Vampire: The Masquerade is a table-top roleplaying game that was first published in 1991 by White Wolf and was created to be a part of the World of Darkness. This world includes vampires, werewolves, faeries, mages, mummies, and anything else you fancy from the horror genre.
There’s a few things that makes V:TM different from say, Dungeons and Dragons. For one, you’re probably not going to run across elves, trolls, and kobolds and Vampire is usually set in modern days unless you just happen to be playing Dark Ages Vampire. For another, you roll dice from a pool of d10’s instead of rolling a d20.
I’ll go into the system and the lore in later posts, but here is Vampire the Masquerade in a nutshell:
There are 3 different sects of kindred (vampires) in V:TM. You have the Camarilla, Sabbat, and the Independents. Clan politics are complicated and you can actually be a “Camarilla” clan and still be in the Sabbat because you don’t believe in the Camarilla policies. It’s also possible to be clanless, and these kindred are called Caitiffs. Then to make things even more complicated, there’s bloodlines which are offshoots of the original clans.
Each clan has it’s own discipline and clan weakness that was brought down upon them by the curse of their founding father Caine. For example, the Ventrue are very picky eaters. They will only feed on one certain type of kine (humans). Or the Malkavians, they’re the insane lot. Their curse is severe mental disorders. The Brujah are the brutes that are much closer to their beast thus they tend to frenzy a whole lot easier than their kindred brethren. And finally we have the Tremere who are all one step blood bound to their Council of Seven. Don’t worry if this seems confusing because I’ll go into each clan and their lore in other posts.
What sets Vampire the Masquerade (and all of White Wolf’s games) apart from other systems is it uses dots on the character sheet. Each dot represents one d10 that you have to roll vs. say, Dungeons and Dragons where you first roll a d20 to make your action. Normal characters have up to 5 dots in their abilities and 5 in their attributes so without any modifiers (which come in the form of more or less dice) have ten d10’s to roll. The Storyteller will then give a difficulty level for the task and the players will roll to see if any of the dice meet that difficulty level. If there’s at least 1 success, then the character passes. However, watch out because each 1 will cancel out a success. Oh, and each 10 actually counts for 2 successes instead of the 1.
So in a nutshell, this is Vampire: The Masquerade. Each edition (there were 3 in the Old World of Darkness) is quite a bit different in regards to both lore and mechanics. I highly recommend 3rd, or the revised edition, since it has the most current mechanics. As for lore? I like looking at it as different kindred writing down their history. Like real life, eye witness accounts are often muddled and confused and it’s no different with vampire lore!
If you decide to play, have fun! It’s a game near and dear to my own heart!