I have been a vampire in SL since the day I started literally. Upon that very first log in I was amazed at seeing the varied creatures and species that one could be. When considering how I wanted to display my persona... the choice was a natural and easy one. Simply put... I was a vampire. Within 60 days I had my own land, my own clan and have been enjoying every minute of it. I decided I wasn’t going to be the dress-up stereotypical, everything-in-black-and-red cartoony style vampire that was so prevalent on SL. Instead I would move and exist as a vampire in everything I do. Similar to how I am in RL, I just wanted to be myself and comfortable in my own skin.
Having played the White Wolf table top game Vampire: the Masquerade and letting it serve as inspiration I set my mind to try to find the best way to bring that table top version to the MMORPG environment and thus was born Darkstone Kingdoms. In an attempt to bring this game and its form and structure to SL found me quickly looking for a combat meter. Seems I had tried them all and after exploring each one, I found only 1 that would suit my purpose... and it was DCS. OKOK I am sure there will be some readers of this post sighing, moaning and more. But to reiterate: I found only 1 to suit my purpose, so please don't take this as I am discrediting others. The roleplay we have is basically a text based RPG and the DCS meter helps in marking levels and thus claiming the use of your vampire abilities and powers known as your Disciplines. Do we use it also as a combat meter for in-game fighting, yes we do but it’s not very often. The text based roleplay get so intense sometimes and the beauty of the “word-smithing” of the players so mesmerizing that often battles are not fought with weapons. Yes we train with the weapons and we are ready should there be a need. But battle by DCS is not mandatory. The DCS also allowed me to actually create the authentic powers of the different vampire clans which also is a wonderful added treat to the roleplay. Pretty cool when a Tzimisce vampire is using the ability Skin Trap where they actually peel off a layer of skin, throw it at you and trap you for a period of time and visually see the animations and the ability played out right before your eyes. It’s a really nice compliment to the written text. To say its been a labor of love is an understatement.
I have been running the same exact Vampire RPG game since 2007 and with some of the original players still there. We have grown and expanded since 2007. But always stayed true to White Wolf’s World of Darkness’ Vampire: the Masquerade. OK back to the beginning… This was the days before Bloodlines, and even then I had had my fair share of "vampires" attempting to solicit me to join their clan. Careful and slow consistent observation proved quite disappointing for me. I was dumbfounded at the consistency with which I observed very unlike vampire behaviors out of those claiming to be a vampire. Mental note to self... I didn't want to be one of those.
I was further confused by the click-to-join clans. I had heard from friends and SL family and friends alike of the drama, backstabbing, and outright sabotage of a Clan by its very own members on other sims. You have the primadonna princesses, the attention whoooors, the whiners, the meatheads out to just kill kill kill, the power trippers and the god-modders. To name only a few.. Note again: I didn’t want to be one of those or have those. Never once have I solicited anyone to become a vampire, nor to join my Clan or my RPG. I do not advertise the RPG and many may question why. I have seen that with the click-to-join types you just don’t know who you are getting or if they can even handle this type of roleplay. Can they see that a GM is giving constructive criticism and not take it personally? Can they see that EVERY player is valuable and not just the lead of a Clan? Can they still maintain their own identity and not be consumed by their SL persona? OK I can’t control that, don’t want to even try, but what I can do is minimize that by not opening up the clan itself for just anyone to join. We try get to really know you (as much as you let us) and if after that we can suggest a Clan or race for you we will, but above all we leave it to the player. No solicitations, no pressure. Come observe, see if this is the place for you and where you may fit in. Just this year we have actually opened up Roleplay formally to the public. We have at one time had over 400,000 sq m of playable area and is now holding at a steady 286,000+ sq m. This provides plenty of areas for all to explore, enjoy, roleplay and really adds an authentic feel of the traveling between lands. Any good roleplayer can roleplay in a 10 x 10 box but it’s nice to have the areas we do.
Had some rough spots along the way and growth was slow, but despite that I am proud of the players we have, their efforts, and their contributions. It’s always been quality over quantity. OK … times goes by and along comes the introduction of Bloodlines. All of a sudden everywhere I went my being a Vampire is suddenly a bad thing. Marked a SPAMPIRE by those who didn’t know that there was a strong Vampire community out there long before Bloodlines. It was almost embarrassing to be a vampire. Then there was the Bloodlines players coming to the DK (Darkstone Kingdoms) sims, soliciting bites and interrupting roleplay of this established game as well as going to other vampire communities of Sanguinists and Psy vamps and disrupting their sims too.
I saw most of my kindred types who were already in SL quickly jumping on the bandwagon of banning “Bloodliners” (those who play Bloodlines) from their sims along with items being introduced such as anti-Bloodlines signs and things like the Buffy-Bot. Sanguinists, Psy Vamps and Vampire roleplayers alike ALL had to deal with the impact of Bloodlines and how it was coloring the non-vampire community’s views of us. (Keep in mind many roleplaying vamps are also Sang or Psy vamps.) Bloodlines is a vampire game and suits many just fine. But its impact on those of us who were already here on SL was less than pleasant.
I have seen many things change since my time in SL. Far to many to post in this reply. I am still doing my vamp thing with my slow and carefully expanding Clan and welcoming other Clans, Humans, Hunters, Demons and more to join in.