Let’s just get this out of the way before we start, shall we? I used to play a lot of Vampire: The Masquerade. Besides D&D, Vampire is the RPG I’ve spent the most time playing, doing so through most of high school and a good amount of college. Back in those days, it was 2nd and 3rd (Revised) Edition. When the opportunity to take a look at 5th Edition before it came out popped up I jumped at the opportunity, though I have to admit it’s been a long time since I’ve spent time in the World of Darkness.
Not a problem.
Through many years of publishing, and publishers, the World of Darkness had gotten a bit convoluted with all its different titles, characters, history, etc… Vampire 5th Edition feels like a fresh start, though it keeps the general history of the world in-tact. The book opens with a plethora of pages of fiction introducing the world and its concepts to players in a fresh way from the perspective of several different undead. These are presented in the form of written and printer documents passed secretly to one another as the Second Inquisition, one pursued through Social Media and the Internet, is in full effect.
Don’t know what the Second Inquisition is? That’s OK. A lot of terms you’ll come across aren’t fully explained until later in the book. It works, though. Trust me. Once you get through the fiction you’ll be introduced to the World of Darkness proper, go through character creation, the system, and all the other general goodies you expect to find in an RPG core book. All of the information is told from a mostly narrative point of view, driving home what the system is all about.
There’s been quite a few changes to the V:tM system, but nothing so major that veterans of the game won’t be able to pick it up with nothing more than a cursory glance at the book. The biggest changes here are really the ones that bring to game into the era of social media and always-connected devices. Does that mean that new players may have a hard time digging in? Nope. The beauty of Vampire’s system is how simple it really is. A character sheet and a bucket of d10s are all you need to play.
This book is wonderfully laid out with easy-to-access information and a wonderfully rich fiction that doesn’t get bogged down in the “old” World of Darkness and all its flaws. This new edition of Vampire feels fresh, lighter, and ready to do great things. At 406 pages it may look a bit daunting, but it’s a captivating and easy read. There’s plenty here to appease older plays and new blood (see what I did there) alike.
A watermarked PDF of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition was provided free for review by Modiphius Entertainment
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.
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