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Introduced by Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines, where do I start?

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  • Introduced by Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines, where do I start?

    Hello everyone. I'm new to WOD Vampire The Masquerade TTRPG and planning to get into it with few friends.

    I only know of this game after playing Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines video game. At first I thought it is an original but then found out that it belongs to this TTRPG universe of WOD.
    It's pretty complex for newbie like me so I'm not sure how should I start.
    I plan to rely on the video game but then I'm not sure if that game is reliable in terms of canon and mechanic.

  • #2
    Welcome to the World of Darkness! Bloodlines was also my first introduction to the franchise, and I suspect it's the same for many more

    Bloodlines is a somewhat decent introduction to the series, for its time period. It was set in the early 2000s, around the time when the game was really escalating towards an apocalyptic ending. One which actually came. Vampire: the Masquerade stopped being published for about ten years until they decided to release what was originally intended to be a limited 20th Anniversary Edition. Which ended up getting expanded on significantly and basically rebooted the entire game. Now it's in a new 5th Edition, V5 for short, which has significantly altered many of the mechanics from previous editions. I do not really have experience with V5, so I can't say too much on it, but it's a rather contentious subject.

    Which leads to the fact that the first place you should start is deciding what edition to begin with. As mentioned above, I cannot provide much advice on choosing between the two from a "which has better designed mechanics" perspective. When it comes to themes and storyline, though, I can offer some input. V5 shifted things significantly in that it focused the game much more on younger vampires and their struggles rather than grand conspiracies and chessmaster-demigods manipulating everything from the shadows. It pushes players to be much more entangled with mortals and angst over their lost mortality. While I think the mechanics may be in the works, I don't think it facilitates playing truly monstrous or inhuman characters as well, and probably isn't as good for over-the-top powers and epic showdowns.

    One book I can probably recommend no matter what is called Beckett's Jyhad Diary, since it was something put out near the end of the V20 edition's official run and sets up some parts of V5. You can read about Beckett running all over the world digging into metaplot and being a gigantic prick

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Erikson94 View Post
      Hello everyone. I'm new to WOD Vampire The Masquerade TTRPG and planning to get into it with few friends.

      I only know of this game after playing Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines video game. At first I thought it is an original but then found out that it belongs to this TTRPG universe of WOD.
      It's pretty complex for newbie like me so I'm not sure how should I start.
      I plan to rely on the video game but then I'm not sure if that game is reliable in terms of canon and mechanic.
      The game is canon (mostly) and things like the character sheets will look familiar, but the mechanics are different than you might expect.

      If you're new and coming to VTM from Bloodlines, I've got this page set up to help you find books you might want to read based on the parts of Bloodlines you liked best.
      Last edited by IanWatson; 10-05-2021, 06:47 AM.


      Ian A. A. Watson
      Onyx Path Community Manager
      Trinity Continuum Content Lead

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      • #4
        V5 is very unlike bloodlines and the rest of the series as a whole. The other four editions are rather interchangable/compatible with one another, since the system and setting only went through very small changes. You can happily use the V1 corebook with Revised (3rd) edition suplements and vice versa. The best options are V1/2 or 20th aniversary (which is 4th edition, which is almost strictly an upgrade on revised)

        V20's core book almost has everything, which can be quite overwhelming for a new storyteller and it presents a lot of options you don't want new players to look at alongside options you do want them to look at. V1/2 are succinct: the core book presents 7 clans (the ones you get to play in bloodlines) rather than 13 clans and however many bloodlines, which is actually very helpful because you really want to use the extra clans sparingly and don't want to overload new players with more difficult options for experienced players. I think a lot of the mechanics are better too.

        You can find PDFs quite easily.


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        • #5
          The game is reliable on those terms. A hiccup here and there, but nothing you'll have a problem dealing with. And IIRC it was incorporated in canon itself.

          Hanging around you'll see that there is a big divergence about the new 5th edition, also known as V5, and at the same time we still can buy the 20th Anniversary edition (that have already 10 years), also known as V20, that is pretty good and very complete but isn't the most current one, so I fear you'll have to make a somewhat tough decision.

          V5 will deliver you a streamlined setting, easier to digest on your own, a reasonably good and easy system, and you may like the direction they're giving to the setting. The core book have shitty art that looks less like Vampire and more like Vampire Week in a clothes catalog, just ignore the art.

          V20 will deliver you everything you need in terms of mechanics in the classic WoD system used in Bloodlines and thread lightly on the setting. It may scare you at first because it is a gigantic book, but it is a compendium, so you don't really need to use everything there and the useful bits are easy to find.

