Wednesday, June 29, 2011

20 years of Vampire: The Masquerade

Before White Wolf released "Vampire: The Masquerade," role playing games were the near-exclusive realm of "Dungeons & Dragons" and its sword-and-sorcerer ilk. White Wolf opened the crypt to a new brand of RPGs in 1991 with its vampire-themed game and has rarely looked back.

I used to play. Hell, I even had a T-shirt, purchased at a comic/RPG shop in Provo, Utah (hotbed of gothdom in the late 1990s, let me tell you). Being the high school drama guy I was, I was a natural Toreador. (For those who don't know, VTM separates vampires by clan. Each clan has unique characteristics and abilities passed through the bloodline. Toreador are the artistic clan.) In later games, I gravitated to the Brujah, the rebellious clan.



It's probably been 10 years, half of VTM's life, since I played. I still have the T-shirt. The sleeves are gone and it's hidden away with many other black T-shirts in a storage unit. My guidebook, the 1998 revised edition, is somewhere in that unit, too.

White Wolf went on to make "Werewolf: The Apocalypse" and "Vampire" The Requim," each with its own set of clans and backstory. For the 20th anniversary of their first (and best) game, it looks like they are going old school. You can read the introduction (and enter a sweet contest) at VampireFreaks.

While you get all nostalgic for the '90s, be sure to remember just how deep into popular culture VTM went.

Gangrel isn't just a clan. He was a professional wrestler.



Gangrel's Raw Debut by sir-roddick

Gangrel didn't last very long in the WWE. The two members of his Brood have had much more success. Edge and Christian have been at the top of the pro wrestling world while Gangrel is ... in porn? Wrestler David Heath, under the name Vampire Warrior directed the adult film "Miami Rump Shakerz 2" in 2007.


Even shorter lived was "Kindred: The Embraced." The series lasted eight episodes on Fox in 1996 before being canceled. It featured nearly bloodless versions of the vampire world and C. Thomas Howell as a San Fransisco police detective trying to expose the hidden goings-on.

I liked the show enough to buy the VHS set. I have not replaced it on DVD.  The show sometimes shows up on FearNet and if you have the time, you can piece it together from YouTube clips.

All in all, VTM was an important step in the development of Warning Signs. We're happy to see a 20th anniversary edition coming out. If White Wolf wants to send us a copy, that'd be sweet.

Check back soon for news on another role playing game, Horror Rules, soon.

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