The short but unhelpful answer is your character is free to know anything on the wiki. Fortunately it is entirely reasonable not to. However, below are what I consider the things I would really not want to enter play without knowing a or a backstory explaining why I don’t.
Remember, these posts are things to help YOU with character creation if you don’t know where to start, they are not things I will come and quiz you with on the field and be Very Disappointed if you don’t know. They are because I remember being new to fest LARP and these were the sort of things I felt awkward when I didn’t know about. And also some new players have asked for help along these lines.
The current Empress is Lisabetta. The previous one was Britta, everyone liked her but she wasn’t actually on the Throne for long. Before that was…I can’t remember off the top of my head and that’s never been an issue. However, feel free to look up https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Historical_Thrones and see how far back you think your character would remember.
The religion is the Way of Virtue. https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/The_Way There are seven good virtues, and some bad ones. Worshipping gods or anything else like that is bad, although you may revere very virtuous people rather like saints (especially if they’ve been declared an Exemplar or Paragon). I’m an experienced player who has engaged a lot with the religion game and when asked to list them I usually manage 6 then get stuck for a bit. However, if you can name one virtue of interest to you that’s enough to look like a good virtuous citizen. If you are dedicated or playing a priest, each virtue has a “Guidance on the path” section with 5 key points about if. If you can’t remember anything else, remember or write down those. I would not recommend a priest of The Way (i.e. not specialised in one virtue - a slightly confusing term as it could also be used a generic term for all priests but it’s not actually meant to mean that) unless you want to memorise a lot of wiki, there isn’t really a short cut for that.
Look up the page on your nation. If nothing else, remember the “Five things about…” list and you should be fine.
As well as a nation, you will have a home territory. There will be a list of these on your nation’s page under the “Teritories” link at the bottom. It would probably be useful to know if it has recently been a war zone. If this has happened, the territory will have a “Recent history” page explaining what happened and when. There might be other things of interest in there too.
There is a rather daunting list of Imperial titles here: https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Current_Imperial_titles Other than the Empress, nobody is going to care if you don’t have a clue who’s who. I am a massive wiki nerd and I’ve memorised about 1/10 of that list, which is probably well above average. The obvious next one to look up is your senator. Beyond that is quite role-specific, if you are a mage you might want to look up the Grand Master of your Conclave order and the Archmage of a realm you have ritual lore in. If you are religious your Cardinal and maybe Gatekeeper and Inquisitor would be good to know. If your character background is that you just got back from a war front, it could be some nice fluff to decide which army you were with and look up who the general is.
Finally, there’s a good summary of how the Empire works here: https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Empire_overview
If you are stuck on remembering all the virtues, there is a simple kids round to help you here:
It’s only got 2 lines, and the first letters of the first 7 words remind you of the virtues.
It also sounds really cool as a multi-part round!
My general advice here is know the basic 5 things, and then find the specific bits for your character. If you are playing a Dawnish magic user, being able to talk about witches or Guisers is probably useful. There are two ways I’d go about this:
One way of doing this is look at the Archetypes page (Ignore every nation but yours) and see which one fits your character and read that page.
The other way is look at the Economic, Military, Magic etc links from the main nation page.
After that being vaguely familiar with the Hearth magic and Culture and Customs page might be my next suggestion. (You can definately get away without it, but it will probably explain things other players are doing, and these are the pages that can really turn a nation into seeming more alive (at least in my head.))
Once you have picked you nation, and home territory. Take a look at the winds of war and winds of fortune for anything thats been going on. Are you from Spiral? Well things have been busy.
In the Mournwold? Be grumpy
Are you a Varushkan? Well, orcs may be grumpy at you about the Iron Helms.
And so on…
You don’t need to know it all. But knowing what is going on in your area is useful as this stuff has being happening over the last 3 months.
The Orcs are still pretty grumpy with the Varushkans about the whole “working their grandparents to death in the mines” thing. The Iron Helms are just icing.
The basics of the Orc slavery & emancipation should probably be on this list.
Learn the phrase ‘I’m new to Anvil, can you tell me…?’.
I was skipping that one as it could be a bit of a spoiler
As well as the things mentioned already, I would add some more basic stuff about the Empire and the wider world/universe, e.g.
- The Empire is made up of ten nations (nine of humans and one of orcs).
- Magic exists and is useful.
- There are six magical Realms (other worlds).
- Each has its own denizens, of which the most powerful (“eternals”) cannot visit our world but their “heralds” can.
- Each has its own flavour of ritual magic that you can learn. Ritual magic uses mana crystals.
- Some humans are touched by the magic of one of the realms: they are “lineaged” and this affects their personality and appearance, depending on the realm (e.g. horns, gills, strange coloured eyes etc.)
- Society is blind to gender and race within a species, but there are attitudes and prejudices related to realm-lineage and to species (orc/human).
- The Empire is at war with several external nations (orc and human) and has various degrees of diplomatic and/or trading relations with others.
- At Anvil there is a magical gateway (the “Sentinel Gate”) that lets people go off for a battle hundreds of miles away and return a little later the same day.
- Coinage made of steel: there are twenty rings to the crown, and eight crowns to the throne. The coins are made of steel so they are cheap for the Mint to make.
- There are some special materials that artisans use for making magical items. The materials come from mines and forests.
- There are special herbs that physics and apothecaries use to treat ailments and to make magical salves, elixirs etc.
- The civil service and the magistrates are incorruptible. The militia might not be.