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Beginning Terms: Intro to Vampire the Masquerade

Hello and welcome!


If you’re reading this, chances are you’re interested in learning more about Vampire: The Masquerade (VTM). Vampire the masquerade is a tabletop roleplaying game (TTRPG) set in our world, as opposed to a fantasy world of the past or future as with other games like Dungeons & Dragons. Their subtitle is “A Personal and Political Horror Game.”


Vampire: The Masquerade portrays some common vampire story conventions and tropes…but… it also seems to be a pretty fresh take from what I can see so far. I (Beth) also happen to be BRAND NEW to this game, so I’ve decided to write this series. We’ll go ahead and learn together. ❤️


This post is the first in our How to Play VTM series, and we’re covering some basic terminology.

Basic Terms in Vampire the Masquerade:


Players roleplay as vampires, also known as Kindred. (Sort of how the walkers in The Walking Dead don’t typically refer to them as zombies.)

A vampire must feed on living blood to survive. However, they don’t want to do this—they have to do something to avoid losing their humanity completely. 



The Beast

The vampiric nature within a Kindred is known as The Beast. It wants them to give into their darkness and become a monster. Kindred must resist these urges, and it often proves incredibly difficult. (There are special dice for this!) However, the Beast may be an ally for survival if necessary. In dire times of danger and stress, The Beast could come to their aid, increasing a Kindred’s strength and chances of survival.




The vampire that created a Kindred is called a Sire. Unlike other vampire stories, Sires don’t have control over their Kindred.  



The game’s name also dictates that vampires must live in secrecy from the human world. This masquerade means avoiding suspicion and exposure at all costs. Vampires must be careful not to use their abilities in front of humans. I imagine this isn’t very easy. The tension around constantly fearing exposure makes a great story point for this TTRPG. Disastrous consequences await a world where the masquerade breaks. 


Next up: traditions of vampire the masquerade...

Written by
Beth the Bard (@ItsBethTheBard)

She/Her | Pro DM & Coach | ADHD | Best-Selling DnD Author of Feminist Curse of Strahd Book | D&D in a Castle DM | Creator of TTRPG University

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