Frequently Asked Questions
The following is a list of frequently asked questions that players have sent us. If you have any queries about Empire then it is worth checking the FAQs first, to see if the answer to your question is here. Otherwise email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions about the rules or email@example.com with any other questions about the game. We'll answer as quickly as we can and we'll add your question to our FAQ if we think it is likely to be of interest to other players.
In addition to this list of frequently asked questions there is a list of obscure questions people have asked to which we have provided answers. They are included for completeness and for reference purposes and searches.
Questions about lineage and orcs
Questions about nations
Questions about the Setting
Questions about the world the game is set in are now maintained on their own Setting FAQ.
Questions by New Players
An FAQ with questions frequently asked by players who are new to live roleplaying.
Can I request or suggest a plot idea?
We do not encourage players to send us suggestions for plot they would like to happen in the game. Partly this is a fairness issue, if it were possible to request plot by email then we would soon be inundated with hundreds of requests - we would spend more time answering emails than we do preparing the event! Critically the way to get more involved in the game would be through email - and that is something we are very keen to avoid. We want our players to play the game and to get involved with plots in the game based on the decisions their character makes.
However the main reason we don't pick up requests or suggestions from players is that the limit of the plot we run is not based on the number of ideas we have. Rather it is based on the time required to write and document a plot before the event and the time needed on the day to brief and debrief the NPCs. Our crucial limitation is the number of writers we have - not the number of ideas. Most of our writers are full of ideas of their own that they want to write - and their enjoyment comes from writing their own plots and seeing them come to life in the game. The best way for us to get more plot at events is if our writers enjoy what they are doing - which means encouraging them to use their own imagination to come up with their own plot ideas.
Some of our writers do read through backgrounds and pick up ideas for plot from them. This is relatively rare and players should bear in mind that there are literally thousands of characters on our database! We recommend that players create a background to help them define their character - not to try and create your own plot hooks in the game.
Can I pick the lock on a box?
If you find a lock, then you, as your character, may attempt to pick the lock - provided you are confident you know what you are doing and are not likely to damage their phys-rep. There is no open locks skill or spell - you can only open the box if you can pick the lock on the box.
Whenever you are interacting with other players at an LRP event, especially if you are in their tent stealing their stuff, you should take all reasonable steps to avoid damaging their kit and props. If you do break another player's LRP kit at an event, we expect you to be honest, let us known and to take responsibility for that.
Always remember that any phys-rep you take must be taken to GOD within 30 minutes.
Why have I only got 1xp after two events?
If you attend one or two events in a year - then you get one xp in total after the first event.
If you attend three or four events in a single year - then you get two xp in total - one after the first event and one after the third event.
Can I use recorded music in my IC tent?
We have asked all players not to use background music playing from an electronic source in the IC area. Using music like this remains a controversial issue, some attendees like it - but some don't. In Empire we have worked as hard as possible to encourage the presence of IC musicians at events - and we want to continue that by encouraging players to hire IC performers if they want IC music in their establishments.
What are the restrictions on bows and crossbows?
All bows must have a maximum draw weight of 30 lb at 28" (72 cm). All crossbows must have a maximum draw weight of 30 lb. We do not use bow competency tests at Profound Decisions events. You cannot parry or catch arrows that are fired at your character.
Bows and crossbows must be wielded in two hands. Pistol crossbows and wrist-mounted crossbows cannot be used in Empire.
Characters in Empire cannot use a crossbow that loads more than one bolt at once - you can use a phys-rep crossbow that has more than one channel for a bolt, provided that you do not load more than one bolt at once.
Do I have to spend all 8 character points?
You do not have to spend all eight character points when making your character. Unspent points are saved and can be spent on that character later. However you cannot spend those points on a different character in the future. Only unspent points that have been earned by attending events can be spent on a new character.
Does the CLEAVE have to hit armour to be stopped?
