Sunday, August 2, 2015

Vampire: The Masquerade 4th Edition

One of the major announcements at this years Gencon was word on the upcoming 4th Edition of Vampire: The Masquerade. Already, various Facebook and forum posts are full of ideas by fans for the new edition. Ideas for revised mechanics, or changes to the setting. Different ways to handle Disciplines. How to improve clans and sects. How much of the "metaplot" to keep, and how much of it to change or alter. All in all, a whole slew of ideas and thoughts--some I feel area awesome.  Now, I've been a fan of Vampire since the 1st Edition, and it remains one of my go to games for any type of gamer. Naturally, I have my own deeply held beliefs on what makes Vampire awesome, and how it should be run.

But, my dream is that Onyx Path Publishing does NOT listen to me. Do NOT make a game for me. Do not make it for the forum regulars. Do not make it for the Facebook and Google+ fans. Do not make it for the Kickstarter backers, and the V20 fanboys. All those people who have supported you through the years, who were there with passion, enthusiasm, and open wallets during the wreckage of White Wolf and the founding of Onyx Path? Fuck them. Fuck me. Fuck everyone who already plays Vampire.

4th Ed should NOT be for us. We will buy it. We will critique it and bitch about it. We will steal the ideas we like and ignore the ones we don't. We'll play our own unholy mishmash of V20, 4th, Revised, Dark Ages and Streetfighter. Instead, please, please please make Vampire for all those people who have never even thought of playing a roleplaying game, let alone where they get to play an undead monster that survives on human blood.

Make it for the fans of True Blood, Vampire Diaries, Underworld, and, yes, even Twilight. Make it for people who have no idea that dice can come in more (or less) than 6 sides. Make it for the person who finds this random book in a store (and please try and get this released to Barnes & Noble and Book a Million and anywhere else you can), and thinks "hey, a game where you can be vampires struggling in the shadows of the modern world? Cool!" Make it for people who have never roleplayed, and especially for Storytellers whose sole claim to authority is that they're the ones who happen to have the book.

Make the rules simple, and understandable. Make the basic setting simple, and relatable. Make it fun, and violent, and exciting, and thrilling. Do not make them have to understand the nuances of the Gehenna book, or a particular series of novels White Wolf published 20 years ago.  Instead of basing it off of V20 or Revised, both of which where made by fans for fans, base if off 1st. But dump and change what doesn't work, and expand upon what does. Then make it more. More passionate. More romantic. More dangerous and unknown.

If you keep anything, keep it about teenagers. Make it about angst. Make it about rebellion. Make it about an entire society and way of life dedicated to keeping you down, keeping you in your place, and ignoring you. Make the players rebels, make them revolutionaries. You want to make it "modern"--turn Gehenna into the economic collapse of '08. Make the Elders every smug, holier than thou Baby Boomer that mocks the millennials, taunting them for "having it so easy" and being "self obsessed." All while the Elders prosper on debts that will be paid off by the Childer, and they are more than willing to bathe in luxury while the world, literally, burns around them. And the only way things will EVER change is if the players MAKE it change.

Make it about personal horror. About how far are you willing to go to survive? How far are you willing to go to prosper? What does it mean to have power, and what is the cost of using it? Make the Beast a constant threat, seeking to destroy everything the character holds dear. Make the players fear. Not only the Elders, or the unknown things in the barrens, but make them fear themselves.

Make them feel. Love, hate, lust, terror, whatever. Make the game real, and immediate. Make it for every "tween" and young teenager who loves horror and soap operas and wants to explore the world and ethics and philosophy but also wants to feel something real, damnit.

Ok, I still kind of want to be David.
Do not make it for me. Fuck me. Making my dream game will be the death of Vampire. I firmly believe that Vampire is, even more so than D&D, the game that almost everyone can relate to and enjoy. Some of us have already taken than journey into darkness. Your job now is to bring in the next generation. Don't make it for those of us who wanted to be David in the Lost Boys, make it for those who want to be Rosalie in Twilight.

All in all, ignore the fans, and make it for all the potential fans.

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