Sex and the Second Life City — Urban Roleplay Sims

by Alphaville Herald on 17/07/09 at 7:22 am

Chapter One – The Crack Den

by Millennium Sands

[The dark alleys and derelict buildings of Second Life’s urban sims form a gritty stage set  where residents risk their lives in roleplay that might shock even a jaded Gorean slavemaster. The Herald recently send Millennium Sands on a dangerous assignment - to shed light on the dark underbelly of the urban sims. Ignoring the danger, our valiant and sexy reporter explored three popular places, and shares her first hand experience as warning or encouragement for those who dare to follow her trail. -- the Editrix]

innocent college student faces enrollment and financial aid problems in The Crack Den

With no less than five connected sims, The Crack Den may be the largest playground in SL that invites role players to explore a world crafted with an amazing sense for atmosphere and eye for detail. Hidden features surprise the casual visitor, and those who decide to stay and join the game can send an application to one or several of the seven general groups, to define their role and the character they want to play in this huge world. Many of these groups even have sub-groups, offering special roles.

A web page with forum, a wiki, and a character blog provide background information, and latest events are monitored by the "Hathian Observer", a web based newspaper that can be picked up at several places in the main sim.

Picking up an observer tag along with notecards about rules and general hints, and taking the elevator down from the OOC and shop area, our reporter enters the main sim, Hathian, to start her journey and form a first impression of the environment before she decides which group and role might be the most rewarding one for a daring investigative reporter.

The city is impressive, to say the least. Every pixelated brick seems to ooze atmosphere, and one sim blends into the next, while all of them altogether paint the picture of a town that might have seen better days.

In a voice-disabled RPG sim with no less than 40 people around, you could expect an almost spamming chat, but after some minutes of exploring it occurs to our reporter that it's strangely quiet, even at crowded corners. Moreover, hardly anybody seems to move. From time to time someone marches along the streets – in most cases visitors who obviously give a damn about the rules at this place, at least they don't care about wearing an observer tag.

Finally, our reporter "hear" someone talking, and – great lord – in chat appears an explicit and very extensive emote, composed of no less than TEN lines, describing among other things how the guy who's talking lights and smokes a cigarette he actually never cares to attach in world. It's probably dispensable, because he types in past tense, so the cigarette might already be history.

It takes a good while before a woman responds to the emote, and her answer is not any less elaborate and typed in past tense as well. Our reporter begins to suspect that all these people who seem to be nailed at their spot might actually be moving, but in such a slow motion that her dull senses can't perceive it. Or are they all just ghosts, reflections of a long gone past? Puzzled, she wanders off to continue her exploration.

Our reporter realizes her place in this world upon reaching the Crack Den's college, Columtreal University. The idea of playing a college girl who relies more on her charms than on her wits looks simply irresistible, but launching an application turns out to be a real challenge. Touching the application sign takes her to a website with no less than five steps before the application is complete!

Well, is there anything that can stop a reporter from pursuing a hot story? Not really! Filling out the application form and thereby severing the first head from the hydra that dares to oppose her, the next head rises: The valiant journalist is added to the university group, but without any role. She still can't join the game and is doomed to stick with her observer tag, until she's either granted financial aid or payed L$500 for enlistment to the university.

Financial aid is the path to glory for a poor reporter on a low budget, but alas, the offices where she could ask for aid are not manned. Determined not to waste much time, our smart prospective college girl sends a letter to the guy who seems to be in charge, already written in RPG-style, promising to grant him every favour he can imagine if he only grants her financial aid, along with a role that finally allows her to actually join the game. She drops the letter into his in-world mailbox, and waits.

After more than a day of waiting and even spotting the guy online, she realizes that he probably gives a damn about his mailbox once a year, and decides to contact him in IM.
Miracles happen: The guy checks his mailbox, and even an annoying noob visitor who pesters him with silly questions can't distract him from granting the desired stipend to our lovely student.

