Attending Empire Solo

Hi! I’ve been RPing online for years but I’ve never LRPed before, and never really considered it until I discovered Empire, read about the setting and watched some videos. Now I’m really tempted to come along to one of the 2017 events and see how much I like it.

None of my mates are into fantasy or RP or anything like that, so if I do come to Empire I’ll almost certainly be coming on my own. Is this going to limit my ability to take part in the event and interact with people? I realise there’s no rules saying you have to come with other people, but I’m a little worried that I’ll come on my own only to discover that all the RP takes place within tight knit cliques. Is there anything like nation specific areas you can hang around to meet your allies?

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Hi there!

I was in the exact same situation as you two years ago. Go for it, do the thing! It’s awesome.

Due to my work commitments I arrived after time in, so missed the New Player meeting that takes place in the Hub before the game starts. I’ve heard great things about it, the player support team are there including the egregores as well as other new players.

Go to the national musters, the bars and teahouses in your nation and talk to people. Tell them it’s your first time visiting Anvil and they’ll know you are a new player. I found the game super welcoming and left the field with a whole new group of mates.

Which nation(s) have caught your eye? Each has a national Facebook group which can be a great start, as is the player support group.

Happy to chat by pm if you want.

Also, Holly’s excellent video is worth a watch!

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Is it possible? Absolutely! Is it easy? Possibly not, but where would be the fun if everything was easy?

There is an IC camp for each nation, so you can always be sure of finding your own nation (eventually!). There will be at least one egregore for each nation and they can help point you in the direction of people you have something in common with IC.

Have a good idea of what your character does (are they a mage, a priest, a healer etc. etc.) and how they can be of use to other characters and in what situations, and actively seek out opportunities to put those skills to use. The more you know about your character, your nation and your skills the easier you will find the roleplaying part.

Be prepared to walk up to camps and say hello (some may say they are busy but many will at least say hello and talk for a bit).

The New Player meeting would be a good idea for you (it’ll be advertised closer to the time).

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Excellent. The first event is a little over a month away. Have you thought about what kind of character you’d like to play, or in which nation.

I’ve been to a few events solo, as all the LARPers I knew best were either not present or playing in groups/nations that really didn’t appeal to me.

There are ten nation camps arranged around the field in a rough circle around a central marketplace area. That marketplace includes traders, caterers, taverns and some Imperial functions like the senate building and civil service hub. The civil service hub will host the new player meeting, which is definitely worthwhile. There is also a second shared area with the GOD (admin) tent, more caterers just off the main field, and access to the Hall of Worlds.

When turning up without a group, I have found my own nation’s camp to be the hardest place to strike up a conversation. This has been true in three nations now, and I’m really not sure why it is. So I’ll concentrate on areas where I’ve found it easiest to get engaged with the event: areas which are common to the Empire as a whole.

In the civil service hub, there will be notice boards up for various parts of the game. Make a note of any interesting looking meetings and turn up to them. They’re all worth a read, but one will contain synod judgements which are matters for priestly players to discuss and vote on. There is likely to be other people nearby who are also reading them that might have an opinion they’d like to share. If you are a member of the synod, they might be after influencing your vote. (any character who selects the congregation resource at character creation is a member of the synod).

Alternatively, if you are a magician of any type, you might find the conclave interesting. It’s open to all magicians and it’s a discussion of magical matters affecting the Empire. Conclave meetings are notoriously long, and the rules of order are a little… arcane… but every time I have attended a session I have come away all the leads and contacts I could ever want. Some people do actively hate it though.

Staying with magicians, in the Hall of Worlds there are often a dozen or so imperial citizens and some interesting magical beings to interact with at quieter moments. I have gone in there for a break from the noise of the main field more than once.

Another excellent meeting to listen in on is the senate itself. There is a public gallery from which you can watch the business of the Empire unfold. One of those people on the senate floor is representing your home territory - do you agree with the way they voted - could you ask them about it later? There are usually several people who address the senate. If one of them had anything interesting to say you could track them down after the session.

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@Kargur
Thanks for the video, it was really helpful! I didn’t know about the new players meeting, so if I do attend I’ll try and get to the site in time for that.

