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Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition $24.99
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Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
by Mike N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/16/2021 06:59:24

This is what the original Vampire: The Masquerade should have been all those years ago. This is a beautifully presented, clearly organised, professionally edited, detailed and helpful piece of work. The artwork is also high quality and evocative. Something you can use for imagery if gaming online. Very well worth the money.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
by Edward C. O. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/26/2021 13:01:12

i purchased the Deluxe edition so i'll talk about the physical copy primarily.

this game is... interesting, in the wrong reasons. on one hand, it is accessible to new players to get into, as a ST it is a nightmare to find information, but that's par for the course for WoD books. mechanically the blood hunger mechanic is solid! i like the potential for my players to lose themselves to the beast.

the complaints that fans have about V5 have some merits to them. the discplines aren't unique, i'm not sure its to streamline them from V20 to not make your vampire a marvel superhero, or streamline for the sake of streamlining unintentionally creating singularity, no one stands out and everyone blends into one.

the art is a mixed bag, subjectively, my biggest pet peeve is how the nosfuratu are pretty, which defeats the purpose of playing a vampire that wears its curse. while you can roll your eyes on this and say, well that's subjective. true, however when the text say you're hideous and the art says otherwise, one of these things are not like the other. this goes back to my point of vampire singularity. the deluxe edition alternative cover is pretty cool which i prefer.

if you're a new player and are intimidated by V20, this is a good starting point, and slowly homebrew some mechanics from this game to V20, as V20 is the definitive vampire game. the issue here as well, and this is due to it being a supported edition, that all of the clans and more merits are in different books. in theory, that can work, however, if you have Banu Haqim in the Camerilla book, and Lasombra in Chicago by Night, that's like what? it's really weird. i rather have like a Clans handbook with the other missing clans than one here and one here, just weird.

overall, as i said, the complaints of this edition are legit, and while it has solved one problem for the blood pool, it created more by not having vampires stand out based on their clans and power, and unintentionally created a vampiric singularity, everyone is equal yet no one stands one. sure you can roleplay your flaws and take merits with those flaws, the text some times doesn't support that. that's my opinion on that.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
by Adrian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/23/2020 10:55:54

I've played three sessions of this game as Storyteller. I will list complaints given to me in general by new players at my table.

-The book is not well laid out for easy character creation, its rather scattered. (Flaws/Merits grouped together by concept rather than just by all flaws/ all merits, a lack of 'flow' between chapters that follows the steps in character creation.) -The rate of XP gain and the XP costs are absolutely glacial. At suggested rates of XP; it would take a tremendous amount of time to level up. My group is concerned that as fledgelings having survived several fights and strenuous encounters, they cannot improve themselves without more time passing. -The lack of an equipment table at all in this edition threw off my players who are used to having them, or at least a rubric for how much things should hurt. -Disciplines representing a significant XP sink, while yielding very little tangible benefit. -Overall, the group was confused by the Resonance concept and did not like the micromanagement compared to the simplistic (and very good) hunger tracking. -The character creation section itself had some confusing rhetoric at times, lifepaths dont seem to grant equal dots compared to advanced creation.

My personal complaints as a Storyteller for prior editions of vampire: -The game seems subconsciously geared towards Thin-Bloods (who benefit generally from Resonance and the fact they blend in easier) over full Kindred. I'd be alright if this was a WoD spinoff such as Hunters Hunted, but in a mainline "Vampire" core release, I'd expect to see more, lore permitting. -Disciplines feel like they have been "DnD-ified". As a Tremere player, the Blood Sorcery section makes me feel more like I am playing Dungeons and Dragons over being a blood mage with multiple applications. In general, Disciplines are extremely bare bones and frankly, I would not take any save a few. -The new XP thresholds for the current per-session rewards frankly, are not fun. Playing once a week for four to six hours, the amount of time required to advance a single skill I think does not make long games feasible. -Frankly, I find some of the new restrictions (SI monitoring all airports, unable to use phone touchscreens without a Blush of Life) extremely restrictive for a Vampire setting in a modern time. There is a lack of consistency as well in how some of this lore is detailed, making me think the book was chopped up to serveral departments with little communication. -I'm not a very big fan of how 'flimsy' Kindred feel now with the overall reduction in health pools.

What I enjoy about this edition: -Hunger is fantastic. I hated the bean counting of large blood pools. -Having some abilities tied to higher Humanity scores I think is very immersive, and better illustrates the pursuit of Humanity beyond what older eds had at times. -The paring down of a few skills (Awareness/Alertness) which tended to confuse new players.

