A myriad of questions from a potential new player

Greetings! Myself and my girlfriend have never been larping before, and only have a small degree of online, text based roleplay experience. We are planning for our first time to be at E4 this year. We’ve chosen Autumn as we assume the weather will be tolerable, while also giving us a long stretch of time afterwards (before Spring in 2020) to decide if this is a hobby we’d like to pursue. As we’ve been planning our characters and shopping lists, a number of questions have come to us, which I’ll list below. I apologise profusely if any of these have been asked numerous times previously!

Firstly, we are currently thinking about joining Dawn. I understand that Dawn is predominantly inspired by Arthurian legends and the like, but both of our characters are most likely to be Pirate themed. We wouldn’t be speaking in stereotypical pirate voices, and we’d do our best to blend in, but we’ll be dressing and arming ourselves in line with our inspirations, sans the pistols as we believe such weapons aren’t welcome in Empire. I’m curious if this would be acceptable, or if people would feel this strays too far from Dawn’s own inspirations.

Secondly, I have a question relating to armour: if we were to wear long-sleeve gambesons as our armour, would that count as covering our arms? The wiki states we should cover our chest and at least one one other area of our body. The gambesons would cover our chest, and both of our arms. Would this be acceptable, or should we invest in some bracers/greaves/helmets?

Also, I have some questions relating to the out-of-character sections of the games. Firstly, how would we tell the time? Is there some sort of in-character clocks we can use, or should we sneak away to check our phones quickly? On the subject of phones, is there a way to charge them easily? I apologise; I haven’t much experience camping. Also, and this is an odd one, but I’m nineteen years old and my girlfriend is seventeen. If we were to want to purchase alcohol from somewhere in character, is there a chance we would be asked for ID? I fear it might break immersion to fetch my wallet from the car or something. Would it simply be easier to avoid the bars and taverns altogether?

Lastly, I have some interest in my character being musical and possibly singing as a sort of bard. I’m not certain i’ll ever get the courage to go through with it, but if I do, is there some player-favourite songs that might be worth learning? Or particular songs many players like to sing as they head into battle, or as they drink? I’ve checked the wiki but there’s just so many I don’t know where to start!

Thank you all ever so much for reading this and considering answering these questions! More may come as I think of them. Again, I apologise if any of these have been asked before, or if any of these are considered ‘stupid questions’. Thank you all, and we hope to see you in a few months!

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Hey just so you know you might not get any replies until Monday as we’re all in a field at the event :slight_smile:.

Welcome aboard :D.

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Welcome to Empire! You might not get many replies right now, most of us are heading off to E2 this weekend.

Being a pirate in Dawn is fine, in fact there are a few Dawnish pirates already in play. However, dressing as a pirate (and I’m assuming you mean dressing like Jack Sparrow et al) is not in line with Dawn’s costume brief. In Empire all nations have what is called an Egregore bond: a magic that affects everyone in the nation and makes them want to confirm to the national mindset. What this means in play is a Dawnish pirate will want to wear Dawnish clothes, and act in a dawnish way.

A guide to the Dawn look and feel can be found here.

Addiotnally, tricorns, frock coats and similar pirate clothing are not really suitable for any Nation in Empire, the system is more middle-aged than age of sail.

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Thank you both for the responses! Sorry, I probably could’ve picked a better time to ask these questions haha. Thank you for the information, Thresher!

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It really depends on what you mean by pirate-themed. I played a Dawnish character who was somewhat pirate-themed, until his entire group was heroically killed in action last year. (He died how he lived; a song on his lips and an orcish spear in his heart)

Seagoing adventures is a theme that works pretty well at Empire, one of our major enemies is a seafaring power called the Grendel - it’s fairly common for there to be opportunities for ship-owners to participate in major events. You can also find useful ritual magic to cast, The Lure of Distant Shores was our favourite. We raided our enemies, traded with foreign nations and celebrated the virtue of prosperity - have you read about Zemress yet? She’s awesome and was something like a patron saint.

But in terms of looks and style, we were just like any other Dawnish house full of knights and witches, just with sea serpents as part of our heraldry and a couple of other nautical accessories.

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Thank you for all of the info and links! I’ll be sure to check them out :grinning:

Right, back from event… :slight_smile:

Firstly, welcome along! To the hobby, the game, the forums, and indeed to the nation of Dawn!

