Vampire: The Masquerade
Vampire: The Masquerade (Revised Edition) cover
|Publisher(s)||White Wolf Publishing|
|Publication date||1991 (1st edition)
1992 (2nd edition)
1998 (Revised edition)
2011 (20th Anniversary)
Vampire: The Masquerade is a role-playing game created by Mark Rein·Hagen. It was the first of White Wolf Publishing's World of Darkness role-playing games, based on the Storyteller System and centered around vampires in a modern gothic-punk world. The title of the series comes from "The Masquerade", referring to the Camarilla's attempts to hide vampirism from humans and their governments, but is also a double entendre referring to vampires' efforts to convince themselves that they are not truly monsters.
In 1992, Vampire: The Masquerade won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Rules of 1991. The game line was discontinued in 2004 followed by a revision of the setting in Vampire: The Requiem. The game received its 20th Anniversary Edition in 2011 and was officially revived as part of White Wolf Publishing's shift to a print on demand business model, and multiple new Masquerade products have been announced.
The game uses the cursed and immortal vampiric condition as a backdrop to explore themes of morality, depravity, the human condition (or appreciation of the human condition in its absence), salvation, and personal horror. The gloomy and exaggerated version of the real world that the vampires inhabit, called the "World of Darkness," forms an already bleak canvas against which the stories and struggles of characters are painted. The themes that the game seeks to address include retaining the character's sense of self, humanity, and sanity, as well as simply keeping from being crushed by the grim opposition of mortal and supernatural antagonists and, more poignantly, surviving the politics, treachery, and often violent ambitions of their own kind.
Vampire is based on the Storyteller System. In addition to the general Storyteller rules, it uses a number of specific mechanics aimed towards simulating the vampiric existence. A vampire has a blood pool signifying the amount of human blood or vitae currently in their body; this blood can be spent to power abilities and perform supernatural tricks. These tricks simulate many of those portrayed on film, such as turning into animals or mist, sleeping in the ground or having unnatural charisma and powers of hypnotic suggestion.
Close to the central theme of the game is the Humanity mechanic. Each vampire has a Humanity score, measuring how closely in touch with his human nature the vampire is; as it decreases, the vampire becomes more susceptible to his Beast, the feral side of the vampiric soul that is driven entirely by rage and hunger. Brutal, immoral actions risk lowering a vampire's Humanity score. If the individual's Humanity drops to zero, the Beast takes over and the vampire is in a state of constant frenzy known as Wassail.
The actions taken during gameplay are expressed using ten-sided dice. The number of dice used corresepond to the player's current skill level, often based on two different skills that together represent the player's ability. For example, to land a punch, the character's dexterity and brawl skill are combined. The resulting number is the number of die rolled to perform the task. It is up to the story teller to set how high a dice roll must be to be considered a success (usually 6 for standard actions).
Vampires in World of Darkness
|Old World of Darkness|
|Vampire: The Masquerade
|New World of Darkness|
|Vampire: The Requiem
|Vampire: The Eternal Struggle
"Kindred" is the term most vampires in this game use to refer to themselves and their race. Some vampires, namely those of the Sabbat, refer to themselves as "Cainites", as (referced from the book of Genesis in the Bible) the curse that transforms them into vampires originated from the blood of Caine, which flows in the veins of all vampires and is the source of their strength. The term "Kine" (an archaic term for cattle) is the opposite of this, and refers to humans.
In general, vampiric societies consist of two levels: sects and clans. Characters within the Vampire setting are members of one of the clans or minor bloodlines offered, and usually belong to factions associated with these or that reflect a general ideological stance the characters happen to share. For example, a Brujah may belong to the Camarilla, the Sabbat, or the Anarchs, but very few Tremere would be found among the Sabbat and even more rarely among the Anarchs.
Some clans and most of the minor bloodlines declare themselves independent from any sects. A vampire who rejects all associations with any sect and clan is known as Autarkis. In addition, the Laibon, known as Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom by Western Kindred, are not so much a sect as a cultural group bound together loosely by a powerful spiritual bond to the land and the people of Africa. The Kindred of the East, while sharing some superficial similarity to the western Kindred, are actually an entirely different variety of supernatural being.
Clans and bloodlines
Each Vampire belongs to a distinct clan or bloodline. These groupings share distinct characteristics, powers and curses. The Nosferatu, for example, all share the disciplines of Animalism, Obfuscate and Potence and the curse of disfiguring appearance. A bloodline is a distinct split from the main clans, as the curse of Caine is changed over time, representing new expressions of vampirism. Some bloodlines, such as the Gargoyles, are artificially created through applications of Thaumaturgy. The Caitiff are an exception to the rule, as they are considered clanless sharing no disciplines and curse, they are viewed as a disquieting sign of the coming armageddon.
Tie-ins and adaptations
- Under the title Mind's Eye Theatre: The Masquerade White Wolf also provides a live action role-playing game in the same setting, using their Mind's Eye Theatre system.
- Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, a collectible card game based on "Vampire", was produced by Wizards of the Coast and later by White Wolf.
- Kindred: The Embraced, a television series based on Vampire, was produced by Aaron Spelling.
- A video game based upon the Vampire milieu is Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption, developed by Nihilistic Software and published in 2000 by Activision.
- Another game followed in 2004: Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. Developed by Troika Games and published by Activision, it uses Valve's Source engine.
- A compilation album, called Music from the Succubus Club, was released by Dancing Ferret Discs to serve as a soundtrack for the Vampire RPG.
