As a new player of both Empire and LARPG’s (is that the word for it?) in general, I am very enthusiastic about creating my character for a future session. However, I’m not sure if my backstory would be appropriate, and am unsure of whether I’m allowed to be in a house where I am the only player character in it. It will make sense later.
Basically, my idea was to have a Dawnish character (hello my fellow Dawnish friends!) who came from a noble family, but was locked away from the world because her well-meaning but overprotective and rather superstitious mother believed her to be a reincarnation of a local hero, a guiser who died young protecting her village, (its left ambiguous as to whether that is the case, but it’s unlikely) but couldn’t bear losing her child like that. Her tutor however, stokes her love for adventure as she embodies the dawnish spirit of glory-seeking and dying in such heroic fashion, so gives her (my character) books on magic so she can teach herself, and telling her tales of adventure, romance and tragedy. This ends up with her fleeing her family home, and leaving her out on the road, to seek adventure and knowledge.
If this idea is not in keeping with the setting, please tell me how to amend, and also whether I can be the only player member of my house. This is very much a work in progress, and I wanted to put it past some more experienced larpers who know what they are doing.
Welcome to Empire and welcome to the hobby!
Addressing your questions:
LARPG-> LARP or LRP
It’s fine to be the only member of a house that comes to Anvil. You could be representing a large house, be the only one interested in attending the summit, or be from a house that could only afford to send one member due to house finances or perhaps military engagements. There are tons of reasons and most of them just fine.
The guiser likely would have died quite some time ago, as souls take awhile to traverse the Labyrinth and return. A soul moving quickly through the Labyrinth would be well on their way to becoming a paragon.
I like the background as a whole, but do think it could use some polishing. The temptation to kill off or separate oneself from family is an incredibly common one for most new players, but I very much encourage players to include their family in their story as it helps tie them to the world.
I’ll use my character for an example:
My character, Marshsnake, has 4 brothers. One of those brothers, Reesto, had left the family long ago and had become a Freeborn counterspy who was already in Anduz when PD had the Lasambrians invade the same region. So, at Anvil, I roleplayed that Marshsnake hadn’t heard from him since the invasion and was concerned about his well-being. I even sent IC correspondence to another Player Character(PC) after the event, asking if he could look into the military goings on of the region while he was raiding the Jotun in Sermersuaq.
The next event, I had a story about how Marshsnake’s brother had sent a letter from Morajasse, that he had been injured, and that their father was going to make the journey from Masi to fetch him, a dangerous journey across nearly the entire length of the Empire, and that Marshsnake was going to take his military unit to escort Marshsnake’s father down and search for his brother.
Between events, Marshsnake escorted their father to Morajasse to search for and bring Reesto back to Wintermark. They didn’t find him in Morajasse, so while Marshsnake’s military unit and Marshsnake were attacking key Grendel targets, they continued searching for Reesto. Eventually, they found him. Marshsnake’s father returned to Masi with Reesto, while Marshsnake remained behind in the Brass Coast for personal reasons.
At the following event, Marshsnake talked with his closest associates about the mental battles Reesto had been dealing with since the invasion. They discussed the nature of survivor’s guilt, PTSD, suicidal ideation, and how to interact with a family member who is struggling with those issues.
While you don’t have to go into huge amounts of detail, having NPC’s in your background that you care about gives you another reason to care about the world outside your own direct experiences. They can provide amazing opportunities for roleplay or lines of inquiry.
For example, Marshsnake’s mother is a civil service legislator in Kallavesa. Seeing the civil service working at Anvil gives him reason to pause and question how different parts of the Empire are administered and gives him a respect for the civil service, who he might otherwise ignore and/or take for granted.
Another example: Marshsnake’s father is a retired artisan. If ever I felt the desire to learn how to craft magic items, Marshsnake would then question whether he’d rather make useful connections at Anvil and learn from those who can produce the most material intensive items, such as:
Or would Marshsnake rather learn the craft from his father, a simple crafter who he knows will not be around forever and who Marshsnake may wish he had spent more time with when he’s finally gone.
Backgrounds are what you make of them. They’re not required to play Empire, but can make your game immensely more fun. Give yourself something or someone to care about. Have convictions that you know others won’t agree with. Apathetic loners may look cool in movies, but they make for terrible characters in roleplaying games.
I hope this post was helpful and feel free to ask any questions you might have.
Trust me, shes about as far from apathy as it’s possible to be. Shes naive and easily manipulated as shes had no experience with people, so just assumes they are trustworthy. She’s basically been swept up in the idea of adventure and glory that she got from troubadours, stories and songs people told her.
Not amazingly unique, but I feel like having her learn along the way will help. Plus, she’d probably pester anyone she thinks looks interesting.
You can absolutely be the only player member of your house - House Rylas was made up entirely as background for my previous character.
