Written by Jeremy Morgan, tabletop games editor, gamer, and software developer.
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Night's Black Masquerade

12 September 2012

Continuing with my Dragon*Con 2012 posts, today’s topic is an interesting one. I got to play in a Vampire: the Masquerade (V:tM) game one of the days.


Now I’ve heard all kinds of things about World of Darkness games, and this was my opportunity to try one out for myself. I would have preferred a Mage game (as that comes highly recommended by several people), but I took what I could get. The game was okay, and I had some fun, but it was easily the least fun game of all the ones I played at D*C.

The problem? The system didn’t really support the type of game the Storyteller (GM) wanted to tell. It was basically a trio of us ‘acquiring’ an item for a client. Those of you with a game design bent are probably already seeing where this is going. I started thinking of systems that would support this type of play. The most obvious one is the Leverage RPG, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the next system I thought of: Night’s Black Agents (which I think I’ve mentioned in passing before).

Night’s Black Masquerade<

How do we do hack Night’s Black Agents (NBA) to run a game of V:tM? (Thanks to John Adamus for helping me puzzle through some of this.) Two vital topics to address are the vampire clans and the need for blood. As you’ll see, NBA solves both of these with minimal effort.

We represent each clan with a Background. A Background gives a set of Investigative Abilities and General Abilities. We might have to hack some of the abilities to get what we need from the game, but that’s a bigger job than I want to tackle in this post. As an example, we might add Vitae as a General Ability. A character could then Spend some points in it to activate special abilities.

Vampires require blood to survive, so we need a way to model that with NBA. Every character in NBA has a Drive, a reason for doing what they do. We simply say that every Night’s Black Masquerade character has two drives, Blood and a character-chosen one.


It’s half-formed, but I think it’s got legs. Anyone more familiar with V:tM see any issues I might be missing here? Hit me up on Twitter.


The Dad Hatter said:

Vampire (for me) is at its best when it is in LARP form. The table top rules, while they served their purpose are really pretty generic. What I’m not really seeing in your writeup is Disciplines. But I’m not really familiar with the NBA tweaks. Vampire powers could already be in there.

TriskalJM said:

I haven’t put the Disciplines in there yet, but I have a working idea on how to do them. They’ll probably end up being something either like Skills (from NBA) and this idea (Adding Aspects to Gumshoe, scroll down a bit) from Brian.


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