Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition, also known as V5, is the recent version of Vampire: The Masquerade and was released in 2018, with the publication of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition Corebook. The system was co-created by Martin Ericsson (lead storyteller), Karim Muammar (playtest designer and editor-in-chief), and Kenneth Hite (lead designer).
Changes to the Metaplot
- Federal agencies in multiple countries have realized that vampires exist and the power they have over global finance and politics. They haven't let the public or even high ranking non-agency officials in on this information, choosing to form a new unit with the Society of Leopold. That unit, codenamed FIRSTLIGHT, was established to exterminate the "blankbody" population. It is also known as the Second Inquisition.
- The first casualty of the SI, SchreckNet has been dismantled after being discovered by the National Security Agency in 2004. The NSA were unable to capture a complete archive of it before engineers from clan Nosferatu realized what had happened and purged the database under orders from the Camarilla.
- The need for dismantling SchreckNet on such short notice has also inspired the Camarilla to adopt an official policy of technophobia, avoiding any form of electronic communication.
- The Second Inquisition's first direct, major act against Kindred society was destroying clan Tremere's Vienna Chantry, the center of the clan, with a devastating drone attack, under the false flag of a terrorist attack. The loss of important unlife caused the blood bond holding together the entire international hierarchy of the Pyramid to recoil and collapse. Now unable to form blood bonds with fellow Kindred at all, the clan has now split into four houses: House Tremere (now led by Karl Schrekt), still aligned with the Camarilla and seeking to uphold the nominal order of the Pyramid by conventional (or other) means; the Anarch-aligned and seemingly leaderless Ipsissimus; the inter-sectarian House Carna (lead by Carna herself); and the returning House Goratrix, although its status is not well known.
- The Conclave of Galway, held in 2010, concluded with the Camarilla accusing the Anarch Movement of leaking the location of the Tremere Chantry in Vienna to mortal hunters and striking against numerous members of the sect. As a result, they declared a "total war of extermination", whereupon the Ivory Tower pledged to wholly eliminate the Anarchs.
- Hostilities between the sects escalated in 2012, when the Conclave of Prague ended in chaos, with Ventrue luminaries Hardestadt and Jan Pieterzoon killed by Theo Bell. After the Conclave, the Camarilla declared that every Kindred not aligned with them was an enemy, and any chance that remained of repairing the rupture in relations between themselves and the Anarch Movement was utterly lost.
- The Anarchs however, after years of flagging strength and influence in Kindred politics, have received an enormous shot in the arm in numbers and leadership, given both the provocative nature of the policy enticing Kindred to the cause, as well as the walk-out of the vast remainder of the Brujah towards the sect.
- Elders worldwide have been called away by the Beckoning, initially to the Middle East but soon spreading to other parts of the world, to fight in the Gehenna War. With their increasing scarcity at home, sectarian activity has became more available to the younger neonates and ancillae, allowing new Kindred to rise to prominence.
- The Ashirra have formed an alliance with the Camarilla out of a common interest in thwarting the Sabbat's aggression in the region. As a diplomatic outcome of this alliance, clan Banu Haqim (formerly the Assamites) have been admitted as a member clan of the Camarilla.
- This Gehenna War between the Camarilla and Ashirra and the Sabbat is being waged, the conflict began as the majority of the Sabbat abandoned most of its domains to wage what they perceive to be a pre-emptive "crusade" against the coming Antediluvians. In response to this aggression, the Camarilla began fighting them back in order to preserve the Masquerade and to protect torpored methuselahs from any Sabbat war parties who may confuse them for Antediluvians.
- Rebranding from being a disciple cult to an open religious movement, the Ministry (formerly the Followers of Set) has pledged their allegiance to the Anarch Movement, having had their overtures towards the Camarilla spurned. There also, however, those who eschew the sects completely, remaining unaligned, and declare themselves Orthodox Setites and the Church of Set.
- Thin-bloods and Caitiffs have become much more common, the former going by the new sobriquet "Duskborn" in Anarch circles.
- Clan Lasombra, by way of a large fraction loyal to the clan center (the Amici Noctis), has defected from the Sabbat to the Camarilla.
- Attacks against clan Giovanni from the SI and Harbingers of Skulls, the apparent death or disappearance of Augustus Giovanni (and the unleashing of wraiths and spectres once under his control), and rumors of the Promise of 1528 coming to an end after 500 years have all led to a Family Reunion of the Giovanni, the Cappadocian remnants and infitiore, the Harbingers, the Samedi, Lamia, and Nagaraja, and to the founding a new, united Clan of Death named the Hecata.
- The Week of Nightmares is still canonical, and clans Ravnos and Salubri persist into these nights in small numbers. The Chicago Folios already describe two Ravnos currently known as Caitiff: Shejana, and Enzo Tovani, though they are listed as Caitiff, as there weren't official rules for the Ravnos at the time of release.
- Though the majority of the clan still belongs in the Sabbat, younger Tzimisce are joining the Anarchs to pursue their own agendas.
- The Kuei-Jin have been apparently retconned, with no mention of them in any of the books, even when domains and Kindred in East Asia are talked about.
