Loki Eliot, the world builder behind the land of Echtra, shares with us how it has been like to build a whole Faireland the first time, tells plenty of wonderful details and advises how to learn even more about the story behind Echtra. He also reveals Echtra’s theme song and information about the roleplay that will take place in Echtra all throughout the Faire.
This is your first year of building a Faireland. How did you become a world-builder, and how has it been like?
It’s been fun, a lot of work, and some sleepless nights near the end, but I’ve been wanting to do a large scale project for a while and as last year’s Fantasy Faire came to a close I decided to put myself forward as a builder. The organisers of Fantasy Faire have been great at putting up with my constant attempts to do things different. You have to make sure there is plenty of room for the merchants to display their stuff and I’ve always been a fan of compact little spaces so it was hard to keep things small while offering the required space, it lead to some oddly shaped buildings, which I have to say the merchants have used in very creative ways. It has been fun seeing how they used the spaces. Not everything went to plan, as one area I’ve had trouble with is the path leading down into the ice cave. Lots of people get to the Great Hall, run around inside, then head back out again not realising the path goes into a hole in to the ground. I’ve tried adding footprints and a sign but still some miss the cave entrance.
How was Echtra born? What inspired it, what is its story?
Those who know their fantasy lore will either see Edoras from Lord of the Rings or Heorot from Beowulf when arriving at Echtra. I’m a fan of the more historical mythologies and legends and wanted to see if i could bring a gritty muddy feel to Fantasy Faire. There has always been plenty of clean fluffy high fantasy worlds in the past, so I was hoping to make Echtra different. Hopefully it’s not too gloomy and muddy. The story behind Echtra is a mixture of old Celtic and Norse legends and revolves around a statue of a boy god known as the Grey Prince. The Grey Prince abandoned the people of Echtra and plunged the land into a seasonless gloom. Why that happened can be discovered using the Echtra Experience HUD and taking part in the Roleplaying events. The name Echtra (pronounced Eeh-Tra) is an old word for an ’Adventure story’ set in the otherworlds. The Statue of the Grey Prince was created by talented artist and friend Silas Merlin who currently has an exhibition in Second Life https://modemworld.me/2016/04/15/silas-merlin-pastels-and-mirrors-in-second-life/ .
How did you begin building in Second Life? What inspires you to create?
I rezed a prim, linked it, someone else liked what I made and the rest is historical ones and zeros :-p In Second Life you have the chance to be a wizard yourself and master the environment, bend it to your will and envelope your friends into that creation. Create an interesting object, give it character, then script it to do things, place it in its own space, then let people interact with it…. the result? a memory. Whether it’s a happy or melancholy memory, it’s one of the coolest things I can imagine creating and giving to people. That’s why I create. It’s also why events like Fantasy Faire are so cool. For this brief moment these worlds appear and we experience them, and then they are gone and all we have is the shared memories.
You are involved with the roleplay in Echtra as well. Tell us about it, what is going to happen, can the visitors join in?
Being on the role-play team as well as the world builder allowed for some great opportunities for integrating the role-play story deep into the world of Echtra. We have the gloom, a frozen dragon and fierce looking hedgehogs that are all part of the overall story.
I tried to make it so there are three levels of interacting with Echtra. The First Level is the Shopper, they can walk through looking at the shops without having to be involved at all in the story. The Second Level is the Explorer where anyone can uncover the basic background of Echtra without having to take part in the big role-play stuff, either on their own or with friends using the Echtra Experience HUD. It’s available at the region entrances, the village square and the great hall. It’s sort of a mini exploration game that will reveal to you where all the adults vanished and why the land is so gloomy. The Third Level is for the full blown role-players. We have the Rickety Weasels gang of child avatars hanging out at the Great Hall trying to work out the history behind Echtra and how to return the land to its former glory. All through the week there will be special encounter events helping to evolve the overall story while raising funds for Relay For Life. You don’t have to be a Rickety Weasel to join in, just come along and get roleplaying!
What calls you to fantasy? When was the first time you encountered the genre and realized you enjoyed it?
I’m a geek of the 80’s and into sci-fi and fantasy and anything that’s otherworldly. I just grew up into it, I don’t think there was ever a realisation, I’ve always been into it and that’s probably why I’ve thrived creatively in Second Life and the fountain of my eternal childishness.
Do you listen to music while building? What kind? If so, does Echtra have a theme song?
Oh yes I have a Fantasy Faire track list I made especially for it that includes Clannad, Dead Can Dance, Loreena McKennitt, Austin Wintory’s soundtrack to the Banner Saga and a few other bits. But if I had to choose a theme for Echtra I think it would be the entire unused Graeme Revell soundtrack to the 13th Warrior. Legend says that Graeme recorded the entire soundtrack only for it to be rejected and replaced with a more Hollywood Jerry Goldsmith affair. The whole thing is available to hear on youtube though, and i very much recommend listening to it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6-XqYpj7-g
Do you have a favourite Faire memory? What are you looking forward to most this year?
This is actually my third Fantasy Faire. I don’t think I have a favourite memory, I get flashes of ‘wow’ moments. Fantasy Faire is one of those events that conjures a warm fuzzy feeling. Especially if you choose a spot and call it your home for the week, venturing out exploring with friends. As for what I’m looking forward to? Seeing who turns up at Echtra, and what kind of stories unfold. At some point I need to go explore the other worlds at Fantasy Faire. I get so polarised in my own little world I forget there are 13 others and what I’ve seen looks amazing. It’s exciting to see how contrasting the different worlds can be in colour, mood and style. It’s truly magikal.
My thanks to Elizabeth and the entire Fantasy Faire team for giving me this opportunity to build a world, I’m looking forward to relaxing into roleplaying a viking and in doing so raising funds for cancer research 🙂
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Loki. Thank you for joining us and giving us a whole new Faireland to explore!