We couldn’t wait for the latest installment of the HBO television series, “Games of Thrones.” Afterall, it’s developed a massive cult following. So much so that it’s been lovingly parodied on other shows: “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” set it in Rockefell as “Game of Desks” and the children’s series “Sesame Street” as “Game of Chairs” in which Muppets play musical chairs, using three thrones—one made of golf clubs, another ping pong paddles, and a third baseball bats.
But in Second Life (SL), the Song of Fire and Ice is serious business. I’ve counted no fewer than 10 sims dedicated to the Game of Thrones theme. SL role play (RP) fashion shops, such as the White Armory and *QD* Empire of Quality, even support the craze by offering their own renditions of Game of Thrones apparel.
One of the longest running Game of Thrones-inspired RP sims in SL is Game of Thrones–A New World, developed four years ago by Bandor Beningborough. According to Marguerite Avril, who plays the newly crowned Queen Maeva of House Tyrell, Katia Boucher and Thony Soir took over the sims from Beningborough and redeveloped them.
Today, Highgarden is on Maui Central sim along with the sim-sized platforms of Dorne and Casterly Rock. Driftmark and Dragonstone are on the Wild Shores sim. A group that takes part in the RP, but is administered separately is Winterfell on Dark Life. It is the homeland, of course, of the Starks and inhabited by wildlings.
According to Avril, “I would guess we have about 40-50 active players, between the various platforms. The group proper has about 125 members.” The Game of Thrones RP on these sims allows for plenty of creativity within the theme and context. Sixty-eight character classes are available in the game, but limited to 15 beginner classes. The Unity HUD is used during RP, monitoring health, stamina, and food settings. Winterfell’s notecards make it clear that child avatars are not allowed on the sim. In fact, some of the RP sims allow “adult language and behavior.” But then, the Games of Thrones TV series isn’t exactly for the weak of heart or stomach.
Although RP is king in these sims, players can participate in a number of activities. Highgarden and Dorne recently hosted jousting tournaments. Weekly Stories, Poems & Songs sessions are held at the Rose & Crown Tavern in Highgarden. Players can participate in weapons and jousting training. An upcoming Summer Rose Fest Ball will be held at Highgarden. Besides the engaging group notices dispatched by various characters, players can keep up with news and gossip with each edition of the Westeros News.
“It is not the events that make living in Highgarden special, as an event may be a one-time thing,” said Hina Mhia who plays Queen Maeva’s Hand, Lady Hina Tarly. “It is the people you interact with every day that makes it special. We have formed a family with all the residents here.”
“If one of us goes up a level or achieves something in a skill, it is shared by everyone,” she said. “We have notices going out steadily of what people have achieved in archery, weapons, leveling up. Because achieving a new level takes considerable work, it is cause for celebration.”
Circe Auer who plays Circe Stark, Queen of the North, set up a storyline for me. “Our son, Prince Altos, returned recently from being lost and raised by the Greyjoys.” King Rickard Stark believed Altos married beneath himself, causing bad blood between father and son. The king, while fighting over Altos, gave the queen a black eye.
During last week’s Winterfell ball, Prince Altos was found near death by a wilding, who took care of him. Lord Mormont was sent to bring Altos home, but was shot with a wilding arrow that turned out to be poisoned. Auer said, “We have wildlings—a pain in the butt. They love to torment our guards. They even shot me once.”
Auer quietly shared a bit of her character’s treacherous backstory and explained, “You see, while some people tend to make their sims all sunshine and roses, we welcome backstabbing and discontent in RP. That’s what makes good RP—conflict.”
However, the players in these sims are welcoming and helpful. “We are open to anyone wishing to RP in a Game of Thrones setting that offers action, adventure, and good company,” Avril said.
When asked how she would suggest someone get started in joining this RP, Mhia laughed, “Jump in with both feet. Our people, no matter what place you decide to start, are helpful and courteous. We have some incredible role players here.
By the way, Dorne is at war with the Lannisters, and the Battle for Corpse Lake is coming up on May 17. They are recruiting for four warriors to represent the Iron Islands…
Highgarden Marguerite Avril or Hina Mhia
Winterfell Circe Auer or michael809 Nemeth