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My review of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition

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  • #31
    I thought it was a good review. I don't agree with every single opinion (which would be expected), put the general gist of it I do find myself in agreement with. I think it is a good point about having the government know, being the only effective way of maintaining a believable premise for the game in the 21st century.

    Saying that previous editions were a shift towards powergaming will always be controversial, but I do understand this. Players who were possibly introduced to the game from Revised (3rd) edition onwards, might find it jarring that V5 has honed in on the original seven clans again, but as someone introduced to the game from about 1992 (2nd edition), I personally found that the game lost something when it expanded out to thirteen clans.

    The Sabbat, for example, felt like an unknown and scary group when I first started playing - but rapidly became just another set of options to play as supplements were released. The tighter focus on Humanity, the hunt and the Camarilla/Anarch axis brings out a greater sense of mystery about what other things are still out there. The Sabbat and the other Clans can become more mysterious and scary again, in my view.

    I don't personally think that having less traits and Disciplines to choose from is in any way detrimental to developing interesting characters either. When I first saw V20, with everything in it, I felt that it was almost like a catalogue of powers. While you could play a game honest to the appeal of the themes of V5, it wasn't obvious that this was the default mode of play. I think a game like Vampire needs that to be a truly unique experience.

    Personally, therefore, I find the new Hunger mechanics brilliant - they are an unobtrusive mechanic, but make the themes of the game very apparent in every action. I like the art - although I still think they could have chosen a cover which is more iconic. I like the manner in which the Clans are rewritten and the game feels much edgier than it has done for a while.
    Last edited by Trippy; 09-14-2018, 06:00 PM.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
      Revised: Play your 7th and 6th generation Camarilla Elders on their globe trotting quests to stop Gehenna (Transylvania Chronicles, Giovanni Chronicles, Nights of Prophecy).
      That's a bit disingenuous. The first three books of the Giovanni Chronicles (you know, the ones where you actually get to play the elders) and the start of the Transylvania Chronicles debuted under 2E's watch (book 2 of TC dropped the month after Revised).

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Undead rabbit View Post
        1) The big change in the setting of Mage were not done by Revised, but by the closing issues of 2nd edition.
        The fall of Doissetep, the Spirit Nuke, the death of Porthos, the fall of the House of Helekar, the Fall of Horizon. This are things that happened in the end of the 2nd edition. Revised just gave consequences to this.
        You ironically are making a good point for me because 5th Edition Vampire: The Masquerade is a follow up to Beckett's Jyhad Diary, which was written for V20 and is the omnibus of all the metaplot of Revised coming to a head. The Masquerade is utterly fucked by 5th Edition because of the events of the Clan Novels when Vykos is attacking Washington DC with vozhd and the Camarilla is manipulating mortal politicians like the head of the NSA. In Project: Twilight, they were already putting it all together and V20 just signified they finally did.

        2)Revised was new. Was a legitimate way of doing mage, a new way of interpretation. There wasn't something like Revised before. It might have been a shitty evolution but was "honest".
        I had severe issues with Revised when I was 18. I loved 2nd Edition and couldn't appreciate 1st.

        V5 is V1 all'over again. People played vampire in a given way since the closing issues of the first edition. And the authors choose to disregard what players liked. There is nothing new here, it's just what you had in 1991, the focus on personal horrors,the non-existant sabbat.

        Mage the Ascension Revised was a new take on the setting, based on the metaplot choice of the previous edition. Vampire 5th edition is throwing in the sink 20 years of pubblication because someone liked how vampire was before 1992.
        V5 is manifestly distinct from V1 but it's closer to V1 than Revised, which isn't a bad thing in my view. If you want to carry on the way things always were, you have V20. It's still there but if you're interested in a series geared more to darkness, personal horror, doom, and gloom then it's a very much 18+ game that WILL fill in the blanks eventually.

        Mage Revised is a questionable interpretation, Vampire 5th edition is the Fun Police getting in and shouting "YOU SHOULD NOT PLAY LIKE YOU DID FOR 20 YEARS! THERE IS ONE TRUE WAY! FEEL THE HORROR!"
        The backlash against the trenchcoat and katana style of play (which I love, don't get me wrong. I can play vampire multiple ways) was already a thing in Revised. People forget this. They were the fun police talking about how the Sabbat were not "an alternate path to humanity" but "We're monsters, FUCK YEAH!" They also said Golconda was only available to humans, the vast majority of vampires were NOT on Paths and it was damn hard to be anything but low humanity. It was all about restoring a lot of that personal horror dimension.

