A touch of supernatural role-play in Second Life

Clifton Forge, August 2019 – click any image for full size

Clifton Forge is a half Full region offering “modern supernatural para role-playing,” featuring humans, witches, vampires, and werewolves.

Supported by its own website, the setting is distinctly urban, representing a small city nestled within a mountain environment. It is intended to offer a place where, “blissful everyday living masks a darker and more turbulent truth”, the website setting-up a place where normalcy forms a blanket over a range of strange activities which those interested in role-playing within the environment can then take-up:

All manner of depravity conceals itself behind a flawless veneer here; the Hotel’s façade is cracked by stories of staff suicides, the Church here asks for alms – but whether it intends to divert these funds to charitable causes or fill its own coffers is unknown. A harried city cop turns Sheriff in what some might see as a peaceful retirement plan, while others wonder why she has escaped to a more pastoral clime. Everyone has a secret – what is yours?

Clifton Forge, August 2019

Like many RP environments in Second Life, the official landing point sits in the sky over the parcel in the sumptuous setting of a grand hall. Here visitors can contact the Clifton Forge administrators, and follow browser links to the RP back-story, rules and apply to join the group to participate in local role-play. Those arriving at the landing point will also be asked to join the local Out Of Character (OCC) group prior to making a visit down to the city proper. The group is free to join and helps mark visitors as non-playing characters during a visit, and you can always leave it following a visit if you have no interest in remaining a member.

Taking the main teleport to group level will deliver visitors to the east side of the parcel, and a further teleport board ready to take people onwards to some of the principal points of interest in the city which might conceivably be leaping-off points for role-play opportunities. These include some typical locations for any city setting: the local church, the hotel, the medical centre, the police station, places to sit and eat or find entertainment, and so on. However, the setting is far better seen by exploring on foot or by using the local bicycles available from the rezzer located close by.

Clifton forge, august 2019

The town is split into two, with the portion that contains the landing point also offering the main square, the city hall, the emergency facilities, various businesses and paths to some of the local residencies (note that some or all of the latter are available for rent, so do be aware of the potential to trespass into someone’s home when exploring). The second of the city’s districts – reached via a single tunnel – is home to the church and the hotel, together with further local businesses, before giving way to a more rural setting, of rocky bluffs and woodlands in which sit shacks and cabins.

Given the city only occupies a half region, attempts have been made to make use of elevation in places – notably the woodland area mentioned above, and with some of the rental properties and the church. This, together with at least one underground parking area both adds literal depth to the setting as well as making role-play more interesting by providing a sense of greater space than had things been kept more-or-less on the one level across the parcel.

Clifton Forge, August 2019

When exploring, notes that there are NPCs dotted around. some of these – such as the bouncer outside of the Castle House – will provide note cards when touched, and these cards contain game play information and local rules (e.g. such as player being frisked and fully disarmed before entering an establishment).

One or two aspects of the setting look like they might still be under development – I noted a couple of floating pieces of vegetation in the sky above the town, and the ground around Castle House looks like it might be awaiting further landscaping. However, the setting is, overall, as it is presented in the description: an urban environment representative of a small city; one that is awaiting a cast of role-players.  If you’re into the supernatural and are looking for a role-play environment that offers in in a modern setting, might be interested in taking a look – just note that for the purposes of this article, I did adjust my windlight settings away from the local default.

Clifton Forge, August 2019

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Magical cars, Alien artefacts, tales of love and loss

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home at Holly Kai Park, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, August 18th

13:30: Tea Time with Jeeves

Just for summer, Seanchai Library takes a dive into the world of Reginald Jeeves, a well-educated, intelligent valets of indeterminate age who is employed by the amiable young man-about-town, Bertie Wooster, whom Jeeves routinely has to benignly rescue from the consequences of his idiocy.

Created by author, humorist, and lyricist (working with Guy Bolton and Jerome Kern) Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (October 1881 – February 1975), Jeeves and Wooster are perhaps his most iconic characters, their adventures eventually growing to 35 short stories and 11 novels, the majority of which are first-person narrated from the perspective of Bertie Wooster.

This week comes the third part of The Inimitable Jeeves.

A semi-novel published in the UK and the United States in 1923, The Inimitable Jeeves brings together 11 previously published stories structured as “chapters” rather than appearing as individual stories, giving the volume the appearance of being a novel something initially enhanced in early editions, which split the first five and final story into two chapters apiece, giving the impression the book was 18 chapters long (later editions reversed this, each story being just a single chapter for 11 in total).

