* I got through my entire first term of being there without injuring any students or destroying the library.
* At the end of that first term, they made me Head Librarian. (not because I was wonderful or anything, but because Sio Timeless, the previous Head Librarian has some real-life issues to deal with and they had to plug somebody into the gap).
* I found that most people I encountered, especially the students seemed to like the character I had created, and especially enjoyed her occasional correspondence.
* Once I became head librarian I undertook the task of reorganizing the actual note-card-based books that the library has, trying to get them consistently filed alphabetically by author. That made me feel very useful and accomplished.
* I made some nice friends on the staff especially Professors Nyx Carnell (Phoenyx Firehawk) and Avaya Wirefly. They’re fun, delightful people, dedicated teachers, and damn fine rp’ers.
* I have recruited a couple of library assistants who show great promise. I have already discovered that one of them, Quinn Porthos, shares my enthusiasm for blowing shit up.
* I have had a great deal of fun. And I still am, even with the whole “being given responsibility” thing, which was something I was trying desperately to avoid. (oh well).
I have enjoyed getting to experience a type of rp that is very different from what I am used to in places like Deadwood. First off, there is a whole lot less random violence, and I can’t cuss like I am used to. I do say “bloody hell” alot, however, especially when something happens like the castle being swarmed by charmed pumpkins hopping through its halls, or cursed books exploding into flames when you try to to get them to reveal what sort of spell has been cast over them.
I have been very impressed by the faculty, who put a great deal of significant effort into preparing the lessons--doing research, writing their syllabi and handouts for the students, and setting up demonstrations of various sorts to make the classes interesting. The one thing that I find to be a drawback to the system is that such a commitment is required of the teachers in developing and presenting their classes, these folks frequently don’t seem to have a lot of time or energy for actually doing much roleplaying. The faculty in general take their responsibilities extremely seriously.
Which was probably why I found myself directing Dio in a direction that is, like her role in Deadwood, sort of a one-woman Greek Chorus commenting upon the action or filling out the big scenes, but which also includes a bit more comic relief than I offer in other rp settings.
You may recall that her backstory revolves around being a former auror who was retired early with PTSD--so Dio has her quirks and will periodically do or say things to surprise or befuddle people who expect librarians to act in a certain way. One odd tendency that sort of evolved on its own without me really planning it, is that I will be extremely formal in speech and manners with people I do not know well, or in most normal professional circumstances. However, with friends, or when I get excited or angry, I become much more casual and rather coarse (at least as much as one can be in a PG sim). When no one in authority is looking, I also am inclined to draw on my background in magical combat and no-holds-barred spell casting to deal with various situations.
For example, there currently is a movement afoot among the students protesting the requirement to wear robes to class, and they have been marking the castle up with graffiti. I found some of this graffiti on one of the library tables, and becoming frustrated after trying to clean it off with the usual “tergeo “ charm, I just used a combat spell to blast the marking off permanently. Miss Porthos was in attendance to put out any resulting fires (which she did, quite nicely) and she agreed with me that the pyrotechnics that ensued were worth the resulting char marks on the table top. We’re going to leave the damage in place for awhile to stand as our own “message” to would-be graffiti artists.
The table with the graffiti "cleaned off." Don't worry...I am sure I can remove the burn marks...eventually.
The real place for me to exercise my proclivity for comic relief, however, has been in making up ridiculous titles for nonexistent books when a student asks for something that isn’t actually in the current limited collection. Another source of some yuks are the letters I have sent by way of my owl “Rasputin” to different people on various occasions. The following was a letter I sent to one of the professors who also works for the Ministry of Magic, and who was supposed to be cracking down on the use of unauthorized portkeys (magical teleportation devices).
A rather seedy looking owl of indeterminate age and type wheels crazily through the twilight, pauses to look around in apparent confusion or possibly the owl equivalent of Alzheimer's disease.
It then crashes onto your windowsill, and lies there looking fairly ill. As you open the window to retrieve the message it is clutching in its badly trimmed claws, it vomits up some partially digested mouse remains, and then blinks its eyes at you in a expression that can only be described as one of mild irritation.
As you go to close your window again, it suddenly ruffles itself, shedding a few mangy looking feathers and one or two of some kind of insectoid parasite. It also seems to have dandruff.
The message reads:
Mr. Wendall Kristan,
Official Ministry type Minister of something or other
Ministry of Magic
Miss Diogenes Penthesileia Kuhr
Assistant Librarian, Dangerous Books Collection
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
cc: Headmaster Lysis Nikolaidis
My Dear Mr. Kristan:
I understand that you are seeking information about the misuse of unapproved Port Cheese at the school and let me tell you bucko, tis about HIGH TIME someone did something about this disgraceful situation. The practice of mixing Port wine in with cheese is an absolute travesty, not to mention a dreadful waste of perfectly good Port, though I will admit that on whole wheat crackers at a little get-together with friends, it does taste pretty good. But for a formal occasion such as an official inquisition or Wizardgamot hanging party, it simply WILL NOT DO!
No No No, for those kinds of situations, you should always go with something like a nice Stilton, or if you have people coming whom you really don't like all that much, I suppose you could fob off some kind of cheap gooey Brie on them, and hey, they most likely won't know the difference, will they?
One of my colleagues just informed me that the issue was about the misuse of "Portkeys"....not "Port Cheese."
Oh dear. Well, that's pretty bloody embarrassing, isn't it? Dreadful sorry about that. Portkeys? Hmmmm. haven't used one o' them silly buggers in years. Always worry that if you use one and it goes wonky, you're going to end up with your head stuck up your own tookus, eh? Though I do suppose Ministry people have to use them a lot, don't they? Oh..not that I'm implying...um...yes, well...best quit while I'm ahead , eh?
Silly stuff, I know. But fun. And certainly not inconsistent with the Harry Potter-esque reality that Hogwarts United represents.
Again, I will reiterate that this kind of highly structured immersion environment is not for everyone. Major rp scenarios must be presented in a proposal to a review committee and approved. Some folks find the process slow, and that it perhaps “cramps their style.” But it does serve to keep the roleplay under control and within the set of parameters that the sim leadership has established. As with any rp community, there are a few drama whores and idiots, but their ability to affect everyone else’s experience is severely limited by the sim policies. It is very seldom that you find yourself watching someone go off in some ridiculous self-indulgent direction, while everyone else present is muttering, “Well that was fucking moronic.”
This also suggests that the recruiting/application/orientation process really does work in maintaining a level of quality among the sim population, and reducing or eliminating the peckerhead factor. I have yet to encounter a grieftard in the castle, at all. That has been really nice.
So what’s next? Well, I am going to try to spend more time in Hogwarts if I can, and hopefully encourage more of the sim residents to write up essays or booklets--covering anything from magical techniques to their backstory family histories--that can be added to the library collections. I mean hell, I can’t keep making up silly titles for non-existent books forever.