you find me at an event and you wish to swap your potion bottles for different coloured ones you are more than welcome to free of charge, just let me know before you do.

Height: approx. 85mm
Diameter: approx. 16mm
Materials used: birch wood , cork, Scottish beeswax or coconut wax, neatsfoot oil or flax oil and UK manufactured dyes.

All wood has been oiled and waxed. My standard range, to go with my leather, has been treated with neatsfoot oil and beeswax, my vegan range with flax oil and coconut wax and are at all times separated from the rest of my processes and stock.

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