Dramatis Personae

Before getting into detail about my adventures in the world I am going begin by introducing you to some of the people I shared the world with.


From the first day I met Amon he was in the middle of a leadership drama. This was to be a recurring pattern. Not long after I first met him he became the chief high priest of the temple of Osiris in Ptolemaic Egypt, referred to by the tile of Illustrious One. A few days later he sadly informed me that, after a dispute with the vizier, Meresankh, he had stepped down from his role as Illustrious One. He assured me that he had been begged not to resign but that he found it to be the only way he could deal with his conflict with the vizier. I didn’t go into the details of it with him on that occasion as I hadn’t known him long, but as time went by I began to see that Amon’s life in Second Life was a cycle of him being appointed to some position, having a conflict with someone, resigning his position and waiting for people to ask him to take it up again.

Amon told me he was gay and had a partner who didn’t understand his usage of Second Life and with whom he had to negotiate his inworld time. His inworld time was obviously very important to him. The main thing Amon wanted from others in Second Life was respect. His pattern of quitting a position and then having lengthy, repeated emotional conversations with everyone until they assured him they really needed him to return and assume his position evidenced this. But he also put a lot of effort into trying to build the community. He was inworld most of the time, every day. He would be at all the meetings and have some input into everything.

He had a house in another sim outside of Egypt to which he would take any male who turned up. The house was populated with suggestively named poseballs. A poseball is a method of animating avatars. One would see a small ball in the world which the avatar could sit on, which would then carry out whatever animation had been inserted into the ball. Poseballs often came in pairs. One coloured pink and one blue, to indicate the position for the appropriate gender. For example a dancing poseball would have the blue poseball be for the avatar who would lead the dance, while the pink one would follow. Text would often float over the poseball so one could see what the animation attached to it was. Amon had poseballs labelled “suck” and “stand”.

Amon was always doing priestly things. I never saw him fighting, or engaging in the ubiquitous combat and capture scenarios. He spent a lot of time initiating new priests. He’d initiate someone within five minutes of their turning up. He loved the rituals and really wanted to get more people into the community. He realised that people preferred fighting and yet wanted to get them into the priesthood. So he set up a priests’ army.

Amon: I have set up a new order
Amon: with Intef
Thutmose: what kind of order?
Amon: priest soldiers
Amon: it may not be needed
Amon: but
Amon: I had to do something when the army was moving against us
Thutmose: they were?
Amon: now the threat seems to have gone and we have one
Amon: yes
Amon: they refused
Thutmose: wow, no one ever tells me anything
Amon: to acknowledged the priesthood
Amon smiles
Amon: this it the thing Thutmose
Amon: we need to hold this priesthood together
Amon: so tomorrow night's meeting will be interesting
Thutmose: indeed
Amon: I think that Seti is saying that if Isis can be in the temple why not Set
Amon: for me
Amon: I wanted the women to feel comfortable in the priesthood
Amon: and he talks of Gnosticism
Amon: well
Amon: that's all well and fine
Amon: but it's just a bit of an assumption
Amon: that i'm even spiritual at all
Amon: perhaps it's all a huge video game to me
Thutmose: everyone is here for different reasons
Amon: with cartoon people doing cartoon things
Amon: lol
Amon: I jest
Amon: assumption...well you know
Amon grins
Amon: an amazing venue...
Amon: with incredible potential
Thutmose: potential for what though?
Amon: depends on your imagination

I was never able to really be sure how he felt about the religious aspects, whether he was seriously interested in the religion, or just saw it as a game. He was interested in learning about the religion of ancient Egypt, but had a view of what a priest was and should do that was based on Christian concepts of priesthood: the priests were there to help people, do good works, minister and spread the word. He wanted to get the priests out into the community doing things for people, things that would make them include the priests more in community activities. He thought that priests spending all their time in the temple doing temple things was not going to ingratiate them to the community, though the priests of ancient Egypt had the temple as their entire focus. He was very sensitive to how the rest of the community saw the priesthood. He had to know everything that was going on. If something happened or some decision was made and he wasn’t included there would be emotional repercussions for everybody.