        It was why they nuked the Tal'mah'ra because they didn't want anything SILLY like vampires fighting aliens.

        Originally posted by Undead rabbit View Post
        Yeah nice for you, but Vampire was 1ed for 1 year, 2nd ed lasted 7 years, Revised 6, V20 6.
        Yes, but Vampire 1st Edition gave us everything which we would later use like Sheriffs, Seneschals, Primogen, Harpies, and more.

        And no it was not downhill, 2nd ed was it's best, and 2nd ed was the edition that made Vampire the huge success it was, not first ed.
        2nd Edition broadened things but it was also the place where a lot of the silly was. The city-based chronicles and courtly intrigue which LARPS were all based on were created by the groundwork of 1st.

        If Vampire was probably the most important Rpg of the 90s, if Vampire is what it is, it's not thanks to the 1 year publication of the First ed. It's the second ed that defined what Vampire the Masquerade is.
        I loved 2nd Edition, I don't want to trash it. I'm speaking from an art critic Toreador perspective. I think 1st Edition and 5E interpretation will be the best most DEEP roleplaying.

        So yeah, if you liked what vampire was for 1 year that's nice, good for you. If you liked what Vampire was for 20 years this is the shittiest edition in the history of shitty editions. The only things that compares is the 4th edition of Dungeon's and Dragons.
        You've made this judgement on one, technically two, books?

        The Lasombra, Tzimisce, and more haven't been wiped out ala the Ravnos. We just haven't gotten the rules for them yet.
        Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-14-2018, 07:50 PM.


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

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        • #34
          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.

          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.

          Yup, that's the thing.

          Also, dated as they were (though, in contrast to many, I never thought them horrible), the combat rules were also more extensive and that was a good thing. Not because it made the game into a "superheroes with fangs and katanas", but because if you wanted to play a game with more combat, for whatever reason and in whatever shape, it provided a lot more detailed and more interesting tools. In opposition, what V5 tells me is that the creators just plain don't like combat in rpgs, or at least not detailed, even tactical combat. They prefer to use combat at most as a narrative tool and be done with it with as little hassle as possible and they even want to discourage it. Heck, they've said you souldn't draw out it more than 3 turns! If you're in ageement with that, then it's good for you, but again, you wasn't forced to stress combat in the older editions either.

          What I want to say, is that, while VtM never had as much of a tactical wargame aspect as D&D, if you wanted/liked more detailed combat, it was there, the game supplied it, but if you wanted to do more social stuff, the game supplied that too. V5 supplies/heavily prefers only one direction, so it's a loss of options.

          I don't play my games as eternal slugfests, but I prefer detailed (to a point) combat systems, so V5 is a loss for me on that regard (among others).


          If nothing worked, then let's think!

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          • #35
            Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
            Just a admission, I am completely unapologetically a 1st Edition Fanboy.

            Chicago by Night 1st Edition is the greatest game setting of all time.

            There will never be a greater Prince than Lodin.

            Never someone more awesome than Sheriff for "fuck this guy."

            Never a character as cute as Anita Wainwright.

            Anarchs versus Camarilla over Camarilla vs. Sabbat.

            Everything since has been downhill.

            Well, I think you're in agreement in that with the creators. Hell, even Requiem 1e was an attempt to "go back to the roots of Vampire" *. To the small-time local stories and personal horror, without the grand conspiracies and epic stories and sect wars. Thing is, many people actually liked that and the other post 1e stuff.

            *Looking back, even Revised wasn an attempt on that, but it was somewhat bound by what came before, by the metaplot and the fact that they had to ramp it up, since they wrote themselves into a corner with Gehenna. I suspect even the writers over time weren't on the same page about their preferences. I just have a hard time conceiving the idea that the writers of the Giovanni chronicles had the same vision of the game as the writers of the Revised ST's Guide.


            If nothing worked, then let's think!

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Leandro16 View Post
              Being old isn´t equal to being bad.
              And that something is new and different doesn't mean it's good, or better.

