Vampire: The Masquerade Fifth Edition First Impressions

Chris Dyer News, Vampire: The Masquerade, World of Darkness Leave a Comment

Allow me to open with something; I’m surprised as Hell this initally happened. I’ll go into further detail another post, but for a time, it really seemed we would never see Vampire: the Masquerade again. With full candor, I was not a fan of Vampire: the Requiem when it launched back in 2004. You see, I began roleplaying Vampire: the Masquerade technically before revised, because I was playing a mutilated version of it on AOL (America Online, for any of you that isn’t a Methuselah. It was an ISP, and evil) in a setting called Rhy’din, and I only even bought the Vampire: the Masquerade Revised core book to learn how to use the Disciplines in that awful online setting, and well…. it pulled me in to World of Darkness proper. And I hopped over to the other games quickly, Mage being my baby, but Masquerade always will, and does, hold a very special place in my heart. I was too busy being domesticated during the time V20 came out, so I missed it… but here we are.

I have unfairly high expectations for this book, and while the review will come when I’ve properly dug into it, here are the first impressions.

What this is: A return to form, for certain. The romance of Requiem is quite obviously absent, replaced by… you guessed it… ladies and gentleman, Gothic-Punk is back! Well, for the most part, at least. I’ll bullet-point the things I truly enjoy so far.

  • The Art. I was really apprehensive about their use for photography instead of their traditionally drawn works, and even thought they were a little cheesey, until I really got a good look at them. They’re vibrant, loyal to the adjoining topic and just… fun? It’s refreshing.
  • Kindred: the Embraced – the Game. It’s a joke, but not completely. Gone is the overbaring lore, and it’s time to get back to fixating on blood-sucking Melrose Place! With the stripped down clans (I’ll get to that), it makes it really easy to focus on the clans that typically interact with one another in their night-to-night unlives.
  • Well-written Deus ex Machina. How do we let the newly created Kindred get back to struggling to the top of their social chains? Remove the elders! But even with that, how do we concentrate on our political intrigue with the Sabbat mucking up our time? Have them up and leave! Not only do they just… make it happen, they make it happen in ways that don’t make you gag.

What this isn’tVampire: the Masquerade Revised or Vampire: the Requiem. This is not your Sire’s Vampire roleplaying game. While they have changed the focus back to political intrigue, the next focus is how more powerful and capable the Beast and your Hunger is. This is truly a roleplaying game; this will take legitimate effort to play without it turning into something unpalpable, and a crafty Storyteller to hold the reigns. So, here are some… questionable things? But again, some of this is bias, for sure.

  • Where are the Clans? This core book is extremely light on content when it comes to the clan. Whether the reasoning for a lack of more clans in this book is solid… I still want more friggin’ clans.
  • No… Sabbat. Like I said, they just… up and fucked off to the middle east, finally making good on their efforts to strike down elders and antediluvians. While the idea is cool, I am, and have always been, a Lasombra person. Bring me back my shadow-vamps!
  • No anyone else! No Ravnos, no Assamites, no Followers of Set, no Giovanni…. it hurts. They leave a void that’s hard to fill, and they don’t really even try. I’m certain you’ll get more clans in supplements… they’d be crazy not to… but I want them now, as I’m a child and require instant gratification.
  • New Dice System. Gone is that classic Storyteller system, and in with the Hunger system. While not bad, it does require some effort to learn, and some of us get stuck in our ways.

What’s my take? This is a great book, and a solid re-introduction to the World of Darkness. It has a ton of potential, and the book is easily worth the price tag. While I do have complaints, I’m old guard, and we always will… but I look forward to digging much deeper through this Cainite Cavern of lore, and as I get further experienced in the system, I’ll be sure to give a more well-rounded review, and please keep in mind…. this is just an early impression.

And now, back to it.

Keep it spooky.

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