The Forgotten ’90s Supernatural Drama Series Based On The Most Beloved Vampire Role-Playing Game Ever

By Brian Myers | Updated

The popularity of collaborative role-playing games began in the mid-1970s with the release of the Gary Gygax-produced Dungeons and Dragons. In the early 1990s, White Wolf Publishing released the first of its many role-playing games that focused on supernatural elements instead of the fantasy lore that was the backdrop for Dungeons and Dragons. Their debut game, Vampire: The Masquerade, led to a short-lived but exciting series in the 1990s titled Kindred: The Embraced, which has fallen into near obscurity.

The Most Elaborate LARP In History

Kindred: The Embraced follows San Francisco detective Frank Kohanek (C. Thomas Howell), who makes a startling discovery while out on a case. For months, investigators had been trying to build a case against local mob boss Julian Luna (Mark Frankel), but to no avail. In the debut episode, Frank’s romantic interest, Alexandra (Kate Vernon), reveals to him that she is a vampire and her former lover, Julian Luna, is also one of the undead.

Vampire: The Masquerade

Before the first episode of Kindred: The Embraced is concluded, Alexandra is put to death for leaving “the masquerade,” the front that vampires stay behind so that they can blend in with human society. Her final wish is to have Julian look after Frank, which he reluctantly agrees to grant. From that point forward, Julian and Frank begin to collaborate on solving crimes and work together to keep the vampire families from going to war with each other.

Five Clans, But No Ravnos

As Kindred: The Embraced moves forward, it becomes known that Julian isn’t in the mafia. The vampire is actually the leader of five different vampire groups in San Francisco, carrying the title of Prince. Each vampire family has its own hierarchical structure, though all are required to follow the code that the Masquerade puts forward.

The vampire families are distinctive, and the members have certain personality characteristics and physical traits akin to their clan. Kindred: The Embraced sees the tension between the rival vampire clans escalate as members of one of the families begin to target members of the San Francisco Police Department.

Crime Drama Meets Gothic Soap Opera

Kindred: The Embraced aired on the Fox Network from April 2, 1996, until its cancelation on May 8. Eight episodes were produced, though the network only showed seven of them. The unaired episode was part of the DVD box set that was released in 2001.

Part crime drama, part gothic soap opera, Kindred: The Embraced took the rules from the tabletop game it was inspired by and brought the creatures it governed to life. The series was the victim of typical Fox Network myopia, as execs chose to yank the show from its rotation before really giving it a chance to find its audience.

An Amazing Time Capsule For White Wolf Fans


Kindred: The Embraced gave audiences a complicated storyline and in-depth character development that would have served it well had it been allowed to continue. The series was pretty gory for 90s network television, but the copious amounts of blood never overshadowed the mystery or drama elements that were at the forefront.

Sadly, the series is not streaming anywhere currently.