Yes. The armour you are wearing on your torso and body provides additional global hits. But to protect you against a CLEAVE or IMPALE, the physical blow must strike an actual piece of armour. If it hits a part of your body (other than your head or neck) which is not protected by armour then you take the full affect of the heroic blow. If the blow strikes the actual armour itself and the armour protects against that blow then you just lose one hit.
Can I use steel armour that doesn't cover my torso?
To gain the benefit of increased hits, your armour must cover your torso and one other location, either your head, legs, arms or half your arms and legs. But you still gain the protection provided by the individual piece of armour, appropriate for its type, if it is struck.
E.g. I am wearing a soft leather vest and helm which counts as light armour and provides me with two extra hits. In addition I am wearing steel vambraces and a hardened leather hero belt. If a CLEAVE or IMPALE strikes my steel vambraces then I just lose one global hit. If a CLEAVE strikes my thick leather hero belt then I just lose one global hit. If the blows strike me anywhere else, then I am affected normally.
Can I wear mail under my costume?
Yes, you can wear armour under costume, or even other armour. Your armour does not have to be visible. If you wear a steel vest of mail under your costume or other armour then it would protect against IMPALE or CLEAVE as normal.
What happens to my hits when I swap armour?
If you are wearing armour and you have lost any global hits, then you drop to one hit when you remove your armour. If you have lost any hits when you put a suit of armour on, then you do not gain any hits by donning a suit of armour, until you are healed.
In theory it would be possible to use fractions to calculate how many hits you have, in practice this is needlessly complicated for a situation that will almost never arise (people removing armour while wounded and in danger). The rules above are as simple as they can be and ensure that there is never any advantage to swapping one set of armour for another.
Can I use a one-handed spear as a polearm?
A one-handed spear can be used as a two-handed polearm. You can't use a two-handed bill or a halberd or the like as a one-handed spear - because it isn't a spear.
Can my magician wear pieces of armour?
A character cannot cast spells while wearing any piece of regular armour. A magician with the battle mage skill may wear mage armour which provides two additional global his but does not protect against CLEAVE or IMPALE.
You may not cast spells while wearing pieces of armour, such as greaves or vambraces. You cannot wear anything that would protect against a CLEAVE or IMPALE and cast spells at the same time. You can wear costume or mage armour that includes some metal if it is part of your costume but it is better to avoid it looking like armour and it does not protect against CLEAVE or IMPALE. If you wish to wear a helm for safety reasons then you may do so.
Can I master a new ritual I just performed?
It's not possible to master a ritual by casting it. A ritualist can attempt to cast any ritual effect at an event - effectively working without having mastered the spell. If the ritual is part of the Imperial Lore (it is on the wiki) then it is easier to do that. But successfully casting the ritual does not make the ritual part of the Imperial lore - that takes a major effort and only certain characters can achieve it (the Dean of the Lyceum of the Imperial Conclave or the Urizen Provost of the Halls of Knowledge).
Once a ritual has been added to the Imperial lore (put on the wiki) anyone can spend xp to master it.
It is possible to master a ritual that is not part of Imperial Lore - but doing so requires access to a special item called a ritual text that contains the details of how the ritual is performed. It is not possible for a character to simply teach a ritual that is not part of Imperial Lore to another character.
Yes. You cannot drink a potion yourself if you are dying on zero hits, but you can have one fed to you.
Can I use Stay With Me or Get It Together at range?
No. These are personal skills and require close, personal roleplaying. You must be close enough to touch the target to use these skills - shouting across the battlefield is not sufficient.
Can I use weapon master to wield a quarterstaff?
Can I use a quarterstaff and make heroic calls?
A staff is not a suitable phys-rep for a lethal battlefield weapon capable of delivering a heroic blow nor a suitable physrep for a magic weapon such a magic spear.
Can I fight while holding two items in one hand?
No. You may only have one weapon or one shield in each hand when you are fighting. You cannot hold more than one item in each hand.
