Commentaries on what happened to Tusk

Greetings, family!

For those that have been away for some time (as I have..and am still for the most part), it is with some regret that we inform the world wide web that that land of Tusk (a most fantastic sim with RP areas, stores, castle, and home to Atrum Infero), has joined the thousands of shredded pixels within the metaverse, and having poofed into the Ethers of time, is officially no more.

Q: What happened to Tusk? Why was it put up for sale, etc?
A: I’d like to say it’s a big mystery, but really it isn’t that complicated.

Note that I am not Amberly. We have crossed paths, even friended in SL, however I can’t speak officially for her, so will simply paraphrase from what she has told me candidly..

The great creator Goddess, Amberly Kinsella, was to do this delicately and diplomatically, with tact and respect for us all. The plan was to store all of the objects of hers on Tusk, and return all of the other objects (e.g., Satoria’s circle of 100L blood tanks, items in the fetish room, etc.) to those owners whom they belonged. Secondly, whilst putting the sim on auction for someone to bid upon, she would make the castle and all other objects transferable to the new owner, thus, in this fashion, Tusk would remain.

Running a sim is quite expensive (basic Linden Labs rates as of August 2010 are US$295 a month for a private full region, not to mention the $1000 setup fee when bought it direct from Linden Labs).

Some sim owners run clubs, games, shopping malls, tip jars, and the like to help with operational costs. There were some storefronts, vendors, etc. on Tusk, however, since Tusk itself was not generally making enough revenue (even though it certainly had active visitors), well, it got to the point where it was no longer feasible, in fact as all good things must come to an end, so thus did the projects of Tusk come to the end of their storyline .. she had her own reasons, simple as that .. so she prepared to put it up for sale and allow someone else to take it over.

Q: If it was up for sale, why couldn’t someone in the family take it over?
A: As she placed it on auction, she informed the Lindens it was to go ASAP, and taking this literally as the Lindens will do, they deleted it. Gone. Poof.

In a nutshell, the Sim is gone because Amberly no longer wanted to maintain it — the expense of running the sim was really secondary. She bought Tusk outright over 3 years ago… some of us may recall when Tusk was just a bitty parcel on the mainland, Torley Linden has some snapshots of it in Snapzilla, of the earlier castle the larger sim was based on.. it eventually outgrew its humble beginnings, and grew to include Tusk and Tusk Myst, which was closed some time before the main Tusk island went down.

Amberly asked the Lindens to close the Sim just as the next month’s rent was due, and so she figured they would charge her another month, and she would thus have a month to look for a buyer, however, this was not the case. She logged in later that day to find out Linden labs took it off line since they weren’t given a specific date, just said ASAP so that’s what they did! The good news was that she wasn’t charged another month’s rent, the bad was of course Tusk was gone..

Q: What about the blood circle and all of Satoria’s things?
A: Satoria took them just before leaving the SecondLife grid.

Satoria did safely return objects of people (such as I, StarLord Scribe) and took her own items back into inventory long before she had any idea Amberly was getting rid of the sim.

Q: Will someone else rebuild Tusk? What of the home of Atrum Infero?
A: Uncertain..

Sure it would have been better if the Lindens kept Tusk around for art’s sake, or perhaps enjoyed the opportunity of auctioning it to one of us or one of Tusk’s many fans, who would then assume ownership and continue to maintain its majestic character for all to enjoy, but as it was, they didn’t, and that’s that. Others have stepped up to offer a temporary home to the clan.. If you are family and reading this, then please check group notices by Queen RoxHardcore Cyberstar on this topic πŸ˜‰

Q: Since Tusk is gone, is Atrum Infero gone as well?
A: No. Atrum Infero continues to exist!

The land and the family are not one in the same, lands and castles and things will always come and go, as do people in SL come and go, indeed as do people in the clan come and go. Atrum will continue forever.

Q: Will Tusk be rebuilt? Is Amberly building anything? Something pink (LOL)?
A: The answers to this are unclear, however, a machinima in the works by StarLord Scribe.

See the next post about the Machinima project — We’ll certainly be looking out for what sort of fantastic projects Amberly will work on next!

SecondLife, OpenSimulator, now what?

Most folks who’ve been following my blog and flickr see that I am pretty active with creating virtual worlds, namely OpenSimulator server based software, and in the past this was extensively using the SecondLife client application. Well, now that I run my own simulator (aka Region) on my laptop, I don’t connect to the SL grid or other grids that often, however, I thought it would be interesting to note several of the OTHER grids (yes, other than SecondLife, which we all know and love or hate for whatever reason) which basically run the same software, albeit with their own chosen scripting, meshing and/or physics engine perhaps. SL runs on a custom hack of the ever-popular HAVOK engine, which so many games and their AI use today.. anyway before I get off on that tangent, may I present a fairly up-to-date list of grids for your exploration:

3rd Rock =Β http://3rdrockgrid.com/

Cyberlandia =http://www.cyberlandia.net/
(seems to be in Italian)

FW Estates =Β http://www.fw-estates.com/
(appears to be defunct)

Helios =Β http://heliosgrid.no-ip.org:8888/
(seems to be inaccessable)

Le Mone de Darwin =Β http://www.lemondededarwin.com
(seems to be a webmail frontend?)

Legend =http://www.legendcityonline.com/
(appears to be Adult oriented, and it went down without notice in Jan 2010, or did it?)

NewWorld =http://www.newworldgrid.com/
(this one has a spiffy website reminds me of the old SL website)

Nexxtlife =http://www.nexxtlife.com/
(based on OpenSim, and touts SL like features: Group management, Money module, Search, Classifieds, Events, and Voice)

OpenLife =http://openlifegrid.com/
(looks like an SL land company with a product focus of hosted homestead sims at $69/mo)

OpenSimClub =Β http://www-grid.talentraspel.de/
(cant seem to reach this one, though like NexxtLife it appears to be in Germany)

OSgrid =Β http://osgrid.org/
(this one appears to be fairly stable and put together well, they have their own build of the OpenSimulator for download and easy config.)

