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Vampire: The Masquerade V20: Vampire Translation Guide

Vampire Translation Guide

When I reviewed Vampire: The Requiem 1e I wrote "If you played Vampire: The Masquerade forget everything you know about vampires!" Now, Vampire: The Masquerade was launched in 1991 and ran through three editions... and in 2004 Vampire: The Requiem came along, part of the New World of Darkness, and established itself as a popular game in its own right. But although both deal with vampires in a dark and twisted contemporary world, each game has a different vision of that world. The rules are a bit different too, but for many players, they have wanted to bring concepts across - a favourite clan or bloodline, perhaps - into the other game. This work seeks to make some of that possible, or at least to suggest ways of doing so for those players who are not happy with hacking systems for themselves.

The important guideline, however, is that the story is more important than the rules, and that whatever you do should enhance your game, make it more fun. They are two different game systems, and you may have to twist things a bit to elbow-wrestle a concept from one to the other. Don't be afraid, just dig a bit to work out what the intended effect of that concept is and then run with it. Maybe the biggest difference is that Vampire: The Masquerade is a stand-alone game in its own right and in Vampire: The Requiem we merely have the vampire source book for the New World of Darkness. Crossover games were possible - indeed my group mixed Vampire: The Masquerade vampires with Werewolf: The Apocalypse werebeasts with gay abandon - but you were mixing two separate games with the associated effort of twisting game mechanics into compatability.

There were conceptual differences too, and these are explored here, from the theological (just how did vampires come about anyway?) to how wide ranging the game is in scale, the tone of the game and whether or not there's an underlying metaplot going on.

Next, a look at Clans - something a vampire doesn't get to choose (although the player usually does) but other people, vampires or not, tend to make assumptions about a vampire based on their clan affiliation. The real difference between the games is that Vampire: The Masquerade clans are based around the creation myth, common to all, that vampires are all descended from Cain, cursed after killing his brother Abel, and that Cain had thirteen childer, hence thirteen clans. In Vampire: The Requiem each clan has its own creation myth, it's possible that vampires from different clans are actually subtly different kinds of monster, a form of convergent evolution. An analysis of all the clans from both games follows, with detailed notes on how to move them to the other game to best effect. This section ends with some comments on bloodlines, which are also dramatically different between the two games.

Then Sects and Covenants get the same treatment. In Vampire: The Masquerade there were but two sects (Camarilla and Sabbat) and they were at war, individual vampires identified themselves by their clan. In Vampire: The Requiem clan is less important, and vampires define themselves by the covenant they choose to join. Again, each group is gone through with an eye to using it in the other game.

Whilst both games have Disciplines, there too differ and there's some detailed analysis on how to tweak game mechanics to have the discipline you want within the game system you have chosen to play. Traits and Systems then get the same treatment.

Finally, Character Conversion. Never mind having your favourite clan or discipline available, what about that treasured vampire character? Here is a step by step process, or actually two processes, Masquerade to Requiem and Requiem to Masquerade. What would that character you know and love be like if you played the other system... here is your chance to find out, with the sample characters from the respective rulebooks used as examples.

This may be a rather nit-picking approach for some, but if you want the rules to work seamlessly and to best effect rather than just grabbing concepts and winging it, this book provides all the tools that you need.

Return to Vampire Translation Guide page.

Reviewed: 10 June 2016