Vampire the Masquerade 5e

Posted 04 May 2021 to Urban Fantasy

Classic Vampire, with some developments in the game system.


XP Card

Sessions GM'd: 7
Sessions as Player: 17

I Used

431 page physical book. Core book only.


They've copied some good ideas from Vampire Requiem and introduced the new Hunger mechanic. The next time I get a hankering to run Vampire, this will be the system I use. However, the pleasure of playing the game is hampered by the organization of the book itself.


The Good

  • The Hunger system adds uncertainty and push-your-luck. In previous editions, you knew exactly how many Blood Points you had, and you knew how much would be used to activate each of your abilities. Now that certainty is gone. Can you afford to make yourself super-strong this round? Maybe. Can you get away with mind-controlling the cop? Maybe. This is a wonderful innovation and adds a lot of fun to the play experience.
  • Touchstones are mortals important to you. Copied straight from Requiem, this adds a reason for your vampire to interact with mortals, and want to protect them and have a stake in them. It allowed a few intimate scenes in our game.
  • New vampire type - the Thin Blooded. These guys have weak vampire powers but make magical blood potions which can copy the abilities of other disciplines. The other vampire clans are based on archetypes from vampire literature, but I'm not sure where this idea came from. Nevertheless, it's something new and welcome for me. Nobody played one in our campaign.
  • Predator types are new. During character creation, you decide how your vampire typically hunts. Do they climb in the window and feed from sleeping people? Do they hit night clubs and seduce their prey? This is a clever way to get players thinking about feeding from the start, and there are mechanical benefits.
  • Mortals taste different, and that's Resonances. Some rare mortals are special. Their blood tastes different and can buff certain abilities. This makes them prized discoveries. Something for vampires to fight over. A way to tempt your players to return to feed again from the same mortals, and risk complications with the Masquerade. Ingenious and fun.
  • Trad rpg combat is now an optional Advanced System. A good and sensible move. If you want to roll initiative and track the nitty gritty details of a brawl, you can. But that is slow, and it's not the default way of handling a fight any more. In our game we used the 3 round combat system, and it was great. It's just enough time to have a few scrappy moments in a fight, but it's over quickly and the story can continue.
  • The Projects system can model your long term plans. If you want to "take control of the police force", your GM can now define the difficulty of this task, and you can play out scenes to portray your gradual progression on this project. It's clever and an important part of how so many vampire campaigns unfold. My campaign was focused on the first few weeks of a new vampire's life, so unfortunately never got to try it out.
  • Provided in-game reasons for shaking up your city. The New Inquisition is a secret War on (Vampire) Terror, funded by the church, governments and spy agencies. Very cool. And entirely optional if your GM doesn't want to play with those themes in your game. Also, many really old vampires have left suddenly, and been compelled to travel the Middle East. Okay fine. This setup allows new young vampires to fill a vacuum. Nice. Personally, I don't care about the established lore of VtM, so while I'm not likely to use this, I appreciate the new possibilities that have been introduced.

The Not-So-Good

  • Art style gripes. Not a big deal for me, but it is an unusual choice. Apparently they reused some concept art from the vampire video game in places. These sketches are mixed in between photographs of models in a studio, cosplaying as vampires. The mixture of drawings and photographs doesn't quite work, in my humble view.
  • Rubbish organization.
  • Suppose I want to run a new campaign. The best place to start is a discussion with the players about the kind of coterie we will play. That's on page 197. Then we'll create characters. That's on page 136. You'll need to know about the clans. They're on page 63. The sidebar entitled, "What do I do in this game?" - which ought to be on page 1 - is on page 138.
  • Let's say you suddenly have a scene where a PC might frenzy. You need to check how Frenzy works. You open the back of the book expecting to find the Index. No Index. It's Appendices you find. The index is 20 pages BEFORE the end of the book. These sorts of snags compound on one another to make it frustrating to use the book as a reference at the table.
  • Long winded fluff and waffle. This is my standard complaint about all World of Darkness books. They need to consider using more tables and bullet points, and cut down on pages and pages of flowery prose. The book opens with 24 pages of fiction - that's a bit too much. The descriptions of Disciplines are too long winded. I summarized most of the 430 page game into a 20 page reference document. Now that's extreme, but I did it because I got frustrated with how difficult it was to quickly look something up.
  • Better factions in Requiem. I really appreciate the variety of the factions in Vampire Requiem (Carthian, Invictus, etc.), and find them deeper and more nuanced than those presented in Masquerade (Camarilla, Anarch, Sabbat). I guess they couldn't change this without angering the fanbase. So I guess I'll just disregard the VtM factions when I run my next campaign.


I'd definitely play this again. I already have some campaign ideas. I'd probably ignore the setting and lore and do something of my own creation. The core system for being a vampire is strong, and now that I have rewritten the overlong text into a shorter doc, I feel it is more manageable.



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