Sunday, January 31, 2010

Ezra Macarthur in Deadwood 2.0

Hello Everyone,

Here we are at the end of January and the reset is just about a month and a half away. The new entry area is looking great. Please see my fellow blogger CiCi Levenque's post in her blog Western Roles, for more info and pics. Also check Diogenes Kuhr's blog Ephemeral Frontier. Both have done great job reporting on the new build.

When Deadwood reopens my character, Ezra Macarthur will be among the first prospectors. Following is some brief information on the new Ezra.

Date of Birth: May 5, 1844 /Age when he hits the gold fields in March 1876 - 31

Place of Birth: Columbus, Ohio

Education: Attended school up to age 10

Career: Farmer, Soldier, Prospector

About Ezra: He grew up on a farm just south of Columbus. He was a hard working young man. He is literate, but just barely so. He never applied himself to his studies, being more content working in the fields. When the war broke out Ezra wanted to join, but his father forbade him. When Ezra reached age 18 in 1862, he joined the Union army. After the war, Ezra returned home but was not satisfied with life on the farm. In 1868, Ezra packed his bags and headed west to make his fortune. He worked in a variety of jobs, drifting from one town to the next. In 1875 he heard of the gold strike in the Black Hills. Gathering his belongings, he headed out to make his fortune again.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Blacks new look

Above is a pic of Ezra. The poor fellow is not the most handsome guy around. Nor is he very tall. Which are a couple of the reasons I picked this avie. In reality, men in the 1800s were not tall. An average height of about 5'7 or 5'8 would be the norm. A man who stood 6 foot was considered very tall indeed. There were men who did go that high and higher, Gen. Robert E. Lee being an example. But these men would be the exception not the rule.

BlackJack's new avie is again not overly tall, but as you will notice he is much better looking than Ezra. In this form Black will not be physically intimidating as he is in the present incarnation.

Hope you enjoy the photos. By the by, both avatars were made by DarkDharma Dagurre.

Blacks Journal

Seating himself at his desk, Black pulled his journal out of the hidden compartment. Opening the book, Black picked up a pen and dipped it into the ink well. He thought for a moment, then began to write:

January 30, 1879

Journal, I have come across more evidence that Mr. Densmith has become my enemy. Mr. Blitzer Renfold told me last night that Mr. Densmith was looking for a way to frame me for the murder of Jeni Trefusis. Renfold intimated Mr. Densmith was arranging for someone from Chicago to come into town and accuse me of the crime. According to Mr. Renfold, Mr. Densmith was the one who had sent the whore Truly Comes to Deadwood. Miss Comes apparently spent time in prison with Miss Trefusis.

There is one good piece of information that Mr. Renfold revealed. Apparently Mr. Densmith has become very fond of Miss Wilder. I plan to confront Mr. Densmith in the next few days and make it very plain, that if anything should befall me, his precious Miss Wilder will pay the price for it. If this angers him all the better, an angry opponent is one who acts rashly and without thought. I have an acquintance in New York who can make good on my promise for Miss Wilders future.

Black blew on the ink to dry it, then set the Journal back in its compartment. He then took a clean sheet of paper and again began to write:

My Dear Mr. Johnson,

I write to you concerning a business proposition. There is a certain woman in Deadwood, Miss Salissa Wilder, who I want you to pay a visit to if I should meet with an untimely end. I have wired funds to an account that you may draw on after the task is completed. If this meets with your approval, send a wire back saying simply "Deal".

BlackJack Landar

Black folded the letter and after stuffing it into an envelope and placing it in his coat pocket, he headed for the Post Office.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

After Black is gone

With Black about to die, what shall I write about? I asked that question and the answer was, write about Ezra. Ezra? Who the hell is Ezra, you might ask. Ezra is my miner alt. Now I know some folks are real secretive about who their alts are. For me, not so much. As long as the typist remains in the background and out of sight is the important thing. At least for me. To each their own I say.

Any how, for those who have not met him, Ezra Macarthur, in the current Deadwood, is a half breed. His father was a mountain man who took an Arapaho maiden for his wife. They were married after the custom of her people and Ezra's father reckoned that was as good as any. Ezra's family was wiped out by a band of Commanche, when the the family was settling in the Texas panhandle. Ezra has considered himself at war with the Commanche nation ever since. Now don't get the idea that Ezra hates all Indians. Far from it, he spent time in Arapaho camps as he was growing up. Playing their games, hunting with them. Yes, Ezra has a great fondness for all the Indians. Well, except the Commanche.

