Cica Ghost has opened another fantastically quirky build called “Dinosaurs and Coconuts”. As soon as you arrive the environment immediately makes you feel you’re somewhere surreal. Like her other builds the Shared Environment lighting is a significant part of the installation and sets the scene of somewhere dark but not menacing that needs to be explored.
When I heard the name it reminded me of a blog post featuring a dinosaur hunter that I made during Fantasy Faire last year, so I decided to expore the installation in the same outfit.
The Scifi Expo 2022 has applications open for Exhibitors(Merchants), Performers and Bloggers.
The SciFi Expo will run from 14th October to 23rd October, 2022 fundraising for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and The American Cancer Society.
The 2022 SciFi Expo: Voyage Through The Stars
Returning for a third year in a row, the SciFi Expo helps in bringing together scifi designers, roleplayers, performers, and supporters from all across the virtual world of Second Life®, to benefit Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and the American Cancer Society.
The journey continues! Voyage Through the Stars, on board of The Nexus, a mobile space station and one of the crowning jewels of the United Earth Council fleet, as it continues its journey of exploring the vast uncharted reaches of interstellar space.
You can read the full Press Release HERE for more information.
The RFL SciFi Con 14 event ran between 18th May to 29th May 2022. It was set over 9 sci-fi styled regions of different sub-genres, with shops and some entertainment events planned. Usual kind of thing for a SecondLife event, except unlike other events, the shops were mixed in among event and roleplay areas which made it less easy to navigate. I visited the event a few times, doing my usual routine of walking the regions as I do with Fantasy Faire and other location exploration. On one visit I came to the Death Row Designs (DRD) store and found it empty, very unusual for such a large merchant and region builder.
Shortly after that on the 29th May a group notice was sent out from the DRD Group inworld which read:
DRAMA ALERT (1st in 12 years) we packed up our stuff at scifi con.
we’ve had enough of the bad management and they also banned us from their discord, for sharing a song (?)
We will have rfl vendors out still at scarlett bay to support RFL .
In our 12 years of doing events, scificon… took the cake.
We’ll be back and lots of good events coming 🙂
Before continuing I want to clarify how the American Cancer Society (ACS) fits in here, as they are the benefiting charity. The ACS doesn’t organise the events, so they are in no way at fault here, if anything they are unfortunate victims. They entrust the running and organising of fundraising events to a Lead organiser and give them as much autonomy as possible. This allows organisers to create unique events as they see fit. Also it should be noted that the SciFi Con discussed is a completely separate RFL event to the “SciFi Expo” that happens at a different time of year.
Clearly something had gone very wrong here, what went wrong depends on who you ask though.
“No one knows where to go , lots of them didn't even know it was a rfl event , and many of them never got an invite to the group or any group for that matter” Jaimy Hancroft, DRD
“First of all, already in the beginning no one could even tell me about deadlines, set up or anything regarding that. When I finally found out we are allowed to set up the event already was open for 2 days!” Anon Merchant1
“There was a bit of lack in organization, no real timeline for us to know when actual deadlines were, I asked and got 3 different answers. The other thing was that at the beginning, me and many others got the wrong group so we were not able to get into the sims. It was my first time joining this event, I thought it would be similar to fantasy faire, but it really wasn't” Anon Merchant2
"The month the event started I became worried. I hadn't heard anything from the actual event organizers, had not been invited to an update/builders group or a discord. [...] The organizers of Sci-Fi Con had happily taken my money and placed my logo on a map to indicate that I was participating but never gave me information as to what I needed to provide, when or how.” ”Overall I felt like the only connection to Sci-Fi Con I had was through DRD. They were the only ones who supported me throughout the whole process. I have gained a great friendship with their team because of this and have since been working with them on other things for my other events.”
Femme Daddy, Store Owner
“Ripped mesh/IP theft regulations need to be enforced, not suggested. Unfortunately being part of an event will tank the trust/reputation of a creator, participant and the event as a whole if they're hanging out surrounded by ripped mesh. I did specifically request with staff at the time that I will not tolerate it whatsoever, however, I had to regulate it myself and my job should really just be building.” Walton Wainright, Region Builder
Behind the scenes at Sci-Fi Con there’s a lot of people who put in efforts. From Builders to con goers to Bloggers and Build Teams. I’m just a small portion of that. My Department is events. Like a few hic-ups in my department there are hic-ups everywhere. Each year the Sci-Fi Con runs it gets better and better! Fewer hic-ups and that’s from learning experiences. This year behind the scenes things got a bit heated between some of the teams, and we had to ask some individuals to leave. This resulted in the appearance of shops leaving early where as it was a partial sim build that was lifted on the second to last day.
Had we addressed the earlier problems as we should have things may not have escilated the way they did and the teams could have run smoothly together. In the end the head admins had to make a call and decide what was best for the Sci-Fi Con. Allow the drama to continue or focus on the con. They chose to focus on the last few days of the Con and all of us who have worked at the con to any degree support them.
This past year we saw a lot of miscommunication from everywhere. Everyone I’m sure did their best with what they were given, from our builders to the top of the con. One of the things people tend to forget is we all have real lives too and with this con being held right after the covid lock down. It was a lot of juggling. People have real life work, families and some of us are available 24/7.
