Thursday, April 21, 2011

Steampunk Travelogue: New Barataria


Finding new Steampunk sims in Second Life is always a pleasure, especially when the owners/designers are new arrivals to the Steamlands.  I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Darkstar Rikugun, and his lovely partner, Madam Jeanie, the Governess of New Barataria.  Though they were (and remain) quite busy bring New Barataria up to speed for its Grand Opening, I was able to garner a bit of their time for some insights into the Steamland's newest destination...


The main thoroughfare in New Barataria

Steampunk Tribune (SPT): Could you tell a bit about your sim's inception and inspiration?


Mr. Darkstar Rikugun (DR): The idea for New Barataria came about in a strange way and I suppose it is a funny story. We wanted a Victorian Steampunk environment and since we were thinking about joining with an existing group of western role play sims, we tried to dream up an idea that would compliment them. So it had to be in the old west, 1880's. We felt like they had most of the western states already, so we thought New Orleans would be good since it is right next door to Texas. We also thought it would be fun to have pirates so as I studied New Orleans history I looked for pirate stories and kept seeing Jean Lafitte. The more I read about Jean Lafitte the more I wanted to use him in our role play. Since Lafitte disappeared around 1820 and no one really knows what happened to him, I started the story there, leveraging the name of his first colony.
Jeanie has done a marvelous job weaving the Steampunk theme into the sim and the environment.  With pirates, Cajun legends of vampires, and the Steampunk Neo-Victorian style, it makes for something very unique in this genre.

SPT: There are a good number of Steampunk sim in SL - what sets your sim apart from the rest?

DR: Our sim is primarily for role play and there are only a handful of Steampunk role play sims, however the genre seems to be widespread.  The advocacy of a sim strictly devoted to RP allows a serious RP person to make a home in the sim.  We have accommodated this with homes and spaces, shops for RP, and other likely roles for people to assume.  We believe that anyone wishing to experience and simulate this rapidly growing genre should minimally start in our sim.  We also support and will find methods in which our members can easily transport to our alliance partners, like the Port of Kasra.




Some of the many sky vessels which dot New Barataria


SPT: What are the most notable parts of your sim (architecture, builds, etc…)?

DR: New Barataria is made up of 2 sims, one of which is completely surrounded by water and the other is surrounded on 3 sides. This design was to facilitate metered naval battles. We have a recreated a fortress from historical accounts of Lafitte's fortress/home on his Galveston colony.
WE have a beautiful, intricately designed central clock tower that serves as the focal point of the city.  There are Airship docks on each sim. Downtown area of the city is centrally located on the main sim with residential homes around the outside edge of the sim. The city boasts a large hospital, hotel, saloon, cafe, courthouse and a bordello.  Of course, we maintain proper behavior….LOL 



SPT: Are there regular events which people can visit and enjoy your sim?

DR: Being a role play sim, events are not  the focus. However we are planning to have a few. We are planning a quest with prizes. We also plan to have daily in-character dances in the saloon as well as occasional contests such as airship races. Events bring people on an occurrence basis, we want to generate a feeling that our sim is HOME to folks…a place to RP, interact, have fun, and satisfy their interests.





SPT: Is there anything else you'd care to mention about your sim?
DR: Although we are new, we have grand plans for growth. Our intention is to create a Role Play that both new folks and experts can enjoy. The   essence of our sim is to have non-stressful, hopefully non-violent, fun. We ask that each person respect the rights of others. There are plenty of sims in SecondLife who state that capture, violent acts, and other behavior are not only allowed, but encouraged. We have decided that the experience in our sim will be one of interest, science, friendship, some intrigue, and of course fun. Of course, the only way to accomplish that is to have folks stop by AND stay. We welcome the neo-RP and the experts….come experience our world, and help us make it better, larger, and the most interesting place in all SL.


Additionally, the Governess generously provided a guided tour of New Barataria, where one can see yet more of Second Life's newest Steamland gem....




As the poster says, we are recruiting for many roles in New Barataria as we plot to attain world domination.  New Barataria is an imaginary city-state founded by the infamous pirate/privateer Jean Lafitte. The story picks up after his death in 1880 with his colony being governed by his daughter Madame Jeanie.  The city, having been isolated from the rest of civilization for more than 50 years developed its own technology based on steam power.



Your hosts, Jeanie and Darkstar on a stroll together through the city. Though they are not married or formally engaged, they can usually be found together and their goal in life, other than world domination, is to make the residents happy.




Greetings and please allow me to introduce myself, I am Madame Jeanie, Governess of New Barataria and daughter of the infamous businessman Jean Lafitte. Follow me as I take you on a brief tour of our community.




Lafitte’s old ship still guards the inlet from the sea, having been converted with airship technology it hovers as a solitary reminder of the city’s heritage.




Walking through the city streets just as you come off the landing point, in the direction of downtown. The street is lined with shops, a future museum and even an ice cream parlor.




At the first crossroads we come across the mooring towers for the many airships that pass through the busy port city. Once Madame Jeanie took the helm of the city she leveraged the airship technology to build trade relations with neighboring city-states in the Gulf of Mexico and the Americas.  Now New Barataria is a thriving trade center, known throughout the world for its advanced technologies.




After climbing back down from the mooring tower and turning down an alley will take you past the hotel where there are furnished rooms for rent for the weary traveler.



Going on past the hotel and then to the docks where a 7 seas fishing game is setup and open to the public. You can see the residential area in the background with its beautiful Victorian rental homes, in different sizes for different budgets. There is something for everyone in New Barataria.




Here is a shot of downtown. We can see the bank, the law office and the courthouse here, the saloon is across the street and the bordello is a stone’s throw away.




And here is the saloon, the side of the butcher shop can be seen on the right and the edge of the bordello on the far left.




A view from the edge of town, headed toward the fortress. 




And here is the home of Madame Jeanie and her companion Mr Darkstar. This home is surrounded by a fortress armed with cannons, complete with barracks and stables for the city militia. This is a somewhat historically accurate recreation of Jean Lafitte’s last home on the island of Galveston, Texas before he was ran off by the US Navy and disappeared from history. The backside of the fortress looks over the sea toward with its cannons aimed and ready for intruders.




Across the sea is an island inhabited by air pirates and here is their hideout. The sky is their home and they are rarely seen on the ground.





At the foot of the pirate’s mooring tower where their airship is anchored, there is an old graveyard for the city. It is said to be haunted and there are legends of vampires.



And this is the final stop on our tour, the inside of the undertakers house. As you can see the coffins are neatly arranged and ready for use strangely a few of the lids are missing, I wonder where the undertaker is?


I hope you have enjoyed the tour and will come and see us sometime, perhaps even settle and make your home with us.
Madame Jeanie




New Barataria's Skymall's landing location

If you haven't made the trip to New Barataria, I'd certainly recommend you do so!  Not often one can be part of the basis of a new Steampunk sim, so if so inclined, do follow one of the below SLurls to New Barataria!

Sky Mall: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Darkstar%20Enterprises/181/176/599

Sim: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Darkstar%20Enterprises/196/152/24

(As extensive as this entry is, I do have to give props to the indomitable Miss R. Jameson, with her scoop on New Barataria here!: http://rhianonjameson.blogspot.com/2011/04/where-all-fashionable-pirates-live.html )