Live roleplaying is a cooperative hobby which means that your enjoyment of our game is dependent on the behaviour of other participants and likewise their enjoyment is impacted by the way you approach and play the game. Because of this unique cooperative aspect of live roleplaying, we require all our participants to meet certain common standards of conduct and behaviour while they are at Empire events or using online spaces devoted to the game.
This code of conduct defines the responsibilities of participants involved with Empire. The aim is to benefit everyone involved by ensuring that you know what behaviour to expect at an event and what behaviour is expected of you. We want to make clear what behaviour is acceptable because Empire is a large active community of thousands of live roleplayers - who all have own views on these matters. Explicitly defining a social contract that you agree to by choosing to participate allows you to know the standards that you will be held to by others.
All our rules for conduct apply to everyone who attends our events, to all participants regardless of whether they are players or crew. The underlying goal of this code of conduct is about respecting other participants - and taking reasonable measures to produce the best events we can that are as accessible to as many people as possible. We want to produce high quality events that are enjoyed by all participants regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or sexuality.
Although we are passionate about these issues - it is outside our scope as an events company to support public discussions about them. These pages lay out the behaviour that is expected from participants in our game to remove assumptions about how things work at our events. We have published the definitive source for what is and is not acceptable at Profound Decisions events, so that everyone can understand what rules are used at our events.
The Conduct Team
- Emma Woods is the head of conduct at Empire
- Clare Evans, Graeme Jamieson, Chris Penney, and Steve Tiernan are members of the conduct team
Emma Woods is the member of crew with primary responsibility for ensuring the conduct of all participants meets our guidelines and for dealing with any issues arising. If you wish to report an issue with the conduct of another participant then the best person to speak to is Emma or any other member of her team.
If you raise an issue with a member of our crew, then they will encourage you to speak to a member of the conduct team and help to get hold of them for you. If you prefer then you can ask for a specific member of the team - or ask to speak to a male or female member of the team - otherwise the crew will attempt to put you in touch with whichever member of the team is available first. We will take all complaints seriously and treat them with respect regardless of your gender, relationship status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, sexuality, transgender status, religion or age, or any similar distinction.
The Welfare Team
- John Newton is the head of participant welfare at Empire
- A member of the team is available on request throughout the day
Empire is a busy and exciting event, with lots of activity and situations that you may find unexpected or challenging. Some people, including those with ongoing mental health issues, may find themselves feeling overwhelmed, anxious or distressed.
If this happens to you, and you feel unable to cope, then please ask someone to help you find a member of our crew. As many of our crew are skilled at supporting others, the crew member you find may be able to help you themselves. If the first member of our crew you speak to cannot help you with your needs, they can contact the participant welfare team for assistance.
Our participant welfare team are a volunteer team that have experience or qualifications in psychotherapy, counselling and support. The team exists to help event participants who are unable to enjoy the event due to mental health issues or emotional distress.
When the participant welfare team get a radio call, a member of that team will come to wherever you are. They also have access to a private tent, in the OOC area, which they can take you to if that would be more helpful. Any conversation you have with a member of the participant welfare team may be regarded as confidential, shared only within the team and with PD's safeguarding officers. Information will only be shared with additional people with your permission, or where we are legally or ethically obliged to do so.
Although members of the participant welfare team are qualified in counselling and psychotherapy, their role at Empire does not aim to be therapeutic. You are not their client or patient. Their conversation with you will be closer to that of a crisis helpline volunteer or a good friend than that of a professional counsellor or psychotherapist.
The participant welfare team aims to assist you to move through any distress you may be experiencing, and to help you access resources that you can use to solve your problems and meet your needs. Their goal is for you to feel able to go back to enjoying the event again, quickly and smoothly. If that is not possible, and you need to go home, then they can call other teams to assist you in leaving the site.
Equality and Diversity
- Real-world discrimination is as unacceptable at our games as real-world violence
- It is not acceptable to insult another participant on the basis of an out-of-character attribute.
- Empire is a gender-blind setting
- References to non-consensual sex or sex with minors are not permitted
The setting does include in-character prejudice and bigotry - it is fine to insult another character on the basis of an in-character attribute, such as their lineage, species, archetype, or in-character nationality or beliefs. What is not acceptable is any treatment based on out-of-character attributes of gender, social-economic status, relationship status, nationality, national origin or religion. Any behaviour that is based on real world discrimination is prohibited at Profound Decisions events, regardless of if it takes place while participants are in-character or out-of-character. Participants are not allowed to discriminate at all on an grounds of race, ethnicity, disability, sexuality, transgender status, or age, or any similar distinction.
Empire includes a number of common attitudes towards matters of age, race, sexuality and gender throughout the setting. These cultural norms are designed to reflect the rules for conduct for the game, except where noted they are not optional.
