This is written in my capacity as a person, and not as a member of PD Crew or anything else.

How To Empire

A guide for people new to fest, new to Empire, or otherwise new.

What is Empire

Empire is a Festival – or Fest – LARP system from the renowned brains of Profound Decisions, who were previously to blame for Omega, Maelstrom & Odyssey. By “Fest” I mean that it’s a weekend LARP event aimed at upwards of a couple of hundred people at a time. Empire’s a good deal more than that, far above a thousand players per event.

What do you do at a Fest LARP Game?

That’s kind of a complicated question with a simple answer. You create, and then play, your character for pretty much all of the weekend. What you do mostly depends on what your character does, or is, or whatever. Basically, PD supply a sandbox and some sand, occasionally the odd model dinosaur to play with, and the fun of the weekend comes from trying to build your sandcastles, collaborating with other people on their sandcastles, and interacting with the people building other, different sandcastles elsewhere in the game. Also, kicking the tails of the armies of toy dinosaurs.

One of the ways that Empire’s different is that casually killing characters so you can take over their sandcastles is kind of against the spirit of the game, which is based around the entire population of the sandbox working together against the external forces of the model dinosaurs, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot of game in making sure your sandcastles are bigger and sturdier than everyone elses by way of kicking over other peoples’ and nicking their sand. PvP (Player vs Player) combat is a possibility of the game, but it’s one where the mechanics of justice will likely grind against you.

I’m pretty sure I’ve exhausted that metaphor, but we may come back to it later. We’ll get to more specific examples later on.

Further Information

What does the Game provide?

At the most basic level, PD supply a field you can camp in, another field you can play in, some toilets to not play in and hire some food suppliers to keep you as alive as your wallet allows.

The infrastructure of the universe is run by PD. They keep track of the Empire’s roads, taxes, how armies do, where non-Empire cultures are and what they are doing. They also provide a framework of history and nations for you to build your character in, and a structure of rules for combat so nobody gets hurt in real life. A number of roles and power-bases in the universe are also provided, including ways to become part of and use them. They also have a small army of volunteer staff who represent an uncorrectable Civil Service for the Empire, managing elections and power transfers. It is not, within the rules of the game, possible to corrupt or bribe the Civil Service.

Every event, you will get whatever money or goods your character’s personal resources have produced, and between events you can direct any armies you can control.

What do I need to provide?

A character

On the PD site you can specify the stats and details of your Empire character, including deep background history and personal ambitions. It’s highly recommended for characters to be part of a group, because it provides you with a set of people to talk to and interact with already, without having to go into the big bad world and say “Hi, I’m Bob!” until you strike up a conversation. Also, most groups have goals and circumstances that will provide you with short or long-term goals and experiences to give you something to do in the game.

You will need to pick a nation and whether you’re an orc, a plain human or a human with the Lineage of one of the magical planes that the Empire is in contact with. Groups are within nations, rather than across them, but there is no game-numbers benefit or downside to your Humanity. There are roleplay effects – both of the lineage itself and in the reaction of others to you – but neither Nations nor Lineage have any affect on what skills or stats your character can have.

There are a lot of skills to chose from, and if you’re an item crafter or a magician there are a whole host of objects and rituals as well. Recommending those is a bit beyond this article, but it’s worth asking members of your group what they recommend. Your Personal Resource will supply you with Stuff every event for use or trade on the field.

Finding a group is a bit harder. If you already know a group of LARPers playing Empire, it’s possibly worth joining up with them, as an OC relationship greases the skids a lot for getting to know people and being part of a group, but if not there are Facebook Groups and Forums for most of the Empire Nations, and a friendly post introducing yourself and saying you’re looking for a group to join will almost certainly get you a host of classified ads for recruiting groups, or there’s an Empire groups recruiting board on

If you have any questions about your character getting into the setting, or how to do any of this, PD have a crew dedicated to getting new players into the game, and you can contact them via

Further Information


Once you’ve got an idea of who you want to play, it’s time to put together what they look like. The Empire Wiki has guides for each nation on their costume and style, as well as the websites for traders and custom costume creators who can help you get the best out of your budget. Some groups will also be able to help with things like larp safe weapons, or there are traders on the field or at a number of trade fairs over the year, keep an eye on the Empire groups for more details.

