A political roleplaying game of gothic horror

Vampire: The Masquerade Revised - Mark Rein-Hagen, Phil Brucato, Andrew Bates

This was one really, really, good setting. However it is a shame that it brought a lot of Goths out of the woodwork which ended up polluting the roleplaying community. Sometimes I wonder if Mark Rein-Hagen was a Goth himself, because this setting is very dark and gloomy that has strong political overtones. Hagen had pretty much set the roleplaying world in a new direction with this creation, and in turn, had opened the roleplaying community up to a lot of newcomers.

I used to play LARP a while back, which is live-action roleplaying. Vampire is actually a really good setting for a LARP as it does not involve adventure like normal roleplaying games but political machinations. People don't go on adventures, but rather they work to move themselves up the social ladder by whatever means necessary. The only problem with LARPs is that there tend to be a lot of posers involved, and as it is with many roleplaying games, people used it to flee the real world and create an imaginary world around them that nobody is allowed to pierce. It was good for social interaction, but there was just too much backstabbing and resentment to make it an enjoyable experience (at least in my experience).

The setting involve vampires, and in a way they are traditional vampires, but in another way they are not. The first vampire was Caine (that was his curse) and the entire race was created from him. A vampire's power is determined by their generation, that is second generation vampires were turned by Caine, and the third generation were turned by Caine's children. These vampires are known as the antediluvians, so called because they lived before Noah's flood. The third generation vampires all became the fathers of the clans that many of the lesser vampires are gathered into.

There are two main factions, the Sabbat and the Camarilla (though I suspect that later editions pretty much destroyed the Camarilla). The Camarilla, while being vampires, try to keep themselves hidden and try to retain as much of their humanity as possible. The Sabbat are the opposite: they believe that they are more powerful than humans, and as such should be humanity's masters. Much of the setting involves the war between these two factions, though there are other powers and entities out there that are just as bad. As it turns out, vampires are the weakest of all of the supernatural monsters in the World of Darkness.

This is one really good game in one really good setting. However the catch is that it can be difficult running it like a normal tabletop roleplaying game. It is more about politics than it is about adventure. Further, it has set such a high standard with regards to vampires that pretty much anything to do with vampires that I have seen since (and in many cases beforehand) just simply does not compare.

Source: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/290666366