VirtualSims =Β http://virtualsims.net/
(couldn’t reach that one either)

VirtYou =http://virtyou.com/
(in Germany, linked with LindenLabs and Twinity/RealLife, they have virtual models of real world cities)

YourAlternateLife =http://www.youralternativelife.com/
(has an OMC based currency system with real world equivalent money, YAL market using YAL currency)

ReactionGrid = http://reactiongrid.com/Home.aspx
(seems to be a grid that is oriented towards business meetings)

I have not personally checked each one out, and grab this info from the current release of the Hippo OpenSim Viewer, a viewer client based on the 1.2x version of SecondLife yet with enhancements specific to OpenSim, though I have connected to OSgrid a few times and my user name on there is simply “Star Lord” though, I don’t think they have any sort of offline messaging as of yet..

If you stumbled on this blog and use any of the above services please feel free to chime in on your experiences good or bad and send me links to pictures or machinima etc where applicable! πŸ˜‰ My login name in SecondLife, as reference, is “StarLord Scribe” I am not on very often anymore but continue to blog and snapshot experiences — cheers!

Some SL blogs worthy of note..

Sure, there are a LOT of them out there, but here are few..

Alizarin Goldflake
A fine artist who draws landscapes and abstract collages using Corel Painter and a Wacom tablet. Lots of interesting places and artwork to view inworld are posted here.
http://alizaringoldflake.blogspot.com/

Atrum Infero
A group consisting mostly (but not all) of vampires in the genre of Liquid Designs “The Thirst : Bloodlines” game paradigm, taking the basic structure of the simple game and adding elements of mysticism, magick, meditation, and dark roleplay as the basis for performing the otherwise monotonous tasks of biting, giving potions, collecting souls, and turning vampires.
http://atruminfero.blogspot.com/

Massively
Covers MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games) including SL coverage
http://www.massively.com/category/second-life/

VAMPIRISM and VIRTUAL REALITY

(Guest Writer)

We are in the presence of knowledge that covers a multitude of natural and artificial phenomena,which by its very virtuality and interactivity involves us within an embracing of aesthetics and truth.Virtuality and the virtual as a power opposed to the actual is a way of being, of digital simulation. The self is truly virtual, thus the virtual self can be transformed into an actual living personality.

Casks and tanks, bite and blood, turning and survival allow us to immerse ourselves completely into the image and interact with it. The impression of reality felt under these conditions is so intensely experienced that one can say we are in the presence not only of reality itself but also the simulation of reality. The relations between, the support things give each other, the multiplicities of a full vampiric system provide multiple pathways for energy to flow, for escape, re-orientation as well as self-regulation within the system, re-assessment and deeper levels of consiousness.

Moreover, the absence of physical constraints forces us to judge each other solely by the content of thoughts. Thus, a unique opportunity to know someone’s unleashed inner life is being available to us. The metaphysical dimension of such a place reminds us the interrelatedness of all things, that the natural flow of existence brings us together whether it is the physical “real” or the virtual self.

We spend time together cos we are all cut from the same thread.
We are enormous but undeniably united.
Some may move away but nobody truly leaves.
Once you are here, you are family.

Satoria Exonar

SL Bloodlines, in a nutshell

SL bloodlines, in a nutshell

This article links to Liquid Designs FAQ page as well, for basic ‘how-to’ questions or frequently asked questions by new and prospective players of the bloodlines thirst sim, their own FAQ does a fairly adequate job.. however.. questions still arise!

Thus, StarLord Scribe has written up this notecard (now posted as a blog entry here for us) “Everything you wanted to know about being a Bloodlines player but forgot to ask..” (Ok, not everything.. but darn close to it!)

The Curse
The cost of being a vampire, other than the 599 lindens to get the HUD for the sim, is that you are going to lose .25 liters of blood a day.

There are ways around this, like amulets, or drinking blood from a container, but basically, because thirst for blood is one of those things that vampires do… you are going to need to bite people! Blood will go away whether you bite people or not, and whether you login to SecondLife or not. It’s automatic. Do what you can to survive, your liege is counting on you!

Where to bite people.. or where not to bite. To bite people, you need to go to an area that allows scripts (since the bite is a scripted function)

You can see if there are no scripts allowed by looking at the top middle of the screen and seeing what looks like a little printed page with a red “no” symbol on top of it, like with traffic signs for no turning for example.. (pun.. ok..)

Other symbols you find along the top of the window are a box (building) and a person with an arrow (push objects) and a person somewhat jumping into flight (flying ability) so if they aren’t permitted and you had some reason to use them but can’t, look for these to appear with a “no” symbol also.. in areas that don’t allow it..

What happens if you try and bite someone in a no script area? It won’t work. There are also places which specifically do not want any kind of roleplay, so when you first arrive, a good practice is to NOT be wearing your stats or attachments less you get immediately banned from an otherwise nice area.

Look around once things rezz and look for a no biting or a no vampire sign of any sort, it’s usually pretty obvious. There are other vampire sims besides bloodlines, and some of these places don’t want competing products around (CCS and Transylvania are two one of them), so use discretion. If the coast is clear otherwise then bites are likely permitted.

How to bite people? It may be obvious, but, just because you have a HUD and fangs at the ready doesn’t mean that you can just randomly walk around shops and public places and click to bite everyone you see. That’s like sending a friend request to some strange person you don’t know or haven’t chatted with, some people may be offended by your eagerness and mute or report you for harassing them. It’s almost like spam, or unsolitced roleplay.

