Written by: Filipa Thespian & Queen Sharktooth
Images by: Filipa Thespian
Elven scroll work emerges into view as the moonlight glints off the blade of a magical longsword, which is drawn suddenly from its scabbard by the white knuckled hand of a well-armored warrior. His senses alive and heedful of the hint of danger surrounding him in this dark, foreboding forest. Reflexively tensing at every twig snap or owl’s hoot, he silently curses himself regretting his foolhardy decision to enter the dark woods alone.
A brisk breeze moves the tree limbs above him and the underbrush around him, and despite the uncommonly loud rustle it causes, his ears pick up the nearly imperceptible sound of footsteps … heavy footsteps … and many of them heading in his direction. He stops with sword raised, poised for battle and waits. Suddenly three sallow-skinned orcs burst free from the dark embrace of the trees and attack …
The Third Age ends with the destruction of the One Ring and fall of Sauron – we all know the tale well – we read the books, watched the movies and played the games … that is familiar history. Now is the dawn of the Fourth Age … an entirely new twist on an age-old favorite that spawned an entire genre of fantasy, much-loved and feared characters and wonderfully rich role-play (RP).
Based at the Alqualonde at Swanhaven sim, Dawn of the 4th Age is Tolkien-based role-play that deftly moves in time advancing past the events of the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) trilogy. The profoundly rich setting of Tolkien’s world is intact with new twists and turns added to the now continuing story of the denizens of Middle Earth. The owners of Dawn of the 4th Age created a unique role-play experience for all those die-hard LOTR fans as well as anyone interested in quality fantasy RP.
With expanded character types and back stories, Dawn of the 4th Age brings previously marginal creatures, such as dragons to the forefront of active character involvement. “We use the framework of Tolkien’s works, to create the context of the Fourth Age. It is a world that has dragons, who have been twisted by the evil of Melkor, and their descendants — and those who escaped or rebelled against him and follow the path of light,” shares AelKennyr Rhiano, one of the owners of the sims.
Role-players at Dawn of the 4th Age are more than eager to share their thoughts and feelings about their home. “My experience has been wonderful since coming here almost a year ago,” says recently appointed elder, Shawn Daysleeper. “I have met many other role-players and learned much about how to write my character’s emotions and actions into RP. The result is a fascinating character I am proud of.”
Their “home” consists of three sims of rolling hills and delightfully shaped water inlets surrounding a landing zone and market, where new and veteran Dawn of the 4th Age players can outfit their characters in many wonderful fantasy specific shops.
New players, of course, are always welcome and Dawn of the 4th Age conducts weekly firesides, to address new players’ needs, that are open to all. “Here we discuss and clarify the best ways to translate all aspects of your character into RP. Additionally, we hold background discussion groups to help everyone understand the story originally written by Tolkien,” explains Lihan Taifun, an active role-player, sim elder and Fellowship elder to boot.
Maintaining open and friendly communication between role-players, elders and sim leaders is one of the key components to a great RP experience and here … it is considered pivotal!
Vouching for the ease of access, which Dawn of the 4th Age affords new players, Lawrence Blackbart affirms, “My character is still new, so has not progressed too far as of yet. Only recently introduced to the RP, he will be joining more permanently soon allowing for others to interact with me as a dragon.” His vibrant sapphire dragon avatar pauses momentarily then adds, “I am still quite new to the fantasy genre but an old hat at role-play in general, commanding a major Second Life military when not here at 4th Age.”
Lawrence and many others like him are continuing a story embraced and loved by millions. A tale which began with JRR Tolkien’s publication of a curious, unassuming little tome called The Hobbit, which along with his LOTR trilogy chronicles the legends and earth-shattering battles against evil fought by mighty heroes, wise wizards, powerful elves and steadfast hobbits at the end of the Third Age. Now begins the Dawn of the 4th Age, an intriguing new chapter in the Middle Earth saga and packed with intrigue, adventure and dedicated, experienced role-players. There is, of course, a place for you in this tale, entry is easy.
Simply… speak, friend, and enter.