Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines is a RPG (role playing game) that was produced by Mark Rein Hagen. When it was published by the White Wolf Game Studio in 1992 it became a huge success in the underground video gamer scene.
After its release, Vampire: The Masquerade was awarded Best Roleplaying Rules by Origins. Vampire: The Masquerade was the first game from White Wolf to use the World of Darkness, and is the forerunner, as well as most popular, of all RPGs of this genre.
Gamers who play Vampire: The Masquerade are part of a worldwide fan club called the Camarilla, which is affiliated with White Wolf Media Studios.
Kindred are organized by the Camarilla based on their geographical location. The game is constructed using the Storyteller System, which was a revolutionary change to RPG at the time of its introduction by altering the probability of the characters from d6 to d10. Vampire: The Masquerade attracts role playing gamers, both gothic and punk gamers, as well as those intrigued by the supernatural.
The main focus of the Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines is vampires, which is obvious. However, the game goes into the depths of the vampire world, also known as “The World of Darkness.” Gamers become immersed in the conditions related to vampires, from personal horrors and the human condition to morality and salvation, by seeing the world through the soul and mind of a vampire. As the game progresses, the gamer addresses issues, such as maintenance of individualism and sanity, as well as larger more global issues of battling against mortals and other vampires.
Gamers playing Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines refer to themselves as either the ‘kindred’ or ‘Cainites.’ They are divided among themselves into two groups: clans and sects or bloodlines. Clans are divided by the types of supernatural traits a vampire has, including curse knowledge, special powers and individual characteristics.
For instance, one type of vampire clan, the Nosferatu, has special powers including the power to obfuscate, as well as turn into an animal. They also have potency and are known for a curse that left them to have disfigured features.
Some vampires coexist with more than one clan, such as the Brujahs who can also be a part of the Anarchs, Camarilla or Sabbat clans. Bloodlines or sects are branched off from clans, with the addition of new types of vampires, such as Gargoyles, that arise from new powers, curses and characteristics that evolve over time. Some vampires do not belong to any clan because they have no identifying characteristics, called the Caitiff, which are a sign that the vampire blood is becoming too weak, and also signals the coming of the end of the RPG. Those vampires who choose to remain completely independent of any sect or clan are called Autarkis, but these vampires do have special powers or characteristics unlike the Caitiff.
In Vampire The Masquerade bloodlines, gamers live the life of vampires, and that includes immortality, the need to feed on fresh blood and a fear of sunlight.
The kindred tend to congregate in urban areas that are ruled by Princes. Just as with city life in the real world, the kindred are constantly battling for food, power and political gain.
A lack of community with the kindred leads to paranoia as each kindred is constantly forced to fend for themselves even in clans, where kindred can turn on each other in an instant.
Humans are called Kine, and the kindred are always in fear of the Kine. The name ‘masquerade’ in the game’s title comes from the part of the game where the Kine has enforced a rule over the kindred that they have to live under the masquerade, or the mask, and remain hidden from the Kine’s existence or suffer the horrible fate of capture and torture.
In 2004 Vampire The Masquerade bloodlines was discontinued. However, since its cessation, Vampire: The Masquerade has been restored and rereleased in 2011 as a Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition package.
The rerelease of a limited number of copies of the game was held at a party in conjunction with the Grand Masquerade Event hosted in New Orleans. In addition to the game, the Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition package includes supplemental information that enriches the original game, as well as an updated list of rules and regulations. Now with the resurgence of vampires in popular culture, it is no wonder that the classic role-playing vampire game Vampire: The Masquerade has been rereleased for its 20th anniversary.
An entirely new game called Vampire: The Requiem has since replaced Vampire: The Masquerade. However the newest version is not a recreation of the old classic, but rather is loosely based on some of the clans and bloodlines’ names and rules.
As one of the most popular games in the history role-playing games, it is obvious of the influence that Vampire: The Masquerade has had with the gaming industry. Since the original Vampire: The Masquerade was released, several other related games have come into existence. There is the Mind’s Eye Theatre: The Masquerade that is a live action RPG where kindred meet in full costume to bring the game’s social setting into real life. Another game, the Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, is a trading card game based on Vampire: The Masquerade. There was even a television series based on the game called Kindred: The Embraced that was produced by Spelling Television. In addition to Vampire: The Requiem, two other games have been released called Vampire: The Masquerade-Redemption and Vampire: The Masquerade-Bloodlines.