[possibly controversial]What is wrong with Vampire the Masquerade 5E?

MGibster

Legend
I would take their denials with an enormous grain of salt. It would be extremely hard to find people in the early 1990s who were pumped about vampires who hadn't read Anne Rice. But it would be legally dangerous to say so.

That said, VtM also gets a lot of its DNA from the excellent (and largely forgotten!) Near Dark.
When you write a history paper, one of the first things you do is come up with a historiagraphy. A historiography is basically a history of the history. i.e. What have other historians written about the subject. What you'll find is that there are historians whose work is impossible not to reference. If you're working on the history of Scottish Witchcraft, the name Christina Larner is going to pop up because her scholarly work from the 80s changed how people viewed the subject and is still relevant today. It boggles the mind that anyone who was really into vampires in the 1980s would have missed out on Anne Rice. I suppose it's possible, but I am skeptical. Barring some evidence to suggest otherwise, we might never know the truth.

But what we do know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that Near Dark is a fantastic vampire movie.
 

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Divine2021

Adventurer
I think most of the real issues have been fully covered. I haven’t seen it mentioned, but I will say for me the art design of the entire line felt really off and bad. But your mileage may vary.
 

Staffan

Legend
When you write a history paper, one of the first things you do is come up with a historiagraphy. A historiography is basically a history of the history. i.e. What have other historians written about the subject. What you'll find is that there are historians whose work is impossible not to reference. If you're working on the history of Scottish Witchcraft, the name Christina Larner is going to pop up because her scholarly work from the 80s changed how people viewed the subject and is still relevant today. It boggles the mind that anyone who was really into vampires in the 1980s would have missed out on Anne Rice. I suppose it's possible, but I am skeptical. Barring some evidence to suggest otherwise, we might never know the truth.

But what we do know beyond a shadow of a doubt is that Near Dark is a fantastic vampire movie.
I do not for a second believe that The Vampire Chronicles were not an inspiration for Vampire. But it probably wasn't the inspiration – there's too much other stuff in there, like the world*-wide vampire society pulling the strings on stuff. I think the main thing VtM got from VC was the generational concept – VC vampires are definitely stronger the closer they are to the ur-vampire, even though it's not quite as simple as "X steps removed".

* Well, the Western world at least.
 

Reynard

Legend
This isn't really important to the game related elements, buy after watching the AMC Interview series my wife and I decided to go back and watch the Cruise move and based on the obvious differences revisit the novel. I want to note here that we met and got together at the goth club in the mid 90s.

Book Lestat is the least impressive vampire of all time, a whining dilettante and useless fop that can't hold his temper or his vices. I know the Lestat novel made him "cool" but in Interview he is laughably mediocre.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
One thing I always regret about the Interview novel is that they introduced mysterious shambling zombie-like European vampires and then ... never mention them again.

Anne Rice eventually overexplained everything else in her works -- she bludgeoned all of the fun out of the Mayfair Witches, IMO, by her third novel in that series -- but the spooky zombie-pires? We got one blip and never anything else.
 


MGibster

Legend
I think most of the real issues have been fully covered. I haven’t seen it mentioned, but I will say for me the art design of the entire line felt really off and bad. But your mileage may vary.
I'm not a big fan of the photographs myself and would have preferred art, even B&W art, like we saw in the original game. But at least we didn't get photographs of someone's GI Joe collection dressed like vampires.
 

Autumnal

Bruce Baugh, Writer of Fortune
The one case of photo-based art I really like is Ironsworn. I recommend it to all who want to see the power of well-chosen art and extremely disciplined manipulation. A lot of it looks like how I was imagining fantasy scenes when first learning D&D, except better.

My basic hang up with 5e is how often it seems to be saying no to me. Not that faction, not those clans in those ways, not that sort of chronicle, not that sort either, not those sorts of characters, not that approach to the vampiric struggle for self-mastery, etc. I like a significant fraction of what’s there, but it seems really hard to expand past the approved choices without more intensive work than I can do right now.

By contrast, I learned after the fact that at least in the Revised era, developer Justin Achilli outright hated (among others) the Lasombra clan. But he didn’t tell me all through the time I worked on the revised clanbook. He let me pitch a Lasombra trilogy when he was gathering fiction pitches, and chose it as one of the pitches to approve, and gave good guidance all through the process of writing them. I didn’t learn his take on the clan until he sent around some of his metaplot files to his freelancers, and later made some of them public.

I genuinely couldn’t tell. And on the flip side, I don’t think you could tell his favorite clans - they didn’t get any preferential treatment, mechanically or setting-wise. He and Richard Dansky and Ethan Skemp really stamped an ethos on me. I feel like V5, and even more so Hunter 5th, steps down from that a bunch, and I don’t like it.
 

Staffan

Legend
My basic hang up with 5e is how often it seems to be saying no to me. Not that faction, not those clans in those ways, not that sort of chronicle, not that sort either, not those sorts of characters, not that approach to the vampiric struggle for self-mastery, etc. I like a significant fraction of what’s there, but it seems really hard to expand past the approved choices without more intensive work than I can do right now.
There's something to be said for having a strong focus in a work. This is the game for playing this particular thing, and if you're looking for something else you're welcome to look elsewhere. There's also something to be said for big-tent design, which leaves things more up to the players themselves to put their mark on things. But the two appeal to different people, and it's not a big surprise that a new version that changes its focus from one to the other would be controversial with those who liked the old one.
 


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