Is it ok to go in with a blank character?

I’m really struggling to decide what to do / who to be at my 1st Anvil.
I have a few Navarr friends, so I’ll start with their striding, but other than that I’m afraid to commit to anything til I know more.
Please advise.


Your character as well as you can be new to Anvil, determined to serve the Empire but not sure how. With no skills you can be an Apprentice, so if someone who knows the skill teaches you you are able to do it too (does not apply on battlefield, I believe). This gives you loads of opportunity to attend Synod meetings, go to Conclave, watch Senate, go to Navarr gatherings and generally hang out with your mates and get a handle on the game.

Pick a simple background that suits your Striding (check the area they come from and if they have a story) and then decide what you want to do as the game goes by.

If you feel lost, ask for the Egregore, ones of their (many) jobs is to help out new players.

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Yeah definitely mate. First time I went my character was blank and evolved while I was playing it’s impossible to know just how you’ll want to play them till your in the world of empire!


“I’m new to Anvil and am still finding my place in the Great Dance, mind showing me a few of your steps?” - Sounds like a reasonable character concept to me, but I do have a little concern around mission statement.
PD events are characterised by encouraging player characters with missions and agendas. A character with a mission will be more fun for the player. So, make finding your mission your mission. Set your character the goal of “by the time they go home they will have decided on a thing they care about and a way to change the world”. Commit to this, and I’d hope to see you in the field.


The only things the system requires to be able to provide you with a character envelope at the start of the event are:

A nation
A name
A resource.

If you don’t spend any XP / don’t pick any skills you can make use of the Apprentice Ability and borrow someone else’s skills under their instruction and get a feel for what you want to do.

If you decide during the event then a quick trip to GOD (Games Operation Desk) and you can pick skills on one of the player computers. PD are also very accommodating if you pick a skill as a new player and then discover you’re not enjoying it, you can usually swap fairly easily so don’t feel you’re going to be stuck with something awful if you do pick.

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I am going to offer some contrary advice to the above if I may. But first off, welcome aboard, and I hope your first event is great fun.

It is absolutely correct that you do not have to take skills when you start, and can spend all of your character points later. In the meantime you have the Apprentice ability, which allows you to mimic a skill someone else has while they supervise you. Many people will offer this as a suggestion, and it is totally valid.

However, that would not be my advice to you, especially in the circumstances you describe. We get loads of new players every event, many of whom have the same struggle as you. But you have a huge advantage over most of them, in that you are coming in to join some established friends, rather than coming in totally cold.

On that basis, I would say that it would be possible to make some decisions now (I’ll come back to this in a separate reply if I may) from the information you have, maybe with a bit of advice that people will be happy to heap upon you. The best case is that it helps you create a really cool character now, so when you hit the field you have an epic time and it starts you on the road to building an amazing story of their exploits. Worst case, it doesn’t work out and you don’t like those choices. But if that happens, PD are really, really good at letting players re-stat after their first event if they didn’t like what they picked. So at that point you would have seen the game and could make any changes you wanted anyway.


As mentioned above, I think it should be possible to help you design a great character before the event. There are loads of ways to do this, but this is one starting point:

First, think about the group you are joining. You’ve mentioned they are in Navarr, but have they told you anything about themselves? Is that something you can sum up into a quick pitch?

Second, are there things about Empire in particular or larp in general that really leap out to you as things you want to try or really don’t?

From those two things, we could probably offer you some options.


Hi Tim

Thanks for ur suggestions.
The Navarr group that my friend is a part of are the ‘Embered Grove or Embercast’ striding?? There’s 3 different Ember based striding that they wanna unite under one ‘Embersworn’ title n I can’t recall which one they are.
They are mostly Vate - combat healers, 1 genuine Thorn - warrior and a few messengers.
Between them they usually supply a fair amount of mead to the Nabarr too.
I think they wanna expand the messenger side this year and make it the Ember’s thing.

Originally i was goin for a Ranger (bow and axe who did healing too), but that’s always been my default in RPG. mostly because I’d be good at most things, not feel left out, not really have to make a choice…
I really struggle with my personal identity in real life, so choosing what I want to be isn’t something I’ve ever been able to do for me, never mind a LARP character.
I’d spent a week last year researching n just trying to find a name! … was all submitted n paid up, then had to pull out last minute.
(Thankfully they were very understanding: full refund. Looking into it this year I panicked again n deleted the ’old’ character)

Also money is a factor so I was put off by the cost of weapons/ammo, and with a deal of social anxiety everything started to look scary.

