In October 2011, the 20th Anniversary edition of Vampire: The Masquerade was released to the general public. Although the majority of the work is derived from the game's second edition (1992) and its revised edition (1998), a number of alterations were made in the name of clarity and game balance. What were these changes, and where can they be found in the text?
Attributes & Abilities
- Awareness has been added as a Talent.
- Dodge has been removed as a skill; its former functionality has been moved to Athletics.
- Security has also been removed; its former functionality has been subsumed by the Larceny skill and the Technology knowledge.
- Linguistics is no longer a skill; each language known is a 1-dot Merit instead. (p. 484)
- The Tremere have a new clan flaw; they succumb to the blood bond after only two drinks from a regnant, rather than three. (It's not made clear whether the effect of the first drink is magnified to that of the second drink, or whether the second drink is skipped.) (p.69)
- The animal features of the Gangrel that manifest after a frenzy are now temporary, and may be behavioral rather than physical. (p.55)
Character Creation and Costs
- During character creation, Humanity/Path dots costs 2 freebie points instead of 1.
- Potence and Celerity have been significantly altered. Each now adds a passive bonus (at no vitae cost) to their governing physical attribute; you add your dots as extra dice in pools using Strength and Dexterity, respectively. In addition, Potence and Celerity allow the vampire to spend vitae for effects: spending 1v allows a Potence user to add his dots in Potence as successes to all subsequent Strength rolls made during that turn--which used to be inherent to the discipline--and a Celerity user may choose to spend 1v to convert a Celerity dot into an additional physical action for that turn, which may be done multiple times, reducing the Celerity rating accordingly for the turn (Generational blood-spending maxima do not apply to these expenditures.) (pp. 142, 192)
- Dominate and Presence powers whose difficulties were once equal to the subject's permanent Willpower rating now target the subject's current Willpower.
- If "splitting one's action" in a turn, compare the dice pools for each action, find the one with the fewest dice, and then allot that number of dice among all the actions being attempted. (p.248)
I think I can say the major change is the undoing of the metaplot. In V20, Assamites are still cursed, Ravnos are alive and Gangrel dwell in the Camarilla. One of the design objective was to recover the original vampire flavour. It's unclear to me why some other revised changed hasn't been undone, as the Tremere antitribu extermination or the Ahrimanes disappearance.
Apart from that, many mechanics has been changed. I must say that these changes has been openly consulted to the community. Achilli or someone posts for instance a clan description, or a discipline and anyone could contribute with his feedback. Developers still kept the control, but I can say they do listen and include to people's opinion.
Many disciplines has been revised, at least Potence and Celerity. Dodge disappears. Languages are not learnt with Linguistics. Some Dark Ages mechanics are introduces, such as pooled backgrounds or Path of Enlightenment bearings.
I was disappointed that some parts of the book are not changed. Storytelling chapter is pretty much the same, which isn't bad per se, but the Path of Enlightments are the same, except the new Bearing mechanic, which was very disappointing to me as I find the revised edition paths very bad designed.
I have not studied V20 enough to know all the changes, but I expect those examples gives you an idea. As I said, I think the most important is the undoing of the metaplot and the aim to recover the original V:tM feeling, which I feel it hasn't been completely successful.
There isn't a complete list of changes I can find, but the development process is pretty well documented on the development blog, albeit in bits and pieces, and according to this review, the changes are minor at best.
So, does this book deliver? Yes, yes it does. There aren’t a whole lot of changes here, and many of the changes that do exist are relatively subtle. A few Clan weaknesses have changed, a few Disciplines are different, the often-abused Age Background is missing, there’s a new background I don’t remember having seen before (Domain) and rules for pooling backgrounds. The “timeline” has been advanced somewhat, with mention of tablet computers. There’s even a way to reconcile the Week of Nightmares, but it’s only mentioned once in the book and I’m not going to spoil it for you.