Overall; I believe there are some good improvements in 5e, but overall I don't like what's been presented. My group is now using a hybridized version of V20 and 5e and is enjoying it vastly more. This ed feels very barebones, and barring bringing over some new mechanics into my V20 games, I probably won't use this again.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
by Björn L. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/23/2020 00:50:27

Rebirth of the vampires - a Mephisto review

Vampire V5

While in the late 90s the roleplaying game Vampire - The Masquerade was one of the most exciting game titles of its time, the game was eventually discontinued together with the entire World of Darkness. For Vampire, the metaplot introduced Gehenna - everything ended with the vampiric apocalypse. For a long time, it was quiet around Vampire, but with the success of the anniversary edition, the foundation was laid to let the game return in a completely new 5th edition. Even though Vampire V5 picks up where its predecessors left off in many places, the game often goes completely new ways - and shows that the time of the last almost 20 years has not stood still in the world of vampires.

The world of the Vampire

The basic background of Vampire still remains: Players take on the role of vampires in a world that, on the surface at least, resembles ours. In the background, however, there are the so-called Kindred, who as vampires not only hunt humans but have more or less strongly influenced human history. The vampiric society is very complex. There are different clans, which can be traced back as lines of descent directly to the legendary Antediluvians, and various sects, in which different vampiric philosophies meet. In the past, there were two major sects, the Camarilla and the Sabbat. While the Camarilla always appeared to bring order to the vampire world and to use the Masquerade to ensure that humanity does not learn of the existence of vampires (to prevent vampires from being hunted down as in the days of the Inquisition), the Sabbat always stood for the unrestrained display of vampiric abilities and superiority. The anarchs, who did not want to submit to the Camarilla, but were not as radical as the Sabbat either, formed the third power bloc.

But much has changed, especially for the big sects. Here Vampire uses events in history, as the authors did in the past, and takes September 11th as a critical event for great upheavals. In this case, it was the Camarilla who suspected Sabbat interference after the attacks and tried to manipulate the secret services to follow this lead. Even if the events had nothing to do with the vampires, in the end, the secret services became partially aware of the vampires and used the war on terror also to hunt the vampires. They have joined forces with church organizations such as the Society of Leopold and created what the vampires call the Second Inquisition: a well-organized and excellently equipped group of vampire hunters. Not only was the main Tremere chantry in Vienna destroyed by the Second Inquisition - cities like London also suffered heavy losses.

At the same time, another development has led to the Sabbat going in droves to the Middle East to fight the Gehenna War. In this region, the Sabbat suspect that an antediluvian is buried, against whom they want to wage war. At the same time, many of the ancient vampires are drawn by an unknown force to the same region, so that not only have many former Sabbat domains been abandoned and fallen, but other cities have also been stripped of their leadership. For this reason, the younger vampires suddenly have much more influence. But also the Anarch movement has regained strength due to the situation. The Anarchs control several cities on an equal footing with the Camarilla. With the Gangrel and Brujah, two clans have also ultimately left the Camarilla to join the Anarchs. Therefore, the Camarilla is looking for new allies and tries to work together with both the Ashira and the Assamites. As the old vampires move on, the young vampires - including the player characters - have much more influence and responsibility, and can make a big difference on the side of both the Camarilla and the Anarchs.

Even the so-called Thin-bloods, which were introduced in the 3rd edition of the roleplaying game, have established themselves as a factor and are more than just a short-term phenomenon. These vampires are so far removed from their vampiric ancestors that they neither have the full range of vampiric powers nor have they inherited all their weaknesses.

Vampires as characters

Character creation mixes familiar elements with new ideas. As before, there are attributes and skills that are combined during dice tests. The backgrounds and disciplines have also been retained in principle. However, character creation is now taking a new direction, as attribute points can be distributed more freely, while skills are determined in a process that more closely reflects the background story of the character. Besides, each vampire now has to choose a Predator Type, which corresponds to their hunting mode - and also affects their skills.

The coterie - the group of vampires - and their domain, which the characters control together if necessary, also play a role in the character creation process. There are rules for defining domains as well as different types of coterie types that can be selected, which have different advantages and disadvantages and, above all, tasks. The former backgrounds and advantages and disadvantages have been merged and mixed. In some cases, the points have to be distributed for various properties of these backgrounds. A novelty here are the so-called lore sheets, which are unique background properties that revolve around a specific theme. This way, it is possible for a player to become more connected to the background of the game. A broad selection of elements from the metaplots of the last decades appears here. For example, a player can be a veteran of the sect wars of the late 20th century, which at a low level can mean that he or she is allowed to roll the dice for appropriate knowledge - and at a high level that he or she was one of the critical characters in that conflict. Other Lore Sheets allow you to know well-known characters like Theo Bell, Jeanette Voerman or others. At least this makes the background system a lot more confusing for the player.

