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The Vampyr Universe is an alternate universe.

On the surface, it resembles the contemporary world, but it is darker, more devious and more conspiratorial. The dichotomy between rich and poor, influential and weak, powerful and powerless, is much more pronounced than in the real world. Decadence, cynicism and corruption are common. Humans are unwitting victims or pawns of vast secret organizations of supernatural creatures. Vampires, werewolves and wraiths—among others—struggle with internal factionalism and against other species in secret wars of intrigue for control of reality. The battles in these wars may last centuries, beyond the realization or comprehension of ordinary humans. This status quo is recently threatened by the rise of a global Technocratic cabal (and/or an animistic spirit of stasis and control) intent on monopolizing the power of belief and destroying all traditional supernatural societies. The mystical abilities of these non-human entities and their ability to alter reality at will are restricted by the rise of reason and disbelief in the supernatural and they are forced to rely on more mundane methods in their struggles for supremacy.

Many details of the settings, especially in regards to its history, are left vague or otherwise have multiple explanations. Humans are generally viewed as a minor threat to the supernatural races, but it is possible for a human to survive or even destroy a creature in the event of an encounter confirming that they should not be underestimated.

The darkness of the setting is reflected everywhere: architecture is dominated by Gothic styling and fashion and personal style embrace Goth, Punk and fetishistic elements. The game uses historical (Victorian) milieus settings. Despite the fantasy elements, the game emphasizes that any action has real world consequences, and abilities beyond what is considered normal by mainstream society will draw unwanted attention and potentially disastrous results.

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