Having said that, we can’t change the past. What we can do is change how we do things and look for ways to improve communication all over the board. Next year is our 15 year anniversary and from the lessons we learned this year we’re sure to come back with a bang. We’re changing how we do things and how we look at each department there will be more transparency. We’re hoping this will open all lines of communication between everyone and make it run smoother.
Last minute addition: The Organiser Statement words above were the comments recived from Pixi (Destimona Resident) which I believed to be the official statement while writing this. However right before publishing she told me there apparently was another official statement by Milena, which got passed to someone called Zorina, who is a member of the Senior Management, but never passed it onto me.
I’ve been trying to piece this together for over a month now and it sounds like it was quite a mess. The reason it’s taken so long is two-fold.
First I had a meeting with the Director of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and some of his colleagues on the 10th of June. I agreed during this meeting that I would give them time to do their own investigations into it and that I would share with them whatever I found.
Secondly I couldn’t get any of the organisers of Sci-Con to respond to my requests for their side of the story.
So I started asking questions, firstly from Jaimy Hancroft the owner of Death Row Designs (DRD), she had plenty to say on the matter and not much reflected well on the organisers. I proceeded to ask some other store owners, a region builder and even a staff volunteer who was willing to talk to me, for their comments. They all told the same story of bad management and mis-communication. So far without comment from the organisers, the evidence was looking pretty damning and they weren’t defending their actions.
Fast forward to the 8th of July and the Con staff held a public meeting that I attended. This too didn’t paint them in a great light either, the senior admins had decided amongst themselves to form a Council and remove the Lead organiser, Kirk Wingtips. They sprung this on him at the meeting. I was pretty sure the ACS wouldn’t let them throw Kirk “under the bus” as someone described it at the meeting.
My local chat log from the meeting went to the ACS and I was told they’d be having their meeting with the organisers “next week” (being 11-15th July). On the 16th I enquired of the ACS and one of the organisers, Pixi, how the meeting had gone.
Both said it had gone well and they would be moving forward to run another convention next year, using the management model of the Council proposed, with Kirk as a member and the face of the event. While this is a good thing from a fundraising perspective and for the organisers I was a little surprised. But as mentioned at the beginning the ACS don’t organise the events they’re just the benefiting charity.
Then *finally* I received the statement in a notecard from Pixi that you can see in the table above. It stated that some individuals (meaning DRD without saying it) “had been asked to leave” although the actual wording used wasn’t that polite apparently.
However it didn’t change the fact that three other stores, a respected region builder and a staff member told the same story of appalling communication and lack of organisation at the event. The drama surrounding DRD departing was what had got my attention, but once I started asking questions,it became evident there was much more to it. The second part of the statement from Pixi covers this, talking about people having real-world commitments but really that doesn’t stand up, other events still manage and work around these, but at least there was admission that there were mistakes made. But frankly this statement was too little too late.They had been worried about me making them look bad it seems, but they really didn’t need my help for that, if you read the logs linked at the bottom of the page.
One of the biggest issues though with this being a fundraising event was a complete lack of promotion, publicity and advertising. The way you normally do this in Second Life is bloggers. They are Media of the Metaverse. You put out a call for bloggers a month or so in advance and when your event starts, they’ll tell everyone about it for you. There was none of this for SciFi Con except a valiant effort by a store owner to get the word out using their own bloggers, but really it was too late by then.
So what happens going forward? From what I see they have a lot of work to do. First formalising their Council, assigning roles and basically creating an event management team from scratch with shared access to the various required accounts to allow transparency. But while it’s a different management structure for the decision making processes,are they just wallpapering over cracks? I’m sure there are some great people with good intentions here, but as Pixi said in her statement “there was a lot of juggling”, I think several departments dropped their metaphorical ball this year. Hopefully next year they’ll hold onto them better for their 15th anniversary.
I admire the ACS for giving these folks another chance, but what charity is going to turn down donations? After all, the Con did raise over 4 Million Linden Dollars,equating to $16,494USD for the ACS.
Below I’ve linked copies of the conversations I had and comments I received. Some have been anonymised on request to protect the stores respective brands, consent was obtained from all those quoted. I’d recommend reading them so you can form your own opinion.
I’ve tried not to make this piece about the drama, the issue is more about the overall poor organisation of the event. However when I’ve heard about the financial difficulty this has put DRD in and SciFi Con community members advocating not shopping at DRD, I think that really is wrong. I gather some of Jaimy’s associates may have made uncomplimentary remarks (which no-one is sharing so I can’t comment on that), but that’s not on her. Jaimy dropped lots of other events to try and make the Con great, bringing lots of merchants to the event. Even Pixi agreed Jaimy deserves an apology, she lost nearly half a year’s worth of store income having started preparing in January and banking on the Con being as great as it could have been. I have a lot more of Jaimys story I could have told, but have left it out, out of respect to her, since she’s done with all of it. Perhaps I shouldn’t have waited for the organisers and the ACS to get around to their meeting (five weeks later is an eternity in SL), but I felt it was the fair thing to do.
