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Reading Room / Kindred: the Embraced Reviews

'Kindred' deviates from game

By Cliff Hicks
Staff Reporter

On Tuesday night, Fox showed off its brand new show, "Kindred: The Embraced." What many people don't know is that the show is based on a role-playing game that has been played since the early 1990s.

"Kindred: The Embraced" is a soap-opera/drama series based on a Mafia-like group of vampires who have managed to hide their dark secret from society.

"Vampire: The Masquerade" is the first of White Wolf's five-part "World of Darkness" series of role-playing games, in which the players assume personas they create. The others include: "Werewolf: The Apocalypse," "Mage: The Ascension," "Wraith: The Oblivion" and "Changeling: The Dreaming."

But some differences exist between the television show, "Kindred: The Embraced" and the role-playing game, "Vampire: The Masquerade."

In "Vampire," there are seven clans, not five. For television, two clans, the Malkavians (mentally deranged vampires) and the Tremere (the Machiavellians of the vampires), were removed.

Also, some scenes occur during sunlight, which, according to the game's rules, is hazardous to vampires, causing them to burst into flames. The rationale given in the show is that the sunlight has to hit them directly, and the scenes occur at dusk.

Across the Internet, the players' main complaint has been that the Nosferatu, who are horribly disfigured in the game, didn't look all that bad.

"You'd think if they'd get good special effects, they could afford to do the makeup for a real Nosferatu," said Darren Lanian, a Vampire player from Maine.

Reactions from players have been mixed. Some have lambasted the show for not sticking close enough to the game mechanics, while others have lauded it for sticking as close as it has.

"Poorly acted, poorly written, just for gamers, no others need apply," said Rochelle Dvorak, owner of Comic World.

The one thing just about everyone likes is Julian Luna (played by Mark Frankel), who is very much what most people see a Prince as.

Each city is run by a vampire-like mob-boss-type figure who is the Prince of the city. The Princes are usually very politically dominant, making today's politicians seem gentle.

Players' other common agreement is that while the players may love the series, without previous knowledge of the game and its background, viewers may be lost.

Only time will tell whether "Kindred: The Embraced" makes it. But as Shelly Minzer, a Vampire player from San Francisco, said, "they (the actors) have got to stop acting like it's `Melrose Place' and more like it's `The X-Files'."

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