E4 is probably a good time to try it out, and we are happy to answer all manner of questions, however many times they’re asked…

I ran TheOneTrueGraham’s group. While “Pirate” is not an obvious theme, consider this. Sir Francis Drake was seen as a pirate. A quest over the seas in search of adventure and glory is perfectly Dawnish. Bringing back piles of trophies and valuables siezed from the undeserving hands of foreignors and orcs to enrich your House and Nation is also suitable. I’d aim a little more “flamboyant buccaneer” and a little less “Pirates of the Caribbean”, but you can certainly manage Dawnish Pirates. Bear in mind though:

  1. LARP doesn’t really allow for actual ships in play. So they’ll only be featuring off-screen (in downtime), in your sea stories and capabilities.
  2. The Brass Coast nation has a lot of corsairs, which are functionally pirates. You’ll likely run into them a fair bit, in terms of shared interests and goals. This has little mechanical effect, but can make for some good stories.

Second, Armour: If its covering the whole of your chest, and the whole of your arms, that would, I suspect, count as sufficient coverage. As a gambeson, the best it would count as is light armour (+2 hits). For Dawn, I would advise looking for something else to bulk it out a bit, as armour is a big part of the militant Dawnish look. Greaves (lower legs) and bracers (lower arms) can often be acquirred reasonably cheaply, and can look very effective. If you feel like it, you can also paint them in suitable designs, which can look great… You can also get things like shoulder-pads and pectorals in leather or similar, designed to look like plate armour. Which is also very much on brief. How much you want to sink into this is entirely your purview, but I’d advise restraint until you’ve had a go to be sure. It’s very easy to spend a lot of money on armour…

There is no easy way to charge a phone on site. Some friends I know have invested in small portable battery things to charge a phone up with? In terms of telling the time, a cheap and subtle watch tucked up a sleeve most of the time is acceptable. If you want to go all out, there are some shops selling things like chunky rings with a clock face concealed under a “jewel”, or even a fob watch if you want (which isn’t really the Dawnish style). I’d leave your phone in you tent or at home, if possible.

About the only place where age would be an issue is the in-game tavern, The Anvil, where they sell alchohol for real money. There, your girlfriend would be under-age. As a rule, the rest of the in-game bars, pubs, taverns, tea-houses, etc, seem to be treated as a private party; You will be offered drinks, there will likely be some non-alchoholic options, help yourself, pay with the in-game money as appropriate. Certainly my Dawnish character offers a drink to everyone who stops by…

Ah, the songs… there are, indeed, many. You could spend all 4 events trying to listen to every song on the field, and hear not half of them… Don’t worry if you feel you can’t sing. Don’t care. There isn’t a Bardic College who will come and shout at you if you miss a note. Join in the songs you know, ask for words for the ones you don’t, and break into song when the mood takes you (if you do while we’re sneaking up on someone, you will get shouted at… hang on, we’re Dawn, we don’t do sneaking. Never mind…). There are quite a few good Dawnish songs around, the Imperial Battle Hymn is always popular, “March of Cambreath” ( a real-world one) has a few variations and is a good-un (originally Highguard in setting), but the favourtie in Dawn, especially when marching to battle, is Brittas Glory. Usually and popularly known as “Charge Dawn Charge”.

https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Britta's_Glory

It’s not sung DURING battles so much, as Dawn will charge at the drop of a hat anyway, and so singing it causes confusion…

Oh, and here is the Dawn Facebook group, who are also fairly friendly and helpful:

Happy to answer any and all further questions, and see you one day on the field at Anvil!

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In terms of age the IC bars may ask you your ages as well as the OC one, so if you have ID keep it to hand. The IC bars are asked to try to keep an eye on the perceived age and inebriation levels of its customers, so it’s better to be prepared.

Many bars serve soft drinks as well
as alcohol, or can at least get you some water, so you can be a part of the atmosphere without needing to drink.

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Wonderful, thank you all ever so much for the answers! I’ll be sure to take all of them to heart when it comes to character creation and the like! :smiley: Also, it just so happens that Britta’s Glory is the one song I’ve managed to memorise thus far, so it looks like I picked well :slight_smile:

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@Pumpking28 asked about telling the time; the wiki has a section on that: https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Technology#Clocks.2C_Clockwork.2C_and_Time
Also, generally there are a few (player-owned) public clocks around, and I seem to remember there are PD clocks in one or two places, e.g. the Civil Service Hub tent.

