Commander’s Log [Cmdr William Gearwright] : [ISDV Vestigial Echo : [Zaonce/Zaonce A 1/Ridley Scott Station] : [3301/05/04]

[Report Summary] Sub-contracted to Silver United Solutions based out of Ridley Scott and providing local Police with back-up in the RES sites.

[Manifest] n/a.

[Incidents] Multiple conflicts due to heavy police action against the local ‘Jet gang’ pirates.

[Signed] Cmdr William Gearwright of the ISDV Vestigial Echo (Faulcon DeLacy Cobra Mk3), Antfarm Consolidated of Dulos.

[Private Entry/Decrypted/frelp40062-Wilt441] [embeds enabled] After LTT9494 I found things a little hot in Dulos so the contract from the Old Man to escort Cmdr Paws back in from his epic journey to Sag A* was welcome distraction. I had to fly 250lys out to meet him but it was a profitable trip as I picked of a UC surveyor contract on the side and so more than covered my expenses with a wee bit of stellar cartography (the UC woman said they would pay more for reliable data on Ts which makes me think the Imps are looking at some form of expansion, but who know with them?). The journey back in with Paws was quiet (and profitable!) but once back in Dulos I could feel eyes on me again. Small things such as ship-system intrusion atteempt warnings, random hails from untraceable routers and bogus job offers clogging up my inbox. In the end I asked the Old Man to get me out – maybe memories in Dulos are longer than I thought – and he got me a stint to Zaonce, the banking capital of the entire galaxy and home to those frak-ugly leathery eggs people pay so much for, Odd thing was that instead of requesting I fill up the Pharos he had the Echo made ready and fitted out to take, and give, a beating. The Old Man said it was because Zaonce is undergoing a push back against some nasty local pirates and even though the local SysSec require the usual military & medical supplies they are not beyond popping anyone who looks at them funny, but I wasn’t so sure and I was right to be sceptical because the old swine has subbed me out to the local corp under a general ‘do anything’ contract that has me patrolling the RES near Ridley protecting miners and backing up the 5-0. Still, it’s low risk, high pay and mostly quiet. Well, apart from the Python…

I was checking in with a mining Asp out of Ovid when the pilot started squawking about a wing closing fast. I was 15ks away but I was the nearest ship in a good 60k bubble so I hit burn and screamed in weapons hot. So far I’d come up against ‘Winders, Cobras, Adders, and the occasional Viper but from 6k I could see the arrowhead of a Python silhouetted against the milky light of the ring and I knew this was going to get messy, especially as he had two Eagles with him. I told the miner to throw out some cans and run like hell away from me and head for the cops. Sure enough the Python turned its fat behind to me and slowed to scoop the cans whilst the Eagles chased the Asp deeper into the ring. I boiled the first one quick, peeling shields away and shoving both ‘seekers up his exhaust, it happened so fast I doubt he knew what hit him. The second wheeled around to see what the frak just happened to his buddy but by then I’d FA flipped and boosted back to put some distance between me and the Python. The Eagle fell for it and chased me like a furious wasp. I waited until I was 6k out from the Python before I FA flipped again and hit boost, effectively stopping dead for a second. The Eagle screamed past me and I flipped again, targeting and firing in the same motion. His shields melted and he hit boost to escape but by then it was too late for him as both my ‘seekers were closing on him. Not that I had chance to pat myself on the back as the Echo bucked like a mule beneath me and she began screaming – the Python had a rail gun and had done a good job of introducing its payload to my rectum in a wholly unfriendly manner. I hit boost and pulled some high-G jinxing but the freller had me in his sights so I hoofed power to engines, hit the shield cell and boosted right at him. My shield lit up like a firework party on Six but held together as I screamed under his belly. Another FA flip and I was heating up his shields from behind – the urge to pop off a missile or two was enormous but would have been a waste so instead I held my nerve and selected the power plant location to concentrate my fire on. The freller must have spent his life savings on turrets because even from high behind I was being riddled with tracer fire and depleted tip ammo – I hit my chaff but mistimed a cell boost so caught a line of rounds across the nose – I heard my canopy crack in dozens of places and as my suit began cycling up its risk responses I hoped for a miracle. Which is when the front of the Python’s shields erupted in blue fire and the whole ship swayed and rocked. I checked the Echo’s sensors and saw it was another of sub-conned Cmdrs in an FDL and it appeared he’d brought a lovely big plasma cannon to a knife fight! The Python didn’t know what to do – I was hardly doing any real damage whilst the new guest was causing him some real headaches. In the end he went after the ‘Lance and that was his last mistake. Another plasma bolt dropped his shields and so I began to let his plant have my missiles, all of them because I’m generous like that. The ‘Lance switched to a seriously big pair of rails and it was all over for the Python bar the expected, desperate, far-too-late attempt to jump out, and just like that 100 million credits worth of cutting edge technology became a salvage hog’s wet dream. The 5-0 rocked up just in time to avoid any actual danger and managed to locate a single escape pod – I wasn’t actually sure they were going to pick it up for a while but they did, although I suspect the occupant might wish they had just popped him by now.

