REVIEW: Blood Sigils

Blood Sigils

Last Updated on March 18, 2024

Blood Sigils is a supplement for Vampire: The Masquerade Fifth Edition. It is a supplement detailing the use of Blood Sorcery, Thin Blooded Alchemy, and the black market that has emerged around the use of magic among vampires (called “The Scene”). Blood magic supplements were quite popular in earlier editions of Vampire: The Masquerade and it is surprising its taken this long to have a book discussing its use. Could the book have contained more information on things like Oblivion and Church of Set magic? Probably but we’ll mostly be judging the book on what it is rather than what it could be.

Blood SigilsOverall, I think Blood Sigils is one of the best books released by Renegade Studios so far. I was not fond of The Second Inquisition or Sabbat: The Black Hand supplements but was much more appreciative of Blood-Stained Love. Blood Sigils benefits from a decision that I hope more books will take heed from in the future: the decision to incorporate more lore from the classic era of Vampire: The Masquerade. Given so many other supplements seem interested in ignoring or quietly retconning classic lore, it’s nice to see this book is best appreciated by those with a decades-long familiarity with the material.

Seriously, the book’s best parts are updating both Clan Tremere and the Banu Haqim with references to their extensive history. Not just the now-destroyed chantry in Vienna is referenced but also House Ceoris from Vampire: The Dark Ages. “House Goratrix” has taken over the section of Clan Tremere that is attempting to rebuild the Pyramid as it used to be, and its leader is someone that will be familiar to anyone familiar with The Transylvania Chronicles. We also get a sense of what happened with the Banu Haqim Schism that was the focus Clan Book: Assamite Revised.

This book is perfectly usable by players who have never experienced Vampire: The Masquerade before Fifth Edition and these are just interesting references. However, as Easter Eggs for those who have spent thirty years playing in the World of Darkness, they are a reminder that our fandom is appreciated. I could have done with even more but I’m certainly not going to begrudge the book for including what it did. Sadly, those looking for updates of things like Thaumaturgy Paths and specific rituals will have to look elsewhere.

Most of the book is devoted to the creation of a thriving magical subculture in the wake of the Tremere’s stranglehold being destroyed by the Second Inquisition. Everyone who wants to learn magic can learn magic these days, at least among the Damned. But being the immortal parasites they are, this comes with a price. Most of the magic for sale is watered down, erroneous, or from copies of copies. Experimentation is the order of the day and back-alley deals are happening in every major city.

The central conceit of Blood Sigils is that magic is like drugs and especially drug dealing. Quality, ingredients, violence, crooked law enforcement (human or otherwise), and cheats are all things you run into in “The Scene.” It is also strongly related to the Blood Trade where buying nourishment is significantly easier than buying the blood of a specific seven-year-old that was born under a blood moon. Much of the horror is implied and that is what makes it appropriately punk.

The book contains sample NPCs of dealers, crooked Sheriffs, crooked cops, dabblers, veterans, diablerists, and Thin Blooded alchemists. It contains a large number of blood cults and magical secret societies that vary in quality (my favorite is a Masquerade breaking pharmaceutical company from India). There’s also several magical artifacts meant to show how they might be implemented into the setting. Much of the Storyteller advice is based on creating mood and, for once, actually quite useful.

Blood Sigils is probably the most “punk” book that Fifth Edition has and actually reads like someone who has more than a television show’s familiarity with drugs and the underground night life of a major city. Whether they have or not, it feels evocative and actually manages to live up to the potential of Fifth Edition. Paradox Interactive has continually wanted to capture an adult counterculture feel for its middle aged veteran audience and newcomers alike. This actually succeeds.

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CT Phipps

CT Phipps

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He's the author of Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, Straight Outta Fangton, and The Supervillainy Saga. He is also a frequent contributor to Grimdark Magazine.