          Both are newbie friendly in their own way, both have their little traps but nothing serious, both are easy to find on Drive Through RPG in official PDF format. V5 is $25, V20 is $30. You can find V5 in hardcover in stores while V20 hardcover can be bought on Drive Through.

          Chose one, don't worry too much since nothing will keep you from trying both in the future, and stick to the core book while you learn the ropes. Don't worry that much with setting and mechanics at first, you'll get it along the way. Do you have any previous experience with any TTRPG?

          Welcome to the community. We have our disagreements but this is quite a helpful forum and you can count on us to help you along the way, with both editions.

          And stay away from previous editions for now. They're good and each have its defenders, but are far less friendly for newcomers to the game. And the rules are generally worse.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by IanWatson View Post

            The game is canon (mostly) and things like the character sheets will look familiar, but the mechanics are different than you might expect.

            If you're new and coming to VTM from Bloodlines, I've got this page set up to help you find books you might want to read based on the parts of Bloodlines you liked best.
            The link is broken.


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            • #7
              If you liked Bloodlines, I would recommend V20. V5's focus is on personal horror and the consequences of your blood addiction and frenzies. There are no good rules for combat, because the edition claims that combat shouldn't take too much space and hummanity/hunger is always pressing. Bloodlines on the hand is the complete opposite and V20 has rules to better recreate that.

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              • #8
                So there's V20 and V5, as others have said, but I'm going to be provocative and say the best buy for a first timer is probably Vampire: The Masquerade Revised. You can buy it relatively cheaply second hand, or you can get the PDF cheap as chips from DriveThruRPG.

                Revised is almost exactly the same as V20, but it's 328 pages or so, rather than 600+. It contains all 13 Clans (Camarilla, Sabbat, independent) and has an overview of the Sects, the history of vampires and all the main Disciplines. Then you can pick up the Guide to the Camarilla and the Guide to the Sabbat (the latter is considered one of the best supplements of all time by many players), and maybe the Storyteller's Screen and Companion, and the Storyteller's Handbook. That gives you a good overview and you won't really need anything else.

                However, if you aren't put off by a long rule book, V20 is a great resource and is so complete you'll hardly need anything else. I would still pick up Guide to the Sabbat, though, since that book is just incredible. That one book kept us playing for years.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                  The link is broken.
                  That is just being authentic to the original unpatched Bloodlines experience.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post
                    So there's V20 and V5, as others have said, but I'm going to be provocative and say the best buy for a first timer is probably Vampire: The Masquerade Revised. You can buy it relatively cheaply second hand, or you can get the PDF cheap as chips from DriveThruRPG.
                    Despite thinking that V20 is a good start, this isn't a bad idea either. V20 has more options and details, but VtM Rev. is still very close, cheaper, and has less to digest.

                    Revised is almost exactly the same as V20, but it's 328 pages or so, rather than 600+.
                    V20 is "only" 530 pages (including things like the index and character sheet).

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                    • #11
                      Link fixed.


                      Ian A. A. Watson
                      Onyx Path Community Manager
                      Trinity Continuum Content Lead

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by IanWatson View Post
                        Link fixed.
                        Any of that other games is especially good?


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by IanWatson View Post

                          The game is canon (mostly) and things like the character sheets will look familiar, but the mechanics are different than you might expect.

                          If you're new and coming to VTM from Bloodlines, I've got this page set up to help you find books you might want to read based on the parts of Bloodlines you liked best.
                          Thanks!
                          The first time I got intrigued by the lore is from Outstar's videos (she's a Tabletop Youtuber if I remember correctly). Of course her videos are introduction only but it already sounds very fascinating. Probably this is the main reason why I want to jump into the game since it would be interesting to see how I can narrate the story to my friends

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Erikson94 View Post
                            Thanks!
                            The first time I got intrigued by the lore is from Outstar's videos (she's a Tabletop Youtuber if I remember correctly). Of course her videos are introduction only but it already sounds very fascinating. Probably this is the main reason why I want to jump into the game since it would be interesting to see how I can narrate the story to my friends
                            Definitely go to V20. You already have a starting point and it will give you almost all the mechanics for the things you saw in the game. After that, anything you want the link from IanWatson is very good.


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                            • #15
                              Revised/3rd Edition is the easiest introduction to the game, has an amazing prologue and is the edition in wich bloodlines is based so it will seem familiar.

                              That said In terms of quality 2nd edition + some suplements like Chicago by Night 1st and second edition+ elyseum is the thing you wanna have.

                              Then there is V20 wich is a compilation of all the contact of the first three editions and has the advantage of being metaplot neutral. Think of it like the GOTY version of the masquerade however it is more of a ruleset for masters than a good introduction as it center itself only on mechanics and less in the setting.


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