Ava logged into her AMZ terminal and brings up the Thor Mining Corp business account details. The hideous statue was likely made somewhere on Mars, it was too big to ship cheaply, but any suspect tech that might be inside it would have to be imported. In which case there would be a trace here.
While AMZ had a policy of shipping anything without the customer having to declare its contents, corporate customers were encouraged to optionally give a vague indication of what’s inside for safety purposes.
The Thor shipping history had a mixture of detail on the descriptions, evidently depending on which member of staff placed the order. One item caught her eye “portable radio” vague but possibly what she was looking for. Opening the shipping order details she sees it was shipped in one of their largest shipping drones, which suggested either a very large radio, or a large number of small ones.
A few minutes of scrolling and she finds an order placed for several off the shelf, AMZ branded antennas. Presumably someone was trying to save money somewhere, but leaving a trail in the process. The dates all match pretty well, the statues clearly are transmitting something, but what and why? You don’t buy a load of 2 metre long antennas just to listen to the local hobby radio station.
She knew exactly what was called for and started browsing the Industrial section of the AMZ Hardware catalogue. Hopefully the Faraday cage parts wouldn’t take too long to arrive,it’ll protect the residents from the statues transmissions and also protect the Thor statue from the residents, which should please that idiot Bart from Thor.
Out of curiosity at the thought of Bart she pulls up the list of Thor employees personal AMZ accounts to see if there was anything interesting there. On his repeat orders she finds Luxury Quilted toilet paper, the amount of precious resources used to produce that stuff, he really doesn’t deserve it. A couple of clicks and a product search later, the order reads “Budget TP”, another account search and order modification and the Hellas bar would be getting something much softer to wipe with.
Continuing my SciFi Cyberpunk roleplay set on Mars. A large statue has been placed in the middle of the Mars crater town. The residents are not at all pleased with it’s arrival.
[13:48:24] Ava: That's one damn ugly statue out there
[13:49:52] Jadz wiping the counter. "Understatement of the century. Hate that thing. Ready to see it topple but you didn't hear that from me!"
[13:52:13] Ava: How'd they even get that hideous thing here?
[13:54:51] Jadz standing up tall. "I'm not sure where it was manufactured -- probably some factory just churning them out and putting htem in every small town across Mars. I was out there when they dropped it with the crane though -- and flooded the floor with pamphlets extolling the virtures of our Founding Fathers and talking of Martian unification and solidary blah blah blah. I just want a house that isn't a shipping container and to not have to take cold showers anymore. Is that too much to ask? Fuck that statue."
[13:58:32] Ava nods "Maybe it needs to be distributed, in pieces
[13:59:41] Ava: would have to be careful not to damage peoples property around it though
[14:00:27] Ava: what's the betting it's bugged or something?
[14:02:55] Jadz tilts her head. "It does have that big old pair of glowing VR glasses -- nod to vintage colonialism. Gross. But wouldn't surprise me if that had some spyware in it, you're absolutely right. I hadn't thought of that. A trojan horse."
[14:07:50] Ava taps her eye gadget "Maybe I'll give it a once over and see if my tech can find out anything"
[14:08:25] Ava: Being company made I might be able to hack it
[14:09:08] Ava coughs "analyze"
[14:10:17] Jadz holds her hands up innocently. "Mums the word. I'd really like to know. I do find the whole thing odd and the timing to be weird."
[14:14:01] Ava: It's not like they don't monitor enough of everything
[14:15:08] Jadz leaning over and whispering. "But you may want to be careful with what you do out there. I have seen some of the security guards being a little extra hard on folks trying to deface it. Someone got a pretty vicious head stomp two days ago. Whatever the reason, Thor seems to want to make sure it's well guarded."
[14:16:40] Ava: I'll have to check on the company feeds and see if anyone knows anything else too
[14:17:02] Doc walks in as he sits at the bar he drp[s a data disk on the bar as looks up as says " Whiskey please
[14:19:33] Ava looks over at the guy entering "Hi" and turns back to Jadz "I reckon there's defitely some tech in it"
[14:20:52] Bart enters the bar, scowling, pacing behind the chairs and looking over the patrons. "Any one of your mutts know who took a shit on the statue outside. Was it you blondy?" He flicks her nose towards her, and lifts his utility belt up high.
[14:22:03] Jadz gets quiet when Bart enters and just fills the glass for Doc, handing it over the bar and hoping Ava decides to quit her planning. "Haven't seen anyone claiming to have defecated on the statue outside Bart, no. Thanks for asking."
[14:24:40] Doc he picks up the glass as he sips it . Then Looks top Bart as says in a raspy voice " Maybe it was a bird. Hell even one those vacationers coming threw" He shrugs
[14:24:42] Ava glances over her shoulder as two others enter the bar and addreses the one that apparently called her Blondie "Why would I do that?"
[14:25:52] Ava notices Jadz reaction to the guys arrival
[14:30:40] Ava notes the guys beret and vaguely military equipment belt "You planning on cleanig it then?"
[14:31:11] Bart would lean close to Ava's back, sniffing at her hair, whispering aggressively. "I saw you out there looking at e statue for quite a while. So why don't YOU tell me why you decided to ruin Thor Property, little missy, huh" He almost looks like he's going to bite her face.
