- This article is about the "new" World of Darkness. For the other settings by this name, see Classic World of Darkness or Monte Cook's World of Darkness.
The Setting Edit
The World of Darkness is a modern gothic setting, using the Storytelling System. It presents an image of the modern world "through a looking glass darkly": More dangerous, less caring, and filled with monsters of both human and inhuman varieties.
Designed to be flexible and allow for a multitude of horror stories, the World of Darkness is (intentionally) somewhat vague. Flavor text in thepresents possibilities for stories that clearly tie into traditional werewolf and vampire stories, and includes a lengthy section on ghosts and ghost stories. However, other pieces of fiction present the possibilities of demonic antagonists, occult storylines and inexplicable oddity. There is no over-riding mythos as there is in games such as Call of Cthulhu or Unknown Armies. While the setting is described as one of "dark mystery", "dread" and "threatening symbolism", it is ultimately left open for the Storyteller to construct stories within.
Points of Difference Edit
The Vampire: The Masquerade in 1991, the old World of Darkness acted as the shared setting for White Wolf Game Studio's horror roleplaying games. While the basic setting is similar, there are some important differences between the two settings.was the first book of a re-launch for the World of Darkness setting. Premiering in
- "Gothic-Punk" vs. "Modern Gothic" — The first World of Darkness setting was described as "Gothic-Punk", blending decaying gothic visuals and mood with brash punk attitude and energy. The new setting has instead been described as modern gothic, focusing instead on the dark gothic images and mood, pushing aside the "punk" in the description to an optional element rather than the focus.
- Codified vs. Undefined — As discussed above, the new World of Darkness is assumed to be incomplete, with a Storyteller expected to create new content and explanations for the events within their games. By contrast, the previous setting assumed greater uniformity, with any events being attributed to an existing force.
- Global vs. Local — The old World of Darkness frequently presented creatures and groups of global power, capable of pursuing characters across the world and affecting change worldwide. The new World of Darkness tends instead to localize power, assuming creatures and groups who can affect cities powerfully, with less influence to affect countries and international events.
- One Game, One Book vs. Core Rulebook plus Setting — Games set in the old World of Darkness were self-contained, presenting enough information to describe the World of Darkness along with the entire ruleset. By contrast, games set in the new setting refer back to the for the basic setting and the core ruleset.
- Player Choice vs. Character Choice - In the original World of Darkness, player choice at character creation was sometimes overwhleming, with an ever-growing selection of splats (e.g. Masquerade's clans, bloodlines and legacies). The new games generally simplify this to a "5 x 5" system: five inherent supernatural types (e.g. Requiem's clans) and five voluntarily joined (or rejected) groups (e.g. covenants). These are the only choices available at character creation. Specific refinements or alterations for splat types (e.g. bloodlines) may be joined or even created by characters, but only after they have sufficiently grown in power and often involving some personal sacrifice, putting the focus on character choice.
- One World, Many Games vs. One World, One Game - In the original it was difficult for players and storytellers to have more than one type of supernatural in a game as there were different rule sets for each supernatural. In the new setting there is one core set of game mechanics that applies to everything and the rules for the abilities of different supernaturals are built off of this core rule set. In other words while it was difficult to have vampire and werewolf players in the same game in the original without a skilled storyteller, it is easy to do this in the new setting.
Games set in the World of Darkness Edit
In addition to being a game line in its own right, featuring mortal humans who explore the unknown, the World of Darkness is the shared setting for a number of additional game lines.
The 'Big Three' game lines, all of which have open-ended runs, are:
- Vampire: The Requiem: A game of personal horror, wherein players play vampires. Released in August 2004.
- Werewolf: The Forsaken: A game of savage fury, wherein players take on the role of werewolves. Released in February 2005.
- Mage: The Awakening: A game of modern sorcery, wherein players take on the role of mages — modern day practitioners of magic. Released in August 2005.
In addition to the above lines, further games are released annually in a limited-run format, with one core rulebook and a set number of supplements (similar to Orpheus for the old World of Darkness). So far four such games have been released:
- Promethean: The Created: A game of stolen lives, wherein players take the role of Prometheans, constructs assembled from human body parts and animated by the Divine Fire. Released August 2006.
- Changeling: The Lost: A game of beautiful madness in which players take the role of Changelings, people who have escaped captivity in Faerie, but have been transformed by its power into something other than human. Released August 2007.
- Hunter: The Vigil: A game of light and shadows, in which players take the role of hunters, mortals who have seen what lurks in the shadows of the World of Darkness, and have decided to take action. Released August 2008.
- Geist: The Sin-Eaters: A game of second chances, in which players take the role of Sin-Eaters, people who have come back from the dead by bonding with the strange entities known as Geists. Released August 2009.