In particular, we have deliberately opted to discard real-world history to create a game setting that does not include any form of gender discrimination. Characters in the world of Empire do not make any distinction between genders or assumptions about characters based on their gender. There are no social roles reserved for men - or for women - and the idea of assigning responsibilities based on gender should be seen as ridiculous by any normal character.
There are additional guidelines for the use of language by all participants that are designed to reflect the gender-blind setting and encourage participation by all genders. However everyone should be aware that the Empire setting is written to exclude non-consensual sex or sex with minors. All participants must avoid in-character references to either of these two subjects in play.
- Romance and love should be roleplayed in ways that respect other players
- If your character's actions are experienced as sexism or misogyny then you will be asked to stop
- If you feel able to, then you can ask another player to stop if you are uncomfortable with the roleplaying
- If you do not feel able to or the person persists, then speak to a member of the conduct team
Empire includes themes of romance, love, and consensual sex, with significant cultural dimensions in some nations, such as Dawn where true love is an ideal almost as important as glory. No part of the setting should be taken as license to make other players out-of-character uncomfortable. These elements of the setting are based on real world themes and experiences and they require common-sense to deal with without reflecting real-world discrimination. As a general rule if you are engaging with another character in this way then it is best practice to check out-of-character beforehand that they are happy for you to do that - and where appropriate to establish clear boundaries for what you are doing.
Characters in nations like Dawn or the League might have reason to disdain or criticise another character for the decisions they make regarding love, romance and marriage. However, we will not tolerate slut-shaming in Empire under any circumstances. You should only engage in conflict of this nature within a context where you have respect for the other player involved and where you have good reason to believe that they are happy for you to engage with them in this way. The above principles of checking in and establishing clear boundaries apply.
If your in-character discrimination is experienced as sexism or misogyny by the people it is aimed at, then you will be asked to stop. If you are asked to stop, you must do so.
If another player is roleplaying with your character in a way that is making you feel uncomfortable then you can ask them to stop if you feel able to. If you do not feel able to, or if the player persists, then please speak to a member of the crew who will contact the conduct team for you.
- Sexual harassment will not be tolerated by us at our events
We understand that many people come to Empire to socialize and enjoy themselves - but nobody should have to tolerate harassment from other participants. Our definition of sexual harassment includes any of the following behaviour:
- Repeatedly asking a person to socialize when the person has indicated that they are not interested.
- Repeatedly standing or sitting too close to or brushing up against a person without their clear consent.
- Sexual comments, banter, jokes, or innuendo in company that includes people who are not comfortable with that.
- Touching a person in an intimate or sexual way without their clear consent.
In plain English, if you continue to hit on other participants after they have indicated that they are not interested or if you make sexual comments or jokes that make other participants uncomfortable - then we will consider you guilty of sexual harassment and deal with you accordingly.
A victim of sexual harassment can be of any gender. The victim can be of the same gender as the harasser. The harasser can be any participant, a player or a member of crew. All of our rules apply to all participants regardless of gender or status.
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.
- All participants at Empire are entitled to use the toilets that they feel most comfortable using
Profound Decisions support the right of all participants to identify their gender. All participants must use a person's preferred pronoun. We understand that it is easy to make honest mistakes in this regard, but refusing to acknowledge a correction or deliberately misgendering another player is not acceptable at our events.
All the larger blocks of toilet and hygiene facilities that are located around the site are split into male, female and gender neutral toilets. All our participants are entitled to use the facilities that they feel most comfortable using. You must not challenge other participants when using the facilities
- Please challenge any behaviour that violates these rules at events if you feel safe to
- You may ask another participant to leave your group tent or group campfire at any time
- If your behaviour is challenged, you must apologize and back off
We ask all participants to support our efforts to prevent discrimination or harassment by making clear that that behaviour will not be tolerated. If you see examples of behaviour that is inappropriate because it appears to violate our rules on discrimination or harassment, then we encourage you to challenge the people involved on the spot if you feel confident enough to do so. It is not helpful to get into a direct confrontation with another participant but a simple forceful statement such as "OOC - please stop bothering X" should be sufficient.
If a player is in a tent belonging to you or your group, or is around your group campfire, then you may instruct them to leave if their behaviour is inappropriate. If your group has additional social rules for your own space, such as a ban on smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol, then you may instruct players to leave if they break your rules. Your social space at the event is considered to be your area, participants are only welcome to enter with your blessing.
If your behaviour is challenged by another participant in this way then you must apologize for any offense caused and back off immediately regardless of any other considerations. If you are asked to leave another group's tent or campfire by a member of the group then you must do so. If you feel your actions have been misconstrued, then you should state that case to our referee if the matter is reported.
We ask participants not to confront inappropriate use of gendered language directly; see the language page for specific guidance on how to respond to that.
