[tl;dr summary for existing players - past life vision accounts are updated! See Illithidbix’s post or the end of this post for links.]
For new players, I would like to share with you a cool bit of the game that there is not much info about on the wiki, and what there is is on several different pages.
Okay, so if you’re playing a priest at Empire you may know about liao - it’s the stuff that you get given if you have a congregation, and it lets you use religious skills if you have those. Pretty neat, right?
The wiki page on liao also mentions something called true liao (also called ‘pure liao’ or ‘imperial liao’). As it says, you can use this to do more permanent versions of many of the religious skills (see those skill pages for details), but you can also use it ‘to provide a human being with a special vision of another time and place’.
In the Empire setting, the common IC belief is that these visions are of people’s past lives (see that “True Liao” link above), and that’s why the IC religion, the Way of Virtue, talks about reincarnation.
As mentioned on the True Liao link again, the amount of true liao produced each season varies, though it’s generally half a dozen or fewer doses. One dose goes to the Throne; one dose can be bid on in a Bourse auction; and the Gatekeepers assign the rest.
Some of these might go on superpowered religious skills, like consecrating a tomb or hallowing a banner; others will go on visions!
So, how does the visions work in the game itself? Out of character, it’s a bit like a quest, but for just two people.
One of the people, the visionary, can talk to and act and interact with people from this other time and place, as if they were someone else. The other, the guide, can’t be seen or heard by anyone in the vision other than the visionary; but they also can’t touch anything, and if they do accidentally then things might go wrong.
There’s also an IC ceremony to help get you into the right frame of mind; I’ve gone through it before and it is really good at getting you involved in the vision.
Visionaries can be anyone in the game, apart from orcs, who cannot use liao (that includes true liao, but as a bonus you get to hear your ancestors!). I think you may need to have passed your Test of Citizenship, but we’ve had a couple of visionaries in their early teens, and they did just as well as the adults if not better.
Guides need to have the Dedicate skill, but that’s it. (Again, since orcs can’t learn religious skills, they can’t be guides either.)
And, if you’d like to find out about the experiences that people have had in these visions - and about the historical and religious stuff that people have concluded afterwards - then some keener (that’s me) has been playing a character who’s been interviewing visionaries since the first event*, and there are records on the wiki of the vision accounts that that character has been publishing!
You can now read the accounts up to E2 last year. Anyone can have access to these IC, and feel free to print off your own copies - that’s why they’re in handy PDF booklet format.
Accounts for E3 and E4 last year, and E1 and E2 this year, are currently only available at events.
If you want to have heard about this in character and have an Opinion about things, like “WHAT IS THIS BLASPHEMY” or “excellent, more of this”, or anything in between, there was a Winds of Fortune for it this time last year(https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Spreading_the_word).
(* I actually missed one event, the second one, due to surgery, but other people recorded them too. Thank you Kath. )