Posted on August 31, 2012 by Michael Holland
Available at RPGNow.com
Thanks to the efforts of the numerous backers who helped with funding the Vampire the Masquerade 20th Anniversary Companion (V20 Companion) has been completed. PDFs of the book have been distributed to backers and the leather bound copy is being shipped. The book is a companion to the V20 core book and it includes a lot of interesting additions to the core mechanics as well as a few tidbits which were left out of the first book.
Chapter One: Titles covers titles and their importance within the hierarchical structure of Kindred society. Collections of titles are broken down by sect and each is tied to the Status background. As a storyteller I found this to be a very useful mechanic and I also liked seeing the titles for every sect gathered in one place. Assigning Status values also allowed for easy comparisons between the sects. It is not hard to discern the difference between a Prince and a Cardinal but what about a Camarilla Primogen and a Sabbat Priscus? Who holds more status within their respective societies? Using this new mechanic it is easy to determine they are of roughly the same standing.
Appropriately this chapter also includes an entry for Caitiff which was left out of the Vampire the Masquerade 20th Anniversary core book.
Chapter Two: Prestation touches on the boon system which serves as an economy within the society of the Kindred. Kindred can exchange promises, or boons, for the things they desire. These boons can come in several different types but any kindred would be smart not to throw them about because boons can be traded. Offer a boon to a resourceful Nosferatu and you may find yourself paying it back to a slimy Ventrue who wants you to handle his dirty work.
Chapter Three covers Kindred and Technology. Though some may find this chapter useful many of us have been integrating technology into our games along the way. There isn’t much in this chapter which I would think of as revelatory.
Chapter Four: World of Darkness is a tour of several interesting and important locales populated by the Kindred. From Hunedoara Castle to the Succubus Club fans of the game line will find many of their favorites here.
The Appendix is an overview of material which was left out of this volume and the motivations for their exclusion. Some might think of this section as rubbing salt in the wound but I did not mind.
Artistically the book includes a number of classic pieces from past publications mixed with several new pieces as well. Going back and forth means the book lacks a cohesive look but I think this is fitting for a book of this nature. No two troupes ever played the same way or saw it through the same lens so to speak. To restrain the artistic elements to one style would have been a shame.
There was some negative buzz about the length of the book. Many felt the companion was too short. Comparing it to other companions White Wolf has published reveals that the V20 Companion sits on the high end when it comes to page count even after subtracting ten pages of credits for the Kickstarters and the appendix. If we look at the shorter game lines (Werewolf the Wild West, Sorcerer’s Crusade) we start to see companions with hundreds of pages but White Wolf only published the larger companions for the smaller projects. Since fewer books were being published for these game lines more was packed into the companions.
Overall, the V20 Companion is a great addition to the game line and it includes a lot of material for both players and storytellers.
Review by Michael Holland
Tags | vampire the masquerade