In September I will be going to my first gaming convention White Wolf's The Grand Masquerade. If nothing else it should be an experience. One of the things I'm looking forward to is finally playing some Vampire the Masquerade(VtM) and Dark Ages(VtDA/DAV) table top games. Collectively I refer to them as VtX. Hey if it works for algebra then it can work for acronyms as well. The game can be a lot of fun, but with the right group of friends a lot of games can be. There is one major problem the game suffers from and it is the reason I don't get to play it much. The problem isn't with the game itself it is with some of the preconceived notions that people bring to the game.
The first seems to stem from the idea that if it drinks blood then it is evil. In most cases it isn't a moral objection just that they don't see how they could play an evil character. From the VtM perspective it doesn't say drinking blood is evil. It says Vampires have problems and how they deal with them is what makes them evil or not. At its base a vampire is nothing more than a supernatural hemophiliac. It has within it the supernatural desire to feed and that desire if not kept in check leads to killing. It isn't required that they kill however and yet some people come with the impression it has to be so they don't want to play.
The second is that all vampires must be sexual creatures. Again this is a preconception that people bring to the game and not of the game itself. Popular media has moved more toward portraying vampires and the drinking of blood as erotic. While it can be played that way again that isn't the focus of what VtX was trying to be. In fact for the most part Kindred(what VtX calls vampires) do not care about sex and while drinking blood is a pleasure for them it does not require acting it out. It isn't about erotic fantasy it is about a creature that requires blood to survive and how it handles that.
At its core VtX tries to be what all table top games try to be and that is what the Storyteller and the players make of it. It leans a little to the political, but is setup for a more combative experience as well. Though in that respect it is more harsh than games like D&D were at mid and high level characters have hoard of hit points and spells can do massive damage that characters can still walk away from. If you can get past the preconceived notions it can be a wonderful game with the right group of people.
So tGM among other things is going to be my chance to play again. If you are already going to The Grand Masquerade and want to play a table top game then The Wrecking Crew, the senior White Wolf Demo team, will be hosting several games. They are not limited to only Vampire games nor OWoD(Old World of Darkness), but WtA and NWoD as well. Information about the games and how to sign up can be found here: http://forums.white-wolf.com/cs/forums/t/29552.aspx?PageIndex=1http://forums.white-wolf.com/cs/forums/t/29552.aspx?PageIndex=1. If you are interested sign up as it should be fun. :[