Lost in Thor’s Land in Second Life

Thor's Land; Inara Pey, January 2018, on Flickr Thor’s Land – click on any image for full size

Land of Thor is a huge setting designed by Thor (Anaadi Resident), who recently extended an invitation for Caitlyn and I to visit. Located on a Full region, it is one of the first places we’ve visited to make use of the additional 10K Land Impact allocation available to Full private region owners who wish to raise their overall total from 20K to 30K – and the additional allocation has been put to extensive use!

“The region is very loosely based on Norse Mythology,” Thor informed me when offering the invitation, “and has a lot of interesting places to discover.” Which, as it turned out, was something of an understatement!

Thor's Land; Inara Pey, January 2018, on Flickr Thor’s Land

The land itself, bathed in sunlight under a cold-looking blue sky and surrounded by tall, rugged peaks with flanks cloaked in fir trees, certainly has a Nordic feel – on arrival I was reaching for a woolly jumper. Roughly divided into four parts by river channels, the land is a curious set of contrasts, with each part named for one of the nine realms of Norse mythology.

The main landing point sit on the largest of these four parts: a huge table of rock occupying the north-west quadrant of the region. Sitting beneath a humped shoulder of rock from which rises Asgard, legendary home to the Æsir tribe of gods. Facing south, the landing point looks out over much lower-lying lands. A switchback path curls down to these lowlands from a slightly lower shelf of rock reached via stone steps, while a great waterfall plunges from a cleft in the great plateau.

Thor's Land; Inara Pey, January 2018, on Flickr Thor’s Land

Like its namesake, Asgard is surrounded in part by a (albeit low) wall, while smooth path of smooth stone snakes up to it from the west, where sits Yggdrasil, the mythical tree that connects the nine worlds in Norse cosmology. Travel north from the tree, and then west along the cliff edge of the plateau, and you’ll come by way of a grassy trail through avenues of trees leading east, to where a great stone arch spans a deep chasm, offering visitors a way to reach Alfheim (or Álfheimr, “Land Of The Elves” or “Elfland”). This is another highland area, rich in tall grass and where time seems to have stood still, sitting among low, pointed peaks of rock.

Below these northern heights sits Midgard, home of the humans in Old Norse, and for the region, the location of a modern-looking settlement broadly split into three parts: an open-air entertainments area sitting at the foot of the high cliffs of Asgard / the main landing point and separated from the rest of the town via a narrow channel. South of this, and straddling a small natural harbour, sits the rest of the town. Many of the houses are raised on stout wooden stilts, several of them brightly coloured, and fishing boats are tied-up at wharves, marking this as a working town, rather than a holiday setting. A large house – that of the mayor? – sits slightly elevated and a little separated from the rest, occupies the south-east corner of the land, and all of the houses are open to the public.

Thor's Land; Inara Pey, January 2018, on Flickr Thor’s Land

But this is not all; sitting under the plateau of Asgard, and reached via teleporter (look for the carved stone disks located around the region) or – for those keen of eye – via a hidden entrance curtained by water – is Helheim. Traditionally the abode of Hel, daughter of Loki, in this instance it is a place of winding tunnels and chambers. Easy to find one’s way into, but perhaps not so easy to find a way back out.

Helheim is sometimes linked with Niflheim (“land of Mist or “world of the darkness”), which is one of the locations only reached via the teleport system. Like its namesake, this a place of ice and snow – and home to another great castle-like hall, this one equipped as a club.  Also accessed via the teleport system are Jotunheim (or Jötunheimr, the land of the Giants) and Svartalfheim.

Thor's Land; Inara Pey, January 2018, on Flickr Thor’s Land

For Land of Thor, Jotunheim is presented as an oriental / Japanese environment, although at least one giant is present near the landing point. Cobbled paths run through the landscape here, linking points of interest, which include an interpretation of FLW’s Fallingwater, and floating islands reached via ropes bridges, as well as a pagoda rising from a nearby peak – also reached via rope bridge.

In Norse mythology, Svartalfheim is the home of the svartálfar (“dark elves”). Here, and while dark (being underwater), it has more of a sci-fi / post-apocalyptic feel to it, with a particular emphasis on a certain sci-fi franchise. It can also be reached without teleporting – for those travelling far enough through Helheim’s tunnels.

