The World of Darkness is entering a new era, with the recent edition of the Vampire: The Masquerade tabletop game reshaping the established lore, the L.A. by Night YouTube series creating its own running storyline about the war between the Anarchs and the Camarilla in Los Angeles, and three upcoming Vampire: The Masquerade video games being released across multiple platforms, most notably Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2.
Modiphius Entertainment is the company that is responsible for publishing the latest edition of the Vampire: The Masquerade tabletop game. TheGamer had a chance to talk to Modiphius President and CEO Chris Birch during the recent PDXCON event in Berlin, where he discussed the future of Vampire: The Masquerade.
What’s in store for Vampire: The Masquerade over the next twelve months?
Chris Burch: The first key product is The Fall of London Chronicle. Time has jumped forward a bit and the Second Inquisition is cracking down on vampires and they have the technology and secret information they need to actually find and deal with vampires. So, London is a big flashpoint and they really are scraping vampires out of London. There is a huge hit going on. You basically wake up out of torpor and all hell is breaking loose, there is like… gunfire, madness, and Mithras is there with one last job for you before you leave. So it’s a great way for old players to get updated on the setting and what’s going on because you start as if you are from the past and you get to find out what’s been going on. The new players get to do all the cool stuff that vampires should do, there is a bit of action and drama, there is a big high-class party in The Shard in London.
We've got a Player's Guide and it's all about the clans and has lots of new information, but it's a bit of a bridge as well because in this edition of Vampire you are the monster that's trying to cling on to your humanity through a loved one. Whereas in previous editions of Vampire you were more of a human whose got this monstrous feelings and tendencies inside you and you're trying to fight the monster within you. So, what we've done is try to show people who are like "But that's how I like playing Vampire and that's the mental state I like to use" and that's fine, that's how you can do it with V5, so here's what you need to know about rules and what might need to be tweaked if you want to play it that way. It really is trying to embrace more of the community and give them a doorway into V5.
We have a great starter bundle that’s coming out in PDF very much aimed at the modern new gaming group that's got their pads and laptops, or they can print stuff off, it's literally a "Let's start playing right now" and you hand out the characters and it really takes you through the real core of the rules, to teach you how to play and hopefully then that makes you go "Oh, let's start a whole campaign, that was really fun."
There is more coming from Onyx Path with Chicago by Night in Q1 and they have more products as well. You can expect some Second Inquisition stuff, some new Chronicles, we have some partners doing French Vampire and Italian Vampire and they'll be doing products around Paris and Rome. So we're going to be trying to incorporating that into the English language products. We're also doing big organized play campaigns, so we haven't announced the details yet but effectively there is going to be free organized play missions that are something you can play in a store for an hour, or a couple of hours at a convention, just a teaser to get people playing. But then there is a paid version which is much deeper and is set around two cities and there is a whole conflict between the cities based around the Camarilla and the Anarchs. That's going to be much deeper and much more involved and that's really for your hardcore players who want to get deeper into Vampire lore.
I noticed you mentioned Mithras. Will The Fall of London Chronicle confirm his fate? Matthew Dawkins suggested in one of his videos that Mithras died, but the books have hinted otherwise.
Yes, so there is a lot of mystery around Mithras that will be somewhat unveiled through that. He's one of the key characters in the Vampire mythos and there is a lot more of those familiar characters that will be reappearing in different products because it's like The Avengers, for example. It's The Avengers because of the Avengers. There are so many great characters from the last thirty years of Vampire games that you want to reappear. So Mithras is quite a key character that there are a lot of great stories about and we wanted to involve. There is the temple of Mithras, the Mithraeum in London that's underneath the Bloomberg that's got the glass floor and you can go explore, so if we can involve that in the plot would be really cool. There is a lot of great stuff in London and you get to see a slice of London and it's a different take and there is a lot of "X by Night" books previously, but in this era the Second Inquisition are cracking down on vampires, not all in the same night, but over time and they are discovering a lot more about the vampire culture. They're all attacking them in different ways and some of them are very disorganized, some of the Second Inquisition think vampires are literally monsters and need to be stamped out. Others recognize them as people and need to deal with them in a different way. They'll see it as the holy side of it which has been going on for centuries. That's going to be an interesting product and will give people opportunities to play the Second Inquisition and play the other side... and go hunting monsters, with all of your kit.
Sort of like reviving Hunter in a way?
Yeah, specifically because of this time, it's a great time to play that type of story because it's going on in so many places. And now they've got the gear and the technology and software to be able to hunt and track down the vampires.
The Vampire: The Masquerade name has come back into the press because of the announcement of Bloodlines 2. Will any of the elements from Bloodlines 2 make their way into the tabletop game? For example, the new factions and the changes to Dementation?
I can't say too much yet but we are planning to do a product that ties-in with Bloodlines 2. It's kind of in the early stages as we kind of figure out what that product will look like, but I definitely...I see Bloodlines 2 as key because it's going to bring in a lot of new people into the Vampire world, and we need a product that is like "Ok, now you've played this awesome video game, now you can play a game within that setting that you know quite well" and then that will lead you into the rest of the game. So yeah, there will be, I can't say much about it and yes there are some tweaks and things that we'll have to look at.
Will the Kuei-jin be making a return?
I don't know is the honest answer (laughs) so, that might be... I'm not aware of them yet. But there is a lot of clans and groups were dialed down or marked as almost extinct and that presents an opportunity... it's not that we don't know that they're extinct, maybe we'll be able to bring them back, maybe we'll bring them back in a different way. What we're trying to avoid is... there are a million books for Vampire and what we don't want to do is just restat everything. Because that would be boring, we've got an opportunity to bring in a new audience with products aimed at a new generation of roleplayers, but also we don't want to forget the community that is already there.
Chicago by Night is the first big city book for V5, are there any other city books planned for the future and if so, are there any you would specifically like to see happen?
There will definitely be something around London because... The Fall of London is kind of a city book... well it's not a classic city book because it's like... this is all that's left. That doesn't mean to say that vampires won't try to come back to London at some point and I think that might be an interesting avenue to explore. You're definitely going to see the different partners doing, say, Paris by Night, that's a bit of a no-brainer. I could imagine lots of people would want to play Paris by Night in English. We'll be making sure that there is a translation of those books to play. I know what we're trying to do is make sure its not just a list of American cities. You've got L.A. by Night which is the streaming show, which is great, and we'll tie in with that. But what we're trying to do is get all of these other amazing cities like Moscow, Paris, and Rome and Milan, where an international fanbase will quite happily play that, they don't have to be force-fed lots of cities. Yeah, it's balanced in choosing the tie-ins with the video game, the key products, also showing what else you can do and also trying to do it in a different way. Each city book gives you something new for players and something new for storytellers as well, it's a bit more balanced.
One change I've noticed with disciplines in the game is that some of the unique disciplines have been rolled into other disciplines, such as Dementation into Dominate and Serpentis into Protean. Will that be the case going forward with other disciplines such as Viccisitude or the bloodline disciplines?
Great question and another answer is I don't know (laughs). I could guess. We'll just have to look at it as we bring stuff back, whether we fold it into something and we are planning that there would be a set of discipline cards.
Is the L.A. by Night YouTube series considered part of the canon of the story of the tabletop game going forward? If so, will the events of the show be mentioned in the books?
Yeah, I believe it is seen as canon for the world, so... certain events.. we will be trying to do a tie-in product that basically draws on what's happened in the show. But you play characters in that environment interacting with some of the NPCs of those players. It's still early days, we're trying to figure out what that product looks like because the show is doing really well. I think there is a lot of room for it to expand.
Awesome, thank you for your time!