This is a comment I end up linking a lot to new players. The old version was out of date, so I’ve done a quick fix and promoted to it’s own topic.
Important Note This is an guide to what you should know in character (IC). Out of Character you should also know the rules of the game and how you are expected to conduct yourself as a civilised human in UK society. You should read and ask questions of crew until you understand these pages linked below:
Amy’s Guide to Enough to Bluff at Empire
There is a lot of information in the wiki and it can be hard to tell what you have to know. This guide is a (biased) list of the bare minimum you can get away with.
Where further reading is linked it is optional and provided only for the ease of finding wiki links.
See also Roisin O’Hare’s Empire Shorthand guide
Where we are:
- You live in the Empire
- The Empire has no Empress - Imperitrix Lisabetta vanished, presumed dead, last year.
- Language: Everyone speaks Imperial (English)
- Currency: There are 20 rings to a crown, 8 crowns to a throne. A pint of beer is roughly 3-5 rings, cake is 5-10 rings.
- Slaves: The Empire does not tolerate slavery
- Technology: Medieval-ish
Further reading: Empire Overview
The Wider World:
- War: The Empire has many enemies and has always been at war with at least one. You have likely seen fighting if you live near a border, or know people who have gone to war.
- We are currently at war with: Druj, Jotun.
- We have peace and trade with many foreign nations
How the Empire works:
- The Senate is the government
- The Synod is the church
- The Bourse is the economy
- The Conclave is where magical decisions happen
- The General’s Council is where military decisions happen.
- The Civil Service are the crew managing the game. It’s always okay to ask them for help.
- Any player can gain an imperial title. The election process for each is unique. You may only ever have one title at a time.
Further Reading - You only need to know more about these places if your character is a political expert. Even then, your expertise would likely be limited to a single one of these Great Imperial Houses.
The Imperial Senate, The Imperial Synod , The Imperial Military Council, The Imperial Conclave, The Imperial Bourse
- The great and good of the Empire meet 4 times a year to solve the problems of the Empire.
- Nations each have their own camp with a camp planner.
- The Hub: A large central tent containing noticeboard and beanbags. The Synod voting happens here; ditto putting in announcements etc for Senate & Conclave. A good place to ask Civil Servant sfor IC help with understanding the game.
- The Senate: A large wooden building near the hub. Senate and Bourse meet here and can be watched from gallery on the side.
- The General’s Council: A large tent containing a map of the Empire. Where the generals plan our wars. Only generals and adjutants (and priests) allowed in during meetings.
- Sentinel Gate: A large magical gate on the edge of Anvil; used to send fighters to war on Saturday and Sunday morning, or to go to quests.
- Regio: A large set of standing stones close to the Conclave. Used to go to Conclave or to perform magical rituals.
- Conclave: Only accessible to magicians, large tent on the other side of the Regio (in out of character field). Contains portal to other realms and Conclave meeting.
- Anvil Library: A player-run group collecting publications - a good place to gather information IC. Small square tent by the Hub.
- Imperial Offices: A player-run group of political meddlers - a good place to ask how to achieve something. Small square tent by the library.
- Anvil Hospital: A player-run group of IC medics - a good place to ask to learn medicine or solve IC medical problems. Large green tent near the Sentinal gate.
- The Academy: A crew-run IC school for children. All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Large white tent by the Hub.
- GOD: (In out of character field) where you collect player packs. A good place to ask for OC for help understanding the game. Any crew member with a radio will be able to contact them in an emergency. Large white tent.
- Monster: (In out of character field) Where players meet when monstering battles to get makeup and armour. Large white tent behind GOD.
- First Aid (In out of character field) Go if you need medical assistance or need to ask for help for someone else. Small green tent by GOD.
Further reading: Anvil
- The Empire has 10 nations; 9 human nations and one orc. Brass Coast, Dawn, Highguard, Imperial Orcs, Navarr, Urizen, League, Marches, Varushka, Wintermark.
- You must be a member of one of these nations. Your nationality is magically enforced, making you conform to the style and character of the nation.
- An Egregore is a magical spirit that binds the nation together. They are also a crew member staying in your nation who you can go to ask questions.
- Your nation controls:
- What groups you can work magically/religiously
- What battles and quests you can go on
- Where you camp IC
- What titles you can hold
- You should learn more about your nation, but it’s okay not to know much of other nations.
