Matthew Dawkins interview about VTM 5e

Black Leaf

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Some of this gets into political areas so I'll avoid it.

Other highlights:

Three VTM board games on the way.

Paradox are maintaining oversight of the line but aren't directly creating content.

Despite popular conception, Vampire Revised sold badly. V20 reversed that trend.

Dawkins has pitched a book about the outcast clans (including the Ravnos and Salubri) so they are likely making a return.

Books on the way - A book about the Second Inquisition. Chicago by Night should be out in the next few months. Chicago Folios which is apparently plot hooks. Let The Streets Run Red, a chronicles book, Cults of the Blood Gods, which I assume is vampire religion, The Fall of London and the V5 Players Guide.
 

Trippy

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I think this more of a promotion for the game, rather than new news, per se. He's basically telling people that V5 is doing well and these supplements and stuff are all on their way.
 

Doc Sammy

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Wait...they're bringing back the Ravnos?

I can't believe I'm saying this, but V5 is doing something right for once!

The metaplot still sucks and I keep the Brujah and Gangrel in the Camarilla in my games (and it's still Followers of Set and Assamites NOT Ministry of Set and Banu Haqim) because fuck Onyx Path and Paradox/Nu-White Wolf, but still.

I just wish Bloodlines 2 would actually be a good game instead of the over-politicized mess it's shaping up to be.

Of course, the one thing Paradox Interactive does correctly is their grand strategy games.

I've always wondered why they haven't done a strategy game for World of Darkness where you play as a vampire prince or werewolf pack leader or something?

I know there is a fairly popular Crusader Kings 2 mod for Dark Ages: Vampire, so it's not that big of a stretch to make it official.
 

Trippy

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Wait...they're bringing back the Ravnos?

I can't believe I'm saying this, but V5 is doing something right for once!

The metaplot still sucks and I keep the Brujah and Gangrel in the Camarilla in my games (and it's still Followers of Set and Assamites NOT Ministry of Set and Banu Haqim) because fuck Onyx Path and Paradox/Nu-White Wolf, but still.

I just wish Bloodlines 2 would actually be a good game instead of the over-politicized mess it's shaping up to be.

Of course, the one thing Paradox Interactive does correctly is their grand strategy games.

I've always wondered why they haven't done a strategy game for World of Darkness where you play as a vampire prince or werewolf pack leader or something?

I know there is a fairly popular Crusader Kings 2 mod for Dark Ages: Vampire, so it's not that big of a stretch to make it official.
Nobody ever said the Ravnos were going to be taken away from V5. It's just it was noted that a) they were only going to detail the original seven Clans in the core book and b) previous iterations of the Ravnos were culturally insensitive and needed revision. Either way, they remain a relatively minor Clan in the bigger game, so there is no rush for their immediate inclusion and will probably be developed and introduced in time.

The Brujah and Gangrel can be in both Camarilla or Anarchs groups, it's just they tend to the latter (for fairly obvious reasons). The naming conventions of the two new clans detailed in the Anarch and Camarilla books, respectively, have multiple names including Followers of Set and Assamites still. All the Clans have multiple names now depending on who or where they are used. "The Ministry" doesn't refer to Set directly, so it probably has more usage 'on the street' as it were, while Banu Haqim reflects the Arab regional language more.

I'd imagine there will be lots of multimedia games in the pipeline - there is more money to be made off the IP with electronic media than with the tabletop game alone.
 

Black Leaf

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The metaplot still sucks and I keep the Brujah and Gangrel in the Camarilla in my games (and it's still Followers of Set and Assamites NOT Ministry of Set and Banu Haqim) because fuck Onyx Path and Paradox/Nu-White Wolf, but still.
This here is why I'd never play in your games honestly.

"I'm keeping Brujah and Gangrel in the Camarilla because I think it works better for the campaign I'm planning" - Great

"I'm keeping the Brujah and Gangrel in the Camarilla because of some weird one sided grudge I have against a games company" - Massive red flag.

You're pretty clearly saying here you don't care if the game's any good because it's all about using it as your personal soapbox. And when GMs do that I've never seen it turn out well.
 

Doc Sammy

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This here is why I'd never play in your games honestly.

"I'm keeping Brujah and Gangrel in the Camarilla because I think it works better for the campaign I'm planning" - Great

"I'm keeping the Brujah and Gangrel in the Camarilla because of some weird one sided grudge I have against a games company" - Massive red flag.

You're pretty clearly saying here you don't care if the game's any good because it's all about using it as your personal soapbox. And when GMs do that I've never seen it turn out well.
I didn't mean to come across that way, I truly do prefer to keep Brujah and Gangrel in the Camarilla because it works better in my games.

