I don’t pay as close attention to the hobby gaming world as I once did, but even I couldn’t help hearing about the new edition of Vampire: The Masquerade over the last year. Now in its fifth edition (V5 henceforth), the new book is set to release later this summer at Gen Con, and try as I might to remain disinterested, I hear the Masquerade’s siren call beckoning.
I don’t know anything about the new edition yet. I just downloaded the playtest materials from last year so I can take a look at what they’re doing, and from a quick glance it seems like they kept the same d10-based system. In looking through the V5 pre-order info at Modiphius (they’ll be handling shipping and fulfillment for White Wolf), I see that there’s the core rulebook (along with an expensive deluxe version, and an outrageously expensive luxury version), a Camarilla and Anarch book (no Sabbat, interesting), a Storyteller Screen, and a set of custom dice for the game (featuring Vampire dice and Hunger dice, which sounds interesting). I’m actually enjoying not knowing anything and just trying to figure out what they’re doing based on what I see only. It’s a welcomed change from my days when I was practically drowning in information about all the upcoming games, especially from White Wolf.
Vampire has a special place in my gaming heart, and it’s arguably my favorite game, so it’s no surprise that the new edition has caught my attention, especially when I hear that V5 will forego the New World of Darkness/Vampire: The Requiem timeline in favor of returning to the deliciously overwrought storyline of The Masquerade. I personally always liked the metaplot of the setting, even if at times it seemed that we players were little more than spectators to the company-produced drama, but it was an entertaining drama (one that I had no qualms messing with in my game when needed). Ahead of the new game, White Wolf has released an in-game artifact book called Beckett’s Jyhad Diary which serves to bridge the events from previous editions to the current date. I’ve already started reading it.
Vampire for me exists in a very specific era of my life, indelibly tied to certain music, movies, books, and atmosphere. It’ll be interesting to revisit now that I’m older, a father, not in the same mental space I was back in the 90s, although I can say that the siren call of the Masquerade has already been stirring things in me. My old goth club Pandora station has been brought back from the dead (pun fully intended, deal with it), and even memories of that time when I attempted to design my own vampire roleplaying game have resurfaced anew. I don’t have a slew of Vampire T-shirts to wear anymore, however, nor will I start wearing eyeliner again since there’s no goth club to go to.
Yup, I’m excited about the return of Vampire: The Masquerade.