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Getting Two Vampires With One Stake

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July 24th, 2017, 1:00 pm

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Dogbert, July 11th, 2017, 10:48 pm

Vampires and Vampires

First, the good stuff:

It's a secret to none that videogame-based anime always follows the same formula:

1) Pick a videogame with GREAT story and worldbuilding
2) Ignore ALL of said great story/setting, drop all elements that made the videogame great.
3) Use some mediocre script you pulled out of your ass.

It took Warren Ellis to break this abominable mold.

Castlevania is better than good, it's better than great, it's the Castlevania all gamers who are now in their 40s used to see in their mind's eye while playing the game. The story is a true-to-source bridge between Castlevania 3 and Symphony Of The Night. The visuals have Ellis' trademark in that one in every six shots is basically a vignette (and a great one). All the imagery was pulled from the games down to the giant clockwork wheels. The voice acting is as good in english as it is in Japanese (and we have some GREAT talent in the english dub). I can't wait for the next 8 episodes in November.

The not so good, V5:

While the tidbits of the rules they released are intriguing (I like the new hunger/feeding/blood rules), they're too scarce to pass any judgement. As it stands, the current rules barely amount to a pre-alpha and in no way, shape, or form, ready for a test drive.

The ugly, the V5 playtest scenario:

Vomitive, no matter how you look at it.

As a writer:
It's a mess. If V5 is now gonna be Anarch-Centric, then why put the players as -camarilla-?? The POV is upside down. Your audience is supposed to empathize with the protagonist, not the supporting cast (and much less the antagonists).

As a game-designer:
It's a novel, not a canned adventure. The most insulting railroad since Rise of the Runelords, and the most disempowering GM-wank material since the intro of Tyranny of Dragons.

As a Vampire fan:
Whoever wrote this kinda forgot everything that made vampire cool and just stuck with Justin Achilli's desk notes. You see, Vampire The Masquerade was one of the biggest cases of Death of the Author in the hobby. Originally, ReinHagen and Achilli wanted a wangstfest about fanged emos who moped under the rain in stinky alleys for being cursed with awesome. These fanged emos were supposed to be perpetual victims of oppression from a system led by immortals from behind an eternal glass ceiling the PCs would never, ever, cross.

The rules, however, gave options to do more interesting (and less emo) things: Things from running small empires in the undercity to actually be part of the city's Primogen or even the Prince. Vampiric power games where were it was at, and those that didn't care for vampire politics just played the game as Vampions. THAT was the vampire that people remember, that was the vampire that got many roleplayers laid, and that was the vampire that put old White Wolf as a superpower in the hobby second only to d&d.

Now... the new administration wants to make vampire anarch-centric and right at the beginning of the new Anarch Revolution? Perfect! Now the game can be a revenge fantasy at the lower social strata where the players Eat The Rich, and MORE vampire politickinig and power games at the upper strata; after all, anyone who has actually read history knows how revolutions work (spoilers: They're NEVER "for the people by the people").

This playtest scenario, however, did it all wrong... I just hope the new White Wolf realizes it before it's too late.


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