Think about it, if you were walking down the street and some person randomly stalked you, swooped you up and bites you, draining your blood, would you like that? Well, you’re a vampire, of course you would.. but many humans would not.. SO… Always ask πŸ˜‰

Lesser clans have been known to bite randomly without asking, and that’s not only lazy but shows lack of creative roleplay ability. The simplest thing to do would be greet someone in a friendly sort of way. You can wear your vampire clan or group tag if it helps, but not needed.. Once you have their attention and reply, you can ask them for the bite. Here comes the fun part!

Role play the bite! “Hi. I’m a vampire. May I bite you? Muhahahaa!” isn’t so creative, so based on your avatar you can say something appropriate for the region, your outfit and personal style are. If you are a sexy Mae West or Marilyn Monroe type of vixen, you may want to flirt with your fresh victim and describe how sexy they are and how delicious it would be to you if able to give them a vampire’s kiss, to drink their blood.

Again, to role play your bite, you don’t have to be Winona Ryder as Elisabeta or Tim Curry as Frankenfurter (or what not, LOL), but I and just about everyone else who understands Vampirism will likely recommend you role play..

Here’s some ideas for you.. Vampires can be of several types, you can use whichever approach fits your avatar’s character and the sim you are in. Generally, use your abilities and skills. You can be friendly, helpful, seductive, whichever approach works for you..

If your character is in a certain costume (e.g., victorian era ball gown, school girl, cyber/tech warrior, elf, furry, sci-fi character, etc.) then go for it and roleplay your bites in that character.. just like real life, humor is good too..

Think about how important this is, the person is giving you probably enough blood to survive at least another day, and may end up giving you their soul. It’s worth it to make some effort..

People will generally react positively or negatively, and newbies may not know what to think, you can explain briefly that you are a Vampire in the bloodlines sim and part of the fun of the game is to bite people, as such you are cursed and must drink blood to survive, or whatever you can come up with.

Either way, once they say ‘yes’ then you go ahead and give them a bite. You can bite em and leave em, but what if they want to be a vampire too? Well, there’s the afterthought of course — when you bite someone, they are given fang marks and a landmark to bloodlines. If you leave them, what’s to stop them from teleporting off and then getting turned by someone else? If you don’t someone else likely will. Any fresh person who teleports to Bloodlines is going to get overloaded by requests from every vampire stalking the entry area waiting to gain more souls..

After the bite! Right then, so your bite should be followed by a thank you and explanation of how their blood may taste.. I like to use the wine connoisseur role play, look at the environment around me, and then describe the flavor of their blood.. if at the beach I can say, “Mmmm, warm human blood with a slight hint of saltiness, sand, and suntan lotion lingering afterwards .. tasty!” or some such thing. I also treat the victim as if they were my lover, call them my dear for example.. If they are interested they will generally ask you about the game and how you like your vampire second life, etc.. I’ll leave that part to you..

There’s another choice.. if they can’t decide to become a vampire, but like the idea, you can live between revenant and vampire by becoming a feeder (masculine) or blood doll (feminine)

Blood Dolls and Feeders The concept of being a cursed vampire is sometimes not appealing to humans, so there is a way to remain human but still have fun in Bloodlines and serve the clan. You can be a walking tank of precious blood for vampires to drink from as well refill you.

This is called a “blood doll” — the basic idea is that vampires may drain you down to 6% humanity, and give you enchanted apples to refill yourself. The formula is basically 4 apples per 20% of humanity or 1 liters of blood. You have 5 liters of blood (shown as a percentage of humanity), so 20 apples gets you a full 100% humanity. This is interesting to note that an apple costs 14 lindens each, you do the math how much it would cost you to buy blood at the bloodlines store..

Well if you aren’t able to do that, grab a blood doll and drink away. Some blood dolls don’t want apples, they just want to be drained, so it’s like a freebie πŸ˜‰ The practice is just like biting, you always must ask if you may bite a blood doll.. Using the spike on a blood doll is generally frowned upon, so be extra nice and careful if you are extremely low and need lots of blood.

Also watch how much you are taking, you don’t want to destroy the blood doll or turn them revenant, because then you are either going to need to potion them back to humanity (at 249 lindens), or turn them from revenant into a vampire, and either way, once turned, that person is cursed and is going to loose .25 liters of blood a day.

It’s also a respect thing, the blood dolls exist for us, as well they are in the game but don’t want to be turned. Interesting huh? As well, some blood dolls just want the HUD and to be drained and that’s that.. You as liege decide how it will go..

Add-ons
Once you have the HUD, fangs, stats, and bitemarks you’re done, right? Wrong! There’s all kinds of fun add-ons that you can get to make the game more fun.

You don’t have to buy any of them, but as for me, I like it.. There are some you can get at the main bloodlines store, and other products (such as bite packages from something spunky) which can be added to your inventory and work with the bloodlines system. I won’t go into a lot of detail, but useful items are the spike (to drain someone more quickly, great for turnings), blood tanks (to store blood more than the 5 liters you can carry within your body, which is normally used for turnings also), and uh.. well there’s more but I will stop for now.

Check the bloodlines website for some of this, but remember there is a lot to this game which isn’t going to be posted on their website or this one for that matter… People make up their own stuff as well, but that’s beyond the scope of this FAQ..

Status
Ah, status. People get confused on this, and some people make up their own tags, but realistically (in the thirst bloodlines game rules themselves) this is how it breaks down..

Note that if someone tells you for example you can be a Vampire Emperor, they are pulling your leg, there is no such status in the game. Though there may be a clan status which is created for you to be a certain thing, a position to hold, or a role to assume, the game ‘status’ is different from this..

In the aspect of the game itself, anyone can call themselves whatever they want, but if their souls and blood and minions don’t add up, then the fluff they advertise is, well, just fluff.

Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up then… lowest of all is the Destroyed status. This means you were completely drained of blood and then bitten again, or drained past zero due to the curse. I have minions who won’t hunt or are never online and they have become destroyed.

