Vampire the Masquerade is a rich setting with lore spanning back decades. While the 5th edition of the game has taken great strides towards simplifying the current state of the lore, there are still a lot of details that are incredibly useful for newer players to understand.
Putting together a simple ‘primer’, a type of ultra-condensed player’s guide, is a technique I have used to elevate my one-shots. It helps everyone quickly understand a setting, get on the same page in terms of theme and tone, and make an informed decision on which pregenerated character to pick.
I’ve fallen into a standard layout for these primers:
- Page 1: Picture mood board
- Page 2: System overview
- Page 3: Important groups
- Page 4: Important character choice (class, clan, type, etc.)
- Page 5: List of pregenerated characters
In the past I’ve included a list of important characters and groups, such as the local NPCs, factions, and others who will make an appearance in the one-shot. Yet this information often ends up getting duplicated later anyway in background info sheets, and these primers really benefit from being a higher-level overview than that.
Rusted Veins V5 Remix Primer
Below you will find all the information in text form, so that you can use it to create your own custom primer should you wish. My Patrons can download the PowerPoint file used to make the PDF. You can edit it for your own liking, which might be useful if you want to limit or expand the selection of pregens or change the images to better match your idea of Vampire.
Page 1: Picture mood board
Page 2: Vampire the Masquerade
- In Vampire, you play characters who are supernatural vampires in the modern day — This is not a roleplaying game where you play the ‘good guys’.
- You are, for now, almost human. Yet your Humanity is difficult to maintain and letting it slip means unleashing the Beast within you.
- All vampires, or Kindred, hunger for Blood. Even those who try to reject their nature must drink somehow or suffer True Death.
- As newly Embraced vampires you are confused by the complex web of politics and the machinations of elder vampires — although you are likely already caught up in them.
- This World of Darkness is in flux. Old power structures struggle in these new nights. Only the most naïve of Kindred would follow blindly without self-serving thoughts.
Page 3: Kindred Society
- Kindred fall into three main groups:
- The Camarilla — Elder vampire elite (and their hangers-on) who safeguard the Traditions of Kindred society, or so their propaganda claims. Princes of the Camarilla rule their cities.
- The Anarchs — Those who reject the Camarilla’s rule and seek to take the fight to the throat of the so called ‘Princess’ atop their ivory towers. Anarch Barons rule their cities.
- The Unaffiliated — Kindred either too ignorant or too uncaring to take a side. Most Camarilla treat these vampires as Anarchs all the same.
- In Vampire you might not all be working towards the same ends. Subterfuge, secret goals, and hidden affiliations are a key part of play.
- Reveal your affiliations only if you must — or display them proudly and rely on them.
- All Kindred, no matter their allegiances, obey The Masquerade — the sworn Tradition to ensure that Mortals do not learn of the supernatural living among them. To break the Masquerade is to bring death.
Page 4: The Clans
- A Clan is a group of vampires who share common characteristics passed on through the Blood.
- There are 13 known clans, all of which were reputedly founded by member of the third Generation.
- 8 of the clans are represented among the pregenerated characters. These clans are listed here, with some information to help inform your choice of pregenerated character.
- All vampires are said to be descended from the Biblical figure Caine, the original vampire.
- Think of your clan somewhat like a Class in other roleplaying games. It defines the powers you have and your general way of doing things.
Brujah — The Rebels
Revolt, protest, oppose
Bane: Violent Temper
Gangrel — The Beasts
Fight, stalk, prowl
Bane: Bestial Features
Compulsion: Feral Impulses
Malkavian — The Oracles
Perceive, soothsay, foretell
Bane: Fractured Prospective
The Ministry — The Tempters
Influence, sway, cultivate
Bane: Abhors the Light
Nosferatu — The Monstrosities
Spy, investigate, lurk
Toreador — The Seducers
Lure, obsess, create
Bane: Aesthetic Fixation
Tremere — The Witches
Study, perfect, scheme
Bane: Deficient Blood
Ventrue — The Aristocrats
Rule, influence, govern
Bane: Rarefied Tastes
Page 5: The Pregens
Choose one of the pregenerated characters. Let the others know who you want to play.
- Baggie: Gangrel junkie with dark secrets. Strong and street-smart
- Beluzzi: Ventrue social climber who openly servers the Camarilla. Beautiful and deceitful
- Dash: Toreador graffiti artist that rejects their nature. Resolute and nimble
- Malort: Nosferatu cop who plays both sides. Manipulative and stealthy
- Miss Janice: Malkavian school teacher gone mad. Clever and crazy
- One-Round: Brujah Anarch and former national boxer. Strong and athletic
- Padre: Ministry preacher to a homeless congregation. Charismatic and deadly
- Pvt. Lynch: Brujah injured war vet and local hero. Crack shot and alert
- Vendetta: Tremere blood scholar from Chicago. Learned and vicious
- Zion: Gangrel drug dealer with big plans. Agile and dangerous
- Baggie was embraced by Zion.
- Beluzzi works for the local Camarilla Prince.
- One-Round is a proud Anarch.
- Zion and One-Round are siblings.
- Zion seeks to gain standing with the Prince, many call Zion his “dog”.
- Most characters have hidden or secondary relationships.