Sell me on...Varushka

This week we’ve reached delightful tourist friendly Varushka in our new player tour of the Imperial Nations. What would you tell new players to try and convince them to play in Varushka? What’s cool about being Varushkan? What does the nation give you that others don’t? What are some of the cool bits of the brief that people might miss? What are some of the lesser explored niches in the Varushkan brief? Also come and post some cool pictures of Varushkans looking awesome in their kit.

So how would you sell me on playing in Varushka?

Sell me on… The Marches | Varushka | The Brass Coast | The Imperial Orcs | Dawn | Urizen | Wintermark | The League | Navarr

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No doubt we’ll get plenty of posts about how Varushka is spooky and friendly and a single family etc. so I’ll leave that to others.

But let me mention the OOC issue of the camp plan (as the new camp planner)…

If you walk into most nations they do not seem to have an active centre. Dawn has its Glory Square, which is no doubt very central at certain times, but empty whenever I’ve been. The League is built around a central plaza. etc. Around that centre there are many groups, each with their centre hall/guild/chapter tent, with their sleeping around it; but effectively spread across the whole of the nations camp space.

But Varushka has a national hearth. There is usually someone around that hearth most of the time. It is a more “living” centre.
Then around that hearth, no more than a few paces are all of the group tents. Each vale’s main tent either faces onto the hearth or is just a few strides from that. All of the sleeping tents are then set back in the rest of the nations space. This design was very consciously put in place by my predecessor.

The effect of this, in my mind, is that the nation has become closer knit. (but maybe that was the hearth magic of us weaving ourselves together during the Festival of the Loom). Varushka is one nation that is made up of many groups, rather than many groups than make up one nation (hella subtlety, but I know what I mean).

This has other advantages. It can be intimidating walking into a group’s tent/area, just to say “hi”. Doing so at the national hearth is less so. It belongs to no-one in particular. It you sit there, whether you are from Varushka or not, it will not be long before there is someone to talk to and/or something interesting happening nearby.

To me, this is an OOC thing put in place that reflects the fact that IC Varushkans support each other out of necessity. We are all cousins, so we have one big family fire.

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For me I like to play down the creepy/horror aspects. Sure every vale had it’s wolves and sovereigns, but in general the vale survives and they’re just another fact of life you need to be cautious of.
If you want to be the calm voice of reason while everyone else is running around panicking about the latest monster, plague, invasion that’s threatening the empire then Varushka is for you.
Or go for the understated approach of casually dropping into conversation how your sect was horribly mauled by a group of wolves, before carrying on like it’s just a fact of life.

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Addendum to my previous comments: All of this makes Varushka a particularly good nation for lone players without a group.

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If you are a lone player then joining Varushka automatically makes you a cousin to all of the vales there. You can walk all around the Varushkan camp and greet everyone as ‘cousin’ without the worry of learning peoples names right away.

Varushkans have a very family orientated background, bound together by shared horrors and nightmares. We are dour on the outside and steadfast in battle, but we freely offer hospitality to anyone who visits our camp (which puts the onus on the guest to behave, shapeshifters are one of the many creatures we have to face).

This is also held together by things like the vastly important camp warding at sunset to keep nasty stuff outside; striding around the camp with any noise making stuff you can get your hands on provides a shared purpose and the opportunity to meet people from other vales. Once the warding is complete we drop our dour exteriors and light up the night with story telling around the national hearth, feasting and drinking; daylight is for work, night-time is our own.

Varushka is, in short, a stark mix of contrasts; day and night, work and play, dour and friendly, wolf hunting and group responsibility. We are there to provide a family, to be be lectured by the Wise who will explain why you did something wrong (but will offer you food and drink whilst they are doing it), and to provide protection and receive protection in turn.

Come for the hospitality, stay by killing things from your deepest nightmares.

Oh, and we never, ever step off of the Path.

Welcome cousin.

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Others have covered the welcoming / community sense well. For me its not just community but a real solid sense of nation. There is despite the disperate groups with a wide variety of sovereigns, history and aims but we will ALWAYS come together against external threats but its more then that - we cooperate well and easily on natioaln projects in the Bourse or armies the feel of Winter/Night Market. But with shared meals at hearth and storytelling etc… it really is bound together, whereas (from my persecptive) other nations feel more like groups who live in same area. Varushka (as Drakov often says) is family.

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Everyone has already brought up so many things I love about varushka, but I’ll throw my two pennies in anyway!

For me, Varushka feels like stepping into the pages of a folk tale. We are the stuff of fairytales and fables, of cautionary tales, baba yaga and brothers grimm. The rest of the Empire may think us superstitious, but we know better. It’s all real.

Our shared experiences bind us. When we have all come face to face with danger, horrors and loss, we all have something in common. It makes us strong and pragmatic, but it also makes us appreciate the good things, the little things. When the sun goes down and the work day is done we embrace merriment and joy, and knowing it might not last makes it all the more precious.

In short, come to Varushka for the dark, magical, folksy atmosphere that runs through everything we do. There’s nothing else like the first warding on Friday, all coming together to march and sing and chant to kick off a weekend full of fantastical spookiness.

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Speaking as someone who hasn’t played Varushka, but has monstered against them, I think the impenetrable Varushkan shield wall is a pretty big selling point.

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