Table top role-playing games are most often recognized in the form of Dungeons & Dragons, even amongst individuals who are regularly involved in this form of gaming and role-playing. It often includes high fantasy adventure with Lord of the Rings-esque plot-lines and characters, involving the fate of the world, a kingdom’s destiny, or a princess in peril. The heroes of these stories are more often than not constructed out of mythical races: magical elves, stalwart dwarfs and curious hobbits and portrayed as knights in shining armour, swashbuckling swordsmen and elderly wizards with long grey beards. At the very least, these are the images that our mind conjures up when considering tales such as these.
Typically, the plucky heroes battle against the forces of evil: hordes of marauding goblins, ancient dragons terrorizing the countryside by burning villages and feasting upon the farmer’s cattle, and even the night walking undead. Vampires stealing away through the night, dressed in flowing black, their silent foot falls on cobblestone streets as they search for their meal (victim), intent on draining the very life force from the hearts of men. But what if the adventurers aren’t the do-gooders we have come to expect, what if our heroes are the “evil” ones?
While the image of good versus evil is often associated and applied within a game setting, Vampire: the Masquerade and in turn, Requiem, offer gamers a place to explore what it means to be on the other side of the dungeon door. These “games of storytelling horror” attempt to put players behind the eyes and into the mind of the undead, to make them more than the monsters that Van Helsing preyed upon and children huddle in fear from, with their head’s tucked beneath their bed covers late at night. The vampire characters that are generated for play in this world are often just as “human” as the characters that typically hunt them. They struggle with retaining their humanity as they are transformed into the perfect predator; this simple fact far more important than whether or not they are considered to be on the “side” of good or evil.