So I’m back in Ridley, my rolling contract update just came in and I need to decide if I sign on for another 48 hours or take the Old Man’s new contract, it seems he has a ‘travel opportunity’ for me in an Indie system called Quivira and it does sound rather interesting…


To: William Gearwright

From: Antfarm Consolidated (Dulos)

Date: 3301/05/03

Subject: Travel Opportunity

Message: Dear Boy! Sterling work for the Silver chaps, good reports all round so keep it up. Things here are much the same, I’ve held off on arranging the school reunion until we know more about dietary requirements. In the meantime you can decide if you renew your sub-contract with the Silvers or if you would like to broaden your horizons with a trip to a currently hot locale, a place very much of the moment you might say. Quivira is a small system deep in the most glorious of glorious space but ever so independent in its quaint ways. I can’t help but think you’d enjoy the night-life there, as well as the weather, both of which can be described as hot, although the locals are rightly defensive about such things. There is a tourist guide on Godel Dock you should meet, he’ll be fully accredited and carry the usual insurance documents so you’ll know you are in the hands of a true independent businessman. If you go I’m sure you’ll find the chance to shore up your system’s defences will do you the world of good.

All the best regards,



Maybe I should drop Charybdis a line, I’m sure he’d find something to pique his interest there.


To: Charybdis

From: William Gearwright

Date: 3301/05/04

Subject: A tourist trap of note

Message: Hello friend, I hope this short note finds you well. I just wanted to let you know about a small hotspot I’ve become aware of called Quivira. It seems there is a blossoming tourist market opening up right now with special rewards for the more independent-minded traveller. I hear Godel dock is the place to meet up with like-minded vacationers and share the extremely lively night-life. If you decide to go, plan your route ahead of time based on the advice of others – empirical evidence would deem it prudent.

Safe travels,

William Gearwright.


Roleplaying in Guild Wars 2: Meeting the Family…

I was hoping to have written up a follow up to my ‘Humble Beginnings’ post by now but alas, I need to sleep in between work and playing GW2 😀

When I last left off I’d met some of the Crimson Ashes Guild in the Maiden’s Whisper and had been invited to an IC meeting with the rest of the Guild at the same place the next day. I only just made it after tearing down the motorway from work, but make it I did and I walked Jurak up into the pub – right past all the Guildies who were watching my with what I can only imagine was bemused pity as I strode on by. Luckily the same player who had met me both the previous night and in the Lomar’s pass camp was on hand to save the day (and my blushes).


