New players - looking for advice and feedback on character concepts

Hey everyone! Sorry in advance for the long post ahead
A friend and I are looking to come to Empire for E1 2019, and we were creating character concepts/backstories. We’re both new to LARP in general. We were just wondering if any of you fine folk would be able to take a quick look at the concepts below and suggest any changes/amendments/see if we’ve missed anything really obvious/ any advice/any other “/” that doesn’t cover the previous to make it seem more “Dawnish” if you will.

Thank you in advance!

Our main concept is that we both hail from villages in Semmerholm, specifically Axmure, and were displaced during the Druj invasion in the summer of 381YE. We were both refugees that met whilst fleeing the orc host, and now are looking to join a noble house or another Dawnish organisation.

Brief details about the characters below:

Character 1 was a village healer apprentice who had a small talent for magic. When the raiding parties came by to his village, almost everyone was slaughtered. He was able to escape mostly due to him being out in the forest at the time foraging for herbs as he often did. He met up with many refugees fleeing northward, including Character 2 (detailed below), and survived. Since the invasion, he’s realised that although the simple life is great – he needs to become far more powerful as a mage and a healer to enact his vengeance against the orc filth that killed his friends in droves, and earn the glory of enacting justice. The only way he can think to do that is join a house, or a weavers cabal, or another organisation.

Character 2 is a craftsman who made tools for other workers: sickles for farmers, back up hammers for smiths, that kind of thing. He had a passion for making things with a finer edge to them, but rarely had the resources to do so. When his village was attacked, he grabbed what tools he had that could double as weapons, helped as many people flee as he could and ran north to escape the orc horde. He met with many refugees as they fled north, seeing many fall to orc raiding parties or just the journey itself. He saw how his rudimentary tools failed, how his work didn’t save others and became determined to do more, to become better. A better warrior, a better craftsman, a better in anything so long as he could ensure that he was his best version of himself and that his work could save lives.

Any help or feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again! :slight_smile:

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When you player a character, you need the basic details which will allow you to answer basically all questions that you may be asked about your life as that character. You will only need small bits as you can fill the rest in while you talk. You might not need to tell someone all of it all of the time but it is good to be ready. You also need a fairly good understanding of Dawn and its customs.

Perhaps look at the region in Semmerholm that the characters came from. This would probably affect the characters differently. Did either of them lose anyone? Have they returned to the region they lived in or moved somewhere else? How small was the villages? If character 1 came from a small village, was it easy to for him to do magic.

You will need to think about what kind of magic he does. This will affect the character creation. It sounds like the character is going to go for either offensive spells or rituals that would help in battle. Are you going for a wide range of rituals/spells or are you going to specialise. This will also affect the kit you are going to have to take.

I noticed you mentioned justice. You need to be very careful about this. There are two forms of justice. The first is justice which is things to do with the law and such, the second is Justice and it is a false virtue. Character 1 could follow Justice if they really wanted to but they would be seen as a heretic. There was a long discussion on here about whether or not you would be killed for being a heretic and I think it was agreed you would most likely be safe but maybe an overly zealous new player may take the opportunity to show their Vigilance and do away with character 1.

For character 2, do they focus more on fighting or crafting? Maybe don’t make the kinds of tools they make too broad. There are only four recipes you can take as a basic artisan. Unless character 2 is going to put another skill point to get an extra item, this means there is, at the most, four kinds of items they can make and there are about 14 different categories just for weapons. How did he get better at making tools? Was it simply through practise? Was he taught by someone? If he wants to save lives, does he make people items for free if he believes they truly need them? Is his life consumed by this need to be better or is he able to have a bit of fun? If it is the former then he will have to be either a very good fighter or artisan otherwise people probably won’t want to interact with him very much.

You will need to think about whether or not the characters have any flaws or problems. You might have to make them fairly obvious when RPing. I’ve found people can get to caught up in their own characters (or going for a drink) to notice nuance and subtly in other characters as easily as they might do in a character in a book.

Finally, costume and name. They should show that you are part of dawn but maybe should also reflect your characters.

I hope this gives you something to think about and that it helps. Feel free to ask any more questions.


Thank you! This is really awesome feedback, you’ve given both of us a lot to think about. :slight_smile:


No problem. I’m a fairly new player myself so don’t take my word as law. I would also maybe look into choosing a group you would like to join before you get there, maybe even contacting them on face book and seeing if you can join in advance, unless you feel that goes against your story.

