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About Us
Vicarious Universe was founded twelve years ago, on the first day Lord of the Rings Online allowed the formation of kinships, so VU is tied with a few other venerable guilds for the title of oldest kinship in the game. With seven close friends from Star Wars Galaxy, Dark Ages of Camelot, and a few other MMOs, we founded Vicarious Universe to serve as a home for players who enjoy crafting, questing, and exploring the rich narrative line and beautiful graphics of LOTRO. We value generosity, good fellowship, high spirits, thoughtfulness, and a well-developed sense of humor.

VU shares its initials with Vanderbilt University, which hosts a free online class devoted to LOTRO, “Online Games: Literature, New Media, and Narrative” ( But, more important, the name registers our sense that the virtual world of Middle Earth is a place where vicarious experience opens up a whole new universe for our enjoyment.

Cheeryble, VU Kin Leader

I don't go out to bars...I don't go to casinos...I don't do drugs...I don't drink much, maybe 2 times a year...this is what I love to do...get others...make friends...joke...laugh...and stay out of the world's problems...I have enough of my own 😉
- Overherereally, VU Provost

I have found a great group of friends in VU. Everybody has been so nice, helping me with the leveling of my characters, providing new weapons and armor and they even helped me with house hunting in the Bree-land Homesteads! I couldn't stand being in any other kinship than Vicarious Universe.
- Barglord, VU Kinsman

We found LOTRO through a priest in Belgium who plays and blogs and podcasts about it on Catholic Radio... My son started playing and has since dragged me into it. I am not sure how my son (Farrolin) found this kinship, but I am so grateful that he did. You have all been welcoming, generous and a joy to play with for both of us.
- Nodder, VU Kinsman

I don't usually bother with MMOs, but when I found out about Cheeryble's course I had to join. "Having" to read, watch, and play Lord of the Rings? Sign me up! The Vicarious Universe kin has been super welcoming and helpful. It's always fun wandering Middle-Earth with my kinmates or just chatting in channel. I'm happy to have met the people in VU.

- Drinli, VU Kinswoman

LotRO (and Vicarious Universe specifically) is pretty much what got me into video games, and part of why I’m still so in love with the MMO genre. VU is a really nice group to have around if you need help with mechanics, quests, or just want to chat while farming. VU is a pretty well-rounded kin, though most of the focus is on PvE stuff last I played, which lends a really nice environment for both casual gamers and people who want to level to max and get into the grind. They’re also just good people to have around, chat with, and on occasion debate Tolkien canon with.

-Tarthalinor, VU Kinsman

Prior to joining Vicarious Universe, I played LOTRO by myself for 3 years. My reason for doing so was that I was uncertain I could fit into a group of other players. The resulting anxiety from not wanting to look stupid, feel out of my league or get mistreated kept me from engaging with other people in-game. When the opportunity to join Professor Calyton's online course came up, I jumped at the chance. My plan was to only join the kinship long enough to complete the course, get the certificate and place it in front of a college admissions director with all of my other accomplishments. I was fully prepared to leave VU, convinced that solo play remained my best option. But then, the unexpected occurred. I made friends, I helped people and they helped me in return, I looked forward to playing a game that had, up till then, been a lonely way of passing the time but was now a shared experience with kind and giving people.

I have been a member of VU for a number of years now and in this time, my role and responsibilities in this group of friends has grown and I feel that I have as well. For anyone looking for the right guild to become a part of, I say this: A true group of friends should always make you feel welcome and comfortable rather than reluctant and on the defense. Having someone to turn to for assistance, input or just friendly chatter should not be difficult to achieve. If you truly want to have fun and leave life behind for an hour...or four...or more, you should have friends around you who are similarly inclined. If this sounds like what you're after, look no further than Vicarious Universe. I'm glad to know them and I believe you will be too.

-Callathrad Whitebark, VU Provost

"LotRO has become sort of my "happy place" (and a refuge from the world at times) and VU my family. That's how I'd explain kinships to a non-gamer but to a gamer all I'd need to say is that in LotRO the term kinship means the same as guild or clan (think Diablo3) or something else. Guild is probably the better being a more established/well known term in gaming communities. Turbine chose kinship for many reasons and it really fits best for those many reasons but to save from writing a thesis, giving it a different name (from Guild) is because in LOTRO we join "Guilds" to study the art of Crafting. :) Once you get into the game you'll probably see what I mean.

Now, because this is far too long for my liking and the font is ever small on the page, I will stop here and go back to the original intent of my quote -- kinships or player-made guilds differ widely and it pays to find the right "fit". In LotRO there are many welcoming kinships and all of them different. Think of families. It's not one size fits all, but when you get/find the right one, it's great and fantastic, and Vicarious Universe is where I found My family and how lucky I am that I did.

-Uncipherable, VU Provost