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The Masquerade was the first live-action roleplaying game (LARP) published by White Wolf. Based on Vampire: The Masquerade, The Masquerade was the first game to use the Mind's Eye Theatre (MET) live-action system. The first edition of The Masquerade was originally published as a boxed set, like most other party games that were popular in the 1990s; the second edition of the game was instead published as a single softcover volume, of the same dimensions as most other roleplaying game books. The Masquerade was followed shortly by The Apocalypse, the live-action adaptation of Werewolf: The Apocalypse, and it and the other MET games that followed were only published as single-volume books rather than boxed sets.
The Masquerade was later revised and expanded as Laws of the Night, a lengthier but physically smaller book. Subsequent World of Darkness LARP games used the same "Laws of the *" naming convention (e.g. Laws of the Wild, the revised edition of The Apocalypse), as well retaining the new edition's smaller form factor.
From the White Wolf catalog:
- There are no such things as Vampires...
- Do you want to live forever?
- Those Eyes. Like the pits of damnation. Like orbs of black steel. Those eyes, so gentle, they offer me no mercy.
- Why me?
- I stare into them and I am lost. My mind screams for release. Fear, panic, flight! But my body does not respond. I cannot move.
- Why can't I scream?
- You have become death, the destroyer of souls.
- The centuries stretch before you, beckoning. The world is your stage, and all of its people mere props in your hands. Only the others of your kind do you fear. You must battle with them for dominance and survival - clan vs clan, anarch vs elder - will the Jyhad never end?
- You are the predator, and the only thing you truly need is blood, the river of life coursing through the veins of each and every mortal. Blood is the be all and end all of your existence - and it may cost you your soul - but what an existence it is!
- As powerful as you are, you are still but a parasite, and would be destroyed if the herd learned of your existence. The Masquerade is your only defense. This meticulously crafted lie tells them there are no such things as monsters and that all is right with the world. It protects you just as it has protected your kind for centuries. It is your creed and your one true law. Break it at your own peril.
- The Masquerade is a revolutionary storytelling game of live-action roleplaying. It is a type of improvisational theatre in which you assume the role of a vampire. You play out your character's actions, invent your own lines, and experience the dark passions of your tortured alter ego. Costumes and props are optional, it's your imagination that matters. The rules are elegantly simple, and allow you to resolve conflicts quickly and easily, without stepping out of character. Though luck always plays a role, no dice or charts are involved.
- Designed for 5 to 15 players (or even more), it's a party game like you've never seen before.
- Included inside:
- The Character Book provides rules for character inspiration and realization
- The Story Book offers a plethora of rules and suggestions for creating engaging stories
- A complete, easy-to-use introductory story, Unto the Not So Gentle Night
- 16 Briefing sheets, letting you start play in under 15 minutes
- Character cards