Does everyone have to fight? What else is there to do?

So here’s a question from a friend, “What else is there to do at Empire apart from fighting?”.

Now I know there’s loads of stuff to do, but what’s your answer to that question?

I rarely fight at events I have done various things over the years from trading, helping out in the academy, organise rituals, help deal with political upheaval, research and compare notes, feed people, help people to learn new things, at end meetings such as conclave, the hub visit thenlibtary. Go and see friends in other nations

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I never fight. I have never been to battle at all. Instead, I have breakfast, check out the postings in the hub, plan rituals, go trading, look into things happening in the game world, have a cuppa and a gossip with non-fighting friends, have a look around the traders - and that’s just the things I do during the actual battling time, not to speak of muster and skirmishes and such!

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  • Buy and sell things to increase your wealth
  • Offer your services to the highest bidder
  • Cast rituals on demand
  • Discuss weighty matters affecting your nation
  • Discuss weighty matters affecting other nations
  • Amass a crowd and start preaching
  • Secretly invite a small group and start preaching
  • Put on or watch a play
  • Perform or enjoy music
  • Read the Judgements of the Synod
  • Argue about the Judgements of the Synod
  • Vote on the Judgements of the Synod
  • Raise a Judgement
  • Explore the different nation camps
  • Make friends
  • Make enemies
  • Buy shiny trinkets to decorate yourself with
  • Investigate crimes
  • Commit crimes
  • Cover up crimes
  • Frame others for crimes
  • Find and speak to a Herald
  • Attend an Eternal Audience
  • Lobby an Archmage
  • Stand for office
  • Stand for a different office
  • Rig an election
  • Defraud someone
  • Blackmail someone
  • Learn about a new Thing
  • Get called into Senate as an expert witness
  • Attend Military Council
  • Watch Senate proceedings
  • Find an egregore
  • Offer to help an egregore
  • Offer to help a member of high office
  • Attend cultural festivals
  • Boycott cultural festivals
  • Complain about cultural festivals
  • Get employed as a messenger
  • Secretly read every message you’re given to deliver
  • Sell secret information
  • Propose a new construction
  • Write a new story featuring someone you’ve met
  • Argue about your favourite Throne
  • Argue about your least favourite Throne
  • Meet someone from outside the Empire
  • Resolve a dispute with words
  • Resolve a dispute with bribes
  • Resolve a dispute with threats
  • Look for posters in the Hub and then go talk to interesting people
  • Put up a poster in the Hub
  • Be an interesting person
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Tell, listen to, or create interesting stories

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I haven’t had time to fit in going to battle now for 4 years. I used to go when I first started, but then did my ankle in and had to stop, and I’ve never managed to make the time to go again!

In character you can buy or sell things, attend meetings, help at the hospital, cast rituals, search for information or anything on the huge list above.
You could also go to the theatre; visit a tea house; read one of several newspapers, pamphlets or magazines, in the library or elsewhere; get a massage (these may need to be pre-booked), have your cards read; get your hair dressed; sing; tell stories or gossip, or both; visit one of the national festivals (there are 2 or 3 per event, some intentionally clash); visit one of several bars (or all of them although that generally means you really won’t be fighting the next day!); go to a casino; look for paid work at the Imperial offices; see if your Senator, Cardinal, Mage, Group leader wants some help (almost certainly yes!); make a round of drinks (non alcoholic, or even just water in a jug) and persuade the rest of your group to drink something, especially the busy ones;…that’s just a 5 minute brain dump there’ll be plenty more!

Out of character (or if you’re not feeling like it right now) you could go for a shower (they get busy after battles but are quiet during), go shopping around the traders, window shopping is fine, do a gentle bit of tidying up or packing if it’s Sunday, which your future self will thank you for, or just take a little time for yourself, put your feet up with a nice cup of tea and read something or even just people watch - other beverages also fine.

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I’d say well under a third of my nation (League) fights and that doesn’t seem to slow them down in the slightest. Some of them used to fight, but found they didn’t have time to do that and everything else they were up to, so battles took a back step because they didn’t enjoy them as much as the alternatives.

For my group, several are really keen priests who play the Synod game actively, and they use battle times to go to the Hub and check out motions and do political machinations around getting people to vote on key issues, or making notes on who has voted and on which issues. To be honest, as soon as you are interested in any of the big political games on the field, you can easily fill a full event with information finding, let alone all the accompanying roleplay with people you meet on the way.

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I used to fight and I am slowly starting to monster again after quite some time where I wasn’t well enough, but generally I don’t because there is so much else to do and I have other things going on.

I play a Physick, a healer, so I take care of those coming back. But I also spend the time with friends, talking, making sure things are ticking along, and once the fighters are out, I finally have that one cup of coffee in peace that I usually never get.

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Oh yes, don’t underestimate that chance to drink the whole cup of tea while it’s actually at proper drinking temperature for the only time during the weekend.

Please note I only said ‘chance’.

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Not everyone fights. Even some people in the battle will be casting spells, closing wounds, mending things and observing. Battles are big and fun and expensive, but there’s a lot going on back in Anvil too.

The whole game is set up for you to try and change the world. To save the valley you’re from or make everyone richer, or happier, or kinder. Find out about an eternal, or ask every group what their catchphrase is. Or go dark, and play a heretic. You can play a thief or a bandit, but that’s much less fun (Just don’t tell people what your ‘business’ is). You could run with a character who’s destined to be arrested, questioned, have pleas for clemency and executed, because they can’t stay away from the drinks at Anvil! You could gather weltsilver and ambergelt and green iron to craft magical items, cast spells to help people understand the stars or summon giant ice castles.

As to what you actually do: Look around! Visit the library and other landmarks. Listen to people, and find those who are funny to listen to. Say yes a lot. Put forward your own opinion. Buy, sell, gossip, make yourself fabulous. Note things that you really like, and take inspiration for your own plans and your group. Help people who are up to something. Play on whatever reputation you’re getting. Get yourself enchanted.

Damm this thread is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I’ll be rewriting this all to condense and place on our virtual stall (to counteract all the battle photos!) currently running at the UK Games Expo here: https://www.ukgamesexpo.co.uk/virtually-expo/expo-hall/1911/
Thanks to everyone who contributed with activities - as the person who promotes Empire at external events I’ve been longing for ages to write up a comprehensive list of activities, besides the eye catching combat, that players can do as people who have never LARPed can’t easily imagine it…

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