Rebuilding Vampire: #V20 (or White Wolf Beat Me To It)

Yes, I know that I wrote a goodbye post to this series earlier this year, but what can I say, events in the last few weeks have conspired to bring this back from the dead (pun firmly intended). I’ll talk about the biggest one now.

White Wolf has surprised the gaming world by announcing a very special project to be published later this year, the Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition, to be released at the Grand Masquerade in September.

This quote from the Basic Design Directives for V20 by Justin Achilli sums it all up beautifully:

Vampire is our crazy ex-girlfriend and we’re scrawling her a handwritten note confessing a desperate, to-hell-with-everyone-else kind of love, and she’s agreed to give it one more go with us.

The book will be classic VtM using the old system last seen in Revised, but updated via an open playtest. I love that; part of the charm of VtM was its slightly convoluted, borderline arcane system. Same goes for all the Byzantine accoutrements of the world of Masquerade: they’re flamboyant, but they make up the feeling, the atmosphere – it all exuded attitude.

Seriously, remember my love letter to Vampire: The Masquerade? It’s like they read it at White Wolf and said, let’s do this again for Daniel and all others like him.

You can see the design diary and open playtest documents as they are posted at If you’re on Twitter, use the #v20 hashtag and know that the design team are actively monitoring it and chatting along with the fans (which is all kinds of awesome).

I’ll come back to talk more about this. So far I’m seeing a lot of chatter about Abilities and Disciplines and Clan Weaknesses, but I wanna talk about the core of Vampire, the Humanity system (and one of the very early tweets from Justin Achilli was precisely about what to do with Humanity to emphasize it, so I know they are thinking about this as well).

Does this change my game design plans? Oddly enough, no, it doesn’t. I am tickled pink at the prospect of an updated and tightened VtM, especially if the central thematic concepts can be better integrated into the game, but by now my idea for a vampire game has evolved into a very specific vision of what the vampiric experience is and I don’t think they will overlap, if only because VtM is still a game powered by a system meant to handle a degree of simulation of reality (Abilities, Skills, Talents, etc) and I’m interested in exclusively focusing on story elements about the unlife and final death of a vampire and all that they crap on along the way.

But I’ll talk about that more in my next post, where I blame Rob Bohl for providing the last drop of blood that brought this back from torpor.

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