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What Happened To All The Vampires?

December 1, 2009

Roll Dem Bones

All right folks, what has happened to all those fun-loving horror creatures known as: Vampires? The movie Twilight certainly hasn’t help matters. The HBO TV program called True Blood has red neck vampires. I don’t think I am wrong about this when I say that one of the classic horror monsters of all time has been ruined. When this happened I couldn’t actually pin point. Let’s play TV detective and see if we can surmise the likely suspects and possibly find a motive in all of this.

Bram Stoker created with out question, a classic literary character that is timeless and knows no bounds in reaching people so deeply and passionately as the vampire does. I have enjoyed many of the films and found the idea of vampires for use in role-playing gaming a great way to create intriguing adventures for the people playing the game. Once many moons ago, I was a staunch fan of White Wolf’s World of Darkness gaming experience known as Vampire: The Masquerade. It all started with the classic collectable card game: Jyhad. Frankly, I am convinced that Bram Stoker is spinning in his grave right now!

 Red neck vampires? The twinkling vampires of Twilight? Give me a break! That’s just wrong! The people that created those concepts need to have their creative licenses revoked big time! I realize that people are trying to be imaginative and creative. I get that. But the inept implementation in both of those instances has missed the point. Hollywood and HBO are out to make a buck and yes they are entitled to do so. But to do so, by driving a stake into the heart of the vampire character and what made the vampire so unique and interesting is criminal.

Lets look deeper into the murder of the vampire character. Our first suspect in this sordid affair is White Wolf. Yes, the purveyors of the World of Darkness are as much to blame as Hollywood and HBO. I understand intellectual property and birthing a creative concept and claiming that as yours. But the mythology and legends of the vampire has been around far longer than the great grand parents of Mark Rein-Hagen, the author of Vampire: The Masquerade.

Several years ago White Wolf went to court and attacked the makers of the Underworld films for infringing on their intellectual property. How bloody sanctimonious is that? Poor economy aside, I get the impression that White Wolf is doing poorly again. Go into your favorite gaming store, once again the World of Darkness books line the shelves and nobody is buying it. I still have several WOD books on my gaming bookshelves. I got rid of close to a hundred of the WOD gaming books a couple of years ago. Outside of a rumored game in Livonia, Michigan, I don’t know of anybody playing WOD role-playing games in Metro Detroit. I will say this: WOD books are some of the finest graphic arts productions on the market. In the past, the content of the books was functional from a role-playing game perspective.

I was never happy when White Wolf revamped their entire product family and eradicated huge portions of the on-going story arc for WOD. It’s obvious to me that it wasn’t that the story arc was played out. It had to do with the legal standing of the White Wolf copyrights. Of course White Wolf had every right to protect their copyrighted products. Yet they did so at the expense of ruining any viable creative exploration and development of the vampire as a character. This indirectly results in shameless screwball plot mechanisms like red neck vampires and twinkling vampires for the teenage girls.

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