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Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition $24.99 $18.74
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Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
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Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Modiphius
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 absurd...no 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.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Modiphius
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;



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Modiphius
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.



Rating:
[1 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Modiphius
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.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Modiphius
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 geeksagogo.com



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Modiphius
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.



Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition
Publisher: Modiphius
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.



Rating:
[4 of 5 Stars!]
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