So this is something a little bit different - in fact it’s an advert. What the hell? PD never does adverts. The moderators on the Empire LRP group have standing instructions to cut any advert that pops up. What gives?
Well actually this is a very specific kind of advert; it is a “word from our sponsors”. They’re not sponsors in the regular way that term is used - as someone who gives you money in exchange for promotion or gratuitous flattery. But the people involved in these products I’m about to advertise to you, give PD something vastly more useful than money - they sponsor PD with their time and their skills.
Profound Decisions occupies a strange and unique position, straddling two worlds. On the one hand we try as hard as possible to be a professional LRP company. We invest in our crew and in our event and we pride ourselves on our customer service. But the bulk of what we do is only made possible because we exist in the wider continuum that is the LRP hobby. It is the incredible support we get all the time from the people who take part - not just the crew - but everyone involved - that makes the events so much more than they would otherwise be.
Last week when the website went down - one of our players who works at BT broadband rang me up to see if he could get it fixed for me. That’s not something that happens to most small businesses… In fact it can only happen when you operate as part of a wider community, one where people pull together and freely share their time, their knowledge, their skills - for no benefit other than to try and make things better for everyone. That approach is so ubiquitous in live roleplaying that we often take it utterly for granted. We shouldn’t do that - we should never lose sight of how powerful that help is.
The people who created the stuff I’m going to talk about when I finally stop waffling are all guilty of doing simply incredible things to help Profound Decisions create Empire. There is an inherent unfairness here, because we get so much help from so many people that if I talked about it all and promoted everything that everyone was doing - it would just be a river of spam. I get increasingly frustrated that I can’t find a way to thank everybody for their input in making Empire happen. But the contributions that these people have made are so significant that when I found out they were doing a cool project of their own, that I wanted to take the time to tell you about it. Mostly as a thank you from me to them, but also to remind us all of how amazing LRP can be as a community - and how diminished all our games would be if we forgot that.
Tales from the Aletheian Society is a radio play! It’s been created by a big group of incredible people, but I’m going to mention four of them whose input on the game is quite literally everywhere you look. Chris Edwards was heavily involved when Empire was created working with me and Raff and the other writers to create the setting and wrote plot for us for the first couple of years. Many of the quirky elements of Empire are his work - and the setting is much richer for his input. Daisy Abbott created and maintains all the maps used for the game, a massive job in illustrator that takes hundreds of hours. Every time the Empire builds a new spy network - that’s another weeks work or more for Daisy. Jude Reid has hand-made scores of costume for PD and she and I wrote most of the Dawnish brief pretty much between us. But she also worked with a team of four incredibly talented people to create the entire look and feel for every single nation in the game from scratch. And of course, Graeme Jamieson is our head-rules guy basically creating and now maintaining the entire rules framework - a job that literally never ends. He gives up hours and hours of his free time every week to make Empire a better game. Empire would never have achieved what it has without these people’s input.
So Tales from the Aletheian Society is their newly launched radio play (I believe the young people call them podcasts). It’s got nothing to do with Empire - but it’s made by some of the most astonishingly talented hard-working people I know so I’m confident it’s going to be great. The website is here: http://www.hunterhoose.co.uk/ And if you’re up for giving them some much deserved support you can do that using their patreon account: https://www.patreon.com/talesfromthealetheiansociety/memberships
The other sponsor is very different - it’s a single individual who did a single very special thing to help PD. Lots of Empire players will know that Jeannette Ng played Yael, the Higborn character who embarked on a journey of revelation and heresy that led ultimately to her execution. It was an extraordinary story - and one created in its entirety by Jeannette as a PC. We helped draw attention to the growing controversy with the later Winds of Fortune, but beyond pointing out what she was doing we had no involvement at all.
But what far less people know is how Jeannette helped us when we were creating Empire. The beautiful currency that we use for Empire - those gorgeous solid metal coins - they’re not cheap. Jeannette goes out to visit Hong Kong regularly - so while she was out there she searched until she found the right factory that could create the coins for us. She handled all the initial negotiation and communication with the factory, basically specifying the product with them and helping us get everything up and running. We simply could not have achieved that without her handling everything - we would have been forced to use an international supplier that charges accordingly. It’s always a bit crass to talk money - but in this case there is just no other way to give you some sense of what that means. I estimate that Jeannette’s help saved PD somewhere between £40-60,000 over the last six years. That’s all money we get to spend on other parts of the game - money we get to put towards a permanent site one day - thanks to Jeannette.
Under the Pendulam Sun is Jeannette’s book that was published late last year. Set in a unique world, Nebula award winner Aliette de Bodard described it as “An evocative, claustrophobic Gothic novel with strikingly creepy set-pieces”. As a result Jeannette has been nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer which is just phenomenal. You can buy it on Amazon - Under the Pendulum Sun (Winner of the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer): A Novel of the Fae: Amazon.co.uk: Jeannette Ng: 9780857667267: Books in ebook and dead tree format.
There’s never enough time and space to thank everyone for everything they have done to make Empire the game it is. And I’m mindful of your bandwidth so we never normally spam you with stuff that isn’t about Empire. But as a one-off I wanted to tell you about both these things because it gives me an opportunity to demonstrate how Empire really happens. The world, the game, the events - they all come together because of a thousand random acts of generosity. Of course that’s not unique to Empire - people giving their time and their skills is how all LRP events happen - but that sense of community is what makes the hobby amazing.