Written by: Padraig Ashbourne
Images by: Filipa Thespian & Sav Lanzet
Just a couple years ago, near Venice, archaeologists uncovered the remains of a 16th century woman with a brick stuck between her jaws. Using medieval texts of the time regarding victims of the Plague, researchers now known that this is one of the earliest known vampire exorcisms. While the woman was actually a plague victim circa 1576, the brick was put there a few years later by priests or gravediggers, who mistook decomposing bodies for a monster they did not understand. A resurgence of the Plague years later forced officials to reopen mass graves so they could bury new victims.
Though the truth of vampires is not nearly so glamorous, the allure of medieval Venice endures. Venexia, a recent addition to the line of SGS roleplaying sims, capitalizes on both the romance of ancient Venice as well as the romance of old world Vampires. The sim represents the owners’ (Baal Zobel and Kora Zenovka) most elaborate building and scripting to date and combines it with a role-playing framework they’ve honed over the last few years.
“It’s really something I wanted to do for a long time … and a while back we were thinking of a new theme after our Nomos sim faded away. I thought maybe we could do it and use it as our focused vampire sim. We’ve had vampires in our other sims before, but I’ve always wanted to do a dedicated one. Venice seems to be a great place to dress up for roleplay and do that Vampire motif … it’s just the right atmosphere for some reason,” explained Baal Zobel, during an interview.
Nearly four months in development, Zobel admits Venexia nearly got the better of him: “It was a lot longer than we expected or wanted, because while we are developing it we have to carry the cost which is a bit crippling. I did think at one point I couldn’t do it, so I changed ideas. We almost did a World War II themed sim but then I picked up enough courage to start it again, and it began to work. However, I have to say, it is easily the most difficult thing I have done in SL.”
Thankfully, Baal was able to continue with his vision for Venexia and bring it to fruition. The results have far exceeded their expectations! Baal and Kora enlisted a couple of longtime regular roleplayers from their Kingdom of Sand sims, Tim Speiser and Mathias Brucato, to get involved before the actual opening of Venexia, both to help better market their new project, and to ensure there were people available to help mentor the opening wave of arrivals.
However Baal himself doesn’t roleplay at his sims.
“I get too involved. I tried it for a while but I tend to think everyone means what they say! Also I can’t be on the ground long before I get bombed with private messages, so it isn’t really possible. I guess I could have an alt, but really I see myself like a set designer after its built, I watch the show develop.” He teases, “I keep to myself and cultivate a scary exterior so only the brave dare approach! However Kora thinks no one messages me because she gets all the IM’s.”
“She knows her job and I know mine. I am a bit selfish in building. I like to have control of everything. I’m not sure I could build with anyone else. It would be too difficult to keep trying to make sure we were both on the same dream,” Baal continues.
So what’s planned next for the SGS roleplay sims? Right now even Baal doesn’t yet know.
“At the moment Kora would kill me for even thinking about doing another sim. As much work as I do, her load is twice as big because she has to try to implement all the nutty ideas I come up with and make them work in script. I think we will concentrate for a while on making what we have strong. Soon off back to Golgothica to totaly re-do the story and add a ton more roleplay there. So no more new sims for a while, although I already have one or two I could start tomorrow if I chose to.”
Thankfully Venexia has been a hit right out the door. It’s grabbed the attention of roleplayers across the grid, both SGS veterans and new arrivals alike. Fans of period costume pieces as well as vampire aficionados alike can revel in a breathtaking environment modeled after the magic of Venice. They can admire old word Italian ships as well as mysterious canals filled with murky waters. Even if you are just a fan of well-crafted and detailed builds, and don’t care to get involved with in an active roleplaying environment, Venexia should be experienced at least once.