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Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages $24.99
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Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages
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Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/27/2019 07:02:39

The following review was originally published in Mephisto 64 and translated from German (find orignal German review below).

Vampires: The Dark Ages Twentieth Anniversary Edition

It is now more than 20 years ago that the vampires of the role-playing game of the same name were not only allowed to frighten the modern age, but were also able to cause trouble in the dark nights of the Dark Ages. Vampire: The Dark Ages is a new edition for the 20th anniversary, which as a thick hardcover volume compiles a lot of material from old source books anew. The structure is that of the classic rulebook, in which the setting, but above all the clans and character creation as well as the disciplines of the vampires are presented in detail.

The new edition tries to put together a lot of clan material. Instead of the 13 classic clans there are 28 clans and bloodlines in this book, which also include the African vampires, the Laibon. Also clans, which were introduced as esoteric groups by the regular Vampire, can be found here. Some clans are redefined, which still works well with the Kyasid, but in the case of the Niktuku, it compresses a great vampire secret into (too) simple rules. Beside the clans also the different paths (Roads), thus the ethical systems, of the vampires are explained and provided with differentiated variants. For example, the Via Caeli exists in Christian, Jewish and Islamic forms. The chapter on the disciplines, with its 130 pages, is also very detailed, and here, too, you will find some changes to the rules in addition to well-known powers.

Of course, the book also contains material for the game master, both on the basic structure of the campaign and concrete game material in the form of character profiles. A relatively short chapter examines the specific setting in more detail and focuses on the Italian states, which become the standard setting here. The rest of Europe is also briefly presented, whereby in many places the focus is more on human history than on vampire influences. The fact that the new edition takes place in 1242 means that the invasion of the Mongols also plays a role, and some events from the classical timeline are already part of history here.

Some clan secrets provide the conclusion of the book, where besides pure background information also variants of clans and their paths can be discovered. and find it again. In the case of the Salubri, for example, an alternative course of history is formulated as a what-if scenario.

Vampires: The Dark Ages is a beautifully made, summarizing set of rules for playing vampires in the Dark Ages. With regard to the clans and their discipline, information from all possible sources has been meticulously compiled and adjusted. In some cases these adaptations bring more consistency, in other cases the inclined reader may ask himself the question why of all things the Niktiku have to be freed from their mysterious fascination in this way or how the Nagaraja got lost into medieval Europe.

If you want to immerse yourself in the world of vampires in the Dark Ages, you will find all the rules here. In order to get more background to the ( vampiric ) Dark Ages, however, you will not be able to avoid some history or rule books. Vampire: The Dark Ages is an excellent summary for collectors who want to revel in old memories.

(Deutsche Version)

Nun ist es inzwischen mehr als 20 Jahre her, dass die Vampire des gleichnamigen Rollenspiels nicht nur die Moderne unsicher machen durften, sondern auch in den finsteren Mächten des Mittelalters ihr Unwesen treiben konnten. Vampire: The Dark Ages ist eine Neuauflage zum 20. Jubiläum, die als dicker Hardcoverband viel Material aus alten Quellenbüchern neu zusammenstellt. Der Aufbau ist dabei der des klassischen Regelwerks, in dem das Setting, vor allen Dingen aber die Clans und die Charaktererschaffung sowie die Disziplin der Vampire ausführlich vorgestellt werden.

Hier zeigt sich, dass die Neuauflage vor allen Dingen versucht, viel Clan-Material zusammenzustellen. Statt der 13 klassischen Clans finden sich hier in diesem Buch insgesamt 28 Clans und Blutlinien, die auch die afrikanischen Vampire, die Laibon, umfassen. Auch Clans, die beim regulären Vampire als Exoten eingeführt wurden, finden sich hier wieder. Dabei werden einige Clans durchaus umdefiniert, was bei den Kyasid noch stimmig wirkt, im Falle der Niktuku aber ein großes Vampirgeheimnis in (zu) einfache Regeln presst. Neben den Clans werden auch die verschiedenen Pfade (Roads), also die ethischen Systemen, der Vampire erläutert und mit differenzierten Varianten versehen. So gibt es die Via Caeli in christlicher, jüdischer und islamischer Ausprägung. Auch das Kapitel zu den Disziplinen ist mit seinen gut 130 Seiten sehr ausführlich, und auch hier findet man neben altbekannten Kräften einige Änderungen an den Regeln.

