Well there are some skills that will help with survivability. If you want to make your own armour then maybe look into also picking up the mage skill and then the battle mage skill. As a battle mage you are able to use a staff (it is good having the extra reach) and wear mage armour. Mage armour gives you two extra hits and must cover chest, wrists or shoulders and then two other places like the head, the lower legs, the waist and the neck. That would take away from require you spend 4 out of 8 xp which is quite a bit. You could look into getting the shield skill (thought that would mean you need a shield) or weapon master or some hero skills. You may also use a buckler without a skill.
I know that if you fight in one battle, you are expected to play the barbarians in the next. You may not have to do that if you aren’t fighting and due to you circumstances. Battles will usually take 30 minutes to an hour and take place Saturday and Sunday morning.
I personally love the showers. Sometimes, some of them don’t work too well and you can get cold water instead of warm and you may also find spiders in the cubical but if you test the water the first problem should be fixable. The floors may not be the most pleasant thing but I take shoes for the shower so it is fine for me. I end up being a lot cleaner then the baby wipe people and feel a lot better. I won’t deny that there is an art to putting your clothes so they stay fairly dry and out of the dirt but if you are able to do that, it is worth it.
The broken wheel is a brass coast festival that happens on the Saturday night of E4.The brass coast basically drop their ideals and virtues (with in reason) and have fund and mess about. Usually the brass coast don’t like to lie however during the broken wheel a lot of them will They might also perform harmless pranks on the other nations. It can be good fun but you don’t have to participate.
Family is fairly important to the brass coast but it isn’t a must. The main benefits are you get a base of operations, people to help you and give you advice and a fire to sit by a night for free, otherwise you will have to pay someone in the brass coast anything from a ring (if they want you there) to a throne (if they are trying to be rude to you and tell you to go away). If you want to find one then either look on the brass coast facebook page or maybe join the unofficial discord server, not sure how may people on there can help on the discord server but there are a few people who might be able to. If you can’t find anyone then at your first event, go and talk to people, tell them you are new and see if they will let you in. People are generally friendly and it is likely someone will say yes. In the end it doesn’t matter too much if you don’t find a group. I’ve been without a group for four events and I’m doing okay.
As a last bit of information before I go, you may be interested to find out that the brass coast has its own music and some people will perform this around the fires. If you are interested in music maybe ask around about it. A lot of them are sea shanties that have been adapted.
EDIT: (sorry, forgot about the jewellery question. What I mean is stuff for the forehead, necklaces, bangles, bracelets, rings stuff to decorate your cummerbund and or sash. It is up to you how much you wear. Also I think Arabic jewellery is appropriate. When I said Africa, I was thinking about the moors. Another thing about costume, you don’t have to worry so much about stuff for the feet as that stuff is out of character, just make sure you don’t use trainers however you can look into in character shoes.)