[14:32:46] Jadz points at Red like that was a good solution. "Right, probably just a big bird. Get a hose and spray it down Bart.. Not a big deal ... now can I get you a drink for the road?"
[14:34:18] Ava refrains from responding to the guys tants..for now
[14:35:01] Ava turns to jadz "yeah, give him a drink, something really strong, to freshen his breath
[14:36:14] Doc as he hears barts reply he laughs hard trying not to fall off his chair as says " Come on leave the girl alone . You want to know why was looking at it so long. Come on she was wondering if that how men where build here on mars . And if so she was not getting lucky ." he laughs even harder
[14:36:55] Bart would attempt to throw a flat palm into Ava's back, abrupt and sharp and overly rude. "Hey blonde bitch, I asked you a question."
[14:37:52] Jadz would drop a glass and hear it shatter on the ground when she heard Bart starting to get violent.
[14:40:19] Ava leans on the bar her crossed arm having prevented the bar higging her in the belly hard and turns her head "Really?"
[14:41:27] Bart would stand up tall, bobbing left and right, snarling. He obviously was getting satisfication out of fucking with Ava and feeling invincible.
[14:46:29] Ava turns slowly and lets the man acting like a gorilla see her properly, the black and yellow should really be a clue "take a look, what do you see?" doesn't wait for a response before contiuing " An AMZ uniform, you know the AMZ that ship a your shit to and from Mars. Being a corpo you should be well aware of the political and corporate shit you'll end up in by messing with me?"
[14:47:47] Kom'rk (Rorschach0369): ((That was good))
[14:48:03] Ava: You think you're untouchable because of *your* corporate affiliation? So am I for the same reason.
[14:48:51] Ava reaches to pinchs the guys cheak like a little child "now be a good boy and have a peaceful drink"
[14:49:11] Jadz would start to sweep up the glass, keeping an eye on the situation...
[14:50:14] Doc he finishes his shodleuy as he sits his glass down he rolls his eyes and shakes his head
[14:51:18] Bart would swat at Ava's hand, not allowing the patronizing tone, but after seeing the logo would change his demeanor towards her slightly. Narrowing his eyes. "My mistake." You can tell he hates saying it. "Just doing my job -- us white collars have to ask the tough questions." He visibly disturbed that he has to quit his line of harassment.
[14:52:38] Ava just turns her attention back to her drink
[14:56:54] Doc he crosses his arms and watches
[14:57:07] Bart would reach around Ava and grabs for her drink from her hand. He was obviously a bit impulsive and a sore loser. "Still doesn't explain what you were doing out there." If he can take the glass, he makes a freshing 'ahhh' sound as he finishes it up. "you may be AMZ, but this is a Thor company town. I've got jurisdiction ...."
[15:00:03] Ava nudges the guys arm with her elbow as she turns around again, making the drink spill "Oops..how clumsy. You really want to play the juristiction game?"
[15:01:32] Ava glances over at Doc and rolls her eyes
[15:03:23] Jadz watches as the room suddenly fills with Thor security personnel.
[15:05:26] Bart looks up as a second in command brings in a small troop and notifies Bart that they've found the rogue pooper and have him detained. Bart cracks his knuckles and nods along, listening to everything in his ear, but not taking his eyes off Ava. "Well looks like this time you got lucky and I didn't catch you in the act Blondy... but you better believe that Thor's got their eye on you." he backs up out the door with the rest of the guards, continuing to stare her down.
[15:06:07] Doc He shakes his head as think all these guys for one girl he says " Dam did not know there was a Mall here in South Hellas never seen so many renta a cops before . Or Boy Scouts all those guy for one girl a sad day in mars history"
[15:08:56] Ava taps a couple of buttons on her wrist as the goons arrive "you see gentlemen..one of the things about being an AMZ employee is that you get snooped on even more than our customers"..taps another button and a an electronic voice reports *transmission sent*
[15:10:08] Ava watches the goons leave
[15:10:33] Bart steps out the door with the rest of his crew. "Well I look forward to doing more business to business negotiation." Bart makes his fingers into a 'V' shape and holds it up to his mouth, sticking his tongue through in the age old gesture of cunnilingus. The door slams shut and they vanish
[15:13:22] Ava looks at jadz "I wasn't joking, about being monitored can be real handy sometimes "I just submitted that little chat back to head office, complete with video from my eyepeice. He can bring it on, each threat will just stack up evidence against him"
[15:16:42] Ava takes a beer out of the box on the bar and swigs it
[15:17:10] Jadz would finish cleaning up the shards, and drumping them into a wastebin. Wiping sweat off her forehead. "You think something will get done about that? God I would really like to see Bart go... he makes me start sweating and I just shut down whenever I have to deal with him. What. An. asshole."
[15:17:11] Ava: "Why do goons always have such bad breath? Is it a cloning defect or somethig?"
[15:19:32] Jadz would set out free drinks for both Doc and Ava. "Thanks for not escalating the situation, either of you. You're so right Doc Red -- why do they have so many security guards running around. It's not like the actually make the place any safer."
[15:19:35] Ava: You misunderstand, if he causes sufficient, I can shut off their deliveries, could make life *real* awkward without confrontation
[15:21:17] Ava: You remember that dodgy crate I turned up with Jadz, all that time ago jadz? You think they'd send a green delivery person to drop that off?