Berenike was a high priestess and the oracle1 a role she described thus; “I wander around, stoned, saying off the wall stuff that makes people worry”. She had been in Egypt for only two weeks when I arrived. Berenike was a devout atheist who kept role playing priestesses. After having played a priestess in Star Wars Galaxies, a massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG), prior to her oracle role in Ptolemaic Egypt she subsequently played a priestess again in Nubian Egypt. She liked to discuss religion a lot and she wasn’t a rabid Dawkins type atheist, so we had many interesting discussions. Seeing uses for religion she was concerned about the effect that the decline of organised religion is having on society.

Berenike: I roleplayed a priestess in Star Wars: Galaxies... and intended on not doing so again.
Thutmose: why not?
Berenike: In that game, in that community, I... an atheist... became a true religious figure for many.
Berenike: that is a very uncomfortable position.
Berenike: One finds oneself attempting to live up to the expectations.
Thutmose: lol
Thutmose: now that's funny
Berenike: I am a third generation atheist.
Thutmose: I am the polar opposite of an atheist
Thutmose: panentheist
Berenike: /grin, we will have some interesting chats.
Berenike: Only the "badguys" (who also happened to be the best roleplayers, by the way) could keep the avi separate from the player.
Berenike: The "goodguys" brought me their real life problems...especially the teenagers.
Berenike: I have a minor in comparative religions.  I tried to stay within the parameters of each person's religion.
Berenike: These were more serious... most of them.
Berenike: One questioned his sexuality, but was afraid to go to his priest because of the scandals in the Church.  He lived in a single parent home.
Thutmose: yeah, I have to laugh at the Catholics.
Thutmose: bad press extraordinaire
Thutmose: but then I am evil
Thutmose: :)
Berenike: They built that particular trap for themselves, and they have to deal with the consequences.
Berenike: I don't think the Christian churches, in general, are adapting well to this age.
Thutmose: no they are doomed
Thutmose: no loss
Berenike: but, the people are replacing religion with superstition, moral confusion, and just plain laziness in thinking... and the schools are not taking up the slack.
Berenike: On the other hand... I see more and more parents teaching consequences for one's actions... which gives me a lot of hope for the future.
Thutmose: indeed the education system here is rubbish
Berenike: Blame the Boomers.
Berenike: They are too Carebear...
Berenike: And bought in to the Age of Aquarius.
Thutmose: how do you mean?
Thutmose: re Aquarius i mean
Berenike: Oh, listen to the song...it celebrates, but what does it celebrate?
Thutmose: well Aquarius :)
Thutmose: rationality, individualism
Thutmose: idiosyncracies
Thutmose: but also a tendency to self delusion
Berenike: Mostly just change... but it does not say what kind of change? So the Boomers changed things... they made school easy, they made sex easy, they made superstition easy... but they did not celebrate hard work, thinking, and most of all... consequences.
Thutmose: yup
Thutmose: too busy getting stoned and laid
Berenike: Yeah.
Berenike: And most had parents who got them out of trouble... so that they didn't have to deal with consequences.
Thutmose: and we their children were given so much freedom that most learned no self discipline
Berenike: Precisely.
Thutmose: and now we have the second generation from baby boomers who have been brought up by parents with no self discipline and you get kids who don't even know elf discipline exists
Thutmose: and who think to discriminate means a bad thing
Berenike: LOL!

Berenike was always keen to learn, which is one reason she was in the priesthood. She would do research and was a valuable participant in the priests’ meetings. Despite her atheism, she had a good knowledge of the gods of Egypt and was a driving force in the priesthood. We formed a good relationship quite quickly and worked together well, our shared interest in religion being the basis of our many indepth conversations. She had quite fixed notions of what a religion should be and didn’t have any time for “made up religions”. Although she didn’t think they were “made up religions” she was not a fan of the Abrahamic religions either. The idea that some religions are ‘made up’ is frequently offered as an argument against new religions2, or new expressions of religion, and is essentially the same argument used to attack virtual worlds as ‘not real’. It is thus doubly interesting to the subject at hand, that of religion in virtual worlds. I am not persuaded by this argument and see it rather as simply a preferencing of what is seen as the normal state of affairs. Western society has been for so long under the reign of the Abrahamic religions that conceptions of what constitutes a real religion are measured against the tenets of those religions3. Similarly the ontological status of virtual worlds is questioned simply because they afford a new way of being.