As luck will have it, a class is starting just at the time our fresh baked college girl is enlisted and finally able to join the game. But due to a lack of other attending students, the class is cancelled. There's still another task at hand, since the poor college girl has to earn her stipend by working at one of the university's facilities. In her case, it's the cafeteria. A good place to work and meet other students, if they would only care to make use of the various facilities at all. But the Columtreal students are just like most other Crack Den rezidents: They avoid buildings and don't care about using the environment.

Concentrating on long winded emotes, while they stay glued to the spot where they sit or stand, it wouldn't make any difference if they would play in a plain box with blank white walls. Probably nobody in the Crack Den ever realized that SL provides a graphic surrounding, aside from the folks who created these sims and wasted their time, love and money on creating a playground no player ever cares to use.

It takes another full day until a visitor enters the cafeteria. Our college girl wasn't bored in the meantime, because rather than sticking to role playing, casual players, fellow students and even members of the university staff preferred to hit on her in IMs in an attempt to start their own game with her.

On day three, a doctor from the Crack Den's hospital explores the university, and when he spots our reporter through a window, he feels an irresistible urge to get close to the lovely vision he beholds. After a coffee and the common small talk, things become more interesting when the doctor offers a health check for a special rate to our poor student, and they agree to meet at the hospital in an hour for a close examination of a certain elysian body. However, when the body in question arrives at the hospital, the surgeon fails to meet his luck and make the most of it.

Life has been calm so far. Assuming that three days should be sufficient to get a rough idea about role playing customs at this place, our journalist decides to leave the Crack Den.  As she takes the bus that will take her to the next station of her safari, she feels slightly bored. In her blissful ignorance she can't even guess that she'll get more than her share of the action soon enough.

[ be continued...]

24 Responses to “Sex and the Second Life City — Urban Roleplay Sims”

  1. Jessicka Graves

    Jul 17th, 2009

    Well that was quite an extensive read about virtually nothing, wrote quite well though, but makes the Crack Den sound like an even more tedious version of The Sims. Except that the Sims don’t even move really.

    Hopefully a post-apoc sym like City of Lost Angels will be in one of the next two sims explored…

  2. Emperor Norton Hears a Who?

    Jul 17th, 2009

    Egads! Emote perverts. Shady characters sitting in dark corners offering to show off how big their emote is.

  3. Alyx Stoklitsky

    Jul 17th, 2009

    I already live in a dreary, crime-infested city. Why would I need to pretend I live in another one?

  4. marilyn murphy

    Jul 17th, 2009

    my my. this is well written indeed. i hope more interesting subject matter for this author is in the offing.

  5. nadir

    Jul 17th, 2009

    You’re not going to get the full role-play and immersive experience by observing for three days. It’s about writing stories and forging character development… all of which takes time and commitment. Most people are turned off with the “tedious” application process and guidelines, and hey, that’s ok! CD isn’t for everyone; it isn’t somewhere to go for a quick fix or to jump in and become the center of attention. However, if you’re looking for a place in SL to escape and get lost in fantasy, CD is a popular option.

    Thanks for taking the time to check us out; enjoy the journey!

  6. Jumpman Lane

    Jul 17th, 2009

    hehehehe WE went to the crack den back in early 08 and ran around naked beating each other with whips actin like we were tweaking on meth! them turds ban ejected us sayin we interrupting complex rp tha went something like “Wilber looks directly up Lorilou’s skirt pondering… Lorilou looks defiantly at the criminal-like Wilber wonderin if she is safe in this neighboor hood. hehehe mena and Suzee Voom typed stuff like “BITCH YOU SMOKED uP ALL MY CRYSTAL METH!” CRACKOF THE WHIP! You better FIND me some mo drugs ho! Suze: “FUCK! YOU! I BLEW ALL THOSE TEN GUYS SO YOU COULD GET HIGH! FALL DEAD! HHEHEHEH etc etc. roplers are tardyand the crack den sux! dindt eve have t read this stuff

  7. Sirius Hartshon

    Jul 18th, 2009

    That kind of RP is good for forums, where the story is preserved and you check the next day or an hour later for responses.