[15:23:08] Ava looks over at doc to clarify "It was a package with top of the range anti-tamper tech built in and they supplied me with an emergency survival capsule with it, so the contents can't have been pleasant"
[15:24:48] Jadz nods. "I do remember that. Whatever came of it?" She keeps checking the door, obviously experiencing some PTSD from the encounter. "If they cut off supplies here -- wont' that impact the rest of the colony? I'm gonna have to find some alternate sources and ..." she groans a little.
[15:25:50] Ava: The *Thor* supplies jadz, don't fret
[15:27:58] Ava: The box? Oh after you used it to electrocute that troublesome gang leader, I just put back in my place, inside the nuke-safe capsule
[15:29:20] Ava looks at jadz .."Oh..that's an idea..."
[15:29:33] Jadz puts her hand across her throat and tries to get Ava to shush about the whole electrocution thing in front of the guy she's kinda dating.
[15:29:48] Ava promptly stops talking and swigs her beer
[15:30:05] Doc he nods as he sips his drink as says " Well i tried but he completely ignored me" He shrugs then replies " That maybe be true but there are other routes to gain information.
[15:30:38] Ava notices Jadz's discomfort and can't stop herself from laughing
[15:32:09] Jadz looks at Doc. "Yes, I know. I was joking about the esclation thing -- because they *really* hate when you call them Mall cops. I am so glad he didn't hear you... wouldn't want something bad to happen." She pats his hand tenderly.
[15:32:23] Jadz looking over at Ava, still gripping Doc's hand. "What's an idea, Ava?"
[15:33:59] Ava looks from one to the other "sure you wanna hear this?"
[15:34:29] Ava: Wouldn't want to cause trouble
[15:35:19] Ava: We give Bart the box
[15:35:28] Doc he nods as he looks at Jadz as says " I know but it my bature i am sorry" he then nods to Ava as he listens
[15:36:10] Doc: nature
[15:39:56] ViçṮФЯiâ RФşє (0VickyRose0): smiles siting quietly at the bar
[15:40:26] Ava switches into a tone that's like a mock sales pitch in case anyone was listening "You see the shipping crate I mentioned is AMZ's top of the range in anti-tamper tech. It has a handprint scanner on the top, if the same palm, that isn't the intended recipient, touches it touches it twice in a row the defence mechanisms kick in, which includes sending a very large..terminal..shock into said palm and releasing gas that will knock out anyone else in the room, or about 5 metres radius.
[15:40:45] Ava swigs her bear
[15:41:48] Ava: We never found out who's palm would open it..
[15:43:13] Doc: "hey Vic" He looks back to Ava as says " Yes seem very tough to crack . But in all honesty there not a system around that can not be hacked. Just plaining on getting the job done and getting the information to do so"
[15:44:23] Ava: I was just thinking of letting him to try to open it and be done with it
[15:44:44] Ava: Hey vic
[15:45:46] Ava: Sure at some point people will try to hack AMZ systems, it's inevitable, but not in anyones interest
[15:46:26] Jadz hmmms. "But how do we convince him he should take a peek and also get him to do it in a place where there won't be innocent bystanders?"
[15:48:46] Ava: We don't care who our clients are or what we ship, so long as htey pay. So it's as much as in the criminal worlds interest to keep amz in business
[15:49:12] Ava: We can work on that jadz, just putting it out there
[15:50:10] Doc: "Well if i where to guess . slap two stamps pn the side of the box .One says top secret. The other maybe one their competitors seals . Usually cautious over comes folks"
[15:52:44] Ava: Well Jadz, you know where the box is now, and I've no doubt you memorised the access code to my pod, so what you decide to do now, is upto you..
[15:53:26] ViçṮФЯiâ: oh jadz i finished the sample of 4 grams of my weed
[15:53:50] ViçṮФЯiâ: i put it in theback room on the card table
[15:54:35] Jadz points at herself. "Me Ava? Oh that doesn't seem like my business. But ... maybe you can recruit someone a little more daring. I certainly wouldn't be sad to see that shithead go."
This weekend has been the finale weekend of the Relay For Life “Relay Season”, raising money for the American Cancer Society through events in Second Life.
The events schedule technically started in February but I didn’t get involved until Fantasy Faire in April. Since then I’ve paid a visit to the SciFi Con event an after-con-party, followed by the opening (and closing) ceremonies of this weekends events.
The main focus this weekend was the 24 hour relay around a track in SL. Sounds simple, right? When the track is the virtual equivalent of 9.2 Kilometres or 5.2 Miles, it’s definitely not so simple. There were relay teams (138) doing this as well as individuals, who could choose to record their laps completed. This year there were 1185 avatars doing so.
Together they completed 5413 laps of the track. That all adds up to a whopping total of 49882.153Km or 30995 Miles covered! (I was going to say walked/ran, but this is Second Life there were all kinds of weird and wonderful non-human avatars relaying too, which involved flying or other forms of locomotion.)
It’s not like any other relay race you might come across in the real world though. Certainly you get rest stops along the way, but on the RFL Relay track there are themed locations or “campsites”, all the way around the track. This is just a small glimpse of some of the fantastic locations that have been built.
