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Vampire: The Masquerade is a tabletop role-playing game (tabletop RPG) created by Mark Rein-Hagen and released in 1991 by White Wolf Publishing as the first of several Storyteller System games for its World of Darkness setting line.


Vampire ankh

Vampire: The Masquerade is the first World of Darkness game and the first Storyteller System game published by White Wolf. A major departure from the more power and heroics oriented games of the era, VTM is a game of personal horror. It is the parent and the most popular of all the World of Darkness games, and was the genesis of almost all the major ideas people associate with White Wolf.

In Vampire: the Masquerade, the players assume the role of vampires, immortal beings cursed with an unquenchable thirst for blood and vulnerability to sunlight – creatures forever bound to their inner Beast (the animal urges of hunger, fear and rage). It is a game of personal horror, as the characters are continually forced to walk a moral tightrope between their need to survive and the horrific means by which they ensure it.

The Vampires of the World of Darkness[]

Main article: Vampire (WOD)

Vampires are one of the three main supernatural races in the World of Darkness and the fundamental characters of Vampire: The Masquerade and its spinoff games like Vampire: The Dark Ages and Kindred of the East. The article above offers a closer look at vampires, with their physiology, their politics and their clan division.

In Vampire: The Masquerade, "Kindred" is the most common euphemism for a vampire. However, the term is mostly used by vampires who strive to maintain their Humanity. On the other hand, Sabbat vampires prefer the term 'Cainite' to refer to themselves - as many of them believe that the vampiric curse originated with the biblical Cain, after he murdered his brother, Abel. The term "kine" (i.e. "cattle") is the opposite of Kindred, and refers to human population.

Vampiric Society[]

Most vampires live in cities, which are run feudally by the Princes; life in a city is one of constant political manipulation and paranoia, as the Cainites vie for food, territory, and power. But while they must dwell in close contact with their source of sustenance, vampires largely fear the exposure to the mortal world, and since the Inquisition the majority of these creatures have lived under the Masquerade – an enforced campaign to hide their supernatural existences from humanity.

In general, vampiric societies consist of two levels: sects and clans. Characters within the Vampire setting are members of one of the clans or minor bloodlines offered, and usually belong to factions associated with these or that reflect a general ideological stance the characters happen to share. For example, a Brujah may belong to the Camarilla, the Sabbat, or the Anarchs, but very few Tremere would be found among the Sabbat and even more rarely among the Anarchs.

Some clans and most of the minor bloodlines declare themselves independent from any sects. In addition, the Laibon, known as the Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom by Western Vampires, are not so much a sect as a cultural group bound together loosely by a powerful spiritual bond to the land and the people of Africa. While the Kuei-jin, also known as the Kindred of the East, share some superficial similarity to the western vampires, but they are actually an entirely different variety of supernatural beings, more related to Wraith 's Risen.

Game History[]


Original Vampire Ad, Dragon Magazine, April 1991

Created by Mark Rein·Hagen, Vampire: The Masquerade was the first of White Wolf Game Studio's World of Darkness live-action and role-playing games, based on the Storyteller System and centered around vampires in a modern Gothic-Punk world.

The Revised Edition, sometimes alternately referred to as the Third Edition by fans, was released in 1998 and explains, "the setting of Vampire is a composite of its populace and their despair". The title of the series comes from "The Masquerade", referring to the Camarilla's attempts to hide vampirism from humans and their governments and mass media.


Vampire: The Masquerade First Edition

In 1992, Vampire: The Masquerade won the Origins Award for Best Roleplaying Rules of 1991. The game line was discontinued in 2004, and followed by revised rules and a new setting in Vampire: The Requiem.

The game resumed limited publication in 2011 with Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition. A new edition with significant system changes was announced in 2017 followed closely by an open alpha playtest. Following a secondary play test, which was a revisit to Gary, Indiana, Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition or V5 came out in August of 2018.


Vampire: The Masquerade Second Edition logo


Vampire: The Masquerade Revised Edition logo


Vampire 20th Anniversary logo


Vampire: The Masquerade 5th edition logo

Tie-ins and Adaptations[]

Other role-playing game titles set in the World of Darkness are:

Live Action RPG[]

Under the title Mind's Eye Theatre: the Masquerade and later Laws of the Night, White Wolf also provided a live action role-playing game in the same setting as Vampire: The Masquerade.

Card Game[]

The trading card game Vampire: The Eternal Struggle (originally named Jyhad) is based on Vampire: The Masquerade.

TV shows[]

Kindred: The Embraced, a television series based on Vampire, was produced by Mike Trozzo and Spelling Television.

