Originally created by Mark Rein-Hagen, Vampire: The Masquerade (V:TM) was the first of White Wolf Game Studio's "World of Darkness" RPGs/LARPs based on the storyteller system. In 1992, V:TM won the Origins Award for best role playing rules of 1991. In 1998, the game was revised. In 2004, it was discontinued and a new vampire game, Vampire: Requiem, took its place.
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As stated on wikipedia, "The game uses the cursed and immortal Vampiric condition as a backdrop to explore themes of morality, depravity, the human condition (or appreciation of the human condition in its absence), salvation, and personal horror. The gloomy version of the real world that the Vampires inhabit, called "The World of Darkness", forms an already bleak canvas against which the stories and struggles of characters are painted. The themes that the game seeks to address include retaining the character's sense of self, humanity, and sanity, as well as simply keeping from being crushed by the grim opposition of mortal and supernatural antagonists and, more poignantly, surviving the politics, treachery and often violent ambitions of their own kind."
As a storyteller system, the plot of the game varies from storyteller to storyteller, but at its heart is the central conflict between the different political factions and clans that make up the world of the vampires. There are three political sects, the "good" Camarilla, the "bad" Sabbat, and a set of seemingly indifferent Independents. Additionally, there are thirteen distinct clans, each with its own power set and dogma. While each individual storyteller can shape the plot of the game, these central groupings always come into play.