Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition (VtM 5E)



  • Rather than thread necro'ing: Vampire the Masquerade 5th Edition Info I figured we should open up a new one, now that the full PDF has finally hit.

    Anyone else have this, yet?

    So... I got the PDF when it first released. It's got a nice, easy to look out layout... but for fuck's sake, the Bookmarks are a god damned mess and a half. They're seriously not tied to chapter headings properly, link to strange places on pages, and even their organization is like what you'd see on some scanned copy of an obscure RPG book you downloaded off of Limewire in 2003. It's garbage. It's really not very professional looking. I can't believe that a product went out like this. I will be spending time with my PDF editor to completely redo them and that's balls.

    Now, with that major gripe out of the way...

    We open to 30 pages of memos, clippings, correspondences, etc. to help prime us for what the book is and what it is about. This strikes me as very CoD. I would have expected a more short story form introduction. This isn't a critique of that choice, it just struck me as notable. The only thing I will say is that 30 pages of it seems excessive in the long run. That page count could have gone to other meat in the book itself.

    I'm not going to try to do like a full review like Theno's doing with Changeling. I probably won't read every bit of the book all at once, but rather the interesting tidbits. We've already covered most of the new lore info, in regards to the Beckoning, the state of the Sabbat and Camarilla, etc. Nothing really seems to stand out as new in that, from what I've read so far.

    Disciplines are nifty. Having multiple powers at some levels is a cool addition, but I was only skimming, and don't know yet if or how one has access to multiple powers of a level of a discipline. Or how one might purchase the Amalgam powers, for that matter.

    Humanity seems... I'm torn on it. Overall, it seems good and it seems to do the trick nicely of conveying everything that they want it to be. I do have a hangup though, in the mechanics versus fluff aspect of it. Basically it works like this. You have a track of ten. Your humanity fills up from the left side. You get stains for violations of Humanity, that fill in from the right. At the end of the session, however many spaces on the track are left empty is how many dice you roll to check for degeneration. So, if you have 6 humanity... you take 2 Stains, at the end of the session, you roll 2 dice (for the two empty spots) to see if you lose a dot of humanity.

    The problem is that you're rolling to feel remorse. This leads to... Well, let's say I have 9 humanity. I get a stain. I have NO unchecked humanity on the tracker. I have no dice to resist degeneration. Even if I have a chance die (I don't remember off the top of my head, but I think you always get the chance die), this leads to one inherent problem in the fluff of it. It means that Humanity 9 mother fuckers are god damned sociopaths who are almost completely incapable of actually feeling remorse. I understand exactly why the mechanics are the way they are. It should be easier to degenerate at Humanity 9 than it is at Humanity 3. But this also means that the Humanity 3 character has a lot more opportunity to feel remorse for his actions. In a way, this translates to lower Humanity = More empathy in a weird way.

    Character creation is nice. Not having to divvy up points, but rather just assign them makes it easier and prevents min maxing. That said, I still hate that they have stuck with a multiplier XP system, instead of learning how CoD/2E does things. With as much else as they've learned (physical disciplines that have varying abilities and aren't stupidly OP. Blood potency, etc), I wish that they'd have learned to get away from multipliers before all of that.

    Also, after seeing all the disciplines and stuff that causes Rouse checks, I almost think that the Hunger mechanics, while sexy af, might wind up being a bit too restrictive in play. You're going to be looking at a bare minimum of 2 Rouse checks to function like a normal person every night (one to wake and one to Blush so you can check your phone), so this will likely set you at a 2 or even 3 Hunger dice right at the get go at the start of each night. Also, heaven forbid you take agg damage. You get to wake up to all the Rouse checks, all the time, and it seems entirely too possible to wind up going into torpor over as little as 2 or 3 agg damage due to exceeding 5 hunger dice at awakening. I'm waiting to get a chance to play to make the final judgment on that, though.

    Feeding is fucking rad. It's very abstract in the immediate, but the whole thing with getting emotional resonance from the blood while feeding, and how that fuels and enhances your disciplines... genius. I love it.

