"Most fun" non-combat builds

You folks are awesome. How about your “most fun” (whatever that means) non- combat build?

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Eh, that one’s going to be tricky depending on what you call fun. All the noncombat skills can be equally amusing, depending on what you want to do with them.

Some stand out ones would probably be:

Realm lore if you fancy casting big group rituals. This is best picked up in game though, unless you already have a group you know you’re going to join. To be effective you need to be working with a group of the same realm magicians, if all your mates are summer mages and you’ve got night lore you’re on your own. (or need better mates)
There are lots of fun things you can do with ritual lore, from buffing the fighters to wiping peoples memory, it would really take a whole other post to break down the pros and cons of each realm.

Priesting! Get all up in other peoples business and explain how they should be living their lives better. Key skills include…

Testimony: A priest skill that lets you inscribe words (2 words max) onto someones soul. Like “Frog licker”, “constant irritation” or even something complimentary if you’re so inclined. Bear in mind that most priests will probably take issue with you scrawling things on peoples souls at random, so use it responsibly yeah? :wink:

Insight: Gives you knowledge about spiritual aura’s and effects on people, like the words from a testimony. Can also show up other spiritual effects like some curses and people who’ve entered into pacts with eternals.

Hallow: Lets you put strong roleplay effects on items which affect the people carrying them. Effects like You are filled with a sense that your aspirations are of primary importance. Any regret, guilt or remorse you feel as a result of actions is diminished. or *You feel a keen awareness of self-worth, and of the worth of other people. or even You feel an urge to express your ideas and opinions clearly and concisely. You find it difficult to tolerate those who ignore the facts

People being under these effects is excellent and never backfires. Ever.

Aside from that you’ll also probably spend a lot of time “discussing” issues with other priests, which means having a good old argument about doctrine, and whatever the moral argument of the day is.
It’s worth noting that if the Synod actually agree on something it is automatically communicated to the entire population, so it can have a big impact on the campaign and empire as a whole.

Physic: The healing game in Empire is good. Traumatic wounds are interresting and give good roleplay, and the Anvil hospital is a brilliant way to get involved with all the wounded we bring back from the battles. For added fun, combine physic with priest or mage skills, as every now and then something really weird comes up and you end up needing to cut someone’s heart out, cast magical venom into it and then stuff it back into their chest, or break all their bones to let the bees out.

Artisan: Build stuff. Trade goods and services for money. You will only ever produce one resource yourself, and will need various things to make the good items so this involves a lot of buying/selling to get resources, or a lot of searching for people who are willing to provide the resources plus a little extra so that you can make them something.

It’s worth noting here that almost everything artisans make is ordered in advance. Because items wear out after a year, you tend to make stuff because Bob in the next camp has asked you to and paid you (or promised to pay you) for it. It’s rare to make an item and then wander around looking for a seller, because the item depreciates in value each event you don’t manage to sell it.

All in all, non-combat builds are much more flexible, it just depends what you feel like your character would be doing. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with them, and you will always find people on the forums willing to give you advice.


Split this off from where it was before as I felt it was an interesting enough (separate) topic to warrant its own thread. Carry on :wink:


I second Artisan and Physick. I’ve had some good game from characters focussed on that (and Apothecary!), although in that case, I was also jumping into combat (because played by me…)

For the really extreme option, I’m having plenty of fun with no mechanical skills at all! Nothing seized me hugely at character generation this time (I’m on my 3rd Empire character) so I figured I could always spend points later and 4(?) events later, they’re still sitting there unspent.


Both my characters have nominally been magicians but I think I’ve used magic like four times across two years and have never participated in a ritual. No Skill Use Gang is where it’s at.

I’ll tell you who was/is fun - that Day mage in Urizen… Tarqunius or Aqulilian, one of those names.
Basically, clearly cares little for his own life and just does fun stuff with magic. Mostly doing silly ideas and things blow up. Shouldnt really go into detail here, but pop into the Urizen tea house and ask about the crazy stuff he’s done :smiley:

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I think I’ve heard those names from the partner who’s been playing this year (and the one myself and the boyfriend are joining in with at E1 next year)…which, I am of mixed minds if that is a good or bad thing.

