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Event Manager: Matt Pennington
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Head of Conduct: Emma Woods

Contents

Overview

Live roleplaying is a cooperative hobby which means that your enjoyment of our game is dependent on the behaviour of other participants and likewise their enjoyment is impacted by the way you approach and play the game. Because of this unique cooperative aspect of live roleplaying, we require all our participants to meet certain common standards of conduct and 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.

All our rules for conduct apply to everyone who attends our events, to all participants regardless of whether they are players or crew. The underlying goal of this code of conduct is about respecting other participants - and taking reasonable measures to produce the best events we can that are as accessible to as many people as possible. We want to produce high quality events that are enjoyed by all participants regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or sexuality.

Although we are passionate about these issues - it is outside our scope as an events company to support public discussions about them. These pages lay out the behaviour that is expected from participants in our game to remove assumptions about how things work at our events. We have published the definitive source for what is and is not acceptable at Profound Decisions events, so that everyone can understand what rules are used at our events.

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Head of Security: Steve Tiernan
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Head of Player Support: Clare Evans

The Conduct Team

  • Emma Woods is the head of conduct at Empire
  • Matt Pennington, Clare Evans, and Steve Tiernan are members of the conduct team

Emma Woods is the member of crew with primary responsibility for ensuring the conduct of all participants meets our guidelines and for dealing with any issues arising. If you wish to report an issue with the conduct of another participant then the best person to speak to is Emma or any other member of her team.

If you raise an issue with a member of our crew, then they will encourage you to speak to a member of the conduct team and help to get hold of them for you. If you prefer then you can ask for a specific member of the team - or ask to speak to a male or female member of the team - otherwise the crew will attempt to put you in touch with whichever member of the team is available first. We will take all complaints seriously and treat them with respect regardless of your gender, relationship status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, sexuality, transgender status, religion or age, or any similar distinction.

The Welfare Team

  • John Newton is the head of participant welfare at Empire
  • A member of the team is available on request throughout the day

Our participant welfare team consists of members of our volunteer crew team who have experience or qualifications in counselling and support. If you are experiencing problems at the event that are causing you distress then you can ask for a a member of this team to help, they are on hand during the day to provide support and assistance to any participant who needs it. The welfare team have a dedicated tent available where anyone can talk to them in confidence.

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Head of Participant Welfare: John Newton

Members of the welfare team will aim to provide basic support and assistance for anyone who requests help. They have advice on how to access professional counselling services that can provide crisis counselling or support with mental health. They can help if you wish to contact the police. In general they will try to provide any help possible with any other needs you have.

Equality and Diversity

  • Real-world discrimination is as unacceptable at our games as real-world violence
  • It is not acceptable to insult another participant on the basis of an out-of-character attribute.
  • Empire is a gender-blind setting
  • References to non-consensual sex or sex with minors are not permitted

The setting does include in-character prejudice and bigotry - it is fine to insult another character on the basis of an in-character attribute, such as their lineage, species, archetype or in-character nationality or beliefs. What is not acceptable is any treatment based on an out-of-character attribute. This means that participants are not allowed to discriminate on grounds of real-world gender, relationship status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, sexuality, transgender status, religion or age, or any similar distinction. 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.

In particular, we have deliberately opted to discard real-world history to create a game setting that does not include any form of gender discrimination. 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.

There are additional guidelines for the use of language by all participants that are designed to reflect the gender-blind setting and encourage participation by all genders. However everyone should be aware that the Empire setting is written to exclude non-consensual sex or sex with minors. All participants must avoid in-character references to either of these two subjects in play.

Sexual Harassment

  • Sexual harassment will not be tolerated by us at our events

We understand that many people come to Empire to socialize and enjoy themselves - but nobody should have to tolerate harassment from other participants. Our definition of sexual harassment includes any of the following behaviour:

  • Repeatedly asking a person to socialize when the person has indicated that they are not interested.
  • Repeatedly standing or sitting too close to or brushing up against a person without their clear consent.
  • Sexual comments, banter, jokes, or innuendo in company that includes people who are not comfortable with that.
  • Touching a person in an intimate or sexual way without their clear consent.

