What Is A Player Required To Know?

Is there anything that is required to know off by heart, other than your characters personal details? I also have a bunch of other questions. Sorry in advance for the list.

How much should I know about the in game religion, other than the absolute basics?

Are the “This nation is and is not” lines hard and fast rules, or are they mutable?

Is there a “The story so far” summary anywhere? I know that it all kicked off with the death of Britta, but what’s happened in game since then? Are the “Winds of fortune and war” that?

What would a good character and background be for someone who is new to both Empire and LARP in general?

How customizable are the nations different outfit styles? As in, would specific designs of boots or jerkins be frowned upon?

Why are pistol crossbows not allowed?

Would it be better, as a new player, to pick an archetype? Or would that lock me out of potential roleplay opportunities?

Would it be best to make my first outfit, or to buy it?

Is there a bestiary of all the non human creatures in the world of Empire? Spanning everything from trolls to wolves?

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Is there anything that is required to know off by heart, other than your characters personal details?
I’d probably say the 5 things for your nation (You don’t need to quote them but you should have a really good concept of them.), probably how your skills work*.
If you plan to go into combat, the combat rules

*Although many artisans, apothecaries, priests and ritualists just have some notes on their skills and you will never need to use them in sufficent hurry that you can’t refresh your memory.

How much should I know about the in game religion, other than the absolute basics?
My spiel for new players is generally “We don’t have Gods, Reincarnation is a fact. There are 7 virtues, following the virtues in life helps get you through the Labyrinth” Maybe have a look at the virtues and find one to follow,

Many priests are happy giving religious instruction IC, and it’s always something you can learn more about after a first event.

Are the “This nation is and is not” lines hard and fast rules, or are they mutable?
Ideally you should aim to stick as close to the nation brief as possible. I would generally say that the this nation is not are pretty hard and fast, some of them are to support the OOC Diversity policy or health and safety and others not following them might get your character executed as a religious heretic.

Is there a “The story so far” summary anywhere? I know that it all kicked off with the death of Britta, but what’s happened in game since then? Are the “Winds of fortune and war” that?
Not really, Empire is a big and complex game with large numbers of plot threads floating around at any point and I don’t think any character on the field knows about the ‘Whole story.’
The winds of war are basically the course of the wars that the empire fights, and reading all of them would give you a fairly good idea of the history of the military campaign. That being said I can imagine them being far too much information for a new player.
Winds of fortune are a selection of some of the more obvious plots that would be effecting the next event, and have a small section on resolution. The Winds of fortune have the advantage that they are tagged by who they might interest, and it’s easier to read a few of the previous ones that are relevant.

Reading the Winds of War and Winds of Fortune for the event you are going too is probably a sensible balance between getting an idea of what is going on and information overload. (If anything is confusing, write a note of it and try to find someone in the field who can explain it.

What would a good character and background be for someone who is new to both Empire and LARP in general?

How customizable are the nations different outfit styles? As in, would specific designs of boots or jerkins be frowned upon?
It’s hard to talk really generally about this, it is good to be clearly of you nation, both on reinforcing the setting and also it helps on the field. It’s easier to play around with things if you have an idea where you might be confused with another nation. Some bits of the brief have and amount of flexibility, but there are some hard and fast lines. If in doubt come back and ask about the specific style that you are thinking of.

On footwear, Historically authentic shoes are good, dry comfortable feet are far better. Honestly as long as you aren’t wearing glaringly modern footwear no one is going to take issue.

Would it be better, as a new player, to pick an archetype? Or would that lock me out of potential roleplay opportunities?
Firstly if you mess up any part of your initial character, in your first event or two PD will be really accommodating of you changing it.
Secondly aside from the first 8 exp, until you spend exp it is attached to the player not the character. So it’s fairly easy to retire a non fun character to play something you think might be more fun.

With that in mind, aside from turning up without spending any exp and the apprentice skill. I would strongly recommend picking a suitable archetype. They are often full of little things to help you catch the character of that nation, and describing yourself as a Vate or a Weaver is far better than describing yourself as a ritualist, and in some cases might open up bits of the game.