Changes to Mechanics
- Following the example of the Hecata, Bloodlines independent of clans are not expected to be present in the game, instead being expressed through lore sheets. All other bloodlines yet to be reintroduced would likely be subsumed into existing clans, or continue as Caitiff.
- All Disciplines are overhauled.
- The number of overall Disciplines has been pared down significantly.
- Disciplines only have five levels, but most levels give two or more options for abilities to choose from.
- Thin-bloods can learn an exclusive Discipline called Thin-Blood Alchemy. It allows them to copy classic Disciplines or create totally new effects, due to their usual inability to learn Disciplines the normal way.
- The effectiveness of Disciplines can now be temporarily increased through the right Blood Resonance (or lack thereof, in the case of Oblivion).
- Blood has been overhauled with new mechanics.
- The Blood Pool mechanic is replaced with a Hunger mechanic and regular Rouse Checks under different circumstances. An amount of Hunger Dice equal to Hunger substitutes normal dice in the dice pool, and can cause the Beast to intercede in a vampire's actions through Bestial Failures or Messy Criticals.
- Blood Potency now determines how well a vampire can use its blood. It is partly determined by Generation and age.
- People have a special Blood Resonance, depending on their emotional state (or lack thereof), which can increase the efficiency of Disciplines.
- Dice mechanics are overhauled:
- Difficulty is determined by how many successes you have to roll. The target number is always 6 or higher on a roll.
- Bestial Failures and Messy Criticals are introduced, the former occurs when a vampire scores a 1 on one or more Hunger die on a failed roll.
- A Critical happens when two 10 are rolled, granting two additional successes as well as other bonuses. If at least one of the 10 are in Hunger dice, it is a messy critical instead.
- Humanity is now universal, and has been overhauled to be more granular in function based on the chosen convictions of both the player and the group, effectively superseding the need for Paths of Enlightenment as a complete replacement.
- A player chooses between one to three personal human Convictions and creates Touchstones to represent their connection to each, and to help to mitigate Humanity-compromising Stains. By default, they must be living mortals or ghouls, though a Harbinger of Ashur Hecata character possessing the Ashen Mask bloodline ability may substitute a corpse to be used for necromantic study. Another exception is Victoria Ash, she seems to use her memories of past lovers as a method to maintain her humanity.
- The player coterie determines Chronicle Tenets to self-define its moral and ethical values, instead of the Hierarchy of Sins of a fixed morality. If the Tenets are broken, each offending character incurs Stains, pending a Remorse test. If a Tenet is broken in the service of upholding a Conviction, the impact may be mitigated by the reduction of one Stain or more.
- Damage now only has two different types: superficial or aggravated.
- Officially, there are ways to have verbal arguments, which challenge Willpower rather than health, allowing more options for non-physical confrontations.
- Advantages and Flaws have been revamped, and are no longer an optional system.
All 13 clans from the classic modern Vampire setting are present and playable in the Fifth Edition. The 5th Edition Corebook only includes the seven traditional clans of the Camarilla, besides the Caitiff and Thin-Blooded, with the Banu Haqim being introduced in Camarilla, the Ministry in Anarch, the Lasombra in Chicago by Night, the Ravnos, Salubri and Tzimisce in the Companion and the Hecata in Cults of the Blood Gods.
- Banu Haqim, former Assamites
- Hecata, the new, unified Clan of Death: the Cappadocians, Giovanni, Harbingers of Skulls, Lamiae, Samedi and Nagaraja.
- Ministry, the new organization of the Followers of Set
- Celerity - now featuring distinct standard abilities
- Fortitude - now featuring distinct standard abilities
- Oblivion - a combination of Obtenebration and Necromancy, which includes Ceremonies of Necromancy and Abyss Mysticism
- Potence - now featuring distinct standard abilities
- Protean - subsuming Serpentis and Vicissitude
- Blood Sorcery - a combination of Thaumaturgy and Quietus, it also contains Rituals
- Thin-Blood Alchemy - can only be learned by Thin-bloods
Classic Amalgam Disciplines
Using the mechanics of Amalgam Powers, a number of distinct Disciplines from classic versions of Vampire have been merged into Fifth Edition's base disciplines as part of the process to streamline how the game functions.
- Chimerstry is now a Level 2 Amalgam ability of Obfuscate with Presence 1, and the ability Fata Morgana a Level 3 Amalgam with Presence 2.
- Dementation becomes a Level 2 ability of Dominate as an Amalgam with Obfuscate 2.
- Obeah is merged into Auspex as a Level 2 Amalgam Power with Fortitude 1, and the ability Unburdening the Bestial Soul as a Level 5 Amalgam with Dominate 3.
- Serpentis' transformation powers are fully subsumed by Protean, but the ability Eyes of the Serpent is a Level 1 Amalgam of Protean 1 with Presence 1, and the ability The Heart of Darkness is a Protean 5 amalgam with Fortitude 2.
- Valeren is now a Level 2 ability of Fortitude as an Amalgam with Auspex 1.
- Vicissitude and the abilities Fleshcrafting and Horrid Form return as part of the Protean discipline as Level 2, 3, and 4 Amalgams with Dominate 2, respectively. One with the Land (aka Meld with the Land) becomes a Level 5 Amalgam with Animalism 2, but requires Earth Meld.