I haven’t Larped in a looooong time, think a good three years or more and never in a larp of this size.
I’m worried about going it alone, has anyone got any experience of solo playing ? And/or is it easy to find and integrate into groups at the event itself?
I would say it depends on whether you want to stay solo or are open to the idea of joining a group.
All the nations have a fb page, and I’d assume all of them will have groups ready, eager and willing to pick up a new player and help them find their way. There’s always going to be someone recruiting.
Also, each nation has an Egregore, NPC’s who literally exist to help point new players in the right direction. You shouldn’t find it too difficult to get involved with something.
Yes you can play solo, but since groups which pool resources and support each other are an easy way of improving all your game plans you’ll also find lots of groups wanting to add you to their numbers in any Nation.
There is an archetype for each nation of someone looking for a group, wayfarers in Highguard, questing knights in Dawn etc, or even someone who has recently come of age and is looking for a home, so there is a place to start from and you’ll find Empire as a whole is a very friendly place!
Hello, and welcome to the game and the forums
As noted, the game does lean towards stuff done by groups, but there’s no problem with playing solo.
For example, in my nation of Dawn, you could get quite a lot of solo play as:
A Knight Errant, seeking a path to nobility
A Questing Knight, favoring the quest above the prize
A wandering bard, collecting the tales and songs of many lands
A lone noble, the only Anvil representative of their (off-stage) House.
A Yeoman, seeking a worthy master (okay, this one is definately looking for a group to join)
If you are looking for a group to join, on a casual or more (in-game) formal basis, this can be done in-play, or before the game starts, or after an event or two.
I would advise finding some sort of contacts before-hand, either on these forums or on Facebook (the nations have their own pages). This will give you someone to, at the minimum, hang around with for a while while you find your feet, somewhere to sit down for a chat with…
I have played, as a group of 1, in a previous PD game… it was fun, but I achieved what I wanted and finished.
In Dawn, my wife played, as a lone noble, attached to my House as a guest.
In my current group, we’ve had single players who’ve rolled up and guested with the House, or joined, or just sat at our fire and drank and sung and fought alongside us, for a time…
So if you want to play solo, or if you want to start solo and join a group, either is fine, and there’ll be a good amount of support.
It’ll help that you’ve had some experience of LARPing before…
FestLARPs and large FestLARPs in particular use players AS CONTENT, and PD recognized and designed around it very well in terms of creating both the mechanical systems and in laying down community guidelines since the beginning.
If you don’t create a loner character and choose to engage with others, others will often engage you back. I came to Empire as a foreign solo player with no contacts in the UK and I talked a bit about that here along with some conversation openers based on national archetype info from the wiki. If you’re still considering which nation to start in, I talked a bit about that here.
As others have pointed out, FB groups and the egregores can help you find the relevant people to engage with, based on your interests.
Bleed plays a significant role in how groups form and recruit, and I’m currently working on an IWC podcast episode about this about the moment and it should be out in about a week. So keep an eye out for that as well.
I come to Empire solo because none of my friends do LARP! Don’t let the prospect of coming solo put you off!
For the most part Empire is a really friendly community, especially if you let people know that you’re ‘new to Anvil’: either a new character or an entirely new player looking to make connections. In my experience everyone is really keen to help new players settle in.
A lot of the time people do hang out with with their in-nation groups (Dawnish house, Marcher house, Brass Coast family, Urizen spire, etc.) which might also consist of their irl friends, but that doesn’t necesarilly mean that they’re unfriendly or insular, and a lot of these groups are open to new people joining: though I come to Empire solo I was invited to join a group at only my second event, and I’ve been with them ever since - though when Empire resumes I’m changing to a new character, so it’s going to be back to solo play for a while for me
The main advantages of hanging out with an in-nation group like a banner, sect or coven are a ready group of people to interact with, who may have links to other parts of the game, as well as pooled resources. When you’re on your own you do have to work harder to make those connections and to use your own resorces widely, so even if you’re ‘solo’ that doesn’t necesarilly mean that you should be a ‘loner’, because that’s going to make it way harder to get into a game. However, the game is also replete with factions and entertainment that pretty much anyone can get into: any mage can go to Conclave, any priest automatically belongs to three assemblies and gets to have their say and votes, anyone can go to one of the many, many tea houses or bars, or go to the Navarr story time or the League play house, or join the wonderful Anvil hospital! There’s so many activities you can join in on which you can then use to make friends.
Now, the proviso for all this is that you have the confidence to talk to strangers. It can be tough to make connections if you can be anxious when it comes to interaction. However, it helps if you can really get into your character’s mindset and if you have an excuse to talk to people. For the last three years I’ve been playing a friendly albeit boisterous and ill mannered guy: I started off as a peddler, so walking around the field trying to sell things to people got me a lot of conversation and a surprising number of invites to sit, chat and drink with people. I like a drink, and while liquid courage sometimes gets the better of me, I’ve also made a bunch of friends (even if they’re just one-night friends ) just by hanging around bars, not being afraid to have a laugh with people, joining in on pub crawls, that sort of thing. So, be the sort of character who interacts with people: the sort of character who overhears conversations and has something to say (while being mindful of rudely interrupting private business, of course), the sort of character who has goods or a service to sell, the sort of character who sees people playing dice and asks if they can join in, the sort of person who has strong political and religious opinions and needs to let people know them.
Playing Empire by yourself is 100% possible!
thank you everyone for the advice and input ! I feel considerably better about my prospects aha