What is the most useless-to-you in game item?

I’ll preface this by saying that Empire’s game design is solid and I really appreciate all the hard work that went into it. The game team do a great job.

However, since no game vision survives contact with the players, there’s always that one item that just winds up as clutter.

What’s that item, for your character?

The militia?


Interesting thought. It’s partly “what do you not really USE” and partly “what do you not see the use OF”

And having flicked through the various things and the various characters I’ve played, for me it is:

…the entire in-game religeon, including the Synod and assemblies.

Now, I know that for a lot of people, they’re great fun and add depth and immersion and the chance to rant IC. But I’ve never really engaged with it. Never been particularly interested.

I’ve learnt about it, and incorporated The Way into how I play my characters, because a LARP character should believe their own religeon…

…but the only time it’s made much of a difference to me was the Yaelite Schism… when my IC brother was facing execution for heresy, when the Royal Tourney split into a three-way, and the armies started having penalties working with each other…

…and (metaphorically), I looked up from the campaign map and shouted at the Synod “You got religeon in my military LARP!”

Religeon. Nothing but trouble, and most of the time, just nothing.



There are some really interesting magic items that I rarely see in the field- the obvious one is the old Maggot’s Talon that got removed from the game. There is some good reasons for this, for example I also rarely see Triumphant Blades, Dawn’s Glory and weapons that give hero points simply because there are cheaper ways to get hero points. In a similar way I have never seen anyone use a Circlet of Command. The one thing I really wish was used a lot more are the Banners - because banners look amazing, give great roleplay, and do some really cool things.

1 Like

Weapons that give hero points are nice as they stack and to be honest, they are cheaper than rituals. Plus if you have a +1 hero point sword, it’s a transferable fuel tank for any PC.

I’d agree that most of the banners are pretty useless because they pay a high “scaling cost for having Big Numbers on One Thing” penalty. The Banner of the Bold is awesome as it’s a cheap stacking Hero Point on a cool item. The others are so expensive that you might as well make your standard a Banner of the Bold and also make a set of equipment for the banner-bearer. Banners already have a high cost of “you have to carry this bloody great flag” so unless they have a really huge resource discount, you may as well stack other magic items on your banner bearer.

For example, a +5 Mana Banner (Celestial Sigil) is 58 resources. At that price you can:

  • Give your banner bearer +4 Mana off an Ashen Mantle for 31 Resources.
  • Give them 2 Swift Heals a day off a Blood-Dimming Tide for 18 Resources.
  • Give them a Banner of the Bold to carry on top of that pile of magic items.
  • Give them a Bondring to let their bodyguard use Stay With me on them.
  • Have some resources left over.
    The x/day items are even worse as they can’t be recharged unlike Hero Points or Mana.

There are a whole bunch of Magic items which seem a bit niche or badly costed to me but thanks to hanging around some tradery types ive heard orders for all kinds of them, so there are often folks interested more in the RP or prestige of an item rather than its pure mechanical efficiency.

The Big one for me is, as above, Banners, which continue to be hilariously overcosted to a remarkable degree whilst also being pitched at the crowd most likely to worry about pure mechanical efficiency. I mean you are typically losing a reliable fighter for these and they still cost the earth!

Which is a shame because more banners on the field would be awesome.


I have got you all beat. And I carry a Triumphant Blade for the extra hero point. :slight_smile:
Most useless item by far: the Scrivener’s Seal. An Artisan item that costs a rather chunky 22 resources. And what does it do? It lets you cast Create Bond without spending personal mana. That’s it.
A spell that every single Magician on the field can cast. That replicates something artisans can trivially do for free. I’d think it was a bad item if it cost zero resources, let alone twenty two.
What makes it worse, one of the artisans in my group took it at the first ever event, and was adamant that it was a great choice. So many good items available… and this piece of junk.


I have never disagreed with something so hard in Empire ever (to my memory, which is to say I undoubtedly have, but forgotten)

The Synod is the spiritual game, but moreover it’s the “hearts and minds” game of the wider populace of the Empire. It represents the mood of the populace that no other political structure in game does. You cannot just create and Statement of Principle and expect a penny when it passes with a Greater Majority. It needs to be in line with the culture you’re presenting it to, that creates more emphasis in game of cultural reinforcement and I love that.

I find it frustrating that those who decry it who are in the “military game” seem to want something that doesn’t exist. I find the “military game” that incorporates hearts and minds, religions and factionalism far more immersive. A military game with just stats and numbers is an easily solvable puzzle. Add in what the Synod offers then the game is far more enjoyable. The friction between armies is I feel one of the more enjoyable and realistic elements of the “military game”. It doesn’t matter one jot that two Generals get along famously, the rank and file do not like each other and do not approve of their methods. That’s fantastic.

