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 rules@profounddecisions.co.uk with any questions about the rules or empire@profounddecisions.co.uk 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.


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 3200 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 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.

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. Please only hand in items which you are capable of using in the next downtime: it is not a banking service for you to keep stuff safe. GOD closes at 17:00 hrs on the Sunday of the event and all hand ins must be in the hand in crate by then. 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.

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.

Can I recover a body in downtime?

No. It is a deliberate part of the game that players must decide whether to take the risk of recovering the body of a fallen comrade while on a quest, battle, or skirmish. It's unfortunately not possible to resolve that dilemma in downtime if the body was not recovered in uptime, unless the plot team creates a specific opportunity to do so.

Skills and Characters

Can I change my skills?

After your first event, if you decide the skills you've chosen don't suit your character, you can change them. Before your next event you can e-mail admin@profounddecisions,co.uk, including your Player ID number, and the skills you want to change. After that point, there are rules that allow you to change a single skill after every event. For more information see this section of the downtime rules about retraining

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.

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.

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.

Can I use Stay With Me or Get It Together at range?

No. Both Stay With Me and Get It Together 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?

Both the battle mage and weapon master skills can be used to wield a staff in combat. However, neither allows the wielder to employ heroic calls using a staff (see below).

Does the Extra Item skill increase in cost?

No. The cost for all the extra item/ritual/spell skills is one point. The only skills that increase with cost each time you purchase them are those skills in the skill table marked with an asterisk to indicate that they increase in cost each time they are taken.

Do I lose my mana if I stop casting a spell before it is complete?


Can I turn a hallowed item into something else?

No. If raw materials are hallowed (whether in-game materials or mundane items), and are turned into something else (for example, carving a hallowed log into a bowl), the resulting item is not hallowed.

Can I use the dedicate skill to give myself dreams?

No. You cannot use the dedication skill to create vivid dreams by yourself - the character with the skill must be separate to the character experiencing the dream. Using the ability always requires a priest with the dedication skill to use it on a different person as recipient.

Can I study this thing I grabbed to learn new skills/technology?

It's not possible to learn how to make unfamiliar magic items, potions, consumables of the like by studying. It's also not possible to create an arcane projection to allow you to do so. There are methods in the game to acquire new recipes or items - such as creating a schema with a runeforge - and it may be possible to gain the knowledge to make something as part of a plot, but such opportunities are rare.

Weapons, Armour, and Fighting

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.

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 category does a weapon exactly 42 inches long fall into?

One-handed weapon (and this extends for 60 inch being 2-handed and 84-inch being polearms).

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 you be fed a potion if you are dying?

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 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.

A staff can be used with the battle mage skill to cast offensive spells and is a suitable physrep for a magical staff or ritual staff.

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.

What do I do if I can't fall over?

All characters who choose to enter combat at Empire are expected to be able to follow the published rules. This includes falling over if their character is reduced to zero hits, or being hit with a STRIKEDOWN effect. The rules for strikedown have been updated to allow any character to take two steps before they fall to the ground if needed for safety reasons.

If you have any mobility or safety restrictions that make it unsafe or impossible to follow the normal rules for combat then you can use the rules for being non-contact at any point, including at the point where you are hit with a strikedown or reduced to zero hits. This will ensure the highest possible level of safety and because it doesn't advantage your character it ensures that nobody can question the need to do so. The point at which you feel it is necessary to become non-contact is absolutely your decision; it is not acceptable for any other participant to question this.

Can I swing two weapons at once in a combined strike?

Yes, providing you have the Ambidexterity skill. Note that the recipient of the attack should only take one point of damage however. Such an attack does not violate the one second rule.

What location is the backside?

At times, a CLEAVE or IMPALE will strike a connection point on the body between the torso and a limb. In these situations, we rely on the judgement of the receiving player as to which location was closer to the hit. The important point is that the effect is taken on one of the two locations.

Do I need the Marksman skill to practice with a bow or crossbow?

You can fire a bow and arrow solely for practice purposes. Taking part in any kind of contest or competition involving archery requires the Marksman skill.


Does CLEAVE or IMPALE 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 hold on to something instead of being repelled?

If you are struck with REPEL, you can hold on to a solid, immovable object such as a tree for ten seconds during which time you may talk but may take no other actions including blocking with a shield or parrying.

Can I grab, or be grabbed by, a friend to resist a REPEL?

No. Only a solid, immovable object will stop you moving. See also our rules on grappling.

What can I do if I can't fall over when struck with STRIKEDOWN?

This is covered in the previous section here.