A new players questions

I’m looking to go Empire either in the summer or next year. I’ve spent a bit of time scouring the wiki and I feel inclined to play as a Wintermark Priest of Wisdom. I’m completely new to LARP and I have some questions about the event and how best to prepare for it.

Firstly it looks like I’m going to be attending the event on my own and I’m worried that this might diminish my experience since most people seem to recommend attending with friends. So, my question is should I look into finding a group that I can join and if so does anyone know of one based in Wintermark that is recruiting?

Secondly, I’m trying to put together my costume and I’ve found some places that make the clothes I want for a reasonable price on the internet (I’m useless a DIY). I am, however, apprehensive about buying the more expensive stuff like armor over the internet in case it doesn’t fit right or look how I thought it would. So I was wondering are their people who will sell costume, armor, and weapons on-site? If so will I have time to get what I need before the main battle events, does equipment sell quick and if I buy it on a site will it be overpriced?

Finally, as a student and someone who lives much further north (Greater Manchester) then the event I’m struggling with some of the expenses. I can’t seem to find a way to get to the event (I can’t drive) in a reasonable and cost-effective manner does anyone have any advice on this? also, I would preferably like to camp in the IC area. Does anyone know where I can buy a suitable tent for a good price as all the rentals for this year are gone? (I may just bite the bullet with the last one and camp in the OOC area)

Apologies for the long-windedness, advice on any of these would be appreciated.

Finding a group can be helpful, but in my opinion the Synod is one of the more forgiving angles for a solo character; you have ready-made contacts in your National and Virtue Assemblies, and it’s very easy to get involved - read the Synod motions on the noticeboard, talk to people about them and vote!

I’m not saying don’t bother finding a group, and I’m sure people will have some suggestions for how to do that, but playing a priest takes some of the pressure off, especially if you find some things you’re interested in playing with.

The Synod motions pages, like this one for last event, are a good place to look for the sort of matters that are coming before the Synod that it might be a good idea to have opinions on (once you’ve scrolled past the list of position-holders :wink: ). In the couple of weeks before an event we get that event’s Winds of Fortune, which are large-scale events in the Empire with specific ways for PCs to interact with them - a significant proportion of these will be Synod-related and have Synod motions as the main ways we can guide how they go, so they’re worth a look; having opinions on which way you think the Empire ought to respond to them can be a good way to get involved.

A keen eye on the Synod Judgements page might even let you predict some things that are likely to come up in the Winds of Fortune at the next few events. :wink:

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Camping IC on a budget is pretty difficult; for your first LARP I’d recommend camping OOC. Canvas tents start at about £200 and go up from there. I’m not sure about renting tents.

Camping in IC is not likely to be a practical option if you do not drive I’m sorry to say, typically most canvas tents weigh in around 20-30KG some more, some less but as a base that’s pretty accurate. However weight aside your real issue would be the length, unlike a modern tent which use folding fiberglass poles or if your really lucky carbon fiber, canvas uses lengths of wood most at a minimum of 1.5M. I have a gorgeous IC Pavilion but it only goes out a few times a year as I don’t have a car just a motorbike so not exactly a practical option :laughing:. You might be able to car share but again if they have a small car is not likely to be a viable option. Also its a huge expense on something you may never use or decided the event is not for you. Personally I did 2 seasons of reenactment before taking the plunge on buying one.

As for buying online, this happens to be my go to area :slight_smile:, assuming you are buying within the EU you are covered under Distance Selling Regulations which mean that any item brought online you have the right to return within 14 days for any reason, there are exclusions in there, the main one to be aware of in this case would be made to order items, however there are still certain rights you have. Buying online gives you more safety and rights as a consumer than buying in person. I’m afraid I cant answer the question about buying at the event having never attended. But my advice is buy online with confidence, if you do not like it, don’t like the fit etc you can return it with no questions asked.

Hope that helps.

With regards.


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I strongly recommend buying LARP weapons in person.

Legal consumer protections are a much lower priority for me than things like balance and weight, which are very individual - the best way to buy weapons really is to wander round the field until you find something that feels right in your hand; plenty of your fellow larpers (and the traders themselves) can give you some help with that if you’re not sure what works for you. Try them out, find something you like, get that; it’s not realistically possible to do that online because how it feels is so variable and preferences are so personal. I think fit is likely to be similar with armour; while consumer protections exist, sending things back is a huge hassle, and uncomfortable, ill-fitting armour is just going to make you miserable.

Weapon prices in the field are pretty much the standard. The same’s likely to be true for most specialist LARP kit (things like scabbards and armour). Things like jewelery and facepaint do tend to pick up a bit of a convenience premium as far as I can tell, so if you want things like that it’s generally cheaper to trawl charity shops for accessories or shop online, but you can do it in the field if that’s more convenient for you.

