log in or register to remove this ad

 

Vampire the Masquerade - 5th edition or V20

TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
Hi!

I've been a stalker of ENWorld for a bit for my upgrades on tabletop games. I've now created an account because I am in a dilemma.

I played the Vampire the Masquerade video games many years ago and really enjoyed the mood and setting. I never got to play the Vampire tabletop games but I often delved into bits of lore and plot. Recently, I decided that I'd try something new and I chose Vampire. I've done some research to fully understand the different editions and versions of the game.

To me, it seems that the two suggested versions of the game are: the V20 or 20th anniversary edition that came out in 2011; and the 5th edition that came out in 2018.

To my understanding, the V20 is very comprehensive and is probably the most complete and authentic version of what Vampire was for most of its lifetime. However, I was told that the mechanics feel very dated, are clumsy and that because of the insane amount of lore it's very hard to get into. But most opinions were that once you're past the accessibility issue, it's a very rewarding game that's hindered a bit by cumbersome mechanics.

5th edition is apparently quite elegant in its mechanics. It's easy to understand, there's not much content that came out and the lore has apparently been moved to a place that's easier to pick up. However, I read many posts from purists that are saying that even though the game is mechanically elegant, some mechanics really change the dynamics, power level and fantasy of the game. I've also read many comments on how 5th edition turned its back to a big part of what made Vampire the Masquerade lore so great.

I'd say that it's been 50/50 from what I read. I've scoured the internet for hours but can't seem to find something to convince me which version is right. So I wondered if some people on ENWorld were fans of Vampire and could help me make an informed purchase.

Thank you in advance
 

log in or register to remove this ad


TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
I prefer V5. But it depends on the storytelling you and your group intends do play.
I don't have a group yet. I intend to convince friends to try it later on.

From what I was told, V20 had a very political and international aspect to it as opposed to V5 that is more personal horror. What's your take on that?
 

EpicureanDM

Explorer
I played a lot of V:tM 1e and 2e, so I'm pretty familiar with the V20 system. I've read V5, but haven't played it.

I don't know if you found this review of V5, but I found it very helpful in warning me away from V5.
 

Diehl

Villager
I don't have a group yet. I intend to convince friends to try it later on.

From what I was told, V20 had a very political and international aspect to it as opposed to V5 that is more personal horror. What's your take on that?

Yes, V5 is focused on personal horror, but the Camarilla book presents some aspects of politics, especially the Gehena. In my point of view, 20th focuses on individual aspects, it's not like the cotteries in V5. In this version, since you are in constant vigilance of not being hunted, whether by the second inquisition or another group.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
My personal preferences for Vampire are in this order:
  1. Vampire : The Requiem Second Edition
  2. Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition
  3. Vampire: The Masquerade, 20th Anniversary Edition
I am generally more interested in personal horror for Vampire and prefer a setting that is more suited for narrative sandboxes.
 

TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
My personal preferences for Vampire are in this order:
  1. Vampire : The Requiem Second Edition
  2. Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition
  3. Vampire: The Masquerade, 20th Anniversary Edition
I am generally more interested in personal horror for Vampire and prefer a setting that is more suited for narrative sandboxes.
I wasn't aware that there was a big difference between V20 and Second Edition. Why do you prefer 2nd?
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
I was speaking to Requiem which is Masquerade's sister game. It has a different, but similar setting to Masquerade. Requiem is a more grounded, personal game. It focuses less on global conspiracies (although there are some global conspiracies) and more on the local community and players' slow descent into being a vampire. Vampires have touchstones - mortals and places that help them cling into their humanity and who they were. Humanity is not a morality system. It's focus is more on how detached you become from your former live.

The various factions (called covenants) all take different stakes on what immortality is for and how to deal with it. The Ordo Dracul seeks to remove the constraints of being a Vampire and become something more. The Lancea et Sanctum carry their faith over from their past lives. They seek to be divine wrath - feeding only on sinners - and encouraging other vampires to do the same.

The big thing is that on a systems level Requiem encourages dealing with human issues. The setting is also better suited to more open play, because politics are more local. Elders are treated as monsters that largely exist outside the political arena.

On the personal horror / global conspiracy scale. Requiem is at one end. V20 is at the other. V5 is pretty much in the middle.
 

I bought some books of WoD20, and the core V20 and the sourcebook about the ghouls. I am interested about the factions, but to worry about crunch I would rather the d20.