With the V5 core book, the player can choose between seven classic clans. In addition, there are the Caitiff and Thin-Blooded. The latter are clearly different from the other vampires (and are accordingly hated by them). Both the Caitiff, the Thin-Blooded, but also the Brujah and Gangrel are now on the side of the Anarchs and thus oppose the Camarilla, which is based on Ventrue, Tremere, Nosferatu, Toreador and Malkavian.

The rules

Vampire still uses ten-sided dice, and most tests add the value of a skill with an attribute to form a dice pool. Any roll of 6 or more is a success. Ones and tens have special effects. They can lead to critical failures or successes. While the system can be played with normal ten-sided dice, Vampire also offers special dice with corresponding symbols to help you count successes faster.

A major rule change concerns the vampires' bloodthirst. In V5, blood points are no longer counted, but a character's hunger is used. This hunger has concrete effects because every point of hunger replaces a regular die with a so-called hunger die. A missed roll and a one on hunger dice will result in a bestial failure, in which the vampiric side of the character will take over. A bestial failure always triggers certain behaviour of a vampire. There are both generic reactions and unique clan variants. But also a critical success on a hunger die leads to a messy critical, which can quickly become problematic.

The accumulation of hunger has become more unpredictable because where previously blood points simply had to be used, a die roll is now used to determine whether a character's hunger grows. This means that the use of special abilities becomes riskier.

Blood now plays a more defined role for vampires anyway, because, in addition to generation, it is Blood Potency that defines a vampire. Even if this is within limits that depend on the generation, significant differences can also arise within a generation. This concerns, on the one hand, the powers of a vampire, but on the other hand, also the restrictions in the search for blood and its weaknesses. A vampire with a high value is more powerful, but cannot feed on animals, for example.

Moreover, blood is no longer simply blood, but the choice of victims also takes on a new meaning. Here, the so-called resonances of the blood are taken into account (based on the humor theory of Hippocrates), which ideally even offer additional bonus effects for the vampire - but at least it is a clear question of taste.

Humanity is also newly managed. In contrast to the past, a character does not immediately lose points if it behaves inhumanely, but the empty dots on the scale of 0-10 can be filled with so-called stains. These are small blemishes that the character has taken upon himself. Only when the empty dots are used up (which happens the faster, the higher the humanity of a character is), the character is hindered by the moral conflict and has to cope with it. Either the character has to try to come to terms with himself again at the end of the game session, or has the quick and hard option of losing humanity.

The core abilities of the vampires are still the disciplines, but there are changes here too, the main one being that in many cases there are several powers at different levels from which the player must choose. This change means that characters with the same disciplines can still end up with very different abilities. Additionally disciplines like Celerity, Potence, and Fortitude will not simply award bonus points, but will have defined powers. Thaumaturgy has now become the Blood Sorcery, which consists of only one discipline path, but has rituals as additional abilities. For the thin-blooded vampires who do not have classic disciplines, there is Blood Alchemy, with which they can use to achieve effects with blood and other ingredients, some of which deviate significantly from the classic disciplines.

Material for the game master

The book deliberately stores some additional rules, e.g. for faster conflicts and other options, in a separate chapter and thus allows the gaming group to adapt the rule mechanics to individual needs. The book also offers more information on how to deal with designing the cities and the setting for the chronicle - and also how to deal with the increasingly important topic of domains. The structure of chronicles is described, and accordingly, there is also game material in the form of profiles for enemies and the like. The book also takes a brief look at the Second Inquisition, which is presented in a comparatively superficial manner.

Old and new

V5 is an exciting new incarnation of vampires. The game manages to build solidly on the long tradition of the roleplaying game, but also dares to make a new beginning at some points. From the background, the world has clearly turned further. The lines of conflict have shifted: here, Camarilla and Anarch are facing each other harshly, and the former fragile peace has given way to more confrontation. On the one hand, the Camarilla appears more rigid and more determined, while on the other hand, the Anarchs offer a real alternative. And V5 is not afraid to change the clans as well: The Tremere are deprived of their central leadership in Vienna, the Brujah have turned their backs on the Camarilla, and the Camarilla is looking for two clans to fill the gaps in their ranks.

With many of the old vampires gone, the player characters have greater opportunities to make a difference in their city and not just stand in the shadow of their ancestors. With the Second Inquisition, there is also a dangerous enemy making even the most powerful vampires tremble, and who forces not only the player characters to take the Masquerade much, much more seriously. Even though the earlier metaplots are still hinted at, they clearly take a back seat, at least in the rulebook. The game becomes much clearer, especially for newcomers, as the number of clans and bloodlines, the infamous vampires and other secrets has been reduced considerably (in the lore sheets, however, some of these elements are taken up again, which probably makes them much more accessible for veterans of the game).