Victoria introduced me to the group, including who I think is the boss, Craywin (although they may have no overall leader, it’s hard to tell) and we all chatted in character for a while. In the end they agreed to give Jurak (and me, lest I forget) a trial period. Jurak was invited him on a beast hunt deep into Svanir held territory whilst I was told that whilst attendance was casual they do expect active participation a couple of times a week, which seems both fair and manageable to me. They came across like a nice, friendly bunch. I’ve not been in many guilds in my gaming life (this is number three) but I’ve always been lucky to pick friendly ones. My only complaint in the past has been the last of a cohesive narrative for the group to exist, something to hang the whole suspension of disbelief on. Yes it’s nice to chat in the guild channel about the game and the wider real world and that is invaluable, but it can’t (for me at least) be all there is. I think that in Crimson Ashes I’ve found something really special – a group with which to grow and share stories.

Roleplayers of Rank – a post in which I swear. A lot. Seriously.

I’ve never fancied roleplaying in a military or police structure, at least not an authentic sounding one where players take on ranks. Partly it’s my inherent dislike of being told what to do, partly it’s my lack of interest in replicating the intricate structures of organisations I have little (or less) interest in in real life, but mostly it’s because roleplayers seeking rank are almost always insecure, egotistial, elitist, piss-stains of the lowest order and I don’t find being around them to be conducive to my desire to be happy.

Before you get me wrong, I am *NOT* taking a shot at military/police/organisational RP of any era or genre, or the people who take part. Honestly I am not. Many a good WW2 Unit, Roman Legion or Star Fleet Corps exits in SL and I know at least one casual roleplayer in SL who plays as a Navy officer and she is, frankly, lovely. I’m emphatically, totally and definitely NOT talking about these.

No, I’m talking about the type of Jonny Big Bollocks who votes himself the top of the, let’s call it, Castle Defence League or Metropolitan Constabulary and sets about strutting around like said Big Bollocks were something all and sundry should get down and pay homage to. These are the actions of a fool. An idiot. An insecure child. A cock.

To them RP is merely a way of encircling themselves with liggers and dolts who constantly feed their voracious and vacuous egos. On top of that they tend to be shockingly dull folks seemingly incapable of friendly chat & banter and instead cursed by the need to be constantly aloof and superior, an act that does not endear them to me and instead fills my mind with the desire to repeatedly punch them square in their wizened, redundant love-pump until their either their pelvis shatters or my fist explodes.

Why so angry Mr Burro? Why so shouty about these (soon-to-be) dickless wonders? Well, I’m glad you asked. It is because it does me good to be shouty. It makes me feel better. I don’t cope well with bottling things up and of late I’ve been doing just that. Not any more. I’ve popped my own cork, so to speak…

You see, when it comes to play I like collaboration. I want collaboration. I desire it as a randy Mr fox desires a pretty lady fox flashing her come-to-bed-eys and flicking her lovely brush at him. I ❤ collaboration. I believe in friendly, open, enthusiastic roleplay. I want to bring folks in to my stories (and visa versa). I want them to run with ideas other than mine. I want the whole to be far, far greater than the whole. I, dear reader, want people to play together and have fun and not complete.

And yet I find myself surrounded and bested by small minded, jealous, parochial, cliquey cunts who need to create ranks in order to feel they have respect when, in fact, they have confused respect with resentment (not an easy mistake to make given their default feeling to any ideas not their own is resentment, but they make it all the same).

So fine. Great. Be the big old General. Pin the shiny badge on your chest. Just as long as you get to dictate just who can play (and, more importantly I suspect, who can’t) with who and where and when, I’m sure you’ll be happy. Except you won’t. It will end the same way these things always do, but you are just too fucking dense to understand that, aren’t you. When it all turns in on itself, when all the resentment (sorry, respect) and bitterness and back-biting that you surround yourself with brings it all crashing down, you’ll down what you always do and will slink away to find somewhere else to infect like the virus you are. There’s always another sim, another group, another community you can insinuate yourself into and poison.