It is also important to appreciate that Empire is a game of political conflict between players. It is absolutely appropriate to challenge players for any behaviour that violates our rules on harassment or discrimination - but it not appropriate to use this mechanism to respond to legitimate in-character conflicts between characters that do not contain any elements of sexual harassment or similar.
- Empire is a game built on struggles between player-characters
- It is never acceptable to direct out-of-character criticism at players for choices they have made in-character
Empire includes many elements of player designed to encourage cooperative roleplaying between player-characters. It is designed to be a game that you can enjoy playing without ever coming into conflict with other characters - if that is your choice. However, the game is fundamentally built around the idea of a political struggle between player-characters for control of nations and the Empire. The key sources of drama and conflict in the game are the actions initiated by player-characters.
It is never acceptable to direct out-of-character criticism at players for the choices they have made in-character. It's not appropriate to criticize people's roleplaying generally - that is almost never constructive, but because Empire is sold as a game for engaging in challenging political conflict with other characters, no player should ever criticize other players for doing that - or for the decisions they have taken while doing that.
- We encourage anyone who is experiencing problems with another participant's behaviour to raise the matter with us
We have completely overhauled our approach to handling issues of harassment and discrimination at events to try and make it as easy as possible for attendees to bring incidents to our attention. Please see the wiki page on reporting discrimination or harassment for information on how to raise an issue with us, the options available to you when you raising an issue and how we handle the matter.
- Please support any participant who comes to you with an incidence of sexual harassment
Members of our conduct team are on site throughout the day to deal with any violation of our conduct rules, our security team are likewise available throughout the night. However we understand that many people who experience harassment find it difficult to approach a stranger to report the experience. They may be intimidated by the prospect of speaking with someone they do not know - or simply be unaware of who they should contact. We appreciate that in many cases, a participant will prefer to speak to a friend, regardless of whether they are a player or crew.
We ask everyone who attends our events to be aware that if another participant approaches you to discuss a case of harassment or assault, they are likely to have identified you as the individual they are most comfortable to approach over this matter. We realize that dealing with these matters is difficult and challenging - but we cannot create an event free from harassment unless participants support that goal. If someone has reached out to you to ask for help, we ask you to do everything that you feel capable of to help them access that help.
There are different levels of support that any participant can provide, depending on what is required and what you feel comfortable doing. As a minimum every participant who attends the event should try to be aware of who to report a case of harassment to. In addition to this, please consider if you are able to provide any of the following additional levels of support:
- If a participant does not know how to report an issue to Profound Decisions, you can help them to find a member of the crew who can respond.
- If a participant does not wish to speak to Profound Decisions, you can ask if they are comfortable allowing you to report the incident either in their name or anonymously.
- If a participant is able to speak to Profound Decisions, then you can offer to accompany and support them if they will find this helpful.
- If a participant is reporting to Profound Decisions, you can provide moral support during the process and ask what outcomes will take place.
We don't require any participant to do these things - but all of the above can provide invaluable assistance to an individual who has chose to approach you to ask for help. Anything that you can do to help them get a successful outcome to their situation will improve the event for them and by extension for every legitimate participant.
- Our code of conduct includes behaviour of all participants in online public forums and spaces devoted to Empire
We expect all participants to follow these guidelines when posting online in public forums and spaces devoted to Empire. We will not enforce our code of conduct on other social media spaces - but we do expect participants to follow it when exchanging emails or private messages with each other.
Profound Decisions provide a set of official Empire forums and Facebook groups for all participants to discuss the game. These are moderated by our crew who follow these published moderation guidelines.
The goal of our rules is to provide a high degree of personal safety and comfort to everyone who is participating in the Empire campaign. These rules govern all events run by Profound Decisions, as well as all the official online forums and Facebook groups that exist to support game and are moderated by us.
Empire sanctioned events run by other LRP groups may use their own event rules to govern the conduct of players at their events, but we expect most organizers to use the standard rules. We require any event organizer to be explicit in advance if they intend to deviate from any of our published rules.
If an event organizer is using the Profound Decisions conduct rules and an individual's behaviour does not meet the required standards then the event organizers or the affected parties may choose to pass the details of that matter to us for consideration. As the event is an extension of the Empire campaign then we will act on the basis of any clear violation of the rules at that event if we can verify the details. In particular we expect that players who have a must-avoid order will attempt to follow the spirit of these rules while attending any Empire events.
Our conduct rules do not cover any other real world situations. This includes other live roleplaying systems and events and any social or real world situation that are not a logical extension of the Profound Decisions environment. We are always prepared to talk to any participant about their concerns and we appreciate that situations that take place outside of Empire events are significant and can be pivotal to understanding the context of a situation or disagreement with another participant. But we will only take action against a participant on the basis of actions undertaken at Empire events or in the official online Empire community.