Wednesday, May 31, 2023

World of Darkness Team Apologizes For Unauthorized Likeness Of Māori Activist In Upcoming Rulebook

Share This Post

World of Darkness, the team behind games like Vampire the Masquerade and Hunter The Reckoning, have apologized for a piece of art included in the upcoming Core Rulebook for Werewolf The Apocalypse, which is set to be published by Renegade Game Studios later this year.

The art, which was shared in a now-deleted tweet on the official World of Darkness account, depicted a group of Werewolf characters known as Glass Walkers, including a Māori man wearing full Tā moko face tattoos. Players pointed out that this character looked like Māori artist and activist Tāme Wairere Iti, and that depiction of Iti and his moko was cultural appropriation.

This led to a call from many in the TTRPG community, particularly members of Indigenous and First Nations groups, to remove the art or compensate Tāme Iti.

Tā moko or simply moko are a closely held religious and cultural practice, used to mark one’s passage into manhood as well as one’s social status and mana. It was outlawed under colonial rule, criminalized in 1907 by colonial authority alongside other Māori cultural practices and language. The use or even reproduction of moko by non-Maori is thus controversial within the community, with one German artist threatened with a lawsuit by Māori leader Rangi McLean in 2022 for unauthorized use of McClean’s likeness and moko in a commercial art piece.

This is not the first time the World of Darkness books have dealt with controversy around their use of real-world figures and issues. The team posted their apology tweet yesterday afternoon, promising to remove the image from the release before it publishes in August.

So far there has been no comment from publisher Renegade Game Studios or White Wolf owner Paradox Interactive, but they have been reached out to for comment.


  • Dan Arndt

    Fiction writer, board game fanatic, DM. Has an MFA and isn't quite sure what to do now. If you have a dog, I'd very much like to pet it. Operating out of Indianapolis.

Latest Posts

FM+: ‘The Shape Of Water’ Isn’t Science Fiction, It’s Magical Realism Part One

As our definition of the “uncanny” and “fantastic” have changed,  it’s important, I think, to consider the changes that the world has gone through in the time that the genre has matured, and the new mediums that have sprung up and reacted to the old colonial order. The magical realist mode is not merely post-modern anymore, but is itself beginning to draw on post-modern art for its sources of colonial critique. Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, I believe, is a perfect representative of an evolved magical realism, one that takes into account new signs and symbols created by post-war pop culture, but that doesn’t stray from the essential critique of colonialism and chauvinism inherent to the genre. 

Call Me Under’s Mystery Enthralls and Intrigues

Call Me Under's extended demo provides more intrigue and story about a city underwater and a mystery of missing people.

The Succession Finale Sticks True To Its Dysfunction

Succession sticks true to itself and its characters in a series finale full of the power moves and betrayals that finally settles the fight for power.

Whatever Wednesday: ‘Royal Warriors’

Hong Kong action movies are like Bollywood movies: cinematic...

Modiphius Announces Brand New Edition Of BRIKWARS Tabletop Wargame

Tabletop board game publisher Modiphius Entertainment bears exciting news: pre-orders for the final, definitive, best-ever version of Mike Rayhawk’s BRIKWARS are open right now! Dust off those old bricks and make sure they’re primed for battle, this tabletop wargame is coming in hot!

Misfits vs. Fascism

This month we hand the reigns over to Kara...