There have also been some changes in the rules. While I personally find the new rule for hunger very fitting, it is not as unpredictable as one would expect. Also, the more complex rules on blood, which influence hunting and thus one of the essential elements of the game, can enrich a game session, but may also come to much to the fore. The approach of tightening up and standardizing the disciplines more strongly is certainly a sensible way of dealing with the earlier wild growth. However, I personally will have to get used to a few changes first. Also, the choice of different disciplinary powers may make the game more individual for the players on the one hand, but on the other hand, it makes it more difficult for the players, because he might miss certain powers.


V5 is, in my opinion, a successful synthesis of old and new. The latest edition of Vampire is definitely not just a mixture of familiar ideas but dares to break away from its predecessors in terms of background, rules and even presentation. At many points, you notice a return to the basic values of the first edition, which simplifies the complex background a lot. On the one hand, the player characters are put into focus much more, because they can achieve more. On the other hand, the Second Inquisition makes sure that the player characters or even the vampires, in general, cannot simply rule the world with their abilities. Hunters quickly become the hunted. If you love a vampire with complex metaplots, overpowering super-vampires, dozens of clans and bloodlines, and complex conspiracies, you'll experience some limitations with V5 (and you are probably better off with V20, which bundles all these aspects). But if you are looking for a new start and want to play vampires with a fresh perspective and also a new role of the player characters, you will find a robust new rule system here.

Even if some changes surprised me personally at first - and I also had to get used to the new presentation with photos and the new layout - in my opinion, the rebirth of Vampire is very well done, leading to an excellent new edition which is not just another copy of former editions. The fact that the basic rules do not contain all the background knowledge is not a novel approach for Vampire but was also the case in previous incarnations. From my point of view, this game can be recommended to vampire fans in any case.

(Björn Lippold)

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
by Rorik M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/20/2020 21:19:32

I want to preface this by saying I love the machanics and the actual crunch behind everything. What I hate, loathe with a passion, and cannot stand, is the layout. I either have to full screen this pdf to cycle through it or risk it skipping pages. The color palletes for their tables make it even more difficult if I'm trying to find important information, and in general parts of the mechanics are buried so deep in fluff that I often end up getting corrected by my ST about something I thought I knew. The bookmarks are also remarkably lacking, but that is pretty minor compared to whatver this double page layout fad is.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
by Peter F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 04/13/2020 20:59:24

I feel the need to preface this review with three caveats. First, by giving V5 five stars, I'm not saying it's perfect. There are a few layout issues (there's a lot of talk about Attributes before you get to the Attributes, which have changed to something between oWoD and nWoD) and a few tonal issues (is this the darkest version of Vampire, or the brightest?). Second, Vampire has never been my preferred flavor of the World of Darkness. I've always been more of a Mage and Werewolf person, with a fondness for a noble if flawed cause in the face of extreme opposition. Third, if you want to play Sabbat Kindred, you'll need an earlier edition, or a later supplement (as of early 2020). This version is very much a back-to-basics edition when it comes to the Clans.

That said, this version of Vampire has hooked me as no other before it. The Second Inquisition, while a simple concept, transforms the entire setting. Where once a neonate was at the bottom of the food chain in a global conspiracy of world domination, vampires are now on the run. This isn't just about greater danger to the PCs, however. Instead, the SI brings opportunity as well. In short, V5 finally solves the Elder problem in the most elegant way possible: the Masquerade has cracked, and the doomsayers are proven right. Kindred who remembered Troy and Carthage burned, while licks who know how to use smartphones stay one step ahead. The Time of Thin Blood turned out to be the thin-bloods' time.

If that was the only change, it would be enough, but the classic Clans have been reconfigured and rebalanced. The Tremere weakness, in particular, has always been a mess, and it's finally fixed here -- who says metaplot has to be bad? Further, each vampire can have a stronger or weaker Bane depending on the character's nature. The Hunger mechanic has already been talked up, down, and sideways to undeath, so I'll just say it's a perfectly serviceable system with room to play with. And if you don't want "SJW" themes in your roleplaying...what were you doing in VtM fandom in the first place?

Take this review for what it's worth. I won't deny that another game that made changes this big to a setting I love might set me off too. I also bought on a really good sale, so that helped. Still, V5 feels like a proper new beginning for a line once in torpor. Whether you want to play Kindred who are monsters to avoid becoming monsters, vicious Jyhad warriors, or completely independent coteries figuring out their unlives, the new Masqerade is a bloody good place to start.