Natürlich gibt es in dem Buch auch Material für den Spielleiter, sowohl zum grundsätzlichen Kampagnenaufbau als auch konkretes Spielmaterial in Form von Charakterprofilen. Ein relativ kurzes Kapitel beleuchtet das konkrete Setting etwas genauer und stellt die Staaten Italiens in den Vordergrund, die hier zum Standardsetting werden. Der Rest Europas wird auch kurz vorgestellt wobei an vielen Stellen der Fokus eher auf der menschlichen Geschichte als auf den vampirischen Einflüssen liegt. Dadurch, dass die Neuauflage im Jahr 1242 spielt, spielt auch die Invasion der Mongolen eine Rolle und einige Ereignisse aus der klassischen Zeitlinie, sind hier bereits Geschichte.

Den Abschluss des Buches bieten einige Clangeheimnisse, wobei sich neben reinen Hintergrundinformationen auch noch Varianten von Clans und deren Pfaden wiederfinden. Im Falle der Salubri wird jedoch beispielweise ein alternativer Geschichtsverlauf als Was-wärewenn-Szenario formuliert.

Vampire: The Dark Ages ist ein schön gemachtes, zusammenfassendes Regelwerk, um Vampire im Mittelalter zu spielen. Bezüglich der Clans und ihrer Disziplin wurden hier akribisch Infos aus allen möglichen Quellen zusammengetragen und abgeglichen bzw. teilweise angepasst. In einigen Fällen bringen diese Anpassungen mehr Konsistenz, in anderen Fällen stellt sich der geneigte Leser eventuell die Frage, warum ausgerechnet die Niktiku in dieser Form von ihrem geheimnisvollen Zauber befreit werden müssen oder wie sich die Nagaraja bis ins mittelalterliche Europa verirren.

Wer in die Welt der Vampire im Mittelalter eintauchen will, findet hier alle regeltechnischen Informationen. Um mehr Hintergrund zum (vampirischen) Mittelalter zu bekommen, wird man aber um einige Geschichts- oder Regelbücher nicht herumkommen. Für Sammler, die in alten Erinnerungen schwelgen wollen, ist Vampire: The Dark Ages auf jeden Fall eine hervorragende Zusammenfassung.

(Björn Lippold)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Katriel P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/12/2019 14:50:48

I liked the PDF so much of this, I bought the deluxe hardcover edition later. I was in a game that took place in the 1100s and went on to modern day, and having a lot of the lore and continuity here helped me (even though we ended up homebrewing a lot of it as this book hadn't been available at the time we started). The adjustments to koldunic sorcery are also local, enabling Storytellers to create their own kraina should their games need them, and the flavor of the nights and descriptions of hold of fear in the medieval era are amazing.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Elizabeth M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/04/2018 18:41:13

This was just what I needed. I'm getting into the Dark Ages with my gaming group. This was on sale randomly right around when I needed to pick up a copy.

The art is amazing.

The layout? Beautiful and perfect. It's such an easy read.

The text itself just made me fall in love with this edition to the Vampire collection. I also loved that with this pdf you could click on the chapter or section inb the table of contents and jump right to what you want to read. Not all of the Onyx Path pdfs I already have do that. This is the perfect feature for someone who wants to cheery pick their way through the book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Jean M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/06/2018 07:51:05

Simply amazing! I bought the standard version, but I feared that it would not have a good quality, thanks God I was wrong. If this is the quality of the standard version, so the Premiun version is a masterpiece sent from Heaven. Incredible quality, cover and pages, the colors are a bit pale, but sincerely, it does not matter. I'm from Brazil, so I expected a month or more to receive the product, man... It arrived ONE week after the book was printed. DriveThru definitely gained a loyal client, I'm looking foward to make more business with you.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Jean C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/28/2018 09:31:45

This book brings to you all you need to run an excellent dark ages vampire campaign.

The collection of clans, bloodlines and disciplines is wide and coherent. The scenario is well described and sufficient to support the storyteller imagination. However, storyteller supplementary material is highly recommended to enrich knowledge about vampire influence on countries/kingdons.

Printed version is solid and beautiful. Some (few) fullpage art, however, have whited straight, vertical lines that compromise overall quality.

Despite that, it's a MUST HAVE vampire book.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by John M. S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/16/2017 05:53:11

Of all the world of darkness products I own, and games that I play, this is by far my favourite setting and book. I have not much experience with previous editions so I cannot comment on how it differs, so I can only say that I liked the background material, I liked the volume of in game content available in this book and I really liked the art. I did a full review over on my website if you want to see more of what I had to say. https://itsmorethanjustgaming.com/2017/10/16/vampire-the-dark-ages-20th-anniversary-edition/



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Joseph P. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/25/2016 10:52:18

First off, let me say I do not regret buying/kickstarting this product. I do think that it could have been done better, but a lot of my complaints are subjective in nature, and revolve around things I felt have been changed simply because a given author didn't like them rather than because they needed to change or improve.