Dawn and The Marches are my favourite choices, because I love the medieval aesthetic, and I’m leaning more towards Dawn at the moment. I did actually have a look at the Dawn Facebook page and might join up.

@LauraH
Thanks for the advice! Yeah, being able to provide a service or utility of some sort sounds like it’d be a good way of getting involved, but it’d mean rethinking the character I had in mind a little bit, whose only ‘helpful’ skill would be ‘stay with me.’

@TheOneTrueGraham
Thanks for all the information on the event lay out! I thought getting myself a position on the Synod or Conclave would be a good way of taking part in RP, as sitting in on meetings would be a really good reason to talk to people. I don’t suppose you (or anyone) knows if a character is allowed to get a Synod membership without being a priest? I was planning on a melee character without any religious skills, but I thought I might choose the Congregation resource (and say my character funds a local church out of his own pocket or something) in order to get those Synod votes.

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“Priest” is a bit of a broad term, and can mean at least three things in common use:

  1. A character who has a congregation resource, and can thus vote in the Synod (often known as a Synod priest)
  2. A character who has liao skills, and can therefore perform ceremonies.
  3. A character who gives religious/spiritual guidance to other characters.

You can do any one of the three, and only the second requires you to have spent any points on the matter.

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Thank you! I was worried if I went for a congregation resource despite not having any liao skills I’d be told only more traditionally priestly characters could have the resource.

Hey welcome to Empire :). I won’t lie and say turning up along isn’t more daunting than turning up with a group, but I’d also say it’s good in that it forces you to get out there and introduce yourself to people so being shy isn’t an option :slight_smile:

As people have said your first port of call should be the new player meet up at 4pm where you can ask any questions, meet other new people in the same boat and meet your Egregore. They will be able to introduce you around your nation and point you at some people with similar interests.

The Synod can be a great choice if you’re not a priest, you don’t even need a congregation to get involved. You can just pick a Virtue (or the Way in general) and turn up to one of the meetups they hold as a Pilgrim or lay follower. Some assemblies are pretty empty of Pilgrims or lay followers, so they’ll be overjoyed to see you :). But you can just pick a congregation as someone without priest skills it’ll still give you a voice and the votes.

You’ll be able to see which are the big and small assemblies by looking at the lists on the Synod board in the Hub. It’ll also tell you which ones are big for your nation too.

You may not get straight in with a job, but all the position holders are desperate for people to help them and I absolutely relied on a few people when I was Cardinal who weren’t even people with Priest skills to begin with. Just having some initiative and being willing to investigate stuff is handy. Gatekeepers have to try and find Virtue across the whole field of 1500 people and are 7 people. Likewise Inquisition is a game anyone can play, be willing to do legwork and any sane assembly will :heart_eyes: you.

Being fighty comes in two flavours, Battlefield and skirmish/quests.

Everyone loves having an extra fighter on their side so ask around and see which of the smaller groups in the nation will be willing to take you on your first battle. I recommend joining a skirmishy group to start with rather than a big chunky shield wall or bill block group as you’ll be doing a lot more running around and get involved in more “stuff” on the field and that should give you an idea of what kind of thing you enjoy.

Skirmish/Quests are more haphazard, some will get announced round a nation and if you’re able to be ready quickly you can normally jump in to fill spaces going through the gate (they have a maximum number of players allowed on them). Otherwise you need to make sure that whoever organises quests and the like knows that you’re willing to help out and can be found quickly. There’s an element of PvP here for example in Dawn getting to go on quests is Glorious so people compete for the opportunity, but again being ready on time if people are a body down can do wonders. The trick is to make sure the right people know that you’re available.

Oh and for reference hitting things and being able to do “stay with me” is an awesome and useful build that any group going out for a fight would love to have along :slight_smile:.

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Just to be clear: if you take a Congregation, I’d find it quite strange if you said you’re not a priest; the resource represents being the person who preaches to the congregation and has officially-recognised spiritual authority.

You don’t have to have priest skills for that, though - I’m on my third priest character, and only the first of the three had any priest skills.

More words likely this evening when I have more time!

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So people have been generally helpful so I’m going to be specific to Dawn.

I can’t recommend it enough, it’s a friendly group and we are more than happy to answer questions.

