Most people at Empire play in groups, small and large, but it is entirely possible to play a solo character at Empire, get stuff done and still have fun. It can be trickier but if you know what you’re getting into and can pick the right niche in a nation then that can make things a lot easier.
So this thread is for people to offer some advice, especially if they’ve hit the field as a lone character and made it work for them, tell us your secret :).
I started as a solo character out of necessity rather than choice assuming I would joing a group or striding after a little while, but as I got into the game I’ve decided that I may stay a solo player fir the most part. To be clear this is in no way because of the amazingly sweet and kind people that I met, but because of me just enjoying doing things my way.
So heres my advice, get involved in something and find what you like to do. Its gonna be more work, sure, but people will remember you if you get involved.
Being a solo player is great for getting to know people, BE BOLD! Going and hanging out with different groups and make friend all over the empire just because you’re solo doesn’t mean you cant get attached to some people. Offering to buy a round at one of the ic bars is great convo starter if your character can afford it but theres nothing wrong if you cant or dont drink, people are there to have fun and socialise.
Think about why, from a backstory point of view, you are going solo. Its can be a brilliant roleplay matterial and really help develop your character.
If you play it right there could be some advantages to playing solo, a Dawnish may call upon his or her house for help in a pinch. A solo player who is rich with friends can call upon several groups.
(This applies to most characters, but especially to solo play)
Have a reason to go and poke stuff. Something that may well be completely irrelevant to your character’s stats.
This will usually be some piece of role-playing that you want to pursue, or think would be amusing to others.
Collect something! Heraldries, recipies, war stories! Provoke something! Duels, giggles, offers of marriedge! Find out something! Why is everyone else here? What do they consider to be the major threat? What would they do if they were Emperor? Do they want to be?
You will probably get to know a lot of interesting people, while helping them and you build the characters. You may end up as a knowledge broker, or a well-known social butterfly, or a wandering ally that everyone knows to call upon.
Empire is a very friendly field… try this sort of thing at some games and your lone character could go into a tent and not come out. At Anvil the worst you’ll likely get is a cold shoulder or a recitation of all the times your nation has wronged their nation (which can also be interesting).
My first character was soIo. To start with I admit I was a but lonely, but that was mostly because as a crew bard I played an instrument/sang a lot of the time and people didn’t want to disturb me! After the first two events I started allowing myself more time to roleplay and have a better balance, and that worked quite well.
Know what you enjoy, but also think about how you will interact with others. Don’t play someone who is difficult to approach unless you really want to play on hard mode.
Having a space where you can be dry is important. I was lucky enough to find a group who were kind enough to take me under their wing and allow me some space to keep my things (you don’t want to carry a hurdy gurdy and a set of recorders to the loo) but having my own tent would have been better. A Polish poncho tent would be enough to have somewhere to hide, or plan how you will get to your OC tent if required.
Approach people. You will have to be confident enough to initiate a lot of the conversations you have. Think about who you are and what you could offer to other people.
After starting with a group I moved to a new, solo character. For me, it was a brilliant move and my enjoyment of the game was hugely enhanced. However, there are a few hurdles to overcome.
Firstly, finding ways to begin engaging with people. I find the bars are a god place to start. Open to everyone, and the atmosphere is usually convivial. It’s better than hanging around in the middle of camp looking lost.
Secondly, take a season to look at literally everything. Read the Synod judgments, watch Senate, Witness Military Council if you can, go to Conclave if you can, and take notes. Being full of gossip is a great conversation starter.
Buy the Pledge. Ragging on how inaccurate it is will win you lots of friends.
Ask ‘What’s going on?’ and ‘Can I help?’ constantly. Be curious, ask to get involved.
Talk to people. My conversation starters included walking into bars shouting ‘What should I do with a huge pile of dead bodies from your nation?’ and ‘Do you believe in mammoths?’.
Everyone on the field is your potential new best friend, and one of those famous Anvil heroes you have come to meet. Talk to strangers, people positively enjoy answering questions, helping out new people, and telling you about themselves and the world.
If you are at a loose end, look round for people having fun, walk up to them and ask to join in. They will very likely be delighted.
Anyway! After attending last event solo, here’s my advice:
Make a character who’s part of something like the Synod or Conclave. You can be a part of one of these organisations from character creation without needing to know/contact any other players OOC first. If I hadn’t been part of the Synod last event I think I’d have gone pretty much all of the first two days without being able to talk to anyone, as religious matters were my main excuse to get talking to people in the Hub and on the field.
Don’t be afraid to interrupt people. Don’t be outright rude, but my first character was polite and proper and I felt too shy/felt like it wouldn’t be in character to go and butt into conversations. After he died, I rolled a peddler, and had so much more fun walking up to people, asking if they wanted to buy anything, sitting with them to push a sale and have a laugh, etc.
Have a service to offer, even if it’s something like having some spare resource cards you don’t need and can try to sell. Again, it’s an excuse to get talking to people.
Do you like drinking? Great! There’s a bunch of bar tents on the field, the people in them are very friendly and usually willing to have a chat, there’s often musicians, and in almost all of them the drinks cost IC money. Want to make friends quickly? Use a high value coin to buy a round.
Be mindful of the nation you join. I joined Dawn at first and felt like it was incredibly House based: I wasn’t really sure how I should get involved with national activities. I think every nation has something akin to Houses, so make sure you’re in a position to join one or to just ignore them entirely and interact with whoever.
Play Someone With Duties
Look at the national archetypes. Some of them form their own IC communities and you can jump into that game. if you pick a role that has responsibilities and duties tied into it, you can go YES I AM ONE OF THOSE. For example in the Marches, the Landskeeper (wizard) PCs work together a lot and have responsibility for doing national-interest magical stuff. It’s similar for Vates in Navarr. The Priest game is also good, as your Votes mean people should be seeking you out to vote on their stuff. Go to Assembly Meetings if you do that.
Play a Problem-Solver
Locate stuff you can deal with, stride up and be confident at it. Playing a Physick is a good way to meet people. You end up talking to your patient’s mates and plenty of PCs tend to feel they owe you for the help.
“Thirtyish, male, with a beard, wearing brown” is the least useful description of a larp character ever. And yet people do it. Make your PC stand out. Wear some distinctive things. Play a lineage that’s uncommon in your nation and be obvious about it. make sure when you turn up and do something, people can attribute it.
Pick some skills like:
Cheap divination rituals you can solo (You only need Lore 2 to hit a Magnitude 6 ritual at the Regio)
Insight plus Anointing (This can solve a lot of spiritual stuff)
Being willing to walk all over the place.
Knowing where you can find any of the above.
Use them whenever you get the chance, volunteer for stuff, get known for making things happen.
Or be annoying!
Put up inflammatory pamplets or make controversial Conclave speeches and stick by them. Don’t let anyone persuade you out of it with anything less than an iron-bound argument. If they do, be equally fanatical about your new position. A lot of people say “escalate and never change your mind” but it tires quickly when you’re arguing with a brick wall.
I haven’t played a strictly solo character, but I felt so disconnected from my group I ended up joining another. I get very little fun out of groups which aren’t into the same things as me, and end up being a functionally solo character chasing stuff I like. I ended up finding a perfect match group in the end though, but I found it myself IC.
I think it’s entirely possible to work as a solo character in the sense of not being connected to a group in a nation as long as you engage with cross-nation structures, for example Conclave orders or the Synod.