Live roleplaying is a cooperative hobby - crucially what that means is that your enjoyment of our game is dependent on the behaviour of other players and likewise their enjoyment is impacted by the way you approach and play the game. Because of the unique cooperative aspect of live roleplaying, we require all our payers to meet certain common standards of behaviour while they are at Empire events or using online spaces devoted to the game.
This code of conduct defines the responsibilities of participants involved with Empire. The aim is to benefit everyone involved by ensuring that you know what behaviour to expect at an event and what behaviour is expected of you. We want to make clear what behaviour is acceptable because Empire is a large active community of thousands of live roleplayers - who all have own views on these matters. Explicitly defining a social contract that you agree to by choosing to participate allows you to know the standards that you will be held to by others.
The underlying goal of this code of conduct is about respecting other players - and taking reasonable measures to produce the best events we can that are as accessible to as many players as possible. We want to produce high quality events - but we want those events to be enjoyed by players regardless of their gender, race, or sexuality.
Although we are passionate about these issues - we are not interested in supporting public discussions about them. These pages lay out the behaviour that is expected from participants in our game to remove the need for these things to be debated. We have published the definitive source for what is and is not acceptable at Profound Decisions events, so that we can all focus on enjoying the events without having to argue about politics.
- Empire includes guidelines on costume for each of the ten nations
- Our rules include minimum standards for costume and tents
- All participants are encouraged to continually improve their costume
- All participants are asked to refrain from criticizing the costume of others
The Empire wiki includes extensive guidance on the look and feel for each of the ten Imperial nations. These resources exist to define the setting as well as to help players create costumes and props that can bring the setting to life. Our costume rules include some basic minimum standards for costume as well as for tents that are being used on the in-character field.
A key element of our costume guidelines is the idea of continuous improvement - the idea that every participant commits to continually improving their kit when possible. The most important part of this, is that we ask all players to refrain from criticizing the costume of other participants. Everyone involved in Empire has committed to striving to improve their costume when possible, that commitment should be respected.
- Language that implies that women need protection does not fit our setting
- Use of gendered nouns such as men, boys, lads is discouraged when describing groups that include others
- All participants should refrain from criticizing the language of others during time-in
- References to non-consensual sexual activity are not acceptable at events
Empire is a gender neutral setting by design. There are no roles, character types, titles, or positions that are restricted by gender or are stereotyped as belonging to any particular gender. For example; soldiers, healers, generals, senators and empresses are all equally as likely to be women as they are men. Language used in the game should reflect the setting. It should also avoid excluding other participants from the game by using nouns that may appear to refer exclusively to men. The rules for using language in Empire are designed to support the setting and create a game where everyone can feel welcome regardless of identity.
We ask participants to be mindful of their use of language when roleplaying. For example, addressing a crowd of Imperial citizens about to take the battlefield as "men", "lads" or "boys" will make some players feel excluded and does not make sense in a universe where half the warriors are not male. We appreciate that the use of gendered language is habitual and everyone makes the odd mistake; but a concerted effort to use appropriate in-character language that fits the setting will improve the game for everyone.
The themes that exist within Empire do not include non-consensual sex or sex with minors - these concepts simply do not exist in the Empire setting. All players must make every possible effort to avoid overt references to any form of non-consensual sex while roleplaying their character.
As with costume, the idea of continuous improvement is an important part of our guidelines on language. The rules don't demand everyone succeeds in avoiding inappropriate words, the requirement is to try to do so. Likewise we ask all players to refrain from criticizing the language of other participants, especially when they are in-character. Everyone involved in Empire has committed to striving to use the most in-character language possible, that commitment should be respected. Feedback should be between friends and ideally when people are not roleplaying.
Equality and Diversity
- Empire is a gender-blind setting
- Real-world discrimination is as unacceptable at our games as real-world violence
Our code of conduct includes a clear set of rules on equality and diversity designed to ensure that participants can attend our events without fear that real world prejudice or discrimination will affect them. Any behaviour that is based on real world discrimination is prohibited at Profound Decisions events, regardless of if it takes place while participants are in-character or out-of-character. These rules also extend to the use of online forums used by Empire participants to discuss the game.
