Playing the game
Time-in and the IC area
- Time-in begins at 10 am and ends at 1 am each day
- You are always in-character (IC) in the IC area during time-in
- The Imperial Senate chamber is time in throughout the game
- You must not roleplay your character outside the IC area
Normal roleplaying begins at time-in, which is 6 pm on Friday and 10 am every morning thereafter. Normal roleplaying ends at time-out, which is 1 am each morning and at 3 pm on the last day of the event. The IC area is the section of the campsite reserved for the game where all roleplaying must take place. Each event guide will clearly delineate the boundary of the IC area.
The exception to this rule is the Senate Chamber. The meeting place of the Imperial Senate is the political hub of the Empire and the building remains time-in from the start of the event until time-out at the end of the event. Players who choose to remain in the Senate building after time-out each night do so because they wish to continue roleplaying. Please avoid this area after time-out if you are no longer IC.
Everyone who is in the IC area during time-in is considered to be IC. You should avoid the IC area during this time unless you are playing your character. If you are in the IC area and you wish to stop roleplaying then out of courtesy to other players you must leave the IC area first unless there is a genuine emergency.
You may continue to roleplay with other characters anywhere in the IC area after time-out so long as you do not take any confrontational actions. You can talk and trade but you must not attack another character, steal from them, or use any ability.
For example, you are in a casino so you may continue to roleplay after time-out but you may not steal items or money from other patrons and you may not attack anyone.
You must not roleplay once you leave the IC site boundaries.
Behaviour while In-character
- Avoid inappropriate references while at events
The themes that exist within Empire include romance and courtship, mind-influencing magic, drugs and addiction, human sacrifice, racism and prejudice, prostitution, violence, robbery, torture and murder. They do not include non-consensual sex or sex with minors. It is not possible to know what real life experiences other players have suffered, so you must avoid IC references to either of these two subjects in play to ensure that you do not upset any of your fellow players.
The wiki lays out forms of racism and prejudice that are specific to the Empire setting - for example a briar will face prejudice in many parts of the Empire. We regard the choices that players have chosen to make for their character as acceptable subjects for discrimination in the game - please do not conflate these with real world discrimination issues such as sexuality, gender, and religion. See the rules on Conduct for more information.
Behaviour while OOC
- You must not use any secret IC information which was gained while OOC
You should do everything reasonably possible to ignore any secret information that your character has not gained IC. You should only act on the things your character could legitimately know.
It is usually inappropriate to tell another player something that their character might desperately want to know. If your character has been murdered, for instance, you should avoid telling your friends who murdered your character, for they are likely to want to take revenge. If another player actively tells you something that you did not want to know while OOC and you believe that doing this has affected your ability to discern the information IC then speak to the head referee. The head referee will assess the situation and may give you permission to act on the knowledge your character has if they believe it is appropriate.
Stealing Items in Anvil
- You may steal any obviously IC item such as money, a map, IC scroll or document
- You cannot break open a strong box or smash a chain
- You must return IC phys-reps to GOD within thirty minutes
- You can only steal items during time-in
- You cannot enter a tent that has been sealed
- Do not go through people's obviously OOC belongings
- Do not mix IC items with OOC belongings
You can only steal items from the IC area and during time-in. If you are stealing IC items, then you must make sure that you avoid going through any bags or boxes that contain obviously OOC belongings. If you steal IC money or resources from another character then you should keep it, but if you steal any other item then it is important to make sure that the player gets their phys-rep back.
You must ensure that the owner regains their phys-reps - either by returning them to the player or by handing it in at GOD - within thirty minutes of stealing it. This is particularly important if you have stolen an in-character bag or chest and it contains one or more out-of-character items. You won't be accused of OOC theft or breaking the rules, just bring the items to GOD so that we can return them quickly. Prompt return of stolen items will ensure that you are not embarrassed by a referee coming to find you and the stolen item.
If you are keeping OOC items in an IC area, then you must make sure you do not mix IC items in with them. If you are keeping OOC items in an IC bag please label them with your PID or name if possible, to make it easier to return them if they are stolen by accident.
