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Vampire: The Masquerade Second Edition is the first major revision of the Vampire: The Masquerade game system. It reuses and revises a large amount of text from the first edition of the Vampire: The Masquerade Rulebook, although much of the text is heavily edited and reorganized. The major changes from First to Second Edition are not in content but in form: it was the first core rulebook for any White Wolf book to be printed in hardcover and on glossy paper stock, and with that change came a greater emphasis on style and presentation, making the book more immediately accessible both for reference and for casual use.

Summary

From the White Wolf catalog:

Vampire is a game of make-believe, of pretend, of storytelling. Although Vampire is a game, it is more about storytelling than it is about winning. If you've never done this kind of thing before, you may be confused by the whole premise of a storytelling game. Once you catch on to the basic concepts, however, you'll find that it isn't all that strange, and is, in fact, eerily familiar.
You, along with some of your friends, are going to tell stories of madness and lust. Tales of things that go bump in the night. Tales of peril, paranoia, and sinister, shadowy evil. Tales from the darkest recesses of our unconscious minds. And at the heart of these stories are vampires.
These stories will capture your imagination far more readily than any play or movie; likewise, they are of a darker nature than the children's fairy tales you might remember (although those too were rather grim if you think back). This is because you are inside the story and not just watching it. You are creating it as you go along, and the outcome is always uncertain.
This game provides a way to experience a horror of an all too immediate nature, for you experience the terror from the other side of the mirror. The horror of Vampire is the legacy of being half a beast, trapped in a world of no absolutes, where morality is chosen, not ordained. The horror of Vampire is the evil within, and the all-consuming lust for warm blood.
Perhaps the greatest danger of playing Vampire is that of seeing yourself in the mirror. To play this game you must face the madness within you, that which you strive to master and overcome, but cannot bear to face.
Unless you are willing to face the reflection of your own imperfections then go no further. Madness as well as wisdom rewards those who dare to gaze into eternity.

Contents

Preface: The Damned

The beginning of the book is a letter written by V.T. to W.H explaining the nature of vampires from their strengths to their weaknesses.  Though not specifically said it is implied that the author of the letter is Vlad Țepeș (Count Dracula) speaking to Willimina Harker.

Book One: Background

Chapter One: Introduction

This is the introduction to the Storytelling System. It talks about what is Storytelling, role playing, the Storyteller and aids. It touches on different kinds of role playing by a brief paragraph about Live Action (LARP). The chapter concludes with a brief overview of becoming a Vampire, the Hunger of a Vampire, and the Beast.

Chapter Two: Setting

This chapter explains what the World of Darkness really is.  It talks about the Gothic-Punk world, its look and its feel. The Chapters gives brief overviews of the Social Distinctions of the Vampire community, the Traditions and how they apply to the society, the three major political sects, the clans, and the antagonists.

End of this chapter is a overview of the Generations from Caine to the 13th Generation and a Lexicon.

Chapter Three: Storytelling

The Chapter on Storytelling is an overview of how to create a story using the storyteller system.  It talks about the art of Storytelling as well as advanced storytelling techniques.

Book Two: Becoming

Chapter Four: Rules

The Chapter covers the basic rules to playing the game. It is broken up into subsections that deal with Actions, Dice Rolling, and Game Terms.  There is an example character sheet in this section.

Chapter Five: Character

The chapter deals with the generation of a character and steps to take when creating one.

Chapter Six: Chronicle

This chapter gives us an overview of what a Chronicle can be or should be.  It gives you the basics for creating and running one by having the Setting, Characters, Antagonists, Plot, and Motif.  It gives the potential storyteller some example concepts for a Chronicle.

Book Three: Permutations

Chapter Seven: Traits

Chapter Seven is the explanation of the Traits used to create characters and the story.

