Vampire: The Masquerade
The cover of Vampire: The Masquerade
(Revised edition).
Format role playing game
Creator(s) Mark Rein·Hagen
Publisher White Wolf
Date published 1991 (1st ed.), 1992 (2nd ed.),
1998 (Rev. ed.)
Genres horror
Country of origin USA

List of crossover fiction.

Vampire: The Masquerade, created by Mark Rein·Hagen, is the first of White Wolf Game Studio's World of Darkness live-action and role-playing games. It is based on the Storyteller System and involves vampires in a modern Gothic-Punk world. The Revised Edition (sometimes instead referred to as the Third Edition by fans) was released in 1998. It explains that "the setting of Vampire is a composite of its populace and their despair".

The game uses the vampiric condition as a backdrop to explore themes of morality, depravity, humanity, salvation, and personal horror. The gloomy version of the real world that the vampires inhabit, called "The World of Darkness", forms a bleak canvas on which the struggles of the characters are painted. The characters need to retain their sense of self, humanity, and sanity; they need to keep from being crushed by the grim opposition of mortal and supernatural antagonists; and, more poignantly, they must survive the politics, treachery, and violent ambitions of their own kind.

"Kindred" is the term many vampires in this game use to refer to themselves. Each vampire belongs to a distinct clan or bloodline, and usually belongs to factions that are either associated with these or that reflect a general ideological stance that the characters happen to share. A "clan" is a group of vampires joined by blood relations (i.e. the vampiric equivalent of an extended family or lineage); it is usually a large group, acknowledged widely in the vampiric society. By comparison, a "bloodline" is a small offshoot. All versions of the World of Darkness assume that each clan descended from a single progenitor who passed to each of his descendants ("childer") his unique gifts and flaws. Members of each clan therefore share distinct characteristics, powers and curses. The Nosferatu, for example, all share the disciplines of Animalism, Obfuscate, and Potence; and suffer the curse of a disfiguring appearance.

The title of the series comes from "The Masquerade", a double entendre that ostensibly refers to the Camarilla's attempts to hide vampirism from humans and their governments, but also refers to vampires' efforts to convince themselves that they are not truly monsters.

Adapted from the Wikipedia article on Vampire: The Masquerade.

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