The regions are going to be there until Thursday 23rd June, so you have plenty of time to go explore for yourself.
Try starting HERE it’s a part of the track in front of where the ceremonies were held.
This time around we’re in the Wild West at a place called Wind River and it looks great.
Travel back in time to the era of gunslingers and saloon girls, of massive migration and settlement. The Old West comes to life at Wind River, a photogenic backwater town at the end of the 19th century.
You arrive in a high-walled canyon that leads you through to the main street of the town.
As you walk through town you can see there are all the usual establishments you would expect to find in a frontier town, Sheriffs office, Saloon, Undertakers, General store among others. Also on the edge of town there is of course a Church with obligatory graveyard.
A lovely setting to come explore, maybe play at Cowgirl or Cowboy if you fancy but do read the notecard you receive when you arrive regarding private areas above ground level.
Last night I attended an introduction to Roleplay at Ancient Order of Centaurs (AoC). I’ve written about this place before, most recently covering a couple of their Fantasy Faire events.
This intro was about the type of RP they do there, both formal and informal, along with an introduction to their roleplay HUD based on the Unity system.
They have lots of different races at AoC, but mostly all are variant of “taur” which is usually a mix of human upper body and animal lower body.
We had a chat to begin with about who had what kind of roleplay exerience as well as about the different races and houses that you can be a part of at Centauria. Next we were taken to collect AoC Roleplay HUDs, based on the Unity Maxim system.
If you can just about read the text above my avatars head, I chose for now to be Merchant Class, but we shall see if a story develops along that line or not, but it’s easily changed.
The system allows the use of items and currency that we can exchange and use in Roleplay, this is currenty what I have after yesterdays induction:
Every year the Faire features a Quest. This is usually part treasure hunt, part mystery, part puzzle and of course a lot of fun. (with a bit of head-scratching frustration along the way.)
This year I actually completed it, for the first time. Now I’m sure there were plenty of people that didn’t try it, so for those that didn’t; I did it a Second time so I could take pictures to show you all. I know there’s lots of pictures floating around of the treasure chamber, but there’s a lot more to the Quest than that.
The first task is to find “Cheeky” at the entrance to the Clouded Mountains.
After a quick chat it’s off to see the Bard Queen
Her task for us it to track down a number of animal residents of the Clouded Mountains that have come down into the Fairelands. There were three in each participating region of the Faire and which one would respond positively to a particular avatar was somewhat random.
[12:06:46] forest cat: "So the Bard Queen sent you?" A guarded smile crosses the forest cat's face. "Well then, perhaps I can trust you. I've heard good things about her."
[12:07:06] forest cat: "Nicely done," the forest cat says. "So now I'm going to rely on you. Please deliver this to the Clouded Mountains."
[12:07:07] The Dreaming Cat HUD: The forest cat has given you: Alembic of Zosimos
[12:07:11] forest cat: This tool I'm giving you — it has to get back to the Clouded Mountains, to our wisest alchemists. They sent some of us out to find these special tools for them, the best in all the many realms. They didn't tell us why, only that it was very important. But when I tried to get back home, there were these… I don't know… war creatures? They were huge, and cruel — they shot at me! They were all around the mountains. I couldn't get through. So I have to depend on you. You look strong enough to get past them. You'll help me, I know.
[12:16:22] gray fox: The gray fox looks at you suspiciously. "Did you say something to me?"
[12:16:31] gray fox: A smile crosses the gray fox's face. "Looks like you're my best chance to get this home. Treat it carefully!"
[12:21:14] cat: "8,347…8,348…8,349... what? Oh, now you’ve made me lose count! Go bother somebody else!" The cat sighs. "1…2…3…"
Some of the animals were rather unhelpful, so there’s a Hint button on the HUD to help you find the other animals from the Clouded Montains in that region.
[12:23:24] The Dreaming Cat HUD:
1. Making a bed in a wagon bed.
2. Under the willow, checking out the horses.
3. Ahh... a cool drink on a dusty day.
[12:24:45] stoat: The stoat regards you coolly. "I might need some help but how do I know you're the right person?"
[12:25:16] stoat: The stoat sighs. "Nice to find a friend so far from home. I can't get back there, but you must, and carry this with you."
[12:25:16] The Dreaming Cat HUD: The stoat has given you: Lutum made of clay from the banks of the River of Eternity
[12:28:05] stoat: The stoat looks hopeful. "I could really use some help, if you're truly a friend."
[12:28:17] stoat: The stoat looks resolved. "Thanks for that. Now take this to the alchemists at home for me — you musn't fail."
[12:28:17] The Dreaming Cat HUD: The stoat has given you: Copper-forged Kerotakis
[12:31:49] rabbit: "You've come all this way to help me?" The rabbit pauses. "That says a lot."
[12:31:57] rabbit: "Thank you," the rabbit says. "I think I can trust you now. They're waiting for this tool at home, take it and good luck."
