You may be somewhat familiar with White Wolf’s World of Darkness, particularly if you played any of the video games based on the universe, including the Hunter: The Reckoning Series or Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines. For those unfamiliar with the White Wolf’s World of Darkness, think True Blood meets Game of Thrones, where creatures like vampires, werewolves and hunters exist, power politics between and amongst the groups is a very real part of the world, and there’s a sense of looming apocalypse layered on top.
Vampire: The Masquerade (V:tM) is a rich roleplaying experience, where interactions between players and NPCs matter more than combat. V:tM is a heavy storytelling and roleplaying game, with less emphasis on fighting and action. After all, you’re playing as an immortal vampire, where bullets hurt but don’t kill, SPF technology has come a long way, and most people don’t carry around stakes on their person, let alone think of decapitation.
Premised on the notion that vampires have existed since the first days of humanity (with Caine AKA Cain, the first son and murderer being the first vampire whose blood gives the gift of vampirism) and that vampires have been involved in and shaping the world to suit their desires, the game is named after the tradition of vampires hiding their true monstrous natures from humanity as they do (The Masquerade). Six clans make up the Camarilla, the largest sect of vampires in the world and an organization that enforces and champions the Masquerade. Each clan is highly influential and has its own gifts bestowed onto them from the blood of their clan founder. Think of each clan as a class, as their gifts give them a particular set of abilities. There are independent clans as well as Sabbat clans as well, with their own gifts but also their own values and notions of vampire society and how it should interact with humanity.
Those of Clan Toreador are a charisma-style class; they are enchanting, stylish and beautiful, influencing both humans and vampires with this gift. Vampires of Clan Malkavian are a kind of wisdom class, with unique insights, perceptions, and compulsions due to the madness that courses through their blood. Similarly, vampires of Clan Tremere are a magic class, with access to blood magics (Thaumaturgy) that illicit suspicion and fear in vampires, despite the fact that the blood of Caine has gifted all vampires with supernatural abilities.
Because of the heavy emphasis on interactions and roleplaying, V:tM was a very popular game to LARP as well. Masquerading yourself in public as a vampire in hiding, interacting and roleplaying in public venues like nightclubs, cafes and bars populated by non-players (taking on the role of uninvolved humans) and playing the games of politics amongst the players made LARPing accessible. You didn’t need special venues, costumes or equipment. In the Humble Bundle, you can access Mind’s Eye Theatre, the guide to LARPing in the World of Darkness as a vampire in public spaces, without being intrusive or being terribly intruded upon during your game.
I’ll be honest: V:tM was my first roleplaying game, back when I wore too much eyeliner and wrote bad goth poetry. While I left the blood teardrop makeup behind, seeing this wonderful game become accessible to a new generation of gamers is enough for me to pull out my old Bauhaus records and do a (goth) dance for joy. On the inside, I’m dancing like this:
Have you played in the World of Darkness? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credits: White Wolf (Fair Use)
Teri Litorco is a YouTuber, past Geek & Sundry Vlogger, and a Toreador, through and through. She still wears a lot of black. Find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If you follow her, she may even post photos of herself wearing too much eyeliner from high school. No luck on the poetry though.