Depending on how they got destroyed, you may or may not fix it simply by giving them blood. If your vitae blood ever drops to zero and you become destroyed, you lose the souls you have collected, but you retain the souls pledged to you by your minions.

Once destroyed, if blood can not fix it, then you need a potion to rescue yourself. I will personally give a free potion to anyone once, if they wish to return and be a true vampire. I know someone who had a minion who by no fault of her own managed to get destroyed and so her liege rescued her from the abyss before her souls went destroyed with her.. however, the liege wasn’t the first person to bite her, and she eventually went back to her soul owner, taking her minions with her. So.. consider things like this before forking over the lindens to rescue someone, they may have their reasons to leave you anyway.

Moving on though, now here are the Human statuses..

Fresh Victim – never bitten, never nothin. You can bite them, and possibly more..

Human in Limbo – Bitten, but didn’t get the HUD. You can clean the old bite with a wormwood, and bite them as new. Then if they ever get the HUD the soul will count up to you, well, unless they get wormwood again LOL.. Note that if you bite someone in limbo without first having them drink wormwood, it doesn’t do anything. No affect at all, like a free bite just for fun but no benefits..

Human – a bitten person who has and has worn the HUD (default, not much mystery there, blood has a percentage of humanity greater than 0%, and their soul went to the one that bit them) Humans with the HUD can bite people and get vital blood, even though they aren’t a vampire!

Revenant – (drained of humanity to 0% and/or vital blood to 0, but hasn’t gotten vitae vampire blood yet) Most people fast forward through the task of a Revenant getting 5L by having them drink from a tank in one sitting, thus turning them (see my other post for an example turning ceremony that includes this).

And now, the fun part, the Vampire statuses!

A basic Vampire is any human who went Revenant (0% humanity) then reached 5 liters of vital blood — thus ‘turned’ — everything above that is about status, based solely (pun!) on the number of people’s souls you and the minions who total up to you have collected. Here’s the breakdown by number of souls:

10 – Bloodletter
25 – Tormentor
50 – Hellion
100 – Impaler (remember Vlad? He was one of these..)
150 – Deathmerchant

For the next few status, I like to call them ‘Royal‘, as well the title will vary slightly based on the gender of your Vampire. Again, number of souls is what decides status.

200 – Archfiend / Archfiendess
250 – Count / Countess
300 – Baron / Baroness
350 – Prince / Princess
400 – King / Queen

There’s nothing above that within the game.. though.. ahem, secretly, there may be πŸ˜‰

Honors
You used to be able to get honors by doing stuff in the game, like biting x number of people in a day (Frenzy awards for 25, 50, 75, or 100), or biting x number of people within x minutes (Berzerk awards for 10 bites in 10 minutes), however they have discontinued this now. Honors continue to show up on the bloodlines website for earlier players that have gained them.

Blood Wealth
You will see this on the bloodlines website, it’s not a soul status, but is a type of status simply based on how much blood you have on hand, either in casks, tanks, or carried on your person. You get blood by biting, spiking, or purchasing it in bulk.

Societal Status
..and a note about cheating the sim I’m not sure the metric this uses, but I assume that people are ranked by total number of souls collected, that is those they have personally collected along with the sum total of all souls from their minions. When I last checked there were over 24,000 people in Bloodlines. Keep that in mind when you see who is ranking where, but also, it doesn’t account for the way in which the souls were collected..

Huh?

Yes dears, that is.. people can collect souls without biting, by extracting them using potions and soul reapers, or buy souls from merchants that deal in them and sell them off to people! It may be hard to fathom, but this is how a number of high ranking people in the game became where they were, by buying their way in. Not exactly the mark of a good vampire, even if Liquid Designs gets some profit out of the idea.

There’s another sneaky way people can obtain status, by creating another SecondLife account (commonly referred to as an Alt), getting both online at the same time, biting your own Alt, getting it a HUD, and liege it to yourself. That’s an almost instant process for 599 lindens each and a bit of technical legwork, well, if repeated you can see how easy it would be for someone to rank themselves up quickly?

As for me, I’d rather spend my lindens on other stuff like clothes! So, if you see people with an extreme amount of souls, then don’t feel distraught or worried that you will never attain such numbers… It is quite likely they didn’t do it in the most noble of ways, King or Queen or not, there are thieves within bloodlines also, people who steal blood or persuade people into giving their souls away to them in numerous ways. It’s a dark game, remember that..

Now let’s move on to the subject of clans.

Clans
As there were in ancient Romania, there are a number of Vampire families, referred to as ‘Clans’ — a common misconception given is that the number one clan is that with the most people, that it’s all a numbers game as posted on the bloodlines site.

High ranking people with great numbers of souls and blood bring the clan’s status up in position. It’s more a race or war about quantity than quality, but some people like that, so they can be in these clans, even if said clan is not a Romanian family name or have any such resemblance to something vampiric.

What may not be readily apparent is the great number of people who are unaffiliated with any such clan, by default, you are simply given membership in the ‘Curse’ clan. There is no clan land or leader or groups for curse clan, it’s, as the requirement given suggests, just generic.

Now for those that like to group together with likeminded people and have fun, clans are formed. Each clan may have it’s own rules, land, or approach to using the sim and playing the game.

There may be smaller groups or occupations that exist within larger clans, such as an army, blood collectors, soul reapers, or any such thing people like or dislike.. that’s what makes the game interesting.

Most clans get along well with each other, but don’t be surprised if you get the snub from other clans, after all, they are competing with you for status and may not take kindly to other clans in their territory or going after someone they may have their eyes set on — just like clans of old, there may be alliances and differences between the various clans.

You join a clan through Liege. Generally, when you are bitten and obtain the HUD, that person who has your soul is your Liege — you share a special bond with the person who turned you, so naturally you Liege to them, and with that, you become a member of whichever clan that Liege is a part of.

