How To Play Vampire: the Masquerade

As a former teacher I am occasionally struck with the desire to give people advice. As a Reddit user I frequently come across people asking for advice. As a person who’s been playing Vampire: the Masquerade since the turn of the millennium I have figured out a few bits and bobs. Put all that together and you have the posts indexed below, full of things I’ve said often enough that it’s easier to collect them all in one place.

Of course, none of this is objectively the right true and only way to play the game, because that doesn’t exist and rules are a fake idea and lore is a spook and so on and so forth – but the methods and approaches described below have worked well for me.

  • General storytelling tips – very much a stream of consciousness, just stuff I learned during my first decade or so with the game.
  • Baby’s First Chronicle – a more focused guide for first time storytellers coming into V5. If you have a bunch of players and you’re looking for a storyteller, one of you should read this and give it a try!
  • The Watch List – for all its literary aspirations/pretences, Vampire: the Masquerade is at its heart a cinematic game. These are some things I suggest you watch – and an approach to deciding what else to bring in to make your vampire story really work for you.
  • How I Design SPCs – Vampire isn’t always great at showing the working or giving a rubric for putting your Storyteller-Played Characters together. Fortunately, V5 does have a load of moving parts which, when you squint, can be put together differently to create a working SPC machine…
  • On Thinbloods – specific advice for integrating the Coke Zero of vampirism into your V5 game, in particular how to fit one thinblood into a group of full-fat Kindred.
  • On the Clan of Death – coming along eventually, a sprawling take on the clan variously known as Giovanni, Cappadocian, Samedi, Harbinger or Hecata – how to work with and through the stereotypes, and how to integrate them into a coterie or chronicle