Berenike was also one of the few people I knew who was able to avoid the conflation of role play issues with OOC issues. This was to be a recurring issue. One particular ongoing problem of this nature was caused by a priestess who was recruiting for her meatspace religion in the community. She continually tried to bend the shape of the religion in the world to match her meatspace religion. She had been initiated into the priesthood by Seti and was assigned to be my hem netjer (a rank of priest of which more explanation will be given later) and, as such, it was my responsibility to teach her about Egyptian religion. The first I knew about this OOC/role play crossover of hers was when she came to me and told me that Egyptian religion had serial reincarnation. My discussion with Berenike about this led to a fascinating discussion about “made up religions”, from which it became clear that she didn’t only include in this category the kind of self consciously and self admittedly created religions that Cusack4 describes as invented religions – The Church of All Worlds, Discordiansim and their like – but rather any religion that wasn’t begun by an act of divine command or inspiration, but was deliberately created by a small group of people. Her inclusion of Islam in this group is puzzling given its derivation from an explicit divine revelation.

Thutmose: my miserable hem netjer tried to tell me that there was reincarnation in Egyptian religion
Berenike: What???
Thutmose: and when I said, nope, just the one lifetime then go to the Du'at to live with the gods she told me I was wrong.
Berenike: I have seen absolutely nothing that indicated any such belief.
Thutmose: She said the temple of Isis taught reincarnation and that "That must be well known to one as wise as you".
Thutmose: so I said where is this temple?
Berenike: Oh, its in RL.
Thutmose: And then she went on to say it was on the island temple of Philae.
Berenike: It is another made up religion like Wicca and the masons.
Thutmose: careful dear, your prejudices are showing
Thutmose: all things are one - IMHO
Berenike: Well, they were... and so was Ba'hai... that doesn't make them any less religions.
Thutmose: All religions were made up by humans
Berenike: We just have documentation on their origins.
Thutmose: It seems to me that the thing all religions call gods is the same thing
Berenike: They didn't grow, like most religions.
Thutmose: Just given different names by most cultures
Thutmose: Wicca did grow...
Thutmose: Wicca from western magical societies like the Golden Dawn
Berenike: Yes, once their founders died.
Thutmose: and freemasonry from medieval guilds, but it's not a religion.
Berenike: Oh, no, freemasonry was made up during Napoleonic times.
Thutmose: what about the Baha'i?
Berenike: Another "made up religion" that has a lot to be said for it.  I have come to admire the Baha'i that I have met.
Thutmose: define "made up religion"
Berenike: Any religion that has, as its source, a few people deliberately putting together a belief system... and which has not yet had time to mutate.
Berenike: Islam was a made up religion, at first... it no longer is.
Berenike: It's hard to tell about Christianity... it appears to have been organic.
Thutmose: bah!
Thutmose: Christianity was organic until Paul of Tarsus got involved
Thutmose: from then on it was contrived
Berenike: LOL
Thutmose: all religions are made up
Berenike: I think most Pagan religions were organic.
Berenike: in origin...
Thutmose: all religions are languages that humans use to describe the divine
Berenike: But, this Isis sect, it is way too young to have become organic.
Thutmose: as such we 'made them up'
Thutmose: which Isis sect?
Berenike: The one Cleopatra belongs to... it has only been around maybe 25 years.
Berenike: At the most.
Thutmose: ah ok
Thutmose: well if it is using Isis then it is organic, if I understand what you mean by organic
Thutmose: it has grown
Thutmose: and if it incorporates Isis and reincarnation then it is definitely not just a revival
Berenike: No, the founders are still alive... it is a splinter of the White Goddess group.
Thutmose: whats the white goddess group? Like Robert Graves' White Goddess?
Berenike: Yes, lol!
Thutmose: well as I see it every religions builds on the religions before it
Thutmose: it is like everything humans do
Thutmose: we look at what is around us and try to form our own understanding of it
Thutmose: and to express it in a way that makes sense in our culture
Berenike: Well, I am worried about the number of cults arising in the last 25 years that have a dependence on magic... and showing an increasing lack of knowledge of science.
Thutmose: why?
Berenike: First off... what about science disproves the existence of a god?  Nothing.
Berenike: For the Christians, the fundamentalists... why are they afraid of learning about the wonders of creation?
Thutmose: because their whole religion operates on fear
Berenike: /nod
Thutmose: and because monotheism is driven by categories of exclusion
Thutmose: they feel if they can prove everyone else is wrong, then they must be right
Thutmose: which is really sad
Berenike: And, I have noticed that many Europeans and Americans who claim to be atheists are "Christian atheists".
Berenike: They are not really atheists... they are rebels against their own religion.
Thutmose: how do you mean?
Berenike: Mostly they are angry at the institutions of Christianity... they sneer only at Christianity, not at Islam except in that it is related.  They do not sneer at Buddhism or Shinto, or any of the other religions.
Berenike: Just Christianity.
Berenike: and more particularly at the section of it that they come from.
Thutmose: of course
Berenike: Catholic, Baptist, Lutheranism, which ever.
Thutmose: it is easy to see the failings of a thing that is around one all the time.

