So, way back in 2003, my life took an interesting path after a random encounter at a pizza shop.
I overheard some people chatting about a rather unusual subject, vampires, specifically a game called Vampire: The Masquerade.
This piqued my curiosity, as up until then my only exposure to it being VtM Redemption on PC.
After a comment on the unusual subject matter, they invited me to join them to chat.
I ended up going to my first ever role-playing game that very weekend.
I tried a few game sessions, and then I joined a LARP organisation then called The Camarilla (White Wolf Fan-Club of Australia).
Back then I had a lot of fun with them for the most part, it was a strange and new world for me.
The club was the reason I took my first voyage towards inner Melbourne by myself (to visit a neighbouring game, since back then we actually had two here running together,) it was also the reason for my first interstate trip for a big event up in Canberra.
However it was around then I should have realised that maybe the club wasn’t the supportive element it appeared to be.
While I was up there at this particular big event, due to all the stress, the unknown, the unfamiliar, with no way to recover, I had a rather significant depressive episode.
What made it worse was the fact that I actually got reprimanded for my distressing behaviour..
I should have known then what I know now, that it was not the right place for me.
Over the next few years we shifted over to a new game system, then referred to as the New World of Darkness, I made many friends, but the good couldn’t last.
A lack of developed social skills, misunderstandings, and so on, ended up with me being suspended from the club for 6 months.
Straight away my social-life was ripped away from me, my apparent friends didn’t want to have anything to do with me, it was an agonising time and I was resentful for it.
When I returned, things were different, people were different, I was different.
Some time later things started splintering, and the majority of the core local club members decided to go off and form their own new organisation, where they didn’t have to bother with interstaters.
After that, the local Beyond the Sunset domain was never really the same, members left, and I was left behind.
I pretty much lost touch with the rest of the people who pulled me in to the World of Darkness, they left, they didn’t want to maintain connections.
Eventually I unfriended them on Facebook, there was nothing left there for me.
I tried to keep things going here in Melbourne for BtS, but the people who remained up and left.
The club domain closed and I continued with a troupe game using the newest rules and doing what I thought people wanted.
I kept that up for over a year, yet numbers dropped to the point it wasn’t worth continuing.
Most recently there was an attempt to get things running again, via use of an independent domain of the club, with the power of the internet to run games, and the potential for running connected local live sessions.
However the direction it ended up taking proved to not be beneficial for my headspace.
What was once intended to give people without a domain a chance to play ended up as something allowing people from all the domains to play, completely drowning out those like myself.
So I started pulling back.
The online communication medium chosen was constantly flooded by conversation between really enthusiastic people, I was drowning in it.
There was nothing really holding me with the first online game that was chosen to run (voted for by people not of the domain) with no buy-in, no connections despite having a chronicle length character from the past few years. So I left the server, nobody seems to have noticed.
I left the Facebook group, because it was no longer a place just for domain members, but for everyone, and I had no friends there, so I left it, nobody seems to have noticed.
I even wanted to try and get something running locally, but no real traction, and I could see that I’d have to fight the club to get what I envisioned.
And so, with this, after thirteen years, with very little to show for it, with people not even acknowledging what I’ve attempted to do with no training or support, with people not even giving a damn that I’m no longer there – I leave the club that could have been so much more, but ultimately ended up a disappointing failure in my times of need.
I’m walking away from Beyond The Sunset, the club formerly known as The Camarilla (White-Wolf Fan Club of Australia) back when I first joined over a decade ago.
This is my way of burning that final bridge and saying farewell.
I do hope that with those few true friends I’ve made over the years, who’ve stuck with me, who still talk to me, that we can stay in touch and have good times.
It just won’t be in a club that no longer resembles what I first joined.
For the last time,