The Book Of The Empire

The biggest LARP that I attend is Profound Decisions‘ Empire campaign.

Backstage at Empire. Game Operations being set up on the Thursday before we start

Empire is a massive system, not only in terms of the size of the events – well over a thousand people – but also in that the background literature for the game is an effort of worldbuilding that you’d expect for something like the world of A Song of Ice and Fire (or Game of Thrones), Dragon Age’s Thedas, or Tolkien’s Middle Earth. The wiki’s wordcount exceeded the full set of Harry Potter novels when the game launched, and has only been added to since then.

Yr Hmbl Crspdt as Imperial Auditor L. Nileus of the Imperial Civil Service
Reichard Callan Remidos von Holmauer, photo by Beth Dooner

I’m a member of PD’s crew (I currently administer the wikis, help with the setup of networking on the game field and generally provide IT support; but previously was part of the NPC Civil Service and briefly helped run Game Operations and wrote some plot) but right now I play the game as Reichard Callan Remidos von Holmauer, part of The Seven Mirrors, a political salon and publishing house, which is in The League, an Imperial nation inspired by history such as the Republic of Venice, the Hanseatic League and Prague. The Prince of our guild is also currently the Empress, after a long and complicated campaign, and the image above is her being crowned last summer.

A map of the Empire in cloth, with figures representing armies. Photo by Tom Garnett
Drin, waving a flag of Dawn, framed by the gateway through which imperial strike teams go on battle. Photo by Tom Garnett

One of the things I love about Empire is the things created by the players that enhance the game world. From Steph Morris‘ banners of the nations that hang in the Imperial Senate, though to Daisy Abbott‘s glorious map of the Empire, and the photos around this article of other things. Roz & Simon, who head up and organise our Guild both in and out of character, do some fantastic work on the publishing house side of the guild too, creating mastercrafts of pamphlets and booklets. A lot are information that can be found on the wiki online, but brought into character in a pretty way, and the latest and best of these is the brand new Book of the Empire, a professionally printed, gold-leaf titled, 766 page hard-back book of beautifully designed and typeset (THE FONTS! THE TYPOGRAPHY! THE WOODCUTS!) sections of the ruleset about things like the houses of government, the Imperial religion, the history of the empire and its rulers, all the nations and how their magic works, how their senators are elected, what they’re like.

The Book of the Empire, opened. No, I haven’t gotten around to taking off my character’s nail varnish


The Book of the Empire, Closed

I’m consistently amazed at the time and effort people go to for this game. I’m not sure what’s next to top this, but I’m excited to find out…

(Header image is The crowning of the Empress of Flowers, photo by Tom Garnett)

computing programming

On Medium: How to solve a problem like passwords

I’m going to be occasionally publishing long-form things on Medium as an experiment. Here’s one

Current Affairs Personal Politics

apocalypse now

Last night I dreamed an apocalypse.

The dying weeks of a world gone mad, played out in spotlights of real-time in the way only a dream or high budget TV show could do, where various of my communities had packed up to spend their last days in a gigantic maze of prefab houses, pushed together and sealed against the world.

There were courtyards and terraces, and there were great moments of friendship and terrible feuds that poisoned whole sections. In the end, the world was saved, and the apocalypse averted, but the government decided that since we had all prepared for the end, they should see it through.

As we prepared slingshots to catch the missiles and throw them back, the dream faded and the specifics washed out into blooms of pencil-outlined sketches in a sea of merging watercolour, and scant details remained: A ramshackle community built of the houses we brought with us, a nuclear missile being redirected with the aid of a large palm tree and a bouncy castle, and a long-running sense of inexorable impending doom.

So in a way, my dreams are coming true.

(Header image by Hucky on Pixabay, used under licence)