Namely the change to the Salubri, outright swappoing around a few Discipline's powers, and a lack of strong emphasis on the setting in favor of trying to make things more politically correct and inclusive. There is a strong lopsided modern political presentation on most of the material that really detracts from the product. The more you read it, the more it seems that the book isn't really based on any of the previous material and feels more like an alternate take on things to try and establish a WoD Lite home game sort of theme.

In trying to make the game universal, it pushed makeing things very generic. I also feel like part of the unofficial goal (really for the 20th Ed line as a whole), was to try to incoporate some of the mechanics themes from the nWoD/CoD system, which just, (and again subjective opinion), just doesn't work. Or it might be more appropriate to say was not what I was looking for in an original WoD line.

The best thing I can compair this, (as well as many other 20th Ed books) to is a movie "re-imagining" that while it might make things a tiny bit more relevant to modern tastes or to grab new blood, it largly misses the point and spirit of the original and ultimately just feels "ok, but not great".

I'm really not a fan of the color art, again, feeling like it just detracts from the overall product and feel, and while I like some of the art, other art I really don't care for. It also sort of feels like a lot of visuals are overused or nearly repeated, and combining a lot of the asthetics with the overall vague nature of far too much material leaves me wonder just what exactly I'm suppossed to do with the game. I mean, I have plenty of the older products to lean on for inspiration and ideas, but viewing the system from just this product, I could see folks after reading though asking, "Ok, so now what?"

In the end, and again while I don't outright regret the purchase, I think I'm happier with my old products, and if I had to sum this one up in a short phrase, it would have to be something along the lines of "Change for the sake of change".



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Simon T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/09/2016 09:45:45

A fantastic update. It is a compilation that I do not believe should or would replace the older edition. Instead it gives a broad spectrum that is a very useful asset to be used alongside previous books that should not be discounted. The world that you and your storytellers create is unique to your RPG group, You may count or discount anything you do not like. You may add any of your own Ideas as you see fit. Just like all of the original classic dark world games. If you wish to be spoon fed and have someone else do all the work for your rpg group then I would suggest that the classic world of darkness is simply not for you. But if you are like me and my players then this game is open enough for you to create your own world. each page of this lovely work will give you idea after idea. as with all classic dark world games reading in its self is a sheer joy. Because it is a compilation it has a bit of almost all the Vampire dark age within, I very much like this. If I wish to focus of one aspect then I would simply use one of the many other source books alongside this one. I view this edition as more of a quick reference, after all I do not want to simply throw away my other books. I am happy that I bought it and is inspiring me to think about my next perchance.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/12/2016 00:40:48

updates and brings the classic dark ages game into a new generation. with better rule structures and more options at your finger tips.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Joseph C. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/19/2015 16:08:49

Lots of simple spelling mistakes. Lots. Writer seems to have injected their own personal ideologies into the book. Not a fan of some of the changes done to some of the clans. Not a lot of history on the actual Dark Ages. Art is not very good.

Product feels rushed. Not very happy at all, honestly.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Ty T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/16/2015 01:51:50

I really don't understand the disdain some people seem to have with this book. It is clean, well organized, beautiful, and fun. It is almost 500 pages, just shy of the page count of the V20 Core Book and it has all of the info you could want to run a V20 Dark Ages game. All the rules, all the clans, perfectly archived and ready to go.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by greg m. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/14/2015 12:22:22

To me, this book fell flat. Yes, it is nice to have most everything you need to run a game set in the century at your fingertips, but I suppose my big complaint is I wanted a 20th anniversary of Dark Ages: Vampire; not Vampire: the Dark Ages. Beyond that, the artwork is good, the chapters are nicely organized, and the index is a vast improvement from White Wolf material. The inclusion of the Salubri Sentinels was a great bonus, and mechanics for dirtier, more primitive versions of the Cainite sorceries was nice too. I backed the project on Kickstarter, so I got to see the evolution of the pdf from a draft to a finished product. My quibbles with the product are all vastly personal opinion, as I hinted at in the first paragraph. If you like romantic historical fiction, are a fan of vampires, or an experienced V:tDA, I recommend this book.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Jérémie B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 08/02/2015 08:53:07

The book is somewhat eye pleasing, but unfortunately it's one of the worst Vampire book to date. They tried to cram every rule and power into the book, and they both miss the whole point of a Vampire corebook and fail at their objective. Fundamentally I don't think it's possible to play the Dark Ages of Vampire's World of Darkness with only this book: there is by far not enough information on the medieval setting and how the Vampire interact with it.

You'll need a few very good history books to dive into the Middle Age and have things like descriptions, mentalities, how things work and why. As for the Cainite side of things you can either dig in old sourcebooks like the Player's Guides to Clans (but a lot of things have been changed in VDA20, good luck to tie it all neatly) or do the work yourself.