Stay and fight Burro Boy, I hear a lone voice cry. Stay and see your vision through! No, I answer back. Fuck it. Fuck them. Fuck the horse they rode in on. I’m not a fighter, I’m a lover. Not a lover of virtual lady gazelles you understand, but rather a lover of fun and open creativity and a million concepts Captain Dipshit and his merry band of uniform wearing, rank-wanking numbnut shitsacks will never be able to understand. Fuck 'em all in the eye.

Besides, they’re not the only ones who can move on.

Amazing Map of New Babbage

Thanks to the Heliograph, I was alerted to a thread on the New Babbage Ning about a simply stunning piece piece of work to map New Babbage in a style that befits its steampunk heart. Pop over to the Ning and see for yourself just what a wonderful job Mr. Elika Sieyes has done 🙂

New Babbage Map (as of 7th Jan 2010)

New Babbage Map (as of 7th Jan 2010)

p.s. While I’m at it, TY to Breezy Carver for alerting to me to what looks like a very interesting roleplaying development in New Babbage – pop over to the Shadow of the 13 site for more details.

Shanghaied by the Aether Salon

You heard of the Aether Salon? I hadn’t until recently, but I’m really glad I did. The Ather Salon is a traveling symposium of Stempunkers, Victorianas and other assorted thoughtful SLer-types that recently came to Steelhead Shanghai for its December 2009 meeting. I happened along and found it incredibly informative and entertaining.

First off Riven Homewood (who runs the Steelhead Public Library) gave a great slideshow and talk about the history of Chinese people in the NW US (Steelhead being in Oregon, you see). Now as it happens in August last year I was in Vancouver, BC and found myself in a small museum in Steveson’s post office. The museum contained much about the history of the Japanese and Chinese immigrant workers who came to and settled in the area and as Vancouver is very close to Oregon I found Riven’s talk highly illuminating indeed. I’m trying very hard with my ‘Dr Beck in the slums’ tales to relfect as faithfully as I can what life was like for the poor sods who worked in the canneries and lived in the ghettos and slums of the time so I drank in all the wonderful details Riven presented to the Salon.
Aether Salon in Shanghai

Next up was Elegia Underwood (who created and owns the Dragon Lands in Shanghai, more about which I posted here) who talked about roleplaying in Shanghai, as well as in SL at large, and launched a wonderful contest in which she is searching for people to pen a mystery that can be played out in Steelhead.
Aether Salon in Steelhead Shanghai

Lastly was Lunar who talked about his (and Tensai’s) hard work and vision for Steelhead. Anyone who is thinking of visiting or looking at moving in should read what he says to whet your appetite – they put so much thought and love into their building and management of the sims and it really shines through.
The Aether Salon

The full unedited and edited transcripts of the Shanghai Aether Salon are on the blog. Riven & Elegia have some pics here.

Check out Elegia’s great buildings for rent here and read more about her wonderful contest here (the closing date is the 15th January 2010 so why not enter?)

For all my Steelhead related posts click here.

For all my Shanghai related posts click here.


Roleplaying Discussions on the Steelhead Ning

Did I mention I was living in Steelhead? No? Are you sure? I’m pretty certain I may have mentioned it once or twice… 😉

The great thing about living in Steelhead is that it extends way past the grid itself – there is a very active Ning ( and a great new Wiki ( that allow discussion and sharing of all the great ideas, events and stories that such a dynamic community generates.

If you’ve been following the discussions on this blog (and others) about RP, then you really should take a look at the Steelhead Ning (not to mention the New Babbage Ning but here are a few of the key discussion you may find interesting to start you off 🙂

  1. General discussion on RP in Steelhead from January 09.
  2. More detailed discussion about RP in Steelhead from July 09.
  3. Elegia Underwood’s rule of RP from July 09.
  4. Aspects of Steelhead that can be used in RP from July 09.
  5. Discussion about the confusion and learning curves of trying new RP styles from August 09.
  6. Discussion about imagining Steelhead from August 09.
  7. Discussion about NOT imagining Steelhead from August 09.
  8. Discussion about good character design from November 09.
  9. Discussion on having enemies for your character from November 09.

