12 Things You Wanted To Know About Lineage (But Were Afraid To Ask)

... Or Didn't Know You Wanted To Ask.

Here's a few words about playing a character with lineage in the Empire live roleplaying game, including a potentially some things you may not have been aware of.

Created by Leviathan (User Generated Content*)User Generated Content is not posted by anyone affiliated with, or on behalf of, Playbuzz.com.
On Oct 1, 2019
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There are only six lineages

There are only six lineages in the Empire world. They are all defined already - briar, cambion, changeling, draughir, merrow, and naga. You can't make up your own lineages, and we don't support people becoming new lineages in play.

Furthermore, every lineaged character belongs to a single lineage. You can't mix-and-match lineage trappings; your parents may be a naga and a draughir, but you won't be a naga-draughir hybrid. There are also no "sub lineages" -


Read the brief!

Before you play a lineaged character, you need to read the brief! Start with the general lineage page, then read the page for your specific lineage - briar, cambion, changeling, draughir, merrow, or naga.

Once you've done that take a look at the Lineage and Species Attitudes page for your nation - many nations are prejudiced against certain lineages, or have specific attitudes to people with that lineage. Briars in particulare are viewed with suspicion in some nations, but even a Changeling might find a frosty reception in Varushka for example.

That's a lot more reading than you need to play a baseline human - but that's one reason that nonlineaged humans are the default for the setting!


Lineaged people are still people

Lineage is something that happens to humans - but they are still humans. There are very few intelligent species in Empire and only humans and orcs are available as player characters. While lineages may often appear very different to "normal" humans, they are still fundamentally humans despite the touch of magic that sets them apart. A human couple may have a lineaged child, and there are many lineaged parents whose children are plain old humans.

Merrow are not "fish people" for example - they are humans touched by the realm of Day that gives them certain characteristics. Likewise, even with a lion's mane a Changeling is not a "cat person", nor a Naga a "snake person".

No orc ever has lineage. Only humans are prone to the peculiar side effect of being exposed to the magical realms.


People with lineage are physically different

Lineage shows itself in physical changes. While each lineage has a set of roleplaying trappings, you must have at least on physical trapping to play a lineaged character. You don't need to have the iconic trapping for your lineage - although they are often the easiest and most straightforward trappings.

The trapping doesn't have to be immediately visible - you can hide your pointed ears under a hat or your briar bark might be concealed beneath your tunic - but it must actually be there.


Every lineage has defined trappings

Trappings help define what makes a lineage special. Every lineage has a set of trappings, starting with an iconic trapping that is the most common and then listing a number of other physical trappings that may be evidenced by an individual. You don't have to use the iconic trapping, but its often the easiest way to show people you have lineage.

There are also "roleplaying trappings" - moods, emotions, and attitudes that everyone who has a given lineage is susceptible to. These represent the way the touch of magic in a lineaged person's blood can exert a significant influence how they act


You must discuss new trappings with PD - and we will probably say no

There is a short, set list of physical trappings for every lineage. Empire is a "closed world" and that means that the nature of each lineage is already defined. Players cannot make up their own trappings on a whim; either something is part of the lineage or it isn't.

It is not impossible to request a new trapping, and if we are happy with it we will add it to the wiki as a "rare trapping". This is what happened with blue hair for a merrow, for example. We carefully consider every request for a new trapping and weigh up what we think it will add to the game, however, and we are happy with the list of trappings as they currently exist.

You must not just make a trapping up and use it in play! In fact, there is no problem with contacting PD about a trapping you are planning to use if you are even slightly concerned it may not fit the brief.


People with lineage act differently to basic humans

Every lineage has a set of roleplaying trappings. These are ways that the touch of magic that makes someone lineaged can influence how they think and act. You don't need to roleplay all of these trappings all the time, but it is a good idea to pick at least one and make it a core part of your characterisation. Be aware as well that your fellow players will often assume you will act in a certain way based on your lineage regardless.

The first five roleplaying trappings will tend to be attitudes or feelings you experience, along with a special roleplaying ability of some kind. The sixth roleplaying trapping is the same for every lineaged character - degenerate into madness - representing the risk that the magic in their blood may overwhelm their human nature and cause them to act in a way others find alien.


Lineage often gets stronger but rarely gets weaker

Lineage can get stronger over time, but not weaker. This means you can add new trappings, or make your existing trappings more prominent or more impressive but it doesn't work the other way. You should bear this in mind when you're designing your trappings - you may find an extensive make-up job becomes too time consuming or that massive antlers are too cumbersome in a field full of low doorways, for example.

The most common reason for a lineage to get weaker is when your trappings are causing you discomfort - for example you discover you are allergic to your face paint. It is always a good idea to email Profound Decisions if you are having problems with your lineage trappings.

There is no easy in-character way to remove lineage once a character has been played. If you later discover lineage is not for you then you may need to retire the character.


Gaining or changing lineage during play is hard

Gaining lineage in play is not an easy propostion. Sometimes we might throw out a chance to gain lineage to people who do certain things but it is very much a case of being in the right place at the right time. Emailing PD to ask if you can develop lineage will usually be unsuccessful.

Likewise, it requires a lot of effort to remove lineage, and doing so may have unlooked for consequences depending on the method used.

Mortal ritual magic cannot grant or remove lineage. It is possible to create such effects with the assistance of an appropriate eternal, but few are interested in providing their assistance.

Even with eternal assistance, it is impossible to change from one lineage to another without becoming purely human first. Many transformations of this kind come as the result of difficult quests - they may be goals that take years to achieve and success is not assured.


Lineage is not entirely understood

Everyone knows about lineage but what it actually is is poorly understood. There are no human societies where lineage is unknown. On the other hand, nobody entirely understands lineage. It is a touch of magic that changes humans, and it does not necessarily follow scientific rules of genetics and hereditary. A pair of cambion may have a human child, or one who becomes a draughir, for example. Every lineage has a section called "the Blood" that may talk about some of the ways that lineaged people are born.


The Twilight Masquerade is one way to dabble with lineage

You can temporarily gain lineage through a magical ritual. The Twilight Masquerade lets humans change their appearance by adding or removing lineage. This is the only easily accessible way to disguise yourself in a way that adds, removes, or changes lineage trappings. The ritual lasts until the start of the next event, and may come with its own roleplaying effects depending on the way you are changing you character.

Twilight Masquerade can be a fun way to try out different physical trappings without having to permanently commit to lineage - as well as being a great way to disguise oneself.


Being lineaged is meant to be fun

Lineage exists as a tool to help you create bold characters. The physical trappings are intresting, but it is rally the roleplaying trappings that are the "point" of being lineaged. They're designed to be cues that help you take your roleplaying in certain directions. They're intended to be fun, to help shape your roleplaying experience.

Sure, there are shy and retiring changelings out there but they are absolutely the exception. Most changelings are larger-than-life, are proud-verging-on-arrogant, are not afraid to tell people what they think, assume they should be in charge, or fly into furious rages when crossed.

All of these were chosen as ways to push changeling players to engage in the game with their fellow players, perhaps in ways they might not otherwise have chosen.

Embrace the roleplaying, and don't be afraid to see where it takes you!

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