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 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.


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.


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.

  • Brujah - Rabble - "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 - "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 - "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 - "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 - "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 - "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 - "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 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

  • Mental: Perception, Intelligence, Wits
  • Physical: Strength, Dexterity, Stamina
  • Social: Charisma, Manipulation, Appearance
  • 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

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


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


Conscience, Self Control, Courage

Main article: Humanity (VTM)
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.


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

"The dynamic principle of fantasy is play."
C.G. Jung

"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

"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

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

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

"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

"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

"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

"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?"

"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

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

"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!




Previous book:
VTM: Mummy Buy it from DriveThruRPG!
Game Books
Vampire: The Masquerade books
Next book:
VTM: Vampire Storytellers Screen Second Edition
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.