Darkness crosses the threshold, drawing you into an eternity of blood and depravity—a world of vampires and the night. For those who survive the Embrace, immortality awaits, filled with power, lust, and vast fortune. To survive as a creature of the night, you must find a balance between the human soul and the ravening Beast within, the bloodlust and hunger that drives vampires further toward the edge of insanity. Once you have mastered your inner turmoil, you are cast into a world of cutthroat politics and vicious betrayals, where smiles can cut like knives and words can kill as certainly as gunfire. Can you thrive in the night?
Vampire: The Masquerade (VTM) is a roleplaying game, in which everyone cooperates to tell stories in a shared world. One player takes on the role of Storyteller, while the others create characters to portray in that world—vampires, living secretly within modern society. Players gather at games and act as their characters in a theatrical, play-like setting. The Storyteller describes the setting and controls the actions of any non-player characters.
Vampires are immortal beings, plucked from mortal culture and thrust into a supernatural world. They are dangerous predators, surviving by feeding on the blood of others. Vampires have many advantages over mortals—they’re stronger, faster, deadlier, and often more alluring.
Need a quick into to start playing VTM? The free Mind’s Eye Theatre: Vampire The Masquerade Quick-Start Guide can get you going. Here, new players and returning fans can explore a simplified version of the game, intended to explain the core rules as simply and cohesively as possible, so that players can leap in and play. This booklet leads players through the creation of a vampire of moderate generation (an Ancilla) from one of two proud vampire clans: the Brujah or the Ventrue. You will need a character sheet (located at the back of the booklet), a pencil and some paper for notes, and your imagination. Get your free download here.
If you want the details of everything VTM, check out our core rulebook. The complete rulebook contains more options for characters, including a greater selection of clans, backgrounds, and powers.
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, “The Giaour”
The myths and legends of vampires can be found in cultures around the world, and they predate recorded history. Such creatures have been known by many names, such as the Norse draugr, the Hebraic estrie, and the Romanian strigoi. Popular retellings, from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to more modern movies and television shows, have romanticized these myths.
Vampires are sinister immortal beings, plucked from mortal culture and thrust into a supernatural world after undergoing the mystery of death. Mythically, they are dangerous predators and scavengers, living on the blood of others. They exemplify mankind’s primitive fear of the dark, our curiosity about death, and the allure and sensuality of the unknown. Compared to mortals, they are usually powerful, sometimes ancient, and always darkly mysterious.
To exist as a vampire in the World of Darkness is to know the heights and depths of all human emotion, magnified a thousand times. It is the pain and power of the Embrace, the moment one becomes a vampire; it is suffering an unending hunger for blood that must be satisfied, again and again; it is the dull ache of longing for vanished daylight, the supreme ecstasy of the Kiss, and the bitterly cold taste of immortal vengeance plotted across centuries.
Vampires in the World of Darkness have their own culture, customs, laws, and vocabulary. Many call themselves "Kindred", a reference to the ties of blood between the vampiric clans. Cultural legends among the Kindred state that all vampiric lineages trace back to a single founder: the first vampire, a creature called “Caine.” Caine created, or Embraced, other vampires. Those vampires Embraced others, and so on, descending down into clans and a small multitude of bloodlines. As the Embrace is passed from one to the next, each new vampire is slightly weaker than the one before.
Common Vampire Myths and Answers
Are Vampires immortal?
While it is possible to kill a vampire, she will not age or die of natural causes. She does not need water, food, or air. For all intents and purposes, a vampire is a corpse, albeit one revived through the magic inherent in the blood.
Do Vampires require the blood of the living to survive?
While vampires are corpses, they still require nourishment to sustain themselves, and as in the myths, they feast on blood. Not only does blood preserve their undead bodies, it allows vampires to perform amazing and supernatural feats of healing, strength,or speed.Most vampires seek human blood, although some force themselves to drink animal blood (which tastes foul and unsatisfying to a vampire). A vampire need not kill her prey; some take only a little blood and hide the evidence of their feeding. A vampire can repair surface wounds caused by her bite simply by licking them.
Will everyone who dies from a vampire bite become a vampire?
If this were true, the world would be overrun with vampires! Instead, those bitten and drained by vampires in the course of feeding simply die. It takes a very special and purposeful process, known as the Embrace, to create a new vampire.
Are vampires burned by sunlight?
Yes. Vampires must avoid sunlight or risk death. Vampires are nocturnal creatures, and most find it difficult to stay awake during the day, even if they are well-hidden from the sunlight.
Is it true that vampires are repelled by garlic, can't cross running water, and have no reflections?
These myths are partially true. Some vampires, notably those of a particular clan, cast no reflection. However, vampires are creatures of superstition, and some may avoid these things out of a psychological compulsion.
Can a holy symbol (like a cross) repel a vampire?
Generally untrue. The symbol itself has little power. Instead, vampires fear the faith of the person wielding the symbol— and genuine faith is rare.
Will vampires die from a stake through the heart?
While they cannot die from such wounds, vampires are immobilized by wooden stakes, arrows, crossbow bolts, and similar items that pierce the heart. Once the item is removed, the vampire’s mobility is restored.