Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition, also known as V5, is the recent version of Vampire: The Masquerade and was released in 2018. 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. 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, but they did manage to retrieve a cache of data on Clan Giovanni that had been deliberately left for them to find.
- The need for dismantling SchreckNet on such short notice has also inspired the Camarilla to adopt an official policy of technophobia, no longer allowing any of its members to use 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 intersectarian House Carna (lead by Carna herself); and the returning House Goratrix, although their status is not well known.
- As a display of authority over the Kindred cause against the Second Inquisition, the Camarilla declared at the Conclave of Galloway that every Kindred not aligned with them was an enemy, causing a permanent rupture in relations between themselves and the Anarch movement. 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 at the Conclave of Prague, staged in solidarity with defecting clan luminary Theo Bell.
- A "Gehenna War" between the Camarilla and the Sabbat is being waged in the Middle East and the disputed regions of Ukraine. 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 methuselah from any Sabbat war parties who may confuse them for Antediluvians.
- Elders worldwide have been called to the Middle East by the "Beckoning" to fight in the Gehenna War. With their increasing scarcity at home, sectarian activity has became more exclusive to the younger neonates and ancillae.
- 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.
- Rebranding from being a disciple cult to an open religious movement, Clan Ministry (formerly the Followers of Set) have pledged their allegiance to the Anarch movement, having had their overtures towards the Camarilla spurned.
- Thin-bloods and Caitiff 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 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 (clan listed as unknown).
- Though the majority of the Clan still belongs in the Sabbat, younger Tzimisce are joining the Anarchs to pursue their own agendas.
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.
- Difficulty is determined by how many successes you have to roll. The target number is always 6 or higher on a roll.
- All Disciplines are overhauled.
- The number of overall Disciplines has been pared down significantly.
- At this time, 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 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.
- 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.
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, with the rest being introduced through additional source books. A new edition of the Players Guide provided a presentation of other Clans that were yet to be introduced.
- Banu Haqim, former Assamites
- Hecata, the new, unified Clan of Death: the Cappadocians, Giovanni, Harbingers of Skulls, Lamiae, Samedi and Nagaraja.
- The 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 (includes Ceremonies of Necromancy)
- Potence - now featuring distinct standard abilities
- 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.
- 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.