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Hello, I am also a Dawnish player and my current character (and associated ones) have a fairly similar backstory :slight_smile:

Those are good character concepts, about the right length too. Thinking about character backstory is good, but you don’t need to go into too much detail. The important stuff should be mostly what happens on the field of play. That said, know where you’re from, have a story or two, and that’ll do you fine for the first event or so. After which you’ll have many more stories!

Playing in Dawn, your characters appear to be yeofolk. This is fine, but have you given any thought to what Houses you used to live nearby? There are several Houses in play from in and around the Axmure region. More details available on request.

Are you planning, with your new friend, to have settled down somewhere, and coming to Anvil seeking power/justice/advancement? As suggested, joining an Order (Mages) or the Artisans Guild (for Char2) or a House (welcome back to the feudal structure) is a good aim.

On an OOC basis, would you like to find a group to hang around with IC? As yeofolk, you could quite easily associate with a House/Order/Whatever with no permanent loyalty, but finding somewhere to hang your hat on the field is a good way to make friends and find your feet. many options available, details on request.

As character concepts, you might not spend all your starting character points before play. I advise keeping a few back. That way, after the first game, you can branch out in directions that have caught your attention. Char1 might want more magic and less herb use, Char2 might want to be better able to wield their crafted weaponry… oh yeah, the artisan system. It can be a bit confusing to start with. Walkthrough available on request :slight_smile:

Those are good Dawnish character ideas. Striving. Determined. Tragic yet courageous. With a personal grudge against Dawn’s traditional enemies, I can only suggest a few ties to some other bits of the national setting, and/or the history. Did you see any Houses desperately fighting against the Druj tide? Did you flee all the way to Lacre on the Semmerlak coast? Did you march behind any of the Dawnish armies (or friends, where did all those faerie knights come from?) on the way back south? What was left of your old homes?

I am happy to answer questions, make suggestions, write vignettes and given half a chance, recruit you to the House I play in :slight_smile:

Welcome to the hobby, the game, the forums and to Dawn!


Hi there, thank you for the advice (I’m character 2).

We are currently discussing where we have moved to after the incursion as well as how we will approach some Noble Houses. We are yoefolk aiming to possibly look for a test of mettle (might be slightly confused on the concept of how to become a knights errant or even how to approach a house about it). From what we have talked about I think we will take the advice on not spending all our character points until we have more of a grasp on what each aspect of the game is and if they interest us.

Once again thank you for all of the advice and if you would be able to provide the walkthrough you mentioned that would be greatly appreciated. :slight_smile:

I am a magician so I can tell Celpi01 (I’m assuming character 1) a little more about that. There has also been a lot of discussion about artisans recently. If you want to see what kinds of magic items you can make then you can follow this link to the wiki:

If you scroll down until you find the tables and then click on one of the links such as One-Handed Weapons it will take you to a list of everything you can make for that category.


Thank you, He’s just setting off from mine so he said he will reply when he’s back. I will look over them in detail as this seems to be something I need to be careful in choosing as It will effect not only for me but if/when I would like to produce for others if that is the core route I find myself going down.

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No problem. I’m not going to be able to reply straight away but I should be able to give him a reply before the end of today. Good luck with choosing an item.

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Artisan walkthrough.

Item = any of the magical stuff on the magic items listing.
Material = Ingrediants to make things. Examples include Green Iron, Ambergelt, and Dragonbone.
Duration = Magic Items don’t last. After a year, the enchantment fades. So anything you make will have an expiry date on the (Magic Item Ribbon) , on the lines of “expires just before event 4 2019”, for example. Note that the 4 main Empire events are spaced out throughout the game year over each solstice and equinox. They all take place in the summer due to OOC logistics.

  1. Bob the Artisan. At character creation, he chooses 4 recipies that he knows how to make. A is a 0-material item. B is an item of up to 10 materials. C is an item of 10 to 20 materials. D is anything, but is usually something spectacular at over 20 materials to make. He also gets the recipie for Artisans Oil as a freebie.

  2. At his first event, Bob will show up with some items that he’s made over the last year. He will have A (with 9 months/3 events left), B (with 6 months/2 events), and C (3 months and the just that event). This is portfolio of stuff. “See this Oakenheart Shield? I made this myself! Want one?”

