I started with role playing games almost two decades ago. The idea always attracted me, but the only problem was finding the right group and join them for a campaign or two.
I started with role playing games almost two decades ago. The idea always attracted me, but the only problem was finding the right group and join them for a campaign or two. When I managed to find a group of people, another obstacle appeared; almost ninety percent of them were into Dungeons & Dragons. Don’t get me wrong I like good fantasy campaign from time to time, but D&D always encouraged you to have a classic “fellowship going on a quest to rid the world of evil” type of game. Along with other things you most often had a human,an elf and a dwarf type of group and everything was black and white, with players being the good guys. Not to mention that you always ended up in a copy pasted Middle-earth. But to me role playing games offered something else; what if I didn’t want to be a good guy? What if I wanted to be a monster, or at least a character who doesn’t give a damn about moral code? And if I was a bloody monster why would I want to run in the forest chasing elves? No, I wanted my monstrous characters prowling back alleys of modern Tokyo or New York, because you can do so much more there, then in Middle-earth…
Then I found out about World of Darkness:
It came out in 1991 when White Wolf Gaming Studio released it’s title Vampire: The Masquerade. For me it started several years later when I stumbled upon it by accident and was immediately thrilled by the setting. World of Darkness is similar to our world, but to put it simply it’s just darker. You have governments and corporations with their conspiracies, but above all you also have supernatural creatures wandering during the night, some of them even during the day. In it, humans have never been on top of the food chain, and if you hear kids talking about an old house at the end of the street being haunted, then it probably is. You could play a human character in World of Darkness, but it encouraged you to play one of the monsters instead. It offered you to be a vampire, werewolf, mage or one of the fae folk. Each of this races had their own clans, traditions, enemies and agendas. One thing was for sure, your character was never bound by human laws or morals, he or she followed her own plans. White Wolf described the genre of the World of Darkness as Gothic-Punk.
Rebooting the World of Darkness:
As it grew in population and titles got released, White Wolf Gaming Studio decided in 2004 that it was time for a reboot. They issued new versions of rulebooks for each of their main playable races and tidied up the world a little bit. Some of these titles I already played or am still playing and some of them still await for the right group of players to appear. Anyway each of these titles will be covered here on Mean Goblin magazine so prepare your dices, character sheets, sharpen your fangs and claws for it is time for gaming, away from keyboard and with supernatural horrors, starting with:
World of Darkness – a storytelling game:
I always played it this way. What if all the conspiracies and secret societies existed and above all, creatures that supposed to live in horror stories and movies were real too? But you weren’t one of these creatures, you were merely a human that got involved in something way over your head? The core World of Darkness rulebook is very open ended, you can do virtually anything, but the most important thing in the game is creating good characters and background stories for them. What if you were:
- Police detective trying to find a serial killer which leaves his victims behind without a single drop of blood left in their bodies. Then when you finally encounter “it” you find out that it moves too fast, jumps too far and your gun doesn’t even slow it down.
- News reporter covering a story about people who reappeared after being missing for years and suffering from a complete memory losses.
It is up to your imagination to create your character and keep him or her alive. When we played human characters in World of Darkness, most often we searched for inspiration in similar TV shows, movies or books like:
- The X files: conspiracies, aliens and government cover ups. The show offers plenty of themes you can cover within your game.
- Millenium: an excellent spinoff of The Xfiles that was mostly about investigations of serial killers and often dealing with apocalyptic or demonic forces.
- Works of H.P. Lovecraft: just about anything from his work fits here. Where can you find better inspiration for a story about characters investigating the unknown
- Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and Nightbreed: excellent stories about people that knew too much
Aside from player characters the world should be populated with interesting people and main theme for your story should be mystery, dread and unknown things lurking behind a corner. Characters involved should have a hard time to find the truth and when they do, remember that they are not some knights in shiny armour heading straight for the happy end. The closure of the story should never be final, it should lead only to more questions, if they made it alive they are lucky and if their sanity is intact they are even luckier. So if you and your friends are fan of titles mentioned above and have some extra time to spare, World of Darkness is definitely the place you should explore.
Also if you played anything from World of Darkness or any other role playing game system you are very welcome to share your experiences here…