SuffugiumApril 29, 2007
By Seeker Gray
[Editor’s note: Seeker Gray comes to us from his amazing blog Second Seeker.]
Seeker Gray reports from Suffugium
Reader Evolver Dowren recommended that I stop by Suffugium. I’m very glad I did. I’m not sure why distopic builds attract me … I’m not, in general, interested in futuristic sorts of backdrops. Perhaps it is the similarities between this dark place and Victorian London, with the steam rising from the grates in the narrow shadowed streets, the sense of danger just around the next corner … ah, but I am dating myself, and that doesn’t do at all! In any case, Suffugium did not disappoint.
The first thing one notices is a fabulous sculpture, Shackles of Law, by Darzoni Ornitz. It towers above the welcome are with a prescience that is difficult to ignore. Very dark, this statue, very tortured. I stared at it for quite some time.
Also difficult to ignore is the mandatory “Palm Scan.” Even if you are not comfortable with it, I do suggest going along and submitting. Aside from the favor one gets from complying with the proper authorities, it enables one to receive three notecards which both set the mood – and let one know the rules… and it’s rather important, don’t you know, to understand these rules.
We at Suffugium Technologies have made every effort to ensure that your stay with us is a pleasant one. You will undoubtedly notice the AI-Controlled Security Drones on patrol throughout the city; they have been programmed to perform routine biological scans upon citizens and sub-citizens alike in an effort to keep our city safe. Please submit to their scans; it will only take a moment, is not known to cause any injury, and ensures your future security within our jurisdiction. Do not interfere with the activities of the Security Drones under any circumstances.
One notecard also lets you know how to get involved in Role Playing in Suffugium. I’ll cover that later in the article. But lets walk about some, first…
The streets – well, to be perfectly frank, they don’t look very safe to me at all. It is certainly a decaying city. Here we have a crashed, burning vehicle, and all that has been done to protect the citizens is to fence it off.
The government seems more concerned about telling the residents what to do, how to act, how to think. “Keep silent, keep safe.”
But all is not full of woe. The city supports at least one art galley, showing photographs of builder Lex Neva.
Ever since I bought my first camera over two years ago, I have quickly discovered a growing fascination with artistic photography and graphic design. Through my photographs, I try to express my unique and quirky point of view and open people’s eyes to parts of the world they may not normally notice. When you look at my photographs, I want them to make you think, wonder, or sometimes just laugh about the world around you.
I also found a game arena, Holoball. I do wish a game had been in progress! The well-marked spectator area provided a good view of the somewhat dark playing area.
I was pleasantly surprised to meet two citizens, Tammi Ball and Samantha Yates. They were happy to talk to me about Suffugium and we retired to a nearby diner for a spot of tea and some good conversation.
Tammi Ball: We have a futuristic science-fictiony RP set here; the owners gave us permission
Seeker Gray: (Seeing Madam Ball’s guns). I thought that this wasn’t really a combat sim. I assume that it sometimes happens?
Tammi Ball: We don’t really do combat – it’s more cosmetic.
Samantha Yates: We only use guns for combat if we arrange it with the sim owners first
Seeker Gray: I see. Excellent, that.
Samantha Yates: We use them for role play props really
Police Drone: Sub-Citizen, please remain still for the duration of the scan.
We are interrupted by Police Drone for a friendly scan…
Tammi Ball: My name is Tammi. I’m an Enforcer of the Law. I like Toast.
Samantha Yates: The world is like 1984 by George Orwell, with a little Blade Runner thown in
Tammi Ball: And some Logan’s Run, I think.
Police Drone: Scan complete. Please go about your business as normal, Sub-Citizen Yates.
Samantha Yates looks up as a slightly built woman wearing a black leather coat with an eagle insignia over the left breast pauses outside the diner and casts a glance inside; her eyes flick over the occupants in a detached manner; pausing for a moment, she walks on.
Samantha Yates’s face stiffens as she sees the woman glance inside and she hunches over her coffee, her face suddenly a little pale.
Samantha Yates: I… I don’t feel very well… I think I need to get back to the academy… I’m probably not supposed to be in the undercity, probably breaking a rule. Maybe it’s okay if I’m with you, Tammi? You are a police officer, after all.
