To be part of a family, to belong, to build a community – this repertoire seems to describe the driving force for those who have joined Possidete Nocte, a horde in SL that gathers gay and bisexual male vampires, lycans and humans. Choosing among those forms of being, Possidete Nocte’s members apparently identify themselves according to their own personalities, which allows them to express their individualities, and still they become part of a group developed under the vocabulary of kinship, resorting to some of the most powerful imagined links between people: the family (and my guess is that it’s not a coincidence that the most popular game system in SL that provides a framework for such a group is called “Bloodlines”).
These conclusions gradually took shape in my mind as I started getting closer to people from Possidete Nocte. Before I met them, I really wouldn’t “get” the vampire/lycan “thing” – or in other words, I wouldn’t understand why someone would take part in Bloodlines and engage in a clan, pack or horde, at least not in a permanent basis. Of course, Bloodlines has a game-like side, which has to do with reaching a higher status, gathering souls and so on, but this has always sounded to me as a partial explanation for the success of the vampire and lycan hordes. And it seems that Possidete Nocte points to another explanation too.
I became even more convinced of the conclusions I’ve pointed here by the interviews I made with the guys from Possidete Nocte for an exhibition that I have been preparing for them. I’ve been taking pics of them for a project called “Family Album”, which is already partially displayed at the horde’s sim. If you are interested in checking the exhibition (and some of the photos are shown on this post, too), you can go to Possidete Nocte and, at the arrival point, look for a teleport sign saying “Family Album by Ricco Saenz”.
Anyway, the interviews helped me “understand” the horde a bit further and, in order to explain what I mean, I’m sharing here some of what the horde members said:
Servius Alecto: The same curse
I have been a vampire since I joined Second Life. When I first joined Second Life, I was more curious as to what Second Life was about. The idea of vampires, lycans, demons, and the many other monsters hadn’t even crossed my mind at the time. As I started meeting people I was actually warned to watch out for vampires. Being the adventurous and curious person I am, I did just the opposite and started looking for vampires. I met one very nice vampire who taught me about Bloodlines and what it is to be a vampire and I instantly fell in love… with both him and the vampire concept.
I see Bloodlines more as an association of vampires and lycans across the many hordes, clans, and packs in SL and as a way to find and interact with others of our kind. As vampires and lycans we all share the same curse, but our hordes, clans, and packs allow us to be in groups that share similar values on how vampires and lycans should live, […] on how we hunt, how we interact with humans, how we get along with other clans, how lycans and vampires interact, etc. It is important for any vampire and lycan to find the right horde where they can feel comfortable.
Possidete Nocte is my SL family that I know I can feel at home with. We all share common values and we can all be ourselves, free from judgment. I think Possidete Nocte is unique in that we do not look to be the biggest and best by numbers, but the biggest and best by the quality and integrity of its members.
I think the most important thing for anyone considering joining Bloodlines or becoming a vampire or lycan is to find the right group to join and to find the right liege. It is important to have people close to teach you how Bloodlines works and how to be a vampire. I value my liege Randy very much and I value all the advice and guidance he has given me.
Randy Firebrand: Diversity and belonging
I am hybrid, lycan dominant. I recently turned to vampire to better support starting Possidete Nocte. If I had started the horde as a lycan only, it would have been registered in Bloodlines as a [lycan] pack [as opposed to vampire clans, human guilds and hybrid hordes]. I felt that was not properly representative of the diversity of the group. Before that, I made the decision to turn to Lycan because it does suit the way i feel my personality is, and my nose is often wet, so it is lycan for me. Seriously, though, for me, lycan represents a being that is close to the earth, one that is guided by reflex and instinct sooner than reflection and too much thought.
Being part of a horde means belonging to a family that I choose and that chooses me. Both joining and remaining are indicators that you feel like you belong and are at home with the others in the horde.
Being part of Possidete Nocte is a very precious and special thing for me. It represents the trust and confidence that very dear friends have for me and the support that flows in the horde is amazing. It is a great bunch of guys and a great family. I am moved to tears every time i think of them all.
Astanias: “It is the family!”
I’ve always been impressed about the whole story of vampires and lycans! My decision was quick. Randy was the first person from [a horde called] Fogo that i met. I wanted to become the same as he was. So, for me, it was clear: I’d choose him as my Liege and become a lycan.
I would say that, for me, it is the family part that plays the biggest role in Bloodlines. Being part of something and having friends that support you when you have problems… So Bloodlines alone doesn’t mean that much for me – it is the family!
It was clear for me [that i should] go with Randy when he was leaving Fogo. First of all, he is my Liege, my Mentor. And besides all this, he became my best friend in SL. Servius, Randy and I started Possidete Nocte, so my spirit is also in that clan. Possidete Nocte is a part of all of us! I would say if I hadn’t met Randy i am not sure I would be in Bloodlines. But he showed me what it means to be in a clan.
Lycans are strong beasts and I think that it fits a lot my inner self sometimes. I was able to let this beast out of me as i joined the clan.
Phoenix Ariadne: Support in SL and some impact in RL
I am a hybrid [both vampire and lycan]. [“And how did you convert into that?”, I asked] There was a combination of needing a change in my life… and I had a couple of role-models whom I admired greatly: one is now my liege and the other is my partner.
Bloodlines is the system that my horde uses… so that is what I use. Being part of Possidete Nocte means I have a family, friends, people who care about me and a support system that has helped me deal with SL issues and has even impacted my RL in a positive way.
[“Would you like to add anything else?”] I ❤ wiener. 😛
Stephan Greymyst: The dry side
I’ve always been a huge fan of vampire and lycan (werewolf) lore and stories. I honestly don’t know anyone that hasn’t admitted to some fascination with lycans or vampires. When I first found Second Life I was… sucked into a Bloodlines group not long after joining SL. The 1st Act Werewolf avatar had recently come out and was pretty popular on the grid. I’m not sure anyone that’s interested in lore would turn down such an avatar. Beyond that, for me, it’s a ‘fun’ role to play. The werewolf blends the animal with the human in way that allows you to be both at the same time. In my opinion its something that you can’t quite do as a furry (not that I have anything against them) and can be quite fun! Especially when you run into someone’s shoe collection!
I rather despise what Bloodlines stands for and their voracious “hunting” of people new to Second Life. I rather view Bloodlines like a bar. A bar you can go to and not drink though at the same time they enable alcoholism. I prefer the “dry” side of Bloodlines if you will. The social aspect, with people who share a common interest in the supernatural lore. Ultimately beyond the previous, Bloodlines to me is a pyramid scheme that promises more and more money to the developer, in a rather greedy way.
Being part of group that has similar interests and social events is where it’s at for me. A group to chase each others tails (not in that way! get your mind out of the gutter), howl at the moon or, god forbid, a cat should appear at the landing spot! It’s a great way to meet people you wouldn’t otherwise meet and converse with in a setting that’s comfortable for all.
[“What does being part of Possidete Nocte mean to you?”, I asked] Family.
[“Would you like to say anything else?”] Shoe and rawhide donations can be sent to the following address…
Britt Lectar: Rescued
[I am] human, […] haven’t turned yet.
I met someone at Hub’s, he was cute and spoke really well about it, so I let him bite me. That was the last time I talked with him. Then, Randy came along and rescued me from him. And I have never been happier being a part of such a loving family… Everyone has been so friendly, loving and full of fun! I really enjoy being in a family who looks out for each other, who cares for each other, and protects the family.! That’s what I was looking for! 🙂
[“What does being part of a horde mean to you?”] It means togetherness! It means having friends, with a commonality in keeping the best interests of the group at heart. It also means Family! We look out for each other, we have fun together… we solve problems together!
I would like to thank everyone for allowing me to be a member of this community… This Family! I have nothing but respect, and Love, for each and every member of this Family! I will do everything, in my power, to promote and defend everyone who belongs to such a beautiful Family!!! […] 🙂
WesleyBaker: The value of a friendship
[“Are you a vampire, a lycan, a hybrid, a human or what?”] On Netherworld, a Demon; on Bloodlines, a human.
[I was] originally recruited by Toby365, a demon, and was drawn into the concept and uniqueness of being a demon.
Bloodlines is like a brotherhood, a fraternity of sorts, a unifying bond that brings people together. Like any good brotherhood, people have disagreements but usually manage to work them out because they share a common bond. I think Netherworld can be like Bloodlines as well, but does not have the popularity.
[“What does being part of a horde mean to you?”] Loyalty, friendship and honor.
I have known Randy and Servius for a long time, Servius is my liege, I came with them when they formed Possidete Nocte. I trust them and their judgment and management decisions. A horde is only as stong as the sum of its members divided by the leaders. In the case of Possidete Nocte, Randy understands this and keeps the value of the members maximized.
Any day when I feel less accomplished or RL has been a bit hard on me, I stop and remember that my SL friends still support and care for me. That is the value of friendship and the value of Possidete Nocte.
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As a final note, I’d stress that almost all the guys that I have interviewed seemed to not care much about feeding or to actively avoid making of feeding a necessity (they find alternative ways or buy things that make feeding unnecessary). To a great extent, it even goes against the “game side” of the vampire and lycan role-play. My guess is that, though it’s not a rule for the whole population of SL vampires and lycans, it is at least moderately common to find hordes and clans which are more about giving people the opportunity to be part of a “family” than about throwing them into a competition for feeding. And in the case of the vampire and lycan families, it should also be noticed that they have the advantage of relying on rules to get in that are more or less clear (you get bitten, there are rituals for turning if you want to, etc.), while for some other groups formed in SL the process is a bit more obscure (for instance, some “traditional” families emulated in Second Life depend totally on random invitations for someone to be a brother, a sister, a son…). This doesn’t mean that the game elements are not there, but, again, that the idea of belonging is, for some people, a much more powerful motivation.