Saturday, December 19, 2009

To be.. or not to be.. and who to be.... that is the question...

I'm agonizing, probably unnecessarily, over the rebirth of a character. What to do, who to be, oh me, oh my?

Well, yes, one might think this would be unnecessarily as I did "kill off" the same character, the adult Marrant Vita, in Deadwood last October.

However, this isn't a case of bringing a character back to life as the same avatar a few months later due to a case of mistaken identity (i.e., the body found in the fire wasn't really Ms. Vita) or the identical twin sister nobody knew she had appears suddenly in Deadwood.

In the case of Deadwood, in March 2010, the town of Deadwood 1879 is being burned down, as it was in real life in the fall of 1879 -- and after a short wait, we'll be re-opened as Deadwood, 1876, the same (but improved our founder says!) beginnings of a mining town with tents and mud and lawlessness our characters walked into two years ago.

Most of us are very excited to be re-living this once again! And many of our regulars who found the town after it had become more tame and established are thrilled to be at the re-opening, too! There's discussion on the Deadwood forum board, as folks decide how to end their character's 1879 stories as most of the town burns down -- will they live or will they die? Will their characters stay in Deadwood or move on? And then after that..... who will those characters be in 1876?

You would think that would be simple -- you'd just be your same character, 3 years earlier. But many are using this opportunity to consider adding to or completely changing the histories, and sometimes the appearances of - their avatars.

And this is where I'm finding myself, with Marrant/Elizabeth. I have other avatars in Deadwood - the legal limit I assure the Lindens who are no doubt scouring my blog - and it's not been a problem to think about changing one from an upstanding citizen to the owner of a brothel, aging another from 7 to 18, and leaving another the same, just bringing him into Deadwood earlier in time than he originally arrived.

But Marrant / Elizabeth, oh my. I'm finding all the difficulties in this that I used to have when I'd think about (before I gave up doing this as a useless exercise) "what-if-I-could-go-back-in-life-and-undo-the-mistake-I-made-when-I-made-that-first-big-mistake-which-I-will-not-go-into-detail-explaining-here-as-you-do-not-need-to-know".

When I would try to do that little "what-if", in retracing my steps there would be people I'd met or decisions made, all kinds of interconnections that led to happy things that would have not happened if I'd made that first fix.

It isn't quite the same with re-doing Marrant and Elizabeth, but almost. Although Marrant was not my first avatar... nor my second... just an alt I built to have a little fun with, she's now my main avatar.

And not only do I like... okay, love... her name, she's my prime builder, and shopkeeper and has a lot of no transfer stuff in her inventory. Sure, sure... she could be the main me, and never role-play in Deadwood at all, that would make sense, though it would break her heart. Okay, so perhaps I'm somewhat emotionally attached to her.

I could get rid of Elizabeth then. She was "born" when I became bored with Marrant's character in Deadwood, but did not want to entirely do away with her. Now I've become attached to Elizabeth as well, so much so that I killed off Marrant's character in Deadwood, but kept Elizabeth.

But I am finding that it's a bit difficult using the same avatar to play two different characters. There's the switch and change, plus the annoying green emoter. And folks who would call Elizabeth "Marrant" as well as prims that do the same ("Marrant Vita sips her delicious cup of tea".. when as we all know, Marrant is long dead"). And you can't be in the same room together, ever, except in a photograph.

The positives, of course, are that you can run into another room to fetch your aunt and emerge a few seconds later to discuss Elizabeth's misbehavior - and you save a ton of linden dollars because you can share everything!

This dual avatar idea was copied from my friend Addison Leigh, who is a brilliant and creative role-player (and I would say this even if she were not a friend). Her adult character had a niece, little Addie, who I met when I first came to Deadwood back in 2007. I was new to Deadwood and new to role-play, and fairly new to Second Life. It took me a bit of time to realize that Addison and Addie were played not only by the same typist, but inside the same avatar.

I've never said I was the brightest light on the street corner.

But I slightly digress.

For 1879, Marrant is taken care of - she's buried in the cemetery, a huge marble monument selected by Elizabeth and paid for from monies inherited by her, stands over her grave. Elizabeth won't die in the fire, nor will any more orphans because Elizabeth insisted brick walls for the inside of the orphanage, buckets of water are in every room and ladders are all around.

For now, what to do with Marrant and Elizabeth in 1876 is my main concern.

One person or two?

If two, mother and child, aunt and niece, friends or foes?

If one, adult or child? Named Marrant (good-bye Elizabeth?)

If adult, wholesome or harlot? Married, widowed, divorced, unwed? (and what about all those Victorian/western children's clothes and toys?)

If child, attached to who and why and how?

And as I agonize and reflect on the possibilities, I'm mildly amused at the worry and effort I'm putting into this.

In any case, this is one hell of a time to be in Deadwood! If you were thinking about visiting, the next few months should be a fun time to make a character and a little life knowing it's short lived.

And being there when it turns back to the beginnings of Deadwood should also be a lot of fun! Check out some of the writings Dio has done on her blog -- she also has some books to offer that give an idea of what fun could be ahead! Read up on old newspapers (Deadwood Free Press) actually role-player's news. And get your long johns from Mlle DuFaux -- she's also going to have some muddy clothing for the rebuild!

1 comment:

  1. One way I went wrong several months ago in my own exploration of various identities was getting the main question worded badly. I had a question - what characters to play - confused with a goal: having fun.

    I was thinking "What character would be interesting to play and contribute to the life of the sim?" was the same question as "What would be really really fun?" So I ended up with a lot of complex characters that were a great challenge, but also a lot less fun.

    So that leads me to my own approach when thinking who I want to be as Deadwood is reborn. Boil it down to, "What would be fun for me?" And when you start getting to the, "Well what about thises or thatses," remind yourself to boil it down to, "What would be FUN for ME?" (imagine 'ME" as 24 point bold italic)

    As for dual identities, I like how you and Addi made use of the same AV for an adult and kid. I do remember being incredibly confused the first couple times I saw the same AV name for a kid and adult - when I was early in SL, I assumed it was a shape problem - but of course a little time in SL cured that.

    There was the one time I signed on and made a comment to grownup Addi that was a bit embarrassing when everything rezzed, and I realized she was in kid form. So maybe it's worth noting that if your AV is both a kid and an adult, the people you interact with have to think just a little tiny bit more. You know when RPing with Addi the kid or Elizabeth the kid that you are talking to their adult counterparts, cuz it says so on the screen in the form of their names. But those thoughts can be put aside, and that's not much to ask of your fellow RPers if you enjoy the dual purpose AV.