You may not enter a tent that has been sealed unless it is your own tent or there are clearly people inside the tent roleplaying. You can only take items from a tent that has an obvious entrance that has been left open to allow characters to pass in and out. You must get a ref to assist you if you wish to enter a sealed tent that has players inside who are roleplaying.
If a tent includes a wooden or metal box or a metal chain then you must assume that they are made using the strongest possible materials and strengthened magically, to the point where they are virtually indestructible. It is possible to destroy the item - but only by spending hours smashing it to pieces - making tremendous noise and utterly destroying the contents in the process if it is a box. This means that any solid box which is locked can not be smashed opened in game - you need the key or a mundane way to pick the lock. If the box is chained to the tent then it cannot be removed.
Searching a Character
- You must not touch another participant while searching
- You must use appropriate roleplaying searching for at least 30 seconds
- You can always take any in-character item that you can point to from an unresisting character
You can always take any in-character item that you can point to from an unresisting character. You can search an unresisting character to attempt to find any valuable items that they are carrying on their person that are not visible. You can only do this if you have both hands free. To search a character you must use appropriate roleplaying for at least thirty seconds. You can mime patting a person down, while keeping your hands well away so you don't come close to touching them. If you complete the count without interruption then the target must give you every IC item that they are carrying.
Looting Items from Characters
- You can replace a shattered weapon or shield if you can loot an equivalent item on the battlefield
- If you are stealing a magic item from a character, the victim may ask you to take the ribbon, not the phys-rep
- Any stolen phys-reps must be returned to GOD before you resuming playing your character in Anvil after a fight
If your character is looting a weapon or shield from the battlefield so that you can replace a shattered item then you must loot an item that is equivalent to the phys-rep you are going to use. If your character has a large round shield - you must loot another large shield (not a buckler). If your character has a spear - you could replace a shattered spear by looting a similar size pole-arm - not a sword or axe.
If you are looting an item in this way - you must check with player whose character you are robbing. An item can only be looted once (so if another player has looted it already, you cannot do so) and there is no point to looting a shattered weapon. If the player tells you that the item has been shattered or looted already - then you cannot loot it.
If you are stealing a ribboned item because you want to take an item of value and keep it, then you should check with the owner. They may ask you to take the phys-rep with the ribbon attached, or they may remove the ribbon and give it to you. A player may do this because they do not want to risk losing an expensive phys-rep, but all our monsters will be instructed to hand over ribbons rather than phys-reps as we are unable to replace stolen phys-reps if we need to respawn the orc. If you take a ribbon you should put the ribbon on a suitable phys-rep of your own as soon as possible after the battle is over.
If you take a phys-rep from a battlefield, either a magical item or a banner or equivalent, then you must return it to GOD before you resume playing your character in Anvil. All phys-reps, including barbarian banners, must be returned in this way.
- If you wear a disguise it is only as good as the phys-rep you use
- You must answer truthfully if you are OOC challenged about your disguise
- You must not disguise yourself as a member of a different lineage or species
- Pretending to be dead on the battlefield follows the normal rules for disguise
It is perfectly acceptable for you to wear a disguise whilst in character (IC). Your ability to change your character’s appearance is only ever as effective as the phys-rep that you use; so if someone recognises you then they may choose to recognise your character, regardless of the method used to change your appearance.
If you believe you recognise a character that you have met previously who appears to be in disguise then you may check out of character (OOC) by asking them. You can ask if they are playing a character by name or by reference to a meeting you have had but you cannot simply ask if they are in disguise. You may ask a referee to check a character’s identity to avoid asking them directly. If another participant asks you if you are playing a specific character in disguise then you must answer truthfully.
For example, you are playing a Freeborn merrow called Iago but you have disguised yourself as one of the merrow of the Kallavesi. If anyone asks OOC if you are playing Iago or ‘your merrow’ or ‘the merrow I met last night’ then you must answer truthfully.
It is much easier for someone to obtain prosthetics for a lineage or species phys-rep than it would be for a character to adopt that disguise. Because of this, you must not disguise yourself as a member of another lineage or species. You may disguise your character, but must actively avoid any make-up or prosthetics that could conceivably be confused with the phys-rep requirements of another lineage or species. This restriction does not apply if you are using magical means to disguise your appearance.
