Dan's Top 19 RPGs - #11 - Vampire: The Masquerade


I saw Vampire: The Masquerade a number of times at the local Waldenbooks in the early 1990s. As a poor college student without a lot of free time I didn't make that many gaming purchases back then - and without a regular book there didn't seem much point in purchasing it. But every time I was there I flipped through it and was amazed - it was different from any other RPG I'd ever seen. From the evocative art to the comic book style story within to its themes. Eventually I wound up purchasing it.

Truth to tell, I've not gotten that much play out of it - in that, it resembles Pendragon - a game I really like but have gotten very little opportunity to play. However, the few times I've played it were a blast - whether it was dark and moody or superheroes with fangs, it was a blast.

There's a number of things about Vampire that I found - and still find - appealing. I love politics and Vampire games can be all about politics - high stakes politics in the style of the Corleone and the Borgia families. I also love history and with Vampire you can play a character centuries old - and you can easily play a historical game, with supplements covering the Middle Ages and Victoria Era

The tone of the game screams 1990s to me. The 1990s was the decade that I came into adulthood. I was an 18-year old college freshman as the 1990s began. I was never a part of the goth subculture but I definitely appreciated it. I loved grunge music. My favorite color was black. Like many people of that period, Vampire spoke to me. Vampire and other White Wolf games came to dominate the gaming industry as the decade went on. Even that had parallels for me, for by the end of the decade I was married, doing well in my career, and would soon be purchasing a house, getting a dog, and having kids.

I see Vampire still speaks to people. My younger daughter is the geeky one, the one who loves comics, anime, manga, rpgs, etc., has expressed an interest in playing Vampire and loves the art of the game. I'd certainly take it for a spin again. And with more play, I imagine I'd be ranking it much higher.

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