Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2
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Author:  snowman1989 [ Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:49 am ]
Post subject:  Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

Holy shit. :o I didn't think we'd ever get another Masquerade game, but here we are. The original game from 2004 is one of my all-time favourites, a cult classic with a moody environment, fascinating lore and moments of bloody horror. Though if you ever want to play the original, I'd recommend getting the modded patch because the game was released... half-finished and buggy as hell... how times have changed? :?

Please Paradox, don't fuck this up.

Author:  CWS [ Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

I must confess I never actually played the original, but I know a lot of people who did, and that trailer is rather intriguing.

Author:  snowman1989 [ Fri May 24, 2019 4:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

According to Paradox, we're getting five vampire clans in the base game, with others possibly coming through DLC. :( The original game had seven, but the tabletop game has thirteen, though the video games focus more on the clans that are part of the Camarilla, a sort of vampire "government" enforcing the Masquerade. The Masquerade is vampire society's attempts to stay low-key and hidden from humans. Given that modern society has access to smartphones, satellites, phosphorous rounds and WMDs, staying hidden is essential to their survival, and anyone who breaks the Masquerade can expect lethal consequences.

For those new to the game or the franchise, I've attached some videos below to give a taste of what the different vampire clans are all about. Well, the ones Paradox has confirmed to be in the game.

Ventrue are the "Clan of Kings", vampires who hold political and economic power in the modern nights. Their bloodline has included monarchs, high-priests, emperors, and most fittingly, CEOs. They are rich and powerful, and demand loyalty. However, with great wealth comes expensive tastes, and oftentimes they require a specific type of blood to feed on to sustain themselves.

The Toreador are closest to the most modern understanding of vampires: alluring, beautiful, seductive and deadly. Their ranks tend to include artists, writers, musicians, philosophers, models, prostitutes; any who would bring beauty to a stale, dead world. But don't let their looks fool you; underneath the sparkling eyes, the welcoming smile and that drop-dead gorgeous dress is an undead monster. Still, out of all the clans, the Toreador maintain the closest links to humanity, which can be both blessing and curse.

You all know Rule 1 of Fight Club, but there's a Rule 0: The Brujah own Fight Club. They represent the peak of vampiric strength and brutality, and they are more than happy to demonstrate that strength and brutality on your frail, mortal body. Brujah attract the downtrodden, the oppressed, those looking to even some scores. Also, don't tell them I told you this, but... they might have a bit of an anger management problem.

The Tremere are the clan of witches and warlocks who jealously guard their secrets, especially their most prized ability: blood magic. Other vampires rightly fear them, their mere presence among the other undead feeling somehow... unnatural. Valuing knowledge above all else, the Tremere don't give much thought or time to other pursuits, making them the most frail of the clans physically, but when they can set your blood on fire with their mind, do they really need to work out?

Yeah, they're totally nerds.

Thinbloods are not a clan. Some vampires argue that they're not even vampires. Thinbloods are beings sired by vampires, who are so distant and removed from their clan's original bloodline, that they can pass comfortably as human. They can eat food, survive sunlight, and there are even stories of Thinbloods being able to have children. But the vampire blood in them is weak, meaning that they aren't usually a match for full-fledged vampires. Add in the fact that nobody tells them anything about being undead, and mortality among Thinbloods is very high. They do have access to some vampiric powers, but the problem is there's often no one to teach them since their lineage is unclear, and the more superstitious vampires see them as a sign the Final Nights are nigh.

Interestingly, Paradox has said we'll be starting out as Thinbloods, and then have a choice to join a clan later.

Author:  CWS [ Fri May 24, 2019 8:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

snowman1989 wrote:
Interestingly, Paradox has said we'll be starting out as Thinbloods, and then have a choice to join a clan later.
That sounds like a logical choice for the purpose of introducing the ignorant and uninitiated (like me :P ) to this setting.

Author:  snowman1989 [ Fri May 24, 2019 10:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

CWS wrote:
That sounds like a logical choice for the purpose of introducing the ignorant and uninitiated (like me :P ) to this setting.

That's true. It's different from the first game, where you chose your clan at the start and Thinbloods were a bunch of sad, desperate outcasts that you felt somewhat sorry for.

But here's the thing: you can't just pick a clan, and you can't change clans either. Clans follow a bloodline that traces back to their Antediluvian ancestor, and the clan's specific powers and traits are exclusive to that bloodline. A Ventrue can never become a Brujah, a Toreador can never gain the stealthy abilities of a Nosferatu, and so on. Knowing your clan and bloodline is very important to vampires, which is partly why Thinbloods - who don't know what the hell any of this stuff means - are so regularly discriminated against.

