Beginner LARPer

Hi guys!

I’m completely new to LARP in general, and Empire is my first system and E1 will be the first event I’ve ever attended - I’ve chosen Dawn as my Nation and am beginning to make kit plans. I was wondering if you guys have any advice both generally and specific to Dawn; I’d love it if you guys could give me advice on how to get involved with the IC community, and any pointers you think I should be aware of regarding kit and character design.

Don’t worry about explaining camping, I can do that bit! But anything to do with LARP and the Dawn community at large would be really appreciated. Thanks :slight_smile:

Welcome to Empire! :smiley:

First thing I’d say is, I massively recommend playing with a group at Empire. It’ll give you established relationships and character dynamics, and you’ll have people to bounce off while you’re still going “argh field full of strangers argh”. Having IC mates makes a huge amount of difference to my fun.

Relatedly, I don’t recommend playing the silent, brooding, mysterious stranger in the corner of the bar who never talks to anyone. On account of you never get to talk to anyone. It looks cool but it’s just not fun to play. (Cue a number of people disagreeing with me here…) For me, the crucial bit is having characters who are motivated to do the things that I find fun in larp. Even if I’ve got all the skills, if my character’s just got no reason to do it, that eats into my fun and makes me sad.

In all seriousness, it’s going to vary massively depending on what you find fun. If you enjoy combat, you’re likely best off designing a character who has a strong motivation (not just the skillset) to get involved in all the combat going. If you enjoy hilarious interpersonal drama and measure the success of an event by how many times you cried real tears (hi), designing a character who has strong group relationships and reasons to talk to people and make friends is probably a good idea. If you’re most entertained by pressing red buttons and doing ridiculous stuff and blowing yourself up in the name of GLORY or SCIENCE, pick the right skills and find some motivations for it. And the best bit is that these things aren’t mutually exclusive :smiley:

And this is where I froth about the nation briefs. They have tonnes of guidance on costuming, and better still, the amount of cultural detail in them means they’re just full of excuses for prejudices, motivations and fuel for hilarious drama :smiley:


I’m glad that OC, I have somehow been adopted by a group of LARPers (and in fact your name rings a bell. I may have possibly been adopted by your group of LARPers.) but as far as IC goes I am still tentatively searching about for established relationships. I’m joining Empire alone so it’s a bit scary.

Skills is definitely the bit I’m finding fiddliest! Which may in part be due to having never seen any of these skills executed on the field but, yeah, picking skills is definitely where I’m struggling. Found it a lot easier to order pretty dress patterns. Can I just do that all game IC?

The nation briefs on the wiki are my favourite thing. I have ~30 tabs of them open For Research. Cheers for your reply, btw! Vastly appreciated.

Yeah, you’ve seen that name. :stuck_out_tongue:

You definitely don’t need to have picked skills when you hit play. They can be useful for concepts - Percival wouldn’t be Percival without two flavours of rituals - but there are options up to and including “start with no skills, find out what skills people are using and how they’re using them, and get taught IC once you’ve decided what you might enjoy.”

My one piece of advice in regarding skills and new systems is to pre choose a split between your comfort zone and things that will either stretch you as a roleplayer (trading type things if you are bit shy for example) or will give you a reason to otherwise go out there and interact. Ritual skill in the example above is a good example of this as to accomplish much of anything you need a coven.

Likewise things like “Stay with me” and “Get it together” are pretty memorable and if used on the battlefield a great way to build up some good feelings and gratitude towards you.

My difficulty with skills is that - at present at least - I know I’m not hugely interested in playing a fighter/combatant. So I’m trying to figure out a set of skills that would be useful either in combat (debating a couple of healing skills and, having looked at the hero skills, the two you suggested) or something useful for off-battlefield. I have a rough character concept but picking skills is genuinely the biggest hurdle for me!

Any suggestions on useful roles that would get me interacting with people (I am 100% not shy, so that’s not a problem!) that would work outside of combat?

(Thanks for the useful reply, those Hero Skills look pretty great!)

Stuff you do outside battletime need not be based on skills or even as involved with the mechanics as trading, but there are a few main PD-provided chunks of game:

You could (though in Dawn it’s mostly a yeoman thing) go for trading; match people to things, get people what they need when they need it and pick up a little commission on the top. Quite possibly not what you’re after, unless I miss my guess.

There’s the Synod and priesting - bothering people about Virtue, encouraging the nervous and recognising cool people. Dawnish priests are known as troubadours, and often inspire through some sort of performance - but despite the name the brief does say that storytelling or similar is just as valid as singing.

Magic has a couple of (sort of related) areas of game beyond battle magic. There’s supporting the Empire through ritual magic, some of which goes through the Conclave (but you don’t need to worry about that if you don’t want to!) - this includes making the military more awesome and also stuff like trying to find out what’s going on or, if you do get into Conclave stuff regulating use of magic. Then (and in Dawn this one’s pretty big) there’s interacting with Eternals. They can have varying opinions on the Empire - some like us, some are angry, and people can and do attempt to win their boons and turn away their anger. I’ve got into the periphery of that bit myself, and am hoping to go further with it next event - should be a lot of fun!

