Help me make a Dawnish character!

Hi everyone!!!

My girlfriend and I want to come to E3 this year and we have worked out the bones of our story line (its meant to feel somewhere on the spectrum between Spenser and Mallory/de Troyes) , and I’d like to get some help on the specifics (because I’ve only started reading the lore recently) advice on how to select skills/resources and Dawn naming conventions. Also I’d like to meet people here who have characters that could know our characters and be involved with our story!

Tristan of the forest
Tristan is the son from a once noble family who supported the secession, and lost everything when it failed. Decades later he was raised by a devout mother who spent her life atoning for the mistakes of her family. They lived in secret in the forests of Semmerholm, where she raised him in the paths of virtue far away from knights, war and the ideals of glory that had lead to the tragedy that had destroyed her family.

She caught a fever when he was 11 and sent him to a village to get medicine. In the village he met the girl Una. He stayed at the village longer than he might have, because he fell in love with her, but his mother died.

He was taken in by a local priest; but eventually ran away to become a Knight errant – seeking redemption in noble death or in a great victory, stealing the church silver to pay for a sword.

Was a simple farm girl who’s head was often in the clouds or pointed at a book. She loved to play princesses and sword-fight with sticks. When she first saw Trystam walking out of the forest she saw on him all the marks of tragic nobility that her stories had trained her to think of as the signs of a hero.

She saw Trystam face when he saw knights, swords and armour for the first time; and was with him through all the teenage years whilst he tried to resolve the ideals of his mother with his desire to restore his families name.

All the years they were together, she saved every penny she had so that when she was of age she could pay for a wedding dress, and a home for them.

When he ran, she spent it on her own arms and Armour. She would become a Knight errant - track him down, and save his life

The town of Anvil
In disguise Una has traveled much of the empire and become very successful in her own right. Based on a rumour she heard in a tavern in wintermark lands She is traveling to Anvil, where she has heard that Trystam will be looking for knightly houses, quests and battles that he might be part of. Fearing that he might reject her again, she has determined to disguise herself and accompany him on them, and win his affection by saving his life.

Will Una be able to save him?
What will happen when she reveals her secret identity?
Does Tristan still lover her?

Request for help
Is it possible for Dawnish people to be heirs to a place (such as Montane) without passing the test of mettle? Should T just have a surname linking him to the Freedom Heresy? But could he even have a surname without being a part of a noble house? Should he just be trying to restart a noble house from the Heresy?

What resources would it be reasonable for him to have? Una could be being sent money from her parents (and thus be counted as having a farm) but I can’t see how he could support himself (maybe a patron with a farm- or leading a military unit?)

Is it odd for him to run off to be a knight errant without having a specific plan to join a noble house, and to remain in errantry for years?

In real life our freinds are all from Wintermark and Urizen, is it reasonable for T and U to be freinds with them in the game? also could we go into battle/skirmishes together?

What skills should we select so that he can behave stupidly in battle and she can rescue him, without them both dying horribly?

I’ve changed minor details in the above as people have been correcting my understanding of the lore.

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oooo boy…

Welcome to the game, and these forums, and in time, maybe to Dawn. :slight_smile:

as concepts, interesting ideas (I’m seeing Sir Percival in some of Trystams backstory) and nice story. Tragicely tangled romance, dark past secrets, quest for impossible goals, very Dawnish.

Note that the Freedom Heresy was 150 years ago. Note also that lines of succession etc are VERY vague in Dawn. Folk are adapted into noble houses, all those of a House have the same surname, and are functionally siblings whether or not they actually are. Heirs and succession are determined not by bloodline, but by merit or the direct decision of the Earl.

House Surnames (De Rondell, D’Acier, Gryphonsbane etc) are only for those full members of the House, those who’ve passed the test of Mettle and attained Nobility. Yeoman (and note that even the Earl’s firstborne son is automatically a yeoman) get a yeomans surname (often something tradeskill related) if anything. For example, I play a noble, Argent Dromond. There are two other characters in play with the surname of Dromond, he treats them as brothers and has no blood relation. The only character he does have a blood connection to is my IC nephew (OOC son), whose surname is Forester, and will be until he passes his test of mettle, if at all.

What he could easily be is a blood relative of that family/House that rebelled, seeking to reclaim the surname…The thing is, to start (or restart I suppose) your own house, you have to be a noble. To do that, you need a test of mettle from an Earl. Or maybe the Egregore (one of whom, luckily, is an Earl in her own right). Do not ask the Empress for one please, that’s another can of worms.

