World of Darkness has an extensive, long running over-arching narrative. This metaplot isn't encapsulated in chronicle books or easily digestible summaries. I imagine players would have been exposed to it throughout many publications over a long period.

How can I, as a player/reader in 2021, become familiar with this metaplot? What books, magazines, online groups, or other materials would I need to follow it's developments over time? Would any written materials be sufficient, or was there some kind of tacit social knowledge that players in the 1990s-2000s had? Perhaps it was revealed in smaller doses through conventions, ads, or other materials?

I have a respectable collection of 1e and 2e World of Darkness materials. However, there is no clear sequencing of publications. Whereas D&D and Pathfinder books frequently reference each other in the prefatory material (or ad copy!), White Wolf doesn't seem to do that. I don't observe anything which suggests an on-going meta-plot, but its common knowledge that such a thing existed.

I'm especially interested in Hunter: The Reckoning, though I anticipate an answer would be useful for other product lines as well. This is especially important since many meta-plot developments take place in multiple product lines.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you mean the plot-years or the rundown of those to the apocalypse? Because it might be easier to start with the plot-years \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 4:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trish I'm not sure what "plot-years" means. I want to understand the World of Darkness metaplot, ideally through primary sources. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 4:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ For example, the "Year of the Scarab" 2001 tied into several books. It brought in mummy, but also included - in that book - information about what happened to the wraiths and why they died out. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 4:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trish That sounds like what I want, but it raises a lot of questions. How would I know that book is a part of the Year of the Scarab? Do all books fit into years? Is there any sequence to the books? Did the publisher provide any kind of framing materials to help us understand these plot-years? Or material to tie them together? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 4:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Trish how about you put that into an answer? :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Aug 10, 2021 at 9:31

1 Answer 1


There might be two good ways to start, both of which can be found on the WoD wiki:

  1. Reading the timeline: this gives you good general information about the history of the World of Darkness. Please note, that sometimes the information conflicts with each other: for example, both Demon and Vampire backgrounds are strongly tied to the Abrahamic religions, with an omnipotent God creating the universe, while Werewolf on the other hand has its own cosmic Triad (Wyld-Weaver-Wyrm). And then Mage will tell you that both of those are true (or both lie)... In any case, you can read the backstory almost year by year, but not in great detail.

  2. Reading in detail from books published during the theme years. White Wolf provided a series of themes that were tied to major releases in those years. This is not exactly history, but rather an introduction (or providing a greater focus) to a common theme:

  • 1995-1996: The Year of the Hunter: This series of releases was introducing Hunters (mortals fighting supernatural) as well as various mortal organisations affecting the supernatural world, like Inquisition (hunting vampires), Project Twilight (capturing Fera), Arcanum and various mediums for Mage and Wraith universes.

  • 1997: The Year of the Ally: Gave a greater focus to groups that support supernatural, like Ghouls or Kinfolk

  • 1998: The Year of the Lotus: was focusing on Asia

  • 1999: The Year of the Reckoning: this is the first of the years that shows the beginning of the end of the classic WoD. Vampires have problems with the rapidly growing number of Thin Bloods and Fera are concerned with the Red Star's appearance. Mortals suffer during the Week of Nightmares which culminates in Technocracy nuking/frying Ravnos Antediluvian, accidentally wiping out Wraiths, and unleashing what would become the Avatar Storm (which officially concluded that year).

  • 2000: The Year of Revelations: as the name suggests, various factions have prophecies about the incoming End of Times.

  • 2001: The Year of the Scarab: focused on the Middle East and introduced Mummies.

  • 2002: The Year of the Damned: focused on those who are in some ways cursed. It also introduced Demons

  • 2003-2004: The Time of Judgment: the semi-official end of the classic WoD. White Wolf has published a series of books that were allowing GM to end the world the way they wanted. This is also probably the most incompatible series of publications, as indeed each splat has its own "global" ending, usually ranging from "the possible end of us" to global Armageddon wiping literally everything (but with a possibility for a new beginning)

I'd highly recommend starting from the timeline, then eventually trying to read some details on the various source/splat books.

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1. But I'm wondering how people did this when these books were first published. They wouldn't have had the White Wolf Wiki, so no timeline or "year" summaries. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 2:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ @indigochild from memory the Time of Judgment books had summaries of the preceding events relevant to the storyline, which would also be a good answer for this question. (I have Gehenna and Time of Judgment, but sadly they’re currently in storage.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 3:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @indigochild Well, you don't need the detailed backstory to enjoy the game, each book was adding a bit of information that was needed for the current setting at this time. Also, even before the Wiki there were various websites trying to put the history together. If my memory is right, White Wolf itself was sometimes presenting "live" information about the status of the world - I remember that during the "Week of Nightmares" the official WW website was showing various "press releases" showing the effects of Antideluvian awakening on the world of mortals. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yasskier
    Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 3:29
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    \$\begingroup\$ @indigochild The loss of the White Wolf Forum might obscure a lot. It was at one point the biggest community of RPG people outside of the D&D sphere. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 7:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ As someone who was there, @indigochild, we largely experienced it through the periodical model. New sourcebooks were received like new issues of a comic book or a novel series, to be pored over or examined for new clues. Although there was a sense of an ongoing story in the background, we didn't conceive of it as a grand metaplot — that came later. As for how this information spread, we did a lot of talking on Usenet — alt.games.white-wolf and rec.games.frp.storyteller — and in person in cons and at game stores. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jadasc
    Commented Aug 11, 2021 at 8:48

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