My first introduction to the work of Hera (zee9 – then known as Kora) came getting on for a decade ago, when I first visited Venexia and Goatswood, two separate builds developed for role-play. At the time, both were popular spots for visitors, with Goatswood possibly the more popular by virtue of its more general setting. However, both departed Second Life in 2015 and while Venexia has reappeared from time to time since then, I think I’m right in saying Goatswood has largely been absent the grid. At least until now.
As pointed out to me by Cube Republic, Goatswood is now back (for a time at least), sharing Hera’s region with an updated version of her Whitby build (which I wrote about in October 2021 (see Visiting Dracula’s Whitby in Second Life), which I hope to get to in the next few days; for now I want to focus on Goatswood.
Welcome to Goatswood
Well it is that time again when I get the call of the wild and must return to Goatswood 🙂 . It is a virtual Victorian Gothic novel [and] was always my favourite region of all the ones we created for RP 10 or so years ago. For me it had a real heart and soul that the others lacked; many people passed through it and made homes there. The role play was IMHO as good as it gets. This version is very different as there is no game set up, but I feel that for me this version is better in many ways I hope you like what you find.
Set in the period 1860 – 1900, Hera describes the village as being somewhere in the Midlands of England – although I always felt it to be closer to the Cotswolds, something perhaps referenced in the fact that Hera modelled the basic design of Goatswood on Castle Combe, Wiltshire. It was developed specific for easy-going role-play set within that era, and while that may not be central to this current iteration, there is little doubt that Goatswood very much retains the heart and soul of the original.
As is common with Hera’s recent builds, Whitby and Goatwood share a common landing point, both being on the same region. However, for this iteration of the builds, the landing point has also undergone a change, now having about it a touch of Harry Potter, presented as it is as a railway station with two steam trains are drawn up to the platforms. The red train to the right (when looking at them) offers a journey to Whitby, while the green train calls at Goatswood. Just click on the carriage through the open door to be transferred to the required destination.
Those who recall the original Goatswood may well recognise elements of this version – the railway station, the Roebuck Coach House, the church – but these have some subtle difference within them. The Roebuck, for example, now has a grand carving of a stag above the main door, while the church no longer has a steeple atop its tower. These, together with other changes to the setting that allow this iteration of Goatswood to stand apart from its namesake as a quiet independent setting, rather than an mere copy.
One of the major attractions of the original Goatswood was the care with which it had been built; there was a real sense of place in the way the village and its surroundings had been put together. This is also present within the new iteration. Anyone familiar with the Cotswolds or, more broadly, the counties of Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, or Warwickshire as a whole will realise the beauty of Hera’s build richly replicates the beauty of the countryside through those counties.
Exploring the region is something for which a good deal of time should be apportioned. While many of the houses may be shells, there is nevertheless a richness of detail awaiting discovery along the paths of the village and along the gardens. Those buildings – such as a Roebuck Coach House, the church and manor house, plus a couple of places outside of the village itself (which I’ll leave to you to find 😉 ) – do have interiors waiting discovery.
The setting also retains much of the mystery of the role-play that formed a part of it – including a couple of places I confess I don’t remember, which is not to say they weren’t present back in 2013/14, when I made my original visit. While these may not be present to encourage role-play this time around (Hera requests anyone wanting to more than explore and take photos contact her first), they nevertheless further help bring the overall mystique of the village to life once more.
Goatswood is the story I never got around to writing, about a place that never existed, where I would have loved to have lived. It is a world full of haunted places, Gothic folk tales and shadowy occult mysteries. It is set in a time when attitudes were just beginning to change due to advances in science and technology. And yet this advance caused a counter reaction in many, who tried to revive older folk traditions and beliefs in Magic.
In the countryside most people still carried on as they had done for hundreds of years. They still retained a strong belief in natural magic, folk tales and herbal remedies, and yet they had their feet planted firmly in the reality of a hard working life on the land. A really great example of this can be seen in the recent television miniseries “The Living and the dead”.
– Hera (zee9)
Now I am an acknowledged “Hera fan” and so am obviously naturally drawn to her work. However, if you have never seen one of her regions before, or if you have never had the opportunity to appreciate Goatswood, then I urge you to take the opportunity to do so now. It is one of the great classics of Second Life.
- Goatswood / Whitby Landing Point (Cloud Lake, rated Adult)