I know that combat is’nt a mandatory part of Empire and many people don’t participate and have a great time, but I still would like to give it a try to see how I like it. However, without knowing if i’ll like combat at all, I don’t want to invest too heavily into equipment for combat, like a shirt of chainmail and a buckler/shield. I’m a big guy so I can’t count on borrowed gear fitting me.
What’s the best way to give combat a try on a tight budget? Is it possible to have a decent time with combat with no armour and a one-handed weapon or would I just die immediately?
Monstering is your friend. If you participate in the main battle, you are required to portray the enemy in the other main battle of the weekend, known as Monstering. However, you can voluntarily Monster one or both battles regardless of whether your character is fighting. This gives you a consequence-free way to try out the combat system, as dying does not kill your character. As a result, you will be fine taking the field with no armour and a small weapon.
You’ll die, but then you’ll get back up again and give it another go.
Gotta second that. Also as a monster, you will most likely be assigned certain abilities like Unstoppable to keep you on the field, and there’s every chance some of the generic monster armour will fit you, just bring your own weapon. Plus, as a monster, you’ll have the chance to respawn, so you’ll have plenty of chance to get stuck in.
Also, volunteering to monster just makes you cool. That’s just true. Player characters can’t have big fun battles without other players monstering, and we know for a fact that sometimes players break the rule of “play one, monster one”*, so players who just want to try out the combat and voluntarily monster one or both battled are helping the game be fun for other people, and so should be bought drinks.
. * No judgement to people who genuinely can’t avoid it. Illness and injury sometimes happen at the worst time. Usually when someone plays a battle and then can’t monster they try to make up for it next event by just monstering.
Thanks for your advice! There was also a massive response to my question in the Player Support facebook group! Any other new players who want to see all the answers to this question can see it here: Redirecting...
@MoroSeth To unpack that a little …
Most nations will have people willing to practice fighting with you, in Dawn asking around and then heading into the Glory Square should get you some practice.
Wintermark I think have a set of drills, The Marches have bill block practice I think and I know if you ask around in Highguard you’ll find some people willing to lend you some gear and practice with you at the event. Once you’ve decided on a nation ask around online for what will be happening.
Also depending on where you are it might be worth asking around for local larpers to do some fight practice in a local park or common. Are you anywhere near London for example?
I’ll be joining Highguard and i’m afraid I live all the way up near Blackpool, so nowhere near London!
If you are turning up Solo find a group to fight with ask if you can borrow a weapon. Most groups will have a couple of weapons spare for some reason.
I play Barachel of Adina’s Charge, an Unconquered of Highguard, and will be bringing a spare weapon or two. I will also be attempting to organise some practice for the Spurs (previously known as the Small Chapters Unit), and will be delighted to help show you the ropes of basic combat.
Monster, monster, monster!
Do not underestimate the fun and the freedom that comes from playing a character who just gets back up again after dying. Most of the time, you will have a mask and so you don’t even have to worry about anyone blaming you if you mess up. I wouldn’t say that monsters are really meant to die, but it’s okay when they do, so you can try out a few things and not worry about being killed.
A couple of points people may not have offered:
- Make friends with a healer (we often gravitate to bloodshed) and wander the camps trying out everyone’s version of the Glory Square - I recommend the bridge duels in the League camp if they are running
- Watch sparring matches and drills and duels and glory squares to see how different styles work: a Highguard knight with sword and shield will fight differently to a potato person Marcher with a pike or a League bravo with sword and dagger (ambidextrous is a contentious topic right now though)
- Accept that death is a part of life and just embrace it - make a character who might be temporary and then reroll if they are not fun (PD will usually refund new players’ points after the first event or two if you ask) or if they die - save the complex plots and political shenanigans for MoroSeth 2.0
Highguard doesn’t have knights, that’s Dawn’s thing.
Highguard has Cataphracts, which are better/more virtuous. (Also Unconquered, but we’re harder to spot. )