Friday, 8 November 2013

Vampire Challenge 8: Favourite Edition

I don’t want to start any edition wars here. Fortunately, unlike D&D, the Vampire games didn’t change that much edition to edition.

Until now...

The author and printer was Aristide Torchia, burned by the Holy Inquisition, together with all his works. Only three copies survived. 
The Ninth Gate 

Start with Vampire: The Masquerade.

Second edition was essentially a hardback of first edition with some errata and a fair bit of new art. The Tremere clan weakness becoming less severe is the only rules difference I can remember offhand.

The supplements for the two editions offer a more marked difference. The second edition kicked off with the Sabbat books, Chicago By Night 2 came along soon after, the original Clanbooks and the like. The rate of production ramped up, and that edition war battlefield known as The Metaplot started building up with it. But then again, the first Clanbook predates the second edition rulebook, as does the first of the Diablerie dungeon crawls.

By the time the Revised Edition came out, it had all the clans in the rulebook, plot-based changes were introduced in it, and it didn’t have the Gary Indiana setting or the Tim Bradstreet full-page pictures. Nice handy reference, but I was not entirely keen. But it had a run of great toolkit supplements, and the revised Clanbooks were almost all better than the originals.

Then a much bigger gap and we get V20. Still no Gary alas, but new Tim Bradstreet full-page pictures, in colour, huge, and I got mine with the deluxe leather-effect cover. Lovely. Much too nice to actually bring to a game session. Hell, the top-quality regular version is almost too nice for that. And the rules have been reconsidered, several clan weaknesses tweaked and I think improved, the metaplot changes put in sidebars so affected clans have all options available and more. When I considered a Masquerade game, I planned mostly-Camarilla-clans-only and Humanity-only but I planned to do it with the V20 rules.

So as a standalone book first/second edition (second purely for better wear and tear than first), as a system now V20.


Dark Ages has two editions so far, with a V20 version which moves the setting along by over a decade on the way and in open development right now. They’re pretty different, and provoke more proper edition warring. Vampire: The Dark Ages starts circa AD 1197, in the Long Night, a period of relative peace among vampires. Apart from the Tremere being busy wiping out the Salubri. Dark Ages: Vampire starts in 1230, during the War of Princes, a multi-side sectarian conflict. It gets to the cool factor of Vampire Knights! more immediately than the previous edition, but loses some of the earlier intrigue. A lot of fans like the revised rules and the original era. Personally, I fall somewhere in the middle, as the timeline-advancing book Bitter Crusade hit my favourite bit of history in that general ballpark, the disastrous Fourth Crusade. One major advantage of DA:V is the series of books for other creatures that use it as the core rulebook.


Vampire: The Requiem is also about to get a new core rulebook. Blood And Smoke: The Strix Chronicles revises the setting and rules pretty heavily in places, moving it away from some of its earlier similarities to Masquerade on both sides. Masquerade is back up and running, of course, so different is good. It strengthens the focus on dealing with humans, acting like them and indeed being like them for good or ill. As the subtitle notes, it gives the Kindred a more prominent enemy in the Strix, although they remain optional. It’s probably the most thoroughly new edition here. And while I freely admit bias, my favourite version of Requiem.

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