Clans
  • Brujah - Rabble; Character Template - Revolutionary Cavalier
    • "All creatures of sentience deserve to be free - it is our born right.  When we overthrow this decadent system that attempts to rule us, we can overthrow the system that rules the mortals as well. We shall be the saviors of the Earth" (p.127)
  • Gangrel - Outlanders; Character Template - Hippie Survivor
    • "The city is not our home.  It is simply the only place where we are allowed to exist for long.  Our people have become ill and deranged because we have lived in this purgatory so long and have grown dependent on the tainted blood of the mortals."  (p. 129)
  • Malkavian - Kooks; Character Template - Neurotic Comedian Jester
    • "Madness you say! Do you fear me?  Are you afraid of what I might do, of what I might say?  What a fascinating reaction.  Don't you find it somewhat encumbering?" (p. 131)
  • Nosferatu - Sewer Rats; Character Template - Corrupt Industrialist Curmudgeon
    • "I don't look for trouble, but if it comes, I hide from it.  Damn right, pretty boy.  You may call me chicken, but I've known a lot of Kindred over the years who got smart just a few seconds too late.  It's not like we can't die, it's just that it don't come natural any more." (p. 133)
  • Toreador - Degenerates; Character Template - Performance Artist Architect
    • "I remember my first love, a beautiful woman with a silver laugh.  For nine years we were constant companions, but in the end I had to let her go.  She begged me to take her but I could not.  You may call me cruel, but in the end I realized she was not a true artist, but an imitator..  She was unworthy.  I don't think I have ever recovered." (p. 135)
  • Tremere - Warlocks; Character Template - Stage Magician Conniver
    • "We must survive Gehenna and establish the tenets of the new world order once the horror is overcome. If we are to succeed, we must control the other clans. No more time can be wasted. If they cannot be convinced to aid us, they must be forced." (p. 137)
  • Ventrue - Blue Bloods; Character Template - Ward Boss Conniver
    • "The best way to get even with one's enemies is to outlive them. Because we are reasonable and above such petty concerns as vengeance, we are the leaders among our kind. Our colleagues do little to support the Camarilla, so we must bear the burden alone." (p. 139)
  • Caitiff - This is shown in a picture but does not give any descriptions of them.
Archetypes

Archetypes were used to determine the character's Nature and Demeanor. They were useful in determining how a character regained Willpower during the course of a chronicle.

Architect, Bon Vivant, Bravo, Caregiver, Child, Conformist, Conniver, Curmudgeon, Deviant, Director, Fanatic, Gallant, Jester, Judge, Loner, Martyr, Rebel, Survivor, Traditionalist, Visionary

Attributes
  • Mental: Perception, Intelligence, Wits
  • Physical: Strength, Dexterity, Stamina
  • Social: Charisma, Manipulation, Appearance
Abilities
  • Talents: Acting, Alertness, Athletics, Brawl, Dodge, Empathy, Intimidation, Leadership, Streetwise, Subterfuge
    • Expression, Guile, Intrigue, Painting, Sculpture, Search
  • Skills: Animal Ken, Drive, Etiquette, Firearms, Melee, Music, Repair, Security, Stealth, Survival
    • Boating, Cooking, Painting, Piloting
  • Knowledge: Bureaucracy, Computer, Finance, Investigation, Law, Linguistics, Medicine, Occult, Politics, Science
    • Art History, Geography,, History, Journalism, Military Science, Philosophy, Theater, Theology
Disciplines

Animalism, Auspex, Celerity, Dominate, Fortitude, Obfuscate, Potence, Presence, Protean, Thaumaturgy

Backgrounds

Allies, Contacts, Fame, Generation, Herd, Influence, Mentor, Resources, Retainers, Status

Virtues

Conscience, Self Control, Courage

Humanity
Main article: Humanity (VTM)
Willpower
Main article: Willpower

Chapter Eight: Systems

Chapter Eight contains information about Character development, such as rewarding experience, spending experience, diablerie and Golconda; Physical States, such as sources of injury, healing, and Final Death; Mental States, such as Frenzy, Rötschreck, Derangements, and the Blood Bond.

Chapter Nine: Drama

Chapter Nine is the mechanics of the game. This chapter gives general notes on how to resolve Mental, Physical, and Social actions. Examples: Research, Feats of Strength, and Interrogation.  It also gives the stages of combat and firearms chart. There is an Example of Play.

Appendix

The Appendix has several antagonists for the storyteller to use in her chronicle.  The Appendix also has the beginning of the "Forged in Steel" Chronicle, which starts in Gary, Indiana and leads into the Chicago Chronicles.

Background Information

(...)

Memorable Quotes

"Now, reader, I have told my dream to thee; see if you canst interpret it to me, or to thyself, or neighbor.  But take heed Of misinterpreting; for that, instead Of doing good, will but thyself abuse by misinterpreting evil issues."

- John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress

Therefore with the same necessity with which the stone falls to earth; the hungry wolf buries its fangs in the flesh of its prey, without the possibility of the knowledge that it itself is the destroyed as well as the destroyer.

- Arthur Schopenhauer

Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.  Nobody that matters, that is.

- Edna St.Vincent Millay, Childhood is the Kingdom where Nobody Dies.

"The dynamic principle of fantasy is play."

— C.G. Jung

I forget how to move when my mouth is this dry.  And my eyes are bursting hearts in a bloodstained sky.  Oh it was sweet and wild.

