A Facebook friend recently posted regarding their first encounter with Vampire the Masquerade. This of course made me stop to reflect on my own journey into that setting and system. When had I first learned of the game that wove dark stories of vampires struggling for survival and dominance?
That’s when memory struck. It had been a magazine.
I have had a tendency over the years to pick up random magazines dedicated to the topics I enjoy. One such was White Wolf Magazine, in specific issue #26, published April/May 1991.
It was there in this issue that I was introduced to Shadowrun archtypes, such as the Elven War Dancer, a host of advertisements for TORG, Chill, Hyborian War, Talislanta miniatures and many more. But there, in the middle of the magazine was a full spread for this game called Vampire. Back then it wasn't the Masquerade, just Vampire. The artwork was stunning, as it generally is, with pieces from Jeff Starling and Dan Frazier (from Magic the Gathering fame). Through the narrative were quotes from Byron, Sting and John Keats poem "This living hand, now capable". It was evocative and alluring to the sixteen year old Ray who had just read Ann Rices' The Vampire Lestat.
I was introduced to new terms. Camarilla. Sabbat. Gehenna.
It would be a few years later before I actually played Vampire as a LARP. I would steep in the lore and mythology created by White Wolf. It would be this game that set me on the path to being a LARP storyteller. Twenty seven years later I still think about character builds, costuming and mannerisms for bringing to life a beast in the guise of man. I am thankful for this issue (which may be purchased on DrivethruRPG.com) and for writers daring to create something new and innovative - letting us play the monster.