My beef with Onyx Path hasn't anything to do with that particular bit of info and to be honest, I've been reconsidering how I have handled Nu-White Wolf and Onyx Path in the past, and maybe I have overreacted in the past and let things get out of hand.
 

Black Leaf

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I didn't mean to come across that way, I truly do prefer to keep Brujah and Gangrel in the Camarilla because it works better in my games.

My beef with Onyx Path hasn't anything to do with that particular bit of info and to be honest, I've been reconsidering how I have handled Nu-White Wolf and Onyx Path in the past, and maybe I have overreacted in the past and let things get out of hand.
Thanks for taking that in the spirit that it was intended. Honestly, I only get frustrated with you on this because I genuinely think you have the potential to be a fucking awesome GM if you'll just let things go a bit.

As a bit of advice, put your campaign together.

Don't make decisions based on whether Onxy Path, Justin Achilli, the Ronoake goths or whoever would hate it or not. Try not to think about their opinions at all because they don't matter.

Put stuff in because you, Sammy, think it would make for an awesome game in its own right. Concentrate on what you think is cool, not what you dislike.

You do that and you've got the basis for an amazing campaign.
 

Necrozius

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I rather liked Vampire Requiem. I prefer the look and feel (overall style) of classic Masquerade, but I liked the mechanics and presentation.

I definitely feel a disconnect from the wider hobby about this. I've never had a formal look at V20, but I assume that it used the original rules, right? 1's cancel successes, difficulty has 3 dials (number of dice, number of required successes, moving target numbers), right? If so, that feels like a step BACKWARDs. Oh well.
 

Ulairi

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I want to like Vampire. I bought the Vampire 5E slip case collectors edition that came with the fancy journal and dice. I've read the rulebook. I have no f*cking clue on what people actually do at the table for a game. I think it's because I come from the D&D mindset or more sandbox type gaming where the players just start doing stuff and based on their decisions things happen. I never have really played a "cooperative" storytelling game and I think that's what Vampire requires. Players sit around the table with the GM and come up with the story they want to tell and then backfill that story with the game...but I have no clue.

I don't think I can just say the Vampire Whiteye has started attacking some shops in Chinatown Chicago without warning and have that work. I really want to like and run a Vampire game but the book hasn't done a good job, and it's probably because I'm an idiot. giving me that spark or connecting the dots on what the players actually do in an actual session. I watched the Word of Darkness documentary on Amazon Prime over the weekend that didn't help but to turn me off because it was basically: Before Vampire gamers were so uncool then we released Vampire and cool urban people started playing roleplaying games and we'd have wicked parties where people make out and have sex, then the hobby died and now Vampire is coming back! BTW Blade, Underworld, and all the big vampire movies/shows totally ripped us off.

I almost wish White Wolf would have Kevin Siembieda do a once over on their books to actually write in some adventure/plot/game hooks where morons like me can say: Oh...that's something the players can do! Or maybe I'm so offbase the game is supposed to be the shared storytelling experience where we need to map everything out and then just backfill it.

Anyway, I'm frustrated by the whole thing!
 

Necrozius

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Anyway, I'm frustrated by the whole thing!
I felt the same way. This game series really needed some proper sandbox tools. The City by Night reference books felt more like just piles of prose without any handful tools for session planning or improvisation.
 

Baulderstone

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I want to like Vampire. I bought the Vampire 5E slip case collectors edition that came with the fancy journal and dice. I've read the rulebook. I have no f*cking clue on what people actually do at the table for a game. I think it's because I come from the D&D mindset or more sandbox type gaming where the players just start doing stuff and based on their decisions things happen. I never have really played a "cooperative" storytelling game and I think that's what Vampire requires. Players sit around the table with the GM and come up with the story they want to tell and then backfill that story with the game...but I have no clue.

I don't think I can just say the Vampire Whiteye has started attacking some shops in Chinatown Chicago without warning and have that work. I really want to like and run a Vampire game but the book hasn't done a good job, and it's probably because I'm an idiot. giving me that spark or connecting the dots on what the players actually do in an actual session. I watched the Word of Darkness documentary on Amazon Prime over the weekend that didn't help but to turn me off because it was basically: Before Vampire gamers were so uncool then we released Vampire and cool urban people started playing roleplaying games and we'd have wicked parties where people make out and have sex, then the hobby died and now Vampire is coming back! BTW Blade, Underworld, and all the big vampire movies/shows totally ripped us off.