Inspiration for Ezra, came from watching some of my Deadwood friends play miners, and with the knowledge of the DW reset coming, I figured, what the hell. The avie for Ezra was made by DarkDharma Daguerre. The avie appears in the machinama, Golden Spurs and Silver Bells, as a miner. I have been using Ezra a bit as comic relief, a bit like the Festus Haggen character from Gunsmoke. Like Festus, Ezra can be funny, but he can also be tough and hard as nails. Ask those who have had a few boxing matches with him. Will Ezra survive when Deadwood goes up in fire? Yes, he will. Will he be the same character he portrays now in the new Deadwood? No, will use the same avie and all, but he will be somewhat literate and his backstory will change. Though I have not worked that out yet. Ezra will be on hand when DW reopens to stake a claim for himself. Whether he is successful or not will have to wait for the RP!

The Death of BlackJack Landar, cont'd

Planning for Black's demise is going forward. Barring the vagaries of RL, we plan to play this out on Friday, February 5. Time will be sometime after 5pm SLT.

I shared with Dio last night that, while I am looking forward to the rp, I am really going to miss the current incarnation of BlackJack. But nothing lasts forever and the new BlackJack will arrive in Deadwood sometime in April or May.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Styles of Roleplay Combat

Hey Everyone,

Though I spend most of my time in Deadwood, I do get out to other places from time to time. During my explorations and opportunities to play in various sims, I have been exposed to a number of styles of roleplay.

Let's start with the use of meters. There are many different types of meters that are used in Second Life. DCS2, CCS, Gorean, Spellfire, Deadwood, Cripple Creek...well you get the idea. One of the major uses of the various meters, is to resolve combat. As you take damage in combat the meter reflects that damage and if your meter drops low enough the animation in the meter will force you to fall and be unable to move. At this point, depending on the sim, you may be considered dead and unable to continue playing for a designated length of time. Using meters, IMHO is an excellent way to resolve combat. Some of the meters, for example, DCS2 will track your victories and losses, they do this because sims that use DCS or CCS use XP, short for experience points. When you reach a certain number of XP based on time spent in the sim you can level up. Some sims allow you to purchase powers rather than levels with your XP. Either way, leveling up or purchasing powers with XP, will make you stronger, more agile in combat.

But what if I don't want to use a meter? There are some sims that use no meter or will allow rp'd combat. Problem for me with rp'd combat is unless you determine ahead of time who will win, the fight could go on forever. Especially if you have one or more individuals who cannot stand to lose. The other issue involves the typing abilities of those involved. When rping a fight you have to describe the actions in detail so that others watching can follow whats happening. If one or both are slow typists this can become a very long drawn out affair. Usually those watching in such instances will lose interest and find something else to watch or do. As you can tell by this post rp combat is not my favorite, however, that does not make it wrong or a poor way to resolve a conflict. I have seen some who were masters at rp'd combat. If that is the style you like you should do that. Now, I will rp a combat if someone wants to, it just is not my preference.

One thing I must mention about meter combat. When you visit a sim for the first time do not go in and attack someone out of the blue. Most sims that use meters tell you in their rules you have to rp into combat and rp the results as well. Most of the better known sims insist on that and will boot you without question if you violate that rule.

I would encourage you to try both methods of combat. You never can tell what you might like till you try it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A look inside of BlackJacks thoughts and feelings

I thought it might prove helpful for some who do not know BlackJack Landar well, how his mind and emotions work. Some will read his profile, which states he is a hired killer and immediately think he has no emotions and forms no ties to anyone. That is an unfortunate assumption. BlackJack is a man who does care about some, I repeat, some people. But those people either have to be related to him by blood or have earned his respect.

Now Black is a ruthless killer. When he takes an assignment, he see's it to completion without any undue emotion. The target (person who is to be murdered), is simply that. A target, the job to be done. Black does not take pleasure in killing as some do. In all of his business dealings, whether legitimate or not, he strives to keep emotion out of the equation. To him, emotions and business is illogical and just plain bad business practice.

In Deadwood there are a few people he actually cares for. First is Dio Kuhr, or Miss Dio, as Black always refers to her as. He found in her a woman of strength and ability. He learned of some of her past and his respect for her increased. She had once requested that he not harm anyone whom she cared about. Out of his respect and growing fondness for her he agreed. This did not sit well with Black's employer at the time, but that is a story for another time.

