October 29, 2013
A Look At The Crunch Of Vampire: The Requiem
The first game released for the new World of Darkness series after the previous series came to an end, Vampire: The Requiem is the spiritual successor to Vampire: The Masquerade, and while it holds a great deal of similarities to the original, it is its own game by far.
Vampire: The Requiem takes advantage of the improved and streamlined rules of the new World of Darkness, losing the somewhat concluded initiative system, changing the attribute line up so that the nine stats follow that there is a power attribute, a finesse attribute, and a resistance attribute for each of the categories of physical, mental, and social, simplifying combat and opposed tests, and reevaluating the skill lists. All of these things make for a much quicker, smoother play that allows players to stay within the head-space of the game rather than having to break the immersion as often to go over character stats.
Much like in Vampire: The Masquerade, vampires are divided into clans. In Requiem, your clan is akin to your vampiric family or breed and are composed of five (another common element to the new World of Darkness, there are always five) different options. There are the passionate Daeva, the savage Gangrel, the shadowy Mekhet, the monstrous Nosferatu, and the lordly Ventrue. Once you have selected which to which clan you belong, you are then given the choice of covenant. A covenant is much like a political faction within the vampire ranks. Again, there are five to choose from, but there is also the option here of being Independent and not belonging to any covenant, though this greatly reduces your standing among other Kindred. The five covenants are the Carpathians, vampires who seek equality amongst their ranks, the Invictus, old nobility, the Lancea Sanctum, vampire Catholics, the Circle of the Crone, often seen as mystics of a pagan belief, and the Ordo Dracul, follows of the teachings of the famous Count Dracula. Your combination of clan and covenant help to lay the groundwork for your character, indicating what abilities you are likely to possess and what motivates/influences them, though these are merely suggestions and simplifications. Vampires are nothing if not individualistic, each of them bearing their curse differently.
The mortality of the game comes in the form of a vampire’s Humanity, much as it did in Vampire: The Masquerade. This is an indication of how strongly you hold on to your human self vs falling to the coils of the beast that dwells inside you, demanding that you do not but hunt and kill. The inner battle between the Kindred and their Beasts is given a great deal more focus in Requiem than it did in Masquerade, going so far as to often label the Beast as something separate from the character entirely, a second entity that exists within them as opposed to being nothing more than a burning desire that swells inside of them. Fighting back against the Beast can be difficult, and more than once your characters are likely to find themselves washed away by its rage, only to return to themselves later and be forced to come to terms with whatever they have done.
Vampire remains a very story driven game, focusing more on the fluff than on the crunch, though the new World of Darkness rules give its crunch a lot of support. It is hard for me to say which game I enjoy more, Masquerade or Requiem, and though I did put Masquerade on my top 10 list over Requiem, I greatly prefer the rules of Vampire: The Requiem.
Image Credit: White Wolf Publishing