- Moonstone Books published a series of comic book adaptations of Vampire: The Masquerade which are now hard to find, but some of them made it into DriveThruRPG's Print on Demand service.
- Steve Jackson Games published an adaptation of Vampire: The Masquerade using their popular GURPS generic table-top roleplaying system. They followed this book up with a supplement called GURPS: Vampire Companion. Both books were produced for use with the Third Edition of the GURPS rules and are no longer in print. The Steve Jackson company also produced GURPS conversions of Werewolf: The Apocalypse, and Mage: The Ascension. [it is interesting to note, that Steve Jackson Games did in fact have the original Copy Rights to the World of Darkness setting --- initially, SJ Games decided not to release their version --- however, after the massive popularity the game setting received during the White Wolf Company's release, SJ Games, which still held their official rights of release on the system, published its version]
Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Mage: The Ascension, Wraith: The Oblivion, Changeling: The Dreaming, Hunter: The Reckoning, Mummy: The Resurrection, Kindred of the East, and Demon: The Fallen are other RPG titles set in the Old World of Darkness.
In August 2004, the now-defunct game set in the original World of Darkness was replaced by Vampire: The Requiem. Although it is an entirely new game, rather than a continuation of the old, it uses many elements of the old game, including certain clans and disciplines.
20th Anniversary Edition
On March 17, 2011, White Wolf announced the 20th Anniversary Edition, which was published during the Grand Masquerade event in New Orleans on September 15–17, 2011, released to the attendees. Customers not attending The Grand Masquerade were offered a limited time preorder option. The 20th Anniversary Edition contains revisions of rules and is a compendium of most information provided in supplemental material in the game's earlier life.
Print on Demand
As of fall 2011 White Wolf and online role playing game store DriveThruRPG.com began offering the new and classic World of Darkness source books in a print on demand format through the DriveThruRPG web site starting with a number of formerly out of print Vampire: The Masquerade books and gradually adding more as they were ready for print. DriveThruRPG and White Wolf have indicated that eventually all World of Darkness material will be available in this way.
- Vampire: The Eternal Struggle
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines
- Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption
- Vasilakos, George (2007). "Vampire: The Masquerade". In Lowder, James. Hobby Games: The 100 Best. Green Ronin Publishing. pp. 348–351. ISBN 978-1-932442-96-0
- Melton, Gordon (1994). The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead (1st ed.). Detroit, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 852. ISBN 0-8103-2295-1.
- "Origins Award Winners (1991)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2008-03-15. Retrieved 2008-01-12.
- "At GenCon we announced our partnership with DriveThruRPG in their Now in Print program, offering out-of-print and PDF-exclusive products as physical books through print-on-demand technology". White Wolf Publishing. Retrieved 2011-08-31.
- "White Wolf Release Schedule 2011-2012". White Wolf Publishing. Retrieved 2011-08-09.
- DriveThruRPG's List of Moonstone Comics with World of Darkness Theme
- Achilli, Justin. Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition. White Wolf Game Studio, 1998. ISBN 1-56504-249-2.
- Justin Achilli et al., Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom, White Wolf Game Studio, 2003, ISBN 1-58846-239-0
- Robert Hatch et al., A World of Darkness (Second Edition), White Wolf Game Studio, 1996, ISBN 1-56504-207-7
- Dean Shomshak & Ari Marmell, Blood Sacrifice: The Thaumatrugy Companion, (White Wolf Game Studio, 2002, ISBN 1-58846-222-6
- James A. Moore et al., Blood Magic: Secrets of Thaumaturgy, White Wolf Game Studio, 2000, ISBN 1-56504-246-8
- Justin Achilli et al., Guide to the Sabbat, White Wolf Game Studio, 1999, ISBN 1-56504-263-8
- White Wolf Publishing Children of the Night, White Wolf Game Studio, 1999, ISBN 1-56504-244-1
- Justin Achilli, Clanbook: Cappadocian, White Wolf Game Studio, 1997, ISBN 1-56504-280-8
- Justin Achilli, Clanbook: Giovanni by White Wolf Game Studio) (1997) ISBN 1-56504-218-2
- White Wolf Publishing et al., Vampire Storytellers Handbook, White Wolf Game Studio, 2000, ISBN 1-56504-264-6
- Sven Skoog & Lucien Soulban, Clanbook: Baali, White Wolf Game Studio, 1998, ISBN 1-56504-213-1
- White Wolf Games Studio et al., Vampire Storytellers Companion White Wolf Game Studio, 1998, ISBN 1-56504-259-X
- Andrew Greenberg, Vampire Players Guide, White Wolf Game Studio, 1993, ISBN 1-56504-053-8
- Lucien Soulban & James Stewart et al., Clanbook: Tzimisce, White Wolf Game Studio, 2001, ISBN 1-58846-202-1
- Justin Achilli et al., Guide to the Sabbat, White Wolf Game Studio, 1999, ISBN 1-56504-263-8
- Justin Achilli al., Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition, White Wolf Game Studio, 1998, ISBN 1-56504-249-2
- Steven C. Brown & Ken Meyer, The Storytellers Handbook to the Sabbat, White Wolf Game Studio, 1995, ISBN 1-56504-042-2
- Steven C. Brown & Jeff Starling, A Players Guide to the Sabbat, White Wolf Game Studio, 1995, ISBN 1-56504-042-2
- Vampire The Masquerade in The official World of Darkness wiki
- Vampire the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition Official blog