Discussions such as this were another reason Berenike was in Second Life. Her circumstances meant she couldn’t get out of her home much. I deduced from our conversations that she was probably in her sixties, for example she told me her father had been drafted into WWII when he was 32 years old. Berenike told me she lived with her husband who had an acquired brain injury and who she had to care for constantly. She also told me she worked, though not full time. Certainly she was in the world a great deal of the time. Often most of her night time as well as the day time hours. Berenike was clearly an intelligent person and wanted to talk to others who were capable of interesting conversation, though she also enjoyed gossip. Although I spent most of my time oblivious to the political intrigues going on around me, unless they immediately concerned me, she always knew exactly who was doing what to whom and why. She knew all the gossip. When others were getting upset about politics she would be a calm voice of reason. Usually. Once she did get upset she was vociferous.

Berenike hated Gor. When she first joined Ptolemaic Egypt she discovered that the owner and Pharaoh was heavily into Gor as he tried to treat her as a Gor female. She claimed that 90% of the women in Ptolemaic Egypt were into Gor. Most of them did indeed choose to dress in the typical dress of Gor slaves, known as silks, an outfit which was comprised of thin strips of cloth hanging from a flimsy belt, and which covered nothing of the body. It was a full time preoccupation of Berenike’s to try to get the female avatars to dress as Egyptians instead of as Gor slaves, without much success. She worked ceaselessly to try to get them to not behave like the obsequious victims that Gorean slaves are, but rather as Egyptian women, who enjoyed equal status with men. Countering her efforts was the fact that these apparently women enjoyed being slaves, they seemed to want to be totally dominated by men.

Thutmose: I just had this hem netjer practically have a nervous breakdown because I told her not to be so obsequious.
Berenike: Which one?
Thutmose: Cleopatra
Berenike: I should slap her silly.
Berenike: She is an intelligent woman.
Thutmose: she seems to be
Thutmose: but there is something going on there
Berenike: She is a Gorean. I hate Gor, I hate Gor, I hate Gor.
Thutmose: ditto, ditto, ditto
Thutmose: :)
Thutmose: I told her to hold her head up and be a good example to the people of egypt
Thutmose: and she burst into tears.
Thutmose: I mean ..
Thutmose: wtf
Berenike: Let me speak with her.
Thutmose: she came in yesterday
Thutmose: with a mural for the temple wall
Thutmose: and was all, "if my pathetic efforts may be considered good enough"
Thutmose: so I told her it was good and then I asked her about the gods depicted in the mural
Thutmose: and she didn't know who they were
Thutmose: so I asked her how she had made it if she didn't even know their names
Thutmose: and then she said she didn't make the images, just the mural object
Thutmose: so I told her it was a nice mural, which it is, and that she should learn a bit about the gods
Thutmose: and she went all "I am so worthless" on me
Berenike: lol
Thutmose: and today she sought me out for a talk
Thutmose: and spoke for about half and hour and pussyfooted about
Thutmose: and wouldn't get to the point
Thutmose: and then when I tried to get her to spit it out she just burst into tears and left
Thutmose: *shrug*
Thutmose: I was nice and everything
Thutmose: honestly
Thutmose: very, very patient and nice
Berenike: shit... I knew Gor dehumanized the men, but wasn't really aware of the damage it was doing to the women.
Berenike: Now, I have worked hard to get Horemheb to not treat me like a bar wench... which is his initial reaction to all females in this game.
Thutmose: lol
Thutmose: that's really interesting about Horemheb
Thutmose: I haven't seen that side of him
Berenike: Oh?  I thought it was well known that he is a lech.
Thutmose: well maybe I am not his type
Berenike: We have already had the "you should come to Gor" discussion.
Thutmose: oh dear
Berenike: I will NOT participate in an activity that encourages men to become subhuman.
Thutmose: lol
Berenike: Which BDSM does.
Thutmose: I used to think it might be a good thing to be able to role play stuff like that but
Thutmose: having seen the results
Thutmose: it really doesn't get it out of people's system
Thutmose: it just makes it worse
Berenike: Precisely. I used to be more open minded about that... but I have seen too much of the results.
Berenike: And the first time I saw Cleopatra, she was in silks... and behaving in a sub manner.
Thutmose: oh dear
Thutmose: we did issue a clothing guide for priestesses
Thutmose: because too many of the were running around in silks
Berenike: The only person I have seen in silks who didn't act like a sub, is Repytnub... and she says she has never been in Gor past one hour.
Berenike: almost 90% of the female applicants to this sim are Gor players...
Thutmose: oh dear
Berenike: I don't know if that reflects on the female population of SL or on the sim... I suspect the latter.
Thutmose: well that explains some of the strange reactions I get from some females here...
Berenike: Ahhh, Thutmose, you make me feel like a sophisticate.