Well the Dawnish religious game seems to have two main Archetypes (types of character): Troubadour and Questing Knight.

A martial character with a congregation would fall into the latter, I wouldn’t go with funds a church, because of Dawn’s weird economic attitudes. I’d suggest either knightly protector of a religious community in a Dangerous area (e.g The Barrens, Edge of Elvette,) or that your questing/Errantry band is sufficiently religious that the Synod classes it as a congregation.*

If you are entering Dawn alone, I’d generally recomend Knight Errant, as it lets you join groups easily, and finding and achieving a test of mettle give you some clear objectives early in the game.
*I’d look at Adelmar the Lion, a Dawnish Paragon of ambition

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It’s this evening! I have more time!

First off: hope my previous post doesn’t come off as too negative - I wanted to get that bit across - being a huge Synod fan, I’m keen on getting people on the same page about what being a member of it means - but I didn’t have quite as much time to get the wording right as I wanted, what with starting to write it exactly when I usually leave for work. :wink:

So! I think a Congregation is a fantastic start for a solo new player (but I would say that, being the sort of person who’s over 50% on Synod characters and decides talking about it is more important than being on time for work :wink: ).

If you go with that, you’ll come in with two ready-made groups of contacts within the Synod as a whole - your National and Virtue Assemblies. These could be anywhere from two to about two dozen other people, depending on which one it is; both ends have advantages. Large Assemblies carry a lot of weight in the Synod as a whole if you manage to get them pointing in the same way, but small ones mean you only need to persuade a couple of other people to get some fairly major things done…

The Synod motions mean you get a steady stream of things to have opinions on throughout the event; if you think “having strong opinions about Virtue” and “arguing with other priests about your strong opinions about Virtue and/or political expediency” are fun, I definitely recommend it!

And as I mentioned, none of the above involves needing priest skills. Having opinions doesn’t cost character points, and battle-priests are a long-standing Imperial tradition.

One technicality, which you can ignore for now. The closest priest skills get to being really important for this end is that if you don’t take Dedication, you’ll start off undedicated - since assembly membership looks at what you were when the event starts, that means for your first event, you’ll be a member of the Assembly of the Way. You may well want to spend more time with the Virtue Assembly you want to join - they’ll be happy to have you and it’s easy enough to bung one of them a dose of liao to get dedicated at your first event, so you’re a voting member from your second onwards.

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AND ANOTHER THING

If you’ll be at next event and you’re interested in the theological end of things, this is a fantastic time to start playing a Synod member - there’s a Symposium, in which lots of people will wave around all their opinions on things like what Virtues mean, why we follow them, the nature of the soul, the place of the Imperial Orcs in the Way, and suchlike. Opportunity for your preferences among learning about what people think, poking at the edges of doctrine, and furious blazing rows should be available!

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Thank you all so much for your replies!

@Mark_Wilkin
Great summary of things! If I wanted to enter Synod meetings or business as a pilgrim, can I just say that my character is on pilgrimage, or do I need to be Dedicated?

I like the idea of getting involved by helping busy people out though - seems like it should be a good introduction to what goes on at Empire. I don’t suppose there’s a list of important people, or prominent PCs have their own wiki pages, so I’d know who to look out for?

When it comes to getting involved in skirmishes and battles, how much warning/prep time do people tend to have? I read in another thread that characters tend not to walk around Anvil fully armed and armoured, so if there is going to be a combat event, am I going to miss out on the chance to take part if I have to run back to my tent to grab some equipment?

@MorkaisChosen
Good to know I’ve got so many opportunities when it comes to the Synod! While I was planning to be devout, I wasn’t planning on being a preacher, so maybe Congregation isn’t for me - but looking at its wiki page, it just says that the resource represents a church, without much to say about the character who owns it. And you’re right in that I probably won’t be Dedicated to start with (still choosing between a few Virtues); would a lack of both Congregation and Dedication exclude me from Synod business?

@McGonigle
I was planning on being a devout Questing Knight! What exactly do you mean by ‘Dawn’s weird economic attitudes?’ I must have missed that part of the brief.