  3. At that event, Bob will also get the proceeds of his Personal Resource. This is his primary source of cash/materials. If he has several recipies needing Dragonbone, for instance, he should probably have picked a forest rich in Dragonbone. Personal Resources can be changed in play, before the next event, quite cheaply if needed.

  4. By selling some items and materials from his Personal Resource, and by interacting with people in and out of his group, Bob ends the event with a couple of people wanting things, and a pile of materials to make more items. He hands in the materials to the Games Operations Desk* before 17:00 on the Sunday.

  5. Downtime opens. Bob has the materials to make several things, and three months to do so. He can make A for free, but that’ll take 2 months. He can make B twice, but that won’t leave enough time for A. He doesn’t have the materials to make C or D.

  6. Bob selects his actions from the drop-down menu. He makes a B, and another B, and some Artisans Oil.

  7. At his second event, the C that Bob started with has expired. His B is down to 1 event, his A down to 2. In his event pack is a pile of Dragonbone from his forest, some cards of Artisans Oil, and 2 more ribbons of freshly made B, with a whole year on the expiry date.

  8. At the event, Bob sells the first B to someone who requested it, and finds a buyer for the second B, making a tidy profit. He also uses the Artisans Oil during a battle (repair shattered stuff) and makes a new friend, who sells him some more materials dead cheap. A bit more trading, and Bob now has enough materials to replace his C the next time, knock out an A for sale, with a few bits and pieces left over…

Artisan can be a long game. But it’ll take you all over, doing a lot of trading and talking, buying and selling, and likely you’ll be well equipped on the battlefield, and popular with anyone who needs your things.

  • Usually known by the handy acronym. It’s a joke. They deal with character generation as well, so “You’re dead, go and see GOD” is a thing :stuck_out_tongue:

That helped so much. I was slightly confused about the months on the items but that has fully clear that for me. One question, the items an Artisan starts with, are the already bonded to the Artisan in question? Was assuming they are due to not being 1 year timers on them but I was unable to find a clarification on that. I keep seeming to say this but thank you :slight_smile:.

Hello again! :slight_smile:
You are absolutely correct in your assumption, I’m character 1 :smiley: I hope you don’t mind, but I’d like to take you up on the offer of telling me a bit more about magic. There’s only so much I can gleam from the wiki in comparison to on field experience.

Could I possibly ask your top 3 personal tips from playing a magician? Like what did you wish you knew before you went to an event in relation to magic, or things you would suggest I avoid flavour wise?

Could I also ask a little bit more on the flavour aspect of Dawnish magic from your experience? The wiki seems to show a focus on heraldry and legendary beasts, but how does that work in practise? Is it a case of memorising the general attributes of each legendary creature and evoking them during a spell, for example? I’m just a tad lost is all.

Again, thank you for your willingness to help – it’s really kind of inspiring and awesome to see.


Thank you for the warm welcome and the solid feedback! :smiley:

If its ok, I think it’d be awesome if you could give me a brief rundown of which houses were in the Axmure area? It might give us a better idea of who our characters may have encountered in the past and might inform what they know of Nobility?

The Artisan can bond to herself any item that she can make. Even if she didn’t make that particular one…

So whether or not you start with your items bonded is almost irrelevant :slight_smile: You can bond them to yourself (or others), trivially. Just tell a ref.

The other alternitive is to sell them, but with a reduced duration will come a reduced price…

Celpi01: "The wiki seems to show a focus on heraldry and legendary beasts, but how does that work in practise? Is it a case of memorising the general attributes of each legendary creature and evoking them during a spell, for example? "

My last character was an artisan, my current one is a battlemage healer…

An example of usage of heraldic beasts in a spell: “As the flesh of the Hydra reforms itself, so is yours knit anew! As the Pheonix rises from the ashes of it’s apparent death, so shall you rise from here into glory!”

Just work them in, with an appropriate quality. I have a Unicorn pendant that I intend to use in Purify spells (Purity of the Unicorn, to purify the poison in the blood).

I think that when I last checked the relevant text on the Dawn facebook page (below), there were three houses known to be in Axmure, southern Semmerholm.

