New to Larp, need help

hey all, i’m extremely new to Larp, i’ve heard about it, learnt a tiny amount about it, just need some tips and pointers if anyone can help, about anything that Larp entails, espeically what the Empire one does

Also I wish to make a magic user, but the Lore section confuses me as I’ve mainly done D&D so it’s all explained in the books, could anyone help in explaining the different types of lore and what each one can do, that would be extremely helpful

Hello and welcome! To the hobby, the game, and these forums!

First of all, if you’re coming from D&D, it’s not that much of a jump.

(Speaking for Empire, there are other LARPs, we’ll leave those for the moment)
It’s improvised, so there’s no overall plot.

Character creation and spending of XP is done online, although the Games Operation Desk (G.O.D.), will likely let you “reroll” in a hurry as a new player.

Do NOT attempt to read the whole of the Empire Wiki. Stick to a few starting bits: your nation, your skills, maybe a little recent history.

Playing in this system, I advise that you have a flick through the Nations first. Empire is a setting where 10 nations have united (to an extent) for their greater defence, culture, magic, etc. Which Nation you are a citizen of (Marches, Urizen, Imperial Orcs, etc) has a strong bearing on a lot of other stuff. There are also Facebook groups for the players of each nation, who are happy to discuss, suggest, and offer stuff to you.

Once you have a character, you will likely want to join a group within your nation. Playing solo is difficult, especially as a new player. A group will give you somewhere, in and out of character (IC and OOC) to chat, hang around with, and do stuff with.

The games of Empire are over a long weekend, from Friday afternoon/evening to Sunday afternoon. Logistically and OOC, it’s a weekend of camping. Do you have any experience with this? IC, it’s a seasonal meeting of the great and the good (ha-ha) of the Empire, come to discuss and solve the issues of the day, involving Senate meetings, Conclaves of Magi, lots of trading, auctions, duels, skirmishes, quests, a pair of epic battles, and a goodly amount of drinking around campfires.

I can also reccomend this video:


Hi there!

Others will surely expand on what I have said much more than I ever could, but in the simplest sense, LARP generally entails immersing yourself in a certain setting for purpose of fun and enjoyment. EMPIRE LARP does this in a specific setting - one that I am sure you have read some about as you have said. You dress up, camp for the weekend and marvel at the impressive nature of the site.

My main piece of advice is to have a look across the nations and see which one takes your fancy the most - this way the flavour of the character, whether you go for a magic user or elsewise can be partially built already by existing traits/archetypes of that group. This will hopefully help you make a start.

As for magic, there are, as you have noted, different types.

In the purest form, there are those characters that have the Magician skill - which you can select when creating a character on the Profound Decisions website. This opens us the magic side of things to you, leaving you with options of how exactly you want to apply it.

At the base, you get three spells which can be cast using mana and with appropriate roleplaying (what is appropriate is often how you deem fits with your character). You can learn further spells too, which can either be regular spells for general use, or offensive spells for battle - more info here.

The next side of things are rituals, which are tied to the various Realms of EMPIRE (Day, Night, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) - different options will be available with each choice.

Magic can also take the form of items created by Artisans (another skill that can be chosen at character creation). I won’t go into that too much, but more stuff can be found here.

Ultimately I can only echo what Geoffrey has already said - don’t try and read everything, get a base understanding of a few things via reading, asking questions here (and asking when at an event - people love to talk!) and go from there!

Now, re the magic users…

you can divide the magic in Empire into two categories:

Personal magic, and Ritual magic.

The Personal magic is something you’re likely familiar with from some D&D settings: you have a store of personal mana, it refreshes daily (or with help), and you spend some of this to cast spells. Spells include offensive spells, such as REPEL, and non-combat ones such as HEAL. They may take a few seconds of roleplaying (often chanting or singing or praying or whatever) to cast.

The Ritual Magic is, functionally, pestering the magical realms and paying them crystallised mana in exchange for favours. This can be as small as (This guy gets an extra hit point or two) or as big as (On the campaign map, this army is reinforced by 3000 Faerie Knights).

The Realms are Day, Night, Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter. Each has a different flavour and style, their own bunch of powerful beings (known as Eternals. You may find it helps to think of them as Elemental Lords? They are NOT gods). Each has their own lineage (a human physically affected by the realm of Spring may exhibit Briar lineage, for instance, and look a little bit like a dryad). And each has their own specific lore for dealing with them.

So a mage with Summer Lore 2 (bought in levels, for character points, and buffed by various things), can cast Summer Rituals up to magnitude 2. Note that’s only Summer, none of the others. You can buy multiples, but specialising is likely a good start. He might have a single ritual Mastered (“I am an expert in this one…”) and that allows him to cast it at magnitude 4.