After the collapse of Ptolemaic Egypt, Berenike was to be the person who drove the process of forming the second community. She rallied people around, got them to come to meetings, promised them the things they wanted and made sure things got done. Unfortunately, so great was her desire to see a new community formed, she promised conflicting things to people. This was to be the source of much of the tension in the second community.


Horemheb was a Gorean who founded the Ptolemaic Egypt sims with a couple of friends after a dispute in a Gorean sim that they had all previously had. He soon fell out with them and took over the running of the community himself. He paid for the sims entirely on his own. As there were between six and nine sims at any one time, this represented about USD 1,500 per month. Horemheb was a man’s man. He would speak of women as “bitches” and adamantly and frequently referred to how they needed (and liked) to be “kept in line”. There was certainly no shortage of female avatars in the sims who, judging by the nature of the activities they undertook with him, and the extremely regular basis on which these activities occurred, clearly concurred with his views.

He said his idea was to have an historically accurate sim, but he wasn’t consistent in this goal. One day, as Berenike and I were walking around, we ran into some Vikings. We questioned their presence in Egypt in 300 BCE and they were quite irate when we told them they wouldn’t exist for another thousand years. But they assured us they were on a visit from Britannia to see Horemheb and had his permission to be there. Horemheb invariably remained in character in local chat and was a strong advocate of historical accuracy so we were confused. Pondering the historical unlikelihood of their presence in Egypt I went off to seek out Horemheb.

Thutmose: emhotep
Thutmose: I have to ask about the vikings?
Horemheb: ok
Thutmose: what's the story?
Thutmose: 'cause Berenike and I were a bit shocked yesterday to be greeted in Egypt by someone claiming she was a viking
Horemheb: Nords lived on Britannia prior to Roman conquest......they are Barbarian....... letting them get established.....see if it works, then tighten up on it
Thutmose: ummmm
Thutmose: Brittania wasn't Brittania until after the Roman invasion
Thutmose: and no vikings for about 1000 years
Horemheb: the native peoples are nordic......... the tribes that are in britannia, have nordic history
Horemheb: its an island
Horemheb: they didn't grow there
Thutmose: the peoples who lived in Britain before the Romans were Britains not Norsemen
Horemheb: and where do you think the tribes that are in Britian came from
Thutmose: well they had been there since the end of the ice age
Thutmose: and during the Iron Age Celts migrated there
Thutmose: and, sure, some people from what we call Scandinavia went there, but they weren't vikings at that time
Thutmose: and then the Romans came in 43AD, but that is after when our RP is set
Horemheb: and Nords......  they just did some recent artifact and carbon dating sampling of Nordic items on northern coast of Britan.......that predates Roman occupations.........either that or I drink too much
Horemheb: we have to have a little leeway here, or we will have no other groups on the sim............just like the Nubians
Thutmose: Nubians fit the period
Horemheb: I called them Barbarians........   Egyptians had a name for "Sea Peoples"  who are debated but not clearly identified as being one group or another
Thutmose: they were earlier than our setting
Thutmose: second century BC
Thutmose: the thing is we now have people walking around saying they are vikings
Thutmose: which is just stupid
Thutmose: I understand about getting more people in
Horemheb: sighs............  I am letting them get established, we can and will refine their RP........in truth its an experiment
Thutmose: I understand
Thutmose: I am recalling your earlier conversations where you mentioned your requirement for historical accuracy
Thutmose: which is why I was confused
Thutmose: if you are going to relax the rules for some you need to relax the rules for others or there will be unhappiness
Horemheb: Yes......... and I allowed them in as a test.....
Thutmose: some notice of this would have been nice
Horemheb: Thutmose..............give it a chance
Thutmose: Berenike and I nearly got into a fight with a chick yesterday who got majorly upset when we told her there are no vikings for 1000 years
Thutmose: I am not hassling you
Thutmose: IMHO you can have 100% historical accuracy or you can have lots of people
Thutmose: in 'real' egypt there were many more poor people than nobles and priests
Horemheb: that's the truth
Thutmose: but this place is the opposite
Thutmose: but who wants to play a peasant who just works in the fields all day?
Horemheb: no one......
Thutmose: I am trying to help you get more historical without pushing it too hard
Thutmose: but if you want help you need good communications
Thutmose: otherwise we get embarrassing situations like us saying no vikings and then being told you let them in
Thutmose: Berenike and I were trying in encourage your previously stated policy of historical accuracy
Horemheb: and I appreciate it.........
Thutmose: that's all
Thutmose: I know you want more people and most everyone I know wants to help you attain that goal
Thutmose: well, Thutmose is a grumpy bastard, but I am great
Horemheb: that's good........don't believe in Evil.........lol
Thutmose: do you understand where I am coming from?
Horemheb: ummm....... let me think.......... do I win a prize if I get the right answer
Horemheb: lol
Horemheb: yes of course
Thutmose: sure
Thutmose: a lovely prize
Thutmose: a very fast chariot
Horemheb: lol
Thutmose: I can do you a good deal on a lovely gold embossed obelisk I just made..
Thutmose: pharoah special
Thutmose: triple the price everyone else pays ;)
Horemheb: or you could make it an offering to your god......
Horemheb: I will receive your offering later today priest
Horemheb: don't be late....... the god king doesn't like to be kept waiting