I choose V20 because I wanted the lore/fluff/background, and all the clans+bloodlines. Maybe you like more the new gameplay but I miss the rest of the main clans in the corebook.
 

Mark Hope

Explorer
If you're looking to recreate the mood and setting of the Vampire computer games, you want V20 instead of V5. The mechanics of both are clunky - neither is a particularly smooth game - so it's like @Diehl says: it depends on the kind of game you're looking to play. V5 will support and reinforce a personal horror game, but doesn't have as much support for other types of play (although it has some). V20 will scale to whatever type of game you want, from personal horror to global epic, but you have to be willing to put in the work to make it run in the way that you want (either by tweaking rules as desired or by making sure that you and the players approach the game in the desired fashion). V20 has considerably more (and richer) lore, which can be overwhelming, but is rewarding if you take the time to invest in it.

If you're looking for an easy on-ramp game for personal horror, V5 is a good choice. If you want more options and are willing to put in the time to make it work, V20 is the better choice.
 

Raduin711

Adventurer
I think V5 has made some pretty necessary changes to the lore and how the world of Vampire works, and I feel like it brings it a bit closer to what Vampire has always supposed to have been about. The books spent so much time talking the talk of personal horror, but when they walked the walk with lore and mechanics, I feel like V20 kind of got away from that.

Moving the conflict away from Camarilla vs. Sabbat makes a lot of sense. It's kind of hard to have a secret vampire shadow war with cell phone cameras everywhere. Anarchs vs. Camarilla makes a lot more sense from a personal horror perspective.

Hunger and Feeding get mechanics in V5 at least in theory look a lot better. Hunger in V20 is a gas-tank of blood, and managing it seems pretty easy because you always know how much you have to spend. V5 hunger is harder to pin down (how much food do you have in your stomach right now?) because you never know which way a rouse check will swing. The idea that you are always a little hungry unless you take a life is a new idea, but makes sense in the setting IMO, but I understand how people might react negatively to a change like that to the lore. The extra focus on hunting styles I think is also welcome.

I get how people will be turned off by not every clan being in the core book, and the changes made to the disciplines, and other changes (I will certainly miss the Count Orlok-looking Nosferatu) but I think the changes are for the better on the whole. But I am not a diehard fan (Mage was always my jam)
 

Mark Hope

Explorer
Yeah, Mage is my favourite WoD game by far. There's a similarity there, though - like Mage, VtM grew in scope so rapidly to encompass other styles of play other than personal horror that the narrower focus of V5 is difficult for some players to stomach. My impression is that upcoming V5 releases will broaden that scope a bit, but I wonder if it's too late to win over fans of earlier iterations of the game. Edition wars are tiresome.
 

TheAlkaizer

Game Designer
If you're looking to recreate the mood and setting of the Vampire computer games, you want V20 instead of V5. The mechanics of both are clunky - neither is a particularly smooth game - so it's like @Diehl says: it depends on the kind of game you're looking to play. V5 will support and reinforce a personal horror game, but doesn't have as much support for other types of play (although it has some). V20 will scale to whatever type of game you want, from personal horror to global epic, but you have to be willing to put in the work to make it run in the way that you want (either by tweaking rules as desired or by making sure that you and the players approach the game in the desired fashion). V20 has considerably more (and richer) lore, which can be overwhelming, but is rewarding if you take the time to invest in it.

If you're looking for an easy on-ramp game for personal horror, V5 is a good choice. If you want more options and are willing to put in the time to make it work, V20 is the better choice.
Thank you for these explanations. I'm slowly leaning towards V20. I work as a Game Designer myself and the prospect of maybe tweaking a few rules to make it easier to run doesn't displease me.

Yeah, Mage is my favourite WoD game by far. There's a similarity there, though - like Mage, VtM grew in scope so rapidly to encompass other styles of play other than personal horror that the narrower focus of V5 is difficult for some players to stomach. My impression is that upcoming V5 releases will broaden that scope a bit, but I wonder if it's too late to win over fans of earlier iterations of the game. Edition wars are tiresome.
Yeah, I hate Edition Wars. Like many people, I started my journey with D&D. Unlike many people, I greatly enjoyed the 4th edition. I recognize its flaws but I often debated that people didn't praise it for the things it did right. It had many great design ideas that 5th edition should have borrowed in my opinion. So when I dive into a new tabletop game, it's not so much about finding which edition is better but which one strikes the right balance between authenticity and quality of design/mechanics.
 

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top