There are more discussion over on the Steeelhead Ning here, but there are a ton more over on the New Babbage Ning here – go take a looksee! Also check out the Steelhead Story Archive, Hotspur’s Page O’ Tales, the Steelhead Wiki, and the New Babbage Wiki.


Other posts on the suject of roleplaying can be found here.

Re-Rezzing Ryne

Now that HBA is a crispy chip, I’ve decided to resurrect my old roleplaying av, Ryne Beck. I created Ryne  in 07 so I could RP in somewhere like Toxian City but I never found a place I actually liked so I retired him. He came out briefly for the CSI sims and for a murder mystery Enjah ran in Grignano, but these were brief excursions and all too soon he was one again consigned to the assert server of forgotten avs.

So when I decided HBA needed a rest (and a shit load of salve) I turned to Ryne. But he needed some work. The clothes had to go, and the hair and skin – the new Ryne was to be from a ruined Manchester in the 1880s, and his beefcake, tough, black NY cop look just didn’t fit. So here is a pictorial record of his metamorphosis…

Rezzing Ryne  4

Ryne Beck

Ryne Beck

Ryne Beck

Ryne Beck

Ryne Beck

Ryne Beck

Ryne Beck

Ryne Beck Gravatar 2

Ryne, or Dr Rynehold Beck, will be moving into Steelhead’s Shanghai slums to look after the poor of the parish – look out for his tales appearing here soon 🙂

Roleplaying in SL: Lessons Learnt from Lost & Found

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.

Destroying the lab

Destroying Mason Lab

Destroying Mason Lab

One Bloody Big Cog

I then tested out some explosives I’d bought for the end of <a href=””>The Lost Journal</a> and I found some excellent free sculptie fire that grows, smokes and dies all on its own.

Firefighting in Steelhead

Firefighting in Steelhead

Lost and Found - Explosion 1

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!

Lost & Found Chapter 11

Lost & Found Chapter 12 - Epilogue

Lost & Found Chapter 12 - Epilogue

Anyhoo, as it turned out it went well and people enjoyed it – it even got a mention in dispatches:


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.

The Steelhead Sentinel

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.

Event RP – What is it and how is it done?

It struck me today (quite out of the blue – I wonder why our minds work like that, suddenly popping an idea or memory up when everything else about us in engaged in thoughts and activities totally unconnected) that I had missed off an important definition of roleplay in SL from my list. Doubly important when I realised that I actually don’t know how it works.

Event RP: Where people get together to take part in a pre-planned event that is in itself an act of semi-staged/semi-improvised RP (as opposed to people at an event deciding to undertake RP).

A good example of this would be the naval battles staged by Steelhead’s very own Master of the Waves, Hotspur O’Toole. Another good example, and one that has always stuck in my mind, is the Martian attack on Caledon in 2007 (one blog extract to illustrate what I mean here).

I can see the end result of the Martian attack in the plethora of Caledon and SL Steampunk blogs (around July 2007) to piece together how people fitted in to the RP, but what I am less clear on is how such an event was organised. Specifically I’d like to know:

1) How many people were ‘in’ on the gig? Was it just a few of the boss/management team or was it a large affair with many organisers?

2) How were people assigned roles? Was it just a free for all come-shoot-at-the-aliens affair, or did people have to report in and be assigned a task?

3) How did the mechanics work? Were the Martian craft scripted bots or were there people behind them? How did combat & damage to people & property work, if at all?

In short, if I (by “I”, I mean Steelhead as just “I” on my own couldn’t do it) wanted to stage a similar event – let’s say a Godzilla style attack on the city – how would we go about it?

If you have any ideas or tried & tested solutions, please be so kind as to drop them below 🙂