Friday, June 16, 2017
Vampire 5e preview
This is going to be a brief first impression of the new pre-alpha Vampire: the Masquerade 5th edition playtest rules which I downloaded this morning.
For the record, the original 1991 edition of Vampire: the Masquerade was a much-loved RPG for me and my friends. I ran it a lot in the early 90's and played a fair amount, too. The VSd6 engine that makes Kort'thalis Publishing games go is a hybrid of V:tM and Star Wars D6.
Right from the start, the text is readable which is good. The opening defines this game as a storytelling game of personal and political horror. I would not have chosen that word to describe the game. Especially right now, that word "political" is so super-charged with a lot of things going on that you may as well throw in "Trump," "Obamacare," and "radical Muslim jihadist" as well.
There are some things I like, such as breaking down the 9 attributes into three: physical, social, and mental... with specialties. Honorable mention - succeeding at a cost.
There are some things I love, but already know I'm going to house-rule because I don't care for how they're presented - hunger, specifically "hunger dice." Note to game designers: call it "The Hunger," whenever possible. Not just "hunger." Like anyone else that's human, I get hungry. It happens. I eat and it goes away. What you're trying to convey is similar, but something altogether different. A supernatural hunger - The Hunger! Also, it's the name of a classic and evocative 80's vampire movie.
What's my beef with the presentation? Too much bookkeeping. When I get time, I'll outline how I would use those red hunger dice (yes, I agree... they must be red).
In conclusion, I've got to study this more and actually play the game. If I had time, I'd love to run a Vampire: the Masquerade chronicle (if some RPG company was throwing money at me, I might be able to convince my wife that spending time/energy on RPG stuff was worthwhile).
But this version, even in its infancy, does feel like a later edition of V:tM. And it's piqued my curiosity enough to delve deeper, so by that standard alone, I think it has accomplished one of its goals.