For a Thinblood to join a clan, they'd have to display some form of power or ability unique to that clan. Even still, there's no guarantee they'll accept you since Thinbloods are the weakest form of vampire, whose bloodline has become greatly diluted over the millennia since their Antediluvian walked the earth, and so their powers are pretty weak. There may be a way for them to gain more power and strengthen their blood, but I'm getting ahead of myself. My theory might not be correct, and there could be another method revealed in-game.

EDIT: I stated in the previous post under Thinbloods that vampires consider them a sign of the Final Nights being imminent. This was incorrect. Thinbloods - or rather, their rising prevalence - are considered a sign of Gehenna, the vampire's doomsday prophecy. The Final Nights are the period starting in the years leading up to and going into the second millennium (our current era). The Final Nights, however, are considered the prelude to Gehenna.

Author:  snowman1989 [ Wed May 29, 2019 9:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

So the last main game clan's been revealed, and I'm not surprised that it's the Malkavians. It wouldn't be a Bloodlines game without them. For reasons that'll be obvious later, I'd recommend playing them after you've played as another clan, as their playstyle is filled with low-key spoilers for the rest of the game, if you're clever enough to figure it out.

Malkavians are gifted with insight, and understand the world in a way that mortals and the other supernatural do not. This insight can make them invaluable to others as advisors, preachers, strategists and in some cases, leaders. But that same insight has driven every last Malkavian on Earth incurably insane, with ailments including psychosis, depression, obsessive-compulsiveness, pathological lying, bi-polar disorder, and some mental illnesses unique to themselves. And yes, like a vampiric Deadpool, they can even break the fourth wall. Tread lightly around these madmen, or else they might just choose to share that madness with you. You wouldn't want to spend the rest of your life fighting an evil stop sign.

And if you think I'm kidding about that:

Author:  snowman1989 [ Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

With all the vanilla clans confirmed, I'll start speculating on which playable clans might be introduced later as DLC, if that's okay. And it'll serve as a short intro to each one, so if any mention is made of them later, you won't be totally lost.

Clan Assamite: Vampire ninjas! :rbg: Their actual, preferred name is Banu Haqim, but Westerners call them Assamites. A Middle East-based clan, they are masters of the art of assassination, and partake in blood rituals to attain a closer relationship to their Antediluvian progenitor. Western Kindred openly revile them as diablerists (vampires who feed on other vampires), though the clan is often misunderstood.

Could they be added?: Possibly. They're an independent clan - not affiliated to the Camarilla, and an assassin playstyle could be fun. But their Discipline Quietus is rather similar to the Tremere's blood magic (Thaumaturgy), which would go against the creative effort to make each clan feel unique. The clan curse wouldn't impact gameplay that much either, as it involves the vampire growing darker with age. How inconvenient. :roll:

Clan Gangrel: Loners and nomads who share a deeper understanding of the Beast within. They recently left the Camarilla and are now an independent clan - though they don't gather or socialise often. Their curse is that each time they lose control and let the Beast take over, there's a chance that they'll gain an animal trait, such as a pelt, or tusks, beastly eyes, or even feathers and scales. Basically, you lose control, you become a Furry. :lol: Less funny is that this stuff could easily break the Masquerade.

Could they be added?: They'll almost certainly make a return, as they were in the 2004 game. They're master of the Protean Discipline, a form of shapeshifting that can turn them into powerful, animalistic monsters. People often mistake them for werewolves.

Clan Giovanni: Ever heard the aristocrat joke? Odds are, the Giovanni have partaken in every single debauched act described in that joke, and that's only the tip of the iceberg. :shock: They're the Mafia of the World of Darkness, and are another independent clan that mostly keep to themselves. They're both a vampire clan and a Italian merchant family that only sire vampires within their own close-knit family and a few closely-monitored, carefully cultivated satellite families. Not that you'd want to be sired - whereas other vampire bites are mostly pleasurable to the victim, their bite is said to be the worst pain you can imagine.

Could they be added?: Don't get your hopes up. They could serve as antagonists in the new game, but the incestuous nature of the clan means outsiders are not tolerated. A shame, since their Necromancy Discipline would have been a lot of fun to try out. Spaghetti and corpses, indeed. The act of feeding would be more challenging too, since your victims would be screaming up a storm and attracting unwanted attention.

