Vampire the Masquerade is a TTRPG game that was originally released in 1991 by White Wolf Publishing. Each player creates a vampire character – from a clan of their choosing. They are guided by a Storyteller, who weaves together a dark and mysterious tale that can require the players to make difficult choices.
While Dungeons & Dragons can have serious moments, it also allows for goofy fun. Not so with Vampire the Masquerade. This is a game of secrets that are kept hidden from other players. A revealed secret can cause tension and danger for those who know it. There is also a conflict if the player characters are from different clans, each of which have motives that are unique to them.
The biggest thing to know about Vampire the Masquerade is that it requires trust. Don’t jump into this game with a group of strangers. It works best when it is with a group of friends that you have played other TTRPG games with over the years. A group like that has had time to learn where people’s boundaries are.
This is important because the mechanics of the game allow for the potential of violence happening where one player character attacks another, if the story warrants it. Some clans strongly dislike other clans. There are skills that some player characters (or non-player characters, for that matter) can use to get into the minds of others. The purpose is to “persuade” someone to do something that is not in their best interest, and that they otherwise would not choose to do.
Vampire the Masquerade can also allow for moments of sensuality and/or sexuality in the story. A group of friends who trust each other can go into the game knowing that nobody is going to take things too far. Things can be mentioned or suggested without requiring detailed description.
Those who play as vampires must be comfortable with blood. Your vampire must feed from the living in order to survive. The game is not for the squeamish, and definitely not for kids. It is for those of us who enjoy vampire movies, and who are comfortable with a dark and scary world to play in. It works best with a group of friends who trust each other.