Vampire the Masquerade 20th Anniversary has been released!

The first time I encountered Vampire the Masqerade I was FAR too young to grasp the complexities of the game. It was the art that immediately drew my attention, and I can still vividly draw to mind the cover art of the Tzimisce clan novel. I remember being both repulsed and intrigued, and today I still am. But in that stage of youth I was only acquainted with Dungeons and Dragons, and my interest in role-playing was something I had to hide from my parents. But when I held this Tzimisce clan book in my hands, something so blatantly resplendent in taboo, I was thrilled by a subtle premonition: one day I would play this game.

But White Wolf dropped off my radar when DnD 3.5 came out, I think this might have been around eighth grade for me. The Redwall series had been dominating my youth for most of middle school, so I felt most immediately comfortable RP’ing in a fantasy setting. That is until high school – when I came across the NWoD. The books were readily available in print, and I was not yet the PDF fanatic I am today.

But I always wanted to play the Masquerade. I am a shameless forum lurker and for years I watched the flame-wars between the Classic WoD supporters and the New WoD supporters. Where do I stand, you ask? I didn’t grow up playing the Masquerade so I simply don’t have the emotional connection nor the memories attached to the classic universe. But when I saw that a new and comprehensive edition of Masquerade was released I leapt at the opportunity.

I can honestly say the 20th Anniversary edition of VtM has met my every expectation then surpassed them. I only wish that I had known to buy into Classic WoD sooner. The breadth of Clans and discipline powers appearing in a single volume was what most immediately impressed me in this edition. The way health, combat, and damage are utilized in Masquerade is a bit more complex than in Requiem, but I think I prefer Masquerade rules. Requiem might be more streamlined, but the extra detail in Masquerade works out quite favorably in play.

Another aspect of Masquerade that I really appreciate is the notion of the impending apocalypse and its whispered lore. This fluff is central to kindred politics and I think offers drive to chronicles in the CWoD. The Chapter for Storytellers is quite excellent as well. While reading, I found myself drawing ideas and inspiration seemingly on a page to page basis.

The 20th Anniversary edition art seems to be quite different than the art represented in earlier editions (remember I don’t have much experience with the older art except for some casual glances). But I will say that I am impressed by what I’m seeing. I’m curious to see what other gamers will be saying, especially those coming from a history in the Masquerade. If any readers have played earlier editions of the game please feel free to post your thoughts on this new product. I’m hoping with enough demand, White Wolf will feel compelled to reboot some of their other Classic products (*cough Dark Ages cough*).

Picture found here.

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