You win or you die 1: Mountains of the Moon

Update December 1st, 2012: The Mountains of the Moon appears to have now closed

I am a huge fan of George R.R. Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire, which is now perhaps more widely known as Game of Thrones due to the world-wide success of the HBO series, now commencing production of its third season. Over the last year or so, a number of role-play regions have been established within Second Life that are based on the world Martin has created in his novels, so I thought I’d start paying them a visit.

The Mountains of the Moon is one such region. Here you will find the city-port of Gulltown and the mountain-top fortress of House Arryn, The Eyrie. Whether you are into Game of Thrones related role-play or simply a fan of the books and series, it is a feast for the eyes.

Using the main landmark will bring you to the arrival point, 1500 above the region – and if you are making your first visit, I strongly recommend that you do start here; while visitors are always welcome, this is first and foremost a role-play sim, and it is best to familiarise yourself as to what is going on. On arrival, you’ll be given a short introductory notecard, and you can also take a copy of the map of Gulltown (texture), as well as collecting a suitable free outfit which will allow you to blend-in with things at ground level, if you haven’t anything suitably medieval-looking to wear in your inventory.

When you are ready, you can proceed through the doorways at the far end of the ruin in which you’re standing, where a large basket – which should be familiar to those who have read Martin’s descriptions of the Eyrie – is waiting to “lower” you to ground level. Also here is a further series of notecard givers which provide additional information – such as the setting for tales within the sim (several hundred years before the events of A Song of Ice and Fire, and prior to the unification of the seven kingdoms of Westeros under the  rule of Aegon Targaryen, with information drawn from the wiki), combat information, notes on central conflicts, and so on.

“After the cold, grey hostile waters of the Shivering Sea, it was with joy that we arrived at the port of Gulltown, where I looked upon the mighty walls of the fortress they call The Eyrie for the first time.”

Teleport to the ground via the waiting basket, and you find yourself on a ship, apparently newly arrived at the port of Gulltown, largest city in the Vale of Arryn, the stern walls of The Eyrie, fortress of House Arryn, dominating the landscape high atop the Giant’s Lance.

This is quite an amazing visualisation of both Gulltown and The Eyrie which has been put together by Alysanne Lejovy – or Alysanne Arryn, the Lady of House Arryn. The attention to detail is wonderful – right down to being able to ride a basket up the face of the Giant’s Lance to reach The Eyrie itself, the ride commencing, as in the books, from a point part-way up the mountain.

Sim extenders are used to create an authentic backdrop of the Mountains of the Moon…

The attention to detail is also much in evidence in the use of sim extenders which are used to convincingly create a stunning backdrop of the Mountains of the Moon, and to also create the Bay of Crabs leading out to the Narrow Sea beyond.

…and also of the waters of the Bay of Crabs and the Narrow Sea beyond

This is a place worth exploring carefully as there is a lot to see and take in, both on the ground and up inside the high walls of The Eyrie. If you are exploring, though, please (again) be aware of any role-play that may be going on; you’re not obliged to join in, but you may find yourself being treated as a participant; should this happen and you do not feel comfortable joining in, simply have a quick word with the person concerned via IM.

During my visit, I had a chat with Elduran Stormcrow – also known as Thane, a mountain clan leader (and one of the principals behind The Mountains of the Moon) – and he informed me that the sim has been open a month and the associated RP group now has over 150 members.

With direct teleport links to the house Tyrell at Highgarden and to the Game of Thrones Role-play Welcome Centre, Mountains of the Moon offers a fabulous means of exploring a part of George R.R. Martin’s mythical world and of joining in the adventures of the people who populate it.

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