I’d recommend keeping your wallet on you rather than in the car anyway, for buying meals, drinks from the (licensed) tavern run by Profound Decisions (The Old Forge), and any kit, weapons, clothes, trinkets etc. you might want from the many OOC traders: https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Summer_Solstice_2019#Traders (the exact list will be different for the Autumn event.)

As far as OOC law is concerned, the IC bars/taverns do not have (and do not need) an alcohol licence because they are not charging OOC money: my understanding is that legally the players running them are giving away the drinks and would not be breaking any law if they were to give a drink to a seventeen-year-old. I’m sure the players and their characters will be responsible about it (and won’t give booze to small children or drunk 18-year-olds) but I’d be surprised if any were to ask to see OOC ID.

Regardless of alcohol, don’t avoid the taverns: they’re good places for socialising.

You asked about music and songs; there’s a page about Dawn music: https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Dawn_music
Perhaps not “bard” exactly; think “minstrel” or “troubadour” instead… although that second one has a specific meaning in Dawn: “a Dawnish priest who uses poetry, storytelling and song to recount the deeds of glorious heroes, both living and dead.”
https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Troubadour

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More lambs to the salughter! By which I mean, new enthusiastic players! Wohoo!

First of all, Welcome and Sorry. Larp is like Pringles, once you pop you will become obsessed and be looking forward to every event with a mighty fervour, and there will be a level of it taking over a significant portion of your brain as you will constantly be thinking about different costume, trades, magic and Mead.

Now thats out of the way…

Decent character idea! Dawn is a fun nation and yo’ll no doubt meet some interesting people there. Pirates are always cool - Geoffrey has mentioned that Brass Coast are the resident sea-faring peoples, but that doesn’t exclude any other nations form a spot of ‘Independent Privateering’. Note that in general, tricorn hats are discouraged. I think this was in an effort to not have a generic stereotypical ‘Yarr mateys’ Pirate archetype that most big LARPs have somewhere in their game. I like the idea of a Dawnish pirate, pillaging for glory :smiley:
Also, you are correct, no pistols in Empire. I think the technology simply doesn’t exist.

Number 2 Armour - Gambeson would count as Light armour (As per the wiki). Covers your chest and arms, so yep - ticks the boxes. Any other additions aren’t needed, but may contribute to your overall badassness. Bear in mind, all of that stuff is only relevant if you go to battle or ‘take to the field’ as we call it. Although PvP can and does happen in everyday life, it’s uncommon. If no-one has a reason to target you, you shouldn’t run into any trouble but at night, take the same precautions you would in real life walking though a big city (i.e go in a 2 or 3, stick to camps and the well used pathways etc)

Number 3 - Time: Ask around… Clocks exist, a lot of group tents would have them. Chow (one of the OOC traders) usually has a decent selection of pocket watches. Would actual fit well with your Dawnish Pirate idea :smiley:
Mobiles - Not really any charging points per se. A lot of people just have a power bank. That being said, as you are gonna be on the field and out of tech… Well, personally I leave mine hidden in the car in airplane mode and the battery lasts much longer.
Wallets - It’s worth having a bit of cash on you, as there are OOC food traders and the main tavern is OOC money and it saves trekking back to the car if you wanna grab a bite to eat. Personally I just have a pouch thats OOC - Car keys, £10 note and i think there’s a few pound coins rattling around in there. The main bar may ID you as it is a licenced bar. The IC bars generally won’t. They may just ask ‘Are you 18?’. Official stance is… under 18s shouldn’t be drinking. Unofficially, its clear she probably will drink, just be responsible.
And don’t avoid bars! ESPECIALLY as a bard! Some of my best trades were done in bars!

As for the Bard thing - Awesome. I’d say start at the Dawnish Music page on the wiki. If you are unsure, ask around in Dawn and find other bards. They’ll welcome an extra set of lungs, I’ve no doubt. If you are nervous at all, I’d say attend a Navarri Song and Story thing. All sorts of people step up… Good singers, bad singers, Poets, tales of stuff etc. It’s very welcoming and not all that judgemental. Unless you smack talk about Navarr, but you wouldn’t diss a brother in his own crib!

And there is no such thing as a stupid question! Especially if you are getting excited about playing!
I’ll drop my referral code here ( 3218.6752) - Not sure how ‘allowed’ it is on the forum but hey - When you do book, use that code on checkout and it knocks £15 of the price (I get a lil something something too, so we are all winners)

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Also some food stalls do a food ticket system were from approx £40 you get food for every meal for the whole event. Very handy that way you don’t have to worry too much about having enough money to eat as you’ll always get a meal!

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