You’re thinking of Aquilian, Tarquinious is much less likely to cast explosive rituals, Aquilian has I believe some training in all the realms.

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I think the majority of the non-combat game at Empire has barely any dependence on XP spend. It is a very heavily political game, and trying to influence politics is pretty much pure hardskills. There are characters I know quite well and don’t actually have a clue what they spent their XP on because it doesn’t seem very relevant to the character.

If you’re not interested in politics or want something else as well, the main categories of things which spring to mind are:

  1. Priest skills have most of their uses outside fights, they have already been described in detail above. If you take a congregation (which is not the same as having priest skills, but they do often go together) that opens up the entire synod game.
  2. Ritual magic is very popular with non-combatants, although bear in mind your coven slots are limited. Spells have far less use outside fights, but Voice for the Dead is a really good one if you do a lot of player events as there is often plot with uses for it.
  3. The Anvil Hospital is not actually in fights, many people with healing skills work in there and never go through the gate. Some magic can also help here, notably spring magic, restore limb and purify. I believe venom can also occasionally be useful due to weird cure conditions on traumatic wounds.
  4. Being able to making items to sell (artisan items or potions) gives you a reason to get involved in the trading game.

If you were going to make an artisan character, which starting items would you select and why?

I would base that on whether you want the items for your own character build for instance mage staffs, or whether you are going with a group and expect to be outfitting fighters with equipment.

This is sort of an aside, but the skill that gives you the most game in the entire of Empire is probably the basic magician skill - purely because without it you are heavily gated out of one of the bigger bodies of state, Conclave. So for me the most fun non-combat build is just the magician skill to get into conclave, since nothing else actively requires a skill to participate.

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Artisan and pauper’s key also works.

“Most fun” I’m going to translate as “has access to the most bits of the game” so:

Resource: Congregation. Get stuck in to all those juicy Synod discussions; vote on stuff; be part of National and Virtue meetings; raise a Judgement/Mandate; use your Liao ‘wisely’.

Magician (2). Go to Conclave; meet Eternals; join an Order; cast Detect Magic on stuff.
Physic (4 total). Be part of the Anvil Hospital and/or go through the Gate as a healer. This is pretty much an entire event of activities on it’s own.
Last 2 points maybe for Dedication so you can get Insight etc later and be part of an assembly other than The Way?

Nation: HG (Congregation gets you political influence; very active national assembly)

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Also Congregation gives you Right of Witness, so you can technically walk into any non-private Imperial meeting and eavesdrop!

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It’s been too long since I had a Congregation, I’d forgotten just how GREAT it is!

Empire is a game that rewards heavy investment in the 1-2 things you do care about, and then banking your XP for your next character rather than spending it just because its there.

Often the fun thing to do is not to get another ability, because it’s a distraction. Rather than spreading yourself thin over the magic game, bank that 2XP and build your next character as a powerful wizard from the get-go.

I recommend a build that does not do all the things for the sake of it. If you have a lot of different skills then you have the following sort of problems:

  • People will haul you out of your fun to try and bother you to vote in Conclave.
  • People will haul you out of your fun to try and bother you to vote in Synod.
  • If you’re not heavily invested in the Synod game, you’re an obstacle to other people getting Greater Majorities. A Greater Majority is 50% of all people who could vote. Which means lots of “berating people who don’t care much about Synod to go vote” rather than “arguing with or rallying people who really care”.
  • You will inadvertantly end up in the front line (as a healer who picked up Weapon Master) or the back fixing people when you could be thumping (as a fighter who picked up Physick).

I have many these problems because I play a Synod priest who’s a supernatural bullshit investigator. I don’t think everyone wants to have all these problems. Certainly I’ve avoided a number of skills so I can keep focused on my favourite game parts.

Skills don’t make fun. Skills can give you more ways to access your fun. I played a Priest for a year or two with no Ceremony skills. Eventually I bought Hallow because he was dealing with a lot of Blasphemy and that’s the skill you use to scrub malign auras off weapons. I bought Heal because I had fun with it from an enchantment over player event season, and it’s useful in the very rare case that I fight.


Mage. Night 5.