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
by Scott M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/23/2020 11:38:44

Steer clear of this version of the World of Darkness, it's watered down simplified and absolutely lacking in content. Even newer content they have changed the known history of the WoD, not to mention getting rid of clans by clumping them into one clan, and getting rid of unique disciplines. Stick with Vampire 20th if you truly want to see what the world of darkness has to offer not this diluted and fairly poorly written edition.

[1 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
by Charles S. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/25/2019 14:49:21

A three star review usually means that a book was mediocre. Just ok. In this case, it doesn't. It's because some aspects of the book are great and others are terrible. Starting with the terrible: the layout is AWFUL. I could not imagine the layout being botched this badly until I saw it myself. Between changing constantly between 2 and 3 column, often with the middle column empty or almost empty, switching between white text on black and black text on white, and having white text on black on pages that you might want to print separately as references for your group, it's a complete disaster. I hope that W5 and other 5e line books do better in this respect, though I suppose they could compete to do even worse. The art is mediocre to bad. They went with this photographic art that honestly was extremely not thematic for the World of Darkness. They would have been better off either tracking down the original run Vampire artists and commissioning them or else picking entirely new artists who draw in a similar style. The art was also inserted poorly, often with little to do with the text near it, or art that is clearly meant to illustrate something but with no explanation of what. And of course, it committed the cardinal sin of the World of Darkness: it made the vampires look like dorks. From the Ventrue who forgot to zip his fly to the 8-character pieces for each clan, they just look...bad. And lame. Also on the bad list, though they insist it's intentional, is calling the Tremere "Hemetics." It's not clever, and just looks like there's a typo in "Hermetics" if you know anything about the history of the game.

The setting also has some strong negative points. The Second Inquisition is a fine idea, and I love that the Camarilla fucking up was responsible for it, but the idea that there's a conspiracy in the govenrments of the world like this that they're keeping secret is so WikiLeaks, no "In Russia, we have no Vampires, but the US is ruled by them!" no drunken agents blabbing that they're government funded vampire hunters? I admit, I always have this problem with conspiracies that don't have a survival-based reason to stay secret, and there's a lot of them in the WoD, but I find this one particularly ridiculous.

Other setting things are really a mixed bag, but moving on, the mechanics are quite solid. Of course, they're 90% Vampire: the Requiem mechanics with 10% modifications to handle the new Hunger system, but they're streamlined and they work. They streamlined character creation a bit too much, changing it from "You have these dots, distribute them" to "Your attributes are 4, 3, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 2, 1, distribute them" and similar with abilities, but that's easy enough to house rule (though it does net result in lower attribute totals, which is in line with grabbing mechanics from CofD)

The best thing about the streamlined mechanics, though, is that they made Willpower into a health-type stat (I hope some types in 5e can spend Health like Willpower can be spent!) and use it for social combat (and presumably mental), and Vampire has needed a social combat system since the beginning, it significantly reduces the ludonarrative dissonance of playing characters engaged in petty politics but having no mechanics to support petty political challenges.

All in all, actually reading V5 makes me a bit more hopeful for future 5e lines. The mechanics, the thing most likely to carry through, are sound. The setting has many problems, but part of that for me is that I don't like Vampire itself very much, and neither White Wolf directly nor Modiphius is in charge of writing the core book for W5 (the only other core that has been announced), so setting details are mutable. The layout problems could continue, depending on how strict the requirement to style-match is, but I hope there's a return to traditional art, two-column pages (with sidebars instead of mid-bars...or just no sidebars, they often should just be main text sections) and consistently black text on white paper, especially for mechanics pages.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
by Flaviu-Octavian B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/27/2019 14:43:05

Every time I skim read this book, it makes me a bit angry, especially since a lot of iterations, including the one I currently own, don't include in the bookmarks side bar of the pdf a lore sheet tab and a Dyscrasias tab, the lack of a lore explination of why the mechanical change to disciplines has occored to all disciplines, the lack of option of buying other abilities similar to how a Wraith buys Arcanoi in Wraith 20th Aniversary Edition(I was never a fan of this style of locking out possibilities ever since Heroes of Might and Magic 4) or just Diablery. I am not a fan of the fact that not all clans are present in this book, without any mention of any bloodlines, nor the fact that Asahira being an important faction without elaborating on whom the present members are and how this impacts the Tower versus Movement conflict. There are no other paths for any sorceries or enlightment present in this book other than blood and humanity. There are no mechanics for cyberwarfare. No Sabbat or vinculum mechanics. No mention of how the current information networks work for certain clans.

