Talking to Imperial Positions: A Subjective, Incomplete and Flawed Guide: Guest post by Monica G.

I’ve not had anything new worth saying for ages, and there’s a lot of good stuff being said on Facebook and I stash some of it here so I can find it later. This is a lovely piece of advice from Monica G. on the Empire game, and how Imperial Title holders think. There’s more about how this bit of the Empire game works here. These words are all from her, republished with permission, and the original piece is here.

TLDR: People usually get Imperial positions because they want more roleplay about that part of the game, don’t be scared OC of offering it to them

One thing I often hear from typically newer players (although not exclusively, veterans get shy too!) is that they are too intimidated, daunted, shy or otherwise put-off talking to people who hold Imperial Titles.

(And prominent characters that do *not* hold Imperial Titles, this advice does tend to hold true for them too!)

This runs contrary to the oft-given advice to newer folks of “find a thing in the Winds of Whatever and have an opinion about it that you share”. Who better to have your opinion at than an Imperial Title that is involved with that thing? But they are often very busy-looking, in meetings, surrounded by other people (often other Title-holders), and figuring out how to get a word in their ear can sometimes look like an impossible task.

THE FIRST

…and most important thing to know is that Imperial Title Holders are people too, and they are players. Just like everybody else, they can be hangry, drunk, tired, mischievous, friendly, angry, sleepy, bouncy, the whole range of emotions. They might also be under magical or roleplay effects that influence their behaviour. If they’ve done it on purpose, they might be able to tell you what the roleplay effect is IC, but if they’ve been cursed against their will, they may not know about it IC and just be playing the effect. If a character is behaving weirdly, you can always ask!

THE SECOND…

most important thing is to know that Title Holders are roleplayers who have chosen to engage with that aspect of the game so hard that other players have agreed that they are the best person for the job, and got IC recognition for it. There are no Titles that are self-appointed, at least one other character has to endorse you for it.

Typically, a person does this because they want more involvement in that part of the game. More roleplay about it, more access to it, more people coming to them with information about it.

My character currently holds a Generalship. If I am dithering outside the pub chatting nonsense with people, and you come to me wanting to talk about the military campaign – congratulations, you might now be a more important priority than the conversation I was just having. The only way to find out is to speak up, and give a brief summary of what you want to talk about.

Entering into the conversation with an “excuse me, do you have a moment to talk about X” might feel a bit weird, but it’s going to get you an answer faster than hovering around looking sad.

I might not actually be the best person to talk to about your thing, but usually I can signpost you to who might be, and then you can go to the next person and say “General Whassername sent me to you”. I might not be able to talk right there and then, but I can tell you when I’ll be free and able to give you my full attention. Or I might drop everything and go do your thing.

(As a side-point, I personally love it when people hand me notes instead of barging into conversations and talking over everybody. It’s unobtrusive and means I can often handle it without breaking the flow of what I’m doing – especially if I’m in a meeting or something. It’s much nicer than tapping me on the shoulder from behind (which always startles me). So it’s not a bad idea to take a pencil and some paper with you if you are tracking down a Title Holder.)

Our friends are used to us dropping conversations and activities at random to go do stuff related to our IC Titles. Really.

Not every Title holder will operate like this. Some have “office hours”. Some will only talk if they are paid to, or if you offer them food or drink. Some are IC snobs and deliberately make accessing them hard unless you fulfil certain requirements based on what they or their culture values. Some might just consider themselves “off duty” after 10pm and refuse to talk business. Typically, they’ll let you know when you approach them, or other players might know how to gain access easily. Ask around!

Proxies can be a great source of access to a specific title holder. They are often well informed on the titleholders schedule and location, or they can be someone who can provide you information themselves.

THE THIRD

thing you need to know is about scheduling.

Most Imperial Titles have certain duties which take place at specific times. Senate, Conclave and Military Council are all on a set schedule every day, and your Title holder or their proxy will usually need to attend their relevant meeting. Outside of this, there will be other official appointments for specific Title holders. Archmages and Ambassadors get a lot of these – audiences with Eternals or foreign diplomats are on a schedule set by Profound Decisions based around availability of NPC crew, but to some extent all Title holders (and prominent/plot-involved players) are at the mercy of the meeting and NPC encounter schedule.

In addition to these official duties, many Title holders attend player-led meetings and have their own schedule. Senators might have a scheduled catch-up with each other in the pub at a specific time on Saturday, Grandmasters might want a catch up meeting with the Generals late on Friday night, specific nations may have internal events that they attend (Navarr officials taking the time to go to Songs and Stories, Dawnish attending tourneys, etc).

Most official meetings, and many “unofficial” meetings, have rules about who is allowed to speak and when. So if you are attending as an observer, unless you are actively TRYING to get kicked out, don’t chatter in the background if possible. Even whispers can be disruptive – I guarantee you’re not as quiet as you think you are, and it’s an OC accessibility issue as well as an IC etiquette one.

So, scheduling limitations mean that Title Holders can sometimes be difficult to find, or not have time to talk to you right there and then as they need to do something on the PD schedule. Title Holders need to manage their time with an amount of care, and this is by design. The game encourages people to choose the bits that are most important to them to engage with, and leave the rest, and sometimes that’s just how it goes. It’s broadly speaking not personal. But please, don’t avoid talking to Imperial Titles due to a perception of busyness or aloofness. They took the job because they wanted roleplay about the job, and if you’re offering them roleplay about the job you might well be the most important person they talk to that day.

As such it can often be useful, if you are able, to talk on the move rather than needing to sit in a specific location for a lengthy period of time – but do let your target know if you have mobility or accessibility issues.

(Note: If you go to an Imperial Title Holder and try and spend an hour teaching them stuff they already know (it’s safest to assume that Title holders will know a lot about their own subject area), that’s one circumstance under which their rejection might get spicy.)

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