The strange thing of the day is the World of Darkness, a table-top RPG by White Wolf.
For anyone who doesn’t already know, and RPG is a role-playing game. These come in many varieties. There are video games, table-top games, and even live-action RPGs. You’ve probably heard of some of the more famous video game RPGs like Mass Effect, Final Fantasy, and The Legend of Zelda. You’ve probably also heard of the most famous table-top RPG, Dungeons & Dragons.
The World of Darkness is a modern day fantasy setting (for the most part), and encompasses a number of different games. The first one I ever encountered was Changeling: The Dreaming, which recently launched development of a 20th Anniversary Edition. For those who have been hanging around my blog for a while, you might remember this from my post about my first RPG group in my The Hands that Mold Series.
Changeling: The Dreaming was about Fae souls who had been trapped in the earthly plan within a human host. There were various kiths, or races, of the fae that had unique abilities and characteristics. I was playing a pooka in that first game, a childlike trickster race that were closely aligned in both appearance and personality to a given animal. There were also redcaps, trolls, and sluagh in our party. The premise of that game in particular, was that we were playing the fae soul that was trapped in our own mortal body, so we were both ourselves and the fae other at the same time.
It was a fascinating game that started with working out how one awakened to one’s fae seeming. But the fae weren’t the only mythical creatures in the World of Darkness. Other games in the original line included Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Vampire: The Masquerade, Mage: The Ascension, and Demon: The Fallen.
In the White Wolf gaming tradition, the person leading the game was called the Storyteller. The emphasis was on shared storytelling far more than mechanics and dice rolling. Though there were a lot of D-10s (ten-sided dice) involved and I had quite a collection by the end of that game. Generally, a Storyteller would stick to one game at a time. However, if you got really industrious and creative, you could combine games. You could have Werewolf characters appear in a Vampire game or Changelings show up in a Demon narrative. The world was all connected. Some, like Werewolf and Vampire, were even set up as adversarial in nature.
The World of Darkness was designed to be like our world, only a little tilted, a little off, and a little dark. That’s one of the things I always found so fascinating about it. It was so close to being our own world, but there was this sinister underbelly that my character was suddenly thrust into. The situations would just grow stranger from there.
A World of Darkness game was also the very first LARP (live-action RPG) I ever participated in. It was with one of the same players who was in the original Changeling game, as well as some others we’d befriended since then. It was Vampire: The Masquerade, and it was so amazing. I was able to dress and act out of character without feeling self-conscious or ashamed of it. I could really be myself in many ways when I was afraid to normally. And I was playing a character closely allied with my best friend at the time, which made it so much fun to talk about and plan.
Needless to say, the LARP was an adventure and a very strange experience. But that was what I loved about it?
Have you ever played RPGs? What kind?
Images for this post are pictures I have taken of the World of Darkness books. All World of Darkness materials belong to White Wolf Publishing.