I know I need to do this, to combat these anxieties by facing them, but also don’t wanna go too deep to quick n feel like I’m drowning.

I’m lost both regarding Empire and personally :confused:


Thanks Wolfchild - that was a very helpful and refreshingly honest answer. And you might be surprised how many people can empathise with you very strongly around here. Speaking for myself, I definitely found that larp helped me a lot by giving me opportunities to experiment with things that I hadn’t been brave enough to do in my own life. Hopefully it’ll be good for you too.

Archery is great fun, but if money is tight then I might advise against it; one of my (well paid) friends describes thinking to himself that being an archer is like paying an extra cost for your ticket. He knew that every game he’d lose 2-4 arrows on average, so to cope with the annoyance he viewed it as an extra £20 ‘tax’ on his event. Even with that sanguine approach, it is a cost to bear in mind.

One option which comes to mind that might suit both you and the group is that we always need people willing to be battlefield runners. They fill a really vital role in battles - until you have tried co-ordinate a diverse group of 600 fighters of mixed ability levels, competing IC agendas, poor lines of sight and no modern methods of communication, you really don’t appreciate the chaos of a medieval battle. :slight_smile: There is a group set up to organise the runners (called The Imperial Auxillaries) and that could be a good option for you. It is kinda close to your ranger archetype, acting as a skirmisher/scout/runner, but also costs less OC cash to equip yourself than many battlefield roles. Plus it kinda gels with the themes of the group you are joining.

If that was appealing to you, I’d start to generate my character with that as a basis, and then build on it to make sure you had fun things to do and to care about outside of battles. A common error players make is to gen a character based entirely on what they do in battle, then realise it is only two mornings from a whole weekend, and maybe a skirmish or so. So maybe a character who is a skilled survivor from one of the Vallorn-infested territories, used to running messages through hostile territory between steadings. That gives you a job and some hints as to the skills you might take (eg loads of hero points, Unstoppable and Relentless, for maximum survivability).

And you could pick a place where you mostly operate and then ask if any existing characters in those places want to create background links with you. Just having a couple of players in the nation (or other nations) who are willing to agree that their character has maybe met you a few times - so you have an excuse to say hi, and they have an excuse to get you involved in things - can make your game a lot more fun.

As for creating a personality for them, if you want advice on that then we’ll be happy to chip in (I’d mostly advise things which aim to ensure you get involved in fun stuff), but I’ll wait on that as this reply is already long.


(good advice from TimB there)

LARP in general, and Empire in particular, can often feel like something you could drown in. There’s a LOT of stuff going on. There are a LOT of people.

But you don’t have to care,or even know about 90% of the stuff happening, to enjoy yourself. You don’t need to know or talk to more than a handful of people if that’s the level you feel you can handle.

You’ve got a friend to go with and a group to join: you can, if you wish, spend the whole weekend in their company, without striking out by yourself.

Re the cost of equipment… yeah, it can be intimidating. But you don’t need to start with everything all at once…

(you see those photos on the wiki and the galleries? Those are the best from thousands of photos taken of thousands of LARPers over years of play. Do not judge yourself or your kit by the most photogenic 0.1%. Whatever you wear, there will be someone making you look rubbish, and someone making you look awesome… whatever you wear…)

Ranger of the bow/axe/healing type, in Navarr…
You can get some fairly good starting kit with plain/brown/green clothes, a simple cloak, maybe a scarf and gloves and the like. I can reccomend bandages from Boots the pharmacist for good props for a field medic. Some face paint for a tattoo or three and you’ll look fine.

You might want to leave the archery for a little (as noted, it can get expensive), and just by an axe and some accessories for your first event… save the character points you would spend on Marksmanship, you don’t need to spend them immediately, and you may well change your mind in play.

I can reccomend a nice set of videos of a rather anxious LARPer heading along to his first few events:


Really cheap option for healers kit: Charity shop cloth or leather bag and a second hand bed sheet in cream or white. Rip into strips. You’ll get loads of bandages and you won’t care if your victim… er… patient walks off with them (which is highly likely in the middle of battle). Want to have a set of surgery tools? Plastic clay modelling tools, available in places like The Range / The Works or online look the part without mods if you don’t have skill / time, are unlikely to stab either your patient or yourself if you fall or kneel on them and cost a couple of quid.
Also if you get a good size charity shop bag you can throw in a couple of small bottles of water which will make you extra popular. Disguise with a tube bag, or neutral coloured sock if you want to hide the plastic stuff but as they will mostly be in your bag don’t worry too much for your first event.