I usually do my shopping on the Friday, well before time-in. I get to events on the Thursday night (which does cost £5 extra, mostly to cover the costs of an extra day of toilets!), giving me the whole of Friday to shop around, chat to my friends OOC, and generally get ready. If you’re looking to get weapons and armour, having the time to spend will make a big difference; it’s not the end of the world if you can’t get to site until quite late, but you’ll have a much more enjoyable time of the whole shopping experience if you can get to site on Thursday or early Friday.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen kit completely sell out, though I don’t tend to look much after Friday. The sooner you look the more range there’ll be, but I wouldn’t worry too much about everything disappearing - a lot of kit, weapons and armour in particular, is the kind of luxury item where the traders are expecting to have each individual item in stock for a while until someone decides that’s the exact thing they want, so they’re not expecting to sell everything they bring to every event.

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In terms of transport, other than trains to Banbury (split ticketing’ll save you about a tenner) from where there is a free minibus, you might want to check Empire Larp Travel arrangements where you might be able to find a lift for just petrol money.

Thanks for all the advice. I have a couple of follow-up questions:

Do any of you have a recommendation on how much money I should bring with me to an event? (Assuming I have to buy armor and weapons and I’m not doing much cooking)

Is it common or even possible for people to join/form banners, sects, and covens on site or is that more of a pre/post event thing?

Does anyone have any advice on which armour pieces are required/best to buy?

Where is the pickup point for the free bus in Banbury?

You may want to check some of the other threads for New Players recently, they go into quite a bit of detail about your issues.

Assuming you aren’t doing much cooking, are bringing a few snacks but are mostly eating from the caterers, £50 should cover all food and drinks, not counting any heavy boozing.

For weaponry, if you go for a big priestly mace and a small dagger as a backup, that could set you back another £100.

Armour prices are wildly variable, but for a long leather jerkin, bracers, maybe a fur-lined hat… could be another £100.

Bear in mind that the kit prices are an investment. You buy them now, you could get years of use out of them (decades in the case of the armour). Also, a little shopping around, maybe gambling on some second-hand stuff online, or even catching the Free-cycle of lost property at the end of the event, and you might be able to drop that price substantially.

This is also a happy reason for joining a group beforehand. If you announce that you’re coming along with a bunch of more experienced LARPers, you may be able to beg the loan of some equipment off them for the first event, so you can get a good idea of what you want to use in future.

You can certainly join absolutely anything on-site, in or out of Time-In. Bear in mind that anyone making a replacement character during the game is likely doing so, so it’s not uncommon.

Armour… well, you may want to check the wiki…


Bear in mind you don’t NEED any. As a Priest of Wisdom, you may not even be getting into fights. But a suit of light or medium armour (which for Wintermark is probably going be be engraved leather of some description) would probably help. So possibly a heavy leather cuirass (front and back plate, joined by straps), with pauldrons (shoulderpads), bracers (armguards) and greaves (shinguards) would suit you for years of play. I play in Dawn, so I tend to go overboard on armour anyway. Maybe you should ask on the Wintermark Facebook page…

No idea re the bus, sorry.

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Looking as a first timer myself… even more on the fence than you sound like. Also in the greater manchester area, I’d appreciate if you have any local stores you’ve found or is everything you’ve grabbed so far online?

I’m still somewhat on the fence just because its a lot to invest in something I’ve never tried before and may not like.

For me costume is pretty much all online. The only physical shop I know of in Greater Manchester is Darkblade but their in Oldham which is too far for me and apparently their on the list of traders for the event anyway.

My plan was to put together a basic costume: tunic, cloak, trousers and boots, then add to it on-site as I see fit. In terms of where im looking; for me http://www.chowsemporium.co.uk was pretty useful. http://www.velvet-glove.co.uk seems very customisable and affordable. Accessories like necklaces, pouches, belts and books etc I’m generally just scouring my local charity shops.

Do you know what nation and class you want to play as?

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I’ve not gone that deep yet, again the investment seems huge for something I’m not 100% on. Class wise I was saw a tip of not spending all your points and was just going to see how things play out- and nations I need to read into more.

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Tunic/shirt, trousers, boots, a cloak/wrap and a belt are really all you need. Try charity shops! I cannot emphasise enough how much larp kit you can find in charity shops. Look in the women’s section as well as the men - lots of tunic dresses and peasant blouses. Same with eBay: lots of secondhand stuff cheap, the big investment is time finding the right search terms.

If you sew (or know someone who can who can be persuaded/bribed into showing you how) you can adapt a lot of stuff; it can be as simple as cutting off the collar of a modern shirt or switching plastic buttons for wooden ones.

