There isn’t a whistle that will blow in 5 days, 11 hours, 48 minutes.

But that’s when Empire will time in, and – with any luck – somewhere above to 1500 players will start to play in the universe Profound Decisions have spent the last few years or so putting together, slowly rolling boulders up increasingly tall mountains.

1500 players will know enough of the rules to start playing, enough of their Nation background to know their character, enough of the rules around their skillset to do what their character will do.

The questions I tend to get asked by people who don’t do LARP tend towards the basic functions of how it works:

“So are you always the same character?”

“For as long as you play them yes, usually. Most systems you only are playing between around 10am and 1am”,

“But the same one every day, all day?”

“Yes”

“Isn’t that hard?”

“Sometimes, to start with. It’s generally about getting into the character’s head space”

“Like acting?”

“Kind of, but while acting you work it out and then repeat it with the lines given. It’s more make believe”

“Don’t you feel a bit silly, dressed up like a wizard?”

“Not when everyone is.”

“Isn’t it all a bit silly?”

“Yes.”

My part in Empire is fairly minor. I’m part of a small plot team, I’ll be playing a few NPCs (I hope. I spend enough time at Odyssey behind a desk…). Up until this week most of my involvement has been snarking at both game and players from the sidelines, occasional bits of tech support, and being aggressively reasonable and only slightly sarcastic on relevant social media. This week I put together some additions to the forum the Plot crew are using, so they can review backgrounds. I don’t have a great deal to do that has a deadline, and even I’m getting slightly antsy about the ever-decreasing time until time-in. Gods knows how the actual organizers are coping.

Plus, it’s snowing. The weather in the UK is infamously changable, but even it doesn’t tend to waver from settling-snow to bright, cheerful, reliable sunshine in five days. This means that it’s going to be cold. Now, despite – and partly because of – many years in the cubs, in the scouts, and the last few years of doing fest LARP; I am not a fan of camping in general, and in the snow the very least of all. But the camping is only part of the problem, there’s also the bit where you’re spending all day outside. So, time to invest in thermals, layers, warm socks, *spare* warm socks, *more spare* warm socks, blankets and hand-warmers.

On top of this, I’m job-searching, and working full time (well, mostly full time. There has been a lot of interview time this week) at my current job. I’m in two minds about blogging the recruitment process. First, I’m atypical within it – I’ve the space to be slightly fussy – and it comes across as indecorous when people are having a much harder time than I am.

So, that’s where I am, and where I’ll be for a while. It’s going to be a long and cold week.

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