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5th Edition Vampire: The Masquerade Announced
#1
AA lot seems to have gone on at this year's World of Darkness Berlin convention. The dust from White Wolf's acquisition by a German video game company appears to have settled enough that they were comfortable not only announcing the game's new edition, but also letting playtesters run through an "early alpha" version of the game. A lot of game mechanics and metaplot spoilers have found their way to the Onyx Path Publishing forums in the wake of the convention.


Summary of what we know about game mechanics as of this moment:


Attempts are being made to streamline character stats and die rolls in order to make the game more accessible. The developers reportedly want a lot of situations that can be resolved by rolling a single die. In the alpha build that saw testing at the convention, player characters had three main stats - physical, social, and mental strength - with specialties that mirror the old core attributes. One forum commenter pointed out that what they saw reminded them a lot of the LARP rules for Mind's Eye Theater, but I have no experience with that rule set and can't make an informed comment one way or the other.

The new White Wolf wants to dispense with "gas tank" mechanics like Rage, Willpower, and Blood Pool, in favor of something that the new writers hope will instill a little more roleplaying flavor. As far as I can make out, it sounds like when player characters encounter opportunities to indulge the worst aspects of their characters' natures, the player can resist, gaining a die to use on die rolls as a reward. They pay for this by taking on roleplaying penalties related to their clan weaknesses. (One playtester reported an incident where cops were able to sneak up on their Toreador while the Toreador was transfixed by the sight of a burning building.) They reset their dice pools and clear the clan-based debuffs when they feed.


Summary of the publishing situation:


It's not clear what role Onyx Path Publishing will have, if any, in the 5th edition of the game. As of May 21st, Onyx Path has made no formal announcement of any kind about 5th Edition yet. "Beckett's Jyhad Journal," the book that's reportedly serving as 5th Edition's metaplot bible, is an Onyx Path production that's currently going through final editing and awaiting publication, but Onyx Path is busy working on creating its own new game properties in case White Wolf proceeds further without them.

Plans exist for a 5th Edition Werewolf, and there's more on that in the metaplot section below. The first stage of the publishing plan involves a thin core Vampire rulebook , Camarilla and Anarch supplements, and settings books for Europe and North America, with a Sabbat book to follow significantly later (for metaplot reasons, see below).


Now, the good shit! Here's what we know so far about the metaplot:


[SPOILER=Warning: Spoiler!]It's the modern night, and the Second Inquisition is on. The public may or may not be aware of the existence of vampires, but government agencies are bombing havens and getting the compliant corporate-owned news media to blame it on terrorists. The Camarilla has responded by ceding the streets to the Anarchs, and then promptly kicking the Anarchs out of the Camarilla, in what looks to be a repeat of the strategy Elders employed during the First Inquisition - throwing their young to the torches and pitchforks, then hiding and hoping the terror passes them by. Far from claiming every vampire as a member by default, the Camarilla is now an exclusive, invitation-only VIP club, an undead 1%, in what looks to me to be a very timely parable of Haves and Have Nots.

That's what's happening in the West. In the Middle East, the Gehenna War has begun. The Antedeluvians are active and trying to destroy one another under the cover of mortal wars. Vampire Elders are experiencing a mystical summons to the region, which they find nearly impossible to resist. This has made the region a target-rich environment for the Sabbat, and they've flooded the Middle East en masse in order to hunt Elder vitae.

I'm reading all of this as a realization of what each of the three factions have always claimed they're about. For the Anarchs, 5th Edition promises to be a game about survival from one night to the next, hunting for their next blood fix while trying to stay off the radar of the Inquisition. For the Camarilla, it's a game of intrigues in salons while the world burns outside. For the Sabbat, it's the war they've spent centuries psyching themselves up for.

No word yet on when Werewolf 5th Edition will see print, but word is that it's become inescapably clear that Gaia is on the edge of death, they're panicking over the question of what to do about it, and the tribes are choosing sides, with half of them arguing for a second Impergium to cull humanity's numbers.

No word yet on Mage The Awakening, but in my opinion the idea of a Second Inquisition seems terribly compatible with the idea of the Technocracy finally cracking down on all these pesky "reality deviants."

The only word so far on Kindred of the East is that White Wolf is holding back while they call for pitches from Asian authors who can do authentic justice to the region. They seem to have a sincere interest in avoiding cultural appropriation.[/SPOILER]
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#2

OH SHIT!



That sounds awesome.



I didn't hate The Requiem but it just wasn't the same.

