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Tabletop Game / Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition

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Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition is the first release by White Wolf since their acquisition by Paradox Interactive. It is an update of the setting from Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary and brings the game into the 21st century. Development of the new game was led by Kenneth Hite.

The premise of the game remains the same as its predecessor: vampires are real and live among us, pretending to be human. The player character is one of their number, having been turned and cursed with a hunger for blood as well as uncontrollable rage. Vampires have a secret society called the Camarilla which battles for control of humans and each other with many different factions. They are one of 13 Clans and each possesses unique powers. Every vampire must maintain a certain morality, called Humanity, or they will degenerate into a vicious wild animal. Vampires called the Sabbat forego this struggle and embrace their inner monster.


Changes to the setting brought about by 5th Edition include the discovery of vampires by world intelligence agencies. Rather than reveal their existence to the public, they have begun the Second Inquisition and have killed thousands of Kindred across the globe. This event has resulted in a Civil War between the Camarilla with the Brujah leaving to join the Gangrel in the Anarchs. Mysteriously, the eldest among vampires are summoned to the Middle East in an event called the Beckoning. The Sabbat, sensing the arrival of the Antediluvians, have journeyed there to slay these Elders and search for their ancient enemies.

The edition was controversial for choosing to play up the darker elements of the setting and was accused of sometimes being insensitive to real-world issues. After the release of The Camarilla sourcebook, which included a chapter about the Chechnyan persecution of homosexuals, the edition became international news. Paradox Interactive absorbed White Wolf Entertainment after this and declared it would be releasing 5th Edition exclusively through licensing deals from that point on.


Onyx Path Publishing licensed the Chicago By Night setting to produce the 5th Edition of that supplement. Its Kickstarter can be found here.

Books set in the setting so far are:

  • Rusted Veins (Gencon exclusive tie-in adventure)
  • Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition
  • Anarch (sourcebook)
  • Camarilla (sourcebook)
  • Chicago by Night: 5th Edition (in development)

This game contains the following tropes:

  • Aborted Arc: Most of the plot points set in Beckett's Jyhad Diary like the discovery of a 2nd Generation Vampire, Marcus Vitel's new sect, the Tremere worm, and the upcoming Sabbat Civil War get ignored or rendered moot by 5th Edition's changes.
  • Apocalypse How: Averted actually. The build-up to Gehenna from classic V:TM is changed so that Gehenna is cyclical and may be happening right now in the Middle East but it is not something that necessarily will result in the end of the world or even the destruction of all vampires. Many older vampires are screwed, though.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Averted with the Malkavians now. They are clarified as being supernaturally afflicted and their insanity has no basis in real-life mental illness. It also precludes Hollywood Psych.
    • Again with vampire biology as an opening letter of 5E says that "vampires make no scientific sense. They're magic. Deal with it."
  • Ascended Extra: A Downplayed Trope example as the Anarchs used to be the default protagonist option but gradually faded from view. They have since been reimagined as the second most powerful sect, replacing the Sabbat, and are a serious threat to the Camarilla's existence.
    • Carna from Milwaukee by Night has gone from being Regent of a mid-level US city to leader of a third of the Tremere Clan.
  • Asshole Victim: Hardestadt was a Smug Snake Corrupt Corporate Executive who was always depicted as the Big Bad of the Camarilla. No one was unhappy to see him be killed by Theo Bell save, maybe, Jan Pieterzoon.
    • Jacob Schumpeter was a serial abuser of women and domestic abuser. He was killed by the Second Inquisition to no mourning.
    • Arguably the vast majority of the Second Inquisition's victims as a whole starting with the Inner Council and Queen Anne.
  • Author Appeal: Matthew Dawkins loves the characters of Diablerie: Britain and Milwaukee by Night. As such, references to both appear in multiple locations across the books where he's a developer. He's also said to be the primary party behind the Continuity Porn of the works under his command (and quite proud of it according to Word of God).
  • Back from the Brink: The Society of Leopold was The Remnant in previous editions, deadly only to small groups of vampires and monsters. Now it's been funded by the world's governments to the tune of several billion dollars, given military grade equipment, and allowed to recruit from the world's Catholic Special Forces.
  • Back from the Dead: Prince Lodin, Marc Levensque, Nero the Violinist, and more in Chicago by Night 5E.
    • Anatole and Lucita among others killed during the build-up to Gehenna are retconned as being alive. Really, the entire vampiric race since they were all supposed to be destroyed in Gehenna.
  • Bad Boss: The Camarilla is revealed to have been this as they threw the Anarchs to the Second Inquisition in hopes they would be satisfied.
  • Balkanize Me: The Tremere suffered a version of this with the decapitation of the Pyramid. The three major factions are now House Tremere (led by Karl Screkt Still Wearing the Old Colors), House Goratrix (secretly led by Tremere himself), and House Carna.
  • Blatant Lies: The Camarilla claims the Anarchs are the ones who brought down the Second Inquisition's wrath. It was actually the Camarilla.
  • The Bus Came Back: Vannevar Thomas is now claiming Praxis of Los Angeles. This after having not been mentioned in decades.
    • Chicago by Night ceased to be the default setting in 1993. It's now getting a new edition published.
    • One of the major faction heads is Carna, a Tremere from the often overlooked Milwaukee by Night.
  • Blessed with Suck: The new rules set dramatically increases the downsides of being a vampire if you don't want to be a psychopath. Feeding is far more emphasized than in previous editions as our Hunger frenzies. If vampires don't stay completely fed all the time, it's entirely possible for them to go Ax-Crazy at any given time. They also can only have a small version of them, the highest in generation, feeding from animal blood or blood bags. The godlike power possessed by ancients in previous editions seems to have been toned down as well.
    • Cursed with Awesome: Vampire Disciplines, at least, are now far more flexible. You can turn into a snake, a wolf, a bat, or a giant panda theoretically with Protean 4. You can also mix and match your abilities. The worst elements of most Clan Weaknesses have also been dialed down. It even gives a reason to be a high generation vampire as Duskborn, 12th, and 13th generation vampires can feed much-much easier. Duskborn can only frenzy under exceptional circumstances too and some are even Daywalking Vampire characters.
  • Broad Strokes: Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is considered canon for the game. The details, however, are considered to be fuzzy.
  • Broken Masquerade: Inciting incident that sets the stage for V5, luckily only a State Sec operation known as First Light who found out, not the whole of humanity. Unforunately they have formed what would become the Second Inquisition with the Society of Lepold backed by the Vatican, Using Anti-terrorist operations as cover to wipe out Kindred. Since then Kindred have made a new second layer of masquerade to avoid the First Light's eye.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: Averted! Vampires in previous editions couldn't have enjoyed sex without spending blood and if they did, it wasn't enjoyable. Sex is now enjoyable for Kindred even if it doesn't involve biting the other partner and is very enjoyable if it does. However, it requires a high Humanity score.
  • Changing Gameplay Priorities:
    • Vampires in 5E have a much greater need for blood than previous editions. If they don't have a full blood pool at all times, they have a chance of frenzying at the slightest provocation. As such, things like feeding and Herds have a much higher priority.
    • Lower Generation is now not as useful since while you can use more blood, you can no longer feed on Animal Blood or Blood Bags. Indeed, being a Thin-Blood is now a viable build as you can sometimes walk out in the day as well as make use of Thin-Blood Alchemy to fight back.
