Let’s travel back a couple of years to 2012.
Some of my close friends had started talking about a new LARP system that was in the pipeline called Empire. Some of these friends were also contributing some creative input towards it.
Up until this point my only LARP experiences had been a few years going to Lorien Trust’s main events and some time playing Stormhaven locally with a small group of friends. For the record, I enjoyed most of my time at LT and I’m not ruling out going to future events.
Anyway, there was talk that my friends were going to form a group for Empire and head to the first event. I thought “What the hell, lets give this a shot” and asked for more information.
We were planning to go as members of the Navarr nation. This boils down to bad-ass, forest-dwelling, nut-job ranger types. The Navarr page on the Empire wiki explains it so much better than I could, and in great detail. My mind darted towards Privateer Press’s Circle of Orboros Hordes faction and it got my creative juices flowing.
The next thing I somehow stumbled into was being involved in a film shoot to promote Empire. It was a cold and damp October morning, at some ungodly hour that we traveled to the film set in Northampton (which also happened to be where Empire is actually held). The first thing I noticed, besides the ludicrous amount of mud, was the purpose built in-character tavern. A lot of my friends had devoted their spare time helping build this and I had seen Facebook pictures, but nothing was as cool as stepping in there myself. It truly is a work of art.
It seemed that one of the purposed actors hadn’t been able to make the shoot, so I was asked to step into the role of a Marches Priest. I will not lie, this was terrifying. I had to ad-lib monologue to a load of extras, all the the character of some book wielding, ranty priest. I will admit that if there was sound from the shoot you would hear that I was quoting lyrics from Diana Ross and the original Transformers soundtrack. The day after this I spent dressed as an Orc and took part in a load of fight scenes. The whole weekend was great fun, I made a few new friends, learned more about Empire itself and what the creators had hoped to achieve. Seeing behind the scenes of a film shoot was absolutely fascinating. Here’s the final product.
So we bounced some ideas around of what our group would be like for a while. Next thing that happened was the first official group meeting, where I met friends of friends that intended to be in this group as well. At this point I truly learned just what a bunch of insane, creative and resourceful people our group consisted of. They were thinking a lot bigger than I had ever done for LARP before. The high point being the decision to build our own tree-house in the camp.
I’ll be posting a bit more about Empire as time goes by. I’d like to share some of the stuff I’m making for my character and what we are making as a group. Until then, stay vigilant brothers and sisters!