Review: White Wolf Entertainment – Vampire: The Masquerade, 5th Edition (Storytelling System)

Vampire: The Masquerade
Vampire: The Masquerade is a gothic horror role-playing game written by Kenneth Hite, Martin Ericsson, Matthew Dawkins, Karim Muammar, and Juhana Pettersson, published by White Wolf Entertainment and distributed by Modiphius Entertainment.
By Aaron T. Huss

Learn more about Vampire: The Masquerade here
Purchase Vampire: The Masquerade, 5th Edition here
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Please note, this review is for the 5th edition of Vampire: The Masquerade.

Before starting this review, let it be known that I did not become familiar with World of Darkness until the new World of Darkness.

Vampire: The Masquerade is now available in a 5th edition incarnation. Without consideration for the 20th anniversary edition, this edition blends Vampire: The Masquerade with the new one-roll mechanics in the Storytelling System. But fear not, diehard fans of old, there are optional mechanics that allow you to incorporate the old mechanics in a way that blends them with the new mechanics. It’s kind of like the best of both worlds.

As with other World of Darkness settings, Vampire: The Masquerade is a core rulebook and setting in one. It is literally the only book you need to play the game, not that you won’t want other supplements to enhance your gameplay. This particular version, however, contains nine clans with disciplines, character creation, advancement, and the core rules. Written by one of the masters of horror RPGs, Kenneth Hite, it is a beautiful, full-color book with a mixture of photographs and illustrations and a whole lot of flavor content to get your mind prepared for a proper game. When you think of the most popular games in the industry, this particular version of Vampire: The Masquerade brings the game to a new, professional level that matches the big guys. Prior books still looked like books from the 90s. This one definitely has a 2018 look!

One of the things I truly admire in Vampire: The Masquerade is the dramatic storytelling aspects of Gothic horror that it embraces. And I don’t mean flavor additions; the dramatic storytelling is incorporated directly into the mechanics forcing you, as a player, to think about what it means to live eternity as a vampire. It gets into morality, humanity, self-control, and the desire to feed and what it does to you. All in all the game comes together beautifully in a blend of setting, mechanics, and gaming experience!

I really like the way this 5th edition is designed. I am a bit biased in that I prefer simpler mechanics (i.e. the one-roll resolution method), but I also like options for gaming groups that want more control or greater depth to their gaming experience. By adding the original resolution designs as advanced mechanics, you end up with a coming together of new and old to present a book that all fans can sink their teeth into! The artwork is amazing, the graphic design is beautiful, and the writing is phenomenal. It’s definitely a worthy revision to a popular game that is 25+ years old!

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