Not a radical stance, I know. Dark Ages is more or less the default "alternate setting" for Vampire, and the one most likely familiar to the majority of players. To be fair, I haven’t really played in many other settings or time periods. I've never done a Victorian Age game, and while my friends and I have discussed various alternate settings—Bronze Age, Post-Apocalypse, etc.—I've never had a chance to play in any of them.
I prefer Vampire: Dark Ages to Dark Ages: Vampire for much the same reasons I prefer 1st to Revised. It has a comparatively simpler rules set, and the War of Princes never particularly excited me. But, again, this is a matter of degrees—it’s not as if I wage edition wars between the two or anything.
I default to the “standard” Vampire setting because, well, it’s the world I fell in love with, and the fact that it’s a contemporary game is one of its great strengths. As I've mentioned before, I love to run Vampire with new players, and setting it in the modern world that they know makes the transition so much easier for many of these players. Setting a game in a fantasy realm or the far future can put up so many questions and concerns that it can take the players out of the game—what is an “orc,” exactly, or a “K’Kree”?This isn't an issue in the modern day. Sure, they need to figure out what being a “vampire” is all about, and what the heck a Brujah is vs. a Tremere, but they don’t need to worry about how a “car” or a “phone” works—after all, they live in this world. Also, pretty much everyone has seen action movies set in the present day, so when it comes time for the game to get, well, “gamey” they know the tropes and rules of the B Action movie world.
And, despite my love for drama and romance, if I have to be honest, my games tend to be more Mean Guns than A History of Violence . I tend to aim low, going for “fun” and “neat” and let art or poetry occur naturally from the group being together, than to try to aim for Shakespeare. Yes, I’ll admit it, I’d prefer my games to be more like Blade (particularly II or the series) than The Addiction.
Still, I’d love to try some other settings at some point, but in general I’m rather happy with boring old North America in the Modern Nights.
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