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#3
AImpressions of the game's current alpha state, from a playtester who attended conventions at Berlin and Cologne.


The player's explanation of the blood hunger system makes it sound pretty compelling. You've got a Hunger score of 1 to 5. Your Hunger score has a chance to increase at the end of any Scene when you use blood to get up for the night, to temporarily raise an attribute, to activate a Discipline, or to heal a wound. For every point of Hunger your character currently has, you replace one of the dice in your dice pool with a red Hunger die. Successes on Hunger dice still count as successes, but a roll of 1 on a Hunger die indicates that you're getting closer to having to burn some Composure if you want to avoid frenzying.

In the example given, a player is trying to do a task and his attributes and skills add up to six points, so he's got six dice to roll in the hopes of scoring a target number of successes. Since the player's character's Hunger is at three, three of the dice in his six will be Hunger dice, with three chances of his thirst becoming an issue.

My favorite bit: If they fed without killing or drained an animal to death, playtesters could only reduce their Hunger to 1. To reduce it to 0, they had to kill a human being, as murder is the only thing that satisfies the Beast completely.
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#4
AWhite Wolf is polling for feedback on 5th Edition in its current pre-alpha zygote state, before they iterate on the rules and setting further.

Their blog has a link for a downloadable PDF of the rules as they currently are and a scenario. Another link on the blog goes to the survey.
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#5
ABeckett's Jyhad Diary, the lore supplement that bridges Onyx Path's 20th Anniversary Edition of V:TM and White Wolf's 5th Edition, became available on DriveThruRPG today.

This book's a 559 page, 30 chapter monster. The physical edition is thicker than the V20 core rulebook. And it's all fluff! It's all story! My PDF copy is downloading right now. I can't wait to tear into this over the next several nights.


ETA:

Reading it now, and it's obvious that the book is going to be a smorgasbord of updates on old locations and storylines, often delivered as easter eggs. By page 14, the book is referencing the Voerman sisters from Trokia's "Bloodlines" game.

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#6
Quote:

Originally Posted by Reasor View Post

Beckett's Jyhad Diary, the lore supplement that bridges Onyx Path's 20th Anniversary Edition of V:TM and White Wolf's 5th Edition, became available on DriveThruRPG today.

This book's a 559 page, 30 chapter monster. The physical edition is thicker than the V20 core rulebook. And it's all fluff! It's all story! My PDF copy is downloading right now. I can't wait to tear into this over the next several nights.


ETA:

Reading it now, and it's obvious that the book is going to be a smorgasbord of updates on old locations and storylines, often delivered as easter eggs. By page 14, the book is referencing the Voerman sisters from Trokia's "Bloodlines" game.

_


FUCK YES!



I'll have to download that when I get back from work this afternoon.

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#7
AI'm really enjoying it so far. Two hundred pages in, and I've read updates to story threads dating back to Bloodlines (which released in 2004), several of the Clan novels (1999 to 2000), Chicago By Night (1993), Montreal By Night (1997), Time of Thin Blood (1999), Mexico City by Night (2002), several Black Hand and Tal'mahe'ra books published in recent years, and The Chaos Factor (1993).

Seeing that last one picked up again was a very pleasant surprise. It was a Werewolf: The Apocalypse supplement that introduced a secret about Mexico City and the Sabbat Regent which later books never revisited.

Each chapter wraps up with a brief discussion of how you might involve players in the plots as presented, along with ways that they might resolve themselves if you want to set a game in the aftermath. This book is one of the best things Onyx Path has done.

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#8
The picture at White Wolf appears to have devolved into a shitshow since I last posted in this thread.

The core rulebook for V5 is in print and available as a PDF. The Camarilla and Anarch supplements were available at DrivethruRPG for like a day, then pulled down by the publisher. They're supposedly in rewriting and awaiting republication now. A lot of ugly conversations seem to have been zapped by the mods at Onyx Path's forum site before I could learn the details. The best I can discern now is that the kerfuffle over the books being pulled degenerated into neckbeards versus SJW's, possibly hinting that it was about the content of some metaplot story point or other.

White Wolf's latest parent company has since announced that they're shutting White Wolf down as a publishing house, absorbing the staff, and farming out any and all future writing to contractors. Looking at the work Onyx Path has done on their 20th Anniversary editions of the original games, the whole shebang would have probably been better off in their hands instead of getting acquired by these German venture capitalists who are just going to sit on the property rights like landlords.
"Looking at the Trump administration, I'm starting to think I was too hard on the characters in Prometheus."  --  MrBananaGrabber
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