So he could certainly march into Anvil (as a Yeoman), request a test of mettle from the Egregore with his intent to ressurrect House (lets call it Frost). Let’s say he gets one, but it’ll likely be fracking difficult (e.g. Be acclaimed as a hero of Dawn by a majority of the Earls council, which could take years). Then you could join a group in play as a Knight Errant ( maybe a questing order, some other Knights Errant, or even a House who doesn’t mind that you’ll head off as soon as you pass…). That would give you some people to fight alongside, and an IC base in Dawn.

Resource: The assumption is that most of the attendees at Anvil are the movers and shakers of the Empire. Hence the personal resources. As (functionally) a beggar knight at the start, you could always pretend not to have a resource for the first event, and then claim that it was granted as a test of responsibility and leadership by a patron…?

Now, the game is set up for national coherency. You CAN do a lot of stuff alongside your friends in other nations. Socialise, go on most skirmishes, and similar. Fighting alongside them in battles could be trickier. Any house you join might prefer you to fight alongside them. And if Urizen or Wintermark aren’t fighting that battle, you may end up with your friends monstering and you playing your character against them (which is fine and happens a lot, get them back tomorrow). Additionally, any poking of religeous or political issues you did would also have to be back in Dawn.

For skills, well you’ve a lot of leeway. Heck, if you took a couple of levels of Fortitude and she takes Chirugeon, T can be dying on the battlefield for ages before U fights through to his side and patches him up just enough to carry him out…


No: nothing in Empire is hereditary like that.

Military unit might be best. Probably a better fit than than farm, business, forest, mine, herb garden, fleet… but might a congregation be an option? Has he been preaching? If so, has he been preaching Freedom?

Absolutely, so long as all the characters stick to their national attitudes.

Only sometimes. With battles, the generals choose which nations fight together: half on Saturday morning and the other nations on Sunday morning. (That’s half by fighting-numbers, rather than strictly five nations each day.)
For skirmishes, numbers are limited so it’s a matter of IC negotiation.

Behaving stupidly and needing to be saved is easy regardless of skills. The difficult bit is surviving. Maybe Fortitude so it takes longer to bleed to death.

For saving… it could be combat skills or offensive heroic skills (for fighting to reach him), and/or to patch him up it could be the Heal spell, Restore Limb, “Stay With Me”, and/or potions or magic items for similar effects. Or it could just be hardskill shouting and leadership/persuasion: “Hey, let’s charge that lot and save Tristan before he bleeds out!” On the battlefield it’s very hard to do anything alone. The most effective skill is having friends with you.


Thanks so much for helping me. As soon as we wrote this (half plagarised imho background stories like percivals are head and shoulders above anything in the movies these days), I found myself in love with the characters, so I’m really overjoyed at the prospect of making them fit in the world of Empire.

Do we have the names of the houses that sided with the Freedom Heresy? I’d love him to have something recognizable?

Resource wise, I like the idea of him as a beggar knight, but would that make actually interacting with people harder? (e.g. i couldn’t sit down at a tea shop and buy a tea with someone) Would it be sensible for me to put him down as something and just give it to one of my friends- in the anticipation their character will use it to help mine?

I’ll sugest those skills to my GF. Certainly I can see T lying broken on a field like in some preraphelite painting, as she comes over to save his life and win his heart!
(although i am sorely tempted by taking skills that would be fun, and make him better in battle!)

Thanks so much for replying.

He is certainly a fool, but not enough of one to preach Freedom.

I like the idea of him preaching Loyalty - because his whole character is built around conflicts of Loyalty. Without understanding how the Synod works in the game, I’m not sure how he’d fit in. it makes sense that he would have read lots of books and heard lots of sermons- but I can’t imagine stealing from a church (in empire are they churches?) is a good way of maintaining a relationship with them.

Are knights errant aloud to be preachers? Is it reasonable to imagine he could maintain a congregation whilst errant? (Maybe he just travels as a beggar-knight and preaches on street corners until he is invited in, or given an opportunity to slay a monster)

Also as someone who is new- I’m doubtful I could talk for 10 mins on the religion, or answer questions that might get thrown my way.

Is Liao fun to use in game? OOC i like the idea of sitting down and socializing in the IC areas, and I assume that involves using the IC money. Also to use the Liao I think i have to take skill points away from him being a generic, good at fighting guy - is there a point to having it if I don’t use it (I can’t imagine T selling it, so I guess he’d give it away to a less incompetent holy man)

Hi, welcome to the game!

Have you considered putting military service in your background? Running away and joining (one of the four Dawnish) armies would see your character equipped, fed and billeted. Also at the end of your period of service - at least two years - you would be given a unit of land (as the Farm resource).

