Vampire: The Masquerade

The world of Vampire is a dark reflection of our own. The shadows loom longer here, and the night is more reluctant to yield to day. Corruption runs rampant, from the government through private corporations and into the various subcultures that revel in these culturally bankrupt times.

It is a world of contrasts, of haves versus have-nots. It all looks very much like the real world, as seen through an extremely stylized filter that turns up the contrasts between dark and light. The technology is the same as ours right now, but the people who use it are different — darker, in personality and motive — and that changes how the world functions.

The civilization of the undead is a manipulative and poisonous dance, and few vampires are left entirely untouched. Since the nights of antiquity, Cainites have struggled for supremacy, in an ancient and many-layered struggle known as the Jyhad. Leaders, cultures, nations, and armies have all been pawns in the secret war, and vampiric conspiracies have influenced much (though by no means all) of human history.

Few things are as they seem in the vampires’ nocturnal world: A political coup, economic crash, or social trend may be merely the surface manifestation of a centuries-old struggle. Vampire elders command from the shadows, manipulating mortals and other vampires alike — and the elders are often manipulated in turn. Indeed, most combatants may not even realize for whom they fight, or why.

The Jyhad rages even today. Though skyscrapers take the place of castles, machine-guns and missiles replace swords and torches, and stock portfolios substitute for vaults of gold, the game remains the same. Kindred battles Kindred, Clan battles Clan, Sect battles Sect, as they have for eons.

Increasingly, vampires speak of Gehenna — the long prophesied night of apocalypse when the most ancient vampires, the mythical Antediluvians, will rise from their hidden lairs to devour all the younger vampires.

Beyond the Sunset runs Vampire the Masquerade as Camarilla/Anarch, Sabbat, or Independent Clans.