Vampires are one of the three main supernatural races in the World of Darkness and the fundamental characters of Vampire: The Masquerade and its spinoff games like Vampire: The Dark Ages and Kindred of the East. The article above offers a closer 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. However, the term is mostly used by vampires who strive to maintain their Humanity. On the other hand, Sabbat vampires prefer the term 'Cainite' to refer to themselves - as many of them believe that the vampiric curse originated with the biblical Cain, after he murdered his brother, Abel. The term "kine" (i.e. "cattle") is the opposite of Kindred, and refers to human population.
Some clans and most of the minor bloodlines declare themselves independent from any sects. In addition, the Laibon, known as the Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom by Western Vampires, 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 vampires, but they are actually an entirely different variety of supernatural beings, more related to Wraith 's Risen.
Created by Mark Rein·Hagen, Vampire: The Masquerade was the first of White Wolf Game Studio's World of Darkness live-action and role-playing games, based on the Storyteller System and centered around vampires in a modern Gothic-Punk world.
Vampire: The Masquerade exploded into hobby games in 1991 and inspired a generation of fans the likes of which the game industry had never seen before or since. The cultural significance Vampire left on not just the gaming world but on modern vampire-related pop culture can be seen and felt at virtually every turn and in every medium today.
The global best-seller Vampire: The Masquerade comes to comics. When Camarilla enforcer Cecily Bain takes a fledgling vampire under her wing, she's dragged into an vast conspiracy that will topple princes and threaten the very Masquerade.
When Cecily Bain, an enforcer for the Twin Cities' vampiric elite, takes a mysterious new vampire under her wing, she's dragged into an insidious conspiracy. Meanwhile, on the outskirts of the cities, a rebellious found-family of vampire cast-outs investigates a vicious killing.
As the unlives of the Kindred twine together and betrayals are unearthed, will Cecily be able to escape and save what's left of her family, or will she be yet another pawn sacrificed to maintain the age-old secret: that vampires exist among the living?
Set in the World of Darkness universe, Bloodhunt draws from this grim version of our modern world where vampires hide in plain sight and fight against hunters, other vampires and their own worst instincts, all while struggling to maintain The Masquerade.
Players must also fight against losing their characters losing Humanity for doing the terrible things vampires need to do to survive. Striking a balance between these two sides of the vampire coin is key to many stories in the game. Complicating matters is the condition of Frenzy, where vampires lose control from hunger or fear and tear apart their carefully assembled lives sometimes literally
Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition updates the setting to the modern nights. It reshuffles clan alliances, changes some clans to better fit their original concepts and strives to make the game a better entry point for new players. Many elder vampires have disappeared to answer a mysterious Beckoning, leaving control of many cities up in the air for the first time in decades.
The Anarch cause struggles against those who claim to rule. The Elders are disappearing so why should vampires hold to tradition? These vampires are ready to explore new ideas on everything like leadership and morality.
This book details the alliance vampires call Second Inquisition between government agencies and Vatican secret socities ready to burn any vampires that step out from behind The Masquerade. This book is built as a book of enemies but it includes several excellent tools and techniques vampires can use in their struggles. Most people expect vampire hunters to use stakes and crosses, but what about gentification?
Sabbat illuminates the most radically changed sect in the most recent edition of the game. Once a dark mirror to the Camarilla, these vampires have given up politics with a renewed religious fervor to terrorize human and mortal alike until Caine returns. As such, they are framed as antagonists in the book, though an enterprising Storyteller might yet tell the tale of a Sabbat pack tonight.
There are more sourcebooks and accessories available such as specialty dice that speed up game play and PDF sourcebooks that include deeper setting info and additional stories but this is a good start. Vampire also thrives in the realm of actual play. New York By Night currently tells the tale of two different groups of vampires, one Camarilla and one Anarch in the City That Never Sleeps.