- The Cure, Homesick

I was early to finish, I was late to start. I must be an adult - I'm a minor at heart.

- Minor Threat, "Minor Threat"

Stand by the gate at the foot of the garden. Watching them pass like clouds in the sky. Try to cry out in the heat of the moment. Possessed by a fury that burns from inside.

- Joy Division, "The Eternal"

I tell myself I will not go even as I drive there.

- Big Black, "Bad Houses"

"And the Lord said unto him, 'Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.' And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him."

— Genesis 4:15

"But first, on earth as Vampire sent,  Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent;  Then ghastly haunt thy native place,  And suck the blood of all thy race."

-Lord Byron

Let’s Have a War – we need the space.  Let’s have a war – clean up the place.

- Fear, "Let's Have a War"

He don't give a hoot of warning  Wrapped in a black cat cloak.  He don't go in the light of morning.  He's split, the time the cock'rel crows.

- The Rolling Stones, Midnight Rambler

People try to put us down just because we get around.  Things they do look awful cold I hope I die before I get old.  Talkin' 'bout my Generation.

- The Who, My Generation

El Presidente smokes cigars. Anyone he does not like he shoots or puts behind bars.

- Circle Jerks, "Coup D'Etat"

"Now this is the Law of the Jungle – as old and as true as the sky; and the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die."
— Rudyard Kipling, The Law of the Jungle

Hurled headlong flaming from th' etheral sky with hideous ruin and combustion down to bottomless perdition, there to dwell in adamantine chains and penal fire.

- John Milton, Paradise Lost

See, over there red don't go - Same places, red's all they know.

- Ice-T, "Midnight"

Got a black uniform and a silver badge. We're playing cops for real, we're playing cops for pay.

- Dead Kennedys, "Police Truck"

"In the blood is light, in the light is life for the love of life, for the love of life."
— Swans, Love of Life

Sundown you'd better take care when I find you've been creeping 'round my back stair

- Gordon Lightfoot, Sundown

What's the meaning of words when they cease to function - When there's nothing to say!

- Killing Joke, "Requiem"

The hero has died as a modern man; but as eternal man - universal man - he has been reborn.

- Joseph Campbell

The Stage but echoes back the public voice,  The drama's laws the drama's patrons give  For we that live to please, must please to live.

- Samuel Clemens

I stood.  Among then, but not of them; in a shroud of thoughts which were not their thoughts.

- Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

"The secret thoughts of man run over all things, holy, profane, clean, obscene, grave and light without shame or blame."
Thomas Hobbes

Living in the limelight; the universal dream, for those who wish to seem, those who wish to be, must put aside the alienation, get on with the fascination, the real relation, the underlying there.

- Rush, Limelight

Life has confided so many stories to me, I shall have to retell them to people who cannot read the book of life itself.

- Etty Hillesum

Mythology is a rendition of forms, through which the formless form of forms can be known.

- Joseph Campbell

Time is the moving image of reality.

- Plato

And the game never ends when your whole world depends  On the turn of a friendly card.

- The Alan Parsons Project, Turn of a Friendly Card

Oftentimes, to win us to our harm,  The instruments of darkness tell us truths;  Win us with honest trifles, to betrays's  In deepest consequence.

- William Shakespeare, Macbeth

All the world's a stage And all men and women merely players They have their exits and entrances And one man in his time plays many parts.

William Shakespeare, As You Like It

His ardour smoulders * Phosphorus flies  He radiates with urgency to hypnotize  Stike the furnace * Feed his need  This thirst for fire is all he sees

- Siouxsie and the Banshees, Burn Up

Between two worlds life hovers like a star,  'Twixt night and morn, upon the horizon's verge.  How little do we know that which we are!  How less what we may be!

- Lord Byron, Don Juan

Looked in the mirror and saw what was wrong. Got to get back to where I belong - where I belong.

- Joy Division, "Something Must Break"

"No one holds command over me. No man. No God. No Prince. What is a claim of age for ones who are immortal? What is a claim of power for ones who defy death? Call your damnable hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming to Hell with me."
– Günter Dörn, Das Ungeheuer Darin

"Her lips were red, her looks were free her locks were as yellow as gold, her skin was white as leprosy. The Nightmare Life-in-Death was she, who thicks man's blood with cold."
— Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

So fair; so sweet; withat so sensitive all vain desires; all lawless wishes quelled be thou to love and praise alike impelled whatever boon is granted or withheld.

- William Wordsworth

"He who fights with monsters might take care, lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you."
— Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

The good want power, but to weep barren tears.  The powerful goodness want: worse need for them.  The wize want love; and those who love want wisdom.

