Also upgraded from the comments sections: A (biased) guide to character creation that might help new players trying to create new groups without reading an entire wiki first.
Step 1: Don’t try to read everything on the wiki
- Remember it is okay not to know everything . Do you understand every detail of how your real life government works? Do you know the names of every village in Suffolk? Of course not! Your character comes from a small part of a large world and it is just fine to say “What’s that?” about something you haven’t heard about yet. “I’m new to Anvil” is often used by new players as a way of flagging to other players that they may need extra help and information.
Step 2: Pick a nation
- Your group must be all in the same nation. You cannot belong to multiple nations or none.
- Nationality is magically enforced; you should conform to the look and character of your chosen nation.
- Roisin’s O’Hare’s Empire Shorthand Guide has a short description of each nation.
- Otherwise go to Nation overview. I would advise picking the two or three that most appeal and reading the “five things about” section on the front of each nation page.
- If your priortiy is costume: follow this up with the “look and feel” page
- If your priority is characterisation: follow up with “culture and customs”
- Now pick one. Remember you can always switch and try another one later if you don’t like it.
Further reading: Nation FAQ
Step 3: Read up on your nation
- Read the three core brief pages
- (If you have time read the further reading)
- Don’t try to remember everything; just look for the bits you find interesting or appealing.
Step 4: Pick your archetype/ group archetypes
Each nation has stereotypical character types. For a first character, you may wish to create a character matching one of those types - it will make it easier to fit in with the nation. Note that some character concepts won’t work easily together in a group eg. Hakima (who leave their families) and Dhomiro (head of a family) in the Brass Coast. See Archetypes
Step 5: Where exactly are you from?
- Look at the territories page for your nation.
- Pick one of the territories, then pick a region within that territory.
- Read the recent history section in particular - that is what you have just lived through. Follow links and jot down some notes of which events you saw/heard about. Again, do not try to remember everything - one or two fictional memories set around recent events is ideal.
- You can find more info by searching the wiki by region name or by looking through some of Recent history.
- Don’t try to remember everything; just look for the bits you find interesting or appealing*
Step 6: Group Background
- Read: Bands
- A band must be one of a banner (fighters), a coven (magic users) or sect (priests).
- You can be in at most one band of each type at the same time.
- Read : How to submit a background
You have the option to write both a band background and a character background. You don’t have to write anything, but PD uses these backgrounds (and character archetypes) somewhat to help decide what plot to run & who to target with it. There will be many plots and fun things happening so don’t stress about this.
However, having a background for your band will help you improvise roleplay in your first game, so taking the time to think about it is helpful even if you don’t write it down.
Each nation will ask you different questions (below) and allow a free text background of up to 4000 characters.
Band background questions.
- What are your band’s main IC goals?
- Brass Coast
- Does your band trace descent from the Erigo, the Riqueza or the Guerra?
- Does your band have any heraldry?
- Is there a historical figure who is especially important to your band?
- Imperial Orcs
- What is your band symbol and what does it mean?
- The League
- What is your band’s first loyalty?
- The Marches
- Does your group hold any grudges?
- Does your group have any special vows?
- Does your group specialize in one of the six magic realms?
- Does your group have any special Rules, Oaths, Strictures, etc?
- Are there any heroic deeds in your group’s history?
General group creation ideas
- What is your group’s history? Was there an event or person who created it?
- Why do people join it?
- What is your collective ambition? Why?
- Were you present at any recent events or battles?
- Do you have any enemies? Debts unpaid, or tragic star-crossed loves?
- Is there a style or colour you will all wear to make you easy to identify?
- How do you relate to each other? Who likes who, who obeys who, who is jealous of who etc.
- Remember to give places and people names! Who do you owe money to? Where was the founder of your group inspired to follow Ambition, and what was her name?
Further reading: If you are struggling with this, read through the nation pages again - look for sections relating to the archetypes your band is interested in, or the area which you are from.
Step 6: Create your personal identity:
Like the band creation, you get the chance to create and tell PD about your individual character. This is broken down into several parts:
A) Personality and background
This is essentially who are you, what do you want to do and what brought you to Anvil?
There are three optional questions (different for each nation - see below) and have 2000 characters to tell PD anything else about you. You don’t need to repeat information that is already in the group background.
- What are your character’s main IC goals?
- Brass Coast
- What do you relish most in life?
- Are you or have you ever been married?
- Imperial Orcs
- The League
- What loyalties does your character have?
- Where were you born?
- The Marches
Here are some bonus character prompt questions if you get stuck
- Do you have any prejudice against lineage (read your nation’s Lineage and Species attitudes for ideas)
- Do you follow a specific virtue? Why/why not?
- Why did you join your band? Why come to Anvil?
- Do you want an Imperial position? Which one? Why?
- What do you hate? Fear? Love?
- What rules do you live by? What would push you to break them.
- Who do you admire in your group? Who do you disagree with?
- Read the character creation rules
- And skills
- You do not have to spend all (or any) skill points at the start of the game. PD is a benevolent overlord and will let you change skills after your first event if they don’t actually suit you - you just need to go to GOD desk during an event, or email in.
C) Species/ Lineage/ Basic Human?
- If you are playing an Imperial Orc you must be an Orc
- In all other nations, you must be human. Tou can choose one of six lineages if you wish, but you can be plain human. All the lineages come with minimum makeup and roleplay requirements.
This is your money and earnings. They are all good things to have, pick the one that fits your character and what you want to do best. You may also want to consider whether particular resources enable you to elect your senator or not (this varies by nation, for example only people with businesses pick the Senators in the League) See Resource
E) Pick a name!
This is the hardest one! Appropriate name guides at the bottoms of these pages:
Step 7: Costume and tent decoration
Step 8: Reach out to the online community
This is a good time to have a look/ ask questions of the online Empire community. Post on the forum (hello!), find your nation board on facebook (search “Empire” + ) or the new player support group on facebook (search “Empire new players”)
- Look through the archives
- Ask for feedback on your costume
- Ask for background links
- Look for groups to join if you are coming in solo
- Ask for advice on skills picks
Although please come ask for advice sooner if you get stuck with any of the stages above!
Step 9: Create the group and character on the PD website and book an event.
And hope they don’t get cancelled for real world plagues!