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General Cassilon is the only one in the story there (the wiki history has a lot of holes in it, to allow extras and ambiguities. Blame Emperor Nicovar). There isn’t a house Cassilon in play, so that’s a possiblity :slight_smile:

Grahams idea is a good one. Do a Heathcliff… run off to the army, come back with skills and fortune to confront your childhood sweetheart :stuck_out_tongue:

Skills wise… you start with 8 character points (which I still think of as XP), and fortitude, even 2 levels of it, takes 3. As a lay follower of Loyalty (not a priest, just a pious follower), you don’t need to spend anything on that. Heck, your background will likely make things fun. Use of 1-handed weapons and any armour you like is free. Heroism (use hero skills and start with 2 hero points) is 2. Unstoppable is a hero skill that make him more resilient, for another point (1 point, total of 6). Shield use for another 2 (that’s 8). That produces a pretty tough starting build, combat focussed and quite difficult to kill.

If you have access to armour and friends, I always propose Longer bleed out over more hit points. having 6 mins of bleed out givers your mates a chance to stop, breathe, patch wounds have a cig, plan the attack, chug potions AND THEN charge in force, fresh and ready. Stops fights grinding out too much due to loosing more people. In dawn, as a starting character: I would pick your weapon- greatsword or sheild and one-hander.
Weapon Master or Shield use {2pts}
Fortictude x1 {1pt}
Hero Points {2pts}
Extra Hero Point {1pt)
Unstoppable {2pts}

This build gives you good hitting power, some extra bleed out, Unstopable keeps you moving or picks yourself up. 3x hero points a day keeps you up and about. If you have access to armour this will keep you up for most of the battle.


Thanks for the idea!

The army sounds perfect; part of what I dislike about T is that in what I wrote, he walks all the way from hopeless romantic to homeless romantic. All the knights in the classical sources I referenced earlier had homes and good relationships with courts and other knights - as well as definite goals (like the holy grail, or the hand of a princess), whereas Ts nebulous quest for glory seemed to me to be a bad thing to organise your life around.

Perhaps his motivation in joining the army could have been something he did so that he would look serious when he asks for a test of mettle that would allow him to restart House Cassilon.

I’ll have to consult the GF in real life - as T being in the army for two years would require a little bit of a rewrite for U (to explain why she didn’t just sign up to be next to him), but i think it would make both characters much more real!

and @Mr_Haystacks

That build sounds about perfect. In real life I have mail- and ordered some steel paldrons. My GF and I built high density foam sheilds so we could practice sword and sheild- although i am not sure if our swords are just over the length limit or not (I can’t find a tape measure).

I am getting really excited about this! I had the lagging fear that if I wrote this back story for T and then acted like him without some great combat stats- rather than giving U a chance at saving him, I’d just make him dead in the first 5 mins of a battle, and then need to make a new character. :frowning:

On another note, how do you get potions? are they supplied when you go to a battle or do you buy them yourself?

Awesome, With the armour you will have 6HP,
To get potions, just talk to your friendly apothecary and buy them. Cheaper ones that give 1 extra hit point are quite reasonable.
There are also fairly affordable armours and weapons that are a big help. Warriors Plate gives an extra hit for its duration. The apprentice blade allows you to cleave as if you know the skill. Both cost no materials but takes time to make and are fairly available.
The Bond Ring is an interesting item that allows 2 people to heal each other. Can be very romantic.

Here’s a thought re the military career…

The armies of Dawn have been round a lot of the map in the last few years. From Skarskin in the north to Seguara in the south, from the Jotun campaign on the western border to fighting the Grendel in the high passes of Spiral… but only recently have they returned to Dawn. Only this last season did all four armies march through at the same time, in one glorious (really not exaggerating here, it was awesome) campaign against the Druj…

So if T has been on campaign in far off lands, and U has been searching for him in Dawn, it might only have been recently that T was sighted in his home nation, and thus only recently that U had got a solid lead.

"Tristan sighed, and around him a hundred homesick Dawnish sighed as well. Around them the gentle woods of Miaren gave way to rolling pastures and hedgerows. Their Navarri escort waved them off as they marched on, their feet sped by more than the magic of the trods as they saw a shining tower catch the sun above a trim market town. Some of the company stumbled in their marching step, some had a tear in their eye, and many took a deep breath of the Astolat air as they crossed the border into Dawn. They were home. Battle may lie ahead, death or glory for many, but it mattered not. After long years, they were home…

And many miles away, searching yet another town for a face long-looked for, Una spun to face the horizon, her heart suddenly singing with certainty and a name forming on her lips…"

(And I’ll stop there before this slides from Arthurian fantasy into Mills&Boon :slight_smile: )


Potions are created by player characters who have taken the Apothecary skill. It’s part of the Surgical skills tree. You can trade for them - your resource will give you something of value. If you have a farm you’ll get nine crowns in cash every event which can buy several potions. It’s probably worth buying some potions the night before the battle as you won’t have much time in the morning.

