Character Questions and Conversation Starters

Following a post on the Empire FB group, I thought it might be good to make the topic easier to find for future players.

The question raised was, “Tips on getting stuck in to game and conversation starters at first event if you are going alone?”

When I came to my first Empire event, I was a solo player. I’m a foreigner who had arrived to the country the day before the event, knew no one save the players I had chatted with on the FB groups and an amazing player that had offered me a lift from Banbury. I was camped OC and had no character ties. The only things I really had in my favor were 1) the amount of time I had spent reading the wiki (which was a LOT) and 2) the many years of LRP experience I had prior to Empire, elsewhere in the world.

With all that said, I wrote out a list of questions based on character archetypes and asked for input from the Empire community across all the national FB groups. This listed is absolutely not definitive and there is lots of room for additional questions based on archetype, lineage, the part of the game you want to get into, etc… If you have ideas, please post them. Most players will welcome the RP and understand that no player understands everything in the game, not even PD staff, let alone new players.

Without further ado, here is the compiled list:

Brass Coast


If the Freeborn have little regard for titles and status and think even less of those who think titles make them important, why does the title of Dhomiro exist?


If Freeborn families are led by Dhomiro and Kohan are Freeborn warriors without a family, then who leads the Kohan and why?


If Sutannirs don’t typically use the powers of the Freeborn Assembly unless there’s a serious issue, what kind of issues have been serious enough?


If every Freeborn is to one degree or another looking to “make their fortune” and the Hakima are neutral arbiters for Freeborn society, how do other Freeborn ensure that the Hakima are actually neutral, instead of pushing their own agendas?


If the Kohan and Corsairs are both warrior groups, what’s the difference between them? Which ones are better fighters?


What happens if a Scrivener’s contract is broken? How does one seek justice or reparations?



What can an Earl at Anvil do to bring glory to their house and themselves?


What achievements are worthy enough of inviting a knight-errant into a house without a petition?

What can I do as a Knight-errant to make the houses of Dawn take note of me and want me in their house?

What achievements would a Knight errant need to have to impress you enough to consider setting them a worthy test?

What kind of House would seem glorious enough for you to test into?

Questing Knight

What grand quests are worthy of founding a knightly order for?

What do you think is needed for a test to be told through the ages? Can you think of any quests in recent years that fit that criteria?


How does one become the subject of a Troubadour’s tales? Is there anyone in Anvil who’s done so?

What is the most glorious thing someone could do?

Are Glory and Love more important than Virtues?


Why is battlefield magic considered a noble’s pursuit in Dawn?


What’s the best Guiser performance you’ve ever seen? Are there any performances planned for this summit?


How does an Enchanter make a pact with an eternal? Since an Enchanter is an Earl, shouldn’t that mean their pacts should benefit their house rather than themselves?


What are the best ways to impress Senators as a Seneschal? If a noble house is small, how do they get involved with the Bourse?

What request did your house give to you that was the hardest to fulfill?

Why did you decide to dedicate your life to a House’s finances, rather than pursue your own Glory?


Should an Advocate follow the wishes of the current Senators or should they do what they think is best for Dawn?


What should a Retainer do if they find themselves having earned a better reputation than the noble they serve? Is it better to be Loyal to the noble or house you serve or find a more glorious noble or house to serve?



How does your chapter select its Exarch? How do you ensure that they embody the chapter’s creed?


How does your chapter train for battle? What are their tactics like? How do they coordinate with other chapters?


How do you think Unconquered should coordinate with other Highguard forces to best achieve victory?

What lines will you not cross to achieve victory?


How does one act as a living standard on the battlefield?

What do you think are the best and worst practices when guarding a retreat?


How do you encourage someone to examine their motivations and beliefs without them becoming defensive? Are there certain questions that are better for some Virtues than others?


While Inquisitors are concerned with maintaining the purity of the Imperial Faith, protecting it against heresy, how should they handle apostasy?

Steward of the Dead

How do Stewards of the Dead deal with the restless dead? How often does it happen? How dangerous is it?

Who are your Dead and what lessons in Virtue do they teach?


If the mages of other nations don’t seem to understand the threat the Eternals present, why encourage humans to seek them out at every opportunity? Why wouldn’t it be better for only Magisters to deal with the Eternals?


Given the rapacious economic practices of other nations, should a benefactor engage in trade outside of Highguard? If so, how?


If the Freeborn commitment to truth is an expression of Courage and Pride, how can archivists justify burying unpleasant truths as Virtuous?

Grey Pilgrim

The doctrines of the Way of Virtue are based on evidence that has been debated and agreed upon in the Synod. In the time since the Grey Pilgrimage started, what evidence has been presented to support the premise that the pilgrimage is liberating souls caught by the Vallorn?