    What I absolutely don't love? We're back to books dictating when and how vampires can have sex. At pretty much anything under Humanity 9, the book says that you can't even actually have sex with the Blush activated, but you can "fake it" with like a charisma check. This shit is completely unnecessary and inherently repressed and is going to be the first rule that just sits completely ignored. I don't understand why they might have thought that this... well, that it was worth even officially addressing. But whatevs.

    Anyway, if anyone else has it, I'd like to hear your take, or maybe you can start a full on review.


  • Pitcrew

    I don't have the PDF and I don't think I'll be getting it as I ordered through Game Kastle and they don't mention the PDF at all. I'm glad to hear it sounds good though. Weird sex restrictions aside.


  • Coder

    So i have obtained a PDF of the book, while I wait for my physical copy. I have just started reading it while prepping for my birthday party. I am really jazzed about the fact you are playing something evil. There are little clues littered through out the fluff. Like the Arriving from the street into the lair of an elder is a humbling experience – no less so, if the guest kneels in their black jeans and T-shirt before an ageless monster in a chalk-white dress made from human skin. just really makes me want to actually play Vampire with this setting. I haven't gotten to far into it, more when that happens.

    Update: So I have gotten to the part of the book about damage. I am really excited to see that 5th includes "Willpower" damage. So you can be impaired by social/mental attacks as well as physical ones. This makes the social maneuvering of the Camarilla even more lethal in a sense.



  • @zombiegenesis

    Apparently GameKastle was under the impression Mophidius was sending the PDF codes directly. The link to submit their preorder stuff was supplied to them by at least 3 people I know, so I would expect to see it in soon.

    I have the PDF and have been reading, and was going to post a full review once I was done. I have liked everything I've been reading so far. To touch on a couple of things in the first post:

    • When you buy a Discipline level, you choose one power from that level OR an earlier level. So if you don't like any at that level, you can choose one you didn't take from a lower level.
    • Amalgams require other prerequisite Discipline powers. So, to have Unerring Aim you need to have Auspex 2 when you buy Celerity 4 or 5 and want to take that power.
    • Rouse checks are a bit of a luck thing, but in practice (mock tests so far) they have not been as intrusive as speculated in the OP. It's also assumed that, at least in play narrative, a lot of your feeding will be done shortly after awakening. So even if you incur a Hunger when you awake, if your schedule is 'wake up, eat 'breakfast' and attend to business' in a lot of instances. Obviously not every time, but it's a consideration.
    • Agg damage is much rarer now, but your concern is appropriate. It's limited a lot to the Banes of the Kindred and Potence 5, or damage upgrading. Notably, Gangrel claws now do Superficial damage, BUT they ignore the vampire's natural resistance to Superficial damage which cuts it in half (which is blunt trauma, stabbing, etc.), and it grants +2 raw damage. It is an easy way to run a guy through his health boxes. And I feel like the agg healing is intentional; that it's meant for vampires to consider their risk (most of the system is risk management rather than resource management), and if they can go for a couple of nights with aggravated damage sitting on them while they build up blood stores to heal.
    • The minimum number of dice on a Remorse check is 1, per pg. 239. Also, remember that doing bad things in defense/upholding/accordance with your Convictions reduces Stains by 1, to a minimum of 0.

    And yeah, it looks like their PDF export fucked their bookmarks up. I've been redoing them; if anyone knows how to export them into something that can be imported, let me know!

    I'm still reading, but I had thought about doing a review like Theno did. I probably will once I'm done.

