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Best Anorak Wearer: Matt Pennington

Overview

Plot is the biggest department in Empire, as it incorporates all our NPCs, our plot writers as well as characters like the bards, egregores, civil servants and magistrates and all the back room operations crew who work in costume and make-up. We've broadly split the deparment into three core activities, creative, production, and personnel. We need lots of people to help us fill out all these roles, so if you're interested in getting involved in the IC side of Empire then we're always keen to talk to you.

At events, the plot department is housed in the monster tent, a giant white marquee at the back of the crew area - and the small plot tent situated next to it.

PD Management

  • Matt Pennington

Matt is the member of the PD management team with overall responsibility for everything that happens in the plot department - if you have a problem then Matt is your next port of call if the people in charge of your area can't sort it.

Creative

The creative side of plot is the plot team, a group of writers who work with Andy Rafferty and Matt Pennington to develop the plot that happens at the events. Being part of the plot team is more than just writing, members of the team are responsible for ensuring their plot runs at the event, by liaising with plot logistics to ensure everything their plot needs is sorted and that their NPCs are briefed and debriefed.

If you're interested in joining the plot team, then the starting point is to read our plot style guide and then sketch out one or more plots that you would be interested in developing. Once you've done that you can email Matt to discuss your plot. If we like your plot idea, then we'll help you to develop it and run it at the event.

Andy Raff is the head of the creative side of plot, overseeing anything involved with writing or the actual content of a plot.

Production

Plot production incorporates all our vital support crew, the people who choose, sort, and create the costume, the people who do the same for make-up, props and SFX. It includes the people who do any event by event set-dressing (so dressing encounter tents and the battlefield). The creative side of writing plot is handled by the plot writers team but all the logistical issues involved in creating and running plot at events, bar human resources, are all part of plot production.

Leah Tardivel is in charge of plot production - supported by Dhiamara Coulson running the costume, Rachel Durrant running the props, and Vicki Stephenson running the makeup.

Costume

  • Sourcing kit for plots before the event
  • Providing costume for all our NPCs
  • Managing the kit wardrobe at events
  • Team Leader - Dhiamara Coulson

The costume team dress NPCs and get them ready for encounters. The team use their knowledge of the setting and the PD wardrobe to dress NPCs for roles they are about to play, including the player volunteers for the battles. They also help them to change after an encounter and ensure used kit is put away. At the end of the event they help oversee packing away the plot room away and separate any kit that needs cleaning or repairing. The costume team also work before the events helping to plan and arrange new kit creation and purchase in preparation for upcoming plots.

Props

  • Sourcing props for plots before the event
  • Managing the prop store at events
  • Team Leader - Rachel Durrant

In addition to boxes of generic props, we have large numbers of unique props for specific game items - such as the Empress' Crown. The Props team help to keep these props organized, so that they are available when needed. They also work to source props between events and give advice on the availability of unassigned or generic props in the existing store.

Make-up

  • Applying and removing make-up and prosthetics for all our NPCs
  • Team Leader - Vicki Stevenson

The makeup team are essential for any roles that require make-up or prosthetics. These include orcs and characters with lineage, but they also include eternals and their heralds. The makeup team plan complex make-up arrangements in advance so that convincing effects can be created quickly in the field. They also help player volunteers don and remove make-up before and after battles. The make-up team work before the events helping to plan and arrange new make-up and prosthetic purchase in preparation for upcoming plots.

Personnel

The majority of the people in the plot room are NPCs, volunteers whose main responsibility is to play NPC roles throughout the weekend. The NPCs are divided into three main groups, described below. You don't have to be a member of one of these teams to play a role, we always need more NPCs so crew who want to take a break from their existing duties and play some roles are always welcome.

Bethan Charlton is in charge of plot personnel - and in particular the NPC team. If you need NPCs for a plot then she is your first point of contact.

Field NPC Team

  • Civil Service Team Leader - Kate Forster
  • Egregores and Bards Team Leader - Clare Evans
  • Magistrates Team Leader - Jon Creek

We have a number of NPCs who play a single recurring role based in Anvil throughout the weekend. These roles are highly specialized with a clear focus on providing support and assistance to the game and the players. The civil service support the main political structures of the Empire, providing logistical support to the players to run the Empire. The magistrates operate the Empire's legal system directing the player militia as they follow up crimes that have taken place. Our egregores are based in the nations themselves with a remit to support the feel of the nation and encourage the roleplaying in the camp. The bards of the Three Refrains are based from a tent in the centre of Anvil with a remit to visit the nations as they need. Each group of NPCs has their own team leader.

Plot NPC Team

  • Playing NPCs on the field
  • Playing eternals and heralds in off-field encounters
  • Team Leader - Bethan Charlton

Our NPC team play the roles that have been created and written by the plot writers that happen on the field and in the Hall of Worlds. Members of the team may portray minor Imperial NPCs, eternals and their heralds and representatives of other foreign or barbarian powers.

When you join the Plot NPC team, we'll ask you for some details about the kind of parts you are comfortable playing, as well as the parts you'd like to play and the parts you'd prefer not to play. This helps us build up a picture of our crew so that we can try to give them the parts they will enjoy at events.

Skirmish NPC Team

  • Running NPCs on quests, skirmishes and battles
  • Team Leaders - Andy Connell

Our skirmish team are the dedicated crew whose responsibility is to bring to life the battles, skirmishes and quests that the players choose to fight. There is a great team spirit among those who enjoy being part of what is effectively our monster faction. We aim to run all our fights using IC leadership and commands, so there are a range of roles for people.

Many members of our NPC team enjoy a good fight, but if you are writing a quest that involves a fight with a significant number of combatants, then you will need members of the Skirmish Crew to bring that to life. Andy Connell is the team leader who can provide you with the people you need if given enough advance warning.

Further Reading