The things that I enjoyed about it are: the introduction of lore sheets that stir up more interest in researching past events in the Vampire Mythos; Dyscrasias; the damage types have been reduced from 3 to 2; generation plays a tangential role in discipline mechanics compared to previous editions; Dominate can be resisted regardless of generation; Fortitude has mental defence options now;

[2 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
by A customer [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 03/23/2019 19:08:34

This is a huge deviation from prior editions. The SJW agenda is not helping in a game that isn't supposed to care about hurting someone's feelings. While VtM could have used some more modern updates, we got those with V20. This edition is a giant running leap in the wrong direction. The book has some excellent artwork, but far too little content for a book of this size. It's a textbook example of style over substance. They have revamped many of the core aspects of the game, but this simply takes things that worked well and repackages it into something devoid of inspiration. I would suggest passing on this edition entirely. Correcting the flaws with this game will require an entirely new edition that gets back to what worked in prior versions.

[1 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
by Todd M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/11/2018 11:42:54

BLUF/TL;WR- If you can stomach the "edgy Orwellian" SJW garbage, and you don't mind the metaplot being even more hard-welded to the rules/releases, then perhaps it's worth a gamble.

Would I purchase it again? No, because I don't like fueling idiotic philosophies and isms.

Will I purchase future products in this line? I'm not sure, in light of the above, but now I've got yet another digibook as a spawning ground for electronic dust-bunnies.

I'll try not to be overly redundant, but to reinforce/reiterate that already stated.

  1. Aesthetics: too cluttered. I wish they'd come out with a bare bones/no art version. It's ~uselessly ~pretty. (mixed bag. not a fan of ~post/modernism, and some of the photos scream "fanboy/larp"; in short, they don't jibe with the tone, nor with the setting. Gothic = dark AND light, not just some cartooney/comic bookish, sophomoric black to the point of comedic. Also, such as with the "fashion" illos, it looks more like Shadowrun, than WoD. These vampires may as well wear a "Hunt Me!" or, "I'm With Troile!" tee-shirts.
  2. Rules: Looks to be a pretty nice improvement, and this is where the scales of usefulness tips, as the rules actually seem to support the kind of game that it is; the hunger mechanic addresses a big gripe that I've had with the WoD at large, namely that it degenerated into a supers game of various stripes. Not so any longer.
  3. Setting. Silly, unbelievable in a bad way. One example is how they paint Francis and the Vatican as some stripe of secretly orthodox hammerers of haemovores. Another is where (shady grammar?) Harker seems to be talking about Vampires drowning. Yet another it is stated that without the blush of life, vampires look dead, but in another section, we are briefed on how vampires are wolves in sheeps' clothing, though some are saintly wolves.

The principle of non-contradiction is either not alive or, if it is, it is unwell, at least in the World of Darkness. Same as it ever was...

Still not a deal breaker though; the systems still seem solid, just either don't think too much, or redact and patch the stupid bits like sainted wolves that don't need to breathe, but can still drown.

Internal consistency and coherence was never a WoD strong suit, to be fair to the current staff; it's a sort of tradition one supposes.

No? How about that rather odd mention of vampiric/unDEAD >>BIO<< feedback?

Silly; eat the meat, and spit the bones, and you should still be fine.

TL;DR- the rules are probably a four, if not a five. The rest I'll pick through like a dumpster, hoping for some good bits that don't strain credibility to the point of snapping.

With the caveat that we keep the peas and carrots of gaming/IRL separate, I can go into more detail, but I would strongly advise that in the future someone writing about an IRL thing, do some (more?) research, or at least get some (more?) input from someone subject matter expert, or at least more familiar.

There's not much point taking from the real world, if you make it so unreal as to be laughable.

Ending on a good note: good job on the rules/integration with dramatic effect.

Add: Further observations based upon further study

  1. Conflcit is handled is a ~uniform way. What this means, for one, is that your social butterfly can be at least as literally lethal as a meat and bone combatant, if not in the same arena, or in the same way; in this version of VtM, mechanically/systemically speaking at least, the pen may match or exceed the sword/gun/stake etc.
  2. Morality: also seems more system concrete, with very systemically/mechanically significant impacts on the game, which i like. I would be a bit more persnickety about it myself, for example by applying potential stains for non-consensual telepathy (profound breach of privacy, i.e. "thought rape" but, at a minimum, the potential and principle is there; a given example is when Auspex is used to possess; have "fun" bleaching that out.

