Welcome to Epoch!
First of all, DON’T PANIC!
It is fairly easy to get started – you don’t have to have the rulebook memorized to play. The orientation will show you how things are done. Every player or cast has a character sheet in their pocket, so if you forget something, you can look it up. And frankly, you won’t start off as a powerful alchemist or Archmage so you will likely only have to memorize your name, a few spells or psychic states, how much damage you do and how much you can take. If you forget, then you can look it up on your character sheet. As a last resort, a few OOG (out-of-game) words should straighten any problem out.
Before you start game at your first event you will be taken on a safety walk by one of the Safety Officers. They will make sure that your weapons, fighting style and armour are safe for the game. Please feel free to ask the safety officer any questions you may have. If they are unable to answer your questions they will at least be able to let you know of someone who might.
For your very first Epoch game experience, we suggest one of the following options for your first few hours of play:
- As an “apprentice”, you would be partnered with another player who can help show you how things work. You would play a character of your own design, and would be considered “In Game”. You may ask your partner questions about the game rules, but also have a character to act out as well. Your character’s well-being would rely on your own actions, so be careful when observing the world around you. To select this option, speak to New Players (firstname.lastname@example.org) ahead of the event.
- As a “shadow”, you would wear a yellow headband that signifies you are “Out of Game”, and therefore don’t exist. You could then wander around, observing the action around you. This is useful because you can actually see the game rules as they are played, and ask questions of the players during a game. Be certain not to interrupt during combat or role-playing- you are a shadow, not an ogre!
Before Your First Event
- Ensure the club knows you’re coming
- Read through the rulebook.
- Read the Logistics section of the web site. It contains a lot of important information.
- Learn about the Epoch World (From the Epoch Toronto web site, the Artistic Director or other Players).
- Make any costumes, weapons or props your character will need.
What You Will Need for Your First Game
- 2 copies of your character sheet (if you haven’t pre-logged)
- Your character‟s costumes, weapons and props
- Normal clothes
- Sleeping wear
- Sleeping bag
- Food and dishes (if you haven’t arranged to be on a food plan)
- Bug spray
- Water bottle
- A watch
- Paper and pen
- Duct tape
- Ear plugs
- Yellow Headband
- A safety light
- Optional Items
- A tent
- A camping mattress
- Towels (Our regularly used site has shower facilities)
Players and Cast
After you have learned a bit about our game and our world, you have two options for playing in an Epoch game. You can be a cast member, or a player. Players generally create characters of their own choosing, and are given a certain amount of points to allocate to various abilities. Cast members are generally assigned one or more pre-generated characters with missions or roles related to the plot of the event. Players may do whatever they want within the scope of their chosen characters, whereas cast are under the guidance of the director of the game event. If you wish to be a player, you will be required to create your character in advance of an event. The Epoch Toronto club would be happy to help you with this.
If you wish to be a cast member, you will be required to inform the club so that the director of the event can reserve a role for you. It is up to the Event Director’s discretion as to who will be casting for the event. However, the more notice you give of your availability, the more likely you will be accepted as a cast member for that event.
As cast, you might get to play some pretty exciting characters or puppeteer some of our large monster props. On the flipside, you might be asked to play a character that you don’t find very interesting, so be prepared for this possibility. As cast, you can expect to spend some time waiting for the opportunity to execute your instructions. For example, if you’re puppeteering a giant spider, you might have to lurk out in the woods for some time until you see a chance to attack. Our advice for cast members is to make the most of the role you have, try to achieve the mission at hand, and have fun!
As a new Player, you will be given forty (40) experience points with which to create the character of your choice. It’s possible to boost this starting amount by writing a good character history and/or doing some work for the Epoch Toronto club to earn “creation points”.
When thinking about your player character, remember that you are just starting out, and are therefore a low power character. While you could easily call yourself “Thragg the Demon-Slayer” and consider yourself a powerful destroyer of evil, it’s unlikely you’ll live up to your own expectations. When considering the type of person you want to play, think about the potential friends and enemies you’re likely to make. A rude, arrogant, intolerant, short-tempered character is far less likely to survive than a quiet, friendly character. Be prepared to make enemies even if you are friendly, heroic, and good. Be prepared to die. It will happen eventually, but in the Epoch world, everyone can come back from the dead at least twice before permanently retiring. After your first game as a player, you may completely re-build your character. This is to accommodate unfamiliarity with the game system, and to cut new players some slack.
Character and Role-playing
Epoch is a role-playing-oriented game. During an event we separate things into “In Game” and “Out of Game” (IG and OOG). Some live action games call this “In Character” and “Out of character”. Our goal is to have people be In Character and In Game as much as possible throughout an event. If you have a question about a game rule, or you need to go to the bathroom, we would hope you wait until there is a definite break in the game to ask. If you ever have something to say that doesn’t relate to IG activities, ask yourself if it’s really necessary to say anything. The fewer people you disturb with OOG questions and comments, the better. When you are In Game, try not to use terms from the rules when you speak. For example, if you hear a combat in the distance, don’t turn to your friend and say “I just heard someone calling for Eight Metal!” Instead, you should say “I hear the clang of steel in the distance!” If someone asks you how badly you’re hurt, don’t tell them “I have three Health left,” tell them “I feel like I’m going to collapse.” The more we keep things In Game, the more fun the game is.
Here are the most important issues related to being IG and OOG:
- If you are carrying on a conversation with someone OOG, keep the volume to a minimum.
- Don’t interrupt IG activity with an OOG question unless there are safety or rules issues involved.
- If you are getting tired of role-playing, find somewhere quiet and take a break.
Tips from Experienced Players
- Keep an open mind. Don’t just sit back and observe. Get involved with the other characters. If you mess up really bad, you have a chance to rewrite your character and unlimited deaths anyways, so feel free to die as many times as you can!
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you‟re unsure of how the game works in any way, no one will keep you in the dark about it.
- Relax! No one is going to bite your head off if you get something wrong. No one memorizes ALL of the rules, especially during their first event.
- Epoch is a game where one player, even after years of playing will not have mastered all of the skill sets; however, it is relatively easy to become established in a single skill set early on. It is highly encouraged that new players learn to network, as their skills will always be useful, and half the fun is just learning how.
- Get to know people, both inside and outside the game. LARPing is interactive storytelling, and the better you get along with other players, the higher the quality of story.
- Try it twice. You have a mulligan on your first event, so you can try a different type of character your second time around.
How can I get more information?
The answers to many questions can be found on this web site (see below). If you have specific questions you need answered you can send an e-mail the New Players Committee or one of Epoch’s Executive, Artistic Directors or Officers. Or you can post questions in the Non- Members Forum on the Epoch forums.
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