    • Disciplines are now no longer dependent on a straight priority to higher levels. You can mix, match, and combine them to create a wide variety of weird powers. A vampire with Dominate and Protean could, theoretically, control people's minds with wolf howls.
    • It is now possible to Dominate lower generation vampires.
  • Character Customization: Now a much bigger deal with the new variety of powers.
  • Continuity Porn: The Anarch (sourcebook) and The Camarilla (sourcebook) include references from all previous editions of the V:TM franchise.
  • Darker and Edgier: The entire edition was deliberately marketed to adults with many attempts to tackle issues like activism, fascism, feeding, and consensuality. How successful they were in doing so can be discussed in YMMV.
  • Demoted to Extra: The original seven clans: Brujah, Gangrel, Malkavian, Nosferatu, Toreador, Tremere, and Ventrue are joined by Caitiff as well as Duskborn in the main book. The Independent Clans and Sabbat Clans are not included. In order to learn about them, you have to purchase additional supplements.
    • The entire Sabbat are reduced from being the second most powerful sect in the world to being largely out of play. They all abandoned their cities and went to fight in the Gehenna War.
  • Did Not Think This Through: The Nosferatu's was hacked by the government, exposing all of the Kindred's secrets to the NSA. They really should have known better about the dangers of putting important information online given they include a strong hacker subculture.
    • The Banu Haqim killed the Ministry's representatives to join the Camarilla, causing the Camarilla to side with them. The Ministry promptly joined the Anarchs and have been arming them in their war against the Camarilla.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Done twice by the Second Inquisition. The Second Inquisition managed to take out multiple targets in the early stage of their campaign. One of these was every vampire in London killed in the course of a few days, including Queen Anne and Monty Coven (who is actually the Methuselah Mithras). The second time was when they killed the Inner Council of the Tremere, who were composed of 4th and 5th generation vampires as well as potentially a 3rd in the basement.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Anarch (sourcebook) uses things like Antifa and internet activism to provide a backdrop for the new Anarch movement. Played with as it's also established they're directly drawing from many radical anti-fascist groups and are harming more than helping. The section on Cleavers was also meant to invoke parent internet chats where they frequently exchange wrong medical treatments and suggestions.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Theo Bell after having spent a century and a half being loyal to the Camarilla, kills the head of the Ventrue clan.
    • The Anarchs as a whole were long considered to be a member of the Camarilla but formally rebelled against them after being thrown to the Second Inquisition.
    • Humanity gets this as they manage to effectively put the vampire race on the backfoot after centuries, if not millennia, of being manipulated pawns.
  • Evil Feels Good: If you kill someone while feeding, you will not be Hungry for the rest of the night, no matter how little you fed.
  • Feminist Fantasy: House Carna is based around this idea with Regent Carna using the Book of the Grave War to free her fellow Tremere. She's since gone on to found a feminist and nature-orientated version of the Tremere that will never bow to the Inner Council (or its replacements) again.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The Followers of Set's new name, the Ministry, is designed to put people at ease.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Subverted. The game is very much about maintaining your humanity but this Edition takes a harder stance than any previous one that vampires are incapable of being good people. Just trying not to be actively evil. Played straight with some high generation and Thin-Blood characters.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: The perception of the Anarchs going from being a sect of disgruntled Camarilla members to a third sect in their own right, which has seized much of the Camarilla's territory.
    • Humans get this with the Second Inquisition wiping out the vampire population of London, Venice, and the Inner Council of the Tremere.
    • Thin-Bloods (now known as Duskborn) have become terrifying in their own way due to Thin-Blooded Alchemy and organizing.
    • Kevin Jackson is a Downplayed Trope example as while he was always a powerful Ventrue, him becoming Prince took many vampires (and players) by surprise.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Followers of Set have abandoned exclusive Set worship and become the Ministry (of Love). They also have joined the Anarchs in pursuing the cause of Kindred liberation. Averted when it's revealed they're the same old Snakes as always. They just feel they can win more Kindred to their cause if they didn't look like the Obviously Evil cult they are.
    • The Brujah as a whole joining the Gangrel as part of the Anarchs may also be viewed as this.
    • What the Anarch perception of Theo Bell killing Hardestadt was.
    • The Banu Haqim have joined the Camarilla, replacing the Brujah and Gangrel.
    • Clan Lasombra may be making one of these as the Gehenna War is causing them to consider joining the Camarilla. Whether they do so or not will be determined by players in the 1st Chicago by Night 5E Chronicle.
  • Hero Antagonist: There's a massive global army of SEAL teams, FBI agents, Mossad, SIS, SAS, CIA analysts, and more. They're teamed up with the Church Militant and are out to rid the world of vampires. You're their prey.
  • Horror Hunger: Hunger is much larger part of the game. Now vampires never stop being hungry unless they kill someone.
    • The Hunger never completely goes away, even if you have a full blood pool now. The only way to make it stop is to drain someone to death.
  • Killed Off for Real: Hardestadt the Younger, Jan Pieterzoon, Monty Coven, and Queen Anne of London have all been confirmed to have met the Final Death.
    • The Inner Council of the Tremere has also been killed off.
    • Modius is confirmed as having been killed and Juggler has since disappeared.
    • Al Capone, Dickie Fulcher, Jacob Schumpeter are listed among those classic Chicago by Night characters to have met the Final Death.
