One of the great things about Second Life is that, by its very nature, it is a fabulous place to explore the wide array of locations, themes, and genres within the Roleplay culture. Whether you are new to RP, or a seasoned player looking to change up your game, we invite you to visit our friends in the various RP communities found within SL.
FHG: Ravenhurst is owned by Tabbie Blackthorne, Taibah Takahe, and Sho Flanagan. How did each of you come into RP, and what drew you to create Ravenhurst?
Hmm.. thats a big question! We all met in 2007 in a sim called Eternally Damned, run by Silken Wilder. We really came from different backgrounds within SL, but we all had Roleplay in common. We formed a very large roleplay faction initially and transitioned this faction across a few different sims primarily in the medieval period before deciding that it was time to open our own sim. Ravenhurst opened in early 2008 and we haven’t really looked back since that point.
We are a little bit of a conundrum within the RP community as we change up our sim every year to two years. We enjoy the change and the opportunity to revisit landscape and design, although there is a fair amount of work that goes into preparing and rolling out what is essentially a new Roleplay sim.
We started off as a medieval sim (based in Europe), and a year later we transitioned to a modern day city (USA, Eastern Seaboard), with a strict WOD theme, story tellers, factions and dice meters. I believe that we may have been one of the longest and largest pure WOD sims in SL. And over a 12 month period we accepted over 900 World of Darkness player apps, it was a lot of fun and an opportunity to translate the dice table top game to a living “real world” environment.
In 2010 we decided to transition yet again to a smaller more intimate setting in Washington State. We worked hard to create a generic character set that would accommodate several lores easily including World of Darkness, however for this “Chronicle” we set aside WOD as the primary lore and rules set for a more open free-form para-roleplay platform. We rely heavily on our player advocates known as “The Inspired” who are quite simply – the best and brightest and most helpful folks that we have had the privilege to get to know.
FHG: Currently the sim features humans, werewolves and werecats, fey, witches, and vampires in a modern-day setting, in a location rich in history. Were there real-world events and legends around the general location that helped create the backstory for the sim?
Yes absolutely. Although we take a bit of creative license, we drew heavily upon some real world events for the general location. Settlement and exploration dates in the 1800s, Native American wars and events (Cayuse, Yakima etc), massacres. Not to mention that the Paciffic Northwest is considered home to .. big foot. We also allude to an 1800s fictional work in the legend of “TailyPo”.
FHG: What kind of challenges have you had to overcome in establishing the sim, and what have been some of your greatest successes with it?
Every time we reset the sim theme and location, we essentially go through the process of almost starting over, although as we are in modern setting it is easier for existing players to bridge without any need for character changes. Dealing with the transitions (sim reboot / design / theme / story) each time we change is probably the biggest challenge, but very worth it!
As for successes – this would have to be the creation of memories of stories and adventures that we have been fortunate enough to share with so many Roleplayers in Second Life. We have had the opportunity to interact with seasoned writers, quirky characters, unique situations and this is definitely something that we treasure.
Additionally, through our mentoring programs and roleplay classes we have worked with hundreds of new roleplayers over the years, and it is very fulfilling to see many of them now as seasoned mature players and writers, passing on their own knowledge and experiences.
FHG: What can new players expect ICly in coming to Ravenhurst? From a players perspective, what can one expect on their first visit to the sim?
This would depend greatly on the race.. In our lore – supernaturals are not “out of the closet”, and so there is a lot that goes on to hide race, and prevent humans from seeing past “the veil”. First time visitors might spend some time exploring in the woods, hanging out at the bar or diner with rooms available at the motel for those looking for some temporary lodging while they look for employment at one of several locations within the sim. There are certain locations which are more frequented than others and it is usually just a matter of stopping in for a drink or a bite to eat to begin to immerse in story. Of course.. if you are a werewolf or vampire there are matters of territory and etiquette to observe.. :)
FHG: How do you see the balance of political and social power structure shifting with an influx of new characters?
Our baseline environment assumes that regardless of actual players – the town is populated in the vast majority by humans. New human players reinforce this perception to the benefit of all, and there is the opportunity to take an active role in the community through positions in law enforcement or politically within the mayors office, or through more secular means as a radio DJ (KCAW), small business owner etc. The balance of power within races often swings based on vampire, fey and werewolf populations. It may be that the real hidden power within the sim lies with the witches though..
FHG: What are some of your goals for Ravenhurst? Where do you see it heading in the near future as well as farther out?
Its quite possibly coming time for a change again as we have just celebrated our second year in this Pacific northwest Chronicle. While we are extremely fond of this Chronicle (as we have been with all the others), we are looking forward to the possibilities and adventures that the next Chronicle may bring.
FHG: While your race restrictions eliminate the confusions and infighting that can oocly arise from hybrids and the all-encompassing blanket races, purists will enjoy the general race structures. However, beyond races, what kinds of characters, and the players controlling them, do you feel would do well here? What do you want to see more of?
Mature players and those wishing to roleplay in a mature environment based on para-rp text interaction will find Ravenhurst to be a rewarding experience. The ideal player in Ravenhurst understands that you get out of roleplay, what you invest into it. We have tried to create an environment that rewards those who are willing to take the steps to engage others, interact, and invest some work to immerse their characters. We have always enjoyed seeing players that have invested up front work in character definition, flaws, traits come in to be part of the overall story, and the sky is really the limit for character progression, influence and power base for those willing to work for it just like in RL.
FHG: With so many different social classes welcome, which in-character professions and positions need the most attention?
It would be nice to see more humans (or races that can walk in the sun) involved with business that supports tourism, as well as to see more tourists. Small business can always use a boost, and on the shady side of things – criminal enterprise offers unlimited possibilities :) This is after all what keeps the sheriffs dept busy, and out of the dough-nut shop.
FHG: The sim is visually striking, and the existing player base is friendly, helpful, and diverse. What kinds of resources are availible for players looking to sharpen skills, improve their play, or hone their character back stories?
Thank-you, thats always nice to hear! In our visitor center, we maintain information about each race for applications and general information, but we are also on the inter-webs at www.ravenhurst-rp.com, and our website provides more in depth information about races with information to help build out a character and just maybe – some veiled hints as to possible story lines. (Also on facebook, twitter, flickr).
Our Inspired group runs regular rp classes up in our visitor center, and these classes are not just for new folks. We regularly review conflict situations, combat concepts, race interaction and posting etiquette, tips, and protocol at a mid-advanced level useful and applicable for all players both new and seasoned. For those wishing to advance their characters into restricted roles, The Inspired can be helpful or folks may contact the us – the sim owners for personal mentoring for some of our more advanced requirements.
FHG: What would like everyone to know about Ravenhurst that hasn’t been covered?
We are very grateful to our players for the stories and experiences we have been able to share over the years, and as we move into our sixth year as a Second Life Roleplay sim, we look forward to more adventures and excitement. If you have not yet stopped into Ravenhurst.. we look forward to meeting you!