Thor's Land; Inara Pey, January 2018, on Flickr Thor’s Land

Even with all this description, I’m still only scratching the surface of Thor’s Land. There are paths to be explored, trails to follow, houses and castles to be examined, hidden walkways to be found, dragons to be ridden – and places to simply set and relax. There’s obviously a lot to photograph as well, for those so minded, and the region has a dedicated Fickr group to which images can be submitted.

Eclectic, eye-catching, detailed, and surprising, Land of Thor makes for an engrossing and worthwhile visit.

SLurl Details

  • Land of Thor main landing point (Mirrors Edge, rated: Adult)
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Ivy Falls in Second Life

Ivy Falls; Inara Pey, January 2018, on FlickrIvy Falls – click on any image for full size

Miro Collas tapped me about taking a visit to Ivy Falls, an Adult rated Full region open (in part) to visitors to enjoy, explore and photograph, so we hopped over on a Sunday evening for a look around.

“It is a sim I built and share with my friend Rekka,” Kere Delcon says of the region, Rekka being Rekka Berchot. He continues, “Our private homes are on the north side of the land, but the rest is open and free for all to explore and use. Fair warning, though! It’s an adult playground designed for adults only to enjoy.” Ivy Falls is gay-friendly, and the Adult warning appears to reference the hints of BDSM which can be found in the region – nothing that is in any way blatant, but which can be found indoors in places.

Ivy Falls; Inara Pey, January 2018, on FlickrIvy Falls

Our visit began high above the majority of the land, atop a table of rock rising from near the centre of the region – although at the time of our visit, there was no set landing point. Not only does this offer a vantage point from which to survey the rest of the land and the surrounding mountains, it also provides an introduction to the region via a noticeboard, which  offers a general welcome and a few notices on visiting – particularly in reference to the private homes on the north side of the region.

There are two means for getting off of this plateau (not including jumping – flying is disabled by default): a teleport pad or a via a hang glider. The former is located by the welcome sign, and offers a quick route to any one of the major locations in the region. The hang glider can be obtained from the west end of the plateau (an empty glider will auto-rez as the previous one is used) and is fun to fly. use the arrow keys for banking or increasing / decreasing your speed, and the page keys to climb / descend, and simply stand when you are close to the ground.

Ivy Falls; Inara Pey, January 2018, on FlickrIvy Falls

The major locations open to visitors comprise the aforementioned lighthouse, a bar, a bath house / gym complex with a terrace before them, complete with a playable game of chess; a nearby bar and beach (with beach cabins, which have their own teleport option), a sauna a little more out in the wilds, a camp site, and a pier where sailing and rowing boats are moored. All of these destinations are within easy walking distance of one another across the south extent of the region, with the beach, cabins and pier to the west,  and the sauna up in the rock uplands to the east.

Most of the southern side of the land resembles a small resort town, nestled under craggy shoulders of sheer rock faces. This is the home of the elevated terrace and gym / bath house facilities (indoors and out), together with a small club house looking out over the snow-covered terrace. Beneath this, to the west, and linking it with the beach and pier, is a small commercial parade, with various businesses including a cosy café, a studio, a gentlemen’s hairdressers, the bar (through the door and downstairs), and what appears to be a gallery awaiting occupation. With cobbled paving and a small outdoor seating area with gazebo, fire pit and fountain, this part of the region is watched over by the red-roofed lighthouse.

Ivy Falls; Inara Pey, January 2018, on FlickrIvy Falls

It’s well worth exploring this side of the region carefully, as there are numerous footpaths winding their way around it. Some – such as the one leading under a rock arch to the beach on the west shore, may be obvious to the eye, other – such as those leading off the trail to the sauna – perhaps less so. The later in particular offer an excuse for a walk, and when followed reveal one or two more points of interest.

The private residences, as noted, are on the north side of the region, and physically separated from the rest of the land by a lake served by two channels of water – all of which are currently frozen in the winter setting. When exploring, it can be tempting to slip across the ice and continue wanderings on that northern shore – so please do keep in mind Kere’s request to respect the privacy of the residents there, and stay away from that side of the region unless invited.

Ivy Falls; Inara Pey, January 2018, on FlickrIvy Falls

Set in a perpetual winter evening’s light, this iteration of Ivy Falls makes for a pleasant visit with plenty of opportunities for the Second Life photographer, either using the default windlight or under assorted daytime settings – I opted to take some of mine under a morning setting.

