Trying to avoid cliches and overused Archetypes

Hello there!

I’m new to this system/lore and I’m using the awful amount of time at home to design a character that I really wish to play with it someday at some event (free of deathly viruses).

But there’s the thing: I started constructing it based on a personality/activities that were on my mind before reading the Wiki or seeking the overall actual distribution of character in each nation. I had a general idea already and then I started to change and add bits of story and details on the costume to fit it to a nation/archetype/lineage.

I wanted a kind of mysterious character with some “divination” and wisdom focused skills. Kind, ambitious, and good, but also with some kind of darker secrets (a bit of heresy, maybe? still working on that). So I found that a Mystic Naga from Kallavesi tradition, Wintermark, would be a great idea.

But now seeing the forum I discovered that there’s a LOT of people from Wintermark already. Is that a problem? Maybe Winterfolks don’t need any more Mystics giving always their advice at Anvil. Enough advice already!

What do you think? What other nation/Archetype would be fitting?

Of course, I would have some “real” skills besides advice and divination. But I’m still thinking about what I like best/is more fitting: a magician, a surgeon, or some religious role (and put the heresy part aside altogether). If you have opinions on that as well, I’m open.

Here’s my drawing of the character costume:

Thanks a lot <3

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There are far more Steinr than either of the other two traditions. Kallavesi can always use more numbers, if you want to join Wintermark.

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I have never played in Wintermark, so can’t comment on how many of a particular archetype there are, but in general, Empire encourages you to play archetypes: the more people who stick closely to the brief the more the nation will retain its individual flavour. Never be afraid to play to brief!

Wintermark is massive, that is definitely true, but equally folk remain in Wintermark so they are probably having a good time. :slight_smile:

Varushka would be another nation to look up: they can be mysterious as heck.

In general I would avoid secret heresy in your first character. Either nobody will find out and you’ll never get to roleplay with it, or folk will find out and either try to convert you, shun you, or get you executed (depending on your level of heresy!). That might be fun, but it will be short-lived and/or quite lonely. Maybe keep that idea for character two once you’ve got a strong handle on the religion game so you know how to subvert it. :wink:

Playing an orthodox priest doesn’t mean you have you agree with other priests (we can disagree about anything if we try hard enough), but it means you get to play with the full priest game (which I love, so I’m biased) as well as having an excuse to get your nose into other people’s business.

Final note, the costume image looks good but remember that it gets cold at Empire (except during the occasional sunny daytimes at summer events). Make sure you have options that you can layer underneath, especially on your bare arms there. The cloak is good though, you can never go wrong with a cloak.
A key naga trapping is scales on your forehead, they are an easy way to show your lineage (although when I played a naga in Varushka I put my scales on my cheeks because otherwise they would have been smudged off by my hat).

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Hello and welcome to the game and these forums :smiley:

Kallevesi Naga sounds good. As others have said, the Stienr are the substantial majority in Wintermark, the more Kallevesi the better.

On the other hand, with a bit of tweaking, your “Mysterious good-hearted diviner” could fit into a lot of other Nations, including Varushka, Navarr, the Marches and even Dawn (which can always use more meddling weavers).

About your other skills, there are plenty of options. Surgeon (Chirugeon + Physick?) will make you many friends, give the option of playing about at the Hospital and with various herb props and bandages. Religeon will get you into a lot of cheerful discussions/arguments, and give you a basis for giving advice. Especially if you picked an unusual Virtue for Wintermark to espouse (Prosperity?). Magician… ah, if you don’t fancy Battlemage as a route, you could get a lot of play looking at some of the ritual magics. How do you fancy ceremonial magic rituals with a group of chanting mystics? :slight_smile:

Character costume looks great! As mentioned, the site can get quite muddy, hence the fashion for “Anvil cut” to cloaks etc (cut to mid-shin, not to ankle or floor). And the option to wear something warm underneath can be a lifesaver (A white shirt under the black, and/or thermal underwear under that?).

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What kind of diviner are you thinking about being? Are you going to be casting runestones and reading the patterns in the flames, or are you taking the magician skill and casting divination rituals? Both are totally cool and provide lots of cool game to people, but the later is mechanicaly supported and “actualy” lets you divine.
Here is a list of the divination rituals. They range from giving historical information about a place, about an item, seeing details of a place’s history, giving greater insight into magical effects, and 2 that let you see vauge portents of the future.
How much do you know about the magic system of Empire?

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Additionally if you’re going medically inclined you could be an apothecary and make use of Goosewhisper Infusion which gives strange and prophetic visions.

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It’s a great concept, don’t worry! I’m a kallavesi mystic. There are about 20-30 of us at an event. A big enough group to actually get plot pointed at us (though we’re usually hanging out with our own halls). Your kit design looks great :slight_smile:

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Thanks a lot <3 Those were great feedbacks/word of encouragement! I’ll have a love of time to work in this concept - unfortunately - and you helped me a lot :heart:

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Thank a lot!

