We would like Empire to be an aspirational game, one where every participant strives to have the best possible kit. Kit is more than just costume, it includes the props, set dressing and everything else that players bring into the in-character area at an event. The more effort every individual puts in to their kit, the better the game becomes for everybody. But kit is expensive to make and transport to events so it can become demoralizing to make this effort if people feel other players are not trying equally hard. To get the best possible game we need everyone who participates to agree to try their best.
But all aspirational games are at risk of appearing elitist, the assumption is that participants' costume will be judged against some unknown standard, which can be intensely intimidating to new players. We want Empire to be an accessible game that anyone interested in live roleplaying can feel confident about attending. We want the game to be inclusive, to be inviting and welcoming towards everyone interested in taking part.
An aspirational hobby is one where every participant aims for the best standards they can achieve - an inclusive hobby is one where those involved accept the different standards that others can achieve. What we want for Empire is for every player to agree to try their best - but for no player to ever feel embarrassed that their best effort is not good enough.
- Basic in-character costume that does not include trainers, jeans or t-shirts
All participants must wear appropriate costume while in the in-character area during time-in. Any basic costume is acceptable provided it is very broadly medieval in style and does not include trainers, jeans or t-shirts. T-shirts are acceptable if worn under costume and are not visible.
These costume requirements are not intended to be aspirational; they are designed to allow players to attend the event with absolute confidence that their costume is good enough to play the game. Most of our players want to create fantastic kit, but the purpose of these simple rules is to make clear that these are the minimum standards that players can demand of each other. It is important to encourage everybody to make the best effort they can, but it is not appropriate to make other players feel unwelcome because their kit only meets these basic requirements.
Nudity and Sexual Performance
- Nudity and sexual performances are prohibited at events
Public nudity, of the kind that would not be permissible on a beach on which children are playing, is not acceptable at Empire. Clothing and costume should ensure that genitalia and nipples (if female) are completely covered. The only exception to this is for those who are breast-feeding, which is perfectly acceptable at Empire.
Performance roleplaying that is focussed on sexual displays are not acceptable at events. This means that anything involving nudity, striptease, erotic dance, burlesque or similar is not permitted.
- Dome tents and party tents may not be pitched in the in-character area
- Tents made mostly from nylon, polyester or similarly reflective materials may not be pitched in the in-character area
Our events feature separate in-character and out-of-character camping areas, so players with modern tents are welcome to bring them to the event and use them in the out-of-character field. But modern dome tents and party tents may not be pitched in the in-character area. Some fabrics that are part plastic or impregnated with plastic are fine; materials like polyhemp are positively ideal for guy ropes at Empire. But tents that are obviously synthetic, such as those made of nylon or any material that is sufficiently plastic that it becomes glossy and highly reflective cannot be used in the in-character area.
The standards are much more demanding for tents in the in-character area because modern tents are very disruptive to the immersion of the event. No player who is interested in attending Empire should feel they have to have a in-character tent to play the game. Period tents are expensive and we recommend that players focus on improving their kit in preference to getting a suitable in-character tent if resources are limited. The field will be filled with scores of in-character tents as well as the sets and structures that Profound Decisions build on the site.
- Players commit to get the best kit they can given their skills and resources
- Participants commit to continual improvement of their kit between events
Every individual has different amounts of time, experience and resources available to them. Some players have enough disposable income to buy the costume they want to wear, some have the skills and experience to make their own, while others have been LRPing long enough to own many excellent pieces of kit already. Many of us are not that fortunate, our budget and skills are limited, and we may not have exactly the right costume for the game.
The best way to build a game that looks amazing but is welcoming to all is to focus on improvement over time. No costume is perfect - every costume from the simplest home-made tunic to the most expensive tailored outfit can be improved. You can add accessories to improve the overall look or replace parts of the kit with better items. Our kit includes everything we have with us in the in-character area - every element matters so the more we can eliminate even the smallest out-of-character items from our costume and our camps then the more immersive the field becomes.
By committing to continually re-examining your kit between events then you can ensure that the kit you start with improves over time. Just as with creating your kit in the first place, the time and money you can spare to improve your kit has to be your own choice, not something that anyone else can dictate.
The wiki lists scores of links for traders who sell good quality kit and pages of costume advice to help players improve their kit, including a page of suggestions on how to develop your kit on different levels of budget.
- Few players want to have other participants judging their appearance
- Participants should not criticize other player's kit
Many of us are self-conscious about our appearance; few people want to feel they are being judged on their appearance by others. One of the hardest challenges in live roleplaying is communicating the idea that kit and costume are important - that every element is important and that the organizers expect every participant to try their best - without putting players off by appearing elitist. The level of effort made by players is important because it sets the costume standards for the event which affects everyone's enjoyment. But if you are being asked to make an effort with your kit then it can be difficult to imagine that you won't be judged on the basis of how good your kit is.
Because of this our code of conduct asks all Empire participants to avoid criticizing other player's kit. Although we encourage everyone to get the best costume they can, we don't judge how successful they are. We respect the efforts made by our players and require everyone who plays the game to do likewise. It is fine to give advice to our friends on how to improve costume if they ask for it; but criticism from strangers - in person or even worse on-line - is never welcome. It does not matter if a piece of kit is not the right period, or the right style, because you should assume that the player in question has followed our guidelines and made the best effort they can.
If you have a legitimate concern that another participant's costume does not meet our minimum costume standards or is strongly inappropriate for the setting then you should inform Profound Decisions or a member of our crew if you are at an event. We will judge if our guidelines have been contravened and what action is required. If someone is violating the rules regarding nudity or sexual performance, then please ask them to stop immediately or report the matter to a member of our crew.
We are striving to make Empire an amazing game. We want to see incredible in-character camps and buildings populated with characters with beautiful costume. We want players to be able to wander through the site without seeing modern items that jar with the setting. The only way that can happen is if everyone involved with the game, the organizers, the crew, the traders and the players make it happen. The only way to play in an awesome game is for everyone who participates to make an awesome effort to make the game special. But the best way to achieve that is through encouragement to nurture enthusiasm, it won't happen through elitism or criticism. To ensure that Empire remains inclusive and open to everyone who wants to play we've made these rules to help players who have made their best effort with the kit feel confident that they are welcome to play the game.