Twenty-seven years ago Vampire: The Masquerade was released in 1991, and it’s been through a few iterations thus far along its journey. Our RPG show, Vampire: The Masquerade – L.A. By Night is diving into the Vampire: The Masquerade’s Fifth Edition and the World Of Darkness it resides in. If you’re as excited about it as we are, but aren’t familiar with the universe, here’s a crash course get you up to speed.
L.A. By Night is Geek & Sundry’s show for the new Vampire: The Masquerade’s Fifth Edition and it’s coming up on three seasons long. If you missed your initial ticket into the World of Darkness, we’ve got a spoiler-free recap on what the show is about, and where you can get started. Perhaps most important, you can get started with season one episode one in the video below.
In addition to Episode 1, you can follow them on Twitter, join their Discord, or even watch new episodes every Friday night on Twitch. With all the links and starting points out of the way, here’s the juicy info!
The World of Darkness is often described as a gothic-punk version of our own world A twisted urban fantasy setting where myths and legends lurk in every corner for their meal. Crime is at an elevated high, beyond what we know in our regular lives. Vampires spend their nights in Byzantine politics carving up cities like fiefdoms and looking at humans as nothing more than food while Werewolves and other creatures move with unknown goals of their own agenda.
Vampire: The Masquerade is not a new game, but the Fifth Edition advances the in-cannon storyline with the rise of the Second Inquisition. Vampires may be immortal creatures, but when world governments and intelligence agencies learn of their existence—the hunt is on. The chronicle of L.A. By Night begins in, well, Los Angeles (which is where I’m pretty sure Jason Carl the head storyteller lives, so that makes sense). In this city, caught between many factions, a new coterie of Anarchs works to carve out their place in the courts of undead.
We’ve written some primer articles that explain things like the Masquerade, Blood and Hunger, and Debts and Favors that serve as a great starting point for new players to the genre, and also old veteran player looking to see how Fifth Edition changed things.
The core coterie of the show features four vampires with various degrees of experience (and age) in the world. The four characters below are often visited each episode by many other characters, faces, and villains who are each played by different guest actors.
Victor Temple is played by B.D Walters, a clan Ventrue producer who is the voice of reason and experience to the group. He’s been around long enough to see the old sect wars regarding the Sabbat and has cut his teeth in Anarch politics.
Nelli G is played by Cynthia Marie representing Clan Toreador. Perhaps the most inhumane of the coterie (and I love Nelli G for this), she represents the most iconic of being a vampire. Embracing and loving her immortality, and being too old (and awesome) to put up with anybody else’s shit, while still working hand-in-hand with Victor Temple.
Jasper of Clan Nosferatu is played by Alex Ward. Beginning (and still continuing) to be the most informed of the group, Jasper is the one character who brings more supernatural knowledge about the World of Darkness to the group than anyone else. At the start, it can be a bit uneasy to know whether you should trust him entirely or not… and three seasons later I think that question is still open.
Annabelle is the youngest of the group, a neonate of Clan Brujah and played by Erika Ishii. Fresh off the embrace, Annabelle knows nothing of the world, politics, or what’s happening around her—but makes up for this with her connection to human society and moral compass.
Vampires need blood to survive and walking around biting peoples necks is a great way to get yourself killed by the Second Inquisition. Even though the Anarch faction plays loose with the rules, they still acknowledge they’ve to remain hidden. Caught in a valley between rival vampire factions from both the Camarilla and the Anarchs, the coterie is sent to investigate a university where students keep showing signs of a vampire feeding recklessly.
Students are often found light headed, dizzy, sleepy and having a lower blood pressure than normal. When the Anarch Baron catches wind of this, he knows it’s only a matter of time before the Camarilla uses this as an excuse to send in their agents. So, he does what any paranoid boss does: delegates the job of ‘handling’ the problem to Victor Temple, Nelli G, and Jasper. Watch the video above to see how everything plays out…
What clan of Vampire: The Masquerade do you identify with? Tell us in the comments below!
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Image Credits: Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition and L.A. By Night
Rick Heinz is the author of The Seventh Age Series, Dread Adventures, and a storyteller with a focus on D&D For Kids, Wraith: The Oblivion, Eclipse Phase, and an overdose of LARPs. You can follow the game or urban fantasy related thingies on Twitter or Facebook or reach out for writing at [email protected]