It was 1863, on the west coast of England. A small town founded by the Warren family, earns a spot on the map just at the very end of the industrial revolution by their advances in chemistry, astronomy and last but not least, the rubber industry. There was something about the town that has attracted great intellect.Yet, as the industrial acceleration slowed down, Warren started receiving new visitors from the neighboring towns who came in search of some of the famed prosperity. To the locals dismay, these were not the most lectured of scientists or renowned minds, but gypsies (at times called ‘carnies’, since they traveled with a carnival circus) and a considerable troupe of burlesque entertainers. While in previous times the locals would have simply hanged them or blatantly expelled them…they were injecting good money into the town and attracting all sorts of tourists.
Things were just starting to heat up.
So runs the introduction for the launch of a new steampunk/Victorian roleplaying sim (really, it’s a good Sunday for game players!). It’s called Warrentown and, as they say that the new sim is fully immersive and non metered (i.e. you aren’t required to wear a meter that regulates game play), situated in England, 1863. “Come live as a rich English man, a gypsy that arrived with the circus or a sensual burlesque dancer,” the developers suggest and promise a story of chaos and conflict, in a dark battle among these contrasting groups. You can visit in world for more details and positions available.
It all looks very promising – although I would enter a few caveats; there seems to be some things that are rather more American than English – the use of the term “carnie”, for example, and the burlesque theatre. At that time, the opening of a simple music hall would have engendered similar shock and horror in a respectable English town. Victorian burlesque was popular in the music halls, but it was a rather different form. The American burlesque – which included striptease – was a later off-shoot of this, and didn’t really travel back across the pond until much later. But this, after all, a world where vast airships criss-cross the skies and clockwork machinery reigns paramount – we shouldn’t worry too much about minor details.
One interesting detail is that – in addition to producers who will act as game masters (and sim managers), they are looking for writers to join the core team and help shape the over-arcing storyline. It will be interesting to see how this develops over the coming weeks and months.
What is perhaps worth noting is that this kind of roleplay doesn’t use any of the tools that Linden Lab are developing. Like Isle of Legacies and, to some extent, New Babbage, it depends on the storytelling skills of the participants and the willingness of inhabitants and regulr visitors to become immersed. It’s going to be interesting to see if both forms prove equally durable in a persistent environment.
Warren is an Adult sim; only adult human avatars are welcomed, and the dress code seems very strictly enforced, even for observers. So be warned!