              Honestly, some poeople are estatic about V5 being new and different and I just say "yeah, and?". I liked the old style, that it is radically different isn't particularly a plus for me, it just means it doesn't fit my vision of Vampire as well.


              If nothing worked, then let's think!

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

                V20 was explicitly an omnibus edition of the game (though it includes plenty of 2e stuff).

                You're also misrepresenting it's approach tot he metaplot. It isn't that it doesn't have the metaplot or avoids references to it, but it doesn't advance the metaplot past the end of 2e/start of Revised, and the discusses the Revised metaplot events if you want them to happen. It doesn't move the metaplot forward, which is different than not having it at all.
                Mostly, since the "new" convention books came out, I just treated it as an alternate timeline, where things just went on and the apocalypse and the immediate events leading to it didn't happen. And it did went on, for example with things in Anarchs Unbound and Dread Names, or Guide to the TMRah. At the end, BJD closed even that gap between Revised and V20.


                If nothing worked, then let's think!

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by PMárk View Post

                  Mostly, since the "new" convention books came out, I just treated it as an alternate timeline, where things just went on and the apocalypse and the immediate events leading to it didn't happen. And it did went on, for example with things in Anarchs Unbound and Dread Names, or Guide to the TMRah. At the end, BJD closed even that gap between Revised and V20.
                  BJD also set up V5.


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

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
                    The mechanics are in the chapter and are the primary means by which it's reasonable to judge a new RPG about vampires. It's been 30 years since VtM 1e and VtM 5e did not do any breakthroughs in the areas of vampire feeding. "Osiris" is literally a 1e term. If I wanted ideas for vampire herds, literally all of vampire literature is open to me.
                    It's been 25 years since the release of V:TM and a lot of the concepts which were only touched upon in the glossary are now finally getting write-ups. As for "all of vampire literature" that's V:TM to begin with. The whole point of clans is to provide you archetypes which allow you to enjoy roleplaying as the kind of vampire you like. I actually felt the Setites should have been more Lair of the White Worm than Arnold's Thusla Doom.

                    Vampires must have a way of reliable feeding. This isn't something optional. It might be difficult to feed during an adventure and in times of chaos, but 100% of vampires must have a routine they follow for their feeding. They roll hunger checks every night to wake up - if you moved out of your sire's basement and ever time you get hungry is a crisis - you are not surviving the winter.
                    The whole point I'm getting from Vampire 5E is that vampire players kind of just skipped over the feeding part and treated it as a side activity. This is trying to make feeding fun again by making it much harder and something vampires have to worry about every night or else it's, "grab that obnoxious guy for a quick top off."

                    My complaint, my entire complaint is that Predator Types crash and burn when it comes to answering the "how". Unless you are Osiris. A Farmer is a vampire who feeds on animals, but the Farmer package is nowhere near sufficient to feed on animals. Animalism 1 and Protean 1 are not sufficient to hunt animals, 1 die in Survival isn't either. And you don't get Resources to skip the whole thing and just buy mice for your snake. Consensualist package is not sufficient to get consent. Blood Leech package is not sufficient to hunt vampires. It, quite notably, does not include a herd of thin-bloods. Predator Types are all about the what when they should be about the how.
                    Animalism 1 and Protean 1 aren't by any stretch of the imagination, which is why you actually have to work on them. They don't give you the power to summon animals to you immediately. You have to make that a goal....and getting the power to make animal blood potent enough to eat. Part of what I like about V5 is they make it so anyone who isn't a 13th generation Neonate has to HUNT.

                    And hunt people.

                    I once played an 800 year old 8th generation Ventrue Elder who could only feed on cow blood. Now I can't. But I think it encourages me to work outside the box.

                    Now in-game, something as simple as, "Be able to consistently feed from cows blood without killing people" is an actual in-universe goal.


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

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by PMárk View Post

                      Well, I think you're in agreement in that with the creators. Hell, even Requiem 1e was an attempt to "go back to the roots of Vampire" *. To the small-time local stories and personal horror, without the grand conspiracies and epic stories and sect wars. Thing is, many people actually liked that and the other post 1e stuff.
                      I both love and hate Requiem.

                      My absolute best vampire games were with Requiem's rules but when I tried to actually play the game, I basically went, "Okay, this is boring as hell. Consider everything about V:TM canon except the Toreador are now called the Daeva and we're using Requiem rules." I liked the dark, somber, adult feel of Requiem that I felt was more interested in the scary-as-shit elements of vampire and personal horror than the more gonzo elements.

