Skill choices

Hello, all,

I’m a old LT and Camarilla Larper, and I’m looking at having a go at Empire this year on the recommendation of several friends. My question is thus; what skills go well together, and perhaps more importantly, what skills go really badly together?

Thanks,
Myke

What sort of thing do you want to do?

Skills tend to affect different areas of the game, and as such there are few skills that won’t “work” with one another. They might not assist with the same focus, but that just means you are broad rather than deep in a given field.

Having said that there are skills which are fairly counterproductive to stack:

  • Ambidexterity, shield use, weapon master. You’re unlikely to want to ambidex if you are using a shield, save for a rare occasion when you might get the shield shattered and pull a second weapon. Ambidex fighting has basically only one perk - there are some magic weapons that come in pairs, which have particular effects. Weaponmaster + ambidex is more or less pointless as you will either be using a two-handed weapon or polearm, or ambidexing (again, I suppose you might carry two backup weapons? but a buckler + weapon is just as easy).
    Weaponmaster + shield use gives you one combination that is opened up - the one-handed spear - which in conjunction with a shield is quite nice, so that is the exception. And the benefit is that if either spear or shield are shattered, you can swap to a backup weapon, or swap to a two-handed spear grip. I suppose theoretically you could do ambidex 1h spear + offhand weapon but I suspect that would be quite unwieldly!

  • Weaponmaster and offensive spells. To deliver an offensive spell you need an Implement; so a spear or greatsword won’t cut it. Mage Staff (soon to be combined with Mage Armour into one 2-pt skill) is the way forward if you want reach; otherwise use a 42" rod (and consider shield use, that’s quite nice!).

I’d say that’s about it really, the skills are very simple so in most cases inadvisable combinations aren’t possible (since you have pre-requisites in place). If you have any particular character in mind people might be able to give more advice!

To be honest there’s nothing ‘bad’ on the list (especially since Mage Armour and Mage Staff are now one skill that costs 2pts) it all really depends on what kind of character you want to play. I’m less fond of Thrown Weapon, but that’s mainly just to the practicality and the fact you end up losing stuff like throwing axes, Javelins still look very cool to fling though.

The fact the you can wear whatever armour you’d like, use a sword and a small shield for no points makes anyone a character who can take to the battlefield.

So what kind of thing do you want to get up to at Empire?

I’m currently looking at taking Artisan and Physick. Not non-com, but not a warrior or caster. My big concern with this combo is the potential need for 3 personal resources to fuel the skills.

It could make it tricky, but it depends on things like the rest of your group’s resources and how much you want to get involved in trading. As an artisan, you’re generally going to have to do at least some trading as most items require more than one material.

If I was going for that combo, I’d probably take the herb garden. That way I’d know that I could definitely use my in-field skills and could then concern myself with getting crafting materials once I was there.

Hi Myke

Artisan/Physik could work, but as said might be dependent on group/your ability to trade like a crazy person, I’d also second that Herb Garden would be a preferable choice of resource. If you do go from that mix, maybe look at the magic talisman Phial of the Sun profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Phial_of_the_Sun, nice and characterful way to bridge the gap and can be one of the magic items you make for your first event.

The only things that could in my opinion be considered ‘bad’ choices would be hero points or mage and additional mana without the additional calls/spells to use them.

Ian/Theo

To be honest, the skills seem well put together… with the “useless without X” skills all gated behind their Enabler and the Enablers (Hero Points, Magician, Devotion, Chirugeon) all having virtue in and of themselves.

  • Hero Points can always be spent to roleplay resisting an unwanted roleplay aura… so they have value even without a Heroic Call to spend them on.