Then of course there’s sitting around singing songs, meddling in love lives, making friends, challenging people to do things, making enemies… the little social things that can really keep a game running.

Taking a few points of combat and a few points of off-field stuff can work; if you were interested in the magical end of things, you could take Magician, 2 ranks in a lore, a spell for the battlefield (I took Heal) and the other two on something else; that gives you an excuse to hit the battlefield (healing! Am usefuls!) but also some skills to use off.

Other, similar things include taking some priestly skills for inspiring people off the battlefield, then picking up Stay With Me and maybe Chirurgeon and continue to inspire people on the battlefield - so inspiring they KEEP FIGHTING!!! despite awful wounds.

I’d suggest not starting as a noble, now if you were planning to play a yeoman that’s pretty obvious, but otherwise the test of mettle is something to do, an obvious first goal and many of the ones I have seen are also a fairly good motive to go out and talk to people. (Ignoring a certain earl who generally just gives a number of Orcs he wants killed.)

If you are bored, get to know someone busy and see if you can follow them around for a bit, it will give you an insight into bits of the game and probably get you sent running round the camp trying to find X from camp X who looks like every other member of there chapter but has a goatee.

You will almost certainly end up in the evening either round a fire, or hiding from the rain socializing, having an IC song or two or an IC story or any similar IC party trick under your belt will be worth the prep work.

On roles if you have a group in mind try asking what they already have, some roles are more fun if other people are playing the same role: a ritualist is more fun if you actually get to ritual occasionally. Other roles the less people in that role already the more you have to do this is probably more the yeoman side of things. (This design diary is worth a read as to why you might consider playing a full yeoman (as opposed to a knight errant) )

As for skills one of the first things to work out is do you see yourself wearing Armour either soon or in the future? Get it together and stay with me are really fun skills to use, but the main advantage to them is that you get the added protection of Armour. Otherwise magician and heal, does more, more often than either of those skills (There are reasons to take stay with me or get it together as an unarmored character but I might not do it first time round.)

Crafting, while it takes a large chunk of your initial points* has some advantages, but it’s probably more of a yeomans game because it will almost certainly involve trade. You start of the game with 10 resources of 1 type (or 10 random resources if you take a military unit) and need to go out and get what you actually need. Now while there’s nothing undawnish about crafting as a noble, however this seems to involve handing resources to a Seneschal, barking instructions and then by magic the Seneschal should hand you what you actually want at the end of the event.
*Although there are ways to get the ability to cast a spell (if not the mana) from 0 cost magical items, so it’s not as expensive as it seems

Chiregeon is a generally good buy for a one point skill even if you have other healing, and most characters will appreciate it (There are always exceptions.) Besides I’m pretty sure that this skill and a supply of fake blood are really all the battlefield skills you need :p.

Hell yes - if I were going to pick a single skill for sheer roleplay, it’d be Physick. Empire has some awesome mechanics for complex injuries, you will always be in demand, and people will talk to you. I will confess that I have a weakness for excessive blood and screaming, but I stand by my point. You can always attach yourself to an existing medic as an apprentice to see if it’s your game, then IC decide it’s not your thing and go forth to seek your dreams.

And yes, I have a feeling we may be in the same group. If so, we’re more than happy to thrash out some fun background links and embarrassing anecdotes Of Which We Shall Never Speak Again (except when drunk) :smiley:

Don’t tell me you have a fondness for excess blood and screaming, I’ll attach myself to you and marvel at the bloodbath! If I weren’t so determined to play a character nothing like me (therefore not fond of blood and screaming) I would be down for coating myself in fake blood as well. But on topic, thinking I’ll take Physick and have my character shadow any Apothecary that’ll take her under wing and learn all about being a Good HealerTM.

I am totally on board for background links and the like! I think Eliana is dropping into the world sans any friends at the moment, unless I join up with Percival’s coven - which looks less and less likely the more excited I get by bloody surgery and smelly herbs. (Maybe they can kidnap me later. Loyalty n’all is a total excuse for romantic meddling.)

Not fond of blood and screaming just means you get to scream more if you get blood on you.

You don’t necessarily have to choose between bloody surgery and being in a Coven, you can play more than one role: Herb garden, Chirurgeon, Physick, Magician, Heal and 1 point of ritual Lore gives a very healing focused build that can also dabble in the ritualist game. It gives you 4 ‘free’ full heals a day on top of the healing you can do with herbs.
(The other option here would be to make a ‘business’ side connection with the Coven, have went to them either on your own or a close friend/relatives behalf. )

Of course there are other things you could complement the 4 points required for Physik, Apothecary is an obvious one but any herbs you spend making potions are herbs you can’t use to mend broken limbs etc. Personally apothecary alone for a healer seems dull, but the extra recipes look they could be fun if one jumps out at you.

Finally finished making my first character on the wizard and started ordering materials and the like to make kit! Just wanted to thank you guys for giving me advice and the like <3