Vampire: The Masquerade
Created by Mark Rein·Hagen, Vampire: The Masquerade was the first of White Wolf Game Studio's World of Darkness live-action and role-playing games, based on the Storyteller System and centered around vampires in a modern Gothic-Punk world. The Revised Edition, sometimes alternately referred to as the Third Edition by fans, was released in 1998 and explains, "the setting of Vampire is a composite of its populace and their despair." The title of the series comes from "The Masquerade", referring to the Camarilla's attempts to hide vampirism from humans and their governments and media; it also serves as a double entendre, referring to vampires' efforts to convince themselves that they are not the monsters they have become.
Vampire: The Masquerade began a new trend among games by making its core theme morality, and the horror that results when characters are slowly robbed of it through the twisted hungers of the vampiric condition, giving it its original subtitle, "A Storytelling Game of Personal Horror." This is reinforced through the "World of Darkness," a setting that, while broadly similar to the real world, is much darker and stranger in the details. Over the years, the themes have expanded to concentrate on politics, ambition, and subterfuge - making it generally the most socially complex member of the World of Darkness.
The vampires of Masquerade, variously called Kindred or Cainites, are the cursed progeny of the biblical figure Caine, the first murderer, and as punishment for his crime, the first vampire. This curse weakens the more it is passed on, meaning those further removed from Caine will be weaker than those that came before them. Their Generation is an innate property a vampire can rarely overcome, and produces a hierarchy within vampire society.
Vampire: The Masquerade spawned more adaptations and spin-offs than any other World of Darkness line to date. These include a line of comic books, a card game, Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, and a short-lived television series entitled Kindred: The Embraced. Most notable among these are two video games, Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption, in 2000, and Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, in 2004. The game also received an adaptation into the GURPS system, making it the first World of Darkness property to exist in multiple tabletop systems.
Published in 1991, the First Edition was the first product published in the Classic World of Darkness. The original version of the game used the same Storyteller System as later editions, but had several major differences: very little metaplot existed yet, only seven of the thirteen clans of vampires were fully detailed, and the truth behind the Sabbat was almost completely left to the storyteller. Because it was so short-lived, there are very few supplements specifically for the First Edition, the majority of which are setting books and pre-made stories. In 1992, this edition of Vampire: The Masquerade won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Rules of 1991.
Two years later, in 1993, a Second Edition of Vampire: The Masquerade was published. Most of the changes were errata, to enhance playability and fix any issues that were reported with the original edition. As Werewolf: The Apocalypse now existed, and Vampire now had to deal with other game lines in the same setting, the setting was altered to aid in that transition. This edition truly started the metaplot, as new supplements introduced a timeline of events as sects, clans, and bloodlines were added and altered from their appearance in the core book.
With all of the changes that occurred during the reign of Second Edition, a new edition became necessary. Beginning in 1998, the Revised Edition instituted many changes, such as all thirteen clans and their disciplines being presented equally in the core rules. The expansion of scale that started in Second Edition is taken to new heights, as the Final Nights and the impending end of Kindred society becomes a major theme. Clans that have remained static since the First Edition see major upheavals, with the Malkavians adopting Dementation as a discipline, and the Gangrel becoming fully Independent. This edition was discontinued in 2004, and followed by revised rules and a new setting in Vampire: The Requiem. As of 2011, books from this edition are back in print, in the form of a new print-on-demand service offered by White Wolf Publishing and Crowd Control Productions.
Also known as V20, the latest edition of Vampire: The Masquerade, published in 2011, celebrates twenty years since the game was first published. The themes of this edition more closely resembles those of Second Edition, as many climactic occurrences associated with the "Final Nights" are no longer present. Aside from a number of minor rules changes, this edition features the most complete core rulebook of any edition, featuring almost every discipline and bloodline ever published. This edition named its setting as the "Classic" World of Darkness, replacing the popular fan moniker, "Old" World of Darkness.
Mind's Eye Theatre
A companion to the tabletop versions of the game, Mind's Eye Theatre, published first in 1993 and sporadically updated over the length of Vampire's original run (eventually gaining the name Laws of the Night), is a variant with simplified rules designed for live-action roleplaying. Using Rock-Paper-Scissors as a resolution mechanic, it differs only in rules, and possesses the same setting and structure as other versions of the game. Since October 2009, this version of the game has been run by the Camarilla official fan club, though this has not resulted in any new releases for the line.
List of Books
The Vampiric Sects
Nearly every vampire in the World of Darkness is a member of one of the sects, powerful, globespanning organizations of vampires.
- The Camarilla is the largest sect in the World of Darkness: an organization of seven clans ruled by the eldest of vampires who have tasked themselves with preventing humankind from learning of the existence of vampires.
- The Sabbat are a psuedo-religious group of vicious vampires: they consider vampires to be superior to mortals, and seek use humanity like cattle for feeding, rather than trying to hide and live among them.
- Many other, smaller sects exist whose function in the game is to convolute it, such as the Anarchs, the Inconnu, the Ashirra, and clans who are their own independent sect, such as the Assamites and the Giovanni Family.
Clans, Bloodlines and the antitribu
Clans of the Camarilla
Clans of the Sabbat
Independent Clans and Single-Clan Sects
|Assamite||Followers of Set||Gangrel||Giovanni||Ravnos|
There are dozens of different bloodlines, though few of them grow to be more than a handful of Kindred. Generically speaking, the main difference between a Clan and a Bloodline is the ability to trace an unbroken blood lineage to one of thirteen powerful vampires, the Antediluvians, though exceptions exist.
(If you are looking for the computer game Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines, click here.)
Disciplines are the names for the inherent powers of vampires. Each clan has powers that are tied to their particular blood.
- Eight "common" Disciplines are known to multiple clans, and represent the most basic and iconic powers of the vampiric state. They are Animalism, Auspex, Celerity, Dominate, Fortitude, Obfuscate, Potence, and Presence.
- Many clans have access to a single Discipline outside these core eight. These Disciplines are usually difficult for those outside the clan to learn, and have bizarre effects that may not relate to any power traditionally attributed to vampires.
- Some bloodlines have incredibly rare unique Disciplines, though these might not be as much of a blessing as it sounds; many bloodlines are hunted by the larger clans, and possession of their signature Discipline can be socially problematic. Rumours suggest that the Thin-blooded may also have unique Disciplines, but this occurrence is extremely rare.
- The Tremere, the Giovanni, and a handful of other smaller groups practice blood magic Disciplines. These are quite complex, having a series of paths, as well as related rituals. These unusual Disciplines are fiercely guarded, and their study so consuming that the vampires who work to develop them spend much of their time and effort on the practice.
- Combination Disciplines are specialized applications of power, requiring two or more Disciplines to be used together. They can often be quite expensive, requiring a minimum level in both Disciplines, and an extra cost to purchase the combination itself.
Every participant in a Vampire: the Masquerade game must create a character to play. Your character is your alter ego whom you control and through whom you vicariously experience the World of Darkness.
This section covers aspects of the game outside your character, including some of the people your character can meet. NPCs are Non-Player Characters, characters played and controlled by the Storyteller, which can include other Vampires, mortals, ghouls (blood-bound Vampire servants), antagonists (enemies), etc. The section also covers the political landscape of the Vampire: the Masquerade and the World of Darkness, including the Sects to which your character belongs and some of the other Factions which may influence, empower or endanger your character.
- World of Darkness: Gotham wiki for the Vampire: the Masquerade venue.
- Boston by Night Free real-time, online RPG based in Boston and offering Vampire the Masquerade.