If you are wielding a two-handed weapon, a polearm or a similar item that requires two hands then you cannot hold a dagger, a buckler or any weapon, shield or similar in the hand while you fight.
When do I get my hits back from Unstoppable?
You get 3 hits back after the 5 seconds of appropriate roleplaying are complete. If you are using the skill when you are on zero hits then you will be left with 3 hits at the end of the roleplaying, regardless of any damage taken during that time (note that you can't attack your enemies while using this skill - see below).
What can I do while as I am using Unstoppable?
You cannot take any offensive action or attempt to move from the spot while you are performing five seconds of appropriate roleplaying to use the unstoppable heroic skill.
If you do move or attack, then by definition of the rules any blow that hits you must have landed after the five second of appropriate roleplaying to restore your hits was complete and so counts in full.
Can I use Unstoppable while I am paralysed?
You cannot use the unstoppable skill if you are paralysed, and will not be able to use it once it wears off. If you are paralysed while you are using the skill then your roleplaying has been interrupted. You will not regain any hits, but do not expend the hero point.
Can I use a modern tent as an IC tent if I dress it?
Modern tents made of obviously plastic materials like nylon cannot be used in the IC area at Empire, even if you have tent dressing for them. This means that dome tents and party tents cannot be used in the IC area as well as other similar tents. The reason we don't make an exception for tent dressing is that it changes the decision from one that is reasonably straightforward (is that a modern looking tent) to one that is utterly subjective (have you dressed it enough). All attendees on arrival are always adamant that they will fully dress a modern tent but the results vary dramatically. The issue devolves into an argument about how much dressing is required and what the minimum standards are.
In effect what we are doing is asking everybody who doesn't have an IC tent to make a sacrifice and do without an IC tent. There will be hundreds of IC tents on the field and your character will be able to use many of them. The OOC camp site will be nearby and you can sleep there and store vital supplies there. By excluding modern tents from the field we will achieve a much higher standard of IC immersion through the IC area, so everybody gains, but it does mean that folks without IC tents have to make that sacrifice so everybody can have that gain.
Do I have to volunteer to monster?
The Empire events run by Profound Decisions will feature one or more large battles, involving hundreds of participants. We have ordered four hundred orc masks and are in the process of ordering four hundred sets of orc armour. We can't possibly operate with that many crew, so to ensure that there is an epic horde to fight against we will need volunteers.
Volunteering will only be required if you plan to fight as your character in the battles. If you don't wish to take the field as your character, then there is no requirement to monster any of the battles. If you do wish to fight in the big battles then you will be required to volunteer to monster every other battle. There will be two battles at each of the first two events to ensure everyone has a chance to play one battle and monster one battle at each event.
We are confident that we can make monstering every bit as fun as playing. We need volunteers to fill out the barbarian hordes to make the battles as epic as possible, but our intention is that the majority of players find crewing one of the battles to be nearly as enjoyable as playing them. We are deliberately designing our barbarian foes to make them fun roles to portray.
There will also be skirmishes and other fights with the barbarians and other threats the Empire faces. We are aiming to have enough crew to operate these smaller battles ourselves, so volunteers are welcome but are not required.
Can I monster the battle without playing an orc?
Initially, most of the hostile enemies the Empire faces will be orcs. We have ordered four hundred masks for these which use latex prosthetics applied to a thin fabric balaclava making them relatively comfortable and pleasant to wear.
If someone can't play an orc, because they have a latex allergy or are non-combatant, then there will be other opportunities to help with the battle, but they are likely to be less fun. They may be human captives, sacrifices, or it may involve simply helping carry water for the battle. Provided you volunteer to help for one of the battles then you are welcome to the other, but if you can't play an orc then we cannot guarantee that what you'll be doing will be as much fun as the orcs are having.
Can I get a friend to monster for me?
People who play non-combatants will be welcome to monster both battles if they wish to. However you can't play two battles just because your friend is monstering two, the onus is on the individual - if you want to fight in an epic battle, you have to personally play your part in helping those epic battles happen, quid pro quo.