    I will note some other major changes:

    • The core conceit of the game is that the players will be playing an established coterie, as the game is predicated on that, including coterie generation and bonuses.
    • Generation is combined with Blood Potency in a pretty elegant method. Gen determines your starting and maximum Blood Potency, and BP dictates how much you heal, blood buff, Discipline bonuses, and feeding restrictions.
    • Generation is no longer purchased as a Background. It is part of the character creation process, but it's more part of the narrative, which is written in the book as 'the players and ST decide, as a group, what Gens are appropriate; it's recommended that everyone play the same Gen, but if the players are good with it, play a variety'.
    • Loresheets are the best addition to the game.
    • Disciplines are a bit more... broad. It's probably not going to be to everyone's tastes, but I like what they did with them. Some powers were moved around to places where they thematically and mechanically make sense. For example, Blood Sorcery (which is Thaum Path of Blood essentially) also has powers from Quietus (as the power is all about manipulation of the Blood). Protean talks about changing into snakes, and one of the Protean 5 powers is the Serpentis 'move the heart' power. I like it, but it will probably be contentious for different people.
    • The core book has the Cam 7, Caitiff and Thin Bloods as play options. The others get a 2-4 sentence write up, but aren't playable. The Sabbat is mentioned in a more 1e setting style as dangerous packs and such, which fits with the narrative established.

  • Pitcrew

    @shelbeast The sex thing is weird. For tabletop I would say it really drives home the point that vampires are DEAD. They are not kinda dead, or immortal, they are corpses. For MUing it is exactly as you describe it. It will be the first thing to be ignored. I personally don't like that sort of shit. The more questions you try to answer about the physiology of these supernatural beings, the more questions pop up, with less and less convincing answers.

    One of my main gripes with Masquerade was always just how much some books tried to drive home the fact you are hollow and sad and dead and soulless, etc. It made RP way less interesting, with everyone suffering together in an emofest.

    Thanks for the review, Shelby!


  • Coder

    @shelbeast

    About sex: In the nWoD Werewolf book, there is a note about how werewolves can’t have sex in Crinos because they are raging combat machines and also their pee-pees are very small.

    Why did this book bring it up? Because you know it’s going to come up. ... er, so to speak. You know the fans will want to know and be rather vocal about it. And as a literature note, Dracula is very much about sex, and vampire stories are classically about sensuality.

    I honestly don’t care if vampires can have sex. The original Vampire RPG was very clear that it’s pale in comparison to feeding. Dracula walks around in daylight too. But this is their game, and if vampires don’t have sex then that’s fine too.

    How you’re going to enforce that on a game will be interesting. If 5e is that focused on coterie play, it would be interesting how to Mushify that to begin with.



  • @Thenomain The game is not made for MUSHing. They very clearly aimed it towards tabletop gameplay with zero considerations to other forms.

    They might come out with LARP rules soon, though. I'd wager on it.



  • @admiral

    This. It's going to require walking some of the 5e considerations back (like coterie creation, adding back in purchasable Generation and then balancing that, trying to make sure some of the attendant powers that allow you to mess with the narrative are consistently enforced) and added house rules (how to handle relationship maps, for example) to do on a MU*.

    Eventually there will be LARP rules (per the AMA) but I wouldn't expect them anytime soon. The licensees still have to pitch it, and they want the existing BNS stuff to 'move towards' the V5 metaplot, but I doubt it'll be 'and next year, V5 LARP by By Night Studios'.


  • Coder

    @bobotron The Generation thing isn't something would have to be walked back. It could be implemented via the current 'experience tier' system that is in use on most mushes.
    For Vampires:

    • Base Line: 13th
    • Tier 1: 12th + 15 XP
    • Tier 2: 11th (Bonuses from the Ancillae rank, minus XP)
    • Tier 3: 10th Full Ancillae rank.

    Just off the cuff.



  • @seamus

    Assuming a game would use a tier system. It all depends on what the person that makes that game ends up doing with it.


  • Pitcrew

    @thenomain I don't agree with your take on the sex stuff, Theno. Vampire Requiem is almost entirely about sex and power trips, and they didn't go 'Yeah, fucking!' on the Requiem book that I know of. Why? Maybe because they realize that it is a fruitless pursuit and that people will absolutely fuck in Gauru if they want to, cuz kinks.

    @Bobotron Also, imo, Coteries need to end. Bad for MUs.



  • I dunno why, but the typical and even laudable this is just a game, don't go where you aren't comfy etc put me off. Both are topics I have seen done before and seemed fine, so no idea why this particular text grated on my nerves. I literally just closed the PDF and forgot about it.


