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My review of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition

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  • My review of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition



    LINK: http://booknest.eu/reviews/charles/1...rade5thedition

    VAMPIRE: THE MASQUERADE 5TH EDITION is a book I never expected to see. I was a huge fan of Vampire: The Masquerade in the nineties. I was about as big a Gothic Punk as a tabletop roleplaying gamer could be in the South with no Goths around him, no black clothing in his wardrobe, and a restrictive Catholic high school. I loved pretending to be 8th generation Elder Lord Sirrius of the Ventrue and Erasmus Von Prague the Tremere Knight. It was a game inspired by INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE, LOST BOYS, and BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA. I traveled from the seedy streets of Chicago to Prague during the Dark Ages to the end of the world before the line ended in 2004.Its difficult to overstate just how influential Vampire: The Masquerade was in a post-Twilight era when vampires have so much shade thrown on them.

    Ironically, it's in part because of the tabletop roleplaying game that the undead became so over-saturated. BLADE, TRUE BLOOD, UNDERWORLD, and other works all drew from the lore of the game. There was a badly made Aaron Spelling TV series that I still have a fondness for and a couple of awesome video games. It was an influence on my STRAIGHT OUTTA FANGTON and I WAS A TEENAGE WEREDEER books and I can name many other urban fantasy authors who had some experience with the game.

    The premise of the game is extremely simple: you are a vampire in the modern world. At some point in the last fifty years, your character was a normal human being transformed into one of the undead. You are part of an undead society that exists behind the scenes and must maintain a constant vigilance so humans cannot find out about your existence. This is the titular Masquerade. Nightly unlife is a constant struggle against the vampire nobility, vampire hunters, werewolves, and your dwindling humanity. If you give into the killing urge too often, you'll eventually degenerate into a mindless beast that has to be put down.

    The 5th Edition of the game opens up with thirty pages of in-universe fiction that is designed to appeal to the now 30 and 40 year old fans of the game who played it in high school. The opening story is a letter from Mina Harker, a real person in the setting, who is addressing one of her descendants she's Embraced (turned into a vampire) out of loneliness. Other fiction talks about how the Camarilla (vampire society) has fallen and a Second Inquisition of ABC agencies globally has started a massive purge of the undead. Yes, the Masquerade is partially broken and now vampires have to fear drone strikes as well as thermal-vision equipped Special Forces.

    The idea of the government knowing about the undead is probably the only way you could believably do the Masquerade in the 21st century. In an age of cellphone cameras, the Cloud, instant global communication, and satellite networks--it's slightly more believable the intelligence communities want to avoid a global panic from the revelation the supernatural is real. I also like how the gameline says humanity is kicking the collective asses of vampiredom. Setting juggernauts like the Tremere Inner Council and Camarilla's leadership are wiped out to remind people why the Masquerade is so important.

    Previous editions were criticized for overly relying on their metaplot. So much so that the 20th anniversary edition of Vampire: The Masquerade (4th Edition by my count) actively removed all references to it. However, while the metaplot was overdone, I think it's one of the chief reasons to upgrade to a new edition. Seeing how old favorites and characters you had an attachment to growing up is something worthwhile. I've already heard they have plans for a 5th Edition of Chicago by Night and I'd enjoy discovering what the characters within have been up to for twenty years.

    Gameplay-wise, the biggest change is the focus of the game is shifted. Previous editions were a power fantasy where the majority of focus was on your disciplines. Many characters were built like Connor Macleod with a trench coat, a katana hidden underneath it, and a bunch of awesome superpowers. Now, the game greatly broadens the focus on hunger and feeding. Many pages are spent discussing how a vampire feeds, what they feed on, and how they feel about who (or what) they eat. There's also a change to Humanity in order to make what a character cares about and how they stay sane more varied.

