Everything New is New Again...

I'm running a V5 test game right now, allowing my players a "test drive" of the system before deciding as a group if we want to update our existing metachronicle with the new rules. We've been playing for over 6 years, and have a lot of history built into our setting; to update the chronicle would take some work, not least of which would be writing new rules to represent clans and bloodlines that have not yet been featured in the V5 core book or supplements. That potential update is a discussion for another entry. Tonight, we're here to talk about Thin-Bloods. For the V5 test game, I created characters for each of them to play, PCs that would hi-light the changes to the rules and the setting that differentiate this edition from previous editions of Vampire. Though he doesn’t appear to be happy about it (to my surprise and disappointment), one of them is playing a Thin-Blood.

One of the biggest changes to Vampire the Masquerade in the new edition, and one that crosses both a rules perspective and the continuing story of the World of Darkness, is the presence of the Thin-Bloods. While this disparate group existed (barely) in previous editions of the game, they were never really a viable option as player characters. In a game where most players wanted to be playing 8th and 9th Generation vampires (and spent the points to make that happen), a Thin Blood Vampire was not an attractive choice; many people saw it as akin to playing a child among adults, with a host of inherent disadvantages that would never get better unless you chose to diablerize a "real vampire;" and if your goal was that, why play a Thin Blood in the first place?

The new edition of VtM is much better about balancing the Thin Bloods, to make them an interesting character choice from a mechanical standpoint while also a person that is uniquely situated within the world of the Kindred. A Thin Blood begins with distinct "Thin Blood Merits and Flaws," things that give your character unique abilities to keep them relatively balanced with others. For example, Thin Bloods can't normally learn Disciplines, but there is a Merit that allows them to have the ability to learn one (and only one). Furthermore, the entire "Discipline" of Thin Blood Alchemy gives such characters access to a wide array of powers that full kindred have never learned. These powers range from gender swapping to flying to pulling other vampires out of Torpor, as well as being able to copy the effects of existing Disciplines.

More than just having strange powers to play with, the Thin Bloods have made a huge impact on the setting, becoming a very populous type of vampire after only coming into regular existence about 20 years ago. Elders scramble to wrap their heads around the idea that such a population growth is even possible, because it has taken several thousand years for any of the Cainite Clans to reach such numbers. While exact figures are hard to pin down, the idea that there are enough Thin Bloods in the world to require an official response from the Ivory Tower is unsettling, given their appearance in the setting a mere two decades ago. The Camarilla and the Anarchs both seek to control this swiftly growing population, because before long, the Thin Bloods will be the standard, not the exception. This means that you could very well construct a setting whereby the Thin Bloods are the teeming masses, with far greater numbers than the entire rest of the city's vampire population, a force that could be turned toward any cause that fits your chronicle, for good or ill.

While their mere existence creates controversy, Thin Bloods give an entirely new range of opportunities to crafty Storytellers and open up new options for players. If your chronicle is feeling stale and you'd like to change things up, keep them in mind.