Not too long ago, White Wolf announced that they would be releasing a 20th Anniversary Edition of Vampire the Masquerade. 20 years ago, VtM’s huge impact on the gaming industry and overall geek culture began. In terms of system mechanics, Vampire was a hymn to Shadowrun and others before it, but there was some kind of sweet spot that was waiting for something like Vampire the Masquerade to strike home.
According to demographic research done for Wizards of the Coast, Vampire is responsible for bringing in a huge number of women into the gaming hobby, what was up to that point apparently the purview of war-gaming grognards…or something. I didn’t start gaming until around 1991, and I started with Mythus and then GURPS, but one can imagine what a hobby with even fewer women would have been like.
From their official comments, it would appear that V20, as they are calling the anniversary edition, would only be available to those who are attending the Grand Masquerade in New Orleans this year. Fortunately, I am pretty sure this is not true. I asked the question via Twitter, using their preferred hashtag #v20, and got a quick response that the book (which is going to be around 400 pages) is going to be available apart from the Masquerade – they just aren’t sure about the details yet.
I like how White Wolf is going about this process. They are actively soliciting and responding on a forum devoted to the topic of the new edition, and they are also posting drafts of the rules and text that will go into the final book. The book is going to have new, full-color artwork from ‘classic’ Masquerade artists, and will not be a new edition, nor will it be the beginning of a new round of book releases for Masquerade. They are saying that it is simply something for those who have been playing Vampire since it was released 20 years ago.
That’s what they’re saying now anyway. As always, we’ll see.
I’ve been following the hashtag #v20 on Twitter, and that is where I am getting most of my information and updates, apart from the documents they release and the forums, where I am participating as time allows.
I can honestly say that this announcement has re-ignited my desire to play Vampire the Masquerade. I started in 1998, my first year of college, and I played in games for the next 7 or 8 years with the same group of great people who are still some of my closest friends. Before I played VtM, I was actually kind of contemptuous of a game that seemed to be all about being goth and bemoaning one’s fate and blood fetishism. And yeah, there’s some of that. What I got was a fantastic game and great memories and friends. I’m not really a fan of vampire fiction or movies; I’ve never been even remotely goth; but VtM is still one of my favorite games out there. I’m really excited about the new edition, and will definitely get myself a copy when it is available.
In the meantime, for any other fans, I recommend checking out the open development documents and blog, the forums, and also following the news as it comes out. You ask questions and much of the time, one of the guys working on the book answer you. That’s one thing I really like about our little hobby – the people at the very top are not so high up as to not be accessible to even casual fans.
Justin Achilli posts about the weirdness of dice, botching and probabilities.