Family Information

Getting Involved Costume Accessibility Booking Support Practical Concerns Facilities Supervision Safety Camping

Getting Involved

Empire offers a welcoming and inclusive live roleplaying experience for young participants. We want to bring them into the game, and encourage them to get involved without it being patronising. Rather than making them heroes from the outset, Empire offers children a chance to become heroes as they get to know the world. To make it feel natural we ask children to roleplay characters who are children while their parents play their parents or guardians.

Young players are free to roleplay with other players at the game and welcome to go anywhere in Anvil that you allow them to. In addition The Academy is a dedicated area that offers a range of activities for young players accompanied by their parents or guardians. It is set up as an in-character school, but one where characters are free to pick and choose the things they want to study. There they can practice combat, magic, alchemy, physick, or the virtues.

The academy is a great place to meet and roleplay with other young players. There are informal sparring and games alongside the formal sessions. There are field trips for students of all ages and those who are 11 can join the Imperial cadets to train for more dangerous missions. There is a sample timetable for Academy activities on the wiki.

Children of all ages are often very busy making and selling things around Anvil. Once they graduate from the Academy they become full citizens of the Empire. Many choose to remain involved with the academy but from that point on they will receive income and resources for every event they attend. They can also hold Imperial titles and get more involved in the politics of the Empire alongside other participants.

Young participants that are 14 and over can take our battle test, once you are happy for them to do so. After they pass the battle test, then they can take the battlefield and go on skirmishes and expeditions with other adults.

"In a world of mobile phones and consoles, Empire takes your child away from the screen, unlocks their imagination and puts them in the adventure. They stop being told the story and become part of it and they will want to go back time and time again."
Kev Sutton - Parent

Costume

Getting costume for young players is difficult, not least because young kids grow out of things so fast. Some parents make or buy amazing costume for their children, but all you need to get started is a simple plain tunic or something that will pass for it.

Practical considerations are particularly important for younger players. A tunic/cloak as an outer layer on top of a ski/puddle suit is great for very wet/cold weather events. There is always somewhere on the field that is muddy no matter what the weather is, and you'll be in the field all weekend, so bring as many changes of dry clothes as you can. Make sure you have enough layers to stay warm - as it will get very cold at night - even in Summer.

Boots are brilliant, but wellies of any kind are ideal for when it gets muddy while sandals or black school pumps are perfect if it's dry. While kit for children follows the adult guidelines, there is considerable lassitude for children, especially in wet and cold weather. Safe and warm is the first priority, so young children can wear trainers if they need to. Provided you try to cover-up any obviously modern clothes then you are fine to start playing Empire.

Once you get started you'll find that that are lots of other families who play Empire and that parents tend to be very supportive of each other. There is a lot of help and advice to make it easier to improve your costume over time - and sometimes costume gets handed-on when it's out-grown.

Accessibility

Children with SEND are welcome to attend Empire. Our team encourage and support everyone to engage with the game. We can't promise everyone will enjoy live roleplaying but some parents report that their child finds Empire's special environment provides a unique opportunity to get involved and have fun. If you have any questions or wish to discuss the game then please don't hesitate to contact us. There is an unofficial facebook group for players with disabilities to discuss relevant issues.

Booking

Everyone who attends Empire must have an account of their own. You will need to make an account on our website for each member of your family who is attending. Children's tickets are cheaper than those for adults. Once you enter their age, then the website will offer you tickets at the appropriate price.

Please do make sure that you fill in all the information when making the account. If we need to identify you or your children for any reason, for instance if one of you is lost, then we will use your booking information to help us do that. So it is important to make sure that you fill in as much information as you can for each account.

Support

There is an unofficial facebook group for parents who attend Empire with their family to share tips and advice to help each other. It's a fantastic place to get help and support - they helped us create most of the advice and guidance that we've laid out here.

"I love going to Empire. I want to turn people into mushrooms, be a sorceress and meet with my friends."
Charlie - Aged 7¾

Practical Concerns

Even during Summer events, Empire is often very cold at night, and keeping a young child warm is a challenge. Dressing in layers is advisable during the day as you can take layers off if you get too hot. Bring more blankets than you need and weather-appropriate camping equipment for the night. We recommend a four season sleeping bag or a good quality baby sleeping bag. And don't forget sunblock for when it's hot - it does happen! If you do get caught out at an event and your family are cold and wet then speak to us and we'll find somewhere warm and cosy for you to recover.

If you have a young child then getting about can be a challenge. A sling/baby carrier is great and a modern one is easily hidden with a shawl but practice at home first if you haven't used one before. The site gets very muddy when it rains, so we recommend you don't bring a pram to the event, as it won't cope with the mud. A wheeled garden trolley or festival wagon is a great choice and blends in wonderfully with the event.

There are lots of things for children to do at Empire, but it's still a good idea to bring some toys for younger children. Wooden or simple soft toys are perfect but young children are often very attached to a specific toy. We'd rather your children felt comfortable and reassured than worry that the odd modern plastic toy looks out of place.

If you have children with you, it's useful to make sure you have a way to get off-site at any time of day or night if things are not working out or a problem develops. If you need to leave the site unexpectedly we will do everything we can to help you but it will make things much easier if you or a sober friend with a car is on hand to sort transport back home.

Facilities

We are not able to provide dedicated support facilities for families at Empire events yet. You will need to plan for this if you have young children. For changing nappies, it's best to bring a waterproof matt and sacrificial blankets for your tent.

There are several caterers on site, providing a range of options, most of which are festival food. You can can bring a modern camping stove for heating food, but many of the food vendors will help out if it is urgent. They close at night, but members of our team are available throughout the event and can warm food in a microwave for you in an emergency.

We are a breastfeeding friendly business. We fully support your right to breastfeed on site anywhere and any time that is comfortable and safe. We use the same approach when we're in-character as well - so it's perfectly natural to see generals, senators and archmages breastfeeding during in-character meetings. You're welcome to use any of the benches and seating available in the in-character areas that we furnish. You can also bottle-feed anywhere you need to at the event. Don't worry that a modern feeding bottle doesn't look in-character. People make lots of allowances for busy parents and young children.

There are several toilet blocks scattered around site, but you may want to bring a potty or similar, to avoid walking a distance at night. Most of the toilets are the portable blocks used at festival and fairs. There is a set of steps to get in and the cubicles are narrow, and the locks can be fiddly. It's advisable to be sure your child can manage a visit by themselves. There is running water in the two blocks near the centre of the site, but currently only the in-character toilets have hot running water. We try to ensure there is alcohol gel and paper-towels in all other blocks.

There are standpipes for potable water and washing scattered around site. The hot-water showers are of a 'wet-room' type - the entire floor will be wet. There are hooks inside the doors for hanging bags/clothes.

Supervision

Children are a welcome sight at Empire and they can go with you anywhere in Anvil while you are roleplaying. That means you can take your family with you when you're attending the Military Council, the Conclave or any similar part of the game. The only restriction is that if your child gets overwhelmed for any reason and needs some time and that is disrupting the game for others, then we ask you try to take them somewhere quiet on the field where they can have some time with you by themselves in a way that won't disrupt the game for others.

If you don't want to get involved in Empire, you will need to accompany your child when they are roleplaying in the in-character area. That means you will need to have a costume - everyone who is in the in-character area has to wear at least a basic costume. If you want to blend in and not get involved, then the best way to do that is to make a simple character and have some basic costume - that way you won't stand out.

We want you to bring your family with you so everyone can enjoy Empire. Anvil is an amazing place and we're confident you'll have fun exploring it together. Just be aware that while there is lots for everyone to do, there are no cr&‚ÄĆegrave;che facilities on site. That means you must be responsible for your children at all times and you must supervise a young child throughout. Please see our guidelines for parents and age specific information on the wiki.

Safety

We encourage young participants to get actively involved and it is common to see children roleplaying with other participants. None-the-less, Empire is a large festival event with thousands of adult participants present. There are guidelines on our wiki that provide age-related guidance on the level of supervision we require. These provide a baseline level of safety. We support parents who want to adopt more cautious rules for their children's behaviour to do more to reduce risks.

When we find a child who has lost their parents at an event, then we put two adults with the child. We keep them somewhere warm and dry as close to their current location as possible, while we institute a search for the parents. We have a team of crew equipped with radios who can use the booking information you provide to track you down and reunite you with your child. If your child isn't able to provide their name to our crew, then you can make a wristband with their name on it for them to wear at the event. If you have lost your child, then you can contact any member of our volunteer team and we'll help you find them.

There is a first-aid tent on site staffed 24/7 by a professional first-aid service. This tent is opposite the Games Operation Desk where you check-in before you go into play. We also have dozens of volunteers equipped with radios wandering the site who can call the first-aid team at any point.

Camping

The Empire campsite is in two sections. The main camping field - which we call "out-of-character" - is for when people aren't playing the game. You can camp anywhere in the out-of-character camp and you can use any kind of tent you want. Most people who camp in this area use their camp for sleeping and for cooking meals and similar. People sing and celebrate to the early hours all over the site, but we do have a quiet area in the out-of-character camp if you think you'll need that. Please bear in mind that the out-of-character area is some distance from the game. This means that you'll miss more of the game as you must stay with your children once they go to bed.

The alternative is to camp in the in-character field. You can only pitch a tent here if it is suitable for the game, which means it isn't made from modern-looking fabrics. In-character camping can be great for familes, as it means you can carry on roleplaying in your camp, after you put your children to bed. A bell tent is a perfect starter tent for this, but they're not cheap so we actually recommend camping out-of-character if it's your first event.

There are ten separate camps in the in-character field, one for each of the ten nations. You must camp with your nation, if you're camping in the in-character area. Families are welcome in every nation in Empire, there is no specific nation designated for families or young players. You are free to pick whichever nation you want you and your family to be part of. If you're camping in the in-character area then let the camp planner for the nation know. If you you tell them you are coming with your family, then they can assign you a suitable spot.

"I really like the Larp equipment, like the kite shield and wing sword. I like that they let you camp, and I love that there's a whole town. And also, the Imperial Orcs is a bit scary. But I think I can manage it now."
Benjy - Aged 8