[12:31:57] The Dreaming Cat HUD: The rabbit has given you: Bronze-bound Tribikos
[12:32:02] rabbit: I'm going to trust you to carry this tool back to the Clouded Mountains — they say it's vital for something or other. I tried to get home with it but there were barricades everywhere, and very unpleasant outlanders waving big weapons around. Oh, it's some kerfuffle or other, no doubt, but it shouldn't affect us folk in the mountains. Surely the Dreaming Cat will prevent any serious harm. He's always looking out for us — kept us safe for years now, and will for years to come, I'd bet my left foot. But for now, you're an outlander, you'll be able to get through. When you get to the mountains, just tell them Bengen sent you.
12:40:35] red panda: "You've come all this way to help me?" The red panda pauses. "That says a lot."
[12:40:40] red panda: Do you have anything else to offer?
[12:40:43] red panda: Sorry, that’s not my sort of thing.
[12:40:46] red panda: The red panda's expression changes. "Maybe you're alright after all."
[12:40:46] The Dreaming Cat HUD: The red panda has given you: Balneum of Maria Prophetissima.
12:46:22] duck: "So the Bard Queen sent you?" A guarded smile crosses the duck's face. "Well then, perhaps I can trust you. I've heard good things about her."
[12:46:33] duck: The duck looks hopeful. "I am going to trust you — lives are on the line."
[12:46:33] The Dreaming Cat HUD: The duck has given you: Firesilk Bellows
[12:48:29] The Dreaming Cat HUD: You feel a nibble. A small sea creature peers at you.
"The Bard Queen asked me to keep an eye out in case you ventured to this realm.
It's beautiful, but none of the mountain residents have come here."
[12:52:19] flamingo: The flamingo regards you coolly. "I might need some help but how do I know you're the right person?"
12:52:52] flamingo: A wave of longing passes over the flamingo. "That reminds me so much of home. So… you'll take this there for me?"
[12:57:35] barn owl: The barn owl looks hopeful. "I could really use some help, if you're truly a friend."
[12:57:48] barn owl: The barn owl looks resolved. "Thanks for that. Now take this to the alchemists at home for me — you musn't fail."
[12:57:49] The Dreaming Cat HUD: The barn owl has given you: Avicenna’s Tongs
The Hint messages also helpfully told you if none of the animals were in the region.
[13:00:28] The Dreaming Cat HUD: You feel a nibble. A small sea creature peers at you.
"The Bard Queen asked me to keep an eye out in case you ventured to this realm.
It's beautiful, but none of the mountain residents have come here."
[13:03:20] red panda: The red panda looks at you suspiciously. "Did you say something to me?"
[13:03:24] red panda: Thank you, that’s very kind, but I’m not really in the mood right now.
[13:03:28] red panda: The red panda looks hopeful. "I am going to trust you — lives are on the line."
[13:03:32] red panda: I tried my best to get past those cursed outlanders. I can be very quiet and sly when I want to — just look at me, you can see that, right? But I couldn't do it. I think it was because this tool was rattling around and making noise. Yes, that had to be it. Anyway, I'm going to rely on you to deliver it. Take it to the alchemists of the Clouded Mountains, it's important to them, and maybe now I can see why. Something dangerous is going on, clearly. But I'll bet those big brave outlanders haven't reckoned on getting past the Dreaming Cat. I can hardly wait to see them try!
[13:48:30] raccoon: The raccoon looks hopeful. "I could really use some help, if you're truly a friend."
[13:48:36] raccoon: "Thank you," the raccoon says. "I think I can trust you now. They're waiting for this tool at home, take it and good luck."
[13:25:40] flamingo: The flamingo looks at you suspiciously. "Did you say something to me?"
[13:25:44] flamingo: "Nicely done," the flamingo says. "So now I'm going to rely on you. Please deliver this to the Clouded Mountains."
[13:31:12] black rabbit: "You've come all this way to help me?" The black rabbit pauses. "That says a lot."
[13:31:21] black rabbit: A wave of longing passes over the black rabbit. "That reminds me so much of home. So… you'll take this there for me?"
[13:31:21] The Dreaming Cat HUD: The black rabbit has given you: Scales of Siddhar Tamil
[13:36:18] red panda: "So the Bard Queen sent you?" A guarded smile crosses the red panda's face. "Well then, perhaps I can trust you. I've heard good things about her."
[13:36:26] red panda: The red panda sighs. "Nice to find a friend so far from home. I can't get back there, but you must, and carry this with you."
[13:36:26] The Dreaming Cat HUD: The red panda has given you: Thaumaturgic Fuel
[13:45:20] forest cat: The forest cat regards you coolly. "I might need some help but how do I know you're the right person?"
[13:45:44] forest cat: The forest cat looks resolved. "Thanks for that. Now take this to the alchemists at home for me — you musn't fail."
[13:45:44] The Dreaming Cat HUD: The forest cat has given you: Eversweet Bees
Once you visited all the regions and collected their goodies, it was time to go see the Bard Queen again.
Our next task was to return all the tools and items that the animals had given us to three alchemists in the Clouded Mountains.
[13:56:07] Ortolanus: Greetings, Outlander, I am Ortolanus. I sent our countryfolk to the outside realms to find the tools I need. I will take from you the Alembic of Zosimos, the Cucurbit of Wei Boyang, some Lutum made of clay from the banks of the River of Eternity, the Copper-forged Kerotakis, and the Bronze-bound Tribikos. They are the finest tools of their kind. With them, I can begin to distill the potions and substances needed to heal the damage already caused to our country and its folk.