Horemheb was clearly aware of the tension between absolute historical accuracy and providing an engaging environment. On the one hand he wanted his community to be taken seriously by the wider role play community in Second Life. But on the other he also wanted to maintain a high enough number of members to keep the community sustainable. To this end he tried a whole series of things apart from Vikings. At Berenike’s suggestion Nubians were added, although they didn’t form a durable group. The Medjay (a mercenary police force) were added and became a strong contingent in the community. Libya had a space for a while. It attracted some Greeks and Romans who would interact with Egypt, and it became Cleopatra’s refuge when she fell out with the priesthood.

An interesting aspect of this conversation is the way we slip in and out of character. As it’s a private chat we don’t need to be in character, but our avatars are standing in the city of Alexandria which creates a cognitive tension, and probably contributes to this slippage. I start the conversation as my avatar walks up to Horemheb’s and so I greet him in Egyptian, but I do it in a private chat because my intention is to talk to him about an OOC matter. We then have an OOC conversation about the tensions caused by his allowing Vikings and not having told anyone. At one point in the conversation I talk about my character in the third person, saying “Well, Thutmose is a grumpy bastard, but I am great”. The meaning I am trying to convey is that I keep any tension for role play, but my meatspace self is supporting Horemheb. It’s a blithe expression meant to demonstrate that I feel it is important to separate in and out of character interactions. Near the end of the conversation Horemheb slips, he begins by speaking as his character and then, on the very next next line, speaks of that character in the third person. Unless the majestic plural applies, it’s difficult to think of another occasion on which one might speak about one’s different selves in this way. One becomes one’s characters, but not for all the time, and the line between the character and one’s self often slips, depending on where one is, what one is talking about, and whom to.

Horemheb was amazingly fond of sex, and of telling other men about it. He had a series of rooms, that he would hide by placing them in parts of the sim that weren’t looked at often, for example underground, that obviously (because of their fitments i.e. beds with sexual poseballs in them) had the sole purpose of being sexual activity venues. He had the most comprehensive collection of sexual poseballs of anyone I knew in the world. Because of the absolute lack of privacy inherent in the nature of the world it always amazed me that people would have their avatars have sex in a sim where others could enter. But they did. Horemheb would usually do it at times he thought no one else would be in the sim. Because of my location however I would sometimes log in when everyone else was asleep and I would catch him in flagrante delicto. On these occasions he would blusteringly brag about this particular conquest. Occasionally the sim would be inaccessible in the middle of the American night and I would be unable to log in. Once I was able to relog (log in again after being logged out) he would be there alone but in his sex room. This led me to suspect that he would restrict admission to the sim when he really didn’t want others to see what he was up to, or who he was up to it with, and leave it accessible when he was happy to be caught.

