Hello Latoyia! Welcome to the hobby, the game of Empire, and these forums!
(I have written a scarily large reply… oops)
Firstly, going solo. You will, as a player character, have to join a Nation. Which means that as well as these forums, there is also a bevy of facebook pages, one for each nation and quite a few extra ones, to meet people on, ask questions, and so on. They will likely try to recruit you into their groups. You can search for those or ask and I’ll find links to some you may find interesting. Oh, there is also a podcast I listened to recently which went through a solo new player experience, linked below (episode 49).
I would strongly reccomend reaching out and prodding some people in your nation. You might make friends, or contacts, but even having someone you know by name to meet on the field is a good first step.
Scared of not being good enough… that’s surprisingly common. It’s a big field, there’s lots of people looking frighteningly competant… we are all playing dress-up and pretend. Here’s a phrase for you: “I’m new to Anvil”. It is OOC code for (help I’m new and don’t know and am feeling a little lost).
There are a good few folk at Empire with anxiety issues. For them, there are several “quiet space” tents dotted around (often pretending to be shrines), if you need to duck out and catch your breath. The BIG STRESSFUL situations are likely to be very visible in advance (angry mobs, major battles, football games) and so you should be able to avoid them.
As well as this, as a new player, I suggest you camp “off-stage”, in the out-of-character area (at least for the first event). This allows you your own tent where you can go and hide from things for a while, and dive back in when ready.
We were all new once, and Empire is a heck of a deep pool to dive into as your first LARP, so being anxious is fine. Being too annoying… it’s a setting with prosletising zealots, and small children wanting to stab you in the ankle (to steal your small change for sweeties)… you’re going to have work damn hard to be too annoying.
Smart enough to play? You have found these forums. You have an imagination. You can write an articulate post with proper formatting and spelling You’re fine.
The setting can seem daunting. Come on, it is daunting. It’s huge, with loads of history, and next year will be the… 8th? 9th? year of play? YOU NEED TO KNOW LESS THAN 1% OF IT!
Starting character should know:
Their own name.
Their group within that nation, if any.
Their province of origin within that nation, if any.
If they have any special skills, a 10 second blurb about what they can do.
Anything else you can pick up in play, wing it, ask people to explain to you, and so on. You should be able to stick this on the back of an A5 postcard. For example, if I may virtually recruit you to a former group of mine:
Group: House Dromond
Skills: Can hit people with a sword and scream CLEAVE three times a day
Now, as for acting out the character, no-ones going to expect Royal Shakespeare Company levels of acting skill. If you start out as (“oh God I’m just playing me in a costume”) no-one’s going to know or care. Heck, most of us started out like that. If you want a quick tip to “get into character”, see if you can think of something. A story they like to tell. Something they fiddle with. A verbal tick, yerknow? An expletive for the setting. Yailato above might be a deep-sea trader (with an interesting story about this time they got stuck in a vast sea of weed, only to be rescued by…), or indeed, given that House, a pirate…
Here’s a solid tip. Get a small plain notebook, A5 or smaller. Put your real name on the inside, and your character name on the outside (leave room for any group symbol or name later, very helpful if lost). Write out inside any thoughts on your character, what they do, what they like, what they can do, what they have seen. Have a small pencil in it, stick it in your pocket/bag. And carry that around with you, in the game. Lots of people do; you can scribble down interesting notes, check what the heck your character skills do, note down the names of people and groups and meetings and so on.
Finally, when you get to the event (when we next get one…), see if you can get there early. Friday morning if you can, Thursday night if possible. Before the game starts (18:00 Friday), you can wander round, meet people, help put up tents (make new friends doing so), and acclimatise slowly. On Thursday night, you can likely find a fireside or tent with folk eager to tell you stories (and recruit you into their group). On Friday the organisers, PD, run many workshops for new players, including Basic Introductions, Combat Tutorials, and so on.
Now, I or any of the other moderators (and the swarms of other players, in- to very- experienced on here) will likely be happy to answer any further questions. I’m not sure you CAN ask anything we’ll consider a stupid question, so don’t be shy. Have a hunt around on the New Players section, there have been many questions asked by others, which may help.
And again… welcome!
(also, there’s a welcome video below. And some other useful links off that)