The scenario presented by this edition takes place in 1230, approximately thirty years after VTDA. The Long Night has ended, and now the War of Princes rages across Europe. The vampires who fought the War of Princes are riven across complex boundaries of clan and Road, with additional caste boundaries caused by the divisions between High and Low clans.
Dark Ages: Vampire introduces many of the philosophical ideas outlined in revised edition of Vampire: The Masquerade, into the Dark Ages setting. Characters are now less tied to clan (although the boundary between the noble high clans and the poor and outsider low clans does reverberate through the system) and the Roads have been expanded from paths into full religions.
This edition differs considerably from its predecessor (VTDA), not only in terms of the massive social changes outlined in the book, but also by introducing a sequence of rulebooks in the same fatsplat manner used by Exalted and eventually refined with the revised Storyteller System.
The clans in Dark Ages: Vampire are slightly different to those presented in Vampire: The Masquerade. The original thirteen clans still exist, and division of loyalties is very different, as the Camarilla and Sabbat are still over two centuries away. The clans are divided by ideology into a semi-caste structure, being High and Low Clans. While there is no game mechanic for dividing the two groups, one can expect others to behave a certain way towards you based upon whether you come from a High or Low Clan.
The High Clans are:
The Low Clans are comprised of members of the following clans:
- Assamites (Warriors, Sorcerers and Viziers)
- Followers of Set
It is worth noting that in the year 1230 AD, members of clan Tremere are still thought of as usurpers; ones who have drained the heart's blood of the Salubri (who are considered to be "noble" vampires, despite the claims of demon worship). Thus the Tremere are frowned upon by other clans, their campaign of misinformation against the Salubri not yet having borne fruit.
Details of the other Dark Ages clans and bloodlines (Salubri, Baali, Laibon, Lamia, Lhiannan and Gargoyles) are found in supplemental books for players and Storytellers. Some of these, particularly the Baali, are treated solely as antagonists, not for use as player characters.