    On SL, why put up with lag and avatar making and everything if you’re not using it? And those pauses in real time play are good for the household (you can do the dishes, vacuum the appartment or doing laundry) and bad for your health (a lot of cigarette breaks and time to fetch a drink).

  8. perina

    Jul 18th, 2009

    I don’t think you get it at all. The emotes may seem long-winded to you, and maybe it doesn’t look like people are moving, but perhaps sometimes its about the description and about what SL can’t possibly show you, such as body language. You make a whole chunk of assumptions here that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you want to play reporter, immerse yourself in what you’re writing about instead of standing on the sidelines.

  9. Lissa

    Jul 18th, 2009

    While everyone is entitled to their own opinion I think its in poor taste to sneak around a sim that people have a put a lot of time and effort into and begin to point out all that is wrong with it. The Crack Den is a very intense RP place and experience and while in some ways it could seem like a tedious time to others, there are others of us that see it as the in depth COMMUNITY that it is.

    The Crack Den does offer more then just role play. People there form amazing bonds that are formed through this so called “unneeded” sim and “outrageous” emotes and the people that take the time to become a member of the community and all that the sim truly has to offer will often times find that they just can’t leave.

    Yes, a lot of people are seen “standing around” but that’s simply because if you are always on the move in an rp sim, you are not going to get rp. No one is going to chase someone down for some mundane or meaningless reason. Any one that goes to a sim to role play should know that running constant circles in order to see the brick buildings and such is disaster as far as rp goes. You’re out of sight before the person can emote towards you and if its a person that has been around for a while and has a story line formed, they aren’t going to bother chasing around the running “observer” because they have no good reason to do so.

    The Crack Den is known for being a serious role play sim. The people there aren’t there for the quick rape rp, or robbery and arrest and then vanish. Its is a place to form an actual story, a “second life”. People are not just there, but their avatars live there, work there, raise families there, survive there. So you’ll have to beg their pardon when it seems they might be going overboard with the “realism” and “intensive” way about which things are brought about. This includes the in depth at the college. They want people to have a realistic role play experience hence the applying for finical aide or paying out of pocket. It is not an overdone conspiracy to push people away or scare off the new players, but as a whole to offer better rp.

    Not to mention that I did see said “reporter” meandering around the sim with the observer tag and would like to point out that the rules (which was claimed to be read) would note that observers are to be treated as though they aren’t there. So its not at all surprising that she was able to be around for days and recieve little to no rp at all because she had those fabulous yellow letters above her head that said to entire sim “I’m invisible!”

    Also, rp requires the use of IMAGINATION or is this something that has been forgotten when we call on the use of creativity to rp? Lots of people in CD don’t use a ton of attachments, or attach a prim cigarette to their hand even though they emote lighting one. What’s wrong with reading it and thinking that its there? Same with emoting doing something certain. Your avatar can’t actually do all the actions that you emote them doing, so is not attaching a prim object really a point of criticism? Or should emotes be reduced to one line of things that an pixalated avie can actually do? If you ask me, that makes for a very boring time and experience.

    In short (though this isn’t) those who go to the Crack Den with the intent to actually role play find it a great experience. Its a sim that’s worked very hard on on both an IC and OOC level by everyone involved, and for those that like more then a quick 20 minute mundane role play scene, it is a great place to go to.

    But if you are looking for that mindless 20 minutes…well, there are plenty of open adult sims and your IMs. Try those.

  10. Pussycat Catnap

    Jul 18th, 2009

    Thankfully not every RP sim is that bad.

    I’m not a participant, because I just can’t get myself worked up enough, but Catfight City seems to get very carried away with itself – with the members running all over the sim all day and night long doing all manner of things.

    I’m sure its not the only example of such an active RP sim, its just the one I know about.

  11. Herf Derf

    Jul 19th, 2009

    “The Crack Den is known for being a serious role play sim. The people there aren’t there for the quick rape rp”

    lol what.