I almost wish White Wolf would have Kevin Siembieda do a once over on their books to actually write in some adventure/plot/game hooks where morons like me can say: Oh...that's something the players can do! Or maybe I'm so offbase the game is supposed to be the shared storytelling experience where we need to map everything out and then just backfill it.

Anyway, I'm frustrated by the whole thing!
Vampire came alive for me with the original Chicago by Night. It works well as a sandbox game. You detail a city, its factions, and the vampires within them. You give factions goals, and give the vampires within them their own goals as well. Ideally, a lot of these goals will be at odds. Make a list of things that various vampires will do to fulfill those goals. When things get boring, have a vampire do one of these things. preferably in a way that the PCs need to react to. Also, think of ways that that they can try and draw the PCs into helping them. It is good if the PCs have some room to make their own friends and enemies rather than simply being placed on one side or the other.

It is perfectly fine to have a session start with a vampire attacking shops in Chicago. Just have a good reason that ties into the above information. It can be one of those things on your list of possible actions.

If players do have their own backstory and agenda, that's great. Figure out who in the city will oppose their goals, who might aid them, and who will simply be trying to use their ambitions to manipulate them.

I think it is good to have the prohibition on killing vampires be something that is generally enforced. Most conflicts between vampires happen through their pawns, and if you want to destroy another vampire, you have to either really cover your tracks, or you need to get the clout to get a Hunt called against them.
 

Voros

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I want to like Vampire. I bought the Vampire 5E slip case collectors edition that came with the fancy journal and dice. I've read the rulebook. I have no f*cking clue on what people actually do at the table for a game. I think it's because I come from the D&D mindset or more sandbox type gaming where the players just start doing stuff and based on their decisions things happen. I never have really played a "cooperative" storytelling game and I think that's what Vampire requires. Players sit around the table with the GM and come up with the story they want to tell and then backfill that story with the game...but I have no clue.

I don't think I can just say the Vampire Whiteye has started attacking some shops in Chinatown Chicago without warning and have that work. I really want to like and run a Vampire game but the book hasn't done a good job, and it's probably because I'm an idiot. giving me that spark or connecting the dots on what the players actually do in an actual session. I watched the Word of Darkness documentary on Amazon Prime over the weekend that didn't help but to turn me off because it was basically: Before Vampire gamers were so uncool then we released Vampire and cool urban people started playing roleplaying games and we'd have wicked parties where people make out and have sex, then the hobby died and now Vampire is coming back! BTW Blade, Underworld, and all the big vampire movies/shows totally ripped us off.

I almost wish White Wolf would have Kevin Siembieda do a once over on their books to actually write in some adventure/plot/game hooks where morons like me can say: Oh...that's something the players can do! Or maybe I'm so offbase the game is supposed to be the shared storytelling experience where we need to map everything out and then just backfill it.

Anyway, I'm frustrated by the whole thing!
I thought the book did a good job outlining the different options for play with a lot of examples (gangs, politics, etc) and how to plan a city and session, for a core rule book anyway. The Second Inquisition also gives you a clear place to start: vampire hunters coming after your PCs; or vice versa.
 

Baeraad

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I want to like Vampire. I bought the Vampire 5E slip case collectors edition that came with the fancy journal and dice. I've read the rulebook. I have no f*cking clue on what people actually do at the table for a game. I think it's because I come from the D&D mindset or more sandbox type gaming where the players just start doing stuff and based on their decisions things happen. I never have really played a "cooperative" storytelling game and I think that's what Vampire requires. Players sit around the table with the GM and come up with the story they want to tell and then backfill that story with the game...but I have no clue.

I don't think I can just say the Vampire Whiteye has started attacking some shops in Chinatown Chicago without warning and have that work. I really want to like and run a Vampire game but the book hasn't done a good job, and it's probably because I'm an idiot. giving me that spark or connecting the dots on what the players actually do in an actual session. I watched the Word of Darkness documentary on Amazon Prime over the weekend that didn't help but to turn me off because it was basically: Before Vampire gamers were so uncool then we released Vampire and cool urban people started playing roleplaying games and we'd have wicked parties where people make out and have sex, then the hobby died and now Vampire is coming back! BTW Blade, Underworld, and all the big vampire movies/shows totally ripped us off.

I almost wish White Wolf would have Kevin Siembieda do a once over on their books to actually write in some adventure/plot/game hooks where morons like me can say: Oh...that's something the players can do! Or maybe I'm so offbase the game is supposed to be the shared storytelling experience where we need to map everything out and then just backfill it.

