The Main Idea Edit
Vampire: The Masquerade is the first Classic World of Darkness game and the first Storyteller System game published by White Wolf. A major departure from the more power and heroics oriented games of the era, VTM is a game of personal horror. It is the parent and the most popular of all the World of Darkness games, and was the genesis of almost all the major ideas people associate with White Wolf.
In Vampire, characters play vampires, also called Kindred, descendants of Caine (the Biblical Cain), cursed with a thirst for blood, vulnerability to sunlight and immortality. Vampires are forever subject to the Beast, their raging animal urges of hunger, fear and rage.
Vampires generally live in cities, which are run feudally by Princes; life in a city is one of constant political manipulation and paranoia, as the powers of the city vie for power, control and food.
Vampires are creatures ruled by fear, most importantly the fear of exposure to the Kine, everyday humanity. Since the Inquisition the majority of vampires have lived under the Masquerade, an enforced campaign to hide the existence of the Kindred from humanity.
Vampire is a game of personal horror: the characters are continually forced to walk a moral tightrope between their need to survive and the horrific means by which they ensure it.
History of the Game Edit
Created by Mark Rein·Hagen, Vampire: The Masquerade was the first of White Wolf Game Studio's Classic World of Darkness live-action and role-playing games, based on the Storyteller System and centered around vampires in a modern Gothic-Punk world. The Revised Edition, sometimes alternately referred to as the Third Edition by fans, was released in 1998 and explains, "the setting of Vampire is a composite of its populace and their despair." The title of the series comes from "The Masquerade", referring to the Camarilla's attempts to hide vampirism from humans and their governments and mass media.
In 1992, Vampire: The Masquerade won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Rules of 1991. The game line was discontinued in 2004, and followed by revised rules and a new setting in Vampire: The Requiem. The game resumed limited publication in 2011 with Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition.
'Kindred' is the term many vampires in this game use to refer to themselves. Some vampires, namely those of the 'Sabbat' refer to themselves as Cainites, as the curse that transforms them into vampires originated with Caine. The term 'Kine' (i.e. '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. In addition, the Laibon, known as the 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. While the Kuei-jin, also known as the Kindred of the East, share some superficial similarity to the western Kindred, they are actually an entirely different variety of supernatural being.
Tie-ins & Adaptations Edit
Under the title Mind's Eye Theatre: The Masquerade and later Laws of the Night, White Wolf also provides a live action role-playing game in the same setting, using their Mind's Eye Theatre system.
Two video games based upon the Vampire milieu have been produced, both published by Activision. Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption was developed by Nihilistic Software and published in 2000. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, published in 2004, was developed by Troika Games using Half-Life 2's Source Engine.
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 role-playing game titles set in the so-called World of Darkness.
In August 2004, the games set in the Classic World of Darkness were replaced by the World of Darkness, and Vampire: The Masquerade was replaced with Vampire: The Requiem. Although Requiem 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.
The Kindred of Vampire: The Masquerade Edit
- Main article: Kindred (VTM)
The internal look at vampires, with their physiology, their politics and their clan division.
In Vampire: The Masquerade, Kindred is the most common euphemism for a vampire. The term is most commonly used by vampires who strive to maintain their Humanity. Sabbat vampires prefer to simply call themselves vampires or Cainites in order to show that they aren't falling into some petty game of denial by pretending they're still human. Kindred use the term Kine to refer to all of humanity.
The Vampires of the Classic World of Darkness Edit
- Main article: Vampire (cWOD)
The external look at vampires, largely as antagonists, who don't necessarily have clans or politics.
Differences Between Masquerade & Requiem Edit
- Main article: Differences Between VtM and VtR
Vampire: The Masquerade went through revisions before ending and being replaced by Vampire: The Requiem. In that time, the game acquired a lot of baggage that has since been swept clean. This article summarizes those revisions.
Vampire: The Masquerade Books Edit
- Main article: Vampire: The Masquerade books