The Liege and Minion relationship Now you are turned, you are a vampire, and ready for the hunt. You have aligned with your Liege and clan, and now your Liege has a duty to help you to learn to hunt, help you with aspects of the game, and be there for you.

While it’s not usually possible to be with your every walking moment in SL, I mean, believe it or not, they may have a SecondLife which includes other minions or outside interests πŸ˜‰ Yet they will normally make efforts to check-in on you or otherwise be available for you when you call upon them, in many cases giving you offworld email address, IM, or some communication beyond the boundaries of SL.

Some Lieges setup groups that their minions may interact with each other even, or go beyond the sim role to help you in SecondLife locating items or places, helping in whichever way they can. Do remember, as the protege advances, so does the master, and they know that it behooves them to be great to you, since you are helping them. Your numbers total to your Liege, and helps to make him, her, or other being greater in game status, which in turn (if applicable) helps their Liege do the same.

That said, if you ever find a problem with your Liege, your clan, or anything of it, please bring it to their attention so they can help work through it and do their best to fix it. And if they can’t, then you may go to their Liege, and so on (as high as it may go..)

If someone along the bloodline is unwilling or unable to help, then a minion of yours may be coaxed or talked into leaving, becoming disloyal to Liege and/or the Clan. True, the code speaks not of these things. At least not outwardly. It assumes you know what is.

So be on guard that not every clan is non-competitive, all are not based on mutual respect and acceptance, all are not friendly family, all do not value roleplay or common etiquette in biting and reaping. For some they just want membership and will do what they can to increase their numbers.

That said, if a minion decides they no longer want to participate in the clan or even decides to leave the sim or SecondLife itself (to wear the HUD no longer), it would be honorable to approach their liege and let them know, offering their collected souls, blood, or other items to them which are transferable. A minion is affected by the curse yet to be offline and offworld, to the time that they will loose their blood and be destroyed, they likewise may allow their Liege to hold onto their collected souls until such moment they return.

Whew.. There are other aspects and anomalies within the game, but we can save that for a later time.. If you have questions, feel free to find me inworld or send a notecard (my IMs are capped if I am offline). Of course, your Liege will likely answer these things for you quite well πŸ™‚ Comments? Suggestions for future articles? Mmm…

Respectfully yours,
StarLord Scribe

Turning Ceremony (an example RP)

In my travels I’ve seen a number of good roleplay ceremonies for a turning — you will likely come up with your own, but here is a text I stumbled upon (given to me by destroyed vampire Tash Kaestner, who based it on one from another girl)

You are good role player, you can do better, but this one here could assist you or give you an idea how to turn someone with roleplay, at the same time informing a few things about the game or getting over technical hurdles.. Enjoy..

(Liege and Minion at a place the liege decided to turn at with a bloodtank/cask in sight. We assume the person was fresh or went through the wormwood ceremony and the HUD is acquired… the minion to be wears in the following order, HUD, fangs, stats, and your blood container has at least 1L or you have 5L total basically..

Liege: smiles mysterious towards you now the moment has come, i will finally give you the gift of the night, the kiss that will end your life and enter you into the ranks of the undead. First of all, i will now drain you of your blood.

(liege bites human, explaining that a spike will be used to drain them more quickly, a blue menu box will appear soon, please always accept he highest percent u can see.. use the spike till the minion is below 5% humanity, then take the last drops with bites till the revenant animation starts.)

Liege: Now, you are neither alive nor dead. You are a revenant, between two worlds. To enter the ranks of he night you will now need Vitea, blood that flew once through vampires veins. smiles In modern nights we can use tanks like this. So then, please drink from the tank 5 litres.

(after that make sure the tank holds 5 litres of blood, tell them to click the tank, choose drink and then 1.0 litre. do so 5 times)

Liege: watches the unatural energys waving through your body with a big grin now you are one of us, a nightstalker, a predator amongst the living. Undead yourself you walk the nights searching for blood and souls. But we still not done.

(this is a good moment to tell your new minion how to refill the tank, giving u back the amount of blood u want him or her to. some only taking back the 1 litre they had to invest, some taking up to 3 litres, its up to you)

Liege: It is time now, for us both to make a very special covenant. From this day on, i will be your so called liege. This means i will take care of you, teach you the way of vampires and what you need to survive the nights to come. And you will be my minion, obeying me and being eaΒ΄ger to learn what i have to give.

(instruct them to look on the HUD in the upper right of your screen. You’ll see different buttons, amongst them is one showing a wheel and a man. Please click it and a menu will show up.. wait for them)

Liege: Fine, now choose in the menu Clan and then set liege, don’t click on Done yet ! instead enter in your chat /666 and then my name exactly as it is written.

(for example, they can type “/666 StarLord Scribe” to Liege to me πŸ˜‰

(the stat viewer changes to show the clan title, Atrum Infero)

(now, you take them to one of the clan lands, show them around, give them some gifts, add them to the proper groups, etc… congratulations you have a new minion. take good care of them!)

Visiting SecondLife: The Viewer(s)

[ Update: This post is seriously dated now. FirstLook and SLim projects are no more. There is somewhat better voice in SL now and the Lindens have released a new 2.0 viewer (which looks rather Web2.0 but otherwise stinks by most user reports (even though the Lindens tout it as the best thing since sliced bread) ah yesh, well, over 50% of SL users hate it so much they went back to the old 1.xx version viewer or 3rd party builds of the same.. but that’s another post… LOL… I’m not biased, just strong opinioned since I rather hate it myself and like the usability, stability on Mac OSX and the intuitive interface of the older viewer much better IMHO but I will stop at that.. Check out my newer posts for more on 3rd party viewers, I am researching what I can find and reporting back on the results! ]

Most people who play second life probably don’t bother or don’t know about alternate viewers.