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A trip to R.A.H.M.E.N.L.O.S. in Second Life

 R.A.H.M.E.N.L.O.S.; Inara Pey, January 2018, on Flickr R.A.H.M.E.N.L.O.S. – click on any image for full size

Rahmenlos is the private team project of the Rahmenlos-Chaos-Team (R.C.T.). We are a mixed troupe from different German-speaking areas. And as different we are, R.A.H.M.E.N.L.O.S. is too. Everyone of us got involved with his own ideas and personality. And the result is really good. Whether you like beach, nice landscape, City- or Club-Live, animals, hidden places or just much small things to explore: everyone will find his favourite place!

Thus reads the introduction to R.A.H.M.E.N.L.O.S, a 1/2 region design Shakespeare and Max pointed us towards. It’s an interesting team / community build, which as the introduction states, offers a little something of everything. Occupying the south side of a Full region, there is no set landing point, so I’ve opted a location on the east side of the parcel, close to its northern edge. This takes the form of a small precinct of town-style buildings which include a coffee bar and cheese shop sitting before a terraced seating area, together with a brewery, and where an information giver is located.

 R.A.H.M.E.N.L.O.S.; Inara Pey, January 2018, on Flickr R.A.H.M.E.N.L.O.S.

Across a rough cobbled road from these is a second piazza, home to another shop and a small art gallery. Two more shops are close by, guarding the way to a small hamlet of houses beyond which open fields stretch westwards, climbing gently up to a Tuscan villa sitting atop a low hill.

Beyond the hamlet, the cobbled roads quickly give way to a dirt track that runs up to the villa. Along the way, it is joined by others, like tributaries joining a stream. One of these offers the way to a rough path leading down to a small beach on the south side of the land, others offer paths to the houses and cottages scattered across the landscape below the villa. The largest of these houses also sits on the south side of the land above a range of low cliffs rising from the sea, a small music venue in the field alongside it. Inland from here, a thatched cottage and windmill watch over cows and horses grazing in the fields.

 R.A.H.M.E.N.L.O.S.; Inara Pey, January 2018, on Flickr R.A.H.M.E.N.L.O.S.

To the east of the land, reach via a winding road and a bridge, is a small artist’s commune, with one studio on the “mainland”, the others on a small island separated from the rest of the land via a small channel. Above these, facing the little hamlet of houses and shops sits a further house, a large pond before it, with a folly on the far side. Secluded by trees, overlooking the sea, it has all the looks of a private country home, a getaway. Closer examination, however, reveals it to be a cosy café.

With ducks and geese, deer, pigs and birds, as well as horses and cattle, the land is rich in detail and natural sounds, while the art gallery and studios offer further attractions for people to see. All of which makes R.A.H.M.E.N.L.O.S. a pleasing visit. When doing so, I would recommend perhaps trying out various windlight options; I’m not convinced the default does the land full justice. For the images here, I took the liberty of using Annan Adored’s Morning Dream – with a little retouching through GIMP.

 R.A.H.M.E.N.L.O.S.; Inara Pey, January 2018, on Flickr R.A.H.M.E.N.L.O.S.

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Winter at La Vie in Second Life

La Vie; Inara Pey, January 2018, on FlickrLa Vie – click on any image for full size

Reader and fellow grid traveller Diomita Maurer (her blog is here) dropped me a line about the winter look at La Vie, the homestead by Krys Vita and Arol Lightfoot we’ve visited twice before (see here and here for more), suggesting Caitlyn and I  pay it a further visit before the snow melts. So, we headed over for a look.

As with the autumn build, which we visited in October, the winter design is built around a central body of water. However, almost everything else within the region has been completely redesigned and covered in a soft blanket of snow – with more falling from the sky – although it does retain the same use of muted colours and soft tones.

La Vie; Inara Pey, January 2018, on FlickrLa Vie

Visitors arrive on a track running along the bank of this water, the snow finding it hard to gain a purchase on the rutted earth. Set back from this track sits a large house, aged both inside and out, warmly furnished and decorated for Christmas. In the ground behind the house sits a raised deck with a small gazebo and swing, a hot tub sitting out under the falling snow, its heat countering the colder air. The deck offers a view out over the frigid waters surround the land, a view which likely makes the water in the hot tub all that more inviting as a means of avoiding the cold.

