Leaving Gor with a bang!
The month of Camerius, second and third hand (may – june) has been a bloody and deadly one in Second Life Gor. The first rumour to reach me was about a role-play death from the depths of the Valkyrie Forest where a group of panthers from a rival band (Talender Moon) decided to set upon a particular Valk huntress, to capture and torture and then to finally kill her. I would have published the role-play but it seems the whole matter had resulted in an inter sim drama so I guess it is better not to. I do like to stir up a bit of controversy for my panther girl gossip blog but its purpose is not drama 😉
Okay, moving swiftly along, the second killing involves a rather well known black smith (from Di Jan Cove) and a panther from Sa Sheku. The minimum time limit for killing was adhered to, so it was well within sim rules, again I haven’t got the role-play to share with you, but from first hand I heard the role-play had been somewhat boring and a bit shoddy, leaving both the victim and panther feeling underwhelmed. Nothing like a good old fashioned prolonged killing huh? Later that evening I visited the sim and saw this ghostly apparition floating around the panther camp (a role-play death on a gm meter lasts 24 hours). I was speaking cordially with a panther on the trade dock and definitely felt a ‘presence’, he seemed to have some fun being ghostly anyway 😉
Death is a very controversial subject in role-playing. A character’s life and death can mean a lot to a player, some players will do whatever it takes to ensure their characters survive or somehow live on while others will take death with a grain of salt and move on from characters without second thoughts. This guide will hopefully bring some light to the intricacies of death among role-playing characters and the role-players facing such situations.
Death in reality is a way of life, we see it every day on tv. The same is usually true in role-play: death is a part of in-character life and role-players often have to face and accept it. However, many players feel attachment to their characters and believe the decision of when death should occur is a personal choice.
A Second life Gorean character is a work of artistic value crafted by the mind and tools of a role-player. Players work hard on them and put a lot of effort, thought, and care into character development and design. To see them die can be hurtful, if not heart-breaking. Many players freely accept character death. However, a good number of other role-players approach it differently. Some of us go through leaps and bounds to keep our characters alive and continue their story further. What this guide is really about is where to draw the line when accepting death, it’s important to know when and how to accept or avoid defeat.
A character commonly faces death through in-character murder, which can cause stress to a player because the character he/she has spent hours, days, or years growing and nurturing seems to have been just thrown away. However, a more optimistic view is that death completes the development of a character. Still, those who feel they aren’t at a proper conclusion attempt to circumvent death in questionable ways to keep their characters alive, such as necromancy (the Sa Di Sani Priestess can revive characters from the dead) or unrealistically escaping a fatal wound or fight.
Hopefully this guide will help players to better understand death in roleplay, when it is better to accept death than to evade it or vice versa, and what reactions to mortal danger are generally more accepted throughout the gorean second life community.
When Not to Accept Death
There are times when you should and shouldn’t accept death in role-play. There are times when the death of a character is not fair or legitimate and the player can reasonably object to it with the support of other role-players and sim mod.
Out-of-character conflict is often mixed into events and relationships in-character. In a scenario where two players despise each other and one or both of those players choose to reflect their conflict through personal vendettas between role-playing characters, often a resulting death will be questionable. A death resulting from conflict between two players without any rationale for in-character conflict is almost never accepted, and is heavily frowned upon by role-players because it violates rules against metagaming.
Creating a character or inventing an unsolicited in-character conflict for the purpose of killing another character is generally hailed by the secondlife gorean community as both impolite and immature. The same is true for tribes or role-playing groups; for tribes to form and/or create conflict purely in the interest of causing headache (often through character death) to an opposing player or group of players is considered a unfair, illegitimate, and usually also immature behavior. Such acts often tarnish the reputations of the players who commit them or the tribes/groups who support them.