  • Pitcrew

    @shelbeast said in Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition (VtM 5E):

    Humanity seems... I'm torn on it. Overall, it seems good and it seems to do the trick nicely of conveying everything that they want it to be. I do have a hangup though, in the mechanics versus fluff aspect of it. Basically it works like this. You have a track of ten. Your humanity fills up from the left side. You get stains for violations of Humanity, that fill in from the right. At the end of the session, however many spaces on the track are left empty is how many dice you roll to check for degeneration. So, if you have 6 humanity... you take 2 Stains, at the end of the session, you roll 2 dice (for the two empty spots) to see if you lose a dot of humanity.

    The problem is that you're rolling to feel remorse. This leads to... Well, let's say I have 9 humanity. I get a stain. I have NO unchecked humanity on the tracker. I have no dice to resist degeneration. Even if I have a chance die (I don't remember off the top of my head, but I think you always get the chance die), this leads to one inherent problem in the fluff of it. It means that Humanity 9 mother fuckers are god damned sociopaths who are almost completely incapable of actually feeling remorse. I understand exactly why the mechanics are the way they are. It should be easier to degenerate at Humanity 9 than it is at Humanity 3. But this also means that the Humanity 3 character has a lot more opportunity to feel remorse for his actions. In a way, this translates to lower Humanity = More empathy in a weird way.

    Couldn't it be interpretted that even getting one stain is so damning for a 9 Humanity Vampire that they don't get a chance to resist? Whereas the 3 Humanity vampire is obviously so inhumane that a few stains are all in a day's work. They don't even register, until they really go all out.



  • @misadventure

    I feel like its' because they had to address SO MUCH BULLSHIT because of the OH GOD NAZIS! controversy.


  • Coder

    @admiral said in Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition (VtM 5E):

    They might come out with LARP rules soon, though. I'd wager on it.

    Yeah, but traditionally LARP rules are horrible for MU*. We need something in between.



  • I'm gonna homebrew some Fuckpire rules. That'll fix the 5e problem.



  • @ominous said in Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition (VtM 5E):

    Couldn't it be interpretted that even getting one stain is so damning for a 9 Humanity Vampire that they don't get a chance to resist? Whereas the 3 Humanity vampire is obviously so inhumane that a few stains are all in a day's work. They don't even register, until they really go all out.

    I fully believe that this is what it should mean. However, since you're rolling to succeed, and success means your character actually FEELS REMORSE, it means that ICly, your 3 Humanity vampire gets a stain for doing something bad and he beats himself up over it, while her Humanity 9 vampire kills a puppy, fails the roll and says, "Oh, well, you know... it really shouldn't have shit on my floor."


  • Pitcrew

    @shelbeast That's some bad fluff. If Humanity represents one's personal subjective psyche rather than some objective measure by the universe (I don't play WoD so I have no idea), I would have successes mean that the PC was able to rationalize what they did - "Sure, I drained that dude's blood, but he is a rapist and I have to eat", while a failure is the PC embracing the Neitzschean abyss or realizing how unhuman they are - "Yes, I am monster and I should just accept it." In the case of a Humanity 9 Vampire it would be "Oh my God! Oh my God! I just did that awful thing!? How could I have done that!? What's become of me!?"



  • I would say that a successful roll represents not rationalization but acceptance and understanding of why an action is monstrous, and probably resolving with conviction to try to do better.

    I suppose one could argue its just about human vs vampire natures and which are your go to actions,
    but to be fair humans pretty much are great at being monsters allllll on their own.

    "Humans... and how I love you talking monkeys for this... know more about war and treachery of the spirit than any angel."
    -Lucifer, Prophecy



  • Why can't we remove the stupid humanity bullshit and let people RP what they want to RP? My vampire can be a good person or a monster but I shouldn't be railroaded towards certain moralities.

    And I say this as someone who doesn't play total murderous monsters. I haven't since I was a teenage edgelord. They're bogging a game about -being a fucking undead monster with super powers- down into something tedious.