What are the differences between Vampire: The Masquerade first and second edition?

I have both the second and the third edition, but have never played/read the first one.


4 Answers 4


The most important changes in rules I can think of are:

  • Presence 1 and 3 powers are switched.
  • Health levels penalties were more severe (0 -1 -2 -3 -4 -5) instead of (0 -1 -1 -2 -2 -5).
  • Celerity worked very differently. Each point of celerity gives an extra action per turn per blood spent, for the duration of the scene. That is, if you have 4 blood points you could spend 4 blood points (normally during 4 turns) and have 4 extra actions each turn during the rest of the scene. Additionally, a character could add their Celerity rating to any Dexterity roll.
  • Potence didn't add automatic success to Strength rolls, but simply extra dices.
  • Virtues were used on a different way:
    • Frenzies were divided by hunger, rage or fear. Those types were resisted with Conscience, Self-Control and Courage, respectively. (In second edition, hunger frenzy is resisted with Self-Control).
    • Degeneration rolls (losing Humanity) were resolved using one of the three virtues. If the violation is made during a frenzy, the virtue with you tried to resist the frenzy was used. If not, roll Conscience when the character harms someone, Self-Control when the character gives in to his urges, and Courage when the motivation was cowardice.

The first edition had a series of drawn comics in the right corner that told the story of a new vampire and his journey after the Embrace. It was dropped for the second edition.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh lol, they tried again the comics in later games, but they were at the beginning of the books, instead. \$\endgroup\$
    – o0'.
    Feb 19, 2011 at 19:50

Second edition simply clarified some of the details and fixed most of the errors that were in the first edition. Not to sure if you can find an errata online or not, that was before the WWW was around.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Do you know if the "errors" were only typos or involved some rule-fix too? \$\endgroup\$
    – o0'.
    Feb 19, 2011 at 19:30
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Lo'oris Typo's and rule-fixes, I would have to go and find my first edition to make sure though (but that's about 6 hours out of reach). \$\endgroup\$ Feb 19, 2011 at 19:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm pretty sure that Celerity has changed in every single edition, so odds are it was different in 1e, too. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jadasc
    Feb 19, 2011 at 19:44
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Confirmed - Celerity was one extra action per dot in both, but 2e cost 1 blood regardless of number of actions, 1e was 1 blood per action. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Feb 26, 2011 at 0:26
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Presence powers 1 and 3 were switched. \$\endgroup\$
    – Flamma
    Aug 7, 2013 at 10:10
  • In 1st edition, the First and Fifth traditions (Masquerade and Hospitality) are the other way around.

The traditions themselves are the same (word for word IIRC), but I suspect the promotion of the Masquerade to First Tradition reflects further development of the concept and details of the Camarilla through 1991-1992. Or maybe someone just said, "hang on a second, the game isn't called Vampire: the Hospitality".

They're also slightly different in Dark Ages, but that represents a different culture of Cainites rather than White Wolf changing their mind.

  • I think the "Cavalier" Archetype was in the 1st ed rulebook but not the 2nd, there may have been some other differences in the lists. Also, Willpower regeneration through Nature worked slightly differently. In 2nd ed. the Storyteller awards 1-3 points, whereas in 1st ed. each Archetype stated a fixed number of Willpower points regained when it triggered.

  • The hierarchy of sins is different. 1st ed. has "accidental wrongdoing" and "purposeful wrongdoing" at the top, instead of "selfish thoughts" and "selfish actions". It also has "wanton destruction" at 5 rather than "property damage". Ofc you're supposed to apply your own common sense and personal morality, but I always felt the wording "property damage" needlessly left open the interpretation that graffiti or snapping a lock is more liable to free the Beast than involuntary manslaughter. I guess there are real-world moral philosophies by which that is exactly the case.

A fair amount of 2nd ed. text is taken more-or-less unchanged from 1st ed., though.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have the vague feeling that even the 2nd edition stated a fixed number of willpower points regained, but I can't check it now. \$\endgroup\$
    – o0'.
    Sep 17, 2015 at 8:15

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