    Fans of all thirteen clans may be disappointed to discover the book contains descriptions of only the original seven clans, Caitiff, and Thin Bloods. There's some light revisions to them like the fact the Gangrel's flaws are no longer as severe and the Malkavian's insanity is not related to any "real" mental illness (as they had previously been depicted as tricksters and doomsaying prophets--not really things you want to associate with the mentally ill). We also get updates to Disciplines (vampire powers), which are much more versatile. Perhaps the best rules revision is that its much harder to feed on animal blood or blood bags if you're a vampire of power. Vampires also become more powerful as they age in terms of Blood Potency.

    Fans of the Sabbat, Followers of Set, Giovanni, Ravnos (they exist, or so I hear!), and Assamites will wonder why they didn't do all thirteen clans. Also, why there was no focus on the Paths of Enlightenment that serve as alternatives to humanity. While I imagine part of this is a space issue, I think it's actually a thematic issue. The above clans are the most inhuman of Kindred and they're really beating the drum of V:TM as a game about coping with the horror of one's condition. Besides, they have to get you to buy the supplements somehow. That's good business and I'm not just saying that because I leave cliffhangers in my books for the exact same reason (bwhahahaha!).

    The book has beautiful artwork spread throughout, using photos and touch-ups to give impressions of how the gameworld looks. Some of the artwork isn't great, like the Nosferatu look like poor college students and runaways than horrifying monsters in their Clan write-up, but most of it is incredible. The game is clearly intended for an older, more mature audience. This is a good thing as we finally get straight answers on everything from whether Kindred can have sex (High Humanity vampires can) to how to make a Herd of mortals.

    The general tone of the book is dark and edgy in a deliberately overdone style that implies Kindred are selfish monstrous creatures at every turn. One of my favorite pieces of art is a Ventrue debutante with her slave sitting underneath her as she wears a slit dress while posing over the city. Beside her, she has a little speech about how being rich made her life a party but being undead has made the world her bitch. There's some questionable choices but the general sense is the game is trying to be politically aware in a time when punk is feeling out of fashion but never so relevant. Whereas the original books were Gothic Punk written for sixteen-year-olds, this feels more like it was written for people who watch HBO and FX.

    There's some bad decisions in the book, I think. For one, there's a short story about how the Sabbat tried to claim credit for 9/11 despite having nothing to do with it. It's an attempt to refute the "vampires behind everything" of previous editions but I don't think anyone really needed a story about in the first place. I'm also not sure how Thin Bloods, a bunch of almost human vampires in the modern age, ended up making their own path of alchemy. The absence of a opening adventure like Gencon's Rusted Veins was a mistake, IMHO, as that was incredible. I also think making rules about how nice a vampire has to be to have sex is a bad decision. Otherwise, this book was fantastic.

    Gameplay mechanics-wise, I think 5th Edition suffers a bit in design. The Predator types, basically how and what you feed on, are a major part of the new game. However, they aren't very well described and sometimes the mechanics doesn't make sense for what you're eating. For example, one kind of vampire only feeds from other vampires but it doesn't explain how you do that--especially with the Blood Bond being a thing. Some players will also object to the changes to favored clans like the Tremere who have gone from the Clan which everyone is Blood Bonded in to the Clan which can't do Blood Bonds period. The absence of Paths and Sabbat clans feels wrong, especially as they have a role as both antagonists as well as players. Given the Lasombra have supposedly joined the Camarilla, their presence is sorely missed.

    Still, I think the game is fantastic. Vampire's 20th Anniversary Edition was great but it didn't feel sufficiently distinct from Revised. Every game is going to carry a heavy bias on "how you should play it." I think this manages to improve on Vampire: The Requiem, which also wanted to bring gamers into deeply personal horror stories but I feel failed in the fact it didn't provide a strong enough direction on how to do that. 5th Edition feels like it not only knows what it wants but is capable of showing gamers how to do it.

    9.5/10
    Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-15-2018, 06:16 PM.


    Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

  • #2
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    Gameplay-wise, the biggest change is the focus of the game is shifted. Previous editions were a power fantasy where the majority of focus was on your disciplines. Many characters were built like Connor Macleod with a trench coat, a katana hidden underneath it, and a bunch of awesome superpowers. Now, the game greatly broadens the focus on hunger and feeding. Many pages are spent discussing how a vampire feeds, what they feed on, and how they feel about who (or what) they eat.
    Why do you have to lie about the old game to shill the new one?
    In any case, even if I were to agree that V5 has a greater focus on "hunger and feeding", and to an extent - it does, it still botches the job. Predator Types are meant to inform how your vampire hunts and provide you with the mechanical means to do that. But they don't. The only Predatory Type that fully and unquestionably works is Osiris - they get Presence and Herd, and thus can reliably feed on a night to night basis.

    The Consensualist feeds on willing victims, but the only thing on their list that even slightly helps is the Persuasion specialty. So if you didn't build the rest of your character to be a Presenced persuasive mastermind - get fucked.

    The Farmer feeds on animals, but again, the benefits they get don't actually provide reliable means to feed. If you took Protean, then nothing on your list helps you feed. If you took Animalism, then you are half-way there to having Animalism 2 and finally having a feeding method. I sure hope you are a Gangrel because otherwise you aren't feeding bucko. What isn't on the Farmer's benefit list are dots of resources which they'd be able to spend on buying cats.

    Blood Leech feeds on vampires and has Prey Exclusion (mortals) and I honestly don't know how you are supposed to play one.

    Predator Types are a good idea. "I'm a Malkavian with Dementation 3 and I have no way to feed" was a common problem in VtM and a feeding package giving everyone the means would solve it. But the one we got in V5 doesn't. Unless you took Osiris, the Predator Type is just a power package that does next to nothing at actually letting you feed.
    The book has beautiful artwork spread throughout, using photos and touch-ups to give impressions of how the gameworld looks.
    That one is subjective, but personally, I thought V5 was one of the ugliest game books I've seen in decades. It has embarrassing LARP-quality photos, barely any real art, awful graphic design and formatting.
    Last edited by Kammerer; 09-14-2018, 08:03 AM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
      Why do you have to lie about the old game to shill the new one?
      Where do you see the lie? In previous threads, many posters actually complained about their preferred "superheroes with fangs" style (along with some others) being less easy to play than previously. I don't think WW ever consciously supported the style, but the game system lent itself pretty well to it.

      Comment


      • #4
        I can say that I agree with this part of the review.

        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

        There's some bad decisions in the book, I think. For one, there's a short story about how the Sabbat tried to claim credit for 9/11 despite having nothing to do with it. It's an attempt to refute the "vampires behind everything" of previous editions but I don't think anyone really needed a story about in the first place. I'm also not sure how Thin Bloods, a bunch of almost human vampires in the modern age, ended up making their own path of alchemy. The absence of a opening adventure like Gencon's Rusted Veins was a mistake, IMHO, as that was incredible. I also think making rules about how nice a vampire has to be to have sex is a bad decision.
        The rest I have issues with.

        Malkavians portrayed as they were pre-Revised, pranksters and prophets, was/is a shallow (and for me, insulting) portrayal of what I found to be one of my favorite Clans. Sure, mental illness is a serious topic, and playing a realistically afflicted character can be difficult, but it was and is a more nuanced and meaningful portrayal of the Clan. As someone who personally deals with mental health issues, including Kindred that deal with these issues felt inclusive, putting a spotlight on people like me rather than relegating the mentally ill to the position of comic relief and/or cackling madman. This is a huge backslide, in my opinion. I'm genuinely disappointed.

        I could go on for a few paragraphs about how the new feeding rules cripple some of my favorite characters*, and outright makes others unworkable, but I think that issue is obvious enough that it's unnecessary. Mandatory murder to sate hunger is... Well, that's just not my VtM.

        The changes to the other Clans (and we've yet to see them all...) aren't as bothersome to me, but I'm definitely not happy. The Tremere have an actual weakness now! ...And it makes them suck at doing Vampire stuff enough that I now don't want to play one (seriously? No blood bonds for the Tremere???). The Ventrue are now sporting a weaker version of their standard restriction, because why not make it easier on them? I don't even know what the point of this change could be. Really, I would like an explanation as to how this is "better".