The reason the snow is having a hard time finding purchase on the track is revealed further around the central pond: a tracked snow plough is paused mid-way through its work of clearing the worst of the snow. It sits parked near the towers of an old ski lift, a rezzing point for sledges at the best of one of the towers. Nor is this the only rezzer in the region:  a closer look at the pond will reveal signboards offering skates for those who ice a little dancing on ice.

La Vie; Inara Pey, January 2018, on FlickrLa Vie

Follow the track in the opposite direction to the snow plough, and it will loop you around the pond to another house, a small shack selling fir trees beside it. The track ends just beyond this, but travellers can continue across the rough terrain, to where a fence marks the boundary of another house, sitting in the south-west corner of the land. A rugged, curve ridge rises westward of this house, climbing in steps to a flat table of rock topped by an old church – although there doesn’t appear to be a way to easily climb the rocks and reach it.

Across this landscape sit cars and tucks with fir trees strapped to roofs, in the flat beds or poking out of the sunroof. There are also numerous places to sit – from sleighs pulled by a horse or reindeer to park benches to swings – as well as in the houses. These  combine to make La Vie’s winter setting very pleasing to see and photograph and in which to spend time sitting, talking and just passing the time.

La Vie; Inara Pey, January 2018, on FlickrLa Vie

We once again enjoyed our time visiting, and will doubtless return to see further seasonal changes at La Vie.

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  • La Vie (La Vie, rated; Moderate)

Return to Brand New Colony in Second Life

Brand New Colony; Inara Pey, January 2018, on FlickrBrand New Colony – click on any image for full size

In September 2017, we visited Brand New Colony, a homestead designed by Bunny Blessed (Svelte Blessed) and Mimara Blessed (Mimara), and we very much enjoyed our explorations. So when Miro Collas sent me a message to say the region had relocated and in the process had been rebuilt, we decided to jump to the new location and take a look.

Still in the hands of the Blessed family, and designed once again by Bunny and Mimara, with assistance from Seren La Croix (torturedstar), the region in its new location carries on some of the themes from the September 2017 design whilst presenting a wholly new look that touches on fantasy in an eye-catching and imaginative way.

Brand New Colony; Inara Pey, January 2018, on FlickrBrand New Colony

As with the September design, a core aspect of this new build is islands. Surrounded by tall, grass-covered peaks, Brand New Island presents six islands – although three are not what you might expect. The largest of these islands is a rugged affair, thrusting up from foamy waters, its flat top home to a large villa which echoes part of the look from the September 2017 design. Furnished indoors and within its courtyard, the villa shares this table of rock with an outdoor terrace located closer to the water, sitting on a low shoulder of rock reached via a stone stairway. With plenty of room to sit around the fireplace, this terrace ends at a small jetty against which a Loonetta 31 is moored.

The terrace also offers a fine view across the water to two more islands – these so closely linked, they at first appear to be a single body of land rising gently from the surrounding waters. It is only while exploring that the narrow channel dividing them becomes apparent, stone and wood bridges spanning it to link these two richly wooded islands. Much is to be found on them, be it the red-roofed chapel or the little Romany encampment or, a little further afield and more secluded, various points where couples can sit and cuddle under the shade of trees or by rounded pools of quiet water.

Brand New Colony; Inara Pey, January 2018, on FlickrBrand New Colony

But how does one get from the villa island to its neighbours? The answer to that question isn’t hard to find, lying as it does within the unique presentation of the three remaining islands, one of which forms the landing point for visitors, and is home to a gazebo those who visited the September 2017 design will likely find familiar.

Rather than being surrounded by the region’s foamy waters, these three islands are floating – rising, even – above them. It is as if gravity has forgotten them, so they have cut loose from their foundations to start a slow rise into the sky, setting smaller boulders and rocks tumbling and spinning in the air in defiance of gravity in the process. But they have not been allowed to escape entirely: great chains anchor the larger two of these floating islands to their cousins below, the chains massive and rusted, forming iron bridges visitors can use to travel between those below and those in the air.

Brand New Colony; Inara Pey, January 2018, on FlickrBrand New Colony

Two of these islands seem content with their lot, firmly anchored in place to those below. The third, however, linked to the landing point island, appears more wayward. Canted at a slight angle, it seems to resent the massive chain impeding its upward progress and is still attempting to ascend, the great trees on its grassy top seeming to grasp the grassy rock in their roots, grimly determined to hang on.