The viewer is the client app which connects you into SecondLife. It’s open source, apparently, so that people can code around it and do stuff like the SLim, an Instant Messaging client, or FirstLook, the sort of beta version of the standard SL viewer, or even code their own viewer.

What’s cool about FirstLook, as the name hints, you can see some stuff or use some controls or customizations that aren’t yet available in the stable (heheh… well as stable as can be) viewer.

Also, if you login to FirstLook and enable voice, then you can also use the SLim client, which just gives you IM — just like an older nofrills chat client, you text or voice talk to other people on your friends list. This doesn’t get you in world, it’s just a communications sorta thing for talking to people in world, even when you aren’t fully logged in. The problem with SLim is that if the person you are talking to doesn’t use FirstLook and have voice chat enabled, then you won’t be able to IM them. You will only be able to see their online status, which, isn’t really that useful IMHO.

What may not be apparent from the download page (since the link is the same), is that SLim and FirstLook are separate programs, though they work together, can be used independantly, but they do kinda depend on one another existing in the same system.

In addition to the SL viewer, FirstLook, and SLim, there’s other viewers out there, for example the onrez store has taken it upon themselves to make a version of the viewer which is oriented to new players, giving you some useful add-ons to the interface such as teleport back, teleport history and an in-world web browser. It is aptly named the OnRez Viewer and is available for both Mac and PC.

That, and they claim the graphics look much better in their viewer. I haven’t tried it yet but it’s worth it to know someone is putting efforts into making it look or perform better. That’s the one thing that really bugs me about SL is the frequency in which stuff lags, crashes, or otherwise misbehaves itself. I’m going to try the OnRez viewer soon and I’ll report back what I find..

My 15 minutes of fame (in SL)

Frequency Picnic is a DJ and fashionista in the world of SecondLife, and I was lucky to spend an hour the other day with her shopping (at her expense no less) at the fabulous BareRose store. As a new person to SL this was quite an eyeopener, that so much can go on and so many wonderful things can be purchased at relatively low cost, but still be high quality, why, thats worth quite a few run-on sentences of excitement isn’t it? This was all part of her project though to get us newbies acclimated and seeing how our appearance can be improved from the stock avatars if given some prodding and encouragement from said Freq … worked for me! Read about it on her blog, here.

SL: Bloodlines – The Thirst to be or not be a Vampire!

A first-look at Bloodlines, a sim game within the SecondLife world which is a bit complicated, but I will go into it — or at least my take on it — this is where you become a vampire. I will take some text from the original game site, The Thirst : Bloodlines, which is your source for most of the information about the game. I say most, because this is constantly evolving and there’s stuff you will find inworld on SecondLife that don’t appear on the website.

With the book series and movie Twilight along with other Vamp/Goth subculture, a lot of people want to be a vampire. It’s a bit dark since it borders between the horror genre and romance, but I am sure people of whatever walk of life may choose (or not) to be involved in it, since it’s pretty cheap to get into this sim. More on that later.

Oh, first, I am going to clarify something you will see in this article. SecondLife is a grid, sort of VR world, and uses its own curency called “Lindens” (created by the creators, Linden Labs, naturally..) at a real word exchange rate of somewhere around 260-ish lindens for $1 (it is exchanged virtually within the game like real currency, well, it is sorta). You use these Lindens in the game to do stuff that costs piddly amounts of cash. Keep that in mind when I start quoting prices.

Now, Bloodlines I should note isn’t the Activision game with a similar name and theme.. that’s a mature rated console/pc game and as far as I know, not a MMORPG based sim, which is what Liquid Designs has created for our sim pleasures and of course for their profitability.

I should mention there is always a “anti” anything to a fun game, and major cons that people say of the game or in being a vampire, as an anonymous yet aggressive sari-wearing avatar pointed out to me at a place titled something like Love Park — where I was kicked out for being a vampire — you can look at this game as someone’s greatly crafted multi-level marketing scheme.

To the spiritual, some people of a magickal idea may think of this darkness as sympathetic magic, to be a vampire in the virtual world does something to you in the real world. Or this may be against your religious belief, and it also comes down to, how strong is your spirit and mind? Are you a dark soul? How will the roles play out in your mind? Are you taking this all too seriously? All too light-hearted? You decide. Liquid Designs has heard this also, since there are many places in SL (like Love Park) that ban people for biting or offering to bite.

Here is an excerpt of what they say on their FAQ about that, is it a Pyramid or Ponzi Scheme?:

As a matter of fact, NO. A “Ponzi Scheme” is an investment fraud scheme where an individual promises high returns to investors, and pays initial investors back with money from subsequent investors. Bloodlines does not have investors and does not pay dividends, so is not anything of this sort. A Pyramid Scheme involves the exchange of money for bringing others into the scheme, without any product or service being delivered. Bloodlines is a web application that runs a vampire game in Second Life. This is both a product and a service that is delivered to the people that join. Players can achieve status in the game for being the first one to bite a new player, but they receive no monetary compensation for referral of new players.

Ok, back to the “game” (muhahaha..) The premise is, vampires have 5 liters of blood, but the curse of being one makes you loose .25l a day, so you go around hunting and biting people, which gives a Vampire the blood you need to survive, as well the person you bite gets a free bitemark object, a notecard about it and a landmark to the Bloodlines store. How’s that for successful viral marketing?

That’s the first stated objective of the game, to be a Vampire. Once someone is bitten, they are ‘tagged’ and their virtual soul goes to the person that bit them, well, maybe.. if they too decide to be a vampire and by the Bloodlines game HUD, which costs 599 Lindens (or about $2.50 USD), otherwise your soul is in limbo until they do something or have someone else bite them (but there’s a catch.. I’ll explain later)

So, if the person you bite doesn’t want to be a vampire, they can still buy the HUD and become what is known as a (non-vampire, human) blood doll. That is, they feed vampires but haven’t been drained to the point that they become one themselves.

