Crossroads ~ Playing with words & Hasbro Games

 A vampire walks into a bar…


Three vampires walk into a bar and the bartender says, “What’ll it be Counts?”

First vampire says, “I’ll have a Bloody Mary.”

Second Vampire says, “Yeah, I’ll have a Bloody Mary too.”

Third Vampire says, “Whisky please.”

The first two Vampires and the Bartender look at him curiously.

“Yeah, I know, but the wife said if I go home smelling of another woman again she’ll divorce me and take the coffins..!”


Words… easy things to play with, I can make up a “rap” on the spot about pretty much anything you care to name, no big deal but when you look around at some of the chaos that occurs with words today is it any wonder that there are communications failures on so many levels.

As one of our readers noted in a comment on a previous article, “The devil is in the details.”

My word, if there were ever truer words spoken I’ve yet to hear or read them. Let’s take a look at some examples.


A word heard (read) around the communities for a newcomer is “Fledgling”. Now, I will admit that when I first came across the term I thought to myself, what have young vampires got to do with baby birds…? Seriously I did, and why? Because I’d only ever used, or heard the word Fledgling used in a particular context and to describe a certain thing. I went and looked the term up in a reputable lexicon in the OVC and I knew what it meant within the OVC, upon further investigation I discover that the word Fledgling can be defined as follows


Noun –

1. a young bird just fledged.

2. an inexperienced person.

Adjective –

3. young, new, or inexperienced. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2011.

There you go, I learned something, awesome.

Did I have a word for a young, new or inexperienced person before? Several actually, “fish”, “noob”, “newbie”, “newcomer”, “vampling”… I could go on. The fact is that words are appropriated, invented, re-invented and bastardized all the time to suit the particular needs of a person, or organization/group, who wants them to mean something specific.


Another example is “Twoofing”… now; I’m going to assume you all know what that means, if not I invite you to pop over to and look it up. I promise you, it’s there. It’s a cute and interesting little word but I can’t divulge what I think of when I read it, I would end up in a bucket load of trouble with some folks that I don’t wish to upset. As much as I don’t agree with taking words and changing their meanings to fit circumstances or particular needs I like this word so much that I’ve made up my own definition to go with the word because the word is a wonderful word but, to me, only in a certain context.


The last example I’m going to write about is the word “Elder”. This is a word and term that has always had very clear and unambiguous meaning to me. If we take account of a dictionary we find the following:


Adjective a compar. of old with eldest as superl.

1. of greater age; older.

2. of higher rank; senior: an elder officer.

3. of or pertaining to former times; earlier:


4. a person who is older or higher in rank than oneself.

5. an aged person.

6. an influential member of a tribe or community, often a chief or ruler; a superior.

7. a presbyter.

8. (in certain Protestant churches) a lay member who is a governing officer, often assisting the pastor in services. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2011.


Let’s take a look, through my eyes, at each option as it relates to the VC/OVC:

1)    Very few people in the OVC, that I’ve come across, were older than me if any therefore I must have been an Elder.

2)    I wasn’t aware we ever had ranks in the OVC; in separate houses, certainly.

3)    Ummm… how far back are we talking?

4)    See 1&2

5)    Yup… definitely getting that way here.

6)    Here’s the tricky one, what’s influential? Someone who everybody listens to and then doesn’t slur behind their back? The person who gets the most posts in the most places in the shortest space of time? The person who gets complained about the most? – That’s still influencing people but in a negative way. This seems to be a wide open space that could accommodate so many different interpretations.

7)    In the early Christian church, an office bearer who exercised teaching, priestly, and administrative functions. In hierarchical churches, a priest or, an elder in a Presbyterian church. None of that really fits what the VC/OVC is except perhaps in the various instances where the word “church” or “temple” is used in a group name and that would be a stretch…

8)    Whatever else it is the VC/OVC is not a Protestant church.


When contemplating it in this light I believe that I had as much right to declare myself an “Elder” as anyone but would that have washed with the majority? Or even a sizable minority? I think not. So, what on earth is an “Elder”?

I have read definitions that include words and phrases such as,

While there is no strict definition, one normally must be at least a century or two old and far removed from their mortal past to qualify” that’s courtesy of White Wolf Game Studio ( and before you laugh remember, the original Black Veil Version 1 was originally written incorporating a number of White Wolf Game Studio terms quite simply because there wasn’t any other language around at the time.