  12. Bunny Brickworks

    Jul 19th, 2009

    You just cannot get into the ‘spirit’ of a place like CD within only three days. Most role players have been there for months, developing complex story lines and bonds with others. Emoting for some is a form of art; describing in ten lines how someone lights a cigarette takes creativity and writing skills. People who love to use acronyms like OMG and LOL as well as gesture tards are most definitely in the wrong place if they visit places like CD, Midian or CoLA. Please go and visit a club if you are one of the ‘hooohooo’ people or you don’t have enough time to type ‘/me laughs’ instead of LOL.

    I personally appreciate good roleplay skills and yes, it takes patience and time and the willingness to deeply sink into the character you are ‘playing’ as well as all the complex relationships within the story or the setting. Nonetheless, Crack Den (like any other RP sim) is also a place for a quick rape or raid – there’s a bunch of inexperienced role players everywhere.

    A lot of RP sims offer role play academies or lessons. People are always willing to help you develop your character, understand the different fractions/groups of a place or just teach you the basics of proper role play. Again, this takes time. If you don’t have it, don’t attempt to RP at all cause it ruins the fun for those who take it a little more seriously.

    And yes, if you wear an observer tag, you are invisible for the role players. The experienced ones won’t interact with you as you are not there for them.

  13. Orion Pseudo

    Jul 20th, 2009

    As someone who builds sims such as this (not for Crack Den, not even on SL – screw you LL) I can tell you that both the build and the atmosphere play a huge role in the stories that are formed. Its sort of along the lines of immersing yourself in a novel and forming a mental picture of the scene only to turn the page and have that image be completed or enhanced by a caption or drawing. The graphical counterpart provides the scene and the direction, you as the player provide the story and the actions with your words.

    Hathian and The Crack Den were my first exposure to roleplay outside of IRC and I’ll openly admit to spending countless hours over there either getting my poor old character in trouble or just sitting on the side lines while listening to others do the same. Their scenes / builds always was among the best of its kind on SL and to this day continues to be an inspiration to me.

  14. Sirius Hartshon

    Jul 20th, 2009

    Bunny Brickworks writes: “… of a place or just teach you the basics of proper role play.”

    As if there’s something like “proper roleplay”. Heck, there’s a long way between ‘LOL’ and writing a 80 words novel about lighting a cigarette.

    There are enough people who do it with about 10-20 words per turn and creating the intensity through the dynamics of spontaneous interactions and the faster turnaround (plus taking the effort to create the visuals and actually put a prim cig into your avatar’s mouth).

    Nothing wrong with creating a sim for the story writers and living by it, but claiming that this is the ‘proper’ way of doing is is presumptuous.

  15. Ari Blackthorne

    Jul 20th, 2009


    So Crack Den is *no less* than the largest of role playing sims, even though another has *no less* that 28 sims joined together, often with *no less* that 40 agents standing around typing out *no less* than 15 lines of dialog that is *no less* than past-tense and takes *no less* than 15-minutes to write out.

    One thing you do have correct though: too many niggly hoops to jump through to join these groups, too elitest and certainly a waste of space as everyone might as well be playing their taken-way-too-seriously text-chat game to Internet Relay Chat.

    I mean, is means a lot when ‘bombshell reporter girl’ still doesn’t manage to steal away any attention. Fact is “observers” are just that: flies on the wall and ignored. As for those people who “role play” with book-narrative, they are better-off just reading (or writing) a book. No need for the pretty scenery because they have the creative guns to describe what’s going on already.

    Better for you (the Author) to find the happy medium where they do use the scenery, but don’t try to write an effing book with each emote (it’s okay for those who like it, but I’ve personally never like “book-style” narrative in my role play. Emote actions I can see, just saty the rest and use the scenery.)

    There are all kinds: From Crack Den and Midian and the way through to the “Pew-Pew” (shoot ‘em-up combat) sims.


    /me snickers

    /me snickers.