I was initially thinking about the first option, and would probably use a modified tarot with Wintermark symbols, since I’m pretty familiar with the cards. But if I get the magician skill, I would go for the most mechanically supported one for as well.

I’m still digesting how rituals takes place and how they work in practice, but I think I understood the basics of magic of Empire.

Is there anything you have any questions about/is confusing?

I’m still in a place where I know there’s a lot that I don’t know, but I don’t know enough to be able to point it out exactly, if that makes sense haha

I will keep reading about everything and if there’s something I don’t get or is confusing I’ll ask here, this community is even more welcome then I imagined :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t worry about playing anything oversubscribed, it doesn’t work quite like that in fest larp. Oddly enough things actually work better the more people play the various archetypes. It reinforces the background of that nation and makes it real on the field.

Also the more people who play the various roles in a nation’s brief the more politics can happen around the concerns of that Archetype, you can’t really get different factions of mystics with proper disagreements, about say the meaning of visions, unless you’ve got the numbers :slight_smile:.

Divination wise, may I direct your attention to the marvelous Journey Deck designed by Tony Porteous with art by Steph Morris, Chris Rowland and Paul Duffield. It’s a great Tarot deck designed specifically with Empire in mind.

And as people have said Ritual Magic, Battle Magic and Religion are all things that go great together with “doing mystic shit” ;).

I can also heartily recommend Religious Politics (allied with but different to doing Religion via skills) which you get involved with by taking the congregation resource. You get to vote and raise judgements in the various assemblies of the Way which can have huge effects on the world of Empire. It’s also quite chill politics compared to say wizard politics (Conclave) in that you do it by wandering to the civil service Hub a few times a day, having a look at the Judgements on display, noting down the numbers of the ones you’re interested in and then going to register your vote. Possibly chatting to a bunch of priests who want your votes while you’re around :slight_smile:.

Hope that helps :slight_smile:

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I tend to find there are good cliches and bad cliches. Playing to the brief and being in line with an archtype will get you praised and noticed more than you will think. Rather than melting into the crowd you stand out as an better representation of the nation and its traditions.

However there are certain player made cliches that you don’t want to fall into. If you turn up carrying your dead fathers sword you will be laughed at.

My other advice would be if you want to stand out. Do go to winter mark, there are so many that it will be physically impossible to do something that hasn’t been done before. But it can be good if you want to Immerse yourself in their culture and brief.

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I respectfully disagree with this statement. Playing to the brief well makes it easy to stand out. In for one feel that the mystic/diviner side of the Kallavesi brief is under represented based on how culturally significant it is supposed to be.

If someone was to focus their game on this there’s definitely a niche to be filled :smile:

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Its entirely possible to do both! Casting a ritual requires usually about 2 minutes of “appropriate roleplaying”, what that is is left vague and can be almost anything. Drinking mysterious arcane liquids, breathing is dank smoke and reading Empire Tarot cards is peak Kalevese mystic.

TLDR
The only difference is that to have a mechanical effect you need to expend a resource called crystal mana and you can only achieve specific effects. These effects, or Rituals, have a magnitude, generally how powerful the ritual is. The more powerful the effect, the more fuel and magician power needed to power it. It is possible to cast rituals solo, but at a certain point you need other people to cast the ritual with you as the ritual is too powerful for one person to handle, this is called a Coven. The plus side is that a group of people can perform more powerful and impressive effects, the downside is that they can only do it twice a day. Solo casters are more restricted with what they can do, but they can cast as many rituals in a day as their hearts and feet can take :yum:

This is where ritual ranks come it. It represents how knowledgeable and capable your character is at casting specific types of magic. The higher this is, the bigger the magic you can do on your own.
there are six types, or Realms, of magic:
Spring
Summer
Autumn
Winter
Day
Night
Here is a general overview of them, and if you click on the emblems it gives you all the details of each. Autumn, Winter, Day, and Night have divination rituals but Day and Night have the most and most useful of them. Night divinations are weird and metaphorical and must be interpreted, while Day tells you precise facts. Day will tell you how many troops are in a territory, but it wont risk lying to venture a guess as to the future of where they are going next, unlike Night.

However, there are other ways of making it possible to do higher level rituals solo.
Mastering a ritual makes each crystal mana you spend on a ritual count as two, what that means is that a mastered ritual is half the cost and your ranks to cast that ritual are doubled. So, if you have two ranks in Day magic then you can do at max a magnitude 4 ritual.
Better, but still not high enough to do most divinations, let alone the decent and juicy ones. This is where buffing up your “effective lore” comes in. There are certain items, potions, rituals and places of power (Regio) that can make it easier for you to perform rituals. However, effective lore can only be 3 times your “base” lore.
So, in our Day lore 2 example; if you drink mind altering potions, wield a staff that whispers dark secrets, and get a ritual that lets you see time and magic, you can cast a mastered ritual by yourself up to magnitude 12 away from a Regio. Thats quite a lot of extra power! But, in Empire, diminishing returns are a big part of the game design so getting more and more effective ranks is expensive. Realm lore itself is also expensive, 1 rank cost 1XP total, 2 ranks cost 3 XP total, 3 ranks costs 6 XP total, 4 ranks costs 10 XP total, ect.