In particular, it is important to note that Empire is a gender-blind setting that bears no comparison to the equivalent historical period. Characters in the world of Empire do not make any distinction between genders or assumptions about characters based on their gender. There are no social roles reserved for men - or for women - and the idea of assigning responsibilities based on gender should be seen as ridiculous by any normal character.
- Our code of conduct includes behaviour in Empire online forums and spaces
We provide a set of official Empire forums and facebook groups for players to discuss the game. These are moderated by volunteers appointed by Profound Decisions who follow the published moderation guidelines. We expect all our players to follow our code of conduct when using these online spaces and when interacting with other Empire players online.
- 'A clear out-of-character response is appropriate in any situation where any breach of the code of conduct is invasive or egregious
- Please do not try to use in-character mechanisms to correct an out-of-character problem
If another player's behaviour represents a significant contravention of our code of conduct - for example by talking about non-consensual sex or any form of sexual harassment, or is a breach of the game rules that affects you on an out-of-character level - such as grappling without your consent - then it is appropriate to let them know their actions are not acceptable as quickly and clearly as possible. The best way to do this is with a clearly voiced statement in the form Out-of-character - do not grapple me substituting whatever rules reminder is required. It is always appropriate to report to Profound Decisions any incident that warranted an out-of-character response to stop.
Please note that most issues that are covered by our code of conduct are explicitly not covered by Imperial law. This is a deliberate design decision - in Empire we try wherever possible to avoid dealing with out-of-character issues through in-character means - and vice-versa. Our rules for conduct are part of our game rules - like taking your hits in battle - they are enforced by our referee team and ultimately by Profound Decisions management team. Imperial law is for characters - players can choose to break the law or not - it is enforced by players and npcs who are part of the militia and magistrate team. If you have an out-of-character problem with another player then you should report that through out-of-character channels - not seek an in-character solution via the Empire's legal system.
- We encourage anyone who is experiencing problems with another participant to discuss the matter with us
It is not possible for Profound Decisions by ourselves to create an environment that is free from problems, discrimination or harassment. It can only be accomplished if everyone who participates in the game works towards that goal. Challenging inappropriate behaviour by other participants is helpful, but not everyone is comfortable or confident to do that. We want all participants to be confident that they can bring complaints to us and that we will deal with them promptly, respectfully, and appropriately.
Our complaints procedure outlines how to raise an issue with us, the options available to anyone raising an issue and how we handle the matter.
- It's fine to disagree with our rules, provided you follow them at our events
- We run live roleplaying events - not political debates
Some of the elements of our code of conduct are contentious. The overwhelming majority of people who attend our LRP games accept that players should be treated equally regardless of their identity - but there is no clear agreement on the best way to try and create an environment that supports that. Part of the reason we need a code of conduct is precisely because players do not all agree on the best way to tackle the problem; if everyone felt the same way about the issues there would be no need to lay down any guidelines for what we required at our events.
Disagreement is healthy, LRP benefits from a marketplace of ideas. We don't expect or even want all live roleplayers to agree with the policies we have adopted - but we do require the players who choose to come to our events to comply with them while interacting with the Empire community. This code of conduct is part of the rules that we have laid down for Empire, and in that sense it is just like any of the other rules of the game. We don't expect all experienced live roleplayers to agree with our design choices for how combat or magic works best in a live roleplaying game - but we do expect everyone to follow our rules and take their hits. It's fine to disagree with our policies and our politics - provided you still follow the rules of the event you have chosen to attend.
Disagreement between live roleplayers on the best way to tackle these issues can often lead to heated debate. That debate is healthy - it is the essential element that allows members of the hobby to develop a better understanding of the issues and identify better ways to improve games. But crucially, we run live roleplaying events - not a debating society - our goal is to create the best events we can - not act as a forum for the wider hobby. As such we encourage players to use other forums, online spaces, and events to discuss the issues addressed by our code of conduct. The reason that Profound Decisions players come together is to enjoy Empire - not to discuss politics - so please respect our game and try to take political debates elsewhere where reasonably possible.