Anyway, I'm frustrated by the whole thing!
Simple version? "A sinister plot is starting to unfold that in some way directly threatens the PCs' interests and affiliations. The players need to figure out what the hell is going on, and once they do, they need to figure out what the hell they are going to do about it."

You do need to somewhat tailor the plot to the group - there is no equivalent to "this is a dungeon for 4-6 level 1 adventurers" - but after that, it's just business as usual.
 

Baulderstone

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Just to add to my last post, the most useful genre to keep in mind when running Vampire is gangster movies. Vampires take over human institutions from behind the scenes and twist them suit their needs. Sometimes they fight over these institutions, and most of the actual fighting is carried out by the lower-level vampires and human pawns.

One reason that I think its important to keep the tradition against killing vampires is that they are immortals. The Elders have lived a long time and plan to live a lot longer. They have a lot more to lose from violence than mortals, who will all be dead soon anyway.

That's not to say you shouldn't allow violations of the tradition to happen in your game, but if violence does begin to break out among vampires, it becomes a lot more significant. Early 1st edition Vampire did a good job of portraying the Camarilla as a group in control, but a fragile one, with the PCs possibly the ones that were going to tip everything over.
 

Necrozius

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Yeah I have heard good things about Chicago by Night. Perhaps I should give it more than a quick flip through.
 

Trippy

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I want to like Vampire. I bought the Vampire 5E slip case collectors edition that came with the fancy journal and dice. I've read the rulebook. I have no f*cking clue on what people actually do at the table for a game. I think it's because I come from the D&D mindset or more sandbox type gaming where the players just start doing stuff and based on their decisions things happen. I never have really played a "cooperative" storytelling game and I think that's what Vampire requires. Players sit around the table with the GM and come up with the story they want to tell and then backfill that story with the game...but I have no clue.

I don't think I can just say the Vampire Whiteye has started attacking some shops in Chinatown Chicago without warning and have that work. I really want to like and run a Vampire game but the book hasn't done a good job, and it's probably because I'm an idiot. giving me that spark or connecting the dots on what the players actually do in an actual session. I watched the Word of Darkness documentary on Amazon Prime over the weekend that didn't help but to turn me off because it was basically: Before Vampire gamers were so uncool then we released Vampire and cool urban people started playing roleplaying games and we'd have wicked parties where people make out and have sex, then the hobby died and now Vampire is coming back! BTW Blade, Underworld, and all the big vampire movies/shows totally ripped us off.

I almost wish White Wolf would have Kevin Siembieda do a once over on their books to actually write in some adventure/plot/game hooks where morons like me can say: Oh...that's something the players can do! Or maybe I'm so offbase the game is supposed to be the shared storytelling experience where we need to map everything out and then just backfill it.

Anyway, I'm frustrated by the whole thing!
You're not an idiot, but you do have to get into the mindset a little bit about what the game is about. It's not D&D.

The basic plothook in the game is built into the vampires themselves - they need to feed, and potentially hunt. One thing that is generally different in the vampire games I've played is that you don't tend to stick together like a band of adventurers through each and every scene. Instead, characters can go through individual scenes and then the ST shifts from one scene to another to build in all the PCs towards a narrative. The game itself can be a sandbox - based around a single city - and the complications to a vampires' routine of hunting, from various other parties is usually how the overarching story in the campaign starts to build.

So, for example, one vampire might sustain himself (on the upper scale of Humanity) by simply dealing with a some discrete worker in a local hospital to have a regular supply of blood. This way, (s)he may have maintained a relatively docile existance for a long while, without any strenuous need to hunt. However, what if the supply is disrupted because the worker gets found out by a local mob group, who start to blackmail him on his illegal activities? What if it transpires, after some confrontation or investigation, that the local mob group have been set up by a more sinister, clandestine group that are deliberately targetting the blood supply in order to provoke the vampire in question that has been using it? How does the vampire deal with it? What if other vampires are affected by the same group - would it be a reason to join forces to deal with the threat?

Once you establish a hook to embroil the characters into a mystery, then you just need to keep building on it with more and more groups - and build the political intrigue in the setting by having each group have their own agendas and plots, with the PCs generally caught up in the middle. Sourcebooks like Chicago By Night are particularly good at showing a fairly complex political set up for vampires, but this can all be done within the sandbox of your local city too (which creates a greater connection I feel).

Other complications can come from the vampires' own drives - where the Beast overcomes their equinimity and causes messy problems which the vampire society will expect to be cleaned up.

