So what are vampires doing in Second Life® ? Should we fear for our Avatar's cyber lives? Will virtual blood drinkers consume our pixels and our souls be damned for all eternity?
Well, no need to worry. Vampires in SL are part and parcel of the virtual world experience. They're the heart and soul of the SL role playing game called Bloodlines. At the time of this writing, there are 24,455 vampires and 3835 Lycans in Second Life.
I've been curious about SL vampires since my rezzing, and have made a number of vampire friends, however I didn't understand exactly what being a vampire meant. The most I knew was that a vampire had to ask permission before he or she could bite someone. Is there more to it than that? Oh, yes. Lots more.
A few months ago I let a friend of mine bite me. He'd only recently been turned and I had the privilege of being his first victim. Because I wasn't a member of the Bloodlines game, my "soul" was not in danger. Had I been a member, I'd have lost a percentage of my humanity. Are you confused yet? I was. And wanting to know more about how this game worked, I asked if I could interview members of his clan for this article.
Divine Blood is one of 1873 clans in the Bloodlines game. Divine currently has 977 members and celebrated its one-year anniversary this month. Their queen, Amethyst Warden, greeted me warmly when I teleported to the clan's castle to chat with a few members of her vampire family.
At the Counselor Quarters with my friend Necreip Baragula
The welcoming committee included my friend Necreip Baragula, who is an 8th generation vampire and one of the clan's knights. I also got to meet Freyasmoon Fenwitch,
Chaz Lighthouse, Ethan Lighthouse, Rikk Steamweaver, and Riot Waddington, who is not only a new vampire but also new to Second Life.
I had a lot of questions, but before I could ask them the sight of Divine's beautiful castle took my breath away. I knew then that I had to get inside the magnificent gothic structure and have a look around.
Darrell Mistwallow is the clan king
Amethyst Warden is Divine Blood's queen
The clan's king, Darrell Mistwallow, couldn't make the interview due to illness, but the welcoming committee provided answers to all my burning questions. My first and foremost one was how is a vampire made? I wanted to know if a single bite could automatically turn someone into a creature of the night. It turns out that you must be completely drained of your humanity and become revenant before you can become a vampire. One bite only takes 5% of your humanity. Getting drained takes a lot of bites.
"The first vampire to bite someone who later becomes a vampire gets to keep their soul and becomes their liege," Ethan explains. "The liege is like a mentor and looks after the minion [he made]. He introduces the new vampire to the family and teaches him or her about the ways of Bloodlines and our clan rules."
So what about asking permission to bite someone? "Asking permission is considered polite and respectful," Necreip tells me.
"The bite animation presents the victim with a menu," Ethan explains. "And the victim must answer yes before the bite can occur."
"And the area must be script enabled," Rikk Steamweaver adds.
So any rumors you may have heard about vampires running amok and terrorizing SL residents with vicious bites is completely false.
Vampires need blood daily to stay alive. At midnight, each vamp is afflicted with "the curse" that depletes their blood supply by .25 liters. How do vampires get the blood they need to stay alive? "Blood Dolls," says Rikk.
Blood dolls are members of the clan who willingly supply their masters with blood. "My fiancé calls her dolls blood angels," says Ethan. Blood dolls are the "life blood" of the Bloodlines game.
Blood dolls are beloved members of the Divine Blood family and may become vampires themselves at some point. However, if they want to maintain their humanity, they must eat special "apples," a self-sustaining food source, to regenerate their human blood. If their humanity goes down to 0% they become revenant, or the walking dead. If they choose to drink blood, they will become vampires. And if they choose to be human and not play the game any more, they can simply walk away, thereby breaking all ties with their former clan.
Divine Blood is organized like a monarchy with a king and queen, and knights like Necreip who protect the land from griefers and other troublemakers. Within the clan there are also barons, baronesses, lords and ladies.
The benefits of joining a vampire clan seem obvious. This group in particular is as close as any family. Members consider themselves brothers and sisters, and their revered king and queen are their parents. "It is incredible how much we are a family," says Ethan. New residents of Second Life will find ready acceptance within a clan like Divine Blood. The clan helps new members acclimate to SL life by showing them the ropes of our often complex metaverse.
Divine Blood Club
Is Divine Blood open to new family members? Absolutely. Not all clans are the same, some being closer than others, but its obvious Divine members have a special relationship to one another. They enjoy each other's company and have a genuinely good time together.
Necreip gave me an enjoyable tour of the Divine Blood castle. There are four turning rooms, where members participate in the ritual that turns them into vampires. On the wall of each room is the texture of a flowchart that shows how the vampire bite HUD works.
Throughout the castle there are portraits of family members, most of whom hold a rank within the clan. There are rooms for the clans' resident couples, and there's even quarters for the clan counselor who counsels members for anything and everything. The current counselor is Lola Laroway. The counselor's official job description is: "Hears clan members' problems and tries to come up with a solution, consoles those who are in a time of need, and is willing to just listen. All issues go to the clan counselor as well as your liege."
The clan has an arena, which is similar to a sandbox. Necreip took me to Divine Blood's mall that also contains a dance club. It's a proprietary club for members and their guests only.
For more information about Bloodlines, visit http://www.slbloodlines.com If you'd like to know more about Divine Blood or are interested in clan membership, simply contact any of the clan members mentioned in this article.
Ty as always for reading,I'm Chalice Piers ,press Blogger for Oi Magazine