(We don’t discuss prices in on the forums, that kind of thing is better kept for the field. But you should be able to get agood handful of different potions for that money.)

@Alethiadoxy Also re potions, the simplest and cheapest one to get is called an Elixir Vitae. It a simple healing potion, gives you some hit points back. Potions are often a worthwhile investment as they don’t expire, so you could carry around that healing potion for ages before you need it.

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It was 100 years more recent than that, 324-328 YE, compared to our modern 381 YE, so the Freedom Heresy was 53-57 years ago.

To @Alethiadoxy, before I point out the conflicts with the setting, it’s a really interesting backstory, and I think it’s one you could get a lot of game out of. (I’m just something of an Empire history geek so notice some of the discrepancies.)

So firstly as pointed out this happened less than 60 years ago (So 4 generations at a push tops). Also the lack of hereditary nature of Dawnish society means that actually I’d advise you want closer rather than more distant connections to the Freedom Heresy for relevance.

Personally I’d actually say screw weak connections, and have your mother having been one of the knights that fought in the Freedom Heresy and fled from the destruction of Montane. It gives you a far more real connection than an ancestor doing it (Particularly since Empire doesn’t care about Ancestry)

Military Unit will often produce less than a normal resource if you support an army, otherwise you could always start in the Barrens stick your resource there and take the 50% conquered penalty.

Proving yourself before a test of mettle is a clever idea, however House de Cassilion are however presently an NPC house. They are based in Spiral Castle, and I have had multiple conversations with their members in game.

So the alternatives are either make up your own house (there aren’t many canonical destroyed houses lying around that no one is using) or have it be an existing house and tweak your aims based on that. Both have pros and cons

Interestingly the recent plot around the Briars of Dourfell keep (who are the remnants of Montane) are heavily involved in Loyalty as well as their more dubious love of Freedom. It also seems to be a virtue that will give you lots of game.

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Gah! Why I thought in game year was 481…?

Haha, I thought that T and U now roughly fit into the world now - especially with @Geoffrey_Willoughby s fanfic making sense of why the star crossed lovers haven’t got together yet.

(the GF wants to do the next big update, so I’m optimistic that this will become part of their cannon!)

I just read up on house cassilion and I’m surprised that they weren’t more hurt by the heresy ( i guess maybe the family said they had nothing to do with that one general, and maybe they did). For a while I was thinking of making T a briar who was hiding his nature (due to associating it with the Heresy) but though i can see the d’C family doing a lot interesting things plotwise- i can’t imagine him wanting to join them (too little sword to much sorcery)

Are there any destroyed houses in the lore? T will feel a lot less grounded in the game if he is trying to restore a house that I’ve made up myself! How do i find out about other destroyed houses, and the people that are using them? (even with permission, I’d rather not bind him to another house that’s in use without at least knowing the people involved - I think i’d like to do empire regularly and for a long time - so getting on with people presumably matters)

The Dourfell thing sound cool - how do I find out more?

Search the wiki for “Dourfell Keep” for the backstory. Some of it is here:


So I always got the feeling that the Freedom Heresy is meant to be very much a houses torn apart, sister fighting sister kind of event. So I’d imagine many Dawnish noble houses would have had a member fighting on the side of Montane at the time. Another factor is by 248 Emperor Hugh has ascended to the throne who served as Castellean of Spiral castle, so they are well connected in his reign/. Then they vanish into the Summer realm for a few decades.

So generally I can think of a few houses that have died out in play, but that’s probably too recent and generally not for the right reasons (there is one exception but I would not have resurrect that house as a goal for new players.)

Also you have the flipside of playing for a long time, in that if you rebuild a house, you either have to be successful in actively recruiting (and this is quite difficult as a small group_ or you are playing a house of two people for a long time.

Yes, getting on with people matters. There are two possibilities:
One is you enter play with that detail not filled in, even without the House name a strong connection to the Freedom Heresy should be interesting background wise. Then once you find a house you get on with talk to them about filling in the gap.

The Second is find a House that makes sense, probably one of the Barrens or Semmerholm houses, and even if you do your test into that house, bear in mind that either T or U is going to have to take a Test of Ardour into the others house. So you could potentially have a house for the redemption arc, and if you aren’t getting on with the people test into whatever house Una tests in.