The ritualists tend to be grouped together to cast big rituals with as many buffs as possible. This is a numbers and organisation game. If you’ve played D&D, you know this can be damn tricky…


"Now we’re all bound into this one coven so we can cast this together. There are 6 of us, we all have Summer Lore 2. We’re standing in the Magic Circle (aka Regio) that grants us all +1 effective Lore. So that’s Summer Lore 3. And we all have this one mastered, so it’s at magnitude 6. So that’s 6 x 6 for a 36 magnitude ability, the ritual is magitude 35… we can do this! We now need to practise this, as it’ll take a while, find a huge pile of crystallised mana, and get to the Regio for our slot in time… "

…okay, got carried away there. :smiley:

Anyway, it looks fiendishly complicated, it’s not. Would you like some links to relevant bits of the wiki?

Have a look around, and feel free to ask questions on anything!

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So the different Realm Lores, in basic and as someone who is not an expert:

SPRING - Vitality and life, growth, savagery, chaos. Spring magic urges growth as well as decay, indiscriminate in its empowerment of life.
SUMMER - Majesty, nobility, strength. Summer magic carries people on to glory and adventure, and tries to look good doing it.
AUTUMN - Trade, craft/artifice, travel and communication. Autumn magic is prudent and often careful, calculated, to increase prosperity and maximize profit.
WINTER - Entropy, hunger, fear, wisdom. Winter magic is harsh and unforgiving, often bringing about direct suffering or endings.
DAY - Knowledge, divination, mastery, force, perfection. Day magic tends to be scholarly, in open pursuit of knowledge and perfection.
NIGHT - Obfuscation, transformation, emotion, intuition. Night magic is secretive and sensual, hiding things as much for the art of doing so as for the practical benefits of the shadows, while also asking for passion and emotion in people.

Again, these are my own slightly biased and skewed views of the realms of magic, if they catch your eye, trust the linked page over my brief impressions. I’d advise you to look at the actual rituals available to each Realm and consider what sort of magic you want to do - bearing in mind that Empire is very much a group system, and Rituals with big numbers attached will need multiple mages.



I can’t help with Empire specific stuff, as I’ve not yet been to Empire.

however, I have previously done LARP using both homebrew rules and Mind’s Eye Theatre rules.

The best advice I can offer, in terms of coming into it as a completely new player is:
There is a learning curve and you’ll constantly be amazed at how good everyone else seems to be…but at the same time, just remember that LARPers are very much like cosplayers and other groups which do costuming.
We’re all giant nerds who still like playing dress up and playing at being knights/wizards.

That aside:

~ Being in character, especially if you’re looking at playing with a modification of body language and personal spacing, for extended periods can be tricky.

~ Start people watching and paying attention to how people space themselves if you’re struggling to try to figure out how your character presents themselves without speaking

~ I’ve found playing characters which contain exaggerated variants of my own personality quirks makes things easier, but I am a very lazy player.

(And also feel the urge to note that my first ever LARP character was something from a friend who said “I don’t want to LARP alone, want to play [incredibly detailed brief about character] who’s my twin?”…so, I ended up playing a character who I would never have written up for myself.)

~ Remember to take time out of the character’s headspace.
Playing in LARPs can be 100 times more intense than just playing a table top, for a number of reasons.

~ Don’t get too lost in costuming your character.
A good costume can make a character shine, but it’s also super easy to become focused on just having the perfect costume/make up.
Some of the most memorable characters I’ve played opposite have had very little in the way of stick out costuming, but I can remember because they were portrayed well in actions.

~ You are not your character.
It’s a stupid thing to remember, but you may find that your character/someone else’s character make choices/does things (within reason) which you would find normally abhorrent because that’s what they’d do.
You are not your character, and just because you play that choice does not reflect on you the actual person.

~ Have fun.
Like, yes, in character can be super srs bisnss…but at the same time, it’s a game. It may end up with moments of in character frustrations, but it’s for fun.
Moments of levity can be absolutely fantastic.
(This is why the group I’m going with has a standing conversation about our Spire llamas and an ongoing tradition of teaching small children how to make nets)


Good advice there. A note on the Empire costumes:

Whatever you wear, there will be someone there who makes you look awful, and someone there who makes you look awesome.

“The costuming is aspirational” Or to put it another way, everyone is a work in progress. Everyone can improve. Everyone is improving. And your costume, whether you made it yourself or bought it off the peg or found it in a charity shop, is as valid as the magnificent and sumptious outfit worn by that lady who’s been doing this sort of thing for decades…

You can ask for advice, and you will get it. You may be offered suggestions, and maybe even bits of costume (“I have outgrown this, this was for a previous character, free to a good home”). This is fine.

But no-one should be leaning over and saying “that’s a bit rubbish, you couldn’t afford better?”
At this point, complaining about them is perfectly valid. We try to be more supportive than that…

There are photos on the wiki etc, of wonderful looking people looking great in awesome outfits. Those photos are the top 1% of the thousands taken, over many years, of people who’ve spent years if not decades pouring time and money into this hobby.

We all started off in a basic outfit, and improved from there :smiley: