So I joined Empire last year at E4, went through the usual First time goods and bads. But shortly after the event I wanted to make a new character as I had a better understanding of the game and nations as result.
Fast forward a few months after much reading, talking and buying kit. I’m at this indecisive cross roads. My goal has been to engage with some good story and create great story. Sometimes when you read up on nations recent history I find myself thinking “oh whoa, that sounds great, maybe they’d be better for me as a nation?” and then you’re in the rabbithole of thinking lol
Has anyone experienced similar? Any tips to finally getting your butt in gear and committing?
Yeah, the game world had a LOT of work put into it at set-up, and has only improved since…
If starting by nation…
Look at the top page for each nation.
Make up a shortlist of less than 10…
Then read through the first few links of each shortlisted nation.
Then make up a tinylist of less than 5.
Then have a detailed look at costumes, attitudes, recent history etc.
Then pick one.
Now don’t do anything about it for a day or two.
And then go back and see if it still appeals, or if any other one has stolen your heart, or whatever.
If starting by character, you can narrow things down faster with “which nation does this character work best in?”
If starting from a more social side, you can start with “which nation(s) are my friends in?” and work on from there…
I’m afraid I can’t help too much: I looked at Dawn when the game was being previewed, and have stuck there ever since…
You are also allowed to create several character builds on the system and rearrange almost anything on them until you decide which you want to go ‘live’.
Also no help with indecisiveness, I went with my mates who picked Highguard and I’m still on my first character!
Try one, die, repeat. Once you’ve decided, stop dying.
I can only say what my process was, but…
Ooh… Pretty… The moment that I saw the League, I fell in love with the aesthetic. Start with crossing off nations (or archetypes within a nation) which just don’t look good to you. You might love the stark black and white of Highguard, but equally you might really want to be brightly-coloured like Dawn.
What’s in my costume-chest? Related, I looked at my available costumes (from cosplaying, other LARPs, etc.) and worked out that I had 90% of a League costume already from playing a swashbuckler elsewhere. You will probably buy more stuff, but it helps if you look at a brief and go ‘I have a shirt like that from my goth days’ before you go shopping.
That archetype looks like fun… I play swashbucklers, I loved Assassin’s Creed 2, the League Bravo was a perfect fit for me. Similarly, you could see Urizen sword-sages and fall in love with the idea. The archetypes give you a really good idea of what a typical member of the nation might be like, telling you a lot about the people you will be spending time with.
Tie-breakers: Normal people, at this point, will still have a few options. My wife really wanted to join Urizen, I wanted to join the League. It was a combination of having some good fabric for League costumes and my daughter preferring League to Urizen in the end. It could have gone either way, to be fair.
- In another system, we knew a couple of people in one nation, so we joined that faction. Knowing people is always a bonus.
- You might see a nice bit of kit on a website and decide you will build your whole character around it; that’s a valid choice.
- One nation reminds you so much of a friend who you might be able to drag along to a later event; you can both get £15 off your ticket if that happens, by the way.
Some people will write a list of nations and cross them off until one remains. Some people will assign points for things they like and pick the nation with the highest score. Some people will roll dice.
In the end, you can re-roll your character after the first event or two if you make a mistake. PD will let you change your nation, your skills, your starting resource, anything you think you should have done differently. Try something, see how it works, change your mind later, but above all have fun.
I got roped into Empire by one of my partners who went ‘I’m tired of being the only person from ‘our’ Spire who’s actually in play, you and other partner should join me and we’ll play as Urizen until someone dies and then we’ll swap’
Which has meant that the first choice of ‘which Nation’ was sorted.
(I also got the “can one of you play a healer in field, kinda want someone who can play a heavier armoured healer with me” spiel.)
I like playing investigators and having a valid reason to be a nosy busy body in character…so, I went poking around for an archetype in Urizen that would allow me to play someone who’d want to know and be able to spread information around. So, character went from ‘vague magical ability with a healing skill set’ to ‘Torchbearer with healing abilities’
The addition of lineage was a ‘kinda want to play human+, but can’t deal with ear prosthetics, nor do I want to hit play as a Changeling first’ - thus, Tiresias became a Briar.
…However, I’m lucky as I tend not to have issues with building character ideas, more getting them to interact with the world they’re supposed to be in.