        Again, I could go on, but that should be enough to make my point. Really, the only Clan in V5 that hasn't seen a purely negative change in weakness is the Gangrel. Which, yay, I love playing Gangrel, but then I have previous editions of Gangrel to play... So, why bother? V5 has let me down thus far, and it'd take some serious overhauling for me to come around after that. Maybe I'll be happier with V6.

        *My personal characters. Canon characters have always reserved the right to be kinda weird.
        Last edited by AzraelFirestorm; 09-14-2018, 10:35 AM.


        “Nobody is purely good or purely evil. Most of us are in-between. There are moths that explore the day and butterflies that play at night.”
        - Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute The Sun
        (She/Her)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Cifer View Post
          Where do you see the lie? In previous threads, many posters actually complained about their preferred "superheroes with fangs" style (along with some others) being less easy to play than previously. I don't think WW ever consciously supported the style, but the game system lent itself pretty well to it.
          V20 openly says near the beginning that the system is designed to be played how you like. It's a conduit to having fun. It helps you to have fun the way you like, rather than telling you how you should do it; near the beginning it says that you might be running a really social chronicle, or an action-packed one, or one where you're Elders in control of many coteries.

          So yes, previous editions did lend themselves to antiheroes with fangs (or superheroes if you prefer), but they also lent themselves to thoughtful meditations on the nature of humanity, and to requiems for the loss of humanity, and to political intrigue and scandal shaking the foundations of powerful hierarchies. The previous editions were toolboxes.

          So when someone says "oh yeah the old editions were so focused on powers and not on X" I have to be skeptical since on the selling points of old VTM was its diverse playability.

          V5, from what I've seen, has a onetruewayism built into the core of it. Just my opinion.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
            Why do you have to lie about the old game to shill the new one?
            +1 when it comes to the sentiment here, but the word "shill" is very loaded and implies some sort of corruption or secret agenda. I don't think any of the people promoting V5 have been paid to do so, or have some special interest in doing so. In fact their reviews would probably attract more attention (and remember that attention = currency when it comes to the internet) if they called it the Worst Thing Ever.

            I'm sure this reviewer believes what they're saying, I don't think they're a shill, I just think that they have really gotten the wrong end of the stick with previous editions.

            As for the predator types and feeding systems, I agree; the ideas are sound but the execution is totally broken. I'll write up my own custom system at some point where each predator type has a genuinely workable system and bonuses which are aimed towards feeding, rather than being all-round useful powers.
            Last edited by 11twiggins; 09-14-2018, 10:08 AM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Cifer View Post
              Where do you see the lie? In previous threads, many posters actually complained about their preferred "superheroes with fangs" style (along with some others) being less easy to play than previously. I don't think WW ever consciously supported the style, but the game system lent itself pretty well to it.
              I'd say there's a difference between the claim that 'previous editions were X' and 'previous editions lent themselves to X playstyle'. I don't think I'd call it a lie, but I would call it somewhat of a misrepresentation because it calls into question the design.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
                Why do you have to lie about the old game to shill the new one?
                What was your character like in the 90s? Because I had some damn ridiculous ones. Because I was a teenager. I've played since I was sixteen intermittently and I've played both good and bad concepts. I'm here because 5th Edition brought me back and I'm really excited about it. It's a GAME and a fun one. If you think it's shit, go ahead and say so but are you really saying that my OPINION is definitely wrong?

                I know this is the internet but come on, we've got Camarilla, Sabbat, and Anarch fans. Surely we can have people who like different editions.

                Mind you, I shit on Mage Revised for 20 years before realizing it was my favorite edition by actually playing it.


