June 20, 2014
A Look At The Fluff Of World Of Darkness
Imagine you are going home from work one day and you see something out of the corner of your eye. You are not sure what it was, but you know you saw it. Later you see it again. And again. Before long there is a dark realization that dawns on you: you are being hunted. What do you do? Call the police? What would you tell them? That there is something after you? Better safe than sorry, right? After all, you are not some dumb protagonist in a horror movie. You grab your phone and… wait. Why is it not working? You know it had a full charge. You hear a crashing sound in the kitchen, like something big bursting in through the window. It’s inside you home now. You quickly block off the room you are in, grabbing whatever you can find to use as a weapon. It will not help you. It’s in the room with you. Somehow it made it in without you noticing. What is it? Now, all that stands between you and it is that lamp you have in your hand. What do you do?
That is the World of Darkness, a horror themed role-playing game that acts as the frame work for all the other games in the new World of Darkness line such as Vampire: The Requiem, Werewolf: The Forsaken, Mage: The Awakening, Changeling: The Lost, Promethean: The Created, Hunter the Vigil, and Geist the Sin-Eaters. In many cases, it’s a game of what you were before becoming something else. It is often played as a sort of prequel to whatever World of Darkness game your Storyteller has planned, but this is not all it can be. World of Darkness is also a wonderful game in its own right. Like Call of Cthulhu and All Flesh Must be Eaten, you play as a normal person thrown into the macabre, the Gothic, the uncanny, and the horrific. It is a game about discovery and suspense as well as survival.
Through all of its various supplements, which are many, World of Darkness allows players to assume any number of roles including those that are not quite normal but also not quite a full-fledged “other.” There are rules present for playing things like psychics, mediums, and hedge-witches as well as full-tilt military campaigns where you are able to fight back against the proverbial darkness with heavy artillery. Taking some cues from The Dresden Files, the creatures in World of Darkness are often leery of allowing themselves to become involved with such things. Humans are not weak and they are far from powerless. Individually, a human may fall to the fangs of a vampire or the claws of a werewolf, but as a whole they are mighty and the denizens of the darker places know this.
In short, World of Darkness gives players a fighting chance.
Of all the horror games out there, World of Darkness is my favorite. While helplessness can be a powerful theme in horror stories, I have yet to see it work all that well in role-playing games. In my experience it can easily leave players feeling incompetent which detracts from the fun. World of Darkness helps preserve the fun by giving players the option to fight back. It is often not the best idea, far from it in fact, but it is always there for those who find themselves backed into a wall.
As always, thanks for reading and I wish you all good gaming.
Image Credit: White Wolf Publishing