University underworld

Members of One World By Night, an on-campus vampire themed club, gather to role play as vampires and werewolves.

As the moon rises over Cooper Hall, bloodthirsty students pace the University, lurking in the night’s shadows.

Part of the organization called One World By Night, these students dress as vampires in dark gothic clothing, as dusk lures them into the darkness. They’re fans of the gaming world, and incorporate it into their real lives every other Friday night.

“I am a storyteller. The best way to put that in normal terms would be a director,” Anthony Rueda, one of the directors of OWBN, said.

Rueda supervises and writes plots for the group, which focuses on forming tales about vampires and werewolves.

“Stories that have a beginning, middle and end, that the other players can experience and solve,” Rueda said.

OWBN meets every other Friday from 8 p.m. to midnight. It’s a social event for people interested in the subject.

“Everyone interacts in (the role-playing) aspect, to vary upon a goal, to take a different perspective,” Rueda said.

Though the organization’s activities stand in stark contrast to the typical community service or leadership organizations publicized on campus, OWBN does not include any “freakish” behavior from members. Through role-playing, the members learn something from each story.

“It’s not something you see like on Entertainment Tonight or anything like that. It’s definitely a recreational activity – it’s a game,” Rueda said.

Although some interviews have described the organization in negative terms, the organization has received a more positive response from students, Rueda said.

“Most people are in awe and respect (it) because it’s above and beyond the standard – above and beyond the normal,” he said. While some find the organization’s subject matter bizarre, vampires and other science fiction creatures of the night have a place in pop culture. For example, werewolves have been brought to life in movies such as American Werewolf and American Werewolf in Paris, Rueda said.

OWBN gives members a chance to psychologically morph into whatever character they decide to role-play.

“It’s the same thing, honestly, as taking a drama class. A lot of people feel comfortable being able to do that because it gives them a chance to turn into something that they might not normally do,” said Rueda.

The games that OWBN participates in are similar to movies. They have their main themes and different story plots within them.

“It’s like you’re going to the store to get groceries, but on the way to the store you stop to get gas. While you’re getting gas you’re thirsty, so you buy a drink,” said Rueda.

OWBN stories aren’t just about vampires and werewolves. They also deal with mainstream topics, such as street racing. The characters in this story try to understand themselves, and at the same time be part of a mortal society.

“There’s also characters that are completely mortal, just like you and me. The only difference is they are aware that supernatural creatures exist, and they work with them,” Rueda said.

OWBN has a very strict policy on dress code. Members can’t wear any vampire gear that might be obscene to the public eye. “On campus it’s not something we do, because campus police is campus police,” Rueda said, “We don’t want to scare people into thinking we’re doing something cult-like or ritualistic or anything considered bad.”

OWBN is an international organization, with members in the United States, Brazil and Canada.