The other two people that Black cares for in Deadwood are Clay Kungler and Daisy Stratton. Black considers Clay to be a kindred spirit, due to Clay's habit of collecting the heads of those he kills. Black is puzzled as to why Clay collects these trophies, but figures it does no harm and perhaps some good. Daisy, who works as a prostitute for Clay. Daisy reminds Black of a girl he had known in his youth. Because of this and that she is connected to Clay, Black has set himself up as a sort of protector. He almost see's her as a sister, though not quite that. Even Black has trouble explaining to himself the relationship between him and Daisy. What he does know is that the man that brings harm to her will pay in blood.

So, as you can see, Black is not some emotionless killing machine. He does have relationships and feelings. I would advise those who meet him to treat him with the same politeness and respect that he shows everyone. Those who become rude to him may well not live to regret it.

The Death of BlackJack Landar, cont'd

The RP leading to BlackJack's demise continues:

Friday night, Black went to the Gem to watch and participate in the fight's. All of the regulars were there as well as some new folks that Black had not met before.

The current boxing champion, Silas Acker and Black squared off in the ring. Now Silas is a character that, after meeting him, you would never forget. Silas is thin and a bit small, he is also a braggart and not to put too fine a point on it, is not the brightest lamp in the house. Silas, whatever his other faults, is an excellent boxer. He and Black fought it out and knocked each other out. Silas struggled to his feet first, retaining his title.

After that fight Black sat back to enjoy the rest of the fights when he was approached by a particularly ugly whore, by the name of Truly Bombastic. She went by the alias of Truly Come when she propositioned Black. A brief description of this creature is in order. Short and heavy with a face that looked like it had taken one too many punches. Five front teeth missing and breath that would knock a buzzard off a manure wagon at twenty paces. For some reason DanteDemon Densmith thought this woman would appeal to Blacks appetite.

Truly tried hard to entice Black into going to her room. Black was trying harder to palm her off on some other hapless soul. Truly then mentioned the name of Jeni. For those who do not know, Jeni Trefusis was a prostitute and companion of Black's former employer Cameo Capalini. Black was ordered to kill Jeni when she and Capalini broke up.
Black ran Truly off at that point. However, Truly was not quite finished, she hooked into Silas and with promises of money and sexual favors, enticed him to lead Black to her rooms where supposedly assassins awaited Black.

Black noted the two together and played along. When they reached the hotel, Black unslung his shotgun and told Truly to go ahead in, Silas having already entered the hotel. Truly screamed and ran. Black then went in to confront Silas. Raising the shotgun to his shoulder Black said, "Silas, you know my reputation." Silas gulped and looked for someplace to run. Black spoke again, "Run Silas, run like the Devil himself is after you." Silas leaped over the stairway banister and ran down the streets screaming, "He's gonna kill me, help. He's gonna kill me."

Heading back to the Gem, Black came across Daisy, the mute prostitute who works for the Gem. She had taken a pool cue and chased Truly into the hills. This endeared her to Black even more.

Stay tuned kiddies, Black's demise is coming soon.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Builders in Second Life

I really, really admire builders in Second Life. Mostly because I can't build worth a damn. Oh sure I can create prim boxes and shape them a bit. However, when I get done with them the object I am trying to make looks like a piece of rebar that the Hulk decided to make a twistie tie out of.

Some of my fellow bloggers are great builders, Marrant Vita, Astolat Dufaux, Master Glendevon, Addison Leigh. They all have one thing in common I think. The eye of an artist. An artist can look at a canvas, or chunk of marble, well you name whatever material and they will see the object in it. Then they bring that object out. The level of detail that can be found in the items these folks build is truly impressive.

So, to you who create the items that I and many others who are building deficient, my hat is off to you. And I for one want to thank you for the creating the objects that we use as we explore and play in Second Life.

Characters for the Deadwood restart

As you know BlackJack will be returning to Deadwood after the restart. However, he will not be there at the start. Black will come in later, likely when the first wagon train arrives. But what to do? Fortunately, there is another character which will be in Deadwood. His name is Ezra Macarthur and he is a miner/prospector. Currently Ezra is a half breed (white/Indian) miner. In his reincarnation at the restart Ezra will be a prospector. I have not worked out his complete backstory yet. Right now I am thinking he will be a man of indeterminate age, worked in the Comstock strike. I am fairly sure he will be, for the most part, a law abiding citizen. Real life inspiration for Ezra is drawn from the miners/prospectors who dreamed, worked, stole, even murdered for the chance to strike it rich.

BlackJack's backstory for the restart is not set in stone as of yet either. Though, I think he will be one who jumps back and forth on the fence of law and order, though likely being on the wrong side of the fence more often than not. I am currently doing some research on various lawmen and criminals on whom to base the new Black. Maybe someone like Soapy Smith? or Burton Alvord, who was a lawman turned outlaw? Perhaps an amalgamation of both or more indiduals?