Father Sebastiaan, one of the founding and pre-eminent figures of the early VC/OVC offered the following:

An individual who has been active in the Sanguinarium for 5 or more years…


At the web site Darkness Embraced, one of the premier OVC resources, we can find one of the best definitions that I have ever come across: **


1.)   A member in the community who is highly regarded by many due to their established consistency of helping others, sharing experiences, and bringing balance into the community. True elders are those who have earned respect, not demanded it.

2.)   White Wolf/Underworld/RPG term used to denote an older vampire of 100 years or more. Definition 2. is widely unacceptable in the real vampire community.


Some examples of other words that have been used in defining “Elder” are:

Prominent” person, “honoured”, “experienced”, “knowledgeable”, “willing to help”, and “devotion”. Fine words indeed, all of them, and I could lay claim to being able to fulfill the requirements of each and every one, so if I were a member of the VC/OVC would I be an “Elder”?


At the website of our respected colleague, and RVN contributor, SphynxcatVP there is another excellent definition. The main body of it reads:

When used with its proper definition, this is a member of the vampire community who is known and respected for their experience and knowledge. An elder is often a mentor, someone who’s willing to take the time to explain things to others so that they know what to expect or know how to behave in situations that come up. A wise elder is open to acquiring new knowledge, for the sake of being able to pass it on to those that need it, even if they don’t need the information themselves.” **


I believe that there is one missing ingredient in these recipes, one word that has not appeared and is, to my mind, one of the most important requirements of being an “Elder” and that is ~ Leadership.

I have held “leadership” roles throughout my working life, I have lead teams in workshops, offices and warehouses, I have trained people who have gone on to become team-leaders and in the course of those years I attended several “Leadership Development” training seminars. Let’s be straight, when I talk about “leadership” in that situation it is, naturally, somewhat different than “Leadership in the VC/OVC” however, in ANY leadership role, such as that implied by the term “Elder”, it is not leadership in the sense of having the biggest number of members at the board, site or social page, not leadership in a relatively localized confine and not leadership by simply being a member of a group that says it is a group of leaders but leadership in the following sense:

Be Trustworthy

People want to be assured that their trust, followed closely by their respect is being placed

If there is no trust there is no relationship, either working, social or personal. What you do and say is being watched by others; they are assessing you all the time, assessing your value system and your integrity. Their trust or mistrust of you will be based on your words and your actions, and on their perceptions of those words and actions.

Inspire People

You can’t force people to work toward the goal, the more you push and cajole the less likely people will be to participate effectively in the work.

Inspiring others is one of the most important qualities of good leadership.

Be aware of your impact on others

Extremely high in the “important qualities of good leadership” list is that the individual is aware of their abilities and the impact that they have on others.

Recognising how you affect things and anticipating how others will react to your decisions and personality is an important step in the process of leading toward a goal.

Accept responsibility for your actions

Those who have qualities of good leadership never pass the buck. In fact, the best leaders will not only take responsibility for their own mistakes, but also shield the people working for them from negative consequences of situations. As a leader, always remember that the buck stops with you.

We seem to be stuck in a society of people who prefer to blame others for their circumstances and lack of success; this unfortunately seems to be prevalent in the OVC as a microcosm of the world.

Self Esteem

You might not believe that your own sense of self has much to do with being able to lead but you would be wrong, very wrong. How you feel about yourself can, and does, lead to subconscious patterns of behaviour that, despite having many other fine leadership qualities, will defeat your efforts eventually. Self esteem is crucial to your success as a leader but beware of going overboard with the self esteem and “self-aggrandisement” for that will surely drive away the faithful.

Leading versus Managing

There is a fine line between these two and there is an old adage in business management that goes something like, “A leader can certainly manage, managers rarely lead.”


Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe (28 August 1749 – 22 March 1832) said:

What chance gathers she easily scatters. A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.”

5 years ago Laura, from Australia, wrote:

I went to the pictures tomorrow,
I took a front seat in the back,
I fell from the floor to the ceiling
and I broke a front bone in my back


It doesn’t matter what words you use, nor in the end how you “play” with them, what counts is what you do and how you do it. Leaders aren’t self-proclaimed, they aren’t cast in a mold and cracked out by the bushel, leaders, like Elders, have responsibilities and demands placed on them by people who feel they can trust them; the good leaders step up, do the right thing and reward that trust.

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