Furthermore. A deep annoyance of mine in the “military game” is the decrying of friction between armies. Well. The armies have improved solely through the Synod. The Dawn, Hounds of Glory gaining Indomitable Glory as a cultural ability. The Marches armies gaining ability “Shoulder to Shoulder”, one of the most powerful defensive abilities in game, The Drakes enjoy the popular support of their people meaning they increased the size of their army at a cheaper rate (meaning it was possible. The Strong Reeds are able to stall an enemy advance on their own with no casualties thanks to the Synod.
Yes these come with restrictions, those same armies cannot give orders that are against their cultural bias. Simply decrying these things ignores so much complexity in the Military game that is quite enjoyable. For someone playing a strictly lay religious person with no true interest in the Synod, then that comes down to talking to priests, I can say having played a priest for a long time a lot of our SoP’s that caused game was from talking to lay players. An example - Wintermark players in field hated the cruel tactics, or murdering people on the battlefield, not all of them by any stretch, but there were plenty enough who didn’t like what other nations were doing on the field, then some priests in Wintermark ran with it (myself included), which gained further popular support (not universal by any stretch) and it was caught upon as this was matching the cultural structures of the culture. That lead to Wintermark having a rift with Varushka through the Synod, the Brass Coast having similar, which Varushkans pushed back on leading to the current set of circumstances. That also lead to Wintermark and Brass Coast gaining their cultural army traits Heroic, Daring and Far Sighted, which are awesome.

So yeah, “Synod interferes in my military game” is absolutely right, it does, but so does human moral and beliefs, and that is what it is, people not robots. Interacting with the priests of your nation may have positive results*

*I don’t mean interact with all the priests of your nation, that’s getting involved in the Synod game to a degree I don’t think people should if they don’t want to. I mean have a priest who will run away with things and create ripple effects.


That’s a heck of a reply, and the sign of a good game (and game mechanic) that it inspires such passion!

…but I think you missed the qualifiers on my post. I am not interested in engaging with the religeon side of the game. I do not play characters (at the moment) who do so. Therefore it is of minimal-to-zero USE to me.

It’s great, it adds character and culture and flavour and humanity to it all and so on.

But I don’t find it (by which I mean the Assemblies, synod, and their activities more than the beliefs) interesting, and it doesn’t impact me in anything other than rather indirect ways. I’m not in “the military game” either, I just like reading the Winds of War and speculating at the campaign map. I didn’t even know half those army attributes you carefully quoted and linked… I hadn’t noticed one way or the other…

I think I am playing a shallower game than you, but I’m happy doing so, and you’re happy doing your thing, and we can disagree on this.

I like Empire as it is, but “most useless-to-you game item” means finding a flaw, something you could most easily live without. Which is like picking your most superfluous body part…

Now, turnabout is fair play, so what’s your answer to the title?


Wyrmstone mortar or Escarotic Cauldron. For the price of the seven materials you need you can just buy in the herb that gets replaced.

1 Like

No worries, I tend to give more expansive replies - one for the person I’m replying to and one for someone reading the thread and potentially interested in various aspects of the game, hence links and the like.

I saw that you mentioned your not interested in the “Synod” game, i.e. assemblies and the like, that’s fine, I wasn’t trying to suggest otherwise (you could not pay me to go to a full Conclave session). More I was trying to point out that playing a character with religion does impact other peoples game that do play in the Synod. I also get twitchy on the meme’y behaviour of people not liking the Synod online, so I’m a bit sensitive on it.

To expand to my point on Wintermark, Synod, and Military, my point was that everyone that influenced that had zero interest in the Synod game itself, rather they had individual round he fire/in the bar/wherever conversions with priests. The game is so in depth that those characters having a casual conversation with a priests had a ripple effect; expanding into an area those military players have no interest in, then circle back to an area that was of interest in an “oh cool” moment. In that particular case, it was militarily interested characters saying something they didn’t like to priests, literally just complaining to a friendly ear, that being picked up upon, politics happens, Synod stuff, then suddenly unbeknown to the military characters with zero Synod interest, their opinions have circled into spheres of the game they have no interest in and back out again. In that way, while having no direct interaction or interest in the Synod, the Assemblies etc. etc. that has positively influenced their game.

It isn’t limited to military either, it can be someone saying “why can’t we use our extra crops to help the refugees?” or “I wish we didn’t have to do X”, these things, fly out, gain traction elsewhere then circle around again

Basically I was arguing that if you have a character with religious belief*, having interactions with your groups priest or another priest you enjoy rp’ing with, it can have unexpected, interesting and effective impacts upon your game that you never see the inner workings on, and that’s a good thing.

*I share the opinion that all characters need to believe in something as everyone everywhere believes something and so makes a more believable world.

1 Like