- P.S. Shelly, Prometheus Unbound

We are Siamese, if you please. We are Siamese if you don't please.

- The cats, Lady and the Tramp

As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.

- C.G. Jung

Cold late nights so long ago, when I was not so strong you know.  A pretty man came to me, never seen eyes so blue.  You know I could not run away it seemed we'd seen each other in a dream; seemed like he knew me, he looked right through me.

- Heart, Magic Man

"It was many years ago that I became what I am. I was trapped in this life like an innocent lamb. Now I can never show my face at noon and you'll only see me walking by the light of the moon. The brim of my hat hides the eye of a beast I've the face of a sinner, but the hands of a priest."
— Sting, Moon over Bourbon Street

Maybe there's no haven in this world for tender age my heart beat like the wings of wild birds in a cage my greatest hope my greatest cause to grieve and my my heart flew from its cage and it bled upon my sleve the cries of passion were like wounds that needed healing I couldn't hear them for the thunder.  I was half the naked distance between hell and heaven's ceiling and he almost pulled me under.

- Indigo Girls, Prince of Darkness

"The need comes upon me, a wash of lust and craving which I cannot resist. Like a tree against the storm, I do not bend but eventually I will break. I may wait, contain my desire for week upon week, allowing the agony to mount, but eventually I can resist no more and I must kill again..."
— Thomas Braundenburg, Soul Whisper

"Why do your locks and rumpled clothes show tis more than usual sleep has made them so?  Why are the kisses which he gave betrayed by the impression which his teeth have made?"
Ovid

And he that will this health deny, down among the dead men let him lie.

- John Dyer, Toast: Here's a Health to the King

Nothing determines who we will become, so much as those things we choose to ignore.

- Sandor McNab

Experience is the child of Thought, and Thought is the child of Action.

- Benjamin Disraeli, Vivian Grey

Be all that you can be.  The greatest challenge of them all....Yourself.

- Advertisement

Live baby live, now that the day is over I gotta new sensation, in perfect moments impossible to refuse sleep baby sleep, now that the night is over.

- INXS, New Sensation

Do Unto others as they've done to you but what the hell is this world coming to?

- Metallica, "Fight Fire With Fire"

Should the whole frame of nature round him break, in ruin and confussion hurled, he, unconcerned, would hear the mighty crack, and stand secure amidst a falling world.

- Horace, Odes

Remember Doc, when the will is invoked, the recuperative powers of the human body are incredible.

- FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks

"I think of isolation and abstinence, and how each is so cruelly dependent upon the other.  There are times I cannot stand to resist any longer, yet when I do feed, I cannot abide the sight of the blood that is upon my hands."
— Tamalary, Confessions

Its motor whirs and colors curl inside your head the monsters whirl.

- Siouxsie and the Banshees, "Carousel"

It's the jewel of victory the chasm of misery and once you have bitten the core you will always know the flavour the split second of divinity.

- Faith No More, The Real Thing

That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.

- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzche

No one move a muscle as the dead come home.

- Shriekback, Nemesis

"The one thing about living in Santa Carla that I never could stomach, is all the damn Vampires."
— Grandpa, The Lost Boys

She did not seduce, she ravished.

- George Meredith, Diana of the Crossways

"Trisete, Italy - Gun-toting toughs hijacked a bloodmobile near the Italian-Yugoslavian border, stealing hundreds of pints of freshly drawn blood – and lawmen blame the rubbery on vicious, thirst-crazed Vampires!"
Weekly World News, Vampire Hijack Bloodmobile!

I got my brain on hype. Tonight'll be your night. I got this long-assed knife, and your neck looks just right.

- Body Count, "Cop Killer"

The beaten generation, the beaten generation reared on a diet of prejudice and mis-information.  The beaten generation, the beaten generation open your eyes, open your imagination.

- The The, The Beat(en) Generation

He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our Antagonists is our helper.

- E. Burke, Reflections

This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown.

- Rorschach's Journal, The Watchmen

Through these fields of destruction baptisms of fire I've watched all your suffering as the battles raged higher.

- Dire Straits, Brothers in Arms

Emotional numbing, mass addictions, low self-esteem, depression, apathy, anomie, stress, all the modern illnesses are symptoms of the absurd and tragic struggle to bridle instinct. Guilt is engendered by the imperfect ability of humans to suppress the inner rage of the repressed id.

- Adam Parfrey, Apocalypse Culture

What the imagination seizes as beauty must be truth - whether it existed before or not.

- John Keats "Woman When I Behold Thee"

Characters

Terminology

(...)


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