Saturday, November 21, 2015

Role Playing in Second Life I – Casterly Rock

A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.

George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones


          Recently, an old friend from my Gorean days in Second Life (SL), Hina Tarly,
reached out to me and asked if I had any interest in blogging about role playing inworld.

          In particular, Hina wanted to know if I’d blog about her current role play project in SL, Casterly Rock.    

          Having not really gone too deep into role playing inworld yet and always interested in delving into a new SL community, I agreed and scheduled an interview with Hina and her fellow role players.

          Casterly Rock is a medieval role playing community in SL based on A Game of Thrones books written by George R. R. Martin and the HBO series of the same name.  The sim is based three hundred years before the time period in the books so there is plenty of room for creative license in the role play. 

          So, donning my old scribe’s costume from my Gor days (Significant Other says I look like an overstuffed chair in it.  I prefer to describe the look as authentic.) I head off to meet the role playing community of Casterly Rock.

          I rezz into Casterly arriving at the docks where I’m greeted by Hina, whose title is 
Hand of the Queen.  (Which begs the question, which hand?)

          I must admit to having been a little overwhelmed by my reception.

          Not only was Hina there to welcome me but upwards of a dozen other residents as well! 

          (As you can tell, I don’t normally get the full welcoming committee.  Significant Other suggests it may have just been idle curiosity about my costume.) 

          Space precludes me from listing everyone who was there.

          However, several notables such as Her Grace Queen Morgane and Commander
Adele, Commander of the City Watch came out to greet me.

          (Significant Other feels the Top Cop for Casterly being there was a cautionary move on their part.) 

          Assorted princesses and ladies also crowd around. 

          The greetings are effusive and genuine. 

          The clothing worn by everyone is more elaborate and better tailored than any I’ve seen before inworld.

          Interestingly, with one exception all my greeters are women. 

          Queen Morgane suggests we all retire to a nearby tavern to sample the wine and talk. 

          Never needing a second invitation in such matters, I wander over with my newfound friends and sit at an outside table to hear about Casterly Rock.

          The ale and wine flow and people begin to talk!

          I ask Her Grace why was A Game of Thrones chosen as the sim’s theme and she replies that they’re all addicts of the books and the TV series. 

          Hina tells me that a number of the residents were role playing on a sim called Highgarden when the sim closed and Queen Moragne bought the Homestead sim, where Casterly Rock is located, and they moved here to continue the game of Thrones Role play. 

          Her Grace informs me that Casterly Rock is part of a three realm sim with Highgarden and Dorne being the other two.        

Hina adds that some came from Gor where they were upset with how the environment had changed and wanted a roleplay that was something they all loved. 

Gor has been centered around sex over the last couple of years according to Hina and this is why some of them left as they are looking for quality role play.

There are no slaves here. 

Casterly Rock has an excellent group of experienced role players according to Hina and new role players have wonderful people to learn from and they are encouraged to jump in with both feet. 

The group tells me that they really try to encourage role play and that sex is not an I
mportant part of their role play up to this time.  If it does take place, it would take place away from prying eyes in private houses and that sort of thing. 

Her Grace says that it is possible they will have a brothel one day and she is hoping to host a weekly bath night. Thus, no sex but possibly nudity which is why Casterly Rock has an adult rating. 

Queen Morgane continues that not finding many sims in SL offering decent role play this became an opportunity live the medieval fantasy. 

          Hina explains that as some of them have role played for quite a while together before it gave them an excellent base to start a new sim on.  She says they have been blessed by the Old Gods that many fine people have found their way to Casterly Rock. 

I ask about their rules for role play in Casterly Rock. 

Hina chuckles saying they don't have a long list of written rules, respect for each other’s characters, role play that represents A Game of Thrones,   and NO DRAMA.  (Hina’s emphasis not mine!)

During my visit, I notice that emphasis is placed on being in character (IC) versus out of character (OOC) with the former preferred.

(I probably didn’t do as well here as would have been liked.  I promise to do better next time!) 