The stories also add to the novel-like feel, as they each focused variously on a small group of characters throughout including Bertie’s Aunt Agatha, his somewhat inept friend Bingo, and his cousins Claude and Eustace, brought together with Jeeves and Wooster in some familiar Wodehouse themes.

Join Da5id Abbot, Kayden Oconnell, and Caledonia Skytower as they read this delightful series at Ceiliuradh Glen.

18:00 Tilly and the Bookwanderers

Eleven year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparent’s bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favourite stories.

One day Tilly realises that classic children’s characters are appearing in the shop through the magic of `book wandering’ – crossing over from the page into real life.

With the help of Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland. Tilly is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago, so she bravely steps into the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face.

Join Caledonia Skytower at the Golden Horseshoe to find out more!

Monday, August 19th 19:00: Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama

Gyro Muggins reads one of the greatest science fiction novels of human first contact with alien intelligence.

In 2131, a fast-moving object of extremely large size is detected beyond the orbit of Jupiter travelling on a course that will see it pass through the inner solar system to swing around the Sun, before heading out into space. An automated probe launched from Mars reveals the object to be a perfect cylinder, 50 km long and 20in diameter rotating regularly along its long axis and clearly artificial in nature.

The deep space survey vessel Endeavour, her crew untrained for first contact scenarios, is the only vessel that can intercept the cylinder as it uses the Sun’s gravity well to accelerate and bend its path onto a new trajectory. After a high-speed chase, the Endeavour reaches the cylinder – christened Rama by those who first identified it and finds one of the end caps has curious triple chamber airlock systems within it. Through one of them, the crew gains access to the object.

What they find within stuns them: the cylinder is hollow, a 50x16km “tube” the inner surface of which forms a circular world of three parts:  a large plain, with six city-like groups of structures scattered around it, a central band of frozen water the crew call the Cylindrical Sea with a single long, thin island (which they dub “New York” due to its superficial similarity to Manhattan island). Beyond the sea lies a landscape of split into cubes and squares, dominated by a group of massive cones extending inward along the cylinder’s long axis from southern end cap.

Initially in darkness and frigid when the Endeavour’s crew enter, the cylinder gradually comes to life, revealing its strange alien nature, where everything appears to be done in triplicate (or multiples thereof). And then, as tensions among the human civilisations across the solar system rise, the “Ramans” appear.

Tuesday, August 20th 19:00: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

So, you think you know the story because of the film? Well, guess again! Disney’s famous 1968 film can best be described as being loosely based on the children’s story by Ian Flemming, the creator of James Bond.

Flemming’s last novel, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was published posthumously, and initially in three volumes, two months after his death in August 1964. He took his inspiration for the titular car from a series of post-War World I aero-engined racing cars called “Chitty Bang Bang”. They were built by Count Louis Zborowski at Higham Park, in Kent, England, and one of them, the “Higham Special” went on to take the land speed record in 1926 with a speed in excess of 170 mph, after it had been purchased by racing driver J.G. Parry-Thomas specifically for that purpose.

In the book, the car is a Paragon Panther, a powerful 1920s touring car that is restored by Commander Caractacus Pott. At first the car is just that – a powerful 4-seater tourer Pott uses to transport himself and his wife and children around. But then the car starts to exhibit a “personality” and abilities beyond those of any normal motor vehicle. Some of these will be familiar to those who have seen the film, but where the latter options to introduce jealous barons and a wicked Child Catcher, the book offers a more down-to-Earth but equally engaging series of adventures of Commander Pott and his family.

Join Caledonia Skytower to discover the real Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!

Wednesday, August 21st: A Cyberpunk Summer

Short stories with Finn Zeddmore.

Thursday, August 22nd

19:00: The Blue Salt Road

An earthly nourris sits and sings
And aye she sings, “Ba lilly wean,
Little ken I my bairn’s father,
Far less the land that he staps in.

– Child Ballad, no. 113

So begins a stunning tale of love, loss and revenge, against a powerful backdrop of adventure on the high seas, and drama on the land. The Blue Salt Road balances passion and loss, love and violence and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless, wild young man.

Passion drew him to a new world, and trickery has kept him there – without his memories, separated from his own people. But as he finds his way in this dangerous new way of life, so he learns that his notions of home, and your people, might not be as fixed as he believed.

With Shandon Loring, also Also in Kitely – teleport from the main Seanchai World grid.kitely.com:8002:SEANCHAI.

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

Contemporary sci-fi fantasy from on-line sources such as Lightspeed, Escape Pod, and Clarkesworld with Finn Zeddmore