- Click on your nation on this page
- Pay particular attention to:
- “Five things to know/ what your nation are not” (found in middle of main Nation page)
- “Things every child should know” (Under the “Children” page, linked under Further Reading on the bottom of your main Nation page)
- Which territory you are from ( Under “Territory”, linked under Further Reading on the bottom of your main Nation page)
Being a good citizen
- There is Law; Anvil is generally peaceful.
- It says don’t do bad things (steal, murder, promote false religions). Only actions count.
- It is okay OC to do bad things IC. Expect to be caught and punished IC if you do.
- You can be arrested, tried, fined or executed.
- There is a Militia (player) who can arrest you.
- There are Magistrates (crew) who can try and execute you.
- There are no prisons, and you cannot be detained for a length of time.
- There is no right to silence. You should answer a magistrate’s questions and report crimes you witness.
- You can always check with a civil servant if you are unsure if something is a crime.
- Virtue effects exist. Some people are priests.
- There is a single true religion: The Way.
- There are no gods.
- Human souls are immortal.
- After death, they travel through the Labyrinth and reincarnate.
- If virtuous enough, souls will escape the Labyrinth and reincarnation = become a Paragon
- Orc spirits do not reincarnate.
- After death, they are lost to the Howling Abyss.
- If virtuous enough, the spirit crosses the Abyss and becomes an Ancestor.
- The Way has seven virtues: Loyalty, Ambition, Pride, Courage, Prosperity, Vigilance and Wisdom. Most people focus on one virtue.
- All other religions are wrong and believing them will get you in IC trouble.
- Each nation has its own odd beliefs.
Further reading: You will only be expected to know more than this if you are a priest or planning religious crimes. Even then your expertise would likely be limited to a single virtue. The Way & Imperial Theology & Religious skills
- Magic exists. Some people are magicians.
- Every nation has it’s own magical traditions called Heath magic: you should learn the ones appropriate to your nation. Hearth magic - see list on links halfway down the page.
- Eternals: There are six magical realms of existence filled with magical beings called Eternals. You are unlikely to have ever met one, and it is fine to know nothing more about them.
- Heralds: Servants of eternals that visit our world. You may have seen some - they usually look like highly linaeged people.
- Potions and magical items exist. You will have seen or used some in your life.
Further reading: You will only be expected to know more than this if you are a magician. Even then your expertise would likely be limited to a single realm or a subset of skills and rituals. Magic & Magical Skills & Magical Realms & Eternals
Some people look weird…
There are six flavours of supernatural influences for humans, which cause changes to appearance and character. The descriptions below are a quick guide for guessing someone’s lineage. All these people are still human, have souls and have the same skills etc. as a plain human.
- Briar: Tree people
- Naga: Snake people
- Changling: Pointed ears
- Cambion: Big curvy horns
- Merrow: Fish people
- Draugir: Vampirish pale skin
You will have met people with Lineage before. It’s okay to have irrational prejudices against them eg. Briars are flighty and untrustworthy.
There are non-human races. The most common is orc. They are not human
- They will always wear an orc mask
- You will have seen orcs before. It’s okay to have irrational prejudices against orcs.
Spotters guide to nationality
These are some quick OC cues for guessing someone’s nation. They are not an indication of the character of the nation - read the wiki pages for those.
- Brass Coast: Islamic Spain: colourful, loose flowing clothing, taglemust
- Dawn: Arthurian Legend: gleaming armour, heraldry, sumptuous colours and fabrics
- Highguard: Crusaders/Inquisition: Plate, stark matching outfits; dour colours
- League: The Borgias/Renaissance city-states: Jewel colours, puff sleeves, slashes to show layers, doublets and hose
- Marches: Ye Olde Englande: War of the Roses, muddy clothes, wool and leather
- Navarr: Wood elves: tattoos, greens and browns, lots of leather armour
- Urizen: High elves: many thin pastel layers, floaty,
- Varushka: Slavic costumes: Bright colours and White, heavy embroidery, fur
- Wintermark: Winter is coming: Heavy, fur, leather, non-shiny plate, feathers
- Imperial Orcs: Orc mask, leather, poor, worn, dull colours
NB: If you think this is all too vague - think about how much you understand about the inner workings of the House of Commons, or the Church of England (or equivalents in other nations), or the internal politics of Bolivia or Portugal. Assuming you are not an expert in this, your knowledge likely has some big fluffy gaps where you wave your hands and go “umm, and then they vote and it becomes a law, I think”. That is the level of character knowledge I am trying to impart here. If you are playing an expert in a field, you will want to do more reading about what you are an expert on.