                      When I bought Damnation City, I was like, "I want this but I want it for Vampire: The Masquerade."

                      *Looking back, even Revised wasn an attempt on that, but it was somewhat bound by what came before, by the metaplot and the fact that they had to ramp it up, since they wrote themselves into a corner with Gehenna. I suspect even the writers over time weren't on the same page about their preferences. I just have a hard time conceiving the idea that the writers of the Giovanni chronicles had the same vision of the game as the writers of the Revised ST's Guide.
                      Justin Achilli's vision for Vampire: The Masquerade was very specific. I remember how Giovanni and its Revised Clanbooks were like nothing in the line...until Revised, in which it was suddenly like everything in the line (and this isn't a complaint).

                      And yes, it clashed with a lot of previous editions.

                      This was the time when they were so embarrassed by Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand, they had a mage nuke it--which is not even a dignified end. There was a lot of other heavy-handed "shoo out the clowns" like killing all of the Tremere Antiribu, wiping out the Sabbat's Path of Harmony, and so on.
                      Last edited by CTPhipps; 09-14-2018, 09:25 PM.


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

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
                        My complaint, my entire complaint is that Predator Types crash and burn when it comes to answering the "how".[/B]
                        I had the same complaint at first glance. But, after poking around the book awhile, I figured Predator Types was just a piece of writing that survived some major cutting. This would make it the publishing equivalent of a line in a movie that makes no sense because a scene it refers to was cut.

                        V5 essentially has two different character generation methods... possibly more.

                        One is the usual point allocation thing, starting on p. 136. Easy, peasy. It is a rehashing of previous editions' methods.

                        Then V5 has a more narrative-based process starting on p. 144, with "professional skills", "life event skills" and so forth. Depending on what life experiences you had you get different skills and attributes. (eg the Profession Packages on 145, and Random Hobbies on 146)

                        The numbers work either way, but it's a whole different process. (The first time I read the book, I thought it was all one process, and wound up with way too many dots in everything.)

                        Then we come to p. 149. There's a small paragraph about "How Do You Hunt?", with what typographically looks like a sub-section included under it titled "Choose Your Disciplines". This odd layout makes it look like originally the plan had been to use Predator Types and You Are What You Eat jointly as the mechanic which decides what disciplines you have. That is, the disciplines in your Predator Type would have been the disciplines you have.

                        If this is the case, it means that the idea wasn't that having Animalism makes you good at being a Farmer, but that being a Farmer gives you Animalism. "You Are What You Eat" reverses the causality. A version of this was scooped up off the cutting room floor and used for thin-blood discipline mechanics, a likely indication of a compromise within a committee process.

                        If this is the case that there are remnants of first-draft ideas that didn't make the final cut, but are still identifiable in weird, confusing "legacy code"... well, that also implies the editing process could have been done better.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                          BJD also set up V5.
                          Nooooot quite. If you followed the panels and interviews of the WW crew since the new WW's inception, most of the V5 metaplot changes were practically decided since the beginning. BJD was, at that time, not even in development, or early on, I think.

                          They've said, after BJD came out (or shortly before), that it is a lead-up to V5, but I think it's mostly in the sense of mining it for future story ideas and that maybe some chapters, especially the final one, got to be more conforming to V5.

                          BUT, V5's story wasn't based on BJD. I wish it was. V5 isn't following up on any of the BJD plots at this point, really. They even said they have a 10-years gap to "use and abuse" which I got as "rewritting the setting as we see fit and fill in the blanks later, maybe using stuff from BJD".


                          If nothing worked, then let's think!

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by PMárk View Post

                            Nooooot quite. If you followed the panels and interviews of the WW crew since the new WW's inception, most of the V5 metaplot changes were practically decided since the beginning. BJD was, at that time, not even in development, or early on, I think.

                            They've said, after BJD came out (or shortly before), that it is a lead-up to V5, but I think it's mostly in the sense of mining it for future story ideas and that maybe some chapters, especially the final one, got to be more conforming to V5.