  16. Jumpman Lane

    Jul 21st, 2009

    i’m gonna tell ya one more time. crack den sux. fools not even role playin, just tardin around like govi callistoo usd to undr hard alley b4 hard rust booted him out! rp sux caws u can script anything seems lazy to expect me to pretend to be cut when ur cheap ass could buy a nice knife ad to hear “Wilber grimaces. Lorilou clutches her little knife,clasping it to her brest, knowing it is he only salvation” prompt me to interject:”BITCH YOU AINT GOT NO DAMN KNIFE!” SWIFT BAN EJECT.

  17. Rongness Levull Over 9000

    Jul 21st, 2009

    “describing in ten lines how someone lights a cigarette takes creativity and writing skills”

    /me draws a breath, releasing it in a sigh like the breath of the forest at midwinter before turning, the snow crunching beneath her heel, the sound like a crackle in the silence before vocalising her thoughts as “UR DOIN IT RONG FUCKTARDS”

    A GOOD creative writer doesn’t take ten lines to describe lighting a cigarette. That’s not creative writing, that’s self-indulgence and imposition upon the reader.

  18. Millennium Sands

    Jul 21st, 2009

    Since a LOT of people missed this detail, even experienced RPgamers who have no problem to understand extensive emotes, I’d like to point out that the reporter never complained about being ignored. She was in game and not an “invisible” observer, once she got a stipend. Without the stipend and the role that comes along with it, she would not have been able to attend a class or work at the cafeteria.

    Sorry for not explaining this in my report in detail. I assumed it was obvious from the context, and even more obvious to those who roleplay in the Crack Den.

    As a matter of fact, the report describes a noobs experience.
    It doesn’t evaluate, saying something is right or wrong, good or bad. It simply tells what the reporter observed, and it doesn’t really matter if she was involved in the action or simply witnessed what was going on.

    Three days can only give a rough impression. The conclusion of the report, depicting a “rough idea about role playing customs at this place”, reflects this problem. A report from Natural Geographics would probably look different, since the reporter could spend a year or more on research. For most other publications, three days are a pretty long time.

    Well, after reading all those comments, I feel obliged to express my gratitude to everybody who read my report and bothered about writing a reflection.
    I’m glad that it seemed to be entertaining to those who appreciated the style. What I try to achieve is infotainment, and it’s not easy to please readers in a language that’s not your first one.

    I’m even more glad that many readers contributed the deserved and expected criticism, depicting the issues I couldn’t cover in my report. I counted on you when I wrote that report, and you didn’t let me down. The report wouldn’t be complete without these comments from roleplayers who spent MORE than a few days at this amazing sim!

    With kind regards – Your Millennium Sands
    (And please get ready to to bash even more on me, once you’ve read part 2 and 3!) :) )

  19. Aliandra

    Nov 4th, 2009

    Thank you for this and your other RP assessments, I spent a week in CD and found the emotes to be too long (a fight with 3 hits took two hours, not a lie).
    In most creative writing classes emphasize being clear & succinct. It is only the those who wish to baffle with bullshit rather than dazzle with brilliance that need to keep writing.

  20. Roddo

    Dec 6th, 2009

    Aliandra, prehaps a combat sim is more your thing? The verbose writers out there like the detail and the creativity.

    Some people like readiing newspaper articles, some skip to the comics. Im betting Aliandra is a comic reader.

    Thanks for your opinion however. You comments suggest you take creative writing/acting classes.

  21. Sciavo.Julianna

    Oct 20th, 2010

    Roddo, you do know that verbose is not a positive word, right?

    Free dic: using or containing an excess of words, so as to be pedantic or boring; prolix

    Wictionary: Abounding in words, containing more words than necessary. Long winded, or windy.

    So yes, verbose IS the problem in CD.

