"Come now my child, if we were planning to harm you, do you think we'd be lurking here beside the path in the very darkest part of the forest..." - Kenneth Patchen, "Even So."

THIS IS A BLOG ABOUT STORIES AND STORYTELLING; some are true, some are false, and some are a matter of perspective. Herein the brave traveller shall find dark musings on horror, explorations of the occult, and wild flights of fantasy.

Saturday, January 17, 2015


When I started this project, I never expected the Progeny story to run twenty chapters (nearly half a novel) or to get the feedback that it has.  It was, for me, just an experiment.  I love writing fiction.  I love roleplaying.  I wanted to see what would happen if I tried to combine the two.

From the start it proved trickier than I had expected.  Lachiel Vaher's Progeny is a game system, not a story, and I have had to take several liberties to translate it into an ongoing saga.  In the virtual world of Second Life, the Progeny "HUD" (head-up display) attaches to your avatar and makes you a vampire.  It gives you a "blood pool" and certain other stats, and like any good vampire requires you to prey upon the living as your blood slowly depletes.  But this is all it does, by design.  It doesn't grant any of the mythological powers of the Undead, it doesn't make you vulnerable to sunlight.  Unless the resident has put up ban lines around their property you can still get in without an invitation.  For a writer telling a story, this meant I had to embellish and, in fact, interpret.  Because there are certain things about Second Life that don't work in the real world.

For example, the Grid has its own islands, landmasses, and continents.  To translate it, I needed to think about real world locations to move the episodes to.  Another oddity is that avatars can speak either in private or local chat.  Obviously, in local chat everyone can hear, but you can be in the presence of two people deeply engaged in conversation but not know what they are saying.  Hence I needed to come up with my weird, ultra-sonic vampire speech.

Other liberties were also taken.  Every character appearing in the blog (with one notable exception) is a real Second Life resident.  Athena, Kit, Stefan, Lee, Alexa, Decem...these are all real people.  Obviously their names have been changed, but the real liberties I took were in sometimes putting words in their mouths (or taking words out!) to improve the story flow.  I appreciate the patience of all involved.

As a writer, I was able to do things in Progeny that I wouldn't normally allow myself.  As I mentioned in my review of Enter, Night (and as an aside am very pleased the author enjoyed it), I stay away from traditional vampires in my fiction because they have been, ahem, done to undeath.  Progeny gave me a chance to write about these archetypical bloodsuckers in a way I wouldn't in other stories (though I have come close...see "Unquiet Slumbers" on this blog).  For that I am grateful.

In addition, Progeny allowed me to play around a bit more with LGBT characters.  Though I have had gay and lesbian characters appear in other stories, I don't consider myself a writer of "LGBT fiction," and most of my characters are straight because statistically most people are straight.  But there is a strong tradition of the homoerotic in vampire fiction, from Sheridan Le Fanu's magnificent Carmilla (1871) through subtext in Stoker's Dracula (Harker's horror when the Count "rescues" him from the vampire ladies declaring "This man belongs to me") right into Anne Rice.  I have tried to stay true to the sexualities expressed by the real avatars involved.

Last but not least, Progeny is a lot more stream of consciousness than my usual finished work.  My rule in writing it was "no rewrites."  I wrote each chapter and posted at a whirlwind pace.

This story, now, is over.  Progeny always in my mind was a way to get Damien from A to B; in other Second Life role-plays, I usually play a "Harrow" type character, whether as my cruel and exiled Dark Elf in Taure Ru  or my obsessed and sinister rebel Time Lord in New Gallifrey.  Entering Progeny was a challenge because I had to start as a new and fledgling vampire (even though I own quite a bit of land and have all these ridiculous castles and palaces I live in).  What I decided to do then was take my fledgling and slowly make him into something else.  Now that he is there, it is time for a new chapter.

Here's the good part.

I have been kindly invited by Lachiel in helping his team put together new LARP style storylines for Progeny.  What this means, I think, is that Damien's adventures will continue here, but they will be less one author spinning a tale and more several collaborative players doing so.  

And so, gentle reader, au revoir for now.  Sleep tight, don't let the vampires bite, and see you very soon.  




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