A few words about costume and kit standards


Hello, Clare from PD Player Support here.
I’m back from an unexpected absence from being useful following a car crash, the plague and then Christmas. I won’t say I’m firing on all cylinders yet but I’m back and wanted to start with a topic we’ve had a lot of discussion and debate about.

Costume and kit standards (https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Costume)

Other relevant pages are the costume guides for the individual nation pages and the costume advice page on the wiki. The costume advice page is really useful as it links to the nation costume wiki pages, has pattern links, trader links and all sorts of good stuff. There is also a Look and Feel page for each nation which links from their individual nation front page. Yes the wiki can be a pain, but it’s evolving slowly!

This is what I feel the most important phrase on the wiki regarding costume and kit is -

“What we want for Empire is for every player to agree to try their best - but for no player to ever feel embarrassed that their best effort is not good enough.”

The concept of the Empire is that 10 culturally distinct nations came together for mutual support and defence and that each brought something valuble to the table by their distinct culture and views. This was deemed necessary for the continued viability for the Empire and the Egregores were created to encourage and support the cultural difference.

From an out of character point of view having 10 different looking nation is way cool and having them all have reasons to squabble and preen is much more fun than a stable status quo!

Which brings us to kit and standards. We want our game to look amazing and feel amazing to play in. No one starts a character or a game with all the kit they want and that is fine! No one has all they want in real life either and we constantly acquire and expand. This is what we want from people with their characters too. To add and develop their kit as they go. Maybe an upgraded waistcoat, maybe looking at someones Suaq coat and realising you have a mate who could paint animals on yours for you, maybe getting inspired to learn a new craft or spotting the perfect piece of jewellery in a charity shop! What we do want straight away is people to think about the setting and their nation brief and what is appropriate and tailoring their kit choices to that. Yes, those beautiful pastel robes are gorgeous, for your future Urizen character but maybe not for your current Highborn!

There’s a series of items which are basically on a prohibited list, because they are out of period for the setting and look we are aiming for. These are on the wiki but sometimes they’ll have to be searched for! I’ll add it onto my list of jobs to chase Andy for! These include things like corsets, tricorn hats and frock coats.

Everyone has a particular thing that they think isn’t appropriate and makes them cringe when they see it (Mine is shemaghs!) which brings us to critiquing other peoples kit. Don’t be an ass about it! It’s against the rules and no one wants to start a game feeling like they’re behind before they even get there. However if advice is asked for go for it and help! If you’re genuinely concerned drop PD an email and we’ll try to help too.

Mostly what I’m trying to say is that Aspirational Kit isn’t meant to be a thing to beat people or yourself up about. It’s meant to be a thing that encourages you to improve and develop your kit as and when you can. If you’ve tried then we’re happy! If you’re not perfect at your first event that’s also fine! We’re 6 years in and people are still developing and changing their kits for characters they’ve played over all that time.

So in conclusion:

Nation briefs important!
Costume important and something that evolves over time
Help is out there
Be excellent to one another
Happy New Year


I think a few new players may get put off when they see experienced players telling someone else that some kit they are planning is not good enough. An important thing to note is whether we are telling someone what they could find in time/budget isn’t good enough, or whether we are complaining about them making an effort to buy something specially for a character which is way off-brief. It’s usually the latter. There are very few people who whine at new players about genuinely the best they could do, and those who do are Wrong.


I have/do use a shemagh but for the battles, much easier than hats/helmet, and they were worn in the medieval period by crusaders, just 'riding around, they have been used from the first 1000yrs BCE, so originally have no religious connotations.
Can fashion evolve (as long as it does not roll into another nations brief?


Unfortunately the wearing of shemaghs has a tendency to blur the distinctions between nations, if everyone from various nations are wearing them then they start to look more alike. Which is why the costume briefs are distinctive and draw clear lines between the nations.

I’m not sure about evolve, but the briefs certainly can get “coloured in” by what players do. But that’s working with the brief.


I would rather see someone who is slightly off brief (as long as it does not cross into another nation brief, that someone who has wasted money on kit they don’t need, of ‘fancy dress level kit’.
e.g. The Dawnish Brief if Metal armour, but if someone only has leather (maybe from a previous character) then I have no issue at all, provided they look dawnish (surcoats, bright colours etc).


That’s a good example, except that the Dawnish brief isn’t metal armour. it is more like “fancy looking leather or metal armour if you have it, and are a knight
From that page:

  • Most knights wear the most flamboyant armour they can afford,… Some will wear mail, some with plated reinforceent, and some a full harness…
  • High quality leather armour mimics the form of plate.
  • Leather armour is common in Dawn, and is often worn by yeofolk and knights-errant. It should range from simple protection to something designed to look as stunning as possible.

Two major distinctions between Dawn and the Marches are that Dawnish armour is often designed to be ornate, and Dawn doesn’t promote padded armour.

Which is, I guess a major reason why PD want to keep down open criticism. There’s a lot of people who didn’t notice a corner of the brief that didn’t apply to them. Or promoted their own “brief” based upon just the bits they liked. Playing in the marches, we used to have some problem players who did that, but they seem to have left.


very well said


missing a [Mod Hat]


Nope, just from my personal opinion and that I’m a Empire keener who’s read the wiki a lot more than is probably healthy :slight_smile:. Hopefully we’ll get some extra content on the wiki along the lines of the corsets page at some point.


Shemaghs are mentioned on the Brass Coast kit (as less on-brief than a tagelmust) but not on the general kit page. It’s along the line of ‘these are pretty modern and don’t fit with the Empire setting’, a bit like corsets. They’ve also got quite a modern military aesthetic about them which I think the game doesn’t want to encourage.