World of Darkness

From Academic Kids

The World of Darkness is a fictional RPG multiverse developed by White Wolf Game Studio. It is described as "gothic-punk" by the developers.

The World of Darkness resembles the contemporary world, but darker, more devious, more conspiratorial. Humanity is losing hope as it is preyed upon and abused by supernatural creatures such as vampires, werewolves and wraiths. One facet that sets the WoD apart from most other horror fiction is that these creatures are not solitary predators to be hunted down and destroyed, but they are numerous and intelligent; enough so to form societies, develop various factions and allegiances, and use humans as pawns in their games. Supernatural creatures in the World of Darkness are the dominant form of life on Earth, and only humans gifted with spectacular powers, such as Mages, are viewed by them as their equals.

Interlocking conspiracies, some mirroring those said to exist in our own world, some unique, can be found throughout the setting. Cabals of powerful mages, coteries of cunning vampires, and other, stranger powers vie within their own cultures and with each other for control of the world. The dichotomy between rich and poor, influential and weak, powerful and powerless, is larger than in our world. Decadence is common and corruption is everywhere. This dark reflection is seen everywhere: gargoyles and gothic construction influence architecture, while the leather look and punk atmosphere crowd the streets. A thread of anti-intellectualism runs through the World of Darkness: science especially is portrayed as a spirit-deadening activity with the goal of reinforcing "consensus reality" into an absolute: a rigid, calcified system where everything happens according to unalterable laws of cause and effect. Technology is portrayed as a dangerous tool at best, a corruptive influence most of the time and, in general it is seen as an engine of evil used by powerful malefic forces such as the Wyrm to extinguish the human spirit.

White Wolf developed the following games set in the World of Darkness:

In parallel to these settings, White Wolf has developed historical settings for their major product lines. They include:

  • Vampire: The Dark Ages
  • Werewolf: The Wild West
  • Mage: The Sorcerer's Crusade
  • Wraith: The Great War

Though each game line is ostensibly its own self-contained universe, as time has passed, more and more obvious connections between the settings have been made in the canonical, published material. This presents difficulties for Storytellers (the term in the World of Darkness games for the gamemaster) since some canonical cosmologies subtly or blatantly conflict with others. Many of the later game supplements have optional rules suggesting how to handle interactions between different types of supernatural beings, and in some cases, present rules that attempt to allow discrepancies to exist between settings.

In late 2003, White Wolf announced it would stop publishing new books for the line, bringing the published history of the multiverse to an end with a series called The Time of Judgment. This event is described from different supernatural perspectives in four books: Vampire: Gehenna, Werewolf: Apocalypse, Mage: Ascension, and World of Darkness: Time of Judgment (the last covering all of White Wolf's minor product lines).

See also: Storyteller System

The new World of Darkness

On August 21, 2004, White Wolf launched its new World of Darkness line. While the setting is superficially very similar, the overall theme is one of "dark mystery", with an emphasis on the unknown (something that developers and players alike felt had been lost over 12 years of sourcebooks for the original World of Darkness). In contrast to the largely incompatible games in the old World of Darkness, the new setting uses one core system for all games, a streamlined and redesigned version of the Storyteller System renamed the "Storytelling System". These general rules, along with those for human characters, were released in a generic corebook simply titled The World of Darkness. The games for the new setting are:

External links

fr:Le monde des tnbres it:Mondo di Tenebra pl:Świat Mroku sv:World of Darkness zh:黑暗世界

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