How should parents handle monstering?
It's important that young children are supervised throughout the event, so two parents or carers who are attending an event together can share monstering responsibilities if they wish to. This exception to the normal rule about sharing responsibilities takes account of their other responsibilities. This means that one of them can play one battle and one monster the other battle at the same event if they wish to. We encourage them to swap over between events, but of course this is up to them.
How do battles work?
How will battles work? (I paraphrase) Battles at events will form part of a wider campaign against the barbarian enemies of the Empire. Players will have opportunities to make pivotal interventions to turn the tide of war in their favour - provided they can triumph. Battles will feature objectives for the Imperial forces to achieve rather than being "meat-grinders"; achieving those objectives will improve the position of the much larger Imperial armies in the field. Things may be kept simple at early events to allow everyone to get the hang of the system but ultimately the intention is for those players playing Imperial Generals to decide where the Imperial armies are sent and to choose which battles to send the PCs to fight from the scenarios presented to them by their civil servants.
How dangerous will the main field be?
We are not planning to run camp attacks on the main field - the goal is to try and create the feel of a buzzing settlement right at the very heart of the Empire - a place of relative security. Our NPC magistrates will work to ensure the law is kept and the enemy is very far away. We want the field to feel like a place of relative safety, a place where characters can feel free to walk around without weapons or armour if they choose.
The idea is to contrast this with the very real danger that is present whenever the players leave the main field. Those characters that use magic to teleport to the Imperial battlefields will find themselves facing very real and very deadly threats. For the overwhelming majority of the time, players will know when they are heading into danger and those players who wish to avoid combat should find this easy provided they remain with the safety of the settlement.
Is PvP murder allowed?
We are quite explicitly setting out to make assassination as difficult to achieve as possible. The Empire has a legal system, run by NPCs, and it will make all possible effort to identify and execute assassins. Our intention is for the majority of conflict between players to be political and social in nature rather than combat based.
Assassination of characters is still acceptable out-of-character behaviour; what we are doing with the campaign is deliberately making that as difficult as possible for the assassins to get away with, so that it becomes a tool of last resort rather than the simplest way to deal with political enemies.
Can I tell you what my character is doing?
We don't accept free text downtime submission to tell us what your character is doing in Empire. The prime reason for this is that with the huge number of players (well over 1600 at our last event) we would be utterly drowned in requests if we made any attempt to accept or validate such requests. Long experience has shown us that there is no possible way that we can handle that many requests; as a result we say "no" to all requests so that it is fair for everyone.
The second reason is that we are committed to producing a game in which all the key decisions in the campaign take place live at the event. We want to ensure that Empire is relentlessly focussed on the live roleplaying happening at the events. All our plots are written in such a way that any mechanism to influence them is accessible at the event. In such a way everyone playing the game knows that the way to advance their character's agenda must do so while they are playing their character at an event.
The only official way to have your character active between events is to use the online web system - which will allow you to pick from a limited range of options tailored to your character's skills and resources. All these actions are processed automatically, so we can scale these to any number of players.
Although you can't submit your character actions between events to Profound Decisions you can still roleplay that your character has been busy. Your character can't create a substantial impact on the campaign in downtime (that's what events are for) so you shouldn't roleplay that your character succeeded in taking actions that would have such an impact. But you can roleplay that your character has been searching for lost lore, sailing the high seas, fighting orcs in the Empire's wars - whatever suits your character best!
Can I send resources or coins by post?
You can hand in coins or resources to your account for use in downtime at the end of every event, but if you forget then you can post them to our head office address. Please make sure you include your name, character name and CID as well as a list of what resources you are posting. Please appreciate that it always takes a few days for parcels to reach us.
When do I get the benefit of my upgrade?
If you upgrade or diversify a resource then you receive the new production straight away. The system does not show the changes in production (yet), but you will receive the updated production when your downtime is processed.
Can I make a two month item at the end of downtime?
Yes, if you select an item that takes two months as the last item you make in downtime then you will automatically complete this item as your first selection for your next downtime (this cannot be changed).
What should I do if my ritual isn't listed in my downtime?
If you had a ritual performed at the previous event that is not listed in your downtime then please email us with as much details about the ritual as you can remember e.g. when the ritual was completed, who performed it, who was present, etc. Most rituals do not provide additional downtime choices - they only change the production you get for your resource, so you should submit your downtime as normal. We will have your downtime shown correctly by the event.
Can I submit a free-text downtime?
No. The downtime system for Empire is very deliberately designed to be tightly defined in terms of using your characters assets and time to give them some valuable goods to take to the next event. This is the only thing that the downtime system can be used to do - to ensure that the focus remains clearly on the events themselves. There is no provision for submitting individual free text downtimes - the time for doing unique and interesting stuff is at the event.
What happens if I don't make an event?
When you attend an event your resource will produce materials in the following downtime. If you don't attend the next event then any money or resources gained are added to your character inventory - you receive them at the next event you do attend.
You only get resources and downtime following an event that you have attended. When you miss an event then you don't receive any resources (or the ability to craft items) in the downtime that follows that event.
Can I die in downtime?
Your character cannot be killed by Profound Decisions in downtime, regardless of any action you choose for your resource. If you are choosing to retire your character - and you wish to tie their death to current events then you can choose to have your character die while fighting in one of the military battles detailed in the Winds of War.
Can I purchase a downtime ticket?
No. There is no option to purchase downtime only tickets for Empire.
When does the magic item duration end?
The year duration for magic items begins at the next event that your character attends following the downtime that you make the item. The item is valid for that event and the three events that follow it.
Why does my bank payment take days to appear?
Regrettably, Barclays Bank will not allow us access to their computer systems to integrate our payment system with theirs. This means that we cannot fully automate your payment, we are forced to download the payment data from Barclays by hand. Therefore, once a day we download all new payments. These are then imported into our software and processed automatically using the unique reference code for each player's account.
Unfortunately the data supplied by Barclay's is incomplete, which makes it impossible for us to distinguish between payments on the day they are received. This means we can only process payments for a day once we can be certain that Barclays will not add new payments for that day. Worse, Barclays have written their own software to conceal the true date of any payment received on Friday, Saturday and Sunday so that it appears as if the payment was received on the following Monday, presumably so that their computers can take the weekend off. As a result we can't process any payments sent on Friday, Saturday or Sunday until the following Tuesday at the earliest.
This means it can take up to a week or longer for your payment to appear on your account. Please be patient - it will turn up! We take several thousand payments this way every year, and the number of problems is in single figures and are always quickly resolved. But it does take time - bear with us and your payment will appear on your account as soon as we can process it. Your booking will always be honoured based on the day you sent your payment, not the date we process it.
What is the requirement for concessions?
Anyone who is a full time student, a full time member of the armed services, a pensioner, or receives state benefits as their main income is eligible for the concession on the ticket price. You only have to be eligible at the point where you provide the proof of your eligibility, so students or can claim the discount for the year even if their course ends in the Summer.
You must provide proof of your eligibility. The best way to do this is to email proof to us at firstname.lastname@example.org after you have booked. We can then mark your entire booking as having the concession confirmed. If you don't do this then you will be forced to bring proof to the event and then queue up in a long queue at GOD before you can play. Please don't do this, it's bad for you and bad for us! Email us a scan of your proof and we will log it to your account.
Can I use a recruitment booking code for Empire?
The promotional discounts for new players are valid at all Empire events.
How do I book my child on to the event?
The website has now been updated to allow players of all ages to book on to the event. Anyone who is attending the event must have their own account, regardless of age. Once you have created an account and entered your birth date then the ticket prices will be updated to reflect your age and booking options.