So if someone said they were going to start playing Empire in the Marches what are the 3 things that you’d make sure they knew?
- Bring a hat; 2. Bring a bow or bill (although there’s plenty of room for those as don’t;) 3. Bring a community spirit
1: You’re the local yokels what done good.
You’re inspired by British history but filtered through a rich loam of Pratchett’s Lancre, The Shire, and that bloke in Monty Python and the Holy Grail who tells Arthur “Well I didn’t vote for you”. Find a fictional countryside you love and play it. Don’t panic over “history”.
2: Get involved.
One of the best things is the community spirit. Magic and religion events are as much about “how can we make this feel like a village tradition” as “who has the Numbers”. Loads of people lend spare armour and weapons, and offer combat training. The High Courage Chorus will help you learn to sing.
3 None O’That.
Ugh, Dawnish. Ugh, Briars. Ugh, Those wankers from the other side of the hill.
Pick some things you don’t like. Grumble about them. Grumble about how proper sensible folk wouldn’t stand for that. You don’t need to bellow in people’s faces, just make them feel uncomfortable about that IC trait. I quite like the ol’ “You’re Not From Around 'ere…” squint.
It’s really hard to make any additions to what’s been said!
Marchers are upfront about stuff. They are more likely to proclaim their grievances and grudges from the rooftops than sneak about, whispering behind their hands and stabbing each other in the back.
Despite the Marcher vs Marcher grievances and grudges, woe betide the Imperial from another nation who has a go at another Marcher, regardless of said grudge.
It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again…the Marches are all about community spirit and are a welcoming bunch, so join in and get involved!
Three things? There are many things. And as your egregore I am happy to sit down and talk and answer questions and refer you on to people who will know more.
We are neither as dour nor as muddy as you might be led to believe. Do not believe those urbane types who deal in gossip and hearsay - that is all surface froth. Look beneath - anyone who has spent time with us and has been trusted enough to see the real truth will discover:
Dour and gritty? When times call for it, by all means. But there is a deep held joy in there also - a profound comradeship, a love of the simple things in life (food and beer and the knowledge that you have produced these things yourself, the turning of the year and its cultural festivals, companionship even though you’d cheerfully throttle them sometimes…) We will often break out into song or dance whether over a beer or going into battle.
Mud belongs where it is of best use - in the fields. In fact, the muddiest anyone gets is usually in Anvil! And if you have to be in the mud, it is best to wear practical outfits, made of wool and linen that will keep you as warm and dry as is possible. Tut and shake your head at those in flimsy pale silks and long, draping finery. The most prosperous of us can certainly afford that - several times over - and there are times that warrant it - but if we wear it it is not to posture and preen.
And if the weather is howling, just come into the Community tent operated by the Merricks for all Marchers, or one of our famed taverns (Applewood and Mandowla’s Arms) - grab a brew and sit and enjoy the atmosphere.
We are no-nonsense. Down to earth. (There’s a song about that…). Take us as you find us. If we dont like you we will tell you. If you want to feel like you are in a real, living world, you cant go far wrong with us - this is not high fantasy. Yet…this is in NO way re-enactment. This is a different sort of fantasy.
You might see some very authentic looks in costume and camp set-ups (much done very cannily with clever use of cheap materials to look the part) - but the Marches is a strange and uncanny world… a world where the strangest tales from English folklore interact with the fantasy world of Empire to create something unique. A world where centuries old beliefs sit in an uneasy alliance with the teachings of the Way. A world where on a fine May morning what seem just like a group of farmfolk go out to the fields and come back having summoned something unspeakable from a marshy pond to aid them in war. A world where a visitor can enter a tavern and not exit it quite the same. Where horror and morris bells exist side by side