I have to say the planning for the restart has proven to be a blast. If the planning is so much fun, just imagine how great the actual rp will be. If any who read this have not been to Deadwood, then I encourage you to go to Second Life, create an account if you do not have one (you can get one free). Then do a search for Deadwood and come visit us. You will find some of the nicest people in SL there.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Death of BlackJack Landar

In an earlier post, I mentioned that BlackJack was going to be killed as a way to end his storyline and make way for the new Black after the restart. As a quick aside I have purchased a new avie for Black from DarkDharma. I settled on the Dandy avatar. It is no where as intimidating as the one Black is currently using, which came from TRAUM. The Dandy is one of main protaganists in the Bedazzle production of Golden Spurs, Silver Bells.

Back to the main point of this post. I will be posting updates of the progress of the rp as it unfolds and as I have time to get on here to type it. Not always so easy with job, family, etc., etc.....

A few weeks ago, Black was in the Gem having a drink when he was approached by a man who claimed that DanteDemon Densmith had a couple wagon loads of whiskey that he planned to use to undercut Blacks monopoly of the liquor trade. BlackJack came across Densmith at the Bella Union a week later. Black, being a man who meets trouble head on, confronted Densmith. Mr. Densmith denied the charge, but made some veiled threats.

This past week BlackJack had went to the Bella Union. A young man approached him and began a conversation. Suddenly out of the blue, the man pulled a gun he had hidden and fired at Black.
BlackJack returned fire, as did several other patrons. The result was the young man died and Black took a bullet in the leg. Miss Dio, now Mrs. Bogartus, treated the wound. Black is now healing up from his wound and has taken the extra precaution of carrying a double barreled shotgun with him wherever he goes. BlackJack suspects that Densmith may have had a hand in the attempted assassination, but Black has many enemies from his days in New York. Once his leg is healed, he plans to start eliminating his enemies. One by one.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Roleplaying a bad guy

I have one piece of advice for those want to roleplay a bad guy. Don't be an asshole! Especially if you want to keep rping that character as a bad guy. In my humble opinion, playing the villian is one of the hardest, if not the hardest role to play successfully. It takes a lot of thought, planning and cooperatation in order to pull off a crime and get away with it.

Let's say that you have come to the Deadwood sim with the decision to be a villian. Great! We need bad guys in order for the good guys to become heroes. Unfortunately the following usually is what happens:

Asshat Noname enters town and swaggers into the Gem Saloon. Those present are Clay Kungler, the mayor and his wife September as well as several other locals.

Asshat Noname: *walks into the Gem and looks around with a smirk on his face.*
Asshat Noname: *lights a cigar*
Claytanic Kungler: Howdy stranger, would you like a drink?
Asshat Noname: *turns to face Clay and notices September*
Asshat Noname: Yeah, gimme a drink. By the way how much do ya charge fer the whore? *indicates September*
Claytanic Kungler: Stranger, that is my wife. I suggest ya apolgize, then get the hell outta here.
Asshat Noname: Fuck you, *pulls his gun*
Claytanic Kungler:*pulls gun*
Asshat Noname: DW meter shows him dead

If all you want to do is have a shootout, then maybe this would be fun for the bad guy. However he has shown himself to be an idiot who just want to have combat. But for everyone else, this becomes boring and the would be bad guy quickly finds most people avoid him like the plague and he leaves out of frustration. Too bad really, but then Deadwood is not for everyone.

If you really want to play a bad guy, don't go out of your way to antagonize people. Build friendships. Yes, I said friendships. A real life villian will have those who care about him. Wife, mother, brothers, friends. In roleplay, you will need people who like you and will stand up for you when you need help. BlackJack is a character that intimidates a lot of people. this is due to the avatars size and appearence as well as how I play him. Yet, Black has friends. Clay and Dio are his partners and he considers them friends. Both have helped Black in the past.

To end this little session on my soapbox I leave you with this. When you decide to be a villian, think about what motivates him. Is it money? power? sex? what? something motivates him to do what he does. From that point, play the character to enhance your chances of gaining whatever it is you want. You need to also think about what kind of villian you are. Are a political hack? a thief? a confidence man? combination of those? It all comes down to planning your character, who and what he/she is and what he/she wants.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Why BlackJack hates the Chinese

As some of you from Deadwood know, Black is not very fond of the Chinese. In fact, he hates them with every fiber of his being. The following should help explain why......