However, the above only highlights the contradictory nature of the "flavor text" and commentary on the WoD. (for example, see "Drowned virginal vampire saintly wolves" prev. There are more "WTF(udge)?" moments like these peppered throughtout, something which would have been remedied or at least pointed out by a first year Phil./Theol. student's read through, or even via someone more keen on crit-think.

Add: another bit of nonsense to further highlight the non-mechanical incoherence and inconsistency of the book; it is stated that it isn't the job of the participants to morally judge the characters in the game, even though the morality systems given in the game require just that. It isn't the ONLY job, but it is clearly A job.

Conclusion at this point? Filler text to pump up the page count, to bump the price and make you think you're getting more than you are when, in truth, what you're really doing is paying a road to tax to fund making pot-holes.

Still give it a three, I just wouldn't spend to much time reading the non-rules/mechanics stuff, at least not without a fifth and some Tylenol.

Add: "The Second Inquisition" works well enough, if you're ignorant enough of history, the Church, the "Church", the Inquisition, the "War on Terror", geopolitics etc., otherwise you'll probably have to retool or ditch the whole think; useful in concept, mediocre to crap, stereotypical, and silly exectution. It's a characature and amalgam from numerous bad movies and comic books. MIB meets Xfiles meets le Fanu; even if you are mostly careless of such, it just doesn't add up as told, and humanity, and the counter-conspiracy is just way too competent, way to cohesive, and way too Tom Clancy convenient, unified, and coherent. Okay idea, shoddy execution.

TL;DR- it's too perfect, too neat, tidy, and clean and, so, counter to suspension of disbelief, unless you're just a gushy fanboy or would rather not think about it overmuch to at all. When does Jack Ryan make an appearance?

No? Example: how do you just "take out" Vienna, Tremere Grand Central? You've got Chantry one, with a passel of leeches with AUSPEX, Dominate, and Thaumaturgy? I get that it could be done, but as presented it's just too handwaved. They're ~prescient, for crying out loud.

You can backpedal and retcon all you like, but this is the main book, and ST's are supposed to be able to use it; X-Files went from engaging, to annoying, because they kept waffling on "The Truth" that was ever more out there to the point where you just didn't care anymore.

Advice? You can read it, or you can run it; anyone who's actually done the latter for any amount of time knows that the metaplot has a way of derailing what you've already played, so you just ditch it and don't use it whole cloth in your game because you can't; you've already "written" how things are in play, and taffy stories, if they're actually stories, usually degrade into a sticky, unsavory mess.

Edit: reduced rating to two for the nigh-inevitable, appended, Orwellian, SJW, special snowflake garbage at the end. I'd like to reduce it to one, but the mechanics mitigate against that regardless; I simply can't justify that. Maybe the person/s who wrote that tripe can get a new job reruining Star Wars; they're certainly "qualified".

If you're just going to update and incorporate rules, I'd still buy it; otherwise, I'd pass.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
by Monica G. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 12/10/2018 23:26:57