Extra mana isn’t great without an extra spell, though… I’ve never run out of mana with just Detect magic, Open Portal and Create Bond.
Other things to watch out for are incompatible fighting styles… like taking Mighty Strikedown without having Weapon Master. :wink:

Artisan and Physic is a solid combo, agree that Herbs are the way forward: at a 0-support level you can use your uptime skill and then Artisan some of the 0-cost options. If you’re running solo or nearso, you might want to look at having more than one 0-coster, so you can keep yourself in (say) weapon and armour.
There aren’t too many 0-cost options for using Physic… but if you have another group-mate with a Herb Garden then take a source of Ambergelt, Weltsilver or Beggar’s Lye, trade them to get enough for a Phial of the Sun and shill that to your mate for a chunk of his herbage. :wink:

Artisan/Physik make sure you have an apprentice item you really like the sound off, so if you don’t end up with resources it still doesn’t seem as much as a waste.

You may want to consider the Fleet resource, instead of a herb garden, mine or forest:
It can give you a mixture of the less common herbs and artisan materials and by changing ports it’s possible to vary this mixture between events.
To get the most out of it you are still going to want to trade to get full effect, but it gives you resources on both sides of your build and you could probably trade for some true vervain either off another member of your group or find an apothecary.
There’s one port that gets you 3 weltsilver 3 beggars lye and 6 herbs which would be an obvious option if you took the Phial of the sun.

If your in a military focused group, you would be better off with a herd garden, but alone or in a more down timey/magic group a fleet has advantages.

Also Weapon master is a pre-req for mighty strikedown.

[quote=“McGonigle”]You may want to consider the Fleet resource, instead of a herb garden, mine or forest:
It can give you a mixture of the less common herbs and artisan materials and by changing ports it’s possible to vary this mixture between events.[/quote]

I keep forgetting Fleet as an option… feels like an RP choice to me, but a very interesting and versatile one (even before you look at rituals).

You got me there.
It’s not in the skill description, but one of them funny marks on the table labels it clearly. Darn.

Fleet also has the chance to ‘get you in trouble’ if you go trading with the Barbarians rather than raiding them as a proper Imperial Citizen should :slight_smile:.

It also lets you hire people like this to do cool rituals on your fleet.

I disagree. Without herbs, physic lets you repair limbs and treat traumatic wounds, along with preventing bleeding, and restoring lost hits when off the battlefield. Minimal investment in herbs can then add excellent bonuses for speed, along with treatment of venom and weakness.

To be fair, artisan free items are also amazing. But it’s probably a bit easier to trade some spare materials for herbs than vice versa, so I suspect if you want to use the costly parts of both skills you’ll do a little better by taking materials. But consult with your group.

And a fleet is never really a bad choice because of the sheer flexibility.

Agreed with Tea that mine/forest/fleet is looking more useful with physik than herb garden.
On an easy trap to do, picking all your mastered rituals is a terrible trap which is easy to fall for. Pick only a minimum you are sure you and your coven will cast and then learn the rest in play

[quote=“tea”]

I disagree. Without herbs, physic lets you repair limbs and treat traumatic wounds, along with preventing bleeding, and restoring lost hits when off the battlefield. Minimal investment in herbs can then add excellent bonuses for speed, along with treatment of venom and weakness.[/quote]

I’d agree there - as a Ritualist and Physick I naturally have a Business. This does mean I need to buy Mana to be able to do Ritual magic (which is fine so far) and when I can get hold of them Herbs are great, but the other options are pretty good too. I also have healing magic though, which does help.

I’d put my vote in for avoiding putting Artisan and Physick in the same build. Yes, you can trade for resources on the field, but trading for enough to really get the maximum mileage out of each skill is trickier.

Physick is a fantastic skill (after the first year of play I can’t recommend highly enough just how useful it is or how much fun some of the surgeons seem to get out of it), but IMO it works best when you have plenty of herbs.

Artisan is an OK skill. I mean, I love the things it makes and all, but I always figure some other dude could make them for me. Plus there seem to be loads of them about.

On balance, my personal preference would be to take Physick because it makes all sorts of fun, then spend the other points on some skills which don’t need resources. Magic is great, as are many of the Heroic skills. Even for a non-combatant you might like having the security that comes from having Unstoppable, or the joy of shouting at people that comes from Stay With Me.