Creating a character to get involved (Character Creation Week)


As you probably know, Empire is a pretty big game and you might be worried about how you’ll actually be able to get involved with so many people playing.

So in this thread we’re going to talk about how to create your character to find your fun and get involved in the “engines” that power Empire, the Synod, Conclave, Senate, Bourse and Military Council (and everything else).

Some of this is down to what resources you pick and which Nation and Territory you decide to live in. But it’s also what your character wants to be able to do, which is only partly about your skills.

So how did you get involved in your bit of the game at Empire and what would you do if you had to do it again as a new character?



I took the easy route to being immediately involved with my current character - a congregation.

It’s not for everyone - you probably need to be comfortable with a somewhat higher standard of having read about the religion on the wiki and being able to argue about stuff in character with reference to it, and the Winds of Fortune are likely to be relevant to you, so be prepared for a lot of reading. But it’s a guaranteed in to a wide range of things, from national and virtue assemblies to eavesdropping on the Council of Nine (and anyone else you can fast talk your way into respecting the right of witness…).

The other thing I did with my current character that has dropped me in lots of stuff to do is to have a backstory that’s integrated with the world. Certainly don’t write a novel, and especially don’t have your character have done anything spectacular, but do look at the territories in your nation and their recent history, and imagine what your character was doing during those events. Having decided on a background of being born in the Mourne and being under Jotun occupation during childhood has opened a lot of exciting conversational opportunities that wouldn’t have come otherwise.



Having certain hard skills can be a good way of getting your character into things. Charisma and performance skills are probably some of the best things to have if you want to meet people quickly as a new player. If you can sing or play something then you can sit down at probably 50% of the fires in anvil and make some friends and or some money. You just need some courage.

For resources, if you are really interested in interacting with people then look for things that you can trade. Materials, crystal mana things like that. I think a fleet or an army for your first event may not be as helpful as it is more of a downtime thing. However I am a big believe in taking the resources you feel fit with your the most and not the ones that may be considered ‘the best’ unless that is what you are looking for.

With backstory, keep it fairly simple but also different and interesting. Think of it like an appetiser for a meal. You want it to get people excited for the main course and tide them over until it arrives, this being your deeds in play.

There are a lot of edgy backstories out there so maybe try and look for something fairly fun. It is fine to have tragedy but have a bit of hope in there as well. Of course, if you want to then go for a really dark backstory. Looking back on mine, it may be a bit dark however it was interesting. It gave me a way in and a good way to explain my costume.

This leads me on to my next point. Costume is a good way of standing out and talking to people. Feel free to personalise it and add things that may not be on brief. This doesn’t mean add things that are off brief or things that only work with another nation, it means taking something that other may not. You have to be careful with this but if what you create is good enough or unique enough, you will have a few people coming to you.

In the end, if you are willing to talk to people, you should be able to get involved. The hardest places to really stand out however is probably wintermark and navarr. They both have the most players and so you will be contending with a lot of people. You will find lots of roles are already filled.

If I had to create a new character (and didn’t have to fulfil a promise of joining highguard), I would probably go for almost a joke character, someone fun and crazy but I would make sure it was all in character and that I didn’t push too far with the crazy and joking side.

1 Like


I didn’t find character creation very relevant to finding my fun, almost everything I do came about in play rather than because of backstory hooks. I took some unexpected directions, so I think as blank a slate as possible is good because things that sound fun often turn out not to be and vice versa. The two changes I would make are:

  • as a ritualist, I would not fill ritual slots until I hit the field and find out what I’m actually going to cast.
  • If starting another Dawnish character, I would not start as a noble without a really good reason (e.g. a new group and someone has to be Earl). I found the idea of having done a Test of Mettle in downtime nothing but a source of imposter syndrome and would much preferred to have started as a yeoman and do it in uptime.
1 Like


Have a good grasp of your National brief, and your chosen Virtue (regardless or not of whether you are a priest or Dedicated). See how they join up and work together and try to play that line as hard as you can.

I’ve had my most fun as a priest, where I take my Virtue, intersect it with my Nation, and dial it up to eleven.

Knowledge of those two briefs (and sometimes very little of others, especially other nations!) allowed me to get involved and have opinions and to find allies and enemies.



Empire is the third PD game I’ve played and to my mind they have evolved their games a lot in that time. Where that is relevant here is that the core briefs (of the religion, the individual nations and the Empire itself) are written to encourage behaviour that is fun for the player. So the best way to have fun, in my mind, is not to try to play something wacky and unusual - it is to pick one of the briefs and then play it hard.