Tammi Ball: You mustn’t break rules, junior citizen!
Samantha Yates: Yes, yes.. of course, I’m sorry; I’ll go back to the school… See you later, Officer Ball.
Samantha Yates nods to you politely as she leaves but looks as if she has tasted something unpleasant.
Tammi Ball smiles and nods happily at the girl as she leaves.
Seeker Gray: Who was that woman?
Tammi Ball: Oh, that was Director Cela. She’s the head of Human Resources and one of the leaders of our government.
Seeker Gray: So what can you tell me about role playing here? What happens in a typical session?
Tammi Ball: I’ll explain my character. It depends on the current plot. There are two main sides, those with the Government, and those against its Oppressive Regime.
Seeker Gray: And which side are you on?
Tammi Ball: Sometimes they may just be enjoying a friendly meal in the diner, sometimes they may be planning ways to crumble the government. My character is a Police Constable, also known as an Enforcer. I am of course with the Government, although part of the character wishes she was free.
Seeker Gray: That must make for good conflict.
Tammi Ball: It does, because she is also an “Experiment”
Seeker Gray: What is an experiment?
Tammi Ball: Experiments range from humans who have had medical science tested on them, to creatures created solely from science experimentation. They are just a myth, I assure you.
Seeker Gray: Ahhh, yes, I see, just a “myth.” And, if it were not a myth, just what might have happened to you in the past?
Tammi Ball: Citizens are happier not knowing. Tammi certainly hasn’t been engineered to be the ultimate Assassin since day one, that’s for sure. And she definitely doesn’t have a tail as a byproduct of having cat genes spliced into her, as an attempt to recreate their reflexes and dexterity.
Police Drone: Sub-Citizen, please remain still for the duration of the scan.
Tammi Ball: There are rumours that suggest it’s why she always wears a trench coat.
Police Drone: Scan complete. Please go about your business as normal, Sub-Citizen Gray.
Seeker Gray: Ahh, but you don’t have one on now?
Tammi Ball: No.
Seeker Gray: So you don’t mind me seeing your tail?
Tammi Ball: If you’ve seen me like this, it’ll probably be the last thing you ever saw.
Seeker Gray: Oh, dear…
Tammi Ball: Of course, that only really counts for Non Player Characters.
Seeker Gray: I see that being with the press has some privileges. :- )
Tammi Ball: The simple balance of power, in a game with few rules is: My character is allowed to be efficient at killing, and able to kill most people – as long as I don’t actually kill any of the players.
Seeker Gray: How does that work? It seems contradictory.
Tammi Ball: It’s easy, actually. Players are like the main characters in films. And in most films, something will always happen in favour of the Hero.
Seeker Gray: But if there are two players, how can it be in their favor – for both of them?
Tammi Ball: Because I don’t want to kill other players off
Seeker Gray: I see.
Tammi Ball: So it works in my favor also
Seeker Gray: And of course, just for my readers, since many of them are newbies, no one actually dies.
Tammi Ball: Only if they want their character to.
Seeker Gray: Oh yes, of course. But one need not worry about losing the SL account or anything. Folks do fret some.
Tammi Ball: Oh, no. I could fire at you right now and nothing would happen.
And indeed Madam Ball did fire at me. As she had noted, it was indeed for cosmetic effect only. And that was, I may add, something to a relief to me!
As you can see clearly, role-playing in Suffugium can be an extremely rich experience. Encountering two individuals at random was very interesting – and they were extremely generous with their time, patience, and expertise. Lovely ladies indeed. I can only imagine what it might be like to spend a significant amount of time here. And you can do that, or just visit, but in any case you’ll start by teleporting to Suffugium. You can also read Samantha Yate’s blog to get a feel for what happens.
One thing that I missed in this bleak postmodern metropolis was a bit of greenery. Alas, it almost all seems to have been paved over. I did say “almost,” however! I found a well-protected bit of life, along with a good bench to sit upon. I won’t wish for my darling Sherpa to come here: although Madams Bell and Yates seemed to be perfectly able to take care of themselves, I’m not sure that this place is for everyone!