At GenCon 2018, Modiphius Entertainment released the 5th edition of the popular roleplaying game, Vampire: The Masquerade. While bringing the game into the modern era was lauded by some, excerpts released by the publisher drew criticism.
A writer, only identified as “The Dice Dog,” wrote a lengthy takedown of the company, some of its employees, and the content released pre-publication. He drew attention to the purported antagonists of the book, detailed as rebellious, specifically mentioning the “alt-right” movement.
Fears that these descriptions and characterizations would make them protagonists for those with similar mindsets, many in the gaming community questioned the marketing choices of the publisher. White Wolf’s Jason Carl denied the accusations and specifically condemned Nazis or Neo-Nazis as unwelcome in their community. After receiving reported threats of violence, “The Dice Dog” removed his post, but an archived copy is still available.
While the book has been available for some time, Twitter user @Ettin64 found a passage that has drawn new criticism.
There were a lot of directions I expected the new Vampire to go in but "anti-gay purges in Chechnya a vampire psyop" was not one of them pic.twitter.com/5SZ4RLTKMI
— It's Ettin (@Ettin64) November 8, 2018
The queerness and open sexuality of Vampire: The Masquerade has been part and parcel of the brand since its inception. To include text, even from a villain, that seeks to justify the torture and murder of a group of people targeted for their sexuality belies excuses given before the book’s publishing.
Is White Wolf truly treating contemporary issues and ultra-right wing fever dreams as marketing or is this a misguided attempt to villainize them? Whichever it is, it is certainly not accidental language by any stretch of the imagination and should be clarified by the publisher.