In plain English, if you continue to hit on other participants after they have indicated that they are not interested or if you make sexual comments or jokes that make other participants uncomfortable - then we will consider you guilty of sexual harassment and deal with you accordingly.

A victim of sexual harassment can be of any gender. The victim can be of the same gender as the harasser. The harasser can be any participant, a player or a member of crew. All of our rules apply to all participants regardless of gender or status.

Challenging

  • Please challenge any behaviour that violates these rules at events if you feel safe to
  • If your behaviour is challenged, you must apologize and back off

We ask all participants to support our efforts to prevent discrimination or harassment by making clear that that behaviour will not be tolerated. If you see examples of behaviour that is inappropriate because it appears to violate our rules on discrimination or harassment, then we encourage you to challenge the people involved on the spot if you feel confident enough to do so. It is not helpful to get into a direct confrontation with another participant but a simple forceful statement such as "OOC - please stop bothering X" should be sufficient.

If your behaviour is challenged by another participant in this way then you must apologize for any offense caused and back off immediately regardless of any other considerations. If you feel your actions have been misconstrued, then you should state that case to our referee if the matter is reported.

We ask participants not to confront inappropriate use of gendered language directly; see the language page for specific guidance on how to respond to that.

It is also important to appreciate that Empire is a game of political conflict between players. It is absolutely appropriate to challenge payers for any behaviour that violates our rules on harassment or discrimination - but it not appropriate to use this mechanism to respond to legitimate in-character conflicts between characters that do not contain any elements of sexual harassment or similar.

Reporting

  • We encourage anyone who is experiencing problems with another participant's behaviour to raise the matter with us

We have completely overhauled our approach to handling issues of harassment and discrimination at events to try and make it as easy as possible for attendees to bring incidents to our attention. Please see the wiki page on reporting discrimination or harassment for information on how to raise an issue with us, the options available to you when you raising an issue and how we handle the matter.

Supporting

  • Please support any participant who comes to you with an incidence of sexual harassment

Members of our conduct team are on site throughout the day to deal with any violation of our conduct rules, our security team are likewise available throughout the night. However we understand that many people who experience harassment find it difficult to approach a stranger to report the experience. They may be intimidated by the prospect of speaking with someone they do not know - or simply be unaware of who they should contact. We appreciate that in many cases, a participant will prefer to speak to a friend, regardless of whether they are a player or crew.

We ask everyone who attends our events to be aware that if another participant approaches you to discuss a case of harassment or assault, they are likely to have identified you as the individual they are most comfortable to approach over this matter. We realize that dealing with these matters is difficult and challenging - but we cannot create an event free from harassment unless participants support that goal. If someone has reached out to you to ask for help, we ask you to do everything that you feel capable of to help them access that help.

There are different levels of support that any participant can provide, depending on what is required and what you feel comfortable doing. As a minimum every participant who attends the event should try to be aware of who to report a case of harassment to. In addition to this, please consider if you are able to provide any of the following additional levels of support:

  • If a participant does not know how to report an issue to Profound Decisions, you can help them to find a member of the crew who can respond.
  • If a participant does not wish to speak to Profound Decisions, you can ask if they are comfortable allowing you to report the incident either in their name or anonymously.
  • If a participant is able to speak to Profound Decisions, then you can offer to accompany and support them if they will find this helpful.
  • If a participant is reporting to Profound Decisions, you can provide moral support during the process and ask what outcomes will take place.

We don't require any participant to do these things - but all of the above can provide invaluable assistance to an individual who has chose to approach you to ask for help. Anything that you can do to help them get a successful outcome to their situation will improve the event for them and by extension for every legitimate participant.

Online

  • Our code of conduct includes behaviour of all participants in Empire online forums and spaces

We provide a set of official Empire forums and facebook groups for all participants to discuss the game. These are moderated by volunteers appointed by Profound Decisions who follow the published moderation guidelines. We expect everyone to follow our code of conduct when using these online spaces. We will not enforce our code of conduct on other social media spaces - but we do expect participants to follow it when exchanging emails or private messages with each other.

Further Reading