You'll note, I got that basic premise from He Never Died and, to be sure, there are lots of vampire movies and stories that exist nowadays that can serve as great inspiration to create stories. Some other cool vampire movies include Only Lovers Left Alive, Byzantium and my favourite, Near Dark. I also find most gangster tales on TV and in the movies to be a great source of plotlines and inspiration too. Vampire, in some sense, is The Godfather or Goodfellas or Pulp Fiction - but where the business is blood rather than money, sex or drugs.
 
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Baulderstone

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Sourcebooks like Chicago By Night are particularly good at showing a fairly complex political set up for vampires, but this can all be done within the sandbox of your local city too (which creates a greater connection I feel).
I just want to highlight this. While I recommended Chicago by Night, and it can be a useful played as is, it is even better to use it as a template to set up a game in place you and your players know. It actually helps with players sense of agency as they have the entire setting in their head already, and will think of involving people and places that you hadn't introduced to them.
 

Baeraad

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I just want to highlight this. While I recommended Chicago by Night, and it can be a useful played as is, it is even better to use it as a template to set up a game in place you and your players know. It actually helps with players sense of agency as they have the entire setting in their head already, and will think of involving people and places that you hadn't introduced to them.
You know, I've never been able to get anywhere with that. The WoD is such an overblown, melodramatic place - trying to superimpose it over places I actually know anything about just makes me keenly aware of how improbable it all is. And I don't mean the vampires and stuff, I mean the whole "rah-rah rage against the machine" stuff. In every part of the world I've actually seen, people don't so much rage against the machine as swear listlessly at it. And the machine isn't so much a magnificent horror of well-oiled chrome as a creaky steam locomotive with a peeling paint job that breaks down every five minutes.

There's just not enough towering skyscrapers and Gothic cathedrals where I live, i guess. :tongue:

On the other hand, I once ran a pretty decent Changeling: the Dreaming campaign once set in Totally Not Uppsala. It's not a city for vampires, but it is a city where you can imagine seeing a cartoon bear walking down the street.
 

Baulderstone

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You know, I've never been able to get anywhere with that. The WoD is such an overblown, melodramatic place - trying to superimpose it over places I actually know anything about just makes me keenly aware of how improbable it all is. And I don't mean the vampires and stuff, I mean the whole "rah-rah rage against the machine" stuff. In every part of the world I've actually seen, people don't so much rage against the machine as swear listlessly at it. And the machine isn't so much a magnificent horror of well-oiled chrome as a creaky steam locomotive with a peeling paint job that breaks down every five minutes.

There's just not enough towering skyscrapers and Gothic cathedrals where I live, i guess. :tongue:

On the other hand, I once ran a pretty decent Changeling: the Dreaming campaign once set in Totally Not Uppsala. It's not a city for vampires, but it is a city where you can imagine seeing a cartoon bear walking down the street.
Well, it probably helped that I was running the game when it first came out when I was nineteen and my friends were all in the same age range. Overblown emotions and melodrama were still a daily part of my life.

That aside, the game felt a lot more grounded in the early days. The metaplot hadn't gotten rolling, and Werewolf and Mage didn't exist. It was pretty easy to see the WoD as just the real world but with vampires back then. Part of the reason to use the real world was that there wasn't much setting material for WoD to use.

I get people that got into the setting later having a very different view of it.
 

Rob Necronomicon

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I just can't bring myself to like 5e...

I'm sticking with the original Vamp, with house rules and a couple of splats - minus the huge and bloated meta-plot of course (which 5e is is also guilty of imo).
 

Ulairi

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Thanks all for the replies. I’m going to run a campaign for my group this summer and just try my best to run it as a “traditional” RPG with Vampires that already have relationships and I guess center it on maybe them fighting the Second Inquisition. We will have to go through a session 0 with the relationship maps so they can do their touchstones and everything. I’m hoping that once we start playing and I’m not just reading the book it will feel more like old hat. I’ve never been very good at just reading a game book for a system I’m not familiar with and have play extensively and just getting it from the reading. I need to actually play the game for a few sessions to get a good feel and then to adjust the game.

I do like the touchstone ideas and relationship chart and I see how as we play a few sessions and get comfortable with the rules, setting, and that it’s a different type of game, I can start bringing some of that in. But, mostly, I think we’ll have the most fun just running it as a more traditional game. The core book references Blade Runner as a touchstone and I think that helped me out along with this thread. I think the idea of the neofeudal society and fighting the SWAT teams will be fun. I know White Wolf likes to talk about when the game first came out how much wider and more diverse the audience for it was, but if I start posting about what a genius Robert Smith is, you guys have permission to drive to Milwaukee and to kick my ass.
 
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