Vampire: The Masquerade is an RPG that was popular through the 90s and early 2000s, focusing on modern-day vampires and the struggles of their afterlives. Vampiric characters had 'disciplines', which are vampiric powers determined by their membership in a 'clan', a group of vampires who trace their lineage back to the same vampiric sire. A large part of the game centered around the debate amongst vampires whether to silently coexist with humanity, and use their powers to rule from the shadows (the Masquerade--advocated by a group called the Camarilla), or to give into their monsterous, beastial nature and use their vampiric powers to crush humanity and feed off of mortals as if they were cattle (advocated by a group called the Sabbat). In previous incarnations of the game, this conflict drove much of the story. The Sabbat made trouble for the Camarilla, who sought fight off the Sabbat and cover up any sign of supernatural conflict (upholding the Masquerade). This new edition brings us a new story. Humans have wised up. Intelligence agencies around the world have uncovered evidence of vampiric activity, and have acted to take out some of the most powerful vampires. The old order has been turned on its head as once-powerful clans, such as the magic-weilding Tremere have been knocked off of their pedestals. Members of the once brash Sabbat, which didn't care much to hide its power from humans, have either been killed off, driven into hiding, or like many other vampires, have been mysteriously beckoned to the Middle East. In many places, younger, thin-blooded vampires with new abilities have come to power. Vampire has always been a story-telling game, and this edition does a phenomenal job of advancing the game's story into new places. New players can enjoy tales of clashes with ancient vampires and government agents as young vampires rise to the top of the dark world created by their elders, and struggling with their inner beast and hunger for blood. Veteran players have a chance revisit characters that they played 20 years ago, and track down their old enemies if they want to live out the old rivalries. The book even touches on werewolfs, wraiths, and mages, but let's hope we see more of that in another sourcebook. In terms of the game's rules, each player is a vampire who gets to pick a small set of powers. This version keeps the ruleset simple, offering players the options to pick from the 7 Camarilla clans (previous editions had more clans that were part of the Sabbat or other organizations). However, this edition makes thin-blooded characters another great option for play with some great abilities. Thin-bloods are clanless vampires who can survive exposure to sunlight to some degree, but can't develop discipline powers as advanced as other vampires. Though, some know the secrets of distilling thier blood into alchemical concoctions that mimic the powers of true vampires. Among the most notable changes is the balancing and condensing of a lot of vampiric powers from previous editions. Veteran players will notice that some disciplines have been folded into one, and some abilities that were previously over-powered have been pared down for balance. A really nice feature is that when a player gains a level in an ability now, they get to pick from a set of powers now instead of having one option. This makes the game much more interesting given that 2 vampires of the same clan, and can have very different sets of abilities. Further, this edition adds rules for blood 'resonance'--a property of blood that gives it flavor and accompanying power. This is a very interesting story point that has rules implications for increasing your character's power, and perhaps becoming something to drive a storyline. Perhaps the most noticable thing about the book is its aesthetic. Vampire (and much of the other White Wolf games) always had a certain look about them. Their books always paid great attention to the feel of their setting, and they were famous for black and white art that was simple, somewhat erratic, and very powerful in establishing the feel of the World of Darkness. It was so well-known that it was even part of our discussions in building our review system here at Geeks A Gogo. However, the game's 5th edition makes some big changes in artistic direction. It adds a lot of artful photos of live subjects, and a simple page layout that give the book the feel of a fashion magazine. It adds a new air of realism and makes quite an impact that fans will appreciate. In closing, I want to make a full disclosure: I played a good amount of earlier editions of Vampire during it's heyday, until I got tired of the game and moved on. But just a few pages into the new edition, I can't wait to run a campaign. If you used to play, I recommend getting back into the game. If you're new to the game (and 18 or older), I recommend giving it a try. This classic game is going to new places, and it will keep you thirsting for more.

Read the full review at

[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
by Alexander N. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/01/2018 18:14:44

The system looks quite interresting, the way that the world has changed is compelling and the idea of the whole second inquisition, that is just superp, gotta admit. I like it. I like it a lot, actually. If only the lay-out had been better, this nearly reads as the old Malkavian clanbook, and if the Sabbat Clans had been included (Pappa needs his Lasombra!) then this game could have gotten 5 stars.

And now for the things that bug me, that has nothing to do with the game, but must be adressed. In this game, we play as monsters. Monsters that were once humans. The very point of this game is to, at some point in time, to kill people. Not just bad people, but just a random stranger and then having to live with the consequences of what you did, all the while you struggle with the fact that you dont feel bad for squeezing every sanguine drop from that poor single mother you ran into on the bus as she was coming home from an 12 hour shift to feed her 3 children (All of which you found out from stealing her purse and looking through her phone after said murder.)

What I am trying to say is, that I am an adult, this game is very much for people with a certain level of maturity and an interest in exploring the darker aspects of life and what it means to be slowly losing your humanity.

What I am getting at, is that people that needs to have triggerwarnings and a cain-be-redeemed article in their book talking about Identity-Politics in a DARK HORROR ROLE-PLAYING GAME, WHERE YOU LITTERALLY EAT PEOPLE, you should probably just stick to more non-offensive games, such as jenga.

I can accept with there being some ways of helping others defining their comfort levels, if people dont know each other before gaming together, this might be an good idea, since V:TM handels some dark themes and I can accept not being okay with rape-scenes and getting. with great, nausiating detail, violently eviscerated by a frenzied, naked Brujah, who just drained a guy on PCP.

Also, I don´t agree with White Wolf dictating what politics are allowed by the players. They are a company and should stick to making books that are politically neutral.

If they were spending more time on lay-out and less on virtue-signaling and appeasing the safe-space demographic, that would have been super.

[3 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
by Al F. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 11/07/2018 17:30:29

All in all this is geared toward VERY human players, if you really wanna act like a vampire? Pick up an earlier edition, this is all about shortcomings and flaws, balance it out with some of the previous ones. Also FAR, FAR to game mechanics heavy, there is no way someone is going to write a book about this series, you have to roll a dice to tie your shoes!!!

What I was HOPEING for, was a little bit of a transition from masquerade to reguiem. This sadly provided NONE of that. It eleminated a lot of clans which were kinda game-style, and really didin't "fit".. But all in all this seemed like a work in progress.

masquerade revised still shines as the best. I'd put this near 2nd editon NEEDS WORK.

[4 of 5 Stars!]
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