On shoes, try to keep them looking IC (In Character). White trainers won’t be allowed on the IC field, but decent boots are fine. Most of the event is going to be walking around a field, or running around some woods. Life is far too short to wear uncomfortable shoes and wet socks for any of that, so pack accordingly.

Further Information

Camping Equipment

You’ll need a warm sleeping bag and tent, and enough comfortable stuff to keep you warm and dry. This wiki has a list of Commonly forgotten items for larp trips which might be handy.

What should I read?

The wiki is a bit huge.

I’m pretty sure that Empire is the deepest documented universe for a LARP game ever, but that does mean that the sheer size of it is intimidating. You don’t need to know it all, though.

The Least You Need To Read

Each nation has a basic section of three pages (The Core Brief, the Customs, the Look & Feel) which you should read for your nation and for other nations you’re interested in. On top of that is the Further Reading briefs, (History, Economics, Religious) which is strictly optional depending on which bits you think your character would care about. Ideally you should know all of them, but not required.

If you aim to be part of one of the Imperial Powerbases (The Senate, the Synod, The Military, the Conclave, the Bourse) It’s worth reading the sections on those too, but the field has computers with the Wiki onsite for you to look up anything you might like.

Further Information

Battles & Skirmishes

One of the things the Military can do is call up the Heroes of the Empire to fight key battles to hold territories or win advantages. Some of these are huge battles with half the nations battling as many orcs, some are smaller with only a few nations, and some are skirmishes against a very small but quite fierce army.

Or, to put it in out of character terms, Battles are half the playerbase against the other half, small Battles are a couple of nations each side, and smaller skirmishes are mostly against the monster crew.

For the Battles, large and small, PD currently require you to balance being a monster with being your character for them, one to one, in the same event. Times when you’re expected to Monster will be announced via the whiteboard outside the Game Operations Desk, or in a more in-character way on the field.

Monstering battles is fun. Generally they will require generic kit (blacks and browns) and most people will be lent one of PD’s Orc masks and a set of armour and weapons if you don’t have any. You’ll be given a brief for your individual small unit, and usually an objective to fulfil. Mindless monsters are generally not PD’s style.

For skirmishes monstering is entirely voluntary, again announced outside GOD. You will earn the crew’s fine regards and sometimes also a token good for one pint of beer at the on field bar.

Further Information


Combat in LARP is by hitting people with carbon cored weapons covered in foam latex. Hitting someone once cost them a Hit, wearing armour and various other things grant you more Hits. Some magical items grant the ability to call things alongside your hit, such as “STRIKEDOWN” to make people fall over. When you run out of hits, if you’re not saved, your character has died.

When you die, you have won Empire. Congratulations. Now you get to create a new character and win all over again.

Further Information


On the field are a few places to find burgers or more hearty meals with OOC money, as well as a bar. Due to licencing issues, player run facilities such as bars are not allowed to accept normal money and may only trade for in-character goods and services.


Or you could always join in. PD are generally looking for people to help construct and strike tents, or to join the Monster Crew for an event or several. You can always play afterwards, and it’s a good entry to the system. For more information, see the crew guideline pages.

Stuck or Confused?

PD’s core customer service aim is for the most players to have fun on the field. If you’re stuck, confused or upset, please contact the crew via

Edit this page

Revised by Aquarion @ Thu, 15 Aug 2013 12:50:06 +0100

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  1. Thu, 15 Aug 2013 12:50:06 +0100 – Aquarion [ Current ]
  2. 2013-08-15 10:57 – Aquarion : Style correction [ View | Diff ]
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  5. 2013-08-15 07:48 – Aquarion : Corrections [ View | Diff ]
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  10. 2013-08-14 20:03 – Aquarion : Start of a brand new world [ View | Diff ]
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