Character Creation – Empire LARP

“The Empire LARP system is based in a world of nine culturally distinct nations. Each nation has its own culture and customs but they are politically and legally unified. Although the players are all fundamentally on the same side there is a rivalry between nations, with players competing with each other to lead the Empire and achieve their own goals.”

You can create a character for Empire by visiting their character creation wizard.  We can break this character creation into four main sections, these being:

  • Nation
  • Territory and Resource
  • Skills
  • Background

Nation

One of the first parts of character creation in Empire is deciding on a nation. There are several factors that may impact this. These including what type of character you want to play but also what nation people you may already know are playing in. This is important as while you can go and visit other nations freely the nations normally camp in their own areas. This is also important as groups can only comprise of individuals from the same nation.

There are ten nations in Empire all with their own unique premise and background. Below is a breakdown of this:

 Nation
Description
The Brass Coast
  • All things can have a price. The Freeborn believe the fairest way to reckon the worth of something is to put a price on it.
  • They crave adventure and excitement. None more so than their corsairs who are the terror of the high seas.
 Dawn
  • Nobility is an achievement, not a birthright. Nobility is vaunted in Dawn, but it is a nobility of spirit they admire, not a title that you inherit.
  • Glorious in victory, proud in defeat. The Dawnish relish a challenge. Those more skilled present an opportunity for glory by defeating them, those less skilled offer you an opportunity to demonstrate your prowess.
 Highguard
  • We made the Empire. The First Empress was Highborn. She pulled the scattered human nations together and enlightened them to the true faith.
  • Only actions are virtuous. Thoughts and feelings are never virtuous or vile. It is only the actions that you undertake that demonstrate your worth.
 Imperial Orcs
  • We are citizens. We won the right to be part of this Empire and we are proud of our place in it.
  • War is in our soul. Fighting is spiritual and it allows us to hear our ancestors.
 The League
  • Coin counts, and everything costs. This is a land of conspicuous consumption where wealth is power and nothing worth having is free.
  • Everything is on show, like a mask on your face. Bold, flamboyant action is the best way to publicise yourself and your services, but nobody confuses the mask with the real thing.
 The Marches
  • Land matters above all else. Control and ownership of the land influences every aspect of Marcher life, most especially politics and magic.
  • Governed by consent. They choose their leaders. Marchers are led not ruled, everyone is born equal and respect is earned not demanded.
 Navarr
  • Actions have consequences. The Navarr take the long view; they are often magnanimous and see their actions in terms of the effects they will have in years to come, not just today.
  • Tread carefully in wild places. The Navarr are vigilant to the dangers of the world they travel through.
 Urizen
  • They study magic as the highest discipline.
  • They live their lives by reason. Rationality and logic are the tools with which they pick apart the secrets of creation.
 Varushka
  • Respect your elders. The old possess wisdom that you will need to survive here.
  • Prepare for difficult choices. Often the only choice is the lesser of two evils.
 Wintermark
  • A hero has a name. We prize individuality; your name is the beginning of your story.
  • Three tears entwined. The three peoples of the Wintermark are indivisible; they live together and fight as one.

 

Each nation has its own customs and traditions. This means that depending on which nation you choose your character’s background and appearance will drastically differ. To make sure your character is ‘on brief’ you should check the nations page.

Character Example: For this example we'll be selecting the nation of Dawn for our character.

 

Territory and Resource

In Empire each character has a home territory. As well as a territory each character will also have a resource. If the territory is lost the character’s resource will be affected.

There are opportunities in the game to buy new, upgrade or change resources however at character creation you have a choice between nine resources.

Choosing a territory will depend on the nation you chose as characters can only reside in territories of their nation.

Resource
Output
 Business  Produces 9 crowns and is used as part of specific nation elections.
 Congregation   Produces five doses of Liao and provides 10 votes in the Imperial Synod.
 Farm Produces 9 crowns and is used as part of specific nation elections.
 Fleet  Can trade with foreigners to produce items or money or engage in privateering to produce random resources.
 Forest  Produces ten units of one rare material that are used by an artisan to make magic items.
 Herb garden Produces fourteen herbs for use by a physick or apothecary.
 Mana site  Produces seven crystallised mana for use in spell casting and rituals.
 Military unit  Can be used to enhance an Imperial army or engage in paid work to produce random resources.
 Mine Produces ten units of one rare metal that are used by an artisan to make magic items.

 

When choosing a resource it is important to keep in mind both your own background as well as your groups and weigh up which resource you think fits best.

