I think I’ve sort-of hinted at the fact that I’m something of a Tolkien fan once or twice (at least!) in this blog, and with Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power now showing on Amazon Prime as a charting of the Second Age of Middle Earth, I thought I’d bounce my way over to Fellowship Falls, a Full region utilising the private region land capacity bonus to present a setting that offers an engaging mix of elements from Tolkien’s novels with some hidden extras.
Designed by Celerdir (Chappers101), the region is described thus within its About Land description:
An Elven & Tolkien-inspired sim where all free folk are welcome. Rez a horse to ride through the forest and over hills and make your way to Rivendell. Also explore The Labyrinth of Light…an underground maze of lights that leads to the Fantasy Forest.
The landing point sits tucked right into the south-west corner of the region, where information on the design can be found – and it is worth a read. Not only is Celerdir still relatively new to Second Life, having been active for less than 18 months at the time of writing, Fellowship Falls is also his first region build; and it is more than a creditable design, being very well put together for both Second Life explorers and photographers, regardless of any specific knowledge or interest in matters Tolkien.
From the landing point, the region is set out in a manner to encourage exploration either on foot or horseback. Trails run from the landing point into the setting at large, while those pressed for time might make use of the stone teleport discs to hop to the major locations – although I’d recommend against this, as it risks missing a lot of the region’s beauty.
The north side of the region is given over to Rivendell (aka Imladris aka the Last Homely House, the seat of Elrond half-elven during the Third Age). Whilst surrounded by off-region mountains, it sits atop a rocky table of land separated from the rest of the region by a deep valley.
This might give some Tolkien purists cause to frown, given Tolkien states Rivendell sits within a hidden valley – but this is a region inspired by Tolkien, not representative necessarily of his world as encountered in book and film. As it is Rivendell has a suitably elven feel to it, with a richness of character strongly suggestive of an elven enclave.
The trail climbing up through the hills to reach Rivendell passes over a couple of bridges, one of which sits below a hilltop marked by ruins which look to have been built by the hands of men rather than elves. A broad stone causeway, this bridge is guarded at one end by the presence of the Argonath, the Pillars of the Kings. Again, for Tolkien purists, this might seem anachronistic, but here the scaled-down figures of Isildur and Anárion (I’m sticking with the books here, rather than the films) work.
The reason for Rivendell being set so high is provided in the region’s description – the Labyrinth of Night. I’ll leave to you to find the entrance, but will suggest you should take time exploring the tunnels of the labyrinth, as there is more than the forest awaiting discovery, including a further Tolkien echo, this one from The Hobbit, this one a reminder of what lay deep in the halls of Erebor and gave rise to Thorin Oakenshield’s Quest.
This is where my one small quibble with the setting lay – not in what is presented, but in the fact that the tunnels of the labyrinth are best experienced with the viewer set to Midnight – but given the layout of this part of the region, it could have been parcelled and set so that the tunnels have their own low-level EEP, making them a little more immersive. But this is a very, very minor quibble.
It is clear that throughout the region considerable love and consideration have been poured into is creation, with many small touches awaiting discovery; there are also many places offering visitors a chance to sit and pass the time. Finished with a local sound scape (one that can be a little interrupted by the surprise in the labyrinth!) and sitting beneath a rich sky (not seen in the images here), Fellowship Falls offers a richness of exploration and photography waiting to be appreciated – so be sure to visit soon!
- Fellowship Falls (Aspire, rated Moderate)