Is there a bestiary of all the non human creatures in the world of Empire? Spanning everything from trolls to wolves?
It’s not exhaustive but have a Bestiary link

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Would it be best to make my first outfit, or to buy it?
Depends on if you’re very comfortable with a lot of sewing or not. A lot of basic “close enough” stuff can be customised out of modern clothing if you have minimal sewing skills. One of my friends used modern shirts with the collar and pocket cut off as a Marcher base layer.
Check out the £30 kit challenges here:
https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Costume_advice

Why are pistol crossbows not allowed?
Although PD don’t say anywhere, there are a few decent reasons. Crossbows are fantastically powerful, and that’s balanced by their bulk. Pistol crossbows don’t look as good. And also there’s “removes the temptation to use them as a point-blank weapon”/

How much should I know about the in game religion, other than the absolute basics?
Which of the seven Virtues is most important to you and why? (This is on the Citizenship test for kids and is a good idea for adults creating a PC too. Gives your PC an example of Virtue to live up to)
Who is your favourite Paragon or Exemplar?
What are the Religious Crimes? As a layperson you aren’t expected to know the difference between heresy, blasphemy and idolatry. You are expected to know they’re all bad and you shouldn’t do them.

  • Don’t worship stuff.
  • Don’t say anything is more important than Virtue.
  • Don’t go teaching doctrine unless the Synod approved it.
  • Don’t take the piss out of Paragons.
  • Don’t say Virtues are bad.
  • Don’t say Hate, Anarchy, Vengeance, Hope, Peace etc are good. We have 7 virtues, no more, no less.
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Well backstory wise yes the Winds of War and Winds of Fortune for the most recent event, plus the summary of what’s happening now are a good place to start. They’ll be a full Winds of War and Fortune up before the next event and if you want to read back through the others look for the one’s relevant to your nation and the whole Empire.

Rules - the useful bits to learn include the wiki sections on Calls, Combat, Safety, Playing the game and the section on Conduct. Then any other rules that are relevant to your skills.

Archetypes don’t matter so much, they can help you get a grip on your character and where they fit in your nation but they’re not vital or anything.

"Five Things about a nation" and “What they’re not” are pretty much the core of the brief for each nation, so no they’re not that mutable. What kind of thing were you worried about on this score?

For costume, depends on which nation you’re going for. Some like Wintermark, Varushka, Navarr and Highguard can be served with a simple tunic which is relatively easy to make. The colour scheme, trim (which is easy to buy and sew on) and decoration is what makes them fit each nation. But you can pick up trousers, shirt, a belt, a tunic and say a hood as headgear and it shouldn’t blow your budget. Once you’ve picked your nation I’d start a new thread to ask for specific costume tips and answer any questions you’ve got regarding their look and feel. It’s best to try to stick as close as you can to the nation brief, but there’s plenty of options when you’re just starting out so you don’t break the bank.

Boots wise, just get yourself some decent walking boots, I normally suggest army surplus combat boots and if you want to make them a bit more IC search for “swiss army gaiters” on ebay as you’ll be able to pick up some leather boot covers for £10-15.

Religion - this page is a good summary: https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/The_Way
Have a read of the virtue pages and pick one or two that are your favourites to learn more in depth. Also have a read through some of the Paragons and Exemplars: https://www.profounddecisions.co.uk/empire-wiki/Paragons_and_exemplars pick some that are of your nation or favourite virtue to know a bit about. They’re good to have arguments about IC about who’s best ;).

Hope that’s helpful :slight_smile: and don’t panic, people are very helpful on the field and refs + your egregores and the player support team will steer you right.

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Worth mentioning that you’re allowed to say things like “I hope you come back safe” to someone heading through the Sentinel Gate, in regards to the false virtues. You aren’t going to get priests calling you a heretic for that sort of thing, unless they’re really bored.

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Thanks for the answers guys, this all helps immensely.

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Oh, the desire to play a bored priest suddenly rising.

To repeat the above: Good Sturdy Wa Shoes are a must. You will be up and about all day, so comfy, hardy shoes are a must. Pack 2 extra pairs of socks to go with.

2nd Remember to eat. I’m terrible for this and end up skipping meals because i’ve been running about.

Costume: Tbh, If you turn up to your first event in very basic kit (plain black trousers, simple hero shirt ect), no one will look twice. You may not stand out as a citizen of X nation immediately, but it will get you started. Then at your next event you now have a pair of trousers that match you brief better and a cool swanky hat (A sure fire way to get into character) all the better. There is a culture for “Aspirational Costume”. You will see full length dresses and hand stitch robes and fancy embroided pieces. No one expects you to have these, or to get these straight away if at all. But we all try and make improvements from event to event and thats all that is really asked for.

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Do not worry about your character making mistakes. It is expected that your first visit to Anvil will be confusing and disorientating for the character too.

You are not going to get in big trouble for making mistakes about the religion. At most, a priest might spend some time talking to you about it, which can be fun for you both. To actually get executed you’d have to spend a very long time deliberately going around teaching other people to follow a False Virtue or something - not a thing you would do by accident.

As for your other questions, is there a nation which appeals to you? That’s generally a good place to start for the outfit & character. All of them can be good places to begin.