So in either case, once you’ve been bitten that’s it. Nobody can bite you again unless you become a vampire or blood doll, you see, and if you don’t buy the Bloodlines HUD (aka ‘The Thirst’) then your soul is in limbo until you do. There’s a workaround though. If someone else really wants to bite you and claim your soul, then they can give you a Wormwood potion which will take your soul out of limbo, then giving it to the next person to bite you. The wormwood costs 899 Lindens (about $4 USD). Worth it? Wait till I talk about status later on in this post.

Still with me?

Ok, beyond that, well if the person you are biting doesn’t care for Vampires or Blood Dolls and doesn’t mind if their soul is in limbo and never intends to play or what not, then, well, on to the next fresh victim because there’s lots of people in SecondLife, and blood is a commodity. Better yet, if you want to forget about being bitten altogether then get a free garlic necklace (the only thing besides bitemarks that is free) so people won’t bother you about it.

Now, back to the HUD.. aka Heads Up Display, in SL — these are things you can attach to your SL viewer in your screen, like a pop-up control panel, to enable whatever items you are wearing on your virtual person to interact in strange and amusing ways with yourself and/or those around you. Extra body appendages like wings or things below the belt or weapons or what not. Use your imagination, they have HUDs for everything in SecondLife.

In this case, the Bloodlines HUD refers to the fangs that Vampires have.

Now about using those fangs. Well, it’s just not nice to bite people without asking though some in their quest (or thirst, or hunt, whatever) for blood do. That’s against the rules of the sim, which is supposed to be fun and not a pain in the arse. Someone named Euphrasia Qunhua, an Impaler of the Vlad Tepez clan, just walked up and bit me. Out of the blue. I didn’t realize it was the Bloodlines game at the time but was interested for fun. No instructions, no Role Playing, no nothing, just bit me. Well, needed a Wormwood for that. Thank Goddess Satoria Exonar (whose name means Salvation in Greek), she saved me and turned me in a wonderful ceremony which I will treasure forever! That’s how its suppose to happen, done rite (er, right) with ceremony and great role playing by someone who truly cares and makes it special.

Ok, back to the game.. First off, if you want to be a victim and be bitten, you can do that, and its free, as well playing SecondLife is free too, but to play within the confines of the sim, you need to buy stuff. You don’t buy it from people, you buy it from Liquid Designs, they make the game and own the sim areas associated with the game.

Right, so logistically you want to be a Vampire or Blood Doll, then you buy the HUD, and the person that bit you (or someone else for that matter) drains your human blood (or percentage of humanity. 1L = 20% humanity). You then must bite that person back or use other means to fill yourself with 5L of royal Vampire blood.

Liquid Designs doesn’t want to be a pain in the arse, they want to make money. They do this quite well by selling useful add-ons to play the game and make it more fun. Like Korean company IJJI, there’s a benefit to buying stuff or appeal to hard core fans.

For one, biting people just isn’t the most efficient way to drain 5L of blood. You ever have a beer at oktoberfest? Those are 1 litre. Imagine drinking 5 of those within a short time. Hoo boy! In this sense, each bite is a sip of about .25 or so litres. Got time for 20 bites?

So there’s a more direct way, you can wear a cuff on your arm that has a intravenous tube conveniently machined into a spike which you may insert into a willing victim to speed up the process. ‘The Spike’, as it is so appropriately termed, can take up to 1L at a time for example, or a percentage of the person’s blood. If you’re a human, you can eat magic apples (14 lindens each) that restore the blood. If you are a Vampire, you can buy blood tanks or casks, empty or filled, depending on your needs to store or use blood. The spike, by the way, sells for 499 lindens (or about $2 USD).

If you’re not feeling like all the blood stuff, well, there’s other things you can do. You can mess with souls instead.

The second stated objective in the game is to gain rank or status as a vampire, and you do this by collecting souls. When you bite someone who becomes a vampire or otherwise buys the hud, you get 1 soul. You can also trade souls with other vampires, swap a soul for a soul, buy, collect, and sell them on some sort of adhoc Vampire market, that sort of thing. Here’s where a pyramid idea comes into play, but its really for vampiric fame if you so desire. Each time you bite someone and they become a Vampire and start biting people, they are one of your minions. As the protege excels in rank, so does the vampire that bit them. Who is cashing out on this? Not other vampires. Liquid Designs, in selling more games and items, is getting some good lindens for that, but the costs of setting up, running and maintaining multi-area sims is expensive in SecondLife. Go to secondlife.com and you’ll see.. anyway..

You can buy a nifty attachment to collect souls, called a Soul Reaper, it sells for 599 lindens. Not sure if it’s needed, but it glows and has spikes that extend out, so it looks cool wearing one on your other wrist. When you wear both a spike and a soul reaper, along with your fangs, well that just looks damn cool.

What else.. well let’s get back to the curse. As a Vampire let’s say you start with 5L of blood. Hopefully, best case scenario, you bite people regularly and don’t run out of blood. Otherwise, you must realize that you’re going to use .25l of blood per day. Do the math — in 20 days you are out of blood and even more cursed.. since your soul then goes to the Abyss and all your claimed souls go back to who knows where because of it.

Hemlock cures that, but it would cost you 249 lindens to rescue your sorry Vampire self — yes if you screw up then you need to pay to play. $1 for every 20 days you don’t play, thats way less than what you’d pay Blizzard to play World of Warcraft or Disney for Pirates of the Carribean Online MMORPG, but let’s get back to blood.

The third stated objective of the game is to gain blood wealth. Since your body can only hold 5L of blood at a time, you can store the rest in containers for later. You buy the casks, tanks, or bottles as you wish, either empty or full. Who knows where they get the blood to fill the pre-filled one, but I won’t go there πŸ™‚ You can but them in various sizes from a small take-away snack bottle to a 100L canister, depending on your need to amass it or your thrist for blood. Blood is power, he or she who holds the blood will be saught out by other vampires for feeding, blood doll or vamp as it were. You can even buy a siphon for exchanging blood between said tanks or vessels (399 linden).