[13:56:19] Ortolanus: By now, you understand that our land is under siege. But our situation has become even more dire. The evil forces that surround us have done what we thought could never be done. They have found a way to harm the Dreaming Cat — they have poisoned his Well of Dreams. And now the Cat is lost in his dream, it is all darkness and terror, and he can no longer find his way. His power is drained and will drain further still. If that happens, the evil ones will drown our mountains in fire. Each creature here will die, and all our work will be lost.
[13:56:31] Ortolanus: Please, it is vital that you take the remaining tools to the other alchemists who need them. In parting, this is the deepest wisdom I can provide. It is an ancient alchemical precept; you will find it applies to things you may not expect:
"One becomes two, two becomes three, and out of the third comes the one as the fourth."
Go now with all speed, Outlander, and thank you.
[14:00:13] Valmiki: Thank you, Outlander. My name is Valmiki. I see my countryfolk chose well when they selected you to bring these tools to us. I will take from you the Balneum of Maria Prophetissima, the Lead-crystal Beaker, the Flask of Agathodaemon, Ibn Umayl’s Retort, and a hive of Eversweet Bees. They are all the finest of their kind. With them, I can transmute elemental substances to try to protect and defend our land and citizens.
[14:00:25] Valmiki: My work is crucial, because our great protector, the Dreaming Cat, cannot come to our aid now. His dream is poisoned and he has lost his way. If this continues, his loss will be permanent, and a great disaster will befall us. Word has reached us that our enemy — whom we have never harmed — will set fire to our forest and destroy us all. We cannot understand such anger and hatred. We understand only that it may well be our fate if the Cat cannot be restored.
[14:00:37] Valmiki: Now, please take the remaining tools to our wisest alchemist, Theosebeia. She is waiting to see you. I will leave you with this ancient knowledge, the wisest I can provide. You may find it useful:
"Join a thing with its opposite, and you will find what is sought."
Cat's blessing on you, Outlander. Go well.
14:04:14] Cheeky: This looks familiar — the alchemist's place is around here somewhere. I know because it's not far from some fantastic berry bushes.
[14:05:00] Theosebeia: Thank you, Outlander. I am Theosebia, the eldest of our land's alchemists. I will take from you the Crucible of Salamandria, the Firesilk Bellows, Avicenna’s Tongs, the Scales of Siddhar Tamil, and the Thaumaturgic Fuel. They are the finest tools of their kind. With them, I can begin to refine the metals and materials to protect and defend our land and citizens.
[14:05:12] Theosebeia: We in the mountains are not used to relying on outsiders for our needs — but we have come to that point now. You see, although we understand what has happened to the Dreaming Cat, we cannot help him. We are of this realm; if we try to enter the Cat's dream, we too would be lost.
[14:05:24] Theosebeia: So while it is true that we need these tools you brought, the real reason we sent our fellows to the outside world was to find an outlander with the strength and determination to enter the dream and save our land.
We sent them to find you.
And you have come. As an outlander, you can go into the Cat's dream and survive. You can purify the Well, so the Cat can regain his power. If you would be our hero and our friend, you alone can prevent our absolute ruin.
Theosebeia: To be that hero — to accept the task — go to the west of our realm and find a cluster of three huts beside a rocky beach, at the foot of a waterfall. Follow the coast to the north, and look for a stone arch. That is the entrance you seek. This potion will allow you entry.
Theosebeia: Good luck, friend, go speedily and well!
The Cats Dream..
This was a dark space that you had to navigate by a lot of blundering into walls and none of the usual tricks of showing transparent items gave you any clues.
The Well Room
Tempting…. but we had a puzzle or two to solve before we can proceed!
[14:15:56] The Well of Dreams--: Cheeky's whiskers twitch. "Remember what the alchemist said? 'Join a thing with its opposite, and you will find what is sought?' Hmm, I wonder...."
Clicking two symbols that were mirrors of each other at different points around the circle of stone pillars made a triangle linking some together. Also a fireball appeared next to each stone.
14:21:25] The Well of Dreams--: Cheeky's paw pats your shoulder. "Well done! Now, what did that other alchemist say? Something about one becomes two?"
Looking at the ring of fireballs from above, you could see that some had one on the opposite side of the circle, others did not. So I clicked each fireball that had an opposite one, they turned purple as I did (if you clicked the wrong ones, they just all went orange again).
When I clicked the remaining orange fires as well..that was it!
The Well became purified and I was teleported to a corridor leading to the treasure chamber of the Dreaming Cat.
Also about then you would have received a few inventory offers…enough that they become scrollable across the width of the screen!
Thankyou to all those that contributed to the creation of this years Quest, it was a lovely story and lots of fun and to those that donated prizes too.
Tonight the Fairelands faded into the mysts for anoter year. There is a tradition I’ve only just become aware of, which is Creators, Worldbuilders and other Backstage folks gather on Fairelands Junction to watch the Fairelands fade (when Linden Lab switch the Regions off).
This Backstage group also includes the Chroniclers so I decided I had to stay to the very end.