The young man who strode thru the harbor area of New York, his eyes taking in the sights of ships and sailors from all around the world. BlackJack breathed in deeply as he stopped to watch some Chinese sailors tying up to the dock. Black was facinated with ships and sailors, the idea of seeing the world and high adventure appealed to him.

As BlackJack stood there lost in thought one of the Chinese sailors bumped into him. Black looked down at the man started to step back when the sailor let loose with a string of words. What the sailor was saying Black had no idea, but from the mans tone and the darkness that flushed his face, told Black the man was upset with him. Frowning Black said, "Mister, I have no idea why you are upset. You bumped into me." In order to punctuate his remark, Black gave the man a little shove. With a scream of rage the Chinaman pulled a knife and lunged at BlackJack. Black stepped back and to the side as he threw a hard left hand at the smaller mans head. The punch connected with a solid thud and BlackJack watched in satisfaction as the sailor dropped in his tracks. Black had little time to enjoy his victory as he suddenly felt a heavy weight land oh his back and a small, but surprisingly strong arm encircled his throat. As this was happening he felt his arm gripped by at least two others and he was dragged back behind several large stacks of boxes. The celestials began to methodically pummel him until Black finally fell to his knees., then slumped face first onto the dock.

When BlackJack finally awoke, four days had gone by and he felt pain in every part of his body. The doctor looked down at Black and told him he was lucky to be alive. Then the doctor delivered news that was to be a turning point in his life. "Son, you have 3 broken ribs, a broken arm and I believe a fractured skull. I am also sorry to tell you that, most likely you will never function as a man again." The doctor waited a few moments as that sunk in, Blacks eyes started to blaze with anger. Holding up a hand, the doctor continued, "I said likely would not. But nothing is certain. One thing I can tell you with certainty is, you will never father children. Whoever worked you over, stomped on your private parts like they were at a dance."

Three months later..
It was near 1 in the morning and the big man dressed in black waited patiently. Two sailors, both distinclty chinese, judging by their speech walked past him. As they did his right arm suddenly flashed out, the lead loaded blackjack slammed into the back of the head of the man on the right. The other sailor turned in surprise and his startled yelp turned into a gurgle as BlackJack drove a dagger straight into the mans throat......

BlackJack was able to function as a man again, but he never fathered a child. As he hunted and killed Chinese sailors on the dock, it occured to him that he was quite good at killing. Needing money and having a skill that should be marketable, Black began to advertise his new trade amongst the shadier elements of New York society.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Deadwood Restart / What, or Who shall I be?

The Deadwood sim in Second Life is going to do a restart in late March of this year. Others, like my good friends Marrant Vita and Dio Kuhr have already expounded on this subject and have done a very good job of describing what it is all about.

Many of us are trying to decide what or who we should be. Now, we are not going to play actual historical people. Rather we will base our characters on real people or several real people. BlackJack, in the current Deadwood is a murderer, plain and simple. I came up with the BlackJack character in order to help another roleplayer in the sim. The idea was Black would be the number 2 man to the self proclaimed crime lord of Deadwood. But I digress, BlackJack was based not so much on real life characters as on fictional ones. The idea was to create a villian who could and would kill without mercy or remorse. It was also my plan to have this character be the best bad man that I could create. I am pleased and more then a little troubled that Black turned out to be a very good bad guy. Pleased, because playing a villian is difficult, especially if you want the character to survive more than a few months. Troubled, because I found some really dark places inside me that was brought out in BlackJack.

In any case, BlackJack is going to die. The rp leading up to his end has already begun and will play out over the next month or so. This will make it clear to everyone when we do the restart that the new BlackJack Landar is not the same character. I have also purchased a new avatar so that his appearence will be different. So, with a new avatar and the old character dead, what or who shall BlackJack Landar be? I am leaning toward a lawman/outlaw type. More than a few lawmen worked on both sides of the law and order fence. I have some time to finalize my plans and ideas. BlackJack will likely not be in at the beginning of the restart, but will be in a few weeks or months later. I do have another alt that will be there at the beginning, because Black's typist is not going to miss the restart for any thing.

This Whole Blogging Thing

For a number of years I, like everyone else have heard about blogs and bloggers. I never gave it much thought until I began to read some blogs created by some of my friends from the Second Life sim of Deadwood. These folks are amazing writers and scary smart. I will be happy if I am able to be half as good as they are.
So why blog? A good question! For me this is an experiment and an opportunity to exercise my writing muscles a bit more. Hopefully Real Life and Second Life will allow me time to write on here. We shall see.
Most of my posts will be geared toward the Deadwood sim in Second Life. I hope to share some stories and maybe a few words about roleplaying.