Well, with all these vampires and humans and minions and what not, some sort of organized structure forms out of it (just like the families from Romania..) called clans. I happen to be in the #1 bloodlines vampire clan in Second Life, Crimson Republic, with over 2300 members. The very lovely Queen and Priestess who bit me, 6th degree Satoria Exonar, is about 70th position (bloodlines rank) player in the game but holds the #7 spot in societal status. That doesn’t fall into perspective until you realize there are over 12,000 people in clans who are ranked throughout the game, as well at least that many players with no clan affiliations at all. Here’s something else, our clan’s Queen, the beautiful avie named Jadebelgie Wylie, is the #2 bloodline status person, #2 in collected souls and #1 royalty and #1 societal status in the game overall. There is something to be said about having the right connections.

Leading the game is great, but not all the clans that are high ranking are good, and conversely in fact many smaller clans are quite good people and have wonderful regions setup for their members, take for example, 6th gen NINJA Ashdene, Impaler of the Nosferatu Dead, who has a complete castle, dungeon, club, arena, and one of the largest sims of fun vampire people in SecondLife. He opens the club to all vampires and other people. Crimson Republic has an area with clubs and stores and an arena and what not too, but it’s different, and I can’t gather which one holds more but they are both pretty cool.

But I digress…If you get tired of it all, you can throw in the towel. And, shucks, if you decide you just no longer want to be a Vampire and just want to be human again, Nightshade (for 249 lindens) does that, to the loss of all the souls you’ve collected and those of your minions (or people you have made vampires). So if you do that to you, you do it to others to some degree don’t you?

Well, if you just want to remain a vampire but transfer your soul to someone else, we have Electrum potion to do that, as long as they have something (well, another soul) to exchange 1:1 with whomever owns it. Since this costs 999 lindens, I wonder if it behooves you and said exchanger to just get soul reapers and forget the potion? Ok, this goes beyond my knowledge and I don’t want to make a easy game sound so complicated, there’s just a lot going on other than biting and annoying people or having vampire sex or whatever your passion is (sex is not a part of the game, by the way, there is nothing in it about that, just that goth people seem to be sensual creatures who enjoy adding that to the role play on their own).

Other fun stuff… the badge — if you want to show off your Vampire status to the world, you can get a wearable badge that does this. They cost 199 lindens.

If you don’t want to hunt, you can either buy blood, use a blood doll (or bite other willing vampires that give you blood), or get an amulet. Amulets protect you from the curse so you won’t lose blood for x amount of days. A 5-day amulet is 249 lindens, but there are others (progressively more expensive) up to the infinite protection amulet, most expensive of all. But then you’re not really cursed if you don’t lose blood ever. Then you just hunt for sport, I gather πŸ˜‰ Looking online I see some more pricing… 14 day protection for 499, 30 day protection for 999, infinite protection for 7999. I think thats the same price for a 100l tank full of blood, but maybe I am mistaken, they dont list everything clearly on the website.

So, I don’t know if that was a good or fair assesment of the sim, but there you have it. I have the support of a great clan who there is always someone on to give me answers or playful smart arse remarks when I ask something silly, and a Preistess who is always there for me in spite of her very busy schedule with this and other RP in SL, so I am lucky in that sense.

Where will I go with it? Now that I’ve gone and entered the game, where will it take my adventures? Sure there are other games within SL that have vampire themes, and they may cost less or more than this one, but this one seems to be the most well known for better or worse. Let’s total my expenses to date so you know how much I’ve spent over time since I began playing. It will give you a good idea of the investment required to really get into it:

599 – The Thirst (Bloodlines HUD)
599 – Soul Reaper
499 – Spike
249 – Wormwood Potion

70 – Apples (14 x5)

2016 lindens, or about $8 US.

Gosh, I spend more than that for lots of stuff without batting an eyelash. I haven’t even used my soul reaper yet, will I? I don’t know. I thought maybe I’d do that objective instead of blood, but now I wonder what I will do next. Maybe become a blood doll, that sounds funny.. a human blood donor for vampires.

Of course, one of my avatar characters is an alien elf looking guy, quite often in the vampire sim. What do aliens have to do wih vampirism? Hmm, anything is possible in SecondLife. There’s another sim along the alien lines that I should check out.. And I hear werewolves may be coming. When you have vamps, you usually have werewolves and zombies.. But now I am way off topic again..

My so-called (Second) Life

Some people know I am playing Pirates of the Carribean Online (aka POTCO), I have a character named Starlord (go figure) and yes another one. I am an officer in a guild (or group) of people who like to play it just a bit more than usual and it’s a fun role-playing (RP).. er, actually MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) whew what a mouthful.

Well, now I am getting into SecondLife, produced by Linden Labs here in San Francisco. It’s not a game per se, but there are games within it.

You can Role-Play whatever you like, you can be a prince or princess, an elf, a human, a dragon, a furry (subculture alert) cat or car or whatever you dream up.

There are sexual themes for the mature audiences (such as BDSM, strip clubs, etc.), and more kid-friendly themes for the teen audience (such as YuGiOh based avatars and objects, combat systems so you can run around pushing or fighting or what not as kids like to do) — oh, an Avatar (or avie) is what you choose to look like in the SecondLife world (aka SL, grid) — if you have more than one, then your others are called an Alt, as in, Alternate avatar.

Still with me?

I am going to do some follow-up posts but for now you can look for me in-world, I am likely one of few StarLord people and my profile links to my public blog. I tend to play SL more than POTCO now, whenever I get time from RL (Real Life) and not doing my car stuff, music, art, photography, and all the other cool spacey or Spiritual stuff that StarLords must do πŸ˜‰