So if I was a Navarri, damn straight the Vallorn would be the most important thing in the world to me. If I was Highborn, I would be suspicious of lineaged people and obsessive about The Way. If I was a Leaguer I would be fanatical about my loyalties and pursue my ambition relentlessly. You get the picture.

All of those will by default get you involved both in your national interests and then through them into the wider game, as you would always have reasons to go push your agenda with different imperial bodies and other nations.



I’d just like to point out that you can have a very minimal (if any) contact with any of those major organisations, and still have plenty of fun and characterful stuff.

My 2nd character was leaning towards the Bourse, but only as a method of standing out in glorious and triumphant manner from his nation (“no-one expects an economic attack from Dawn!”). His character creation points included sharing the group Virtue (Prosperity) and a backstory of deep-sea piracy/trading. Resource of Fleet. From there, and in play, he talked to people, investigated prices, arranged contracts, and gathered funding. So he never really got involved with the Bourse in any meaningful sense, although he had ambitions towards a seat…

3rd character was generated as a battlemage (because I like pontificating spell vocals) and as a healer (because I wanted this one to last a little longer). Resource of Mana Site. Next event he’ll be visiting the Conclave to join an Order as a skill multiplier. Not interested in any influence or contacts, more a case of “what can this Order or the Conclave do to buff my character?” So in this case it will be connected to my skills, as I am looking for mechanical benefits.



I left a big hole back story of being raised by a nation but not born of it. So my character is searching for his true self. What does this mean to him and how will find out? I don’t know so I have to ask when I’m at E1. Spoiler don’t tell me how it go about it either please…



I arrived at E4 2017, rocked up pitched my tent helped a couple of girls who had unfortunately left their mallet in Scotland. Gave them a hand and went about my Thursday evening into frankly the complete unknown. I’d never laped, knew no one, I’d been on the forum and done my research I’d decided I wanted a character in Highguard and wrote my backstory.

I was feeling an array of emotions, I was excited slightly nerves unsure on what to expect and also slight isolated, I was in a field surrounded by a huge group of people, knew no one and while I’m no stranger to trevalling alone, this time I had no signal so I was complete cut off, I had no vehicle at the event so an unusual situation to find myself in.

I headed to find some food more importantly some costume, I’d ordered my costume it failed to turn up in time despite ordering weeks in advance.

I wondered around the traders somewhat overwhelmed and just trying to keep myself, I however needed up in one trader (I won’t name them but I adore them and consider them a good friend.) well this particular trader either saw one of the following things;

1- newbie with cash to burn
2- someone looking lost and overwhelmed
3- both of the above

Now you can draw your own conclusions but I know which I’d like to believe.

So there I am, now being attended to by one of the nicest, funny and unique people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. They are directing me to suitable pieces for my character. When I’m set upon by two friends of said trader who waste no times in eyeing me up as a walking ATM, you have never seen anyone part with so much cash without hesitation as I did that night, in fact I do believe I hold a record for being the single biggest spender in the field. I should stress of course I right this with some gest and fun, I of course while fleeced of my cash, did so willingly and would do so 100 times over.

But the more important thing that happened is that these friends some how took me away from Highguard and turned me into a Wintermarker and before I knew it I’m off to GOD to change my nation.

These people had never met me but insisted I spent the evening with them, to clarify not a romantic one. Despite that I thought I might be restricting them and they were just being polite, but they insisted none of the sort and so I went to their groups cmapfire where I was warmly welcomed by a complete group of strangers particularly the ladies once they discovered I was a manger for a high end foot retailer. I then discovered that these two lovely girls from Scotland who are camping next to me are actually sat around this fire, some would say this destiny, fate perhaps?

So here I am a new group of comrades in arms who were all genuinely some of the nicest people I’ve ever met, welcoming in a helpless lone stranger and opened their hospitality to me. My back story has been thrown out the window, my ambition of Highguard now buringing on the fire as I start my transgression to being a Wintermarker.

Over the last year, I’ve been an great journey both IC and OC, I’ve a new group of friends who I rank so highly and would do anything for them, including treking halfway across the country through snow and ice to help one of them out.

As a player everything I planned was scrapped in an instant and even up until time in I’d barely got more than a name, I had drive and ambition for my character and wanted to immerse myself in politics and by chance my new found friends were well connected there!

There I am at my first event, time in and suddenly I’m being instroduced and hand over to one of the most fabulous and comical people I will ever met who is eyeing me up like a roast duck for dinner :heart_eyes: and being told I’ve found a new assistant for you and so next thing I know is I’m on my way to the Ambassdors Meeting to start my education into the wold of the Empire, Larp and uncharted territory.