  • Masquerade: It's in the title. In this case, the Masquerade has been severely compromised but not quite broken. Many of the world's intelligence agencies are now aware of vampire existence and are taking steps to neutralize them. The Masquerade is now more important than ever since if the PCs screw up, then they will have drone strikes and SEAL teams after them.
  • Meaningful Rename: The Assamites are now the Banu Haqim, the Followers of Set are the Ministry, and the Giovanni are the Hecata.
  • Morality Pet: Weaponized and made part of the rules system. Every new vampire character should have a "Touchstone" which is a human they care about a great deal. They may have a deeply unhealthy and messed up relationship with said Touchstone but they do care about them enough to feel something human. Can go up to the level of Morality Chain since losing a Touchstone can seriously impact one's Humanity score.
  • The Purge: The Second Inquisition is actively tracking Kindred globally and exterminating them. They have military-grade hardware, an unlimited budget, and the assistance of the Society of Leopold as well as the Catholic Church. Subverted in that not all of them want vampires to be destroyed and have many disparate factions.
  • Put on a Bus: According to the Core Book, all the Elders of both sects as well as the Sabbat have been summoned to the Middle East to fight in the Gehenna Wars. Eventually rolled back to mostly being Methuselahs and vampires from the Dark Ages.
    • Menele, Khalid, and Patricia Bollingbrook are revealed to have been Beckoned.
  • Reality Ensues:
  • Retcon: Many.
    • Much of the Great Leap Outward, if it happened at all, has been retconned away as the Anarch Free States are the same as they were in the 90s. Expanded even to include Las Vegas.
    • Gehenna, at least the way people thought, didn't happen and the world didn't end.
    • Serpentis, Vicissitude, and other shape-changing powers are all part of Protean. This extends to other similar disciplines like Dominate and Dementation. Quietus is now just a bunch of Blood Sorcery rituals. It's meant to streamline the game.
    • All vampires have a maximum of 5 in their Attributes and Disciplines. This seems to apply to NPCs as well as PCs.
    • A small one with Assamites in that they used to grow darker as they aged until they were pitch black. This has been refuted.
  • Romanticized Abuse: A continuing element in all three of the main White Wolf supplements.
    • The Anarch sourcebook contains many many examples: Duskborn "Cleavers" feed their children vampire blood and feed on them, Jeanette Voorman seducing husbands and wives only to enslave them, a babysitter who talks about a family enslaved by their sire, and more.
    • Victoria Ash talks extensively about how this is one of her favorite pastimes with lovers. She loves building up relationships just to knock them down and see them burn.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Weaponized with Loresheets that, essentially, mean the player characters have a friend with a canon NPC or group that are willing to go to the bat for them. These include Victoria Ash, Theo Bell, Hardestadt, Helena, and more. In some cases, it reaches Pals with Jesus levels.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The Brujah's reaction to the Camarilla throwing their younger members under the bus to the Second Inquisition.
  • Start My Own: Carna from Milwaukee by Night has made her own Tremere house. She's not the only one to do it.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Many people have noted certain groups and characters have started to resemble elements from Vampire: The Requiem. Mind you, many of these elements were just less prominent elements of the original Vampire: The Masquerade.
    • Blood Potency has been incorporated from Requiem wholesale. Kindred can now become more powerful just by aging.
    • The Camarilla now has a stronger resemblance to the Invictus, no longer including common vampires.
    • The Anarchs are more similar to the Carthian movement.
    • The Church of Caine has gone from a Sabbat-specific organization to an international cult. This resembles the Lancea Sanctum.
    • The Bah'ari (Lilith worshipers) are a major sect as well, resembling the Circle of the Crone.
  • Took a Level in Badass: All over the place.
    • The Anarchs went from being a largely disorganized bunch of Brujah and Caitiff to being a three-clan strong sect in its own right that controls territory across the world. They've taken Berlin, Las Vegas, parts of Australia, Cuba, and more. The Gangrel and Ministry have also joined its ranks.
    • Project: Twilight was previously depicted as something of a joke with the NSA compromised by multiple supernatural factions, the CIA completely in the dark, and the SAD being effective but outmatched. Project: Daylight is an Invincible Villain as far as vampires are concerned.
    • Duskborn (Thin-Bloods) were barely more powerful than ghouls. Now they have the potential to be able to walk in Daylight and use Thin-Blood Alchemy to kill much older as well as more powerful vampires.
  • Vampire Hunter: The new primary antagonist of the setting. Vampire Hunters are everywhere and include SEAL teams, SWAT teams, regular police, FBI, Society of Leopold witch hunters, CIA black ops soldiers, and the NSA. That's just the American branch.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: Now a Downplayed Trope example. You can be one but the only ones capable of being so are 12th and 13th generation vampires or Duskborn. Which makes a high generation now Cursed with Awesome for those trying to be a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire.
  • Villain Has a Point: Honestly, it's hard to argue the Second Inquisition is wrong to want to wipe out vampires. This is doubly true since the ability to be a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire has been drastically reduced.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Many questions about Signature Characters like Beckett, Lucita, and others have yet to be answered.
  • The Worf Effect: The Inner Council of the Tremere were wiped out by the Second Inquisition in order to show how dangerous a threat they were.


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