And as for their objective of cramming a lot of bling into one book, the result is shady at best:

  • A lot of typos.
  • There's a lot of copy&paste directly from old book. Like Hunting for blood says you might use the Streetwise ability, only there is no Streetwise in this edition.
  • There's new abilities, some borderline supernatural, but no explanation whatsoever as to what they do exactly and how to handle them.
  • Powers were modified left and right, and failed. Like they wanted to reduce Vitreous path power, but the actual writing made it more powerful.
  • New takes on Discipline change things “just because”. Sometimes with good ideas, but not enough words to explain it and poor editing; like the new koldunic magic that per the rules do not have access to rituals anymore even if it wasn't the actual idea of its writer.
  • No playtest or thinking through rules. Like for example putting on heavy armor will render you motionless unless you have Olympic level agility.
  • New take on clans and lineage that goes against canon and previously published material. Like the new Nictuku that goes against everything published in the last 20 years and remove one of the central theme of the Nosferatu, or the numerous changes of the Salubri that created some uproar in the community.

And so on. And the worst is the backers sent truckloads of errata during the book's development, but a very sizable portion of it was ignored and later on flatly refused to be corrected by developers because of “lack of time and especially money”.

To me, not a decent book at all. I would advise to keep using old books to play the great setting of Vampire Dark Ages, and if you have money in your pocket buy a good old sourcebook you don't have yet, or good history books. Those would be much more useful to your gaming table than this one.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by Jeffrey B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/29/2015 23:51:09

This book is extremely flavorful and thematic. It has some of the most evocative writing I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying in any roleplaying book. The explanation of the endless cycle of the hunt for blood is superb and really drives home what it might feel like to be a vampire in the Dark Ages. This historical portions are well researched, and where they deviate from history they follow a pattern which makes sense.

Unfortunately the mechanics are scattered at best. The Disciplines are inconsistent in the extreme, particularly the three Physical Disciplines which are not remotely comparable in terms of power level or ease of use. The multiple-actions system is confusing and probably would have been better left out, though I can understand the desire to make Celerity not a must-have for any type of character who wants to win a fight.

These shortcomings do not come close to the fantastic quality overall of the book, however, and I can still strongly recommend this to anyone with an interest in dark fantasy or the World of Darkness in general.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition: The Dark Ages
Publisher: Onyx Path Publishing
by P. B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/29/2015 12:35:50

This book is everything that I wished for when it was announced by Onyx Path Publishing, and that is to say it is a proper new edition of a beloved classic! For the PDF, the price-per-page is a steal, and the quality of the contents quite makes that price almost embarrassingly low. That's all you NEED to know, but there's more I'll tell...

First, know that I've played Vampire since Second Edition came out in '92 (I was too much of a 'vampire snob' to even look at the First Edition... thanks Anne Rice!), and when Vampire: the Masquerade Twentieth Anniversary Edition was announced, I jumped on the opportunity to support it. The result was lovely, but in comparison to later Twentieth Anniversary releases (e.g. for Werewolf: the Apocalypse and the as-yet-to-be widely available Mage: the Ascension), the V20 wound up looking less like a 'new' edition than a polished omnibus collection with gorgeous new art. I do so love that book, no doubt, but V20 does not QUITE live up to what it could have been as a new edition.

Now we have V20 Dark Ages, and THIS book takes what started in V20 to create something both familiar and brand new. The whole experience of the Dark Medieval (a/k/a classic World of Darkness circa AD 1200-1300) comes across in vivid (un)living detail, and the overall LOOK is quite wonderfully vitalised with full-colour borders, art, and Clan heraldry. Rules have been added and revised for Disciplines and schools of blood magic (oh yes, the Koldunic Sorcery and Thaumaturgy rules ARE fantastic!), and new Bloodlines appear with some wider view of the Dark Medieval beyond western Europe. Additional information on the Roads of morality and antagonists handily round out the rules. For all of this, though, the CORE of what I adore about Vampire remains: the ability to take what's here and make it your own.

...It seems like a small thing, that so-called 'Golden Rule' that White Wolf introduced in Mark Rein•Hagen's first Vampire core book in 1991, but the idea that all of these rules are here as a guide, for you to interpret or disregard to change as you will, it suffuses this V20 Dark Ages book. Indeed, the chapter on Storytelling is far more of a love letter to the entire hobby of roleplaying games than dry directions on what to do. Yes, there are a LOT of directions, but what David A. Hill, Jr (Developer) and crew have created here is less a book of rules than an ideal jumping-off point for your games, for your world (of medieval darkness).

I could list all of the things that I do NOT love about this book (and yeah, there's plenty), but in light of the above, that's not necessary. What is here is all quite lovely, and even the parts that are not perfect are easily dismissed or changed. Even if you're only looking for the bits you remember from the first Vampire: the Dark Ages, you ought to enjoy this title enough to make it worth your while.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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