Horemheb loved to stir the pot and sit back and see what happened. There were a couple of players who were serial creators of grief. One in particular, a Gorean, would try to inject malice into every situation she participated in. Her particular specialty was OOC grief for role play actions. This resulted in Horemheb banning her a number of times, but he would always let her back in.

Horemheb: Meresankh is whacked
Thutmose: whacked?
Horemheb: yes as in nuts
Thutmose: this is the ex general?
Horemheb: yes
Thutmose: ah
Thutmose: yes I saw she was back
Thutmose: she certainly seems quite unbalanced
Horemheb: naaaa.........ya think
Thutmose: I haven't had a lot of contact with her
Thutmose: but what I have had has been weird
Horemheb: She's like a cancer of doom and gloom and conspiracy
Thutmose: well you can fix that
Thutmose: god remember :)
Horemheb: Shes in Britannia......... there's a warrant out for her.......lol
Horemheb: that will be fun

Some players however were permanently banned. Several times I saw Meresankh’s malicious actions result in a series of people getting permanently banned, while she would be banned for a short time and then be allowed to return. This created an impression that there was one rule for some but not for others. It was the general opinion that the Goreans could do as they wished but others had to tread more carefully. I never saw a Gorean get permanently banned.

Thutmose: I have had complaints from the Min soldiers that soldiers in the other army are giving them shit OOC about the army
Thutmose: and generally putting shit on the priesthood
Horemheb: good......make them tough......  perfect
Horemheb: Intef.......I talked to him last night........ he needs to mature a little..........this is RP.......... let them talk shit......that's good for RP.
Horemheb: That was/is Meresankh's issue
Horemheb: cant separate RP from OOC
Thutmose: yes, and I see she is back again..
Horemheb: lol........and we are using that for RP
Thutmose: ok but we need to stress the RP v OOC thing
Horemheb: the Magistrate has issued the arrest warrants
Thutmose: there is a lot of crossover
Thutmose: I try to enforce in character in local chat as much as I can
Horemheb: that's up to people like you and me....... I do not tolerate it, nor do I engage in the conversations.........when Intef whined to me on Sun.......I slapped him upside the head.......

Horemheb instituted a policy of no permanent death. The combatants would slice and dice each other daily and would die when their meter had accrued enough blows. But then they would get up again and go at it. This obviously affected the role play.

Thutmose: what happens when a character gets killed?
Horemheb: up to the character
Horemheb: you can RP the death
Thutmose: and does the same character come back or do they have to choose another one?
Horemheb: or just end the RP and start new
Horemheb: same
Horemheb: like it never happened
Thutmose: ok that's weird
Horemheb: it's SL
Horemheb: you talk it out OOC
Horemheb: do it all the time
Thutmose: what's the point of killing people then if they don't stay dead?
Horemheb: dude........that's SL........ people cant afford to create new avis and buy all new items etc........nor do they want to be another avi........they would leave
Thutmose: that's not what I meant, they don't have to get a new avi just make that avi another character
Thutmose: it just seems to make it hard to develop a story line
Thutmose: if people die and then they are better

Here Horemheb is referring to how items are tied to avatars by the permissions system. Once a particular avatar purchases clothes, weapons etc. those items can’t be transferred to another avatar, even if it belongs to the same user. Because of this investment in items people are loathe to have their character die. While the permissions system might be seen by content creators as a way to protect their items it is limiting the options of users. There is a consistent discourse among users regarding how much they hate the permission system and how it limits them. People want to support content creators but they don’t want to be restricted in their usage of items. This is driven by the concept of ownership. People purchase items for meatspace money and they expect the features of meatspace ownership will apply because of this. The permissions system however prevents this from being the case.

  1. Shafer, B. E. (ed), (1991), Religion in Ancient Egypt: Gods, Myths, and Personal Practice, Cornell University Press, New York, pp. 170-171. ↩︎
  2. Cusack, C., (2010), Invented Religions, Ashgate, Farnham, p. 142. ↩︎
  3. Cusack, C., (2010), Invented Religions, Ashgate, Farnham, p. 147. ↩︎
  4. Cusack, C., (2010), Invented Religions, Ashgate, Farnham. ↩︎

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