                            BUT, V5's story wasn't based on BJD. I wish it was. V5 isn't following up on any of the BJD plots at this point, really. They even said they have a 10-years gap to "use and abuse" which I got as "rewritting the setting as we see fit and fill in the blanks later, maybe using stuff from BJD".
                            Eh, if you watch the GG's videos, it more or less weaves a huge chunk of those stories into the plots of V5.

                            Remember, we've just started finding out how the new world exists.

                            No, the 2nd Inquisition isn't in BJD but when we get Chicago by Night, we'll follow from BJD to the present.

                            At least, that's my understanding.

                            One thing a lot of people are doing is they are ignoring just how bare bones everything we know is--we know just a few minor plots and we need the rest of the books to know how the fully detailed world is going to play out.


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

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                              I both love and hate Requiem.

                              My absolute best vampire games were with Requiem's rules but when I tried to actually play the game, I basically went, "Okay, this is boring as hell. Consider everything about V:TM canon except the Toreador are now called the Daeva and we're using Requiem rules." I liked the dark, somber, adult feel of Requiem that I felt was more interested in the scary-as-shit elements of vampire and personal horror than the more gonzo elements.

                              When I bought Damnation City, I was like, "I want this but I want it for Vampire: The Masquerade."
                              Which, I think, again, might be veray close to how the V5 developers line of thinking went. Martin Ericsson even said in one of the early interviews that he thinks Requiem might have been the better tabletop game. I think saying that you prefer those themes, but also prefer Masquerade's setting and backstory describes it pretty well. Hence, you're pretty much in the target audience.

                              I just ask you to understand that not everyone is like that. That a lot of people liked the "gonzo" stuff, even if they weren't playing vampions all the time. I, for example, always particularly liked the global feel of the setting, the high stakes and even the big conflicts. It gave direction to the setting and gave lots of story ideas and made the metaplot interesting and I could also play local small-time personal-horror focused stories if I wanted.



                              Justin Achilli's vision for Vampire: The Masquerade was very specific. I remember how Giovanni and its Revised Clanbooks were like nothing in the line...until Revised, in which it was suddenly like everything in the line (and this isn't a complaint).

                              And yes, it clashed with a lot of previous editions.

                              This was the time when they were so embarrassed by Dirty Secrets of the Black Hand, they had a mage nuke it--which is not even a dignified end. There was a lot of other heavy-handed "shoo out the clowns" like killing all of the Tremere Antiribu, wiping out the Sabbat's Path of Harmony, and so on.
                              Yup and later he led the development of Requiem 1e, which is, essentially, his preferred take on Vampire, I think, the style he anted out of the game.

                              To be honest, I'm very ambiguous about his workings with the game and the handprint he left on it. On one hand, Revised has many of my favorite books and it was the best edition, visually, in my eyes, which is important for me. I think the Revised corebbok is still the best bang for buck among all the editions. I even liked the writing style in the books, mostly. But still, yes, the onetruewayism was pretty heavy-handed in places and many of Requiem's ideas (and V5's) started there, like refocusing on local stuff, toning down things, pulling back elders, etc. It's just, they couldn't roam free with it, because they were bound by what came before and by ongoing storylines and I suspect not even every writer was totally on-board with that direction. So, despite the somewhat-rantings in the ST's guide and other books, the game remained pretty balanced, in my eyes, at the end and it did produced some of my favorite books, just to reiterate.
                              Last edited by PMárk; 09-15-2018, 02:35 PM.


                              If nothing worked, then let's think!

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post

                                Eh, if you watch the GG's videos, it more or less weaves a huge chunk of those stories into the plots of V5.

                                Remember, we've just started finding out how the new world exists.

                                No, the 2nd Inquisition isn't in BJD but when we get Chicago by Night, we'll follow from BJD to the present.

                                At least, that's my understanding.

                                One thing a lot of people are doing is they are ignoring just how bare bones everything we know is--we know just a few minor plots and we need the rest of the books to know how the fully detailed world is going to play out.
                                Well, I've said in the other thread that I like his presentation, both in videos and on these boards a lot better than the presentation the book gave me.

                                That's the only reason why I'm willing to read the future books, because the story might turn out good, at the end, if they manage to connect the dots in a satisfying way.

                                But I'm standing by my assertion: V5's main plot points and setting changes were decided way before BJD, mostly by Martin's vision.


                                If nothing worked, then let's think!

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