House Tour De Cendres (recently emigrated to Dawn from the League, in the wake of the Druj invasion. I’m a yeoman of this house). Symbol: Gold triangle up into black field, silver tower central.
House Rylas (made up and played by my wife, her last character, no current players). Rather bashed, still picking up the pieces, but had evacuated non-combatants months previous. Symbol = golden boar’s head on red/blue field. Available as a background house if you want further details.
House Lusignon. A rather dodgy house with a strong coven of winter mages, eventually declared sorcerers and heretics a year or so back, and fled Anvil having placed a death-curse on the Empress. And several other people, places, nations, and suchlike. Their banners were seen fighting against the Druj, but they have not been seen at Anvil for some time. For good reason. Symbol = Dead white tree on red/black field.


Have you read the Winds of War accounts of the Druj invasion? It’s exciting stuff :slight_smile:


The big thing I wasn’t clear about when I first playing was the difference between crystal mana and personal mana. By default, you get four personal mana. With it you can swift cast any regular spell for two mana and it will usually have a lesser effect. With appropriate role play (for thirty seconds) this goes down to 1 mana and it will have the full effect. Your Role play is up to you, I just recommend confidence. Even if your character is a bit nervous, you need to show that they sort of know what they are doing.

At the end of the day, all your personal mana is replenished for the next day.

Crystal mana is a resource. You must have a crystal mana site to get it and you get seven pieces I think. This crystal mana can be used in place of personal mana. However what you really want it for is rituals or creating new rituals.

This ties into the second thing I would have liked to know. You need lore in a realm to be able to perform in a ritual of that realm. If you have one level then you may perform a level one ritual on your own or perform a level two ritual with another person, if you have the mana. For a level one ritual you require one mana. If you choose to master a ritual then it halves the cost. It is probably a good idea to find a coven fairly quickly if you want to do this as it will mean you get to do some of the big fun rituals. I suggest you find out which realm lore is most common in Dawn and which Realm lore people are wanting more of. If you choose that lore then it will mean you are more likely to do rituals.

Rituals are one of those big things that give you a chance to really RP. You can really get lost in them and feel the emotions and that is why they can be great.

You also need to have the lore in a realm to create a new ritual in it. You have to look at the laws of magic to see if it can actually be done. . You need 10 mana to make one but you get a refund of half if it doesn’t go through and it is sensible. If it is silly and doesn’t go through, you are likely to lose all of the mana you put in. These new rituals are called arcane projections. They can be used once or they can be sent to a college to be put into imperial lore however this will take a long time usually. The smaller the arcane projection, the quicker it is likely to go through.

The people who make the arcane projections will almost always want someone to talk to about. It is all about bouncing your ideas off other people and seeing whether or not the ideas are any good.

The third thing I would have liked to know is that you don’t actually need to have a wand, rod or staff to cast the regular spells. If people are fine with you touching them or putting your hand near them, then you can cast heal on them without needing any of the above items. They are only needed for offensive spells. When using an offensive spell, if the effect does not effect the person it was supposed to then you do not lose the mana.

There is a fourth thing I would like to talk about and that is conclave and the hall of worlds. The hall of worlds is a big tent which represents basically another pocket world where the magicians go to talk or meet with the eternals. It is right next to the Regio which is a group of obelisks in a circle which is where you go to do the rituals (as IC the effect is more powerful in a Regio). To get into the hall of worlds you stand by the door and RP magic to get in. I personally wave my hands in front of the door and say under my breath ‘Show me the way, open the door, let me go where I could not before’. It is really up to you. If you are in dawn you might like to add stuff about grand legendary beasts like ‘Let the dragon open up its maw so I may past in, let the Pegasus transport me to places afar’ (I will talk more about this later).

Usually around nine in the evening, there is a meeting of conclave in the hall of worlds. Conclave is the magic version of the senate, military council or synod. Here they will talk about various matters from passing new arcane projections into imperial law, to performing certain rituals to aid the empire, to dealing with sorcerers (unvirtuous magicians). A person may speak for a minute if they pay a crystal mana. This is to stop people from talking over each other. If someone is taking their turn to speak and they ask you a question, you either give them a very short answer (basically yes or no) or say you will tell them afterwards and either pay a crystal mana or hope someone does it for you. Usually people will say very similar things and it can be quite boring. It is also very hard to follow but there is a little bit of plot in there. You can go to the hub (not to be mistaken with G.O.D or Games operation desk) and find a little bit out about what is being said there.

