A Look At The Fluff Of Vampire: The Masquerade
Vampires live among us, and have since Biblical times. The first of their monstrous kind was Caine, brother of Abel, son of Adam and Eve. Cursed by God for the murder of his brother, Caine became the first Vampire. From him, all others come. From his blood, and his curse, was born a multitude of nightmares that have haunted the dreams of mortal men throughout the ages. This is the origin of the vampire, according to Vampire: The Masquerade.
Vampires, often called either Kindred or Cainite, depending mainly on which of the major factions you side with (Camarilla or Sabbat, respectively), exist in our modern world. They prey on us in shadowy corners, in dim nightclubs, or even in our very own homes. They exist as a people alongside ourselves, and they have developed their own society and culture just beyond the sight of mortals. They live in the darkness, hiding from the sun, abiding by the Law of the Masquerade. Mortals must never know, for to reveal oneself to a mortal invites a new Imperium, a culling of the Kindred. Mortals have, after all, grown quite powerful in the past few centuries. Once, the blade, fire, and faith were the strongest weapons humans might bring to bare against vampires; now they possess firearms, global media, nuclear weapons, and more. Vampires know that their very existence is dependent upon humans remaining oblivious to them. Let the cattle remain ignorant, convinced that the vampire is nothing more than old fables, the rantings of a Scottish drunkard, or the sparkling fantasies of a desperate housewife.
When someone is brought into the fold, when they are given the ‘embrace’ and made into a vampire, they enter into an entirely new world. This world of darkness is harsh and unforgiving. Respect to the local lord, the Prince, is demanded. The laws of the damned must be obeyed. To the greater powers that exist within the shadows, a newly created fledgling is nothing more than an insignificant whelp, or perhaps a useful pawn.
This is the world in which the characters in Vampire: The Masquerade find themselves in. It is a dark, romanticized neo-Gothic telling of our modern world. As vampires, characters are forced to fight between their new-found monstrous urges and whatever remains of their humanity. The struggle against the Beast, the dark urges that exist within every Kindred, is one of the dominant themes of the game. Vampire: The Masquerade is a social game above all else, and entire sessions of play can go by with hardly a glance at one’s character sheet, though this is uncommon. Players in the game are encouraged to think more about how they (their characters) would react as real people in the incredible and horrifying situations they find themselves in. This is a game in which players are encouraged to forget that it is a game. Thinking about how your characters, as real people, would react to events is something at makes the game truly engaging.
So, do you think you can walk in these shadowed streets? Do you have what it takes to be a monster? Are you really sure you want to find out? Go ahead. Trust me, it’ll be fun.
Image Credit: White Wolf