For warmth you don’t even need a cloak, just a blanket and a chunky brooch. Experiment with wrapping and pinning it - and you have a bonus extra blanket for night!


The minibus picks people up from right outside the train station. It doesn’t have infinite capacity, but in my experience (on Fridays) arriving at least 45 minutes before the alloted time means I’m confident of a seat on the first trip rather than the second.

Take a look at Darkblade.

He operates in the Manchester area. I am also from Manchester, and I know of many groups that travel from here. Post on the travel arrangements and there are some people travelling down with some space. Train is doable. And the minibus is fine.

I’m from Canada and I never done a larp before in my life. When I saw a documentary about larping for the first time ever. I was interested the larp that I was most interesting to me was Empire plus I love England.
I know I Live far away but it be cool to injoy new experiences IRL I A’m a filmmaker/ Actor I think it well fit my skills set and personality. I hope I can save up and see Empire for the first time in my life.

While there are LARP groups closer to you, you’d be most welcome at Empire :slight_smile:

As you can tell from the thread above, feel free to ask any questions, we’ll be happy to help!

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Empire larp is interesting because I like the rich and setting of Empire it reminds me of Lord OF The Rings and Game OF Thrones together. I am the kind of guy who likes fantasy stories and good well written characters. I gone to England before for many years but never done Larping. I want to try new experiences.
I have been on stage plays for many years its time for a new adventure.
signed Redfighterwilder
p.s Have you try out Empire before what it is like?

Ooof, not starting with the small questions, are you? :slight_smile:

LARP is like historical re-enactment crossed with Lord of the Rings. (Festival) LARP is like a Shakespearean play (complete with the violence, duels, romance,crazed faeries and random situational comedy), lasting several days, with no script, no audience, thousands of characters, on a stage about a kilometer square.

I have played several other systems, Empire is my current favourite, I’ve been playing it since it started.

The setting is deep and complex, but not so important that you need to know all or even most of it. The game has various aspects, so that you can tailor your fun to what you like. Trading? Socialising? Religeon? Politics (internal or external to your nation or the Empire)? Quests? Battles? The big strategic picture? Pick and choose. You could spend the whole three days or so not really leaving your nations camp, and still finding lots of fun things to do and people to interact with (leave the camp and get out there though, it’s great).

Mechanically, I like it. The system is not too complex, but allows you to focus nicely on what you want to play with. The people are bouncy, friendly, enthusiastic and welcoming. You may sit back after an event and realise that you may have made someone’s weekend with a story, a bit of chat, an encounter somewhere… while knowing that your game and experience has been made up of a thousand and one interactions with other people, also playing.

Immersion wise, it’s amazing. An example: I play in Dawn. Last event, when the rallying call came from the Glory Square, I strapped on the last few parts of my metal armour, hefted my brightly emblazoned shield, and joined my House-mates as we entered the Square, joining dozens of armoured and robed figures. We listened to a speech from our field commander about our objectives and plans, roared with approval, and formed up behind a flowing flag to march, singing, through the camps. Folks cheered and waved and wished us well as we marched past hundreds of tents, and up to where hundreds of other well-equipped and martial-looking folk were waiting. There were ceremonies, there were songs, and then we poured, screaming our battlecries, through a giant gateway into an open field, where hundreds of pale faced figures turned as one, screeched, and shambled towards us…

That’s what actually happened. No imagination was needed to fill in ANY of that. The shield is latex and foam, the gateway is a massive foam prop painted and carved to look like stone, and the army we met was our friends being zombies that morning. But we HAD the inspirational pre-battle speech, we DID march armourclad and singing through the camp, and we DID charge, a song on our lips, into a fight where we were outnumbered (till our friends arrived) about 5 to 1.

A year of Empire events and the story therof can be an epic fantasy quartet of books, every year. I’m not saying it’ll be original. I’m not saying it’ll be particularly good for each character, or all the time. But it’s one that I’m proud to take part in. And it’s a story that, long after the game or my part in it concludes, I will treasure for decades to come.

That is what Empire is like for me. Find out what it’s like for you.

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What is the best nation out of the ten nations to join ? I am asking because it so hard to choose from all of them.
signed Redfighterwilder
thanks for the help Geoffrey willoughby

‘The Best Nation is my nation.’- Pretty much any Empire Player ever

Honestly the best nation to join is the one that most fits who you want to play. There is no one ‘best’ nation or even one best ‘starter’ nation. Every nation is different, every nation has good points and bad point.

I love plating Urizen. I love the subtle interplay of poised socialisation, I love the multilayered points forming a net that is our community, I love our Egregores and my fellow Urizeni, I love our calm drive to self improvement