(Other group ideas have included the incredibly depressing Highguard trio- which is earmarked as ‘we’ll play them when we are all more comfortable with playing characters with certain opinions’ and the “are you sure you’re not a comedy trio?” Concept for some Marchers)
I experienced a similar situation with my current character in terms of what role in my nation I want to play for the story. I started at E3 last year and have currently on my third character in the same nation since I was just getting to grips with how the battles work out. Maybe imagine what kind of person you want to look like. I wanted to play a ranger of the north style person with the hooded cloak, woodland style person so I joined Navarr. My first event I was a bit tentative on the nation but I knew I wanted to be in Navarr in the twilight time of Songs and Stories sometime between 12-1 am where I had linked arms with the other members of my nation singing west wall and parting glass. So I guess to see what nation fits the kit you have and when we get to the field see what cultural things that the nation does. If it’s not your speed wander into another nation’s thing and respectfully ask them about it you might find a passion in it. You can transition into another nation with the character for some its a good bit of game. What nation were you in at E4?
Generally ive been looking at other nations as a group and we have already nailed down a vague concept/archetype for the group which usually cuts down the shortlist to 3 or 4 nations, at least one of which usually gets ruled out by someones red lines which is usually where the initial group fractures then its usually a lot of waffling and a poll
If i was hypothetically picking a nation on my own id take a broadly similar path tbh, iron out a character concept first (Which admittedly is definitely easier when you know what you like) and narrow it down from there. One tip is not to be afraid of being arbitrary when dialling it down, at least a little bit; Stuck between League and Dawn for example? I hate those fashionable hats! Dawn it is!
You can always change your character or nation, and you can always shop around a bit in the field while playing in Anvil, maybe you find some awesome folks in down the pub or in battle and youd rather hang with them, or you discover your hat based judgement was hasty and you DO like those hats… Nothing is set in stone if you dont want it to be
I understand wanting to change things after finding out what the game is like. It is very different from other normal forms of RP.
My two suggestions would be finding options that have that spark, that thing that really gets your attention. Then filter them down to what you can think you can do in field. Second point is because I came from a D&D background. First time doing larp. What I might chose for a character idea in D&D didn’t work in larp at all. So instead played my character idea to my IRL strengths.
Both of the above lead me to Wintermark. Though to be more accurate it lead me to the Suaq. I loved the whole idea of heroism through cunning. I loved the backstory and brief. Plus the cunning aspects played a lot better to my IRL skillset and way of thinking.
I don’t resemble this remark! ahem
Actually, I don’t, but only because I died a few times in quick succession and burned through them a bit. I need to come up with some more.
At long-term fest events like Empire though, I do go where my friends are. Once we’ve settled on a group/nation that we like, I then come up with a concept that I like that fits the overall theme. Usually a musician of sorts, usually in The Way to a degree, and always with a character that is reasonably likeable, because those are things that are important to me over a long-term period.
Oh, so much truth there. But what you forget is that LARP can help you work out who you want to be and nobody is the same person after their first year of Empire.
When you start, you will often be reminded that you are not a D&D character; even five minutes of swinging a sword is harder than it looks; and you will have to find a character to match your current levels of strength and fitness. This lasts right up until you ask yourself why you are not.
When I started LARP almost five years ago, I was a different man.
I re-learned a whole lot of costuming knowledge, just to suit the characters I like to play. I joined a parkour group and worked myself to near exhaustion weekly until I could do press-up in handstand (no, seriously) because I was usually the one front-line fighter with neither shield nor armour. I ran 5k three times a week so I could keep running when a group of orcs had me outnumbered.
I have walked onto the battlefield with people who have ten or more years on me, bringing grey hair and weathered skin and a weight of experience. I have watched them fight in plate, holding huge shields. I have started to flag while they continue to hold the line. Maybe they are in the minority, but it’s still a massive reminder that you can still choose to be more, to do more, even after a couple of decades of office-work, if you put your mind to it.
“the two biggest cheats for a LARP battle: a bunch of friends and good cardio!”
There is no motivation - no New Year’s resolution, no guilt at an unused gym membership, and no amount of staring mournfully at your gut in the mirror - that will ever get you off the sofa and into running gear more effectively than going into battle at Empire and realising you can’t keep up.
Though i think you may be spiralling into Hyperbole there sib
Its worth mentioning that battle is 90% of the time a team exercise and a worried newbie should not feel they need to do all that just yet ! Keeping an ear our for orders, an eye out for what your group is doing and stepping up to throw a few blows regardless of success is a very VERY useful thing on the battlefield.
(Though it IS very aspirational)
I get this decision paralysis all the time and I’ve still not managed to get to an event yet.
It sounds like u need to pick something (maybe what u already had?) and stick with it for a bit longer to really play it out b4 switching. It maybe that u can use some of the story for those other nations etc n tie it into ur existing character.
It will save u a lot of switching attire /weapons to match a new nation etc too.
If you still feel like you’re missing out, even after another ‘Winds’ that may bring something juicy for your nation to play with, then of course switch n they’re really good for letting u do that. They maybe even more lenient to let u tinker over COVID period than usual … but not sure how many staff r still working during all this to update ur preferences.