In conclave you will find that there are groups set up, separate of covens. They are multi-national and each one focuses on different aspects of magic.

To answer your final question (though @Geoffrey_Willoughby has done this already, I thought it would be a good idea to clarify as he has only given examples), you look at the aspects of the legendary beast and see how it fits to the spell you are doing. You will probably only know a few spells so you won’t need to remember too much. . This link should tell you want you need to know about the kind of beats you would find and what they are all about. When you are unsure of what to say during spell casting RP, just try and think of a similar effect in nature and work that in. With Dawn you want to be fairly grand with it because they like that.

I hope that helps. If you need any more help, feel free to ask again, I do not mind at all. I was in your shoes just over a year ago and I know how daunting it can feel at first but the first event is really thrilling.

  1. Ritual Magic is heavily about friends, not getting too attached to rituals (even realms) untill you know you can cast them is good advice
  2. Personal Mana and Crystal Mana are different, you can’t use personal mana to cast rituals, and spending one Crystal mana lets you cast any spell.
  3. Detect Magic can tell you more if you know to ask for it. Even if you don’t remember all of this to start with, if you can remember some of it might give you an advantage over even some experienced players

Geoffrey gives some really good examples, if you are new it might be easier to start by finding Legendary beasts for the spells/rituals you can cast, so for the base three I normally go:
Pegasus for Operate Portal: ‘I call forth the Noble Pegasus, to bear me up away from this realm and up towards the Hall of Worlds.’ - Because I am a distinguished and powerful Enchanter, my roleplay for this involves me flapping my wings and pretending to fly :stuck_out_tongue:
Sphinx for Detect Magic -
Dragon for Create Bond - This generally starts by getting the target to imagine themselves as a Dragon, and then taking the item into their horde.

Come up with some spell verbals before hand, you don’t need to remember them perfectly for it to help in a field (Although nothing stops you writing them down.)

House D’Acier Is a Border House (Might be Southern Estmure rather than Axmure) that is rebuilding after the Keep was damaged by the Druj invasion, presently a one player group


Actually to enter the hall of world’s you’re supposed to cast operate portal on the regio, or one of the regio stones.

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You can find a full list of player houses here:

A few clarifications-

With spellcasting, non-combat spells work as mentioned, taking 1 mana and thirty seconds or 2 mana and a few words of spell. This sometimes, but does not always, reduce the effectiveness of the spell- most notably it reduces a Heal spell from full heal to 3 hits, but healing someone three hits in a pinch is not to be sniffed at. Most other spells are unaffected by swift casting- however, Purify is actually more effective. Rather than just purging Venom and Weakness from a body, it will also purge Entanglement and Paralysis from them, meaning you can near-instantly save someone who’s been left helpless and unmoving.

Alongside these spells, however, are the combat spells. Repel, Entangle, Venom, and Weakness all do delightful things to your opponents and cast in a few words, but also only cost a single mana each because of what they do. Shatter and Paralyse do cost 2 mana each themselves, but this is because of how much more powerful they are- rather than forcing someone back, you smash their weapon. Rather than trapping them in one place, they are completely frozen. There’s also Empower, which you can use alongside non-combat spells as a support spell, but is still classified as a combat spell because of the swiftness required with it- Empower lets you give a friend (or an enemy, I suppose, if you’re in a fey mood) the ability to make a heroic blow in the next ten seconds. They can cut down lightly armoured opponents in a single strike, or knock a shield bearer to the ground- and you don’t even need to be in eyesight of the enemy.

Crystal mana can be used in place of personal mana, but in a slightly confusing way- as McGonigle said, rather than being used in the same manner as personal mana, a piece of crystal mana can cast any spell. It counts as two personal mana if you want to cast Shatter, and it counts as one personal mana if you want to cast Heal. And you can’t break it down into two different personal mana (although there is a magic item that lets you do something similar…)

The suggestion crystal mana is only for rituals is a bit of a falsehood really. A battlemage with ten crystal mana can break ten people’s weapons, or heal people under pressure in a matter of seconds in ten different occasions. Or just wade into an enemy line and ping ten people off in different directions while laughing.

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That was something I was never really clear about. The first time I did it, the people I was with did that but then I noticed everyone else seemed to do it at the door. Thank you for clarifying.