As a newly-fledged vampire, you discover that your fate is tied to that of Sophie Langley, an experienced member of the artistically-inclined Clan Toreador, as she takes you under her wing. From there, you will navigate a secret society of supernatural beings, learn to slake your ever-present hunger for blood through hunting, and struggle with the reality of becoming an undead monster in the sea of mortals that makes up one of the largest, busiest cities in the world.
The basic story is that you're a freshly squeezed vampire dropped into the treacherous political schemes of some powerful players in New York's toothy underground. Whichever of the three pre-set protagonists you choose (the artsy Toreador, the snobby Ventrue, or the rebellious Brujah one I couldn't bring myself to play because he looked like such a douche), you'll be adopted by a local figure and, after an introductory chapter, instructed to put together your own 'coterie', the obligatory in-universe term for 'gang', or maybe 'network'.
It took me a while to realise it's essentially a dating sim VN, but with interesting stories and scheming instead of tsundere and transparent erections. Each night, you choose which character to pursue further. Finish their story and they'll become part of your network. They're not your friends, but they're as close as you can get in this world of backstabbing, murder, and obscure power games between ancient forces. Exchanging favours and co-ordinating against common enemies is how this vampire society operates, and that's something Vampire The Overtitled communicates particularly well.
There's the one who eschews politics, and frets over religion and damnation instead, exploring the notion that vampires in this world are intrinsically tied to the Abrahamic faiths. Another likes to LARP as a gumshoe, narrating a noirish inner monologue under his breath (that one's a lot more entertaining than it sounds).
Her main conflict is a fascinating dynamic where a local bougie entrepeneur insists she should stop 'wasting' her talents, and basically join the establishment. But as Hope points out, the establishment doesn't give a shit about her: it's made up of hypocritical old vampires with no understanding of what's really happening in the human world, and no idea that the internet is far more radical and transformative than a mere business opportunity. When that same person calls her tech business "punk" and tries to sell the line "I'm all about disruption", I actually shuddered, and swore aloud at my desk.
Look, I may moan a lot, but it's deceptively rare that I go full Lemongrab. This is bad. It's shockingly bad design, and inflates forgivable errors into total fun-killers. I'd like to explore a few alternative options, particularly late in the game, but after playing through two and a half times already, I'm not prepared to sit here pressing enter thousands of times, and hoping I don't accidentally press it once too often and have to start again. I even tried for a minute or two anyway, making this the first vampire game to truly confront me with my mortality.
Some players will be annoyed that you have little effect on the story, and while that's valid, I think it kinda works on a meta level. I was annoyed by a late section where the game kept wagging its finger and punishing me for not feeding, but I hadn't been given an opportunity to feed for several days. In theory you can feed at certain points, you see, lowering your hunger and thus the risk of going feral, while at others you can use vampire powers to fight or manipulate people at the cost of more hunger. But screwing up happens in the script, whatever you do. On reflection I think it's messing with you. You are a pawn: that's the point. You're not an unusual special fledgling who survives remarkable things through contrivance. There's no war brewing or apocalypse looming. It's just business as usual. Even with all that in mind, though, it's not without its friction, especially with that atrocious save system.
Setting its vampire story in Boston, Swansong sees you play as three different vampires, all high-ranking members of the Camarilla (a sort of cross between a governing body and the Mafia). Emem is a politically ambitious vampire who struggles with authority, while Galeb is a suave and loyal Camarilla henchman. Finally, there's Leysha, who has recently awoken from three years in hibernation due to the debilitating mental illness that commonly afflicts her Malkavian clan.
The decision to focus on a trio of characters makes for a confusing opening. Swansong gives a rapid-fire overview of the three perspectives, while simultaneously introducing the rest of the Camarilla court and sketching out the off-screen events that kickstart the plot. Gradually, it becomes clear that a party organised by the Camarilla to seal an alliance with a local group of thaumaturges (vampire warlocks) has been attacked by unknown assailants, and the head of the Boston Camarilla, Hazel Iversen, dispatches the trio on separate missions to investigate the debacle. 781b155fdc