Hey there, this is a long one!
Clare from Player Support here. We get a lot of questions about camping at events and whether to camp in or out of character. There’s pros and cons to doing each and I’ve compiled a list about it to help people make the choice that suits them for events.
Camping at Empire is split between several fields. Anvil itself is split across two main fields… These fields are in character and people camp in them according to the nation they are in. Each nation has a camp planner who organises and supervises camping in these areas. Space is limited and they do a fantastic job in trying to fit everyone into the space they have available. If you want to camp in your nation camp it is important to make the camp planner aware of your requirements so they can add you to the camp plan and then make sure you’re in the correct area when you pitch your tent on site. The camp planners coordinate through Facebook and most nation groups have a pinned post at the top for this. If not a shout out on the board will get you directed to the correct person.
There are also two out of character camps and another for crew. There is an area for accessible camping. Before the event a site plan comes out which has all this marked on it. This is linked from the side bar on the wiki.
I’m going to go through some pros and cons for each type of camping. I’ve left out any discussion about toilets and showers. Because of the layout of the site there will always be areas which have a bit of a walk to them. We’re constantly looking at ways to improve the provision of toilets and showers. I for one acknowledge the 4am walk to the toilets is an awful experience that not even the quiet misty loveliness of the site makes up for.
Camping In Character
Empire events aren’t 24 hour so there is really no such thing as in character camping as such. When we talk about in character camping, we’re talking about pitching a suitable tent on the in character field and sleeping in it.We can all agree (hopefully) that Anvil is an amazing space to be in and look great. We all want to be there and add to the feel of our town, this is why we restrict the type of tents which can be used in Anvil. No polyester or modern fabric tents should be used, although blends like most bell tents are fine. The aim is to have something that looks like a period tent that adds to the look-and-feel of our fantasy town, not something shiny and modern that risks damaging other peoples’ immersion in the event!
In Character Hots
Close to group and central Anvil stuff.
Less far to walk generally - you can duck into your tent for a rest, all your stuff is easily at hand
Can put children to bed and carry on your game nearby
In Character Nots
Late night noise - the IC field is always likely to be noisy, people like to sit around fires and sing and carry on the party.
Needs an appropriate tent - as said above these need to be in keeping with the in character field. This usually means they’re bigger, heavier and more expensive than modern tents
Needs to be on site long enough before time in to set up - when the game starts, vehicle access to the field is not possible and in character tents are usually heavier than out of character ones and all the required set dressing and your stuff can be almost impossible to cart over to your nation.
Need enough set dressing to make the space look good. If you want to use it as an in character space the tent should be set dressed and modern kit and rubbish kept out of sight.
IC thievery - there are explicit rules about in character thievery. You need to make sure you are aware of them and how your tent could be affected by them. I have another post planned about this. Be aware about the rules on not entering a closed tent and keeping in character and out of character stuff separate.
Camping Out of Character
Camping out of character means pitching your tent in the out of character fields. These are the ones surrounding the main Anvil in character fields. There is an area behind the Wintermark/Dawn field and along the top of the other field, where you drive into the site.
Sleeping in the out of character field doesn’t cut you off from any part of the game or mean you have a less full-filling event. The decision is all about what suits you practically and financially. Events shouldn’t cause you discomfort or stress and this decision is a big part of how to make sure you enjoy your time.
Out of Character Hots
Not needing to drive onto the IC field - sometimes we have wet events, not having to drive onto the in character field in these situations is great! You can pretty much pull off the hardcore road on the top of site to where you pitch and off again too! Helps with getting off site too!
No restrictions about arriving and leaving. Out of character camping isn’t affected by the no vehicles on site during in character time that the in character field is.
Bolthole from the IC field - the in character field can be intense at times, whether you’re a new or more experienced player. Camping in the out of character field means you can escape and hide and have a break from it all whenever you want.
Quieter - the out of character camping areas are much quieter than the in character field. It’s generally expected that people keep the noise down in these areas and that singing, music and partying at night is kept on the in character field.
More space to pitch - as we’ve discussed the in character field can be quite tight on space and the camp planners work hard to fit everyone in. The out of character fields have much more room for you
Good for people sharing a tent but in different nations - cross nation groups aren’t a thing in Empire. People from different nations do share in character sleeping space but that limits some of the people for access to the tent during the event.
Car as storage - you can keep stuff in your car! It’s nearby and is dry! You can usually park fairly close to your tent. If you can move your car away from next to your tent, that’s great because it means everyone else after you gets to camp a little closer to the in character field!
Out of Character Nots
Might need to find a friendly In Character tent to stash stuff in - people are pretty good and asking around might well net you some space to keep a bag or box so you can store a bit of stuff without getting back to your tent for a cloak or snacks or whatever. Get a nice in character storage solution and ask nicely!
Bit of a walk - out of character camping can be a bit of a distance from the in character field.
Being able to get up and not be in character straight away. If you want to lounge about in the out of character field in your pajamas for an hour before you start playing this is possible in the out of character fields but not in character fields!
This post isn’t to say ‘Don’t camp in the in character field or out of character field’ in particular but to give you some information to help you make a decision for what suits you best.