I know Knight Errant would be a good way of getting involved, but I was quite keen to have my own heraldry, don’t really have the resources to modify my costume when I join a house, and I’ve always been a huge fan of the noble knight on a quest. I was hoping to join a Knightly Order rather than a Noble House, and in time perhaps found my own: something dedicated to a certain Virtue, or something like the Swiss Guard or some of the Crusader orders dedicated to ensuring pilgrims’ safety (not dragging actual Crusader or Christian imagery into the setting though).

I believe that the “Dawn’s weird economic attitudes” is refering to that Nobles aren’t allowed to carry money, instead they have a guy in their group who isn’t a noble that handles money.

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Dedication isn’t required for getting involved - many priests on-field will be very happy to talk to you about the Way, and you could do things like sit in on Assembly meetings and talk about the big religious stuff without either of those two things. Just saying you’re interested - not even on pilgrimage, just considering it, thinking about the Way and its place in your life - is, I expect, plentyWe like talking about religion, it’s why we’re playing priests. :wink:

In particular, the Synod voted to make the Symposium open to anyone who wants to come; that’s a reflection of the general mood.

The main thing is you can’t vote on Synod motions; you have no official weight in Synod Judgements without a congregation. Still a perfectly good way to play and a string to have in the character’s bow, though.

However! In the interests of keeping options open, a refinement on the “non-priest congregations are strange” thing that might work for you!

If you did want that weight of “I can vote on this” without being a preacher, I can see ways around that sit in the sweet spot of unusual things that nevertheless reinforce the setting in really cool ways. The specific one springing to mind here is a Dawnish Questing Knight who’s the sworn protector of a small shrine somewhere; maybe one that has a relic of a Dawnish Paragon or Exemplar, or a relic of an unrecognised but super Virtuous person, or simply a shrine someone built.

The character need not spend all their time there, just drop in on it every so often. They don’t need to be a preacher - just the person associated with the shrine. If it’s a place a lot of the local yeofolk go to think about the Virtues, and if the character is the person they think of when someone asks “whose shrine is this?” then even without being a preacher or a formal priest, you’ve got a congregation. Just figured that might be on the right end of the priest/devout Knight divide to match what you want to play, while being close enough to the priest end to be a really cool way to flavour the requirements of being a Synod member.

It’d flow nicely into your Knightly Order idea, too; the leader of a religious community (even one who doesn’t preach actively) is another excellent less-priestly congregation style. Marcher Monasteries are the obvious place for that in the setting, but I’d take their existence as a good argument for similar ideas in other nations working.

(The difference in my mind between this and “pays for a church” is quite difficult to pin down; I think it may just be that “the shrine’s sworn Knight” feels more like a religious authority figure to the way I think, even without anyone specifically thinking of them as a priest.)

I kinda want to play this concept myself, but I’m a little booked up at the moment. :wink:

(I can see your point on the Congregation just talking about a church - I think it’s because, uniquely among personal resources, there’s some pretty major sociopolitical weight on who has a congregation. Other resources allow voting in some national elections, but the Congregation is the defining factor of one of the major Imperial political bodies, so it feels a bit more important to be solid on it in my mind.)

tl;dr: Congregation implies spiritual authority of some sort, but that could be more pastoral, monastic, or straigh-up informal than active preaching.

On Dawn and money: “can’t carry money” is pushing it a bit. It’s considered inglorious and demeaning for nobles to be concerned with money; flipping a Throne to a bartender so you don’t have to think about paying for drinks feels a little louche but not off-brief to me, and as a Questing Knight exploring the tension between the glorious ideal and the need to acquire things like food and boots when on the road alone could be really interesting.

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@Bozemoto
Oh, right! I forgot about Seneschals. Presumably though, a Dawnish noble might decide where their money is going, it’s just the duty of the Seneschal to do the paper work. I was planning on being a bit loose with my money any way, seeing as I thought my character might be a bit sheltered and doesn’t have a great idea of costs. :wink:

@MorkaisChosen
I don’t like leaning on mechanics too much when it comes to RP, but I might go for Congregation so I can get the Synod votes and give my opinions a little weight, as a bit of a springboard to getting involved.

Thank you so much for the suggestion! I might use this, or work off of it, for my character concept. I was thinking my character would be a Questing Knight, but one who completed his Test of Mettle in the recent past, so I wouldn’t want to give myself too glorious a position. Maybe I could tie in my character’s Test of Mettle with whatever his Congregation is.