I ask whether role play is scripted or is it spontaneous.  Hina responds that it is the latter. 

Hina explains further that a role play may start but whoever initiates the story will never know quite where it will go and usually it is not the direction intended. 

(Sounds a lot like Real Life (RL) doesn’t it?) 

Game flow is a combination of many individual stories tying into one story arc and everyone for themselves.

(Yep, definitely like RL!) 

Hina adds that for herself it is the joy of being with these people she has become close to and never knowing what each day may bring that makes her happy.

I next ask about combat and am told that combat is done with a meter.

Role play must lead to all combat and there is no attacking without sufficient role playing reason to do so. 

The evening draws on and I wish to be mindful of everyone’s time and still get to take a quick tour of Casterly Rock but I have one unanswered question.

Why so few men?

There is no one definite answer. 

Some admit they don’t know, others say men prefer to role play fighting as opposed to community role playing, some that men don’t like being commanded by women, and Hina adds that some of the women are decent with weapons. 

(I’m learning to stay on the good side of Hina!)

All are welcome and especially men!

(Remember guys, it’s about role play not sex! I’m probably going to lose one of my three loyal readers with that last comment.)

We step away from the table and my tour begins.

Hina leads and we are accompanied by a small group. 

(I don’t anyone could ever get lonely in Casterly Rock!)

We stroll by the docks where I see the ship commandeered by Her Grace’s privateer. 

A warehouse stands ready to receive merchandise. 

(I tactfully avoided asking about the provenance of such merchandise.  Even Significant Other admits I only look stupid.) 

We then turn into the town of Lannisport which is dominated by a castle sitting high
on a promontory looking down on all below.

(Where do you think they got the Casterly Rock from?  There will be story of this impressive build in my Great Castles series at a future date.) 

The town is comprised of shops, residences, and government offices.  The attention to detail in their correction is impressive.

Unlike some SL sims claiming to have shops but in reality are nothing more than empty storefronts with signs outfront, these shops are full of merchandise supplied by their shopkeepers.

The greengrocers has to be seen to be believed and the dressmaker has beautiful dresses and fabrics on display. 

(I’m told she is equally talented with men’s fashions.)

Oh, and BTW, if you’re thinking of visiting and acting out, think again.

          There is a jail and the Commander of the City Watch is a no nonsense, law and order type. 

          Beyond the town are forests and there has been mention of bear so be careful if you venture that far in your visit! 

          Hina has been the chief architect and artist builder in Casterly Rock and her skills are of the highest order! 

          Unfortunately, I must take my leave of Casterly Rock at this time.

          RL calls!

          (In other words, I have to get some sleep as I’m sure some of my hosts must do as well.)

          This will be first of several stories about Casterly Rock.

          I plan to visit among the nobles and small folk who comprise its residents.

          Jousts, archery, bear hunts, and social functions seem to be but a small part of their social calendar. 

          But, more to the point, this is group of people who are genuinely happy with one another and enjoy their role play together.

          This is a very successful example of the type of community building in SL which makes it such a special place. 

          Casterly Rock is a friendly and welcoming community. 

          Their role play is highly evolved and interactive.

          The large number of experienced role players from other sims definitely helps here. 

          Casterly Rock seeks new members especially men.

          Four legged creatures are welcome as well!

          I strongly encourage all to visit and if you’re interested to join. 

          Casterly Rock can be found here. 

          The group is called Hear Me Roar.

          If you do visit please be respectful of their role play and dress in medieval type clothing.     

          Oh, one more thing…

          I was so impressed that I joined too!

          Apparently, they didn’t have too many guys who wanted to be scribes!

          Plus, I just learned that I get paid too! 

          I’d like to thank Hina for arranging my visit and taking the time from her busy inworld schedule to meet with me.

          I’d also like to thank Her Grace Queen Morgane and Her Court for coming to welcome me, taking the time to meet with me anwswering my questions, and welcoming me into the family!

          More to come about Casterly Rock!   

          Additional pictures from my visit can be found on this flickr page.

           As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

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          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.


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