The League

Merchant Prince

Aside from the degree of their financial success, how do the most successful Princes distinguish themselves while at Anvil?


What are the most important things to look at or build in a Free Company’s reputation?

Would you rather be feared or respected for your skill?


Who has been the most influential Bishop to visit Anvil in recent years?

What is more important: politics or theology, and why?

Troupe Magician

What makes for the best kind of Dramaturgy?

What dramaturgical personas are your favorite?

Which troupe at Anvil are the best performers?

How much would a patron have to offer to be the exclusive service of your troupe? How would you decide that?


If someone wanted to become a Mountebank, how would one best develop their improvisational or comedic skills to do so?

What is the best way to portray yourself to a mark in order to set up a long con?

What are the elements of a good scheme?


Cicisbeos are such a diverse lot, whether as personal councilors, private entertainers, or disguised bodyguards, how does one decide what kind of cicisbeo they should be?

The Marches


What is the best way to select a Steward?


How do you think Beaters should distinguish themselves as scouts from other Imperial skirmishing forces, such as the Freeborn kohan or Highguard’s unconquered?

Which Beater here at Anvil would you say is the most accomplished in a one-on-one fight?

Do you think The Beaters should answer to the authority of the militia or do you believe they should only answer to the people of the Marches?

How do beaters distinguish themselves from each other?

In times of peace how do Beaters conduct themselves?

Does your Beater investigate off their own back, or are they told where to fight by a group?

Does your beater lead a military unit? If so how was this formed and what role do they fill?

If a Beater has a different resource how do they balance that with their career?

How do your house/banner go about beating the bounds? Any particular traditions you cleave to?


What is the greatest grudge between households that you’ve ever heard of?

How do you think field marshals could be better using the bill block in battle?

Why is the yeoman’s voice the most important?


How do you think a monastery should divide its time resources between the Marcher Assembly in the Synod and the Senatorial election for the Marches? What do you do if monks within the monastery disagree about a particular judgement or political candidate? Should the monastery vote independently or collectively?


What are your views on pre-Imperial Marcher beliefs and practices, such as reincarnation as trees or vermin; or shriving? Would it be better to protect Marcher traditions or to adhere more closely to the orthodox beliefs of the Synod?

What is the benefit to being in amongst people instead of a monastery?


Do you think the term Landskeeper should be restricted to those with real magical ability, such as those who can perform rituals or craft magic items? Should Landskeepers without those abilities be treated akin to hedge wizards or those who have joined a household?

What kind of unpopular actions have you heard of a Landskeeper taking for the greater good?

Shouldn’t the vote go to everyone who looks after the farms?

Which is your favourite farm ritual?

If a good Landskeeper is idolatrous, are they still a good Landskeeper?

Where’s the line between respecting traditions and heresy?


What are the best ways to perform as the Fool? How do you think they should attract patrons and encourage audience participation?

Who do you think is the most skilled band of mummers? When and where are they performing this summit?


Do you think market towns deserve the same respect and influence as rural households? If so, how would you suggest they go about gaining a stake in the political process?



What’s the most difficult or ambitious oath you’ve ever heard a Brand take?

What’s your Oath? What event caused you to take it? What actions do you perform to fulfill it?


How do you think Thorns have most effectively gained the element of surprise when going through the Sentinel Gate?

Who in the Nation would you die to save?

At what point is an Imperial citizen enough of a threat to your Nation that assassinating them is necessary?


If someone has violated a custom of their nation and is being punished for it, what would you think of that person joining the Navarr to escape their punishment?

What’s the most virtuous oath you’ve seen someone take?

How have you encouraged people to take more virtuous oaths?


How can you tell if a Broker puts more value into money or their belief in the Great Dance?

How do you tell the difference between a deal for monetary gain, and a deal which helps people find their place in the Great Dance?


How do you handle a Vate who is found to have charged someone in the community to cast a spell?



How does one best assess who has the most complete Arete when examining candidates for a spire’s arbiter?


How does one recognize that an engagement has taken too long?

How do Sentinels differentiate between a waste of resources and an expensive victory?

What techniques have been developed to effectively coordinate with other Imperial forces during a battle?

What’s the best use of magic you’ve seen on the battlefield?

What is your philosophy for battle?


What do you think the exact role of priests should be in religion?

What’s your opinion of Lucidians?


What ways are there to make an individual into a pivotal node, other than putting them in a position of command within the Empire?

What kind of behavior have you heard of that is unvirtuous enough to warrant removing someone from an Imperial office?

What techniques have you used to identify pivotal individuals and encourage them to become more virtuous?


What methods, magical or mundane, have been most useful in learning about the net around the important political figures?

Which Eternals do you think are the easiest to interact with? Which do you think are best able to help the Empire?


What do you think of the “Eight Realms” theory? If such a thing existed, what do you think the last two Realms would be about?

