So it is with a sense of homecoming that I participate in the Precious Monsters Vampire Bloghop.
I still tend to write a lot about vampires here.
My earliest memory of watching a movie had to be Bella Lugosi and Christopher Lee as Dracula. I can clearly recall being no more than 3 or 4 and thinking anything with red eyes was a "dracula". This extended as I got older (5) when the Count became my favorite character on Sesame Street. I am pretty sure I have seen every film adaptation of Dracula there is and I have read the original book a dozen times.
So yeah. I like Vampires. What made me "stop" liking them? Vampire: The Masquerade.
Well, that is not fair. It wasn't the game itself, it was the over exposure of the game and I'll admit, some of the players. But I have gotten over that. In fact I really enjoy the 20th Anniversary edition and the translation guide The truth is that Vampire really changed a lot things in gaming. In recent years I have come back to Vampire (and to vampires in general) and find I am enjoying it so much more.
So let's have a look at some the Vampire games I have enjoyed the most over the years. This is not all of them, but it is a nice sample of new and old.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Revised Edition
This is it, the original. Well, not the original, original, but the revised version. This game is the go to game for playing an angsty, tortured monster. Nearly everything known about vampires in myth or fiction is in here somewhere. Re-reading it today if you had no knowledge of this game you might be tempted to say that this game is full of cliches. But in truth this is the origin of a lot of things that we take for granted.
Truthfully this is a great book to get even if you never plan to play the game. There are plenty of ideas for Role-playing as well as integrating it with LARPing. There is also a lot of ideas for vampires here.
If you like Anne Rice's vampires, then this is the game for you.
Play if you like: Anne Rice
Victorian Age Vampire
The Victorian Age is best time for vampires in my mind. This the age of Dracula, of Varney the Vampire and tons of great Gothic Literature. Also it is a time of science vs. religion, the city vs. the rural, the traditional vs. the modern. This is a perfect mix for a Vampire game. The Vampire game mechanics are well served by this mix; the human vs. monster. In many respects this game is actually superior to it's parent game V:tM.
All the same vampire clans from The Masquerade are here, but changed. Not as much as the Dark Ages version, but the alterations fit the times well. The vampires here seem to be so much more than their modern counterparts.
Play if you like: Dracula or Varney the Vampire
Vampire: The Requiem
A while back White Wolf rebooted everything. They redid all their game lines, edited the rules and gave us a new World of Darkness. On the plus side Vampire the Requiem has much more cleaned up rules. They were similar to the old rules, but just better in most respects. The meta-rules or how the vampires are played though felt worse. Not worse really, but off to me.
Basically you can play the same kind of game you did in V:tM, though if you had a favorite clan in the old game it might not be here, or be changed in subtle ways. Still though this is a great game with less overhead than old World of Darkness. If you are choosing between this game and Vampire: The Masquerade then this might be the easier choice, even if it is less "classic" choice.
Play if you like: Modern supernatural
Vampire Translation Guide
So say you like both Vampire games, or you prefer one but like elements from the other. Well White Wolf came up with this great guide that lets you translate between the two games. At least in a mechanical way you can translate clans from one to the other. I like this product on concept alone. While this book is not the Rosetta Stone between the games, it is a good translation guide. If you are fan of one of the game then this book gives you the chance to double your stuff. For fans of both games this is a good way to open up your world of darkness a bit more. It is lacking on some crunch, but I think I can be OK with that.
I also like this product for what it means. White Wolf is basically saying something new now, the world is yours do with it as you please. No more meta-plot no more rigid distinctions that always come in 5's.
I like the converted characters, but would have also liked to have seen the same character in both systems.
Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition
The 20th Anniversary Edition combines the best of the best of the old Vampire the Masquerade game and strives for completion. All the clans, all the powers and most of the iconic characters. It is more expensive that any of the other White Wolf Vampire games, but it is also the largest and everything you need for years of playing is right here. Or more the point, everything from years of playing is right here. It is easy to pick this up and feel like it is 1990 again.
I think this book is really aimed more at people that played V:TM back in the day and now have a desire to go back to those nights where monsters roamed the city. There is a lot here for new players though too. If you have never played a Vampire game then this has everything you need.
I have gone on about this book before. Chill Vampires is the standard to which all vampire related supplements to a horror game must be measured. Any game can produce a bunch of stats, some bad fiction and link them together, Chill: Vampires is a Master's Thesis on combating the undead. Not just notes for the would be vampire slayer (and game masters) but also detailed accounts of the most brazen of the undead. Complete with stats, history, motivations and the notes of previous investigators and SAVE agents.
This book is fantastic for any game but essential for a good Chill game. I would recommend it on the basis of the Dracula and Bathory write-ups alone, but there are more and even stranger and deadlier vampires in these pages.
Play if you like: Supernatural or The Night Stalker
James Mishler is an old name if you been doing this for a while.
He has a personal blog and his game company blog. He also has a really awesome vampire book that I won a few weeks back.
Vampires of the Olden Lands
The Olden Lands is James' in house campaign the Chronicles of Mhoriedh. All the books in this series are dual stated with Labyrinth Lord and Castles & Crusades stats. This appeals to me on a number of levels. I like that he went through the effort to do this and the nice effect is that between these two sets of stats you can play this under any old school version of D&D you like. There is also plenty in this book that work with any other game as well.
We start out with some common protections against vampires. We follow with 8 very different sorts of vampires including living, dead and spirit. All dual stated. There is a new race to play, The Dhamphir. I have seen a lot of "Dhampirs" over the years, but this one is one of the best so far just in terms of simplicity.
All in all a really nice take and these vampires are not like the Dracula-Lestat-Edward clones that can populate so many other games.
Fang & Fury: A Guidebook to Vampires
This is an older book for 3.0 (not 3.5) D&D but there is still a lot of great things here. This is certainly written from the D&D-fantasy world vampire; so feeding off of dragons and the like, what happens to certain classes. There are feats, prestige classes, monsters and gods. There are plenty of spells, magic items, weapons and artifacts. There is really a lot of good stuff here and if you have vampires in your game then you need this. If you have any vampire big-bads in your game then this is also a great buy. Some of the material needs to be updated to 3.5 or Pathfinder, but nothing that is a show stopper that I could see.
Out for Blood
If there was anything you ever wanted to know about vampires or those that hunt them then this is your book. In the 200+ pages there are 18 new prestige classes, new uses for skills, feats, and of course tons of vampires. There are a handful of new spells and campaign ideas for using or hunting vampires in your game.
What I liked best about this book though was the Fist of Light Prestige Class. It was exactly what I was looking for in one of my games and I was happy to see someone else had done all the work for me.
The layout is very clean and clear and easy enough to read onscreen. The art varies, but most it is rather good.
There are a lot more including all the Ravenloft stuff.
And an honorable mention, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Roleplaying Game. Someone has to kill all those vamps. Or date them. Whatever.
EDITED TO ADD: Forgot my own Vampire Basic Class
Want to know about Vampires? Check out all the other members of this blog hop!