First character

hi everyone, I’m currently tying to create a new (and first) character, and am now looking at being an imperial orc, but, I’ve heard the orcs are very “hardcode” and are very complicated and different to the other nations, also bear in mind I am only 14, would it be advised to maybe make a character in another less complex nation first?, also is it fairly easy to get involved with everyone and possibly join a legion quite quickly,
thanks, Robin.

One reason orcs are hard-core is you wear that mask ALL DAY. And believe me, those masks get hot and uncomfortable after an hour, let alone 12-16 hours from time-in to time-out.

Additionally as an orc you may be in the receiving end of some (all in character) racism. Orcs are imperial citizens, but it is part of the brief that a lot of people still see them as second class citizens. Bear that in mind.

Honestly, I’d pick a bog-standard human as my first character, and branch out once you get the hang of it.

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Hi @fissureman

Welcome to the forums and to empire!

I know quite a few players of imperial orcs and they are a lovely lot, unfortunately they don’t really use these forums!

You’d have much better luck over on the Facebook group over at https://www.facebook.com/groups/158687267598665/?ref=share

I’m sure you can find as much help as you need over there!

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I would recommend playing another nation first. For players who are new to the hobby, I usually recommend Navarr as your first nation. Wintermark is a frequent choice due to the ease of getting cheap kit together which is readily available, but I’ve found that the size of the nation makes getting involved in plot a bit more difficult. Otherwise, any of the other 7 nations are also good choices. If you’re not new to the game, as in you;ve been in the Academy up until now, I’d recommend going into whichever nation you have a group of friends already. The design philosophy of Empire leans HEAVILY into group play. As a solo player, it’s taken me about a year to build up enough contacts to find a group that I’ve really bonded with and they’re not in my nation. I’ve been working towards changing nation for 2 events now and it’s not always an easy matter.

I don’t think other nations are any simpler than the Orcs… if anything it’s the opposite. As others have said, the hard things about playing an orc would be

  • The physical issues of the mask
    • Hot and sweaty
    • The ones I’ve seen all cover the ears, so they hamper your hearing a bit
    • You can’t do facial expressions, so interaction with other people is harder
    • I hate to imagine what it would be like with a cold and a runny nose.
    • You need face-paint as well, for any exposed parts (e.g. chin and eyelids) and for hands (or wear gloves/wrappings all the time).
  • The costume brief doesn’t seem to have any options for hot weather
  • Some humans look down on the orcs in various ways: your character will encounter prejudice from other characters. (Maybe that appeals to you, or maybe not.)

On the other hand, although I’ve not played an Orc myself, I suspect it might well be quite easy to join in and feel included: they’re big on cooperation, community, the importance of having friends… but yes, definitely find some orc players to talk to about it.

All in all, I think you’re doing the right thing: you say playing an Orc seems appealing, so you want to find out what you’d be letting yourself in for if you try it.
Where some people have advised against it, my advice would be:

  • Try wearing an orc mask (or similar) for a few hours, including some hard work to see how it affects your breathing when you’re out of breath.
  • Read the imperial orc briefing pages on the wiki (culture and customs, look and feel, hearth magic etc…)
  • Maybe also look at the other nations’ pages about attitudes to orcs.
  • Find some orc players to talk to.
  • Make your own decision: you’re the one with best understanding of yourself and what you’re likely to enjoy or not.
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I’ve played a different nation before joining the Imperial Orcs (officially at E1 2020; but I have been playing my orc at player events to get used to the mask and all) and yes, it can seem ‘hard core’.

I make it about four hours before I need a ‘face time’ (ie somewhere OOC to get out of the mask and dry the inside of it… because breath condensation!) for about 15-30 minutes, and then I dive back in.

Everything (except maybe boots, undergarments, and thermals) an Imperial Orc wears is handmade; so the costume brief is a bit more demanding than other nations, where one can generally get away with shop-bought stuff for most/all of the character’s soft kit. One will spend many hours personalising any shop-bought stuff before playing in it, because everything is worn to destruction (even though it’s all cared for and patched, it’s still stained, threadbare/patched, and mended). At my first player event as my orc, the other orcs in attendance said my kit was too clean, I’ve been fixing that ever since.

Eating and drinking in the mask is a bit of a bugger. Condensation from breathing leads to an upper-lip puddle that never seems to go away. One needs to touch up thinned areas, depending on what makeup one used. Alcohol makeup is hard on the skin, but sticks best (or does if one’s skin is dry, I can’t speak for oily skin).

Fingerless gloves mean less painting on one’s fingers/hands; I went one step further, and get my nails done with a matte dark brown-red colour that works very well with the orc mask.

The costume can be hot; layers can help manage some of the internal/external heat. I have only experienced outdoor winter and indoor heated events thus far. Indoor events, I was in two layers and almost too warm. Outdoor winter, I was in five layers (including thermals) and so long as I kept moving in minimal amounts, I stayed comfortable. I haven’t even touched the option of the leather warskirt, or armour, I wore all cotton, linen, and raw silk, layers, with plans to add a boiled wool waistcoat and leather warskirt as part of a future kit upgrade.

This is my personal take, others’ mileage may vary. But if my experience appeals, try it out.

ETA: yes, one will encounter racism/specieism, I had my first taste of that from a Freeborn at the indoor player event. At the outdoor evening event, I was snubbed by some, whilst other Freeborn approached me and weren’t specieist. I think I will log each of those encounters when I get them in the field, just as a curiosity. For Seppa, it can give em things to think about, by eir parents’ commentary too, as they were born in slavery.

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