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RPG Moments of Awesome 2: Vampire the Masquerade

11 Jun, 2020


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Mark Rein*Hagen’s 1991’s Vampire the Masquerade offered players the opportunity to play lugubriously morose undead, cursed with eternal youth and abilities beyond those of mortal kind, generally with supernatural beauty tossed in there as well. The only distraction from their melancholy, endless backbiting politics. Basically, Drama Students: the RPG.

I could and have made fun of many aspects of the game, from the designer’s splat to the game mechanics, but VtM did one thing extremely well. VtM was in its self-conscious 1991 way a lot more inclusive than competing RPGs and it sold buckets loads to women. It was also pretty popular with the queer kids as well. 

This shouldn’t have been exceptional in 1991 and yet it was. Women make up half the population. Games unlikely to sell to women leave half the money on the table but until Vampire came along, the best one might encounter was games that weren’t actively hostile to women gamers. Others made it pretty clear they considered women second class or possibly mythical. White Wolf was a notable exception.