I have decided to go LARPing for the first time ever and Empire is going to be my first. I will likely be going on my own though, and will be trying to meet people on site and try to find a group to join.
I would like to go either Varushka or Highguard but as a 22 year old Dutchman, Im feeling a bit nervous about if I will find people that are my age in my nation.
Maybe this is a stupid question but, what do you estimate to be the average age of players at Empire and how many people are there in nations like Varushka or Highguard? (Bigger nation means a greater chance of me finding a fun group)
Firstly, welcome along, to the hobby, the game, and these forums!
I don’t think you need to worry too much about finding other LARPers in their early 20s. This is vague and based off recollections of last time, but we have two small peaks in our age distribution at Empire:
Late teens/early 20s, and late 30s/early 40s…
I can think of a couple of groups in my nation (Dawn) made up mainly of those aged 22ish.
There’s a fairly wide demographic on the field though, from the children aged 6+ to the white-haired veteran LARPers aged 60+. I don’t think you’ll have an issue there.
As for numbers, well, I think we’ll be getting an influx of new players next event, but last event I’d put Varushka at about 120 players, and Highguard at about 200 players.
Finding a group of folks in the nation you’re interested in ahead of time is a great idea: even if you never join them, it’s someone to talk to, connect to, do stuff with, on the field.
There are national boards as part of these forums, and each nation also has it’s own Facebook page. If you announce yourself there, I’m sure you’ll get plenty of folks willing to show you round (and recruit you). Given the amount of new players expected, you may find another group of people planning to go along for the first time, so you can meet up and jump in together!
Links to the relevant FB pages:
and if looking at Varushka, you may find this of interest too:
I’m a member of Varushka - we’re actually one of the smaller nations, but that’s still quite a lot of people. (Empire as a whole game is HUGE.) We definitely have people your age, and a number of the groups have people of a range of ages, so you should be okay if you choose to join us.
I’d definitely recommend popping into the FB group to say hello (if you’re on FB), as Geoffrey suggests. A lot of groups prefer to meet people in person before recruiting them, so that they - and you! - can decide if you’re a good fit for each other, but you’ll be able to start making connections either way. It’s also a good place to ask any nation-specific questions you might have, though you’re welcome to ask here too of course!
You say you’re deciding between Varushka and Highguard - what is it about each that attracts you? Maybe we can help you come to a decision
One of the trends we’ve seen in the last 3-4 years has been a surge in new players who’ve heard about Empire via YouTube videos. They’re in the main a lot younger than us old fogies So yeah I wouldn’t worry, there’s loads of people around your age playing or about to start playing when the world lets us.
Nation size wise, it’s difficult to be precise without numbers from PD but the nations are very roughly (bigger to smaller):
Highguard, The Marches, The League
And the last time we have numbers from PD (2019) Varushka was 159 and Highguard was 232.
BUT there’s been a lot of new players who’ve been wanting to come along since the last game ran and they’ve been able to. So I’m expecting a large influx of new players in all nations next game, whenever that is .
So I wouldn’t worry about there not being enough people to find fun with in either nation.
The new player team run intro sessions on the Friday of a game before time in, if you get along to that you should get introduced to your nations Egregore. In game they’re avatars of the spirit of the nation, but Out Of Character one of their jobs is to make sure new players get involved and have a good time. These sessions are also really good for meeting new players who are starting in your nation. Teaming up with people in the same position as you is usually a good move and actually something I’d recommend over joining an existing group.
You can also find groups and put yourself out there by joining the nations FB groups as mentioned above. Getting an introduction online and then trying out whether you get on with people at the game is pretty standard. But also just turning up and wandering round introducing yourself to people on the field can also work quite well. I know my group in Highguard don’t recruit people we don’t know, but we’ve picked up a few people in game after they’ve hung out with us for a game or two.
And yeah like @Triska says what do you like about Varushka and Highguard (she plays in Varushka and I play in Highguard )? Ask us anything you like.
(Also that’s given me an ideas for some forum threads…)
Thanks for the replies so far! This has been much more informative than scouring the internet for answers haha,
Good to know that there are plenty of people my age at Empire. That makes it easier for me to blend in and find people I enjoy spending the weekend with. I’ve also made a throwaway FB account (Im not on FB) to check out the groups that people linked and I will definitly attend the new player meeting!
As to why I am leaning between Varushka and Highguard, the attitudes that these nations seem to have are very similar to my go to DnD archetype that I like to play. My characters tend to be all about being vigilant of danger and having the skills to deal with them (Varushka), but they also take a lot of pride in their work and are all about leading by example (Highguard). I think I would do fine in both nations but I am currently leaning more towards Varushka because of the Grimm fairy tale aesthetic.
It definitely sounds like you’d fit into either nation then!
If you have any questions about playing in Varushka (or Highguard), feel free to pop them in the relevant nation category, or yes the FB groups, or pop me a message for the former if you prefer We’re here to help!
Disclosure: This post will be done with my bias of being a Varushkan player.
You will find that every nation of the Empire is friendly, so if this post seems I’m saying X is friendlier than Y, then that’s not what I meant.
Varushka and Highguard have very different feels to each other.
Highguard seems to be one of the most “group based” nations (to me as an outsider). It is made up of Chapters. These groups look out for each other and each acts has a central hub/camp.
Varushka has its groups, but there is a very prominent central hearth fire. The whole camp is centred around it, and it is rarely unoccupied. This makes it very easy to get involved with the nation as a whole without actually joining a group.
With full biases showing, I feel Varushka is probably one of the better nations for a lone player.
As for age, we are all friendly. Varushka has people of all ages, including a goodly number of older players. Older players often appreciate younger players who are prepared to run around doing some leg work on their goals. i.e. Getting to know some old knackers may be a good “in” on some plot. And I certainly enjoy RPing with people of all ages.