I spent a year learning my craft, my knowledge and making connections across the Empire and it is with immense pride that I am able to proudly call myself Ambassdor to the Princapalities of Jarm.

So what is my purpose in telling you this, well simply that by a chance meeting, allowing my self to a little bit of peer pressure and embracing such a new and exiting group of people I’ve been able to accomplish a very high achievement marker in year.

A backstory is great but if I’d constrained myself with it and restricted myself I’m not sure how things would have gone.

I had a great event and continuine to do so as I have found a great group of people who supported me by IC and OC and for that I’m eternally greatful to them all!

People make Empire and each and everyone peoson in the field will have a similar tale of how such wonderful people took them in and enhanced their lives for the better.

I myself have a tent which in our group has been described as a hotel as I am yet to have an event where I haven’t needed up with a new player taking shelter as their has failed due to the elements.

A backstory allows you a connection to your character but to make those goals and ambitions come true you need a good support network so if you ever find yourself feeling like you need to make a choice those people will alter your life for ever and for good! You can always look to return to your original thoughts later in the game :grin:



That’s a lovely story, and an inspirational guide to all the new players. But what does a high-end foot retailer do? :stuck_out_tongue:



Selling footwear for eye watering prices. The cheapest pair I had in my collection was £300.



Sure the game is big and wide enough to have fun without getting involved with the various bits of politics out there, but I actually think it’s more fun if you’re involved. As even if you don’t want a position people will want you to vote for them and you get think about who to vote for and why.

One of the easiest ways is to pick the resource or skill that gets you involved in your nations politics, So Congregation allows you elect senators in Highguard, Businesses in the League, Farms in the Marches, Military Unit in the Imperial Orcs and knowing magical lore in Urizen.

And for things like Bourse Resources you need fleets in the Brass Coast to go on the biggest raid, Forests and Mines in Varushka and the like.

If you can vote, people will want you to vote for them, so at the very least they’ll owe you a favour :slight_smile: . But it can also pull you deeply into the politics of your chosen nation.

The Synod I find is the easiest to get involved with, as you don’t need to turn up to any meetings to vote on anything. You can dip in and out by going to the Hub every once in a while, perusing the judgements and voting on any you’re interested in. Only thing you need is a Congregation, you don’t even need any priest skills to do the politics, but I found that helped as the “pastoral” side of things reinforces the political side of things. Oh yes in most cases you’ll need to choose a virtue to dedicate yourself to, reading through each of them and deciding which your character chooses to embody is a great way to find your character, this can help just about any character in fact.

I found Conclave fun, getting involved means diving into Conclave Order politics, some are more active than others, but from experience The Shuttered Lantern has a bunch of stuff going on as does The Unfettered Mind and The Sevenfold Path. All the orders have their own focuses so its a smorgasbord of your choice of game really. And you really only need the magician skill, a bit of mana and the ability to speak (practice this a bit to make sure you can be heard).

Senate can be more difficult to crack, having the right resource to vote and being in the right territory can help but every Senator wants for reliable people to help them and you’ll be able to learn what’s going on and how things work while you’re doing that. Hell you may even end up being a proxy if you’re in the right place at the right time and they trust you. And you can do all this without any skills or resources other than time and being willing to dig in and help, shoe leather helps but also planting yourself in say the hub can work too.

Bourse wise, this is hard as a lot of the Imperial Bourse seats have a lot of money behind them. But there are always the National seats if you can convince the citizens who choose them to pick you. So picking the right resource to allow you to vote helps. The other route is having a Fleet and basing your character around trade and moving things around on the field. My current character has a background of being a sea captain, but

Military Council again relies somewhat on hard skills i.e. strategy, diplomacy and leadership, but one way to get involved is volunteer to be a runner for messages on the battlefield. So here Hero Points, Relentless and Unstoppable plus anything else to increase your survival on the battlefield will help you survive long enough to possibly be promoted :slight_smile:.

1 Like


It’s not just about the Obvious Numbers or gaining a Title. It’s also about being the people who PCs with access to the Titles or levers go to for advice.

Myself and my friend build our PCs to fill an (at the time) under-served role of “Marcher curses and Sorcery specialists”. We figured if we got good at “knowing how to find and solve Evil Wizardry”, anyone with Evil Wizard problems in the Marches would come to us for advice. We then went and suggested to various Senators and Generals that “If there’s something strange in the neighbourhood, then the answer to ‘who ya gonna call’ is probably ‘us’”

This worked very well, and we kept getting dragged into any trouble involving the words “Curse” “Winter” or “Horrible magical bullshit, go and find the creepy Threshers.”.