Final thoughts and ignorable suggestions:
If you want to go the full magic divination route, i would suggest the following starting skills:

Magician: 2XP (mandatory for any magic, also lets you be part of political wizard shenanigans if so inclined)
Day Lore rank 2: 3XP (puts some the best divnations in solo range with buffs)
Night Lore rank 2: 3XP (puts some the best divnations in solo range with buffs)

This gives a decent base, but you still cant cast the really good Magnitude 8 rituals solo. This is were the best divination buff in the game comes in: Crystaline Focus of Aesh. This gives you a +2 to ALL divinations in the game, putting you square in the range for the great Magnitude 8 Day and Night rituals with Mastery, and if you take a Rank of Autumn and Winter later on you can also cast some decent divinations with those realms too.
After your first event i would suggest Winter Lore rank 1. This puts all the winter rituals in range, especially the imminently useful Wisdom of the Balanced Blade because curses are prevalent and cool.
The Autumn divinations are a bit niche and underwhelming, but if you want to be completionist 2 ranks of Autumn lore will put all the divinations in that realm in range

Here is the problem, Crystaline Focus of Aesh is EXPENSIVE. If you take a mana site, the resource that makes ritual fuel every event, then you could only afford to have this done every other event and it would take almost all your money so no beer or cookies or trinkets.
So, here is my last piece of advise and i implore you to consider this one most of all even if you rightfully ignore the rest, find a group/ Hall! Groups in Empire are OP by design, the more people something has the better off it is exponentially. Im sure there are many groups on the field that would absolutely love to have a dedicated specialist diviner, especially those that go on a lot of plot quests/ skirmishes who want to not set off magical traps of get killed by preventable zombies. Or groups that deal with a lot of magical stuff in general. They could spread the cost around lots of people so that you could have plenty of resources to do your thing.
But, most importantly, it gives you other people to interact with, to generate lots of fun interactions and game for everyone, and maybe even friends OoC

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That was an AMAZING explanation. Thank you so much!

Sometimes it is difficult to see the big picture in the Wiki and how different aspects of something is interconnected.

The wiki is massive and a bit spread out so thats why i put the links to inportant info.
If you have any other questions or if something is still a bit hazy dont hesitate to ask!

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So I’d thought I would pitch in as someone who plays a divination specialist (now with considerable Winter and Day.) Winter/Day/Night are absolutely the realms I would be looking at, but I would look to heavily invest in one.

On the Crystaline Focus of Aesh build I’d be wary of relying too much on such an expensive enchantment, it really means you are looking for at least another characters worth of mana every event to sustain your casting, and that’s before you hit the mana costs for the rituals themselves and that is going to be a challenge for a new player.

The other danger of that build is that many of the divinations are very situational, you need to get yourself known to the right people. You will have a far easier time of that if you can reliably hit one realms rituals, than needing a Day Coven and 10 mana to be useful. (If you went Day or Night, investing in one potion for in case you need an 8 Mag divination effect, means you could realistically be carrying around that potency ready to use it.)

Specialising also will make you more appealing to covens (for casting group rituals) and you will likely have more slots free for things the group is invested in (you know 2 rituals per point of lore and the 2/2 build while trying to take all the Mag 8’s is going to give you very few slots free. The other aspect is I think there is a lot to be gained from leaning into the flavour of a single realm, this is also a trick to help be less of a cliche, because you will be adding interesting aspects of the realm.

So a Winter diviner is likely to put more focus on people’s experiences, while being dismissive of texts or books (as they may have facts but they don’t have wisdom.) Never sugar coating anything. While by contrast a Day diviner would be more logical impersonal etc.

Night: is definitely the most reliable realm, since you don’t need to find plot to cast https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Signs_and_Portents, although it’s less useful if you do find plot.
Day: If you can hit Mag 8 in Day you have an amazing selection of plot poking tools (Skein of Years of which since it targets an object you could cast in the anvil regio at rank 3 Day
Winter: Not the best, although wisdom of the Balanced Blade is a ritual that has provided me with a lot of fun.

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Feathers on the shoulder make it look Kallavesi, but fur instead might look Varushkan. Or with leaves or thorn patterns it could be Navarri (shadow look, and dark and red can blend in, particularly in autumn, but lose the feathers unless you recently came from Wintermark).

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