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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:43 pm 
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So the big bad 5th Edition of Vampire the Masquerade has arrived. As a hardcore Masquerade fanboy and an rpg rules snob (yes, I know Vampire's mechanics have a history of being far from perfect) it is now my task to consume, digest, and review it. Here it is.

Presentation and Look: Good. It has glossy pages and nice art (which includes some photography) which thanks to the glories of the modern age is now even in the reach of small gaming companies. Not all of the art works for me, but I do like a lot of it. The game, possibly because of the reaction to the excessive amount of edgelordness in its play test material, makes it creators progressive sympathies clear. It contains some useful fluff side bars and a letter from Mina Harker to her recently embraced descendant, a nice call back to the Dracula letter found in previous editions.

Organization: Not so good. There's an index, which helps, but information about the Second Inquisition is 300 pages in and the Gehenna War is named dropped in several places but never really explained in one spot. Combat ruels are in two different places (Basic and Advanced). It's not awful, but it could be a lot better.

So What is the Setting?: Basically the 21st Century has been a rough one for vampires. Elder Vampires have felt a draw towards the Middle East and a lot of the Sabbat heavy hitters went there to kill the Antediluvians while they are sleeping. Unfortunately the post 9/11 growth in secret agency power and surveillance combined with the Camarilla using them against the Sabbat means that too many government agencies know too much about vampires and are now going after "blank bodies" under the cover of "anti-terrorism". Theo Bell has violently defected to the Anarchs, taking a lot of Brujah with him. The Sabbat, with much of their surviving leadership absent and having been hit the hardest by the Second Inquisition is now operating as shadowy groups. The primary conflict between sects in now Camarilla and Anarchs. The game allows you to create Brujah, Gangrel, Malkavians, Nosferatu, Toreodor, Tremere, Ventrue, Caitiff, and Thin Blooded characters. Other clans are mentioned.

Mechanics:
Here we are at the meat of it. The mechanics are derived from Vampire: The Requiem with a dice pool system based on 6 or higher being a success. If you get two 10s you get a critical success and those 10s count for double successes. Multiple actions aren't really possible. Humanity, Health, and Willpower are now represented in a health bar like manner. Character creation includes choosing your primary hunting style and stat modifiers based on that. Wounds are superficial or aggravated and easy to manage. The mechanics are easy to handle and work fairly well. But . . . .

There's issues. The system wants you pay for everything with experience points, so that cop whose daughter you saved doesn't count as a long term ally unless you fork over the xp. While armour works fine for mortals, its worthless for vampires despite the fact that SOCOM kicking your door down with MP-5s is now a thing in the game. Celerity has very few combat benefits except at high level and Potence isn't really usable with weapons. I have no issues with Brujah and Nosferatu tearing shit up with their bare hands but I also think Lasombra child elders should be able to ferociously stab shit with their gladii. There is a very Requiem air of keeping the power down. There's also a very You're Playing the Game Wrong attitude towards having too much combat in your game (by their standards) which again is coming from the guys who have now made sicking special forces on you a thing. The combat rules are sparse, although they do have a page and a half dedicated to various incendiary weapons as if they don't like it that much but recognize that players will be players.

The other real issue is the Hunger Dice system. Hunger gets rated from 0-5 and you track that rating instead of blood points. Instead of spending points you make a check on a single die with a 6+ meaning hunger doesn't increase. The Hunger dice goe into your die pool and can create hunger related success or failure results, which I like, but I feel the system make Random Number Jesus far too responsible for the state of player's blood pool and subsequent actions.

There's also a blood resonance system that can give minor bonuses. I don't much care for it as I've seen how derailing chasing minor bonuses can be but it does create a focus on hunting so maybe it'll work better than I think it will.

Overall: I would play, but you can bet your ass there will be house rules if I run it.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 3:47 pm 
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It sounds kinda rough honestly, playable but rough.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:19 am 
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frigidmagi wrote:
It sounds kinda rough honestly, playable but rough.


It's funny, because its actually a refinement on the already modified engine behind Vampire: The Requiem. They just decided there were going to be no black leather trench coat wearing, katana wielding badasses; come hell or high water, in this game.

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