“doesn’t have a great idea of costs”, try getting hold of a “thrifty squid” pamphlet, they have general costs across the field. Updated daily and costs 1 ring. Might be enough with one. Will keep you from being swindled.

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I’d actually say, I pay for this Church sounds like a reasonable congregation concept in the League. But Dawn doesn’t really value money, and there is a heavy social pressure for nobles to not really care about it. So having an economic relation be central to your character concept is something which I’d avoid unless you want to be looked down on.
I’m pretty sure that the, you can flavour your resource trumps, in a way that suits the setting trumps the list of examples in the specific resource page (Mammoth hunting doesn’t fit the farm definition but it’s an example given somewhere on the Wintermark Pages.)
When a territory is conquered PD release spoils of war with upgraded resources with ideas on what they are like. Only 4 of the 7 Congregations were about a place at all, I think the Karsk one, is particularly interesting.
https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Karsk_Spoils_of_War
A congregation is a personal resource that if someone looks at is says: Religion, rather than food, trade, magic or war.
Going from some of your ideas on orders, an idea for congregation.
Pilgrimages are a part of the setting and I’m pretty sure they are recorded and count for votes (There was an event about a major pilgrimage and its impact on Synod Votes). I lead a pilgrimage, sounds like a pretty Dawnish way of having a congregation. Even if the leading is as much knowing the way, protecting them from harm, being glorious enough to help people put aside there fears and travel, and the heavy lifting in the Religious department is done by the Pilgrimage site itself.

The important thing is no one is really going to look at I lead/protect Pilgrims going to X and wonder if it should be a farm or a military unit.

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Sounds like a fantastic plan! Maybe he was doing a Test of Mettle for a House, and the Test led him to a run-down old shrine (EDIT: or ended up with him on the pilgrims’ road, whether for his own pilgrimage or coincidental reasons), and then because of reasons of Shenanigans and Dawnishness ended up realising that this shrine and the Questing Knight’s life were more important to him than being a noble?

(I see a big difference between “I took a Test of Mettle to become a noble so I could be a Questing Knight” and “I took a Test of Mettle to join this House, but then I decided I’d rather be a Questing Knight” - it may be worth thinking about which of those will lead to the kind of personality and attitudes you want for this character.)

As far as mechanics and RP go, a Congregation is pretty IC - it’s basically “the Civil Service have me down as enough like a religious leader to get a voice in the Synod.” Don’t know if thinking of it like that will help, though.

The pilgrim-guarding idea is also a fantastic one - guess I just thought of a tiny shrine first because it fits my personal preferences quite well. I’m a sucker for lone vigils and tiny out-of-the-way caves with statues in and suchlike in my fiction.

Agreed that resource-flavouring is very flexible; it’s just fairly important in my head that Congregations keep the important bit. A business needs to be something where you get money, probably by selling things so all the potential Winds of Fortune and the like keep making sense; a Congregation needs to be something where you get religious authority, one way or another. Where it happens, why it happens, when it happens and how it happens can flex as much as anything else, just as long as it keeps making sense that the Empire recognises you as religiously influential.

(On the League paying-for-a-church idea: I agree, but would probably assume that for reasons of being the person who gets recognised as the authority I’d generally expect that person to call themself a Bishop, even if they leave all the actual priesting to their subordinate priests. YMMV I guess, and I should probably stop going off-topic.)

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You don’t need to be anything at all to turn up and be interested in the Synod, just interested in the Way and perhaps a particular virtue. Asking questions and getting priests to talk to you about faith and why their Virtue is for you is great game and I always enjoyed giving virtuous counsel to people before they made a decision to dedicate themselves.

The whole Knightly Order thing is cool and I don’t think it’s a particularly over subscribed idea in Dawn, I certainly haven’t heard anyone doing the “protecting pilgrims” thing.

This page is a good collection of links to current events https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Recent_history and this one gives you names for who’s doing what https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Current_Imperial_titles you’ll still need to track them down

Prep time for quests varies wildly, sometimes you’ve got hours other times you’ll get 15 minutes, don’t stress it but I’d say if you can find the people who organise these things check with them every so often and see what’s going on.

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