Character Example: For this example we'll be choosing a Military Unit for it's ability to enhance an imperial army. This being as this macthes the background for our character of a Knight.

Skills

At character creation in Empire all characters have a pool of 8 points to spend on skills. There are varying disciplines that skill points can be spent on. At character creation, you can spend up to 8 points, however, do not need to spend them all.  If you do not spend any points you can use the Apprentice Ability which allows you to act on the behalf of someone else who has a skill. This is best suited for children or individuals who are not sure what type of game they want to play. You will also gain a skill point for your first and third event of each year.

In Empire there are six main disciplines that you can buy skills from.  The full list of skills can be found on the Empire LARP wiki as well as on the character creation wizard. These disciplines cover:

  • Combat Skills – This covers being able to use items like shields, two handed swords and throwing weapons.
  • Heroic skills – These skills allow you to expend hero points to achieve game effects.
  • Magical Skills – Skills relating to battle and ritual magic.
  • Crafting Skills – During the downtime between events, you may craft up to three magical items using rare materials that you have in your possession.
  • Surgical Skills – These skills allow you to treat wounds of wounded or dying comrades.
  • Religious Skills – Religious skills allow characters to invoke and influence spiritual forces.
Character Example: For this example we'll choose: Shield for 2, Magician for 2, Summer lore for 1, Hero for 2 and Cleaving strike 1.

Background

When it comes to creating the background for your character, Empire requires you to answer several questions. To answer these try brainstorming on your character. You could use a flash card approach to achieve this.

Identity

This section covers information such as the characters: name, archetype, and lineage. In Empire, archetypes cover specific background types that are specific to each nation. These archetypes may define how your character dresses or how they react to certain situations.

Any character except for Imperial Orcs can choose a lineage at character creation. As well as the Lineage list there is also the option of being a human.  Lineages in Empire are similar to races in other LARP or RPG systems however these lineages do not necessarily follow the typical race tropes. These lineages include:

 Lineage
 Description
Briar The Briars are touched by the realm of Spring, an exuberant realm of uncontrolled natural forces dominated by green growing things that care not at all for humankind.
Cambion  The Cambion are infused by the realm of Autumn, a realm of naked ambition and intrigue where complex webs of wealth and influence connect the Eternals.
Changeling Changelings are touched by the realm of Summer, a realm of majesty and strength. They are proud, confident, individualistic people who know they are the best of the best.
Draughir  The Draughir are touched by the realm of Winter, a nightmare realm of hunger and death that nonetheless possesses hidden wisdom.
Merrow  The Merrow are touched by the realm of Day, a realm where sky and ocean merge. They are rational, calm, curious people.
Naga  The Naga are touched by the realm of Night, a realm of shape changing wyrms and winged serpents.

 

When it comes to naming your character you may want to choose a name that matches the nation’s brief. For example, when choosing a name for a Wintermark character you may want to choose a name with Norse or Celtic iconography, while for Dawn you may wish to go for something more Knightly.

Character Example: For this example as we are creating a DAWNish knight we have chosen the name Issac Hart, the Archetype Questing Knight and the lineage of Changeling.

Groups

In Empire, there are four main types of group that you can join at character creation or in the game. It is recommended to join groups of people you know. If you do not know anyone before coming to an event then you can use the Nation’s Facebook page or approach the group in character before joining.

 Group
 Description
 Banner
  •  The main type of group.
  • A banner may benefit from using a magical standard
 Coven
  •  A coven may combine their skills to perform rituals together
  • Covens can perform up to two rituals a day
  • A coven may benefit from paraphernalia
 Sects
  •  Members of a sect may co-operate to perform a ceremony.
  • A sect may benefit from using a magical reliquary
 Orders
  •  Magical Orders are political bodies. Each magical order has clear philosophies on the use of magic.
  • Any individual with the magician skill can join an order.

 

Character Example: For this example we will not be joining any of the groups and instead will take this as a roleplaying oportunity to perform in character.

Character Questions and Background

In Empire, Character Creation requires the answering of several questions as well as writing a brief background on your character. It is possible to not write a background here and completely depends on how you want to create your character. I recommend starting by brainstorming the character and building a background from there.  These questions will include questions like ‘What are your character’s main IC goals?’ as well as specific questions relating to your nation such as ‘up to 2000 characters of personal background for your character.

If you’re new to LARP and creating character backgrounds then check out our article on 12 Steps to Character Backgrounds.  If you’re interested in finding more out about Empire LARP then check out their Facebook Page.

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