                In any case, even if I were to agree that V5 has a greater focus on "hunger and feeding", and to an extent - it does, it still botches the job. Predator Types are meant to inform how your vampire hunts and provide you with the mechanical means to do that. But they don't. The only Predatory Type that fully and unquestionably works is Osiris - they get Presence and Herd, and thus can reliably feed on a night to night basis.
                There's your problem right there. The mechanics are completely incidental to the chapter. What *I* took from the Predator types is giving suggestions for the kind of herds you cultivate. It's a role-playing tool with suggestions on the way to make it easier for you to use them, not make it easy period. If I do a predator type of "Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders" then explain Resources and Presence, it's just a sign of how I do it not that it is.

                I mean, the whole book is about how DIFFICULT it is to feed reliably.

                The Consensualist feeds on willing victims, but the only thing on their list that even slightly helps is the Persuasion specialty. So if you didn't build the rest of your character to be a Presenced persuasive mastermind - get fucked.
                Again, the game is about making feeding more difficult. That's the whole point. No more, "Oh, I get some animal blood from a ranch. I'm cool." It's why they make it so anyone over Blood Potency 2 is fucked unless they feed on humans.

                The Farmer feeds on animals, but again, the benefits they get don't actually provide reliable means to feed. If you took Protean, then nothing on your list helps you feed. If you took Animalism, then you are half-way there to having Animalism 2 and finally having a feeding method. I sure hope you are a Gangrel because otherwise you aren't feeding bucko. What isn't on the Farmer's benefit list are dots of resources which they'd be able to spend on buying cats.
                I keep coming back to the fact the Predator types are about less WHAT you feed on, than how. As again, it's about giving STs and Players the ability to figure out how they want to do this. It's about reading through this and going, "I want to play THAT kind of vampire."

                Blood Leech feeds on vampires and has Prey Exclusion (mortals) and I honestly don't know how you are supposed to play one.
                To get off of criticizing, it's funny you should say that but I actually had that as a player's character before V5. He was a character who had taken the Methuselah's Thirst despite his young age and had a Thin blooded girlfriend based on Lily from Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines. His character goals were to find other Thin Bloods, Blood Bond them, and keep them as his personal herd without cluing in other Kindred that he was keeping them as a larder.

                Predator Types are a good idea. "I'm a Malkavian with Dementation 3 and I have no way to feed" was a common problem in VtM and a feeding package giving everyone the means would solve it. But the one we got in V5 doesn't. Unless you took Osiris, the Predator Type is just a power package that does next to nothing at actually letting you feed.
                I'm not a rules heavy guy to begin with so I admit I may not be the best guy to judge this. However, again, I felt they were more a suggestion for expanding roleplaying opportunities for feeding and showing how to do it in interesting and dynamic ways.

                That one is subjective, but personally, I thought V5 was one of the ugliest game books I've seen in decades. It has embarrassing LARP-quality photos, barely any real art, awful graphic design and formatting.
                I felt it had an emotional effect and that's what I liked about it.


                Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cifer View Post
                  Where do you see the lie? In previous threads, many posters actually complained about their preferred "superheroes with fangs" style (along with some others) being less easy to play than previously. I don't think WW ever consciously supported the style, but the game system lent itself pretty well to it.
                  I'd argue White Wolf did support combat heavy style of gameplay quite extensively and there's nothing wrong with that. Indeed, I argue that one of the reasons why I never got into Requiem was because it DIDN'T support that as an option.

                  Some nights you want to be Louis, bemoaning the terrible damnation you have been afflicted with.

                  Some days you want to be Selene, capping the werewolves.

                  I feel it's part of why the Sabbat have a great deal of popularity because they free the game from the strictures of humanity and are just about tracking down, drinking elders, and blowing shit up for 60% of the games I've played. Los Angeles by Night was focused strongly on feuding gangs and nightly violence as providing a playground for players who want to display their vampire might fully. The Clan Novels described massive Sabbat invasions and fights in the street.

                  The freedom of being a monster rather than the curse of it.

                  Indeed, I wonder if I should mention the lack of support for that playstyle is one of the flaws of this book.


