If you’ve been following my blog for the last few months you’ll know I’ve been musing on the nature and mechanics of roleplaying in SL. Indeed, it was those conversations that led me directly to leave HBA Island and join Steelhead. Once in that fair city I immediately set about embroiling myself in a complex storyline of lost memories, assumed identities and exploding laboratories and is this experience I’d like to talk about here.
To start with the “Lost & Found” tale was just collaborative writing RP with a few photos thrown in which, bar the collaborative stuff, is meat & potatoes to me as that’s how I’ve always done all my RP, simple tales told by a simple bugger on a simple blog with some pictures sprinkled hither and yon for good measure.
Apart from plot ideas from Darien, the collaborative bit wasn’t, at first, really all that collaborative. I merely approached the other folks involved with IMed or emailed requests to involve their characters and then asked them to OK the draft results to ensure I captured them correctly and that I hadn’t dropped a ruddy huge clanger. I was bowled over by people’s enthusiasm to read through a post and agree or amend & agree it – this meant not only was the turn around time for posts really quick, but I knew that they were all happy with their ‘parts’.
Collaboration really began by accident. I was out taking pictures of Steelhead just near the lab when TotalLunar Elipse, the estate manager, turned up. We got to chatting and IMing about OOC issues. I asked him about the pentacle in the Labs and bang! we fell into IC RPing – it was my first time and he was very gentle 😉
I gained a lot from this – in fact it altered the direction of the tale as Lunar downloaded a lot of history and information in that one encounter and I began to plot immediately how I could work it all into a post.
From there I had some very fruitful email conversations with Annechen Lowey and Amarantis Belfire – both were kind enough to read my draft offerings and help flesh them out until I could see the finished post before me.
So far so good – writing and photographing on my own, emailing to & fro with others and even an in-world, in-character exchange. This was, using my earlier definitions, Written and Character RP in action and was obviously producing some small measure of Community RP as a small handful of other Steelheadians had linked to my tale in their own, a big result for me I should add 🙂 But what of Event RP?
Well, dear reader, let me enlighten you as to my plans right from the start – the destruction of Mason Labs and cruel injury of our hero, HBA. And to do this I wanted to burn down the lab in an act of community supported Event RP (in the end I opted for an explosion, but the plan was the same). I talked to Darien, Lunar, Anechen & Amarantis right from the start and then nearer the time IMed & emailed my neighbours to explain my plans and to ask if they’d be willing to help out by allowing wreckage to be strewn across their plots and even damaging their buildings. To my amazement all but one replied and all those said yes! The only problem was I had no idea how to do it* 😀
In the end it proved easier than I had imagined – I deleted the lab on the land (I couldn’t edit the pieces as they weren’t mine and the person they belonged to is no longer in SL) and used my PrimFinder tool to make some simple jagged shapes which I them textured as metal and scattered about. I also bought some smoke scripts and bunged them into transparent prims to make the wreckage look hot.
I then tested out some explosives I’d bought for the end of <a href=”https://headburroantfarm.wordpress.com/category/the-lost-journal/”>The Lost Journal</a> and I found some excellent free sculptie fire that grows, smokes and dies all on its own.
It was as I was testing this lot that I ballsed up. I was showing my friend Warren Daines and, in the spirit of goofing about, we announced FIRE! in the group chat. Within 30 seconds we were involved in the roleplay I had planned, except it had all been arranged with my neighbours to take place three days later! They then had to rush about placing wreckage and damaging buildings – I felt a right berk!
Anyhoo, as it turned out it went well and people enjoyed it – it even got a mention in dispatches:
** RANDOM ACTS OF RP IN STEELHEAD **
Mason Labs in Steelhead Harborside was accidentally blown up. Several pieces of debris landed on homes, the bridge, and underwater. We ask that you not try to move the objects as they’re being tested to make sure they don’t have any sort of contaminant and we don’t want someone accidentally squishing themselves.
So what lessons have I learnt?
Communication is vital and planning is a must. But don’t pop your cork earlier than you promised 😀
Now… Let’s get one with another, shall we?
* Lunar had a good tip for destroying a building which I would never have thought of – turn the pieces of the building (or in my case, the wreckage) physical and watch it fall, then turn them all non-physical… et voila! One destroyed building. I recently saw a good example of this here.