Asphyxiation Point – Upper Town
Asphyxiation Point wasn’t always the town that you see today. In fact, there was a time when it was nothing more than a small rocky outcrop jutting out of the ocean. The only way to get to it was past straits so narrow that sailors would hold their breaths as they made the perilous trip. And so the rock was named Asphyxiation Point and largely shunned for centuries.
All that changed when two fishermen – Jeremiah Newton and Fredrick Perry – happened to venture past the straits in search of new lobster hunting grounds.
So opens the back story to what is probably one of Second Life’s most immersive urban role-play environments to be opened in recent years. It is an elaborate story, rich in content, which steers the reader through a history which is both palpable and entirely believable; a story sharing the same depth and detail as the region itself.
Caitlyn and I were invited to visit Asphyxiation Point by one of region’s Admins and a prime mover in Asphyxiation Point’s development, Charles Newton Kuluk (kuluk).
Prior to his invitation, I’d only faintly heard of the region, knowing little more than it offered urban role-play. Charles was quick to offer more information, including the link to the region’s excellent website, which offers a wealth of detail for the interested visitor to the town.
“Asphyxiation Point was founded exactly one year back on February 22nd, 2015,” Charles said to me as we discussed a visit. “We’ve since grown to over 3000 members and enjoy a high level of both role-play activity and events, and my motivation for inviting you is primarily to get more people interested in the idea of free-form role-play, and also hopefully break down some misconceptions as to why a lot of such regions are labelled as Adult.”
As a free-form role-play environment, Asphyxiation Point doesn’t have a set structure on what it is necessarily about. There are no paragraph-heavy rules; common sense in the order of the day. Nor are there any pre-defined factions, political affiliations or anything else which might be found in more rigidly defined role-play environments. Players are free to establish their own factions and affiliations according to their in-game wants and needs; even the combat is role-played, rather than employing any metered system. Instead, the approach to role-play is perhaps best described by borrowing from the website:
A small fishing village turned tourist town, Asphyxiation Point is both beautiful and dangerous. [A place] where characters live, laugh and love while crime, despair and conflict brew just under the surface. Will you succumb to the darkness or will you rise above it all? Where will your adventure take you? Who will you be?
In other words, those joining the role-play here are free to read-up on the back story of the town, develop their character accordingly, immerse themselves in its environments and gain familiarity with ongoing story lines and existing RP, and to naturally engage and role-play with one another. Hence why there is no insistence that visitors employ any observer or out-of-character (OOC) tags.
Asphyxiation Point – Lower Town
“We believe in negotiation here,” Charles said of the latter. “So don’t worry about it. Stick to IMs once you leave the landing point. If you are approached in RP, just IM them and let them know you are observing / photographing or whatever.”
One way of keeping up with all that’s going on is to peruse the community’s local newspaper. In it you’ll find reports on the latest happenings in town, reviews on popular places and news on public events, such as the recent Mardi Gras festival. Again, the emphasis here is on community immersion and involvement: helping to make visitors and player feel fully a part of the local community.
Asphyxiation Point – the beach and Upper Town to the right, Lower Town and the Red Light District in the distance
Players can further invest themselves within the community through the businesses established as a part of the role-play environment, or by starting their own business (again focused on role-play). A section of the website again provides a comprehensive guide to both, including an overview of the sim-owned businesses (which players can apply to run) located through the four districts of the town.
“Our objective is to promote diversity in RP opportunities and see what happens,” Charles told Caitlyn and I during our visit. “The build is cleaner in looks than a lot of urban RP environments, because we didn’t necessarily want crime on the surface – well, maybe except for some places like the Red Light District. But we did want to give opportunities to the more criminal elements too. The sewers are spread all under town and give folks an alternative path to stay out of the cops eyes.”