                  Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by AzraelFirestorm View Post
                    Malkavians portrayed as they were pre-Revised, pranksters and prophets, was/is a shallow (and for me, insulting) portrayal of what I found to be one of my favorite Clans. Sure, mental illness is a serious topic, and playing a realistically afflicted character can be difficult, but it was and is a more nuanced and meaningful portrayal of the Clan. As someone who personally deals with mental health issues, including Kindred that deal with these issues felt inclusive, putting a spotlight on people like me rather than relegating the mentally ill to the position of comic relief and/or cackling madman. This is a huge backslide, in my opinion. I'm genuinely disappointed.
                    A perfectly valid take on the subject and I understand why you feel that way.

                    The question is WHAT ARE THE MALKAVIANS FOR basically and the problem is people come to the Clan for different reasons. If you are coming to the Malkavians to play a character who is a serious portrayal of crippling mental conditions as part of the Curse of the Damned, then yes it's a backslide. If you're a fan of them because of Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines with their dark, spooky nonsensical gibberish then you're in trouble because they are not in any way a serious portrayal of mental illness--but they are pretty damn awesome.

                    The problem is the two ideas are irreconcilable.

                    Malkavians were conceived as Tricksters, Gadflies, Pranksters, and Jokers (of the Batman variety)--none of which a serious portrayal of mental illness makes. Attempts to do that pissed of pretty much everyone who likes that kind of play and resulted in people who wanted to play the jokers coming off as insulting. Which is wrong because they're not trying to insult mentally ill people, they're trying to play Tricksters.

                    I could go on for a few paragraphs about how the new feeding rules cripple some of my favorite characters*, and outright makes others unworkable, but I think that issue is obvious enough that it's unnecessary. Mandatory murder to sate hunger is... Well, that's just not my VtM.
                    I think that's taking a somewhat literal view of a figurative statement. "You have to kill to sate your Hunger" is a metaphor because you can feed shallowly but you'll never quite be completely "full." There will always be the twitch to desire to drink more blood. I actually note that saying if you kill someone that you aren't Hungry anymore is an improvement because I always stated in my games that Kindred never stop wanting more blood.

                    They just deal with it. Because it's an addiction they manage.

                    The changes to the other Clans (and we've yet to see them all...) aren't as bothersome to me, but I'm definitely not happy. The Tremere have an actual weakness now! ...And it makes them suck at doing Vampire stuff enough that I now don't want to play one (seriously? No blood bonds for the Tremere???). The Ventrue are now sporting a weaker version of their standard restriction, because why not make it easier on them? I don't even know what the point of this change could be. Really, I would like an explanation as to how this is "better".
                    The changes to the Tremere actually give them a story arc and sets up the Civil War in their clans which is inevitably brewing. There's no Council of Seven anymore so you, the player character, can set up your own Pyramid and work to build yourself into the top vampire. Making it so they may HATE the Tremere Clan now is a viable option as are concepts where you're against your sire, your fellow Tremere, or have drastically different views on them.

                    If you're returning, it also gives you an interesting new angle for previous Tremere characters. "So, how do you feel about the Tremere now you're no longer FORCED to be loyal?"

                    Again, I could go on, but that should be enough to make my point. Really, the only Clan in V5 that hasn't seen a purely negative change in weakness is the Gangrel. Which, yay, I love playing Gangrel, but then I have previous editions of Gangrel to play... So, why bother? V5 has let me down thus far, and it'd take some serious overhauling for me to come around after that. Maybe I'll be happier with V6.

                    *My personal characters. Canon characters have always reserved the right to be kinda weird.
                    No, I'm happy to hear your thoughts on the subject.
                    Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-14-2018, 02:03 PM.


                    Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
                      V20 openly says near the beginning that the system is designed to be played how you like. It's a conduit to having fun. It helps you to have fun the way you like, rather than telling you how you should do it; near the beginning it says that you might be running a really social chronicle, or an action-packed one, or one where you're Elders in control of many coteries.

