The World of Darkness, distinguished from other settings of the same name as the Classic World of Darkness or (informally) the "Old World of Darkness", is a Gothic-Punk setting for roleplaying games using the Storyteller System, published by White Wolf from 1991 to 2004 and by Onyx Path from 2011 to the present. While typically not a full-fledged game in its own right, it is the shared setting for a myriad of other games.
Since Vampire's first edition stood alone, there was no need to have a separate identity for the larger World of Darkness. Indeed, it wasn't until around the release of Mage in 1993 (when Vampire was in its 2nd Edition and Werewolf was a year into its 1st Edition) that a World of Darkness logo was finally created, based on the logo of 1992's . The focus is clearly on the "world" of the title.
This particular logo didn't last long, being replaced with a text-based logo in 1994, around the time of the release of Wraith: The Oblivion.
Not long after this logo, the final logo featuring the skeletal "shrimp" figure was introduced, which lasted until the World of Darkness ended in 2004 and throughout its 20th Anniversary Edition resurrection from 2011 onward.
Ending and RebirthEdit
In 2004, the setting closed with the long-promised end of the world, and in 2004 White Wolf launched a "New" World of Darkness. To differentiate between the two settings, most fans took to dubbing the original the "old World of Darkness" compared to the "new World of Darkness".
Beginning in 2011 with the release of , White Wolf began releasing new products for the original World of Darkness products concurrently with the "new" World of Darkness. Some of these products pick up series where they left off 10 years ago or more. To distinguish the two Worlds of Darkness, White Wolf officially branded the original as the "Classic World of Darkness", while the "New" World of Darkness continued to simply use the World of Darkness name.
In 2015, Paradox Interactive purchased White Wolf and the World of Darkness, and announced their plans to unify all fans and game lines under "One World of Darkness". In December of that year, the "New World of Darkness" setting was renamed to Chronicles of Darkness, leaving the World of Darkness name to the "Classic" World of Darkness.
The Original Settings Edit
Big Three Edit
These were the three heavy-hitters of Classic World of Darkness, and served as the backbone for the game line. While it's usually left up to the storyteller whether or not the other games can cross over with each other, these three are always treated as part of the same canon.
- Vampire: The Masquerade: A game of personal horror, wherein players play vampires. (See also Dark Ages: Vampire and Victorian Age: Vampire.)
- Werewolf: The Apocalypse: A game of savage horror, wherein players take on the role of werewolves. (See also Dark Ages: Werewolf and Werewolf: The Wild West.)
- Mage: The Ascension: A game of reality on the brink, wherein players take on the role of modern mages. (See also Dark Ages: Mage and Mage: The Sorcerer's Crusade.)
Along with the above three games, the following two games were part of the originally-conceived lineup of five games set in the World of Darkness. Their popularity floundered, and so they're often treated as "rarer" installments where crossovers are concerned.
- Wraith: The Oblivion: A game of passion and horror, wherein players play wraiths, those who have died but remain due to unfinished business. (See also Wraith: The Great War and Orpheus.)
- Changeling: The Dreaming: A game of modern fantasy, wherein players play changelings, the last remnants of the legendary fae. (See also Dark Ages: Fae.)
These three games heralded the end of things, from three different perspectives: the dead, the fallen, and the humans who fight back against the darkness.
- Hunter: The Reckoning: A game of righteous fury, wherein players play hunters who have been imbued with the ability to see and fight the monsters in their midst. (See also Dark Ages: Inquisitor.) Part of the Year of the Reckoning.
- Demon: The Fallen: A game of infernal glory, wherein players assume the role of the Fallen, angels who had been consigned to the Abyss for loving humanity too much. Part of the Year of the Damned.
- Orpheus: Following in Wraith's footsteps, Orpheus is a game of ghost stories for ghosts. The theme is "don't look back"
Additional Games Edit
Games which, while they presented separate fully-playable concepts, often required one of the main games in order to have the complete rules. The first fatsplats.
- Kindred of the East: Featuring the Kuei-jin, the vampires of the Middle Kingdom. Part of the Year of the Lotus.
- Mummy: The Resurrection: Featuring the Amenti, ancient "mummies" reborn in the modern world. Part of the Year of the Scarab.
Historical Settings Edit
Games based off one of the above concepts, but set in a separate historical era.
- Dark Ages: Vampire: The Dark Ages (revised as Dark Ages: Vampire), Werewolf: The Dark Ages (revised as Dark Ages: Werewolf), World of Darkness: Blood & Silk, Dark Ages: Mage, Dark Ages: Inquisitor, Dark Ages: Fae, Dark Ages: Devil's Due
- Renaissance: Mage: The Sorcerer's Crusade
- Wild West & Victorian Era: Werewolf: The Wild West, Victorian Age: Vampire, Sunset Empires
- World War I & Great Depression: Wraith: The Great War
Theme Years Edit
White Wolf provided a series of themes, one a year, which informed many of the major releases to follow that year.
- 1995-1996: The Year of the Hunter
- 1997: The Year of the Ally
- 1998: The Year of the Lotus
- 1999: The Year of the Reckoning
- 2000: The Year of Revelations
- 2001: The Year of the Scarab
- 2002: The Year of the Damned
- 2003-2004: The Time of Judgment