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The Monsters: A Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition Quickstart $0.00
Publisher: Modiphius
by Noah P. [Verified Purchaser] Date Added: 04/28/2021 14:44:09

This PDF is a terrible starting point for VTM V5. Rules are mixed in with the module itself, so I had to spend the better part of an hour deleting pages and redacting pages that mixed rules with story.

The pre-gen characters included are fine. Just be sure to read over their abilities as a storyteller, I was caught off guard by the Malkavian's ability to get visions about things he investigates.

The module itself is a freaking mess. It tries to keep secrets from the storyteller, I had to read it several times to understand what the hell was going on. One standout flaw is a situation where an NPC might have killed someone but the module doesn't even tell the storyteller whether they or someone else did it. You just have to guess. There is also a really confusing flashback sequence taking place in a hotel with a bizarre, nonsensical layout that seems to consist of nothing but doorless hallways and rooms.

Several investigation scenes are given precious little detail. I had to improv a lot of things that nearly derailed the investigation because the module barely describes how the victims died.

Spoilers Ahead

So for curious storytellers, here's a breakdown of the plot and more specific reasons why I hate it.

Dramatis Personae:

Sheriff Sam: Not actually a camarilla or police sheriff, she's just called sheriff for no reason.

Red herring: I forgot his name, he's a stalker fan and drunkenly broke into his idol's house to profess his love. She declined obviously and he hit her and left. She was found dead the next day. This is litterally all you know as a ST about what the hell happened.

Detective: Sam's ghoul in the police force. He's there to be grumpy and pass supernatural cases on to the coterie.

The killer: She gets a vague description in this section of the PDF, it is not really useful. Basically, the coterie killed her daughter, so now she wants to become a serial killer to lure out the coterie.

The Mess of a Plot I am ommitting some details, as the plot was fairly long. The coterie gets told about vampire like killing they need to investigate. This part of the module is fine and dandy, though we took so much time on it that we had to break the module into two sessions. Then a few more bodies drop and the Red Herring gets released from prison. An angry mob tries to kill him and the coterie has the choice to try to help him escape, or get him killed. My group saved him. The third victim is at an abandoned apartment and there's an encounter with amateur "hunters". This encounter was pretty fun honestly.

The module says that when questioned he genuinly believes he did not kill his idol. It is never clarified in the text what really happened. Anyway, the fourth and final body drops at a hotel, but this time the coterie can get there to investigate before the cops. This is where the module falls apart. The coterie gets in and finds the mutilated body of the fourth victim along with a message in blood on the wall reading Four for Four. Thus begins the awful flashback section.

Through a three or four stage set of flashbacks (which are out of order to deliberatly make it more confusing) the coterie learns that they killed two people during a frenzy when they were embraced in the 80s. Somehow immortal, undead, superhuman creatures forgot this traumatic event. Then Sheriff Sam waltzes in and offers to help them if the coterie starts working for her. Then the module says "One of your players will suggest that they should kill more people to pad the numbers and make the killings look like the work of a nonexistent serial killer". This is a huge assumption, and I had to have Sam present the idea because my players are not all knowing. Also Sam set this series of events up to get the coterie under her control, but there's no way for the players to learn this.

Now we get back to modern day after the revalatory flashback sequence. Oh no, we killed some people 30-40 years ago in a frenzy. Amusingly for a module about how bad a vampire's frenzy is, this one does not include the rules for frenzying. The coterie is then supposed to do research about the victims of the 80s to find a surviving relative with a grudge. It does not specify which victim this killer is related to. The coterie then drives to this lady's house and she tries to kill them in a gas explosion (or in other ways, it provides multiple options at least). My group opted for saving themselves and her from the explosion to turn her over to an optional NPC who collects blood clots from serial killers.

In summation, this module is pretty good until the flashback sequence. The meeting with the serial killer at the end is non-satisfactory and just dumb. The coterie's connection to her is only established minutes before they meet her, and they're expected to feel guilt for something they didn't know they did until 6 hours into this mess. A further issue with this woman being the killer is the fact that she is 60-70 years old at minimum. My players spent 45 minutes trying to figure out "who the real killer was" because it made no sense to them that someone this old was able to kill a bunch of young people and drag their corpses around. The mystery cannot actually be solved by the players, they just have to wait for meaningless killings to happen until an arbitrary flashback happens to retroactively give meaning to the killings.

[2 of 5 Stars!]
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The Monsters: A Vampire: the Masquerade 5th Edition Quickstart
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