With chains connecting it to both the villa island and one of the wooded islands, the landing point offers a natural connection between the two, while to the south-east, and linked only to the villa island, the last of those floating in the area offers its flat top to a garden setting. Focused on a large gazebo, this features statues, fountains, a rich variety of unusual flower planters – including an old grand piano and a garden swing to an overgrown tea party attended by stone sculptures, presenting a wonderfully fanciful scene.

Brand New Colony; Inara Pey, January 2018, on FlickrBrand New Colony

For those who prefer not to chance the chains linking the islands together, a teleport system is supplied; look for the chalk signs boards found at or near each of the major locations and click on them for a list of destinations. Make sure you accept the local experience, and TPs will be automatic on selecting a destination thereafter.

At the time of our visit, some construction work still seemed to be in progress, so some things may well change over the coming days. However, that shouldn’t put visitors off. This latest iteration of Brand New Colony retains all the beauty of the former region, while offering something very new and fun to explore.  Our only word of warning is that it is rich in textures, some of which can take a little time to load.

Brand New Colony; Inara Pey, January 2018, on FlickrBrand New Colony

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Once more to Whimberly

Whimberly; Inara Pey, December 2017, on FlickrWhimberly – click on any image for full size

Whimberly marked one of the first places we visited in Second Life at the start of 2017, when I remarked that the great beauty of the region lay within its simple elegance. In August, a return visit was made, after region holder Staubi (Engelsstaub) had given Whimberly a make-over, presenting a new look along the same elegant simplicity of presentation. So, when friend Miro Collas tipped me that a further make-over had been made to the region, it seemed a third visit would make a fitting end-of-year report on the region, balancing may January write-up.

This latest iteration of the region offers something of an echo of both the designs from mid-year and the start of 2017. As with August 2017, the landing point sits towards the north-east of the island, up on a rocky shoulder of a hill. Once again, this is home to a small summer-house – but in difference to August’s design, this one has been converted into a 50’s style diner inside, complete with jukebox, vinyl covered bench sitting and plenty of chrome. Also echoing the August design, a stone fountain sits outside of the diner, a parasolled seating area to one side, looking southwards across the water to a small island where a windmill stands, sails gently turning.

Whimberly; Inara Pey, December 2017, on FlickrWhimberly

A dirt track runs down the hill to the lower reaches of the island, which have something of a feel for the January design of the region. A wide-open, grassy scene dominates the central landscape beneath the cloud-laden sky, the track splitting before the tide of grass, one arm leading to another summer-house, this one sitting within ornate walls, but offering a strong reminder of a similar place found within the January 2017 build, complete with the deck looking out over northern waters.

To the south, the track curve past a second wooden deck, where little motor boats can be rezzed and used to reach the windmill island, before following the water’s edge westwards before forking again, offering route to a choice of local houses.

Whimberly; Inara Pey, December 2017, on FlickrWhimberly

The first of these has a distinctly Mediterranean look to it. With the old pick-up truck parked outside the front, the well and the cart wheels stacked against a wall, it might easily be taken for a farm-house. A look inside and a walk to the back of the house, with its terraced pool, reveal it to be anything but. An old stone jetty, broken and partially flooded – one of two to be found alongside the shoreline – sits close by, a place where an artist has been practising their skill with brush and paint.

The second house is much larger, and occupies the south-west spur of the island. Sitting among what might be oak trees and watched by a weeping willow, this has the feel of a family home – three pairs of Wellington boot in the hall, a meal for three set on a table, and so on. A car sits outside the garage, guarding the front door.

Whimberly; Inara Pey, December 2017, on FlickrWhimberly

The little motor boats available to puttering around on the water are, I have to say, quite nippy; also, getting out of them takes a little care as well – any double-click teleporting will carry you back to the landing point. However, the windmill offers a haven for Greedy, Greedy and On a Roll fans, while a picnic blanket is spread under the wind-bent back of an old tree close to the windmill’s doors.

Whimberly always has been a region of serene, natural beauty, and this iteration is no exception; the melding of ideas from earlier designs is sublime, and the entire look and feel of the region so perfectly executed with a wonderfully light touch. It’s the perfect setting for an end-of-year visit, and a reminder that while we are in the midst of winter in the northern hemisphere, spring is really not that far away. In other words, an ideal place to visit and escape the winter blues.

Whimberly; Inara Pey, December 2017, on FlickrWhimberly

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