With the release of Magic the Gathering’s Crimson Vow, vampires are on everyone’s mind! And there’s no better time for it- night comes earlier than ever in winter, no doubt perfect for creatures who haunt the darkness. Open your books, gather your gaming groups for a roleplaying game, and get out your card games to engage with these mythical beings with any level of horror that suits your fancy!
Without Dracula, we wouldn’t have half the vampire lore that has seeped into pop culture, but don’t read it just for history- read it because it’s still a compelling novel over a century later! You may think you know the story from the various movie adaptations, but none have stuck too closely to the plot so there are still plenty of surprises. Did you know it’s written as a collection of letters and diary entries, similar to a modern day found footage movie? Did you know Mina Murray Harker prefigures the tomboyish Final Girl who would become a staple of horror? And did you know there’s a cowboy? Read Dracula and refresh your knowledge of what it means to be a master vampire!
If Dracula defined the gothic vampire, I Am Legend created the survival horror monster. Robert Neville is, as far as he knows, the last real human left after a plague turned nearly everyone into vampires of varying degrees of intelligence, all of whom are intent upon breaking into his house. By night he wages siege warfare; by day, he goes out hunting, less because he has any hope of fighting back the vampire tide than because he can’t think of what else to do. Is he the last remaining hero, or is he becoming a monster in his own way?
One of the classic Dungeons and Dragons adventures is Ravenloft, which has bloomed into an entire setting of gothic horror villains and their domains. The very first villain introduced was the dangerously obsessive vampire Strahd von Zarovich, and with Curse of Strahd Revamped - Deluxe Kit, his original module has now become an intense adventure involving special fortune telling cards to guide the players and the story. Strahd himself is a dynamic villain, still in love with a woman who would rather die than be with him, and he will be the fight of a player character’s life- or the death of them!
Speaking of classic, the first edition of Vampire the Masquerade changed the entire world of roleplaying games by expanding the idea of character-focused (as opposed to dungeon-focused) plotlines. The current edition continues that tradition with lots of room for horror, urban fantasy, crime noir, and even romance. Players are members of different vampire clans, and their need to feed is matched by their need to the power lines of their communities- one false step and it could all come tumbling down. If you want to add in all the other Halloween monsters, get a copy of the Chronicles of Darkness core rulebook and then any additional monster sourcebooks you want!
If you want to play in the world of Vampire the Masquerade but are looking for something faster and with less preparation, you should try out Prince’s Gambit. In this card game, the players cooperate to gain the favor of the powerful Prince of the local vampire community. Not everyone is on board with this, though- there may be a traitor in your midst working for the even more sinister Sabbat group. Knowledge of the setting is not needed (though it adds to the fun!) All you need to do is use your best deductive reasoning and people-reading skills. Are you up to the challenge?
Finally, if what you want is quick and easy fun for your entire holiday crowd, you should play One Night Ultimate Vampire! A community full of weirdos (with different roles for every player!) is being infiltrated by vampires, turning victims into creatures like themselves one by one. The misfit mortal pack must find at least one vampire to save themselves and use their own wacky powers to fight back. Will it be enough? The game can be played by 3-10 players, takes only 10 minutes or so, and can be combined with One Night Ultimate Werewolf, One Night Ultimate Werewolf Daybreak, or both for expanded supernatural threats and chances for deduction!
Cook up some garlic, plant some wild roses, and put a few drops of holy water into your wine to stay safe from creatures of the night. Or don’t. Whatever your preference, have fun!
Written By: Mira G.
Edited By: Irenee W/.