I finally caved. I went out last night and bought some more White Wolf games. I got the new World of Darkness base book and the new Vampire book. I'm giving up on my longheld grudge against Vampire.
I didn't find a copy of Mage 2nd edition, so I was saved from the temptation of buying it. Hamiltonians, can I borrow a copy of Mage 2nd ed so I can fix my Do?
I've been reading through the rule book, and there are some nice things; combat is now just one dice roll which takes into account hitting, modifiers for defense, and how much damage is done.
by having one core rule book for skills, etc. they've got a better chance at keeping the new WoD line consistent. The character generation process is given in the core book, with an extra step 5 for "add supernatural template".
On the down side, the feel of the rules is a bit more d20 than I would like; resources and merits have been merged into the new merits, which are much like d20 feats. Also, they've now made the attribute used for brawling and melee combat strength instead of dexterity, which I always found one of the most annoying things about D&D. I'm not happy with that change because it tilts the balance in armed combat towards the big brute, and makes the agile fencer/martial artist a special exception; as in d20, if you want to use dexterity instead of strength, you have to pay for it, buying a special merit for each weapon you want to so use.
The power level on the whole is turned down; characters only get 5/4/3 for attributes now, and the fifth dot for attriubtes and traits costs double, so a 5 strength means that you've spent all 5 points on strength. Traits have a similar reduction in available points.
They've also introduced a Morality trait; if you behave in an immoral or amoral fashion, you have to make morality checks and degeneration checks; a failed morality check lowers your morality, and a failed degeneration check means you get deranged (depression, phobias, etc.) I think it will be fairly easy to control how much of a part this plays in a game, though.
I'll probably post a review of the new Vampire rules after I've had a chance to go through that book.