How would you suggest the Empire pursue Celestial Harmony?


What event was most difficult for you to record while remaining detached?

What lengths would you go to to prevent Highguard archivists from distorting or burying facts?


What techniques do you use when seeking out individuals who can benefit from the skills or commodities you are selling?

What do you think is the best way to use financial wealth in pursuit of making the Empire more successful and effective?

What do you think are the best techniques to cultivate nodes to best support your nation and spire?


Do you think there are any circumstances in which secrecy is necessary? What about Imperial scouts or spies? How about militia members investigating operations run by the Vyig?

If a torchbearer exposes an informant as a result of revealing information, does a torchbearer carry any responsibility if that informant is harmed or killed in turn?

Sword Scholar

What do you think the Sword Scholar temples role in the Synod should be? What about in Urizeni society or the Empire as a whole?

Can you explain your current role in the Synod and why you think it is needed?



What’s the most difficult dispute you’ve had to resolve in your vale? How do you provide protection for your vale’s inhabitants?

How did you become the Boyar for your vale, rather than another?

Have you ever had to withdraw your protection from a vale? If so, why?

What’s the relationship between Boyars and Wise Ones like in your vale?

What do you see as the most important thing defining proper hospitality? And how do you ensure this is followed in your vale?


Where does a warden’s responsibilities end and the militia’s begin?

Do wardens have the right to pursue criminals across national borders? Should wardens respect the customs of justice in other nations or return criminals to Varushka for justice?

How does a warden deal with supernatural threats while ensuring they don’t rouse a sovereign?

What should a fellowship of wardens prioritize in their organization? Skill at arms? Investigative ability? Reputation?


Do you think it’s better as a schlacta to serve a boyar, work for a merchant, or sell your services in a mercenary band?

What is the worst thing you’ve ever heard of Wagon raiders returning with?

Wise One

How do you teach people how to recognise monsters and protect themselves?

What do you think of a wise one who never removes their blindfold or who permanently blinds themselves?


What do you think of volhovs who deal with Eternals or Sovereigns?

What stories do you have about how using magic has caused more problems than it solved?


How long has your cabal existed? Are they welcoming to all or do they require an invitation? Do they favor the philosophy of the volhov or the wise ones?

What are the other cabals in your vale like, if any?


What story do you know that you think carries the most important lesson?

What was the best story you’ve heard from a storyteller?


What other profession do you practice?

As a stzena, what do you think of other nations playing music during daylight?

Should stzena be allowed to practice or play for other nations during daylight hours?

What is your favorite Varushkan song to perform?


What is the hardest bargain you’ve made? What did it cost you? And was it worth it?

Is there any line you would not cross to make a bargain to protect those you care about?

Have you ever known somebody who ignored your advice and came to a sticky end? What happened to them?

What are your local sovereigns and what kind of demands do they make?



Why were you chosen as the Thane of your hall? Who were your rivals?

What’s the most difficult dispute you’ve had to settle?


What are the most effective ways you’ve found to rouse the courage and fighting spirit of your band?

Do you prefer to carry your banner in battle or plant it in the ground before fighting? Why?

Why were you chosen by your Thane to be the Banner-bearer?

What skills do you think are most important to excel as a banner-bearer?


How have you encouraged others to live up to the legacy of the heroes who have gone before?

What have you done to act as the heart of your community?

Which virtue do you counsel most often? Why?


What do you see as the most powerful form of magic on the battlefield?

Which Realm’s ritual do you think can best serve Wintermark?


What is the best story of clever negotiations with an Eternal you’ve heard?

What are your thoughts on the tradition of Totem magic?


What is the largest weregild you’ve ever helped to negotiate? What about the fastest?

Has a Magistrate ever disagreed with you about the fairness of a weregild?

What other negotiations have you been a significant part of?


How difficult is it to take the field without risking yourself?

How much money can be made going through the Sentinel Gate?

What would you think of someone who steals from the body of an Imperial citizen n the field?


How do you read someone’s skein?

How accurate have your predictions been in the past?

How do you deal with Mystics whose advice is obviously self-serving?


What is the story or song you enjoy performing most?

Which story or song do you think has been the most inspirational to others?

Who do you think is the most entertaining scop at this summit?


How close to the front-line have you gone to carry out your duties as a Grimnir?

How many warriors usually accompany you onto the field who are dedicated to retrieving wounded Imperials?


Great work. :slight_smile:

Those are really good questions.

This is a great list, thanks for putting it together. I will make sure any character I run can answer the relevant questions!

It’s also a good starting point for things to research for general knowledge which one’s character ought to know.

Like these:
“What’s your opinion of Lucidians?”
“What are your thoughts on the tradition of Totem magic?”

I have no idea what they are, but I’m looking forward to reading up on them.

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