Vampire RPG: The Masquerade Handbook
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White Wolf Press
Weight: 700 grams (estimated)
Average Rating: 4 in 1 review
'Vampire: the Masquerade' created quite a stir when it was first released in the easrly 1990's. It was a dark 'adult' role-playing game of vampires and the angst and ennui of their immortal existence. The game owed more than a passing debt of gratitude to Anne Rice for her series of novels featuring Lestat and his ilk. While the details of V;tG were considerably different, the game would not have reached such a wide audience if not for the popularity of Ms. Rice's works.
The game is a fairly streamlined role-playing game. Most RPG's are rules-intensive, but this was viewed as contrary to the mood and communal storytelling that are seen as the heart of this game. The backstory of the game is amazingly dense, tracing the history of the vampiric race to its antediluvian source. The World of Darkness, as it is called, is a sinister version of our own world, one that is decrepit and filled with a snense of entropy. There are various vampiric clans and factions that are often at war with one another, and any of these may be pawns in an even larger game played by the most ancient of vampires.
The basic V:tG handbook is a good place for players to enter the World of Darkness, which has extended to include quite a number of other games as well. If vampires are not to your liking, there are alson werewolves, mages, ghosts, and fairies, as well as mummies and humans themselves in offshoot games. They each have their own take on this world, with some even darker than Vampire. In Wraith, for example, every character starts out already dead.
This game has become a staple of Gothic culture. It is a perfect excuse for Pale People in Black to dress up and bemoan their mortal existence. It is also a game that has given rise to an amazing amount of literature, both in story and game formats. This is a fully-realized world that deserves the attention of anyone who wants to explore a huge piece of fiction created at the hands of many writers.
If you are tired of Dungeons and Dragons, and want to play a role playing game that has a richer feel without getting bogged down in the niggling details of dice-rolling and rules-mongering, you can't go too far wrong with this game. Recommended for the fan of interactive literature.