Vampire: the Backpeddling

I haven’t said this before, so I’ll say it now: don’t expect this blog to be topical. I talk about what’s on my mind, not what’s new.

To that end, this week I’m going to share my thoughts on something that happened a few years ago, the 20th Anniversary edition of Vampire: the Masquerade, and specifically why I want nothing to do with it.

Some review:

White Wolf’s Vampire: the Masquerade, as well as the other World of Darkness games it led to, always had an apocalyptic bent to it. Vampire books usually had something to say on the subject of Gehenna, when the first Vampire, Cain, would return from his ancient slumber and all manner of horrible shit would happen, resulting in the end of the world. Similar prophecies existed in other games, like Werewolf: the Apocalypse, and the apocalyptic themes were especially prevalent during the Revised Edition run of the games. Then in 2005 White Wolf announced that it was finally going to happen. They then released a series of books called The Time of Judgement series which definitively brought the World of Darkness to an end. I bought the Vampire book Gehenna, which began with a superb bit of fiction about the Camarilla’s most ardent Antediluvian denier watching the literal rebirth of the Antediluvian Set.The book then blows the top off of pretty much all the secrets of the world’s meta-plot, including the fate of all 13 Antediluvian, and gave us three end of the world scenarios for a Storyteller to choose from, one of which was explicitly stated to be canon: Cain wakes up and his return brings about all the horrible shit the Noddists always said it would, so stick that in you’re Camarilla pipe and smoke it.

After releasing these books, White Wolf wiped the dirt of their hands and told us “yes that really happened no honestly we’re not kidding we’re not going to take it back the World of Darkness you all know and love is really over no really we mean it.”

“But don’t worry” they continued, “here’s an all new World of Darkness for you to sink your teeth into!”

And sink my teeth into it I did! I pre-ordered the World of Darkness core rule book, as well as the core book for the new Vampire game line, Vampire: the Requiem, so as to get them as soon as possible, and once I had the books I immediately fell in love with the new setting, as well as the streamlined game mechanics, and came to view the whole “reboot” as an overall improvement over the original. Turns out I like having more localized politics which make my character more important, and makes the title of Prince more meaningful then a mere rung on the ladder of bureaucracy between expendable neonates and what was basically a vampiric Illuminati. I like vampire clans that actually look like vampires, not other things disguised as vampires as most of V:tM’s clans were.

And then, a few years after I wholeheartedly embraced this new world, in what really seemed to me like an attempt to pander to fans who won’t shut the fuck up about how much they miss the old WOD, White Wolf pulled a 180 and said “Ha ha, nevermind, Gehenna didn’t happen after all, and those years of building up to it were for naught, because here’s a new edition of Vampire: the Masquerade!”

To which I replied “FUCK YOU, I’M NOT PLAYING IT!”

I’ve moved on, White Wolf, and the reason I moved on is because YOU FUCKING TOLD ME TO! Bringing your own game world to an end was a bold move, and I wish you’d had the balls to stick to it. And if you were going to flip flop it’d be nice if you didn’t spend the better part of a decade getting me hooked on your new world first.

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