My earlier observation on the Rules chapter was that V5 was a very simple rules system, approaching a more narrative style of play than what it used to be. This isn’t really a problem given the nature of horror games needing less mechanics getting in the way of the story and the fear.
But for those who are looking for it, V5 also provides a grab bag of optional rules that add or subtract layers to the base system. Some of these options make the game even more freeform than it already is, while others (like the combat rules) move the game closer to more traditional rules of Vampire.
I won’t go into full detail for these systems right now, but covered are:
- Rules for handling Scenes and Modes
- Extended Tests
- One-Roll Combat
- Additional Combat Options (specific maneuvers)
- Movement in Combat
- Initiative systems
- Hunting systems
- Kindred Intimacy
- Memoriam (a flashback system to allow for some level of dramatic editing)
- Prestation (a favor trading system among the Kindred)
On Kindred Intimacy
I’ve seen some very disturbing things so far in V5, and at this point I’ve come to the conclusion that playing a Vampire means accepting that your characters will be monsters. The section on Kindred Intimacy in particular is bound to squick a LOT of people, as it presents “sex” as it were between Vampires to be a high-risk affair as one could easily end up blood bound to the other.
The fact that the game itself has explicit rules for how a player character can manipulate a vampiric partner to succumb to temptation and their limits to bind them to the player character is a major red flag. It’s got shades of all sorts of power disparity, sexual assault and rape in big red letters.
And yet, if you stop to think about it. That kind of atrocity is what Vampires do.
Yes, it’s ugly, and uncomfortable, and I hope to god you never resort to having to employ the rules in any of your games, but the fact that it’s there is a strong statement to further cement the thesis: Vampires are not nice people. They’re monsters.
Moving on, we’ll be looking at the rules for Cities, the hunting grounds of the Kindred.
If you’d like to read along, you can grab a PDF copy of Vampire the Masquerade 5e from the World of Darkness Website for $24.99