Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Cathedral of Our Lady

Server: Antonia Bayle
Homeowner: Jazabelle
City: Freeport
Address: Secluded Sanctum
Leaderboard: Massive Homes
Name: The Cathedral of Our Lady

To begin with, yes, I built a cathedral to my character. No, I'm not that conceited. However, my character sees nothing wrong with people wanting to build a cathedral to worship her. After all, in roleplay, please remember that you are not your character! I play a vampire. That doesn't mean I'm going to run around drinking human blood. By the same token, things that my character finds normal, I find really creepy. If someone built a cathedral to me, I'd be outta there! Besides, the cathedral isn't a physical place in Norrath, according to the roleplay.

Anyway, back to the cathedral.

The view from the organ loft.

Three years ago, on March 30, 2012, I posted about the cathedral I built for Dolthaic in EQ2 on the Antonia Bayle server. It's still on the Leaderboards, under the Hall of Fame, though it's drifted a few pages back.

The build was a ton of fun (and took me over a year to complete, since I paused right after starting, to wait for building blocks to come out, though it only took me 5 days to build), but there were a lot of things I'd wished I could do differently.

For one, because of load times and the zone that Dolthaic chose, the Cathedral of Innoruuk could not be any longer than it was--any longer, and visitors would have to wait for the ground around them to load.

Second, I wasn't able to put in all of the details I'd originally envisioned, because at that point, building blocks counted towards the house item count, rather than having their own item count.

Third, this was my first ever home built with building blocks. I made it up as I went along, and hadn't learned a lot of the tricks that I've since discovered or been taught.

Finally, this was a cathedral owned by someone else. It wasn't my home, so the final opinion on things went to Dolthaic. If I liked one style, and he liked another, I went with what he preferred, since I was building to his tastes.

Fast forward three years. I have three years of experience working with building blocks. We have a whole new bunch of zones to choose from to decorate in. We have three years of new items. And for the past four years, I've been roleplaying that a cathedral is beneath Jazabelle's rose bush in her garden, and have been itching to build the zone that I see in my head every time I RP it.

"Beneath" is perhaps too simple a term to describe it. Jazabelle is a vampire. She inspires lavish devotion in her household via a combination of vampiric magic and pure coercion (yes, she's a coercer). Her household's cult-like worship of her has created a sort of mass hallucination centered around the rose bush, and the supposed cathedral beneath it.

This book at the entrance describes how you got here. ...you think. Maybe.

The vestibule, with the stoup in the left corner. A very simple room. Be sure to read the book!
The Cathedral of Our Lady is the result of that mass hallucination. When members of her household "visit the Cathedral," this zone is what they see.

Of course, it isn't just a mass hallucination. There's a magical component. Because of the years Jazabelle has spent feeding this one particular rose bush a rather ...interesting... diet...

The book of readings on the lectern. Yes, they're all this creepy.

...the rose bush is now a semi-sentient entity that craves blood. Also, it has thorns. Did I mention it has thorns? Be careful around the vines in the cathedral...

Since building blocks and items now have a separate count, I figured that I could go crazy in my cathedral, satisfying my desire to build things the way I envisioned them the first time.

As I said before, Dolthaic's cathedral was limited by how far away from the entrance point of the zone the teleport pad could be. Because this cathedral was built directly in the zone of the Secluded Sanctum, I didn't have to worry about teleport pads and loading times. Plus teleport pads annoy me. I know they're useful sometimes, but if I can create a zone that doesn't need to use them, I'd rather do that.

So I chose a zone where I wouldn't have to have a teleport pad.

Lefthand aisle with climbing vines. The rose bush has influence even here!
The sound of the fireplaces that I used for the base of the windows in Dolthaic's cathedral always irritated me. However, I couldn't think of anything else to use at that time, and I liked how they looked. So I left them.

When I built my cathedral, I tried to use fireplaces. Unfortunately, while I'd used 12 in Dolthaic's cathedral, I wound up using 44 in mine. 12 was bad. 44 was enough to send me to a mental institute. So I switched 'em to something else.

View of the altar and high altar.
The window frames were a touch of genius on Iosabella's part. I commissioned her to do a baptistery for the cathedral after seeing the wonderful job she did on Dolthaic's baptistery. (In fact, I commissioned her even before she'd finished his, because I liked it so much!) She's been working on the baptistery while I've been working on the cathedral, trying to match my style of build.

I ran in to visit the baptistery while she was working on it, and saw that she'd created an awesome gold frame around the windows she was working on. That meant that I immediately ran back to the cathedral to add gold frames to all of my windows. It took 76 copies of Rallos' Blessing and 135 copies of Conquering the Wastes to make those lovely borders.

Closeup view of the high altar, with a strangely familiar icon.
When it came time to do the interior decor, from the high altar, to the lectern, to the pipe organ, I was stumped. In Dolthaic's cathedral, I'd used building blocks almost exclusively on all of those items, and they were nice, but not ornate enough for what I wanted with this cathedral. We'd had all sorts of new items added, and so many of them were ornate, I knew I could find something to build things out of!