Clan Lasombra: A noble, vain clan much like the Ventrue, but are notorious for leading the Sabbat, a sort of anti-Camarilla faction that revels in their monstrousness and make no efforts to retain their humanity. Lasombra are powerful predators that stalk the shadows better than anyone, but their vanity is put in check by their curse; they cast no reflections, which has psychological consequences driving them to prove to the world that they do exist.

Could they be added?: Maybe. They're typically a bunch of Social Darwinist sadists with a massive ego, so they're usually considered an "evil" clan. Then again, the Tremere are in canon considered a villainous clan too. But playing a vampire, you're kind of already "the bad guy". Their unique Discipline is Ontenebration, control over the shadows, which freaks people the fuck out on a primal level. Also, their clan curse isn't all that workable in a game, unless maybe it's reworked into forcing you to take more reckless actions.

Clan Nosferatu: Speaking of freaking people out, holy shit, the Nossies are UGLY. Like, Deadpool without the mask fugly. Being on the street is considered a Masquerade violation because of their hideousness. The Nosferatu are forced underground, into the sewer systems of modern cities, and are survivalists without peer. They make a living as spymasters and information brokers, and boast the best goddamn hackers in the world. Allied to the Camarilla, but in reality, they're loyal only to themselves.

Could they be added?: Like the Gangrel, I'm convinced they'll return as DLC, because again, they were in the 2004 game. In canon, they don't have a unique Discipline, but... the developers could given them exclusive access to Obfuscate, which gives them the ability to become invisible.

Clan Ravnos: (*inhales through teeth*) Vampire Gypsies. :oops: A clan with origins in India, they're semi-nomadic and are known as tricksters and criminals... because that's what they are. Their curse is that every last member is a criminal, whether it's through plagiarism, petty theft or mass murder. But on a normal night, this is a regular Wednesday for any vampire, so Ravnos ain't that special. Also, the clan is virtually extinct because their Antediluvian woke from his slumber and killed them all during the Week of Nightmares.

Could they be added?: No. HELL NO. What was White Wolf thinking?! Them being functionally extinct aside, there's nothing unique in their experience about them. Vampires break the law on a regular basis. I suppose their Discipline of Chimerstry (making realistic illusions) could have been interesting, but (*inhales breath*) they're gypsy stereotypes. That alone means we'll probably never see them in a video game unless they're completely reworked into something less racist.

Clan Setite: This clan goes by many names: Setite, Followers of Set/Sutekh, Mesu Bedshet, but more recently they've callen themselves the Ministry. They're an independent clan that believes the Ancient Egyptian god Set is their progenitor, and seek to pave the way for his return by spreading corruption wherever they go. The clan curse states that they cannot stand bright light. Unfortunately for them, the rise of modern civilisation has further dampened their powers, what with all the street lighting going on.

Could they be added?: Maybe as antagonists, but I don't know how they could be played. Their Discipline of Serpentis is... both creepy and I'm not sure how it could work as a gameplay mechanic. The Discipline involves removing one's own organs to make themselves invulnerable to staking and diablerie, but those things never really happened in the old game. Oh, and recent retcons have erased that Discipline, so... the Ministry doesn't have unique powers anymore.

Clan Tzimisce: If any clan could be considered pure evil, the Tzimisce will show you just how inadequate that description is of them. They have rejected humanity in its totality, and with their Fleshcrafting Discipline, they shape their bodies into new, and alien forms. They use this vile power on their victims too, to create living furniture, houses and ungodly abominations to serve them. While younger Tzimisce take perverse joy from torturing their victims, their elders simply fail to comprehend mercy or suffering.

Could they be added?: As antagonists, certainly. While Lasombra are the leaders, Tzimisce are the spiritual heart of Sabbat doctrine, which should tell you everything you need to know about that organisation. I'm not sure if Paradox would have the guts to allow you to play as them though. They're sick bastards, and that's why we love them. Not sure how Fleshcrafting would work, either. But a playstyle focuses on outright rejecting humanity would be a challenge from a writing standpoint. There's also the clan curse which states they must rest within the earth of their homeland, and I don't think you could make that work.

Author:  CWS [ Tue Jun 04, 2019 11:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

So I take it you're pretty excited for this game. :lol:

Author:  snowman1989 [ Wed Jun 05, 2019 6:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

CWS wrote:
So I take it you're pretty excited for this game. :lol:

About as excited as I can get for any game. Paradox could still screw it all up, don't get me wrong. But a strong point in their favour is getting the original writer for the 2004 game on board to write the script and advise. :D

Author:  snowman1989 [ Mon Jun 10, 2019 1:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

We've finally got gