Lord Gilderai, Questing Knight of House Rondell, with allies from House Dromond.
A questing knight often gathers companions to help them overcome the challenges they face.

Overview

In Empire it is possible for characters to formalize their loyalty to each other by creating a band. Bands draw on the hearth magic of oaths combined with magical bonds created by magicians to allow members to use certain skills, rituals and items more effectively on each other. For instance ritualists who are part of the same coven (a type of band) can combine their skills to perform more powerful rituals.

Bands are intended to build on the characterisation of the group concept that you have created for your characters. They are there to recognize and support the choice to act as part of a Dawnish noble house, a League guild or a Freeborn family. Players creating characters together are encouraged to use the potential abilities of bands to add depth and character to their group concept.

The Role of Bands

We encourage players coming to Empire to attend as part of a band with their friends. Bands can help to add depth and enjoyment to characterization, making all the characters feel more real and be more fun to play. The band can have its own identity and history and gives characters a way to belong to something that is bigger than they are, yet is still something they can create a history and background for. Bands give OOC friends good IC reasons to roleplay together and good groups are great for helping new players get involved in a game.

The brief for every nation in Empire includes several archetypes to help you develop the idea for a band. For instance a noble house in Dawn, or a chapter in Highguard. There are pages for some of these archetypes explaining the part they play in the setting and offering advice on how to create and play one. These concepts have been designed to be fun to play, but the list is not meant to be restrictive. You can create a travelling band of Dawnish troubadours, or a secretive guild of Highborn artisans if you wish to. Working with your friends, you have the same freedom to create a group concept as you do to create your own character.

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Joining a Band

  • There are three types of band, banners, covens, and sects
  • You may join one of each type of band when you create your character
  • You can only ever join a band with members of the same nation
  • Joining a band in play requires a magician using the create bond spell

There are three types of band: banners, covens, and sects. You may belong to a single banner, a single coven, and a single sect at the same time, but a character can never be a member of two banners at the same time, nor two covens, or two sects. If you are creating a new character then you may choose one band of each type to begin play as part of - but you can leave any of the options blank if you prefer. Please ensure that you have the permission of the players who are part of a band before joining.

E.g. The Highborn chapter of Exile's Hold is a banner. The members gain all the benefits of being a banner but any character that joins this group cannot join any other banner. They must break the bond with this banner before joining any other banner.

To join a band in play you must find a magician to perform the create bond spell. You can only be a member of one of each type of band at once. For example, if you are a member of an existing banner, then you cannot join another band that is a banner without first breaking the bonds that join you to your existing banner. You can only join a band with members of the same nation.

Creating a Band

  • You must use the website to create a band
  • Bands must have a name, an oath and a nationality
  • Oaths must be appropriate for the setting
  • An oath can never be changed

One player will need to use the website to create a new band, but it must only be done once - other characters then join that band. A band can be secret or public. If the band is public, then the name of the band and the nation it is associated with is public to all players in the game. Players making a character can choose to begin play as part of a public band. If the band is secret, then the name of the band is not visible to any player. New characters must join the band in play, they cannot begin play as part of a secret band.

Bands use the hearth magic of an oath to give them power. For this reason, a band must choose an oath when it is created. The oath is usually reasonably short - because it must be recited by any character who joins the band in play. The player creating the band online should enter the text for the oath when they create the band. The only requirement for the oath is that it is in-character and suitable for the setting, any oath that meets these requirements is fine.

Although an oath is required to create a band, it is not magically enforced - there is no automatic magical consequence for any individual that breaks their oath. It is a matter for the roleplaying of the characters who are members of the band to deal with any character who breaks their oath. Once created, the oath cannot be changed, a new band must be formed if characters wish to change their oath.

You can still create a band on the system, even if the benefits are not relevant for your group concept. By picking one of the three options (banner is usually the easiest, if your group plans to fight together at all) and ignoring the additional rules you can still submit details and background about it, even if it doesn't benefit from being a banner, coven or sect.

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Banners

  • A banner may benefit from using a magical standard

If your band incorporates the idea of a group of warriors that fight together then you may wish to create a banner to represent this.

Covens

  • A coven may combine their skills to perform rituals together
  • A coven can perform up to two rituals a day
  • A coven may benefit from paraphernalia

Groups that intend to perform rituals together need to create a coven. A coven is a band of oath-sworn magicians who choose to work together to perform powerful rituals that they could not do alone.

Members of a coven can work together to perform a ritual with each participant contributing crystallized mana to a ritual up to the limit of their ability. This allows a coven to perform much more powerful rituals than an individual could achieve alone. A coven may also benefit by being bound to ritual paraphernalia, a powerful magical item created by an artisan.

A coven can only perform up to two rituals each day. A character may perform any number of rituals by themselves and they may include others in the ritual performance. But the power of the coven can only be used to combine magical strengths twice per day. Some magical paraphernalia increase the number of rituals a coven can perform in a single day.

If a character is part of a coven that has already performed a ritual together that day, then they may join another coven but they cannot participate in another ritual conducted by that coven until the next day.

Sects

  • Members of a sect may co-operate to perform a ceremony even if they are dedicated to a different virtue
  • A sect may benefit from using a magical reliquary

If your group concept incorporates the idea of a shared set of beliefs and worship then you may wish to create a sect to represent this. A sect is a band of oath-sworn devotees of the Way who choose to work together to further their common goals.

Members of a sect may co-operate to perform a liao ceremony even if they are dedicated to different virtues. Each member of the sect who cooperates to perform the ceremony may use a single dose of liao. The strength of the resulting ceremony is equal to the total number of liao used. All the other rules for co-operation in ceremonial skills still apply.

A magical reliquary provides a benefit to every member of the sect that is bonded to it.

Linking Bands Together

Although a band must be either a banner, coven, or sect, it is common for players to have a background concept that includes characters who are linked in multiple ways. In these situations it is perfectly appropriate to create more than one band whose concepts and backgrounds are linked.

For example, a group of players intend to play a Marcher household but some of them want to play monks while the others play yeomen. They create a banner called the Cawford Household and a sect called Cawford Monastery - to represent the large monastery on the Cawford lands. Cawford players can choose to start as members of either or both groups or join either group in play.