Which is when I remembered the High Keep furniture. Two ornate chests, four bookcases, five chests, and an ornate chair later (plus an emerald stained glass window, a house actor of Jaz, a rose, six eucalyptus candle sticks, and six candles ringed by roses), I had a high altar to be proud of!

View from the altar, looking back at the choir and organ loft.
The first time I saw the High Keep Long Bench, I knew I wanted to use it in whatever cathedral I built. However, the cream seating didn't go with the predominantly red-and-stone look of the cathedral. So I covered the cushions with burgundy spuncloth throw cushions. Better!

The pipe organ and choir.
And the pipe organ. Oh, the pipe organ. I spent longer on the pipe organ than I did on any other piece in the zone. It took me 16 hours (2 8 hour days) to build the pipe organ. In contrast, it took me FIVE days to build the entire zone, and five days to fill in all the zone details. One sixth of my entire decorating time was spent on the pipe organ!

Dolthaic's cathedral took me five days total to do.

This one took me 12 days, spread out over a month.

Dolthaic's cathedral will always have a place in my heart, because it was the first cathedral I built (and possibly the first player built cathedral in EQ2, I'm not sure). However, this cathedral is uniquely mine in a way that his never was. My voice had the final say over every detail (well, and the first say, the second say, and every other say in between).

This wasn't my second cathedral build, though! I tried two other times to build the cathedral. The first time was just a few months after I finished Dolthaic's. The second time was mid-2013, and I tried to build the Crimson Cathedral. It didn't work out.

Here, have a Facebook album of all of the iterations of The Cathedral of Our Lady, starting on April 22nd, 2015.

And the full manifest of what it took to make the cathedral (minus the prestige housing portals):

a long stone corner counter35
a repaired piano2
Black Marble Stair5
Black Marble Tile28
Block of Fancy Fulginate152
Book of Hate1
burgundy spuncloth throw cushion184
Candle Ringed by Red Roses50
Captive Audience1
Cerulean Calm Bottle1
Chalice of the Spurned1
Chipped Freeport Celebration Cup1
Coin of Winning8
Conquering the Wastes135
Crawling Captive3
Crimson Stained Glass Square60
Dangling Skull Collection5
Decorative Vines89
Doomed Ettin Skull10
emerald stained glass oval1
erudin screen78
eucalyptus candlestick6
Golden Wash Basin1
Half Block of Adamantine10
Half Dozen Roses in a Smooth Vase49
Hedge Seeds6
Hewn Stone Counter17
High Keep Bar Stool2
High Keep Bookcase3
High Keep Chest47
High Keep Dining Chair15
High Keep End Table3
High Keep Long Bench24
High Keep Long Chandelier10
High Keep Low Bookcase4
High Keep Ornate Chair5
High Keep Ornate Chest7
High Keep Settle1
House Actor21
Large Circular High Keep Rug1
Long High Keep Runner2
Magic Door to the Guild Hall1
Narrow Divider of Fancy Fulginate246
Navigated Travels1
Ornate Shadowed Stone Bookcase170
Pile of Coin Square8
Plain Gorowyn Door2
plain sumac tile8
Qeynos Sign1
Quel'ule Notebook3
Rack of Love Potions25
Railing of Sumac1
Rallos' Blessing76
Red Roses Blooming with Love18
Sacrificial Dagger of Fear1
Seeping Shadow1
Shackled Elf Skeleton1
Shackled Human Skeleton2
Shards of the Scorned1
Short Column of Adamantine91
Simple Antonican-Style Guild Tapestry2
Single Red Rose10
Single Red Rose37
Square Cage1
Stair of Fancy Fulginate3
Stair of Redwood3
Stair of Sumac4
Stony Lichen Square3
Strewn Scarlet Petals12
Tall Column of Adamantine390
Tall Divider of Fancy Fulginate166
Trophy: Fang of Ichor1
Wicker Demijohn1
Woven Reed Bowl2
Zlandicar's Heart1

This cathedral has been a labor of love, and something I couldn't have finished without the help of my guild mates. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to help me error check, to give me ideas when I was stuck, and to the Creepy Crew who hung around for several hours, watching me decorate (you know who you are!). Also, to Iosabella for scaring the hell out of me by logging in on top of me more than once, and for those gorgeous, gorgeous window frames. And Blazewolf, thank you for pushing me to add those final finishing touches to the choir risers. I like them 1000x better now.

Danyella of Freeport was the first person I ever saw to use the High Keep chairs as door frames. Thank you for letting me use that lovely idea. It's perfect!

Of course, this entire cathedral wouldn't exist if Dolthaic hadn't commissioned me to make the first one back in 2011. Thanks, Dolthaic!

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