Video Games[]

A growing number of video games based upon the Vampire milieu have been produced and sold since the year 2000, with more titles being announced and released since 2019:

  1. Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption (2000) was developed by Nihilistic Software, and published by Activision.
  2. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines (2004) was developed by Troika Games using Half-Life 2's Source Engine, and also published by Activision.
  3. Vampire: The Masquerade - Las Vegas (2017), a slot machine game developed by Foxium for the Quickfire platform.
  4. Vampire: The Masquerade - Coteries of New York (2019), developed and published by Draw Distance.
  5. Vampire: The Masquerade - Shadows of New York (2020), developed and published by Draw Distance. A stand-alone expansion to Coteries of New York.
  6. Vampire: The Masquerade - Night Road (2020), developed and published by Choice of Games.
  7. Vampire: The Masquerade - Out for Blood (2021), developed and published by Choice of Games.
  8. Vampire: The Masquerade - Parliament of Knives (2021), developed and published by Choice of Games.
  9. Vampire: The Masquerade - Sins of the Sires (2022), developed and published by Choice of Games.
  10. Vampire: The Masquerade - Heartless Lullaby (2022), the winner of the 2021 Vampire Game Jam.
  11. Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodhunt (2022), a battle royale game developed and published by Sharkmob.
  12. Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong (2022), developed by Big Bad Wolf (The Council) and published by Nacon.

Another game, Vampire Prelude: We Eat Blood And All Our Friends Are Dead, was released in 2017, but its sale was discontinued in 2019.

Actual Play Chronicles[]

World of Darkness ran its first official actual play chronicle, Vampire: The Masquerade: L.A. By Night, from 2018 to 2021. A second chronicle, Vampire: The Masquerade: New York By Night, began broadcasting on the World of Darkness Twitch channel in July 2022. The events of both are considered canonical to the metaplot of the Fifth Edition, and are hosted by Storyteller Jason Carl, Brand Marketing Manager of White Wolf.


A compilation album, called Music from the Succubus Club, was released by Dancing Ferret Discs to serve as a soundtrack for the Vampire role-playing game.

Masquerade and Requiem[]

Main article: Differences Between Vampire: the Masquerade and Vampire: the Requiem

In August 2004, the games set in the World of Darkness were replaced by the "New" World of Darkness, and Vampire: The Masquerade was replaced with Vampire: The Requiem. Although Requiem is an entirely new game, rather than a continuation of the original, it uses many elements of the original game, including certain clans and disciplines. The article above summarizes those revisions from the original run of Vampire: The Masquerade.

Vampire: The Masquerade Books[]

Main article: Vampire: The Masquerade books

Vampire: The Masquerade Clans
Banu Haqim (Assamites) · Brujah · Gangrel · Hecata (Cappadocians, Giovanni) · Lasombra · Malkavian · Ministry (Followers of Set) · Nosferatu · Ravnos · Salubri · Toreador · Tremere · Tzimisce · Ventrue
Vampire: The Masquerade Sects

AnarchAshirraCamarillaSabbat (Black Hand)

InconnuIndependent ClansHecataTal'Mahe'Ra

Independent AllianceLost Tribe
Vampire: The Masquerade bloodlines
Ahrimanes · Anda · Baali · Blood Brothers · Caitiff · Children of Osiris · Danava · Daughters of Cacophony · Gargoyles · Kiasyd · Lhiannan · Maeghar · Nictuku · Noiad · Salubri · True Brujah
Antitribu Assamite antitribu · Brujah antitribu · Gangrel antitribu (City · Country) · Lasombra antitribu · Malkavian antitribu · Nosferatu antitribu · Panders · Ravnos antitribu · Salubri antitribu · Serpents of the Light (Setite antitribu) · Toreador antitribu · Tremere antitribu · Ventrue antitribu
Hecata bloodlines Giovanni (Dunsirn · Milliner · Pisanob · Puttanesca · Rossellini) · Harbingers of Ashur (Cappadocians · Harbingers of Skulls) · Lamia · Nagaraja · Samedi
Clan variants Angellis Ater · Assamites (Sorcerers · Viziers) · Azaneali · Daitya · Dominate Malkavians · Gangrel (Aquarii · Greek) · Old Clan Tzimisce · Phuri Dae (Brahmin) · Telyavelic Tremere · Tlacique · Volgirre · Warrior Setites · Wu Zao
Laibon legacies Akunanse · Bonsam · Guruhi · Ishtarri · Impundulu · Kinyonyi · Mla Watu · Naglopers · Nkulu Zao · Osebo · Ramanga · Shango · Xi Dundu