Looking at Larping with family

Hello all,

Been thinking about things to do with my kids as they are growing up, they are 11 and 13, and have lively imaginations and enjoy roleplay in thier own games. I have shown them a couple of videos which have intrigued them and I am planning on bringing them down to the Summer even in 2020.

Current plan is to go with the marchers as a group, however before i go much further into investments and stuff, how “kid friendly” is the game. I know they cannot do the skirmishes or battles yet, but they may be able to do some training and so on, however is there much for young teens to do?

I don’t mean free childcare incidentally, I want to do this with them so we can make some fun memories and I feel it could be a good fit, also a fun life lesson for dealing with other cultures and so on with limited risk and / or expense… (ok maybe not the last bit but hey :slight_smile: ). Every other LARP i have looked at seems to exclude younger players (granted I didn’t look hard after stumbling across Empire) , and given the reputation it has I would like to give it a go.

I no linger use Facebook, because I fundamentally disagree with their operational and “security” model so would prefer to hold my conversations on this forum if at all possible. Thanks for any info you can give me.

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View from a Marcher parent of an 8 year old

  • On an Imperial level there’s the Academy which is a family-oriented activity tent. There’s other kids, informal activities (balls, swords, etc) and various organised activities (missions, training and politics).
  • If you do end up joining the Marchers then we do have an informal best-effort group dubbed the Apple Pips that allows for a bit more flexibility and freedom. By chipping in and looking after a few extra kids when you are doing so, then you end up with a bit of time when you’re not looking after kids.
  • On an individual level the kid that I bring to events loves sword fighting and trading shinies.

Thank you @sqweelygig that is pretty much the exact info I was hoping to get. Thanks for answering my question so promptly.

Follow up question, the “poppet” that children have, do you find they tend to carry them or leave them in a tent or something whilst “giving a hand”? Just wondering how much effort I can convince my son to put into his one :grin:

My hoard (I run PD’s lost property) contains surprisingly few poppets - maybe averaging 1 per event, so Marchers must be really good at not loosing them.

A lot of Marchers keep poppets on their belt or otherwise dangling off their kit, so it’s nice to have a nice one to display.

I have a daughter in the League and she attended as a nine, ten and eleven-year old.

When she was eight, we went to a different fest LARP which I will not name here. Their kids’ plot was minimal, short and basically consisted of chasing one or two volunteers while beating them with foam swords until it was time to go back to their nations.

We went to Empire expecting something slightly better (after that previous LARP, I looked for kid-friendly ones and Empire ranked second highest on the list) and yet I was shocked by how much better it was. Most of that is the Academy, which is an amazing place where your children can learn actual skills for Empire, but also the structures for turning a child into a citizen.

The Academy helps teach your kids about the world to a level which most adults cannot match. They learn about The Way (in-game religion) and history, they learn how to fight and get their own skirmishes. They go on missions into the other camps to trade for resources and learn how Navarr brokers differ from League merchant-princes.

And when they are ready, the Academy is where those kids use that knowledge to take a test of citizenship. [proud father] My daughter took her test recently and passed, showing her knowledge of the Empire and the Harlequin (one of the spirits of the League) awarded her with a ring (to represent full membership of our carta) and her first coin as a citizen. [/proud father] Because of her experience there, she not only knew that she wanted to be an alchemist, but she also know which alchemy skills she wanted to support her nation and carta.

There are ‘cadet’ missions where kids go out on adventures set up at their level, which my daughter loved.

I know the League holds that kids are just small adults once they pass the test of citizenship (there is a second test later before they can go to battle) but that seems to be an underlying theme in Empire; very little content is withheld from kids if they are capable of joining in. Even before they become full citizens, kids can trade and take part in non-combat plots, etc. Once they are citizens, even a ten-year old could hold a political position (in theory) or brew potions to sell to warriors setting out for battle or craft weapons and armour or join in rituals to make other players’ farms grow higher or stitch up patients in the hospital.

You can also ‘lend’ your skills to anyone without skills (like all kids prior to citizenship) to simulate training; a child can perform surgery under the tutelage of a trained surgeon, use magic as they are trained by a magician, etc. They use the mana and resources of the teacher, who must do nothing else but teach them, but it lets kids join in in a meaningful way.

So, before this gets even more rambling, let me just say that there is a lot of game for kids if you are ready to put in the effort to help them; Empire rules facilitate kids’ plot and game in a way many other systems do not; it’s up to the players to make it, but so many of them do.


@AnthonyHJ Thank you, that was very informative, I hadn’t given a lot of thought about the empire academy so it was good to know more. It is really good hearing about someone else doing this at these sort of age groups, given the number of people I was hoping that there may be something like this.

This is a lot deeper than I thought was available and certainly more than the wiki suggested as I skim read it. rather glad I joined the forum now!

When you described “lending” your skills, is that for all things, because I was debating going down the Chirurgeon route for my first character so I can do the traige tent with them or something, feels like something a marcher would do.

Indeed, one of the younger players passed her test of citizenship quite a while back, and since then has been Dean of Pilgrims, Cardinal and Gatekeeper of Courage!


That is certainly something fun to do; they are using your skills, so only one person (you, child one or child two) can use that skill at a time, but you get to RP showing them how to apply the leeches and suture the wounds.

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She passed her test aged 6 (enthusiasm will get you a long way) and is currently 11, has been solo casting the resource rituals for some time and is part of a coven, attends and votes in conclave, and is well respected as the current gatekeeper of Courage.

Feel free to ask her about the Virtues, she has opinions, very well thought out ones!