The news is piling up day after day: Need Games has won the rights, for Italy, of "Vampire: The Masquerade 5th ed.", Or V5, (published by Modiphiüs Games) and has foreseen the release for the Modena play on 5 April 2019. We talk about it extensively in this article.
Other controversies have arisen overseas, and in other countries, against some background choices of the new setting. Other rumors have revived and exhumed some old accusations driven by this wind of politically correct that has been raging for the globe in recent times and finally that White Wolf, because of these controversies, has "closed" and passed under Paradox Interactive.
What awaits us for the future?
In the meantime, let's try to analyze the importance of World of Darkness
What to say that hasn't already been said and written about this "new" incarnation of the game that really marked an era [or decade (90s) if we want to be picky]?
Why did I say it marked an era? Maybe because, maybe because he actually did it!
World of Darkness and White Wolf history
in 1991 White Wolf literally shocked the role-playing game market releasing the first edition of Vampire: The Masquerade a game where, for the first time, care in interpreting one's character, the acting and the complex setting was fundamental rather than the strict observance of the rules and the game system.
Another characteristic aspect was its modern setting, or better yet "modern gothic", There were no hobbit villages or proud followers of Pelor to imagine, the reality of every day and the long night shadows, were the" real ", or likely background to this game. Another winning point was the possibility of play this game live, given the setting similar to everyday life, and thanks to the development of an ad hoc system, it was possible to wear the clothes, in the true sense of the word, of one's character.
For a decade Mamma White Wolf has expanded her World of Darkness by sinking fully into the collective imagination of the classic entities that nestle in the dark corners of our world. So here comes Werewolf, Mage, Wraith, Changeling, Kindred of the East, Hunter, Mummy, Demon, Orpheus, as well as a TV series (Kindred The Embraced), card games and videogames (Vampire Redemption and Vampire Bloodlines).
For ten years WW has brought out an infinite number of manuals that, in addition to exploring new powers and creatures, thanks to its interludes made of flashes of letters, annotations, dialogues and narrations, has woven such a dense network of interconnections between all these settings, to tell an alternative and dark story of our world (metaplot).
The end of the old and the beginning of the new World of Darkness
However, everything has an end. In 2000 all the plots were re-knotted to bring to the end of the Classic World of Drakness (cWoD) and its story.
Almost at the same time, a new game, or rather a New World of Darkness (nWoD), made of Werewolves, Magicians, Fairies and others, which had nothing to do or share with the old man.
Although there were the same names and winks, perhaps not to disappoint long-time fans, it was, de facto, a new setting, with a new shared game system. Many mouths twisted then, and still twist today, when nWoD is mentioned, but the story of this editorial line lasts today thanks to the work of the Onyx Path and the passion of many players.
Then came the twenty - year edition of Vampiri (V20), and then of Maghi (M20) and di Werewolves (W20), revised and corrected publications, of value, with new drawings, in short, stuff to make your mouth water!
And here we are finally at V5!
Do you remember that just above I wrote that the cVTM marked an era, it also did so because it knew how to embody and channel a certain (counter) culture typical of those years, how many films and TV series with vampires (simple metaphor of marginalized, voluntary or less, from society) did they come out in that period? Just think of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”, are we sure that this game can do the same today?
Let's talk about the product itself: the volumes published so far on the aesthetic level have nothing to complain about. The system remained the usual d10, with some small variations, the rules have been streamlined (thanks also to years of work on the nWoD). The Generation has been joined to the Blood Potency borrowed from Requiem, some really interesting new mechanics have been inserted (Touchstones and Hunger). The Clans have been revised [the Nosferatu are no longer horrible, the Malkavians have Domination instead of Dementia (almost a return to the origins)], as well as their defects, now Banes but with increasing gravity.
The Disciplines have multiple powers to choose from, at some levels, also to differentiate the Clans with the same in common, a Blood Alchemy owned by Thin Blood has been created, which makes them almost of the Walter White of the World of Darkness. The big change, which tip the scales more on "is a new game that has nothing to do with the cVTM", than on anything else, is the huge scissor on the classic metaplot and its "end", to carry on a new editorial line (temporal / narrative).
The reactions to the new world of darkness
I have seen, as with Vampire The Requiem, mouths twisted as soon as it is hinted that there was no Gehenna, the collapse of the Sabbat, the coming of a Second Inquisition, and the consequent perching of the remains of the Camarilla even more in their Ivory Tower, never as now so dangerous , and the rise of a new Anarchist Movement.
Other mouths, right now, are frothing with anger at the elimination of some Disciplines (see Serpentis for the Followers of Set), or at the new look of some Clans (Assamiti), other players fear what will happen to their beloved Lasombra ( to want to be bad, more to the discipline of Darkening!) in the forthcoming manual.
Many, however, rejoiced at the destruction of the Vienna Chantry, the annihilation of the Council of Seven and therefore the consequent weakening of the Tremere (IMHO paraculata absurd, other ways could be found to dampen the most wrong Clan of the whole game).
Today's social issues
I would have liked to leave out the part where we talked about the problems that have arisen in recent months due to choices included in the various manuals, but unfortunately they have taken over, not here in Italy fortunately, in the major channels.
Years ago, but have come back in vogue lately, accusations of apology for Nazism were brought against the creator of VTM Mark Rein "Reich" Hagen, since in the manual "Berlin by Night" he inserted Himmler (although his name does not appear in the credits opera), but I don't remember as many voices raised when Al Capone was included in Chicago by Night. The straw that broke the camel's back, however, is how the massacre of the inhabitants of Chechnya was treated in the manual “Camarilla”, this treatment caused heavy complaints to be made by the state in question.
Precautions were taken, some patches were worse than the damage, and, as mentioned at the beginning, it was decided to move the control and creation of new future material under, perhaps, more careful authors, proofreaders and editors.
Perhaps before we got to all this there could have been greater control so as not to disturb the sensitivity of the majority, the only thing is that it does not become the alibi to purge the World of Darkness of all the darkest and most unpleasant aspects. All this, however, seems to me in line with past history, for example here in Italy the site relating to cWoD and its products has been kept under close surveillance by the postal police for years, since there was talk of demons.
World of Darkness always!
To conclude, if in this article you were looking for reasons to buy or not, play or leave this product on the shelf (of a nice additional content we talked about Thu), I'm sorry but I can't give you any, the only advice is try it!
There are those who play only the old VTM, those who love V20, those who still follow Requiem, who will give this game a chance and then there is me who appreciates them all!
The only important thing to remember, net of all controversy, is ...
WORLD OF DARKNESS. ALWAYS.
One last note: they were just rumors, and with the latest upheavals we must see what the new editorial line will take, but there was also talk of Werewolf 5th ed. and also Mage 5th ed., therefore the possibility to see, hopefully, a new World of Darkness for the new millennium!