  22. Rob

    Sep 29th, 2011

    I personally thought t was a decent write and does contribute to a lot of first impressions on the sim. It’s silly to me that so many people are taking offense in this writing (most that are loyal to crack den I am assuming) and refuse to take the criticism as something positive and constructive to possibly upgrade wrongs in the Crack Den. Every sim has something to reform and something to gain from changes every once in awhile….
    In my opinion ‘Crack Den’ is a sim for para-rping obviously and if you are not typically a para-rper you will not have a good time in Crack Den. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just it is either your style or it’s not. I particularly enjoy Para Rping and I’d rather the story based role play then role-play that uses the environment as I believe the environment to an extent does take away from creativity, while I know there can be a happy medium, again there are Sims that offer both para/one liners that include in their rules you simply follow good natured manners and join in by rping what the current pace of rp is.
    If you’d like a different perspective from someone who spent more than 3-days in Crack Den I’ve spent months there and I had my fun but I also discovered the downfalls. I agree that the environments are not used enough, I purposefully placed my character within the basketball court, the football stadium, the cafeteria and so forth (I too attempted to play a college student that never got a return message from financial aid and wasn’t about to drop $500L no matter how cheap that makes me sound when I had no others joining in rp). Eventually, I did click with others and had some pretty amazing role plays, but the problem is at the end of the day like most downfalls in great Sims the sim is just to clique.
    Those who have been around for years, are the accepted pack, and those who try to break in will eventually be weeded out the second that someone feels their position in sim is threatened. The owners do allow for storyline ideas to be suggestion but it has to passed by those who already share favoritism over other members, most people who play professions are in those positions because they have some type of link with someone else in the sim who holds political status (one time I was trapped in jail for 5-days with no rules when the police sergeant himself didn’t even know what was supposed to go on).
    In basics the biggest problem with this sim is the cliques and the inability for the owners to break political strongholds and allow other role players that can bring constructive change to the sim to break into scenes. Most new role-players, even when they’ve stayed for months, typically find themselves role playing with a small “group” of rpers that joined their storyline because only through small isolated groups can you truly get a real storyline kicked off without that political pull.
    This is something that plagues many of the big Sims and whiles most newbie’s move on and the old clique always stays firmly in place keeping for an environment that is a lot of fun at first but over time turns into quite the bore.

  23. Rob

    Sep 29th, 2011

    ***To clarify a bit what I meant above…
    Because I had said that I was one who thought the environment could provide for a lack of creativity and I typically like story based rp (then later complained that the environment wasn’t used enough when I was there, I realize that sounds weird now) I mean…
    There’s a time for the use of environment and there’s a time for not. As one person said above your avatar is not capable of everything so we shouldn’t limit ourselves to only do what our avatar can do and that’s when we use creativity to make up for our avatar’s shortcomings. However, in a world away from forums, where we do have the advantage of an environment we should use the environment more then what I am seeing in sim and that is the political cliques. Most avatars, if the reporter would have stayed long enough, are isolated into clumps of political peers who hold status in the sim – they are at their dwellings, there businesses, and allow for an entire world to be left absent.
    As one person pointed out above in support for Crack Den, “People make lives here.” Well how about actually creating a routine behind clumping yourself in the same location on a daily basis? The problem then falls into what I was saying at the end of my former post…. Due to the environment (by location) only being used by the clique it leaves part’s of the sim absent and provides for only a selective amount of roles and storylines to be taken seriously.
    The girl (reporter) at the Cafeteria as no one to serve for her job, the jock who wants to play basketball or football and left his past behind to take part in CD finds that their isn’t even any teams despite all the photos of the cheerleaders, because 9/10 they are all gathered at the key role players domains ignoring any true sense of routine that would be in an actual ‘life’. Meaning, they don’t necessarily make lives, they cater and make scenes with those who rule the den.

  24. Andrea Mizser

    Sep 2nd, 2012

    Good luck getting anywhere in Crack Den or Hathian. Its an exclusive community. You’ll do so much to try and get somewhere in the community, but here’s the catch – You can’t!

    It’s an exclusive club where the managers and mods just promote and authorise their alternate avatars and friends to all of the RP positions that are desireable.

    Don’t waste your time. I tried for quite a long period and appealed to the sim manager and my emails were casually replied to then ignored.

    Try somewhere else.


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