For example, your human character could glue foam horns to their forehead but this would not be sufficient for any sane character to think you were a cambion. Therefore, you must avoid putting horns on your forehead as part of a normal disguise.
If you are pretending to be dead on the battlefield - then you follow the normal rules for disguise. If another participant asks OOC you if you are dead or dying - then you must answer the OOC question truthfully.
- Perimeter fences round camps are strongly discouraged in Empire
- Any fence that exists is as effective as the phys-rep; your character can cross it by any means available
- Walls and barriers on battlefields follow different rules - you must not climb over them or break through them
The camp at Anvil is the single safest place in the Empire, and as such there is no credible threat of any kind that a perimeter fence or wall round a camp would serve to protect against. This set-up is part of the game design, intended to make Anvil as open as possible to encourage interaction and roleplay between everyone present and to discourage players from spending their time guarding gates.
If you do encounter a physical barrier at the event, then it is only as effective as the actual phys-rep for the barrier. If you want to climb over or push through it and you are able to do so then you are fine to do so under the rules of the game. Other characters are likely to take in-character exception to you coming into their camp in a way they have tried to prohibit, but all actions must be treated as fully in-character by all participants.
Players are not allowed to make any out-of-character complaints at any player who attempts to force their way over or through a barrier. Because of this it is not permissible to deliberately build a barrier using anything that is fragile or vulnerable such that it would become an out-of-character issue if it is damaged.
Walls and barriers on battlefields exist to make battles more challenging and enjoyable for all participants. They are there to create tactical problems for players to solve using their character skills, not to see which players are physically capable of getting over them. Crucially, it is not possible for any individual to safely climb over or break through a wall in the heat of a battle. For these safety and design reasons, the walls follow different rules and you must not attempt to climb over them or break through them.
- You can forge letters and other purely in-character documents
- You cannot forge game items in Empire
- You cannot forge bourse notes
In-character forgery is not a theme of Empire. The divinations of day and night magic ought to make it trivial for the authorities to identify characters who were forging coins or similar items, but in practice this isn't possible for OOC reasons. You may forge IC documents written by NPCs or PCs if you wish to do so - but you cannot forge coins, herbs, potions, mana crystals, materials, liao, or any other similar game items. In particular, you cannot forge bourse notes or arcane projections.
Artificial Intelligence and Recorded Music
- Do not play recorded music at the event
- Do not use content, art or text, created using generative-AI tools in the field at Empire
- If you think someone is violating the rules, you can report it to a referee or a moderator but you must allow them to resolve the matter
Empire is a game of hard skills by design - success in Empire is intended to derive primarily from your abilities as a player. For this reason, playing recorded music at events is prohibited. There are many talented IC musicians in Anvil - if you want to have music playing in your tent then you must find a way to persuade one or more of them to perform for your character.
Content that is made using generative-AI tools (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generative_artificial_intelligence) is banned in the field at Empire for the same reasons. It is fine for digital artists to use procedural tools to create art for the game, but images manufactured by AI art engines must not be used in-character. Likewise, writers can use modern tools to proof their writing, but any substantial block of prose that is manufactured using a large-language model or any equivalent AI tool must not be used in-character at Empire events. (Generative-AI content is also prohibited in our online spaces).
It is not always easy to tell if something was created using AI. We don't want participants being interrogated every time they produce a piece of art or text for Empire. So if you think something may be breaking the rules, then you can let a referee know (at an event) or our moderation team if it's online, but you must leave it to them to deal with.
- You should report anyone you suspect is cheating to a referee
- Do not make public accusations of cheating
Profound Decisions make all reasonable effort to ensure that players are not cheating at events. Please do not make public accusations of cheating. OOC complaints during time-in ruin the atmosphere of the game and only exacerbate the problems caused by cheating.
If you think that another player is cheating then please report the matter to one of the referees as soon as possible and leave it for Profound Decisions to deal with. If referees find players cheating then they will deal with the issue as appropriate.
It is advisable to get a referee to accompany your character attacks another character. The referee will be able to help ensure that all the game rules are followed fairly by all participants.