Skip to main content

Let's Read Vampire: The Masquerade, 1st Edition, Part One

Released in 1991, Vampire: The Masquerade (VTM) introduced the World of Darkness and paved the way for dozens of game lines to follow. But what was that original green book like, and does it hold up now, over 25 years later?

The Damned

VTM opens with a section in-character fiction in the form of a letter from one VT to WH describing the nature of vampires (or the Kindred, as they call themselves), the society they have built for themselves, and the collection of laws they follow called the Masquerade. While it isn't directly stated, it is heavily implied that VT is Count Dracula (nee, Vlad Tepes) and WH is Wilhelmina Harker, tying the setting into that most classic of vampire tales.

This section sets the tone for many later White Wolf titles, though I must say that the fiction gets better in later years. This is really just a setting chapter, and the implication of Dracula as a member of the Kindred detracts from the world they're trying to build—mainly because the effort to make the vampires of VTM original mean that they contradict Stoker's novel in several ways.

Chapter One: Introduction

This chapter does a better job setting up both the game and the world than the opening fiction did. Considering the audiences this game opened up, it also does a respectable job explaining roleplaying as a form and hobby, even touching on live-action play.

This chapter also begins a series of illustrations that run throughout the book detailing the story first of Shelzza, a vampire in ancient Babylon. Captions tell of her night's hunt, sleeping, and then being awakened and called before the king, a vampire as well. This story, told in single frames, is unusual in roleplaying. I don't know of it appearing even in any later World of Darkness titles.

Finally, this section concludes with a fragment from the Book of Nod. This tome is a crucial part of the VTM mythology, and it was later filled out in a standalone fiction title. It is interesting to see it seeded here. The story of Caine, the first murder, and the Biblical origins of vampires form the basis for the mythic resonance that gave VTM much of its power, I suspect.

Tomorrow, I'll continue with he chapters on basic rules and character creation, in which I may discuss how 1st edition differs from later versions of the Storyteller system.

Popular posts from this blog

Dungeon Crate, May 2016

For my birthday last month, my friends got me a subscription to DungeonCrate.  This service is the RPG-focused entry in the current "crate" craze, where you pay a subscription fee and a box of themed stuff is sent to your home monthly, quarterly, or whatever. Well, my first crate arrived today, and I thought I'd go through it here on the blog.





Discworld RPG Review

The Discworld Roleplaying Game is a standalone fantasy RPG written by Phil Masters with rules based on GURPS Fourth Edition by Steve Jackson Games. It is the second edition of Discworld RPG, following the original GURPS Discworld published in 1998 and reprinted under the Discworld RPG name in 2002.

For those who may not be familiar, Discworld is the setting of an extremely popular series of fantasy novels written by Sir Terry Pratchett. The Disc consists of a flat, circular plane resting on the backs of four elephants who in turn stand on the shell of an enormous turtle which swims through space. It began as a fairly traditional — if satirical — fantasy world, but through over 40 novels, Pratchett advanced the setting into a rich canvas on which to poke fun at the peculiarities of modern life.

The first edition of the Discworld RPG was based on GURPS Third Edition, and it included GURPS Lite, a pared down version of the core system. Still, it relied perhaps too much on knowledge of th…

Voting Is Live For The 2016 Ennie Awards

The 2016 Ennie Awards are now open for voting. Go to http://www.ennie-awards.com/vote/2016/ to vote for the great gaming products in two dozen categories.

While you’re there, I hope you’ll consider voting for It’s Element-ary! for Best Family Game. I’m up against some very worthy competition, and I’m honored just to be nominated. But who knows what could happen, right?