This objection extends somewhat further when two clashing players have two characters who also have a history of not getting along in-character. A death that results from genuine in-character hatred is almost always considered realistic and acceptable. However, lines start to blur when large spans of time pass since those two characters clashed; a player who freshly resents an enemy should be careful when using his character to rekindle old hostilities, because if there is no motivation in-character for a renewal of the in-character conflict, resulting deaths that would normally have been perfectly acceptable may fall quickly into question.
When to Accept Death
Now that the types of deaths players shouldn’t accept are out of the way, we can touch on the times when you should accept your character’s death.
When It Isn’t Taken Lightly – the right role play way
Some role-players, when creating role play groups/tribes, put it in their sim rulebooks that death is not to be lightly taken. This means that the taking of another characters life, if done haphazardly and without the approval of other players or sim admin/mod, could result in a void, blacklist/banning, or general disapproval. Unless the two players come to an agreement or the character is put knowingly into great danger. Such deaths are usually done with all legitimacy and happen as the result of a good deal of consideration and story development; this is probably one of the best kinds of ends a player can hope for with a character, because often accepting death reasonably and at the climax of a plot can even improve a player’s reputation as a genuine and reasonable member of the secondlife gorean community.
Even If It Was Taken Lightly
A character dying as a result of fair play is completely legitimate whether it is agreeable or not. While coming to an out of character agreement is considered common courtesy, it can also be common courtesy to accept death with good humor if another player has taken the risk with his own character to cause that death with legitimacy.
Necromancy – the Sa Di Sani Priestess way
Necromancy is probably the most obvious and popular way to recover from death, but is very controversial when not used very carefully in role-playing. The trouble that arises most often with necromancy is that it is often treated with a good deal less gravity than it deserves. The art of raising the dead is a very nuanced, difficult, and dangerous prospect for everyone involved, and often even risks the life of the necromancer in addition to innocent sacrificial victims.
An additional risk of using necromancy , particularly using necromancy that does not result in any evident and substantial complications, like sickliness, brain damage, or social rejection – is not taken seriously. It was mentioned above that to accept death gracefully at the right time and place can have positive effects on a player’s reputation. The reverse is true with circumventing death; a player who accepts death only to cheat it by revival throws away the positive reception that can come from that death and reverses it, often appearing cheap and graceless.
Dopplegangers – the Kuurus catcher of En’s way
Some role-players may come up with excuses to explain how a dead character did not actually die; they claim the dead character was a decoy, was a same-gender offspring, or some other doppleganger who looked and acted similarly for some reason but who was not actually the main character.
Like with necromancy, it is important to recognize that decoys would not be hired for everyday commoners, reserved really only for those with a good deal of power like a city Ubar or Ubara. It’s best to avoid the doppleganger excuse because odds are no one will believe the excuse.
When Facing Death
The teleport out is an example of an unsportsmanlike escape from a dangerous situation. To teleport is to perform an action that instantaneously teleports a character out of harm.
In role-playing, most players expect each other to narrate with enough detail that actions and intentions have clarity. For example, rather than saying a character “slashes at” an enemy with a blade, he may say that he swings his scimitar horizontally and blade-first towards the opponent’s jugular artery.
Some players turn fights to their favor by attempting to bend the circumstances artificially, and oftentimes this tactic comes dangerously close to powerplaying. For example, Joe lunges forward at Bill with his scimitar, and then Bill’s player narrates that Joe’s lunge causes him to slip on a muddy patch of ground, causing him to stumble and allowing Bill to get a strike in while Joe is unbalanced, knocking him to the ground.
Leaving death role play artificially, for example by dropping out of character in the middle of a role play, is also considered very poor form.
When Causing Death
It is almost never good to auto-kill a character. Some players feel that a player who escapes from a death role play in a distasteful way or a way that can be considered cheating deserve to have automatic death as a repercussion of that cheating. However, because many situations involve confused intentions, miscommunication, and perhaps a certain level of inexperience on part of one or all participants, rarely does anything good ever come from auto-death consequences