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Friday, August 16, 2013

From Boot Hill to the OK Corral- Jenna Odisark Reporting…


Throughout Second Life you’ll find many opportunities for immersing yourself into another time, place or situation… called ‘role play’. 
One of the genre’s that is quite popular is putting yourself into the Old West. When thinking of that time period one of the first places that comes to mind is Tombstone with its historic real life legends and stories. Tombstone has been the subject in an untold number of books, TV shows, movies… and even before then had been the setting for dozens and dozens of what was known as “Dime Novels” which were the comic books of early America.

In Second Life Tombstone is a living breathing Town, unique by one fact; the entire SIM is built by role players for role players. The SIM opened in February, 2007. Adrian Wise is the Mayor of Tombstone. He explained the main groups of this community that work together to make the town come to life. He explained that “Tombstone Wild west conjures up a few images, the most profound, the struggle between good and evil and the survival in a new untamed land.” Boot Hill, the OK Corral, Big Nose Kate's Salloon... they all can be found around Tombstone.

One of the more common tools used to survive back then was - the gun. When asked about the use that weapons played into the role play, Mayor Wise explained”…Role playing with the Mad Thunder System, I am proud to say is something unique and special. When we brainstormed this system with the guiding hand of Loadstorm Studios, it was in effort to recreate how the weapons' real life counter parts would react to enhance the role play experience. There is no point and click here. That is not who we are. The bullets fired from guns gauged to recreate "gunshake" and in some cases, a dramatic reloading pause, as well can unpredictably ricochet at very inconvenient times. Melee weapons are included in the arsenal; knives, tomahawks, frying pan, broom, cane to name a few. I'm afraid I cannot compare our weapons system to any other, but I will say this, weapons use should follow some impressive role play.”

He went on to explain that these weapons are to be considered part of the role play itself. One thing that people in Tombstone are taught from the first day is that random shooting will not be tolerated. There must also be a storyline in role play, and that story doesn’t necessarily have to include the use of weapons. Apart from the main "Tombstone Wild West Arizona" group which all residents need to enter the SIM, there are 4 main groups that dictate the precision of the role play. Within the different groups that make up Tombstone there are certain expectations and roles that are to be portrayed, and all of these interact with each other. Some of the main groups include the Tombstone Outlaw Group which is the main group for those citizens of Tombstone inclined to living in the non-legal sense. So robbery, kidnapping, assault, ambush, bushwhacking, the “bad guys”.

The Tombstone Law Group is the main group for those citizens inclined to living in the legal sense. Protecting the town from bad guys and evil doers is your profession. These are the “good guys”. Tombstone Doctors attend to those in need. Upholding the tradition of doctoring from that time period. The Nurses and Doctors are enrolled here and work in tandem to keep the residents of Tombstone healthy from ailments and injury. Also represented are Traditional Healers, Native Herbalists & Medics. Tombstone Criminal Law is the group for those citizens of Tombstone inclined to living within the judicial system, bound by the law to uphold civility. Positions include Prosecution, Defense & Judges, Bounty Hunters ...And end in the courtroom, cause and effect. A successful storyline carries each of these elements as a rule of thumb.

There are many other groups that make up this community of the Old West – Dutch Annie’s ‘soiled doves’, Native Americans (Several tribes of the Apache and Navajo), the Orphanage, Miners, Ladies Society, the Pinkerton Detective Agency and you’ll even find the Pony Express making mail runs throughout the 9 SIMS that make up Tombstone. And we can’t forget the detachment of US Cavalry stationed at Fort Huachuca. Each of these groups provides a depth of character for the role play of everyone as they interact, much as a community in real life would.

Adrian Wise went on to tell of a special event that happens every year, “…on October 26th at 3:00pm, we have our "Reenactment of the Gunfight at the OK Corral". These are pretty big shoes to fill. Tombstones legends do not begin and end there, and making that fact spring to life was of the upmost importance. Each building that is represented on the SIM preserves its real life counterparts true history, for those wanting to know more.” There are special events beyond this on a weekly basis, including in-character (of this time period) and out-of-character dances, shooting contests, as well as events such as pow-wow’s and live music shows.

Due to the pace and intensity of the role play those interested in experiencing should go to the visitor center at Tombstone to look over the rules and get some background. There are free clothes there for people to use to get started as well. Once a Tombstone Greeter guides you through the rules you can then get a ‘traveler’ tag to be able to wander around and start to experience life in the Old West. After a time you can then apply to become a full “citizen”, and also be eligible for some of the role play jobs available.

Second Life allows all of us to explore and participate in things that we could not do in real life. Tombstone gives the opportunity to go back to the 1800’s ‘wild west’ and experience slices of life based on that lifestyle of a bygone era.



  1. Tombstone was great until the current owner AW took over. His team of 'admins' are a joke. Most are as crooked as him. One re-occurring issue is their 'hot guns' issue that has been on-going for years. One of the longtime admins uses them and has for years. Most of the good role-players have taken off to greener pastures.

  2. As a recently settled citizen of Tombstone, I do not have the background that "Anonymoust" must possess, but I can only say that for me, tombstone has presented itself as a great platform for Western RP. I cannot want for more. One of the new Western sims is trying desperately to recruit me to join, but from their group messages, it is evident that the governance is not in place. The RP mechanics of that sim seems to be a veritable copy of Tombstone, which to me seems like a direct attempt to overtake Tombstone. In any RP genre, when you become involved, there will be drama. It's part of the experience. -Stareyes Galaxy


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