One thing I would suggest for your backstory is to specify EITHER that the noble family was a small/remote/not very prominent one, OR to use a yeofolk family. Why? The desirability of Nobility and Glory is so strong in Dawnish culture, I think I have trouble picturing a situation with a (for want of a better phrase) normal functioning Noble house where a house member is actively keeping their offspring from pursuing it and the rest of the house are not properly shocked and scandalised, and that sounds like more angst than you intended? I dunno, see what you think!
I’d echo what others said. In a fest larp, mates are overpowered. NPC mates/family aren’t as good, but having strong connections to them gives you reasons to care. When something goes well or badly ‘off screen’, it affects them.
Some things to bear in mind:
Backstory’s only as good as the fun it causes in play.
As SevenSecrets says, nobody’s born noble, they have to pass a test from another House. So the children of nobles need to be trained and schooled well, with the intention that they’ll pass a Test of Mettle. Unless your PC is literally locked in a room, everyone who hears her complaints is going to be scandalised (and possibly just ask if she wants to demand a Test of Mettle). If she is literally locked in a room, False Imprisonment is treated very seriously by the law. In both cases, it’s going against the core of Dawnish society, so nobody would have any sympathy if they found out.
I think that a good way to get the backstory you want could be to have the House literally and figuratively crumbling around your PC. A small House, overrun by the Druj in one of the recent campaigns, pretty much everyone but your PC and her mother (now the Earl) died. Go full gothic tragedy. With so few people left, your PC felt trapped because her mother needed “someone she trusted” as her Seneschal and doing the accounts is no job for nobles. Eventually your character realises she’s being manipulated and heads to Anvil. A good option for your personal resource could be a small military unit of “All the yeofolk retainers and guards who were also sick of the Earl’s bullshit”
Overly-trusting is a great character flaw for a first PC, because it means you fail forward and make mistakes, rather than brood in a tavern corner doing nothing. It’s especially good/bad for a magician, as that can potentially get you in a mess with Eternals or Heralds if you encounter them.
Plenty of nobles can’t fight their way out a wet paper bag. You can attain glory as an Enchanter, or a physick, or a politician for example, without ever raising a weapon in anger. Dawn has a strong martial culture, but nobility is based on “being renowned at the thing you do” not solely “being renowned for bustin’ heads”. Your character can be happily questing for martial glory, but it’s just one popular route. She’d read plenty of tragic stories about inadvisable witch or guiser deals with Heralds, or heroic ones about, say, Spring wizards fixing entire squads of soldiers in one go.
I think you’d have a lot of fun looking to get dedicated to Ambition, Courage or Pride. if you start uncertain about which, that gives you a chance to go and meet some priests in play.
I’d be cautious about the leap to my mother thinks she is the reincarnation of the Guising folk hero because true Liao to confirm that is really rare and the type of thing you should gain in play. The don’t follow in the footsteps of someone who we only know about because of how glorious they were doesn’t fit the Dawnish brief that well.
Possibly make the Guiser, a close relation of your mother. Reminding your mother of her sister, when she was your age, and she can’t bear the thought of going through that deep loss again. Is more routed in things your mother would know and could react to. Also Dawn is a nation about showing emotions and feeling them to the utmost. Rooting it in emotion and tragedy help ground the less Dawnish elements (overprotectiveness) in something that is firmly Dawnish.
Building on Jim’s thought this would work well with a tragedy that had reduced the House (also means there are less people to oppose your mothers influence) the Barrens is the obvious one but Semmerholm was briefly invaded and Weirwater had an undead attack. They are also all events that have happened in play and ties your characters backstory to events people care about and have emotional connections to.
One thought I have (again concerning the Barrens) is that perhaps that the houses holdings (I am imagining a tall tower for obvious reasons.) Were in the Barrens and enough witches survived the invasion that they could shroud the tower (Vale of Shadows), hiding it from the Druj who are occupying the land and thus making leaving the tower very risky.
This help keeps your mother on the right side of the law, and the increased nuance probably makes it more interesting to play. As well as turning your backstory into something with a drive to do things and care about bits of the setting (after all your mother is still living in occupied territory hidden only by an illusion.
I will point out it is possible to pass a test from the same house, and there are definitely cases of nepotism helping, but it is worth considering whether your character has passed the test yet. It feels like this is probably no, at this point in the story but it’s an important thing to have nailed down (Also worth considering if you aren’t a noble are you looking for a house to get a test from or would you want to test into your mother;s house. - No need to answer that just thoughts.)
I am a newbie as well and the first event that runs will be my first too. My character Tristan would be very much interested in hearing your characters story , He is a healer and bard and can be found in Dawn he is from house du solieli but ill likely be all over ask around for me.
Always looking for dawnish stories to make into songs / ballads