                      So yes, previous editions did lend themselves to antiheroes with fangs (or superheroes if you prefer), but they also lent themselves to thoughtful meditations on the nature of humanity, and to requiems for the loss of humanity, and to political intrigue and scandal shaking the foundations of powerful hierarchies. The previous editions were toolboxes.
                      V20's biggest strike against it and why I didn't find myself blown away against it was it stated that and it was a few tweaks to Vampire: The Masquerade: Revised. If you remember Revised, it was the single most BIGGEST "one true way ism" installment of V:TM. It was not REMOTELY a toolbox as the edition was full of wiping out things like the Tal'mah'ra, utterly changing the presentation of the Sabbat (killing all Path of Harmony followers for instance), wiping out the Ravnos, and changing how Humanity worked so Elders were murderous psychopaths at Humanity 4.

                      Every system has built in assumptions of play style. The Gamemaster can always do the game however he wants in ANY roleplaying game.

                      So when someone says "oh yeah the old editions were so focused on powers and not on X" I have to be skeptical since on the selling points of old VTM was its diverse playability.

                      V5, from what I've seen, has a onetruewayism built into the core of it. Just my opinion.
                      Each edition focused on a different style of play and we all know that.

                      1st Edition: Go to the Succubus Club with your 13th generation Anarch Brujah and 12th generation Toreador to bitch about the Prince.

                      2nd Edition: Play your 8th generation Gangrel and 9th generation Brujah fighting Sabbat in Los Angeles.

                      Revised: Play your 7th and 6th generation Camarilla Elders on their globe trotting quests to stop Gehenna (Transylvania Chronicles, Giovanni Chronicles, Nights of Prophecy).

                      I liked V20 just fine. It had some fine supplements. I think it lacked the strong sense of a "core" to direct gamers on how to play the game, though.

                      Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post

                      +1 when it comes to the sentiment here, but the word "shill" is very loaded and implies some sort of corruption or secret agenda. I don't think any of the people promoting V5 have been paid to do so, or have some special interest in doing so. In fact their reviews would probably attract more attention (and remember that attention = currency when it comes to the internet) if they called it the Worst Thing Ever.

                      I'm sure this reviewer believes what they're saying, I don't think they're a shill, I just think that they have really gotten the wrong end of the stick with previous editions.

                      As for the predator types and feeding systems, I agree; the ideas are sound but the execution is totally broken. I'll write up my own custom system at some point where each predator type has a genuinely workable system and bonuses which are aimed towards feeding, rather than being all-round useful powers.
                      Technically, I am breaking the rules of my website reviewing a tabletop RPG but I wanted to share how much I loved the new edition. I have some criticisms of the work and the primary one is the absence of the other Clans but I admit to being excited about how they shook things up. I also am a guy who really does like the dark and terrible side of V:TM's personal horro.
                      Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-14-2018, 02:12 PM.


                      Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                        The changes to the Tremere actually give them a story arc and sets up the Civil War in their clans which is inevitably brewing. There's no Council of Seven anymore so you, the player character, can set up your own Pyramid and work to build yourself into the top vampire. Making it so they may HATE the Tremere Clan now is a viable option as are concepts where you're against your sire, your fellow Tremere, or have drastically different views on them.

                        If you're returning, it also gives you an interesting new angle for previous Tremere characters. "So, how do you feel about the Tremere now you're no longer FORCED to be loyal?"
                        While I'm ambivalent about the changes to the clan, I actually don't think the civil war is coming, which is what makes the whole thing intriguing. The pyramid has broken, but the individual parts are still kept from more severe infighting by a voice in the blood. So how free are they really?

                        Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                        There's your problem right there. The mechanics are completely incidental to the chapter. What *I* took from the Predator types is giving suggestions for the kind of herds you cultivate. It's a role-playing tool with suggestions on the way to make it easier for you to use them, not make it easy period. If I do a predator type of "Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders" then explain Resources and Presence, it's just a sign of how I do it not that it is.

                        I mean, the whole book is about how DIFFICULT it is to feed reliably.
                        Eh, I disagree. The idea of predator types is great, but several of them just don't seem to work mechanics-wise. And if you don't want the mechanics to represent the stuff you actually need for feeding, then what's the point of giving out stats in the first place? In addition, the description at the start of the chapter "Your Predator type shows your reflex or habit; it doesn’t mandate your behavior in the game. You can hunt in other fashions during a game session,since you may need to cooperate with other Predator types and take advantage of feeding opportunities that appear during the story." doesn't really gel with three predator types giving out outright Prey Exclusion flaws that are more severe than the Ventrue Bane. The Consensualist in particular would really have benefited from at least a few dots of Herd, possibly in exchange for the discipline points (Presence is absolutely not what they should have gotten in return - that's really not how "consent" works).

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Cifer View Post
                          While I'm ambivalent about the changes to the clan, I actually don't think the civil war is coming, which is what makes the whole thing intriguing. The pyramid has broken, but the individual parts are still kept from more severe infighting by a voice in the blood. So how free are they really?
                          The eternal question of any vampire.

                          Eh, I disagree. The idea of predator types is great, but several of them just don't seem to work mechanics-wise. And if you don't want the mechanics to represent the stuff you actually need for feeding, then what's the point of giving out stats in the first place? In addition, the description at the start of the chapter "Your Predator type shows your reflex or habit; it doesn’t mandate your behavior in the game. You can hunt in other fashions during a game session,since you may need to cooperate with other Predator types and take advantage of feeding opportunities that appear during the story." doesn't really gel with three predator types giving out outright Prey Exclusion flaws that are more severe than the Ventrue Bane. The Consensualist in particular would really have benefited from at least a few dots of Herd, possibly in exchange for the discipline points (Presence is absolutely not what they should have gotten in return - that's really not how "consent" works).
                          Well Consensualists are hypocrites as they may be taking blood but it's implied very few of them say, "I am a vampire and am going to drink your blood."

                          Or at least if they do, they're not believed.

                          The opening fiction with the woman who feeds on sleeping patients says as much.


                          Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                            Well Consensualists are hypocrites as they may be taking blood but it's implied very few of them say, "I am a vampire and am going to drink your blood."

                            Or at least if they do, they're not believed.

                            The opening fiction with the woman who feeds on sleeping patients says as much.
                            If they are looking for sexual consent due to the sexual and erotic nature of the kiss they are not being hypocrites unless they use disciplines to seduce the target.Damien form Chicago By Night is good example of a consensualist , he tries to seduce his victims to go to his condo where he feeds but if the victim says no he has no problem acepting it.
                            Last edited by Leandro16; 09-14-2018, 03:08 PM.


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                            • #15
                              Now about V5 about your review I respect your point of view and I am happy that you like the game but it is an incomplete game with mechanics that just don´t work.
                              • Only 7 clans (Are the Thirteen clans a DLC , that´s really lame compared to V20)
                              • No Sabbat (Camarilla and Anarch sold in DLCs/Suplements)
                              • Lack of Disciplines (I am fine with serpentis being integrated in protean in fact I like that change)
                              • Bad Metaplot (The whole metaplot is an excuse to force you play the way the creators want and a lot of thing of it is)
                              • The Game is designed to make you play the ONE TRUE WAY OF HAVING FUN.
                              • Huge Mechanical mess (The Mechanics are not only poorly designed but are also opresive as the act as a mean to force one play style but are also contradictory with the themes of
                              • Price 59$
                              On the other hand I have V20 with
                              • There You Have Everything.With V20 you get All the Sects ,the Clans , the Bloodlines , The disciplines , The blood Sorcery etc.As 11twiggins said the Virtue of V20 is being a toolbox
                              • It´s complete in fact the point of V20 is to be the Smash Definitive Edition of the Mascarade.
                              • You can play it however you want , yes the mechanics are a bit messy but they allow you to have fun meanwhile V5 Mechanics are the Fun Police.
                              • Price 20$
                              V5 had potential as a concept but the released product itself isn´t worthy the money it cost when there is a better product out there and yes I am Talking of V20.
                              Last edited by Leandro16; 09-29-2018, 08:41 PM.


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