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 with any questions about the rules or 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.

This section of the FAQ contains questions about lineage and orcs. For questions about other parts of the game, please see the more general FAQ.


Can I gain lineage in play?

If your character starts play as human, then you cannot simply choose to adopt a lineage. Lineage that appears spontaneously does so during childhood; adults do not become lineaged without a reason. The only exception to this rule is for young players - especially at the point where they pass their citizenship test and gain their skills.

There are lots of ways to gain a lineage in play. Some eternals will offer to help with the transformation for those who seek out their aid. Traumatic wounds may include text that states that if your character is healed using magic then they may choose to become a briar. Traumatic wounds caused by magical events such as rituals that go badly may expose a character to the magic of the realms and present a similar opportunity to change lineage. Gaining lineage is never obligatory - it is always an out-of-character choice by the player, but it is something that you can only choose to have happen in response to in-character events.

Can I develop my lineage over time?

When you create your character you must choose at that point if you have a lineage. If you choose a lineage then you must phys-rep the degree of lineage that your character has.

Some individuals with lineage may find that their lineage grows stronger with the passage of time. If you want to do this, then your build on your phys-rep over time to increase the degree of lineage that your character has. The precise mechanisms by which your lineage grows stronger vary from character to character, it may be the passing of time, exposure to magic, etc.

This process does not go in reverse, you cannot become more human over time. However if your lineage trappings are problematic, for example if you are having an allergic reaction to a prosthetic, then you can reduce or change the way your lineage manifests. Otherwise please try to keep your lineage consistent.

Can I create my own trappings?

If you want to phys-rep one of the trappings with a slightly different technique or style to the ideas suggested on the lineage pages then that is absolutely fine. If you want to use different trappings to the ones listed then you should email us to discuss your plans. Your request must be an extension of the stylistic concepts listed for the lineage, for example there are no circumstances under which your changeling can have fiery red skin as a trapping. If the trapping you have requested is a good fit for the lineage, then we will add it to the list of minor trappings available for the lineage.

Can I play a lineaged character with no physical trappings?

No. Every lineaged character must have at least one of the physical trappings listed.

Can I use animal make-up for my changeling?

Changelings are not anthropomorphic animals - they are human beings touched by the majesty and power of the realm of Summer. Some changelings have a single trapping associated with regal animals - a lion's mane, the stag's antlers and swan's feathers - because of the majesty of these animals, not because they are actually lions, stags or swans. They are not animals; they are neither animalistic or bestial and the trappings cannot include other features of these animals.

Can I use red contacts for a changeling?

The list of eye colours offered for the lineage is intended to be definitive. All the lineages have the potential for unusual eyes, so it is important to ensure that the list fairly short so that a lineage had a clear definition for what it was. This presents confusion with other lineages; orange eyes could easily be confused for the yellow or blood red eyes that some draughir possess for instance. We understand that someone with existing coloured lenses may want to use them, but we'd prefer players not to if they don't fit the listed descriptions.


How do I tell the orcs apart?

Imperial Orcs and Barbarian Orcs are physiologically identical - in the same way that Scousers and Mancunians are physiologically identical. Telling them apart is possible, even easy, if you know them - but very hard if you're from Timbuctoo. The Imperial Orc players know about this problem and they're cool with it. Players who aren't playing orcs who have an IC concern about telling the Imperial Orcs from the Barbarians will need to make some kind of IC effort to learn to tell them apart. This is a deliberate part of the game design - it's a feature, not a bug.

Can I hear ancestors from another tribe?

If you are an orc, it is perfectly acceptable to hear the voice of your adopted parents when they are dead.

Basically you can hear an ancestor if (a) you are genetically related to them or (b) you met them personally or are genetically related to someone who met them personally. What can't be done - currently - is to hear the voice of someone who isn't in that set. Ritual magic cannot allow an orc to hear the ancestor of an adoptive parent.

Will it ever be possible for orcs to use virtue-based religious skills?

No. It is a fundamental design principle that orcs and humans are different with regard to spiritual roleplaying. No orc will ever become dedicated, for example. There is no way that an orc character will ever be able to use the religious skills available to humans.

Can I play an orc who belongs to one of the main barbarian orc tribes?

No. All orc player characters at Empire must be part of the Imperial Orcs nation, not one of the barbarian nations. While it may be possible to cultivate connections to a barbarian orc during play, such relationships often end tragically. Creating a background in which your character is part of a barbarian nation is better avoided. We will not provide you with any additional information about the barbarians than is on the main wiki, and some of that information is based on the Empire's view of the barbarian orcs and thus may be misleading.