Author's Note: This is the beginning of a long-term project of mine, inspired by both my childhood in the Appalachian coalfields of Southwestern Virginia (particularly Dickenson County and Wise County) as well as my experiences playing "Vampire: The Masquerade" in LARP form during my later High School years. This is a "story within a story", with a framing device story of a young role-player in Wise, Virginia and the inner story of the events that happen in the LARP with his character. Both the in-character and out-of-character chapters will have their own story arcs and plotlines, so watch this space.
For all those out there who are familiar with Vampire: The Masquerade and White Wolf's other works, do keep in mind that this story will NOT recognize the metaplot from the Revised Edition of the game and it is assumed that the LARP group in this fic are using the earliest LARP rules.
For all you White Wolf aficionados, here's the material used as reference in the story, complete with the year of their release.
Mind's Eye Theatre: The Masquerade (1993)
Book of the Damned (1993)
The Masquerade Player's Kit (1994)
So, without further ado, here is my story.....
Lords of Wise
A Nostalgic Lament
Chapter I: Precious Memories, How They Linger
My name is James Revere, and this is my story. A story of imagination and wonder, of dark adventure and Gothic horror, all within the landscape of one's mind. My name is James Revere, and I am a vampire. Or at least I was....
I know what you're thinking, I'm some sort of crazy wacko you see on those talk shows, like Michelle Belanger or Father Sebastian, or worse yet, some psycho murderer like Richard Ramirez, Roderick Ferrell, or Natasha Cornett. Or worst of all, some delusional teenager who read way too much Twilight.
Well, it's not quite like that. To clarify, I'm not really a vampire, but I played one in a LARP. You know, Live-Action Role-Playing. Nerds in costume running around in parks chasing imaginary monsters and all that jazz. That was me when I was a kid. From April of 2005 to June of 2007, I was a blood-drinking undead creature of the night. I started when I was only eleven years old and I met with some high school kids who were big into role-playing games and vampires and the like. They were a nice group of people, a mix of Goths and Otaku. And they welcomed me into their club. This was that golden age of my childhood, the halcyon days of when I transitioned from childhood to adolescence, all before I moved from the old home place on Dante Mountain to the suburban sprawl of the Roanoke Valley. It was before I started attending high school and my life went down the drain, first with the misery of my teenage years followed by the tedious banality of adulthood. These were the days I would love to go back to, even though I know I am never to return.
It all could be traced back to my eleventh birthday in June of 2004, when my dad introduced me and my brothers to Dungeons & Dragons and I became harmlessly obsessed with role-playing games. I loved the medieval fantasy adventures of D&D, but eventually I wanted something darker and more modern. Then, in January of 2005, my uncle informed me of a game he used to play in high school called "Vampire: The Masquerade" from back in the 90's. It was set in the modern era and stood out in my mind for that reason, but also because you played as the monster. You were the vampire, and that was freaking awesome in my mind. I always loved vampires as a kid (until Twilight ruined all that for me) and the idea of an RPG where you played as a vampire totally appealed to my eleven-year old self. The fact that it was in the modern era, with guns and cars and the like was just icing on the cake.
So I started doing as much research as possible on this game, and that's when I caught the attention of my longtime childhood friend Melissa Finn, who I had known since pre-school. Melissa told me that her older sister Michelle, an eighth grader who attended the local high school (due to the rural and impoverished nature of the area, our county didn't have a middle school. Sixth and Seventh Graders went to Elementary School and Eighth Graders went to High School) was a fan of Vampire and that she was part of a group that played the game in a live-action form every Spring and Summer. Melissa also informed me that she wanted to play as well, and would be joining her sister. A week later, and Melissa informed me that I had been invited to the game as well, thanks to her efforts. We would be guests of Michelle and would be meeting the game group at a local comic book shop in the small college town of Wise. After gaining the approval of my parents, it was only a matter of time before I began thinking of ideas for character concepts and endlessly rummaging through my closets and drawers for material to use as a costume for my character in the game. I wasn't fully aware of the setting's finer details and had no idea of how a live-action game would actually play, but I was stoked with excitement for the coming weeks.
By the time Spring Break rolled around in mid-April of 2005, I was excited. That Friday, I got off of the bus and walked up the long and winding dirt driveway to my home in Martin Hollow, a remote and wooded area with only one house, my house. I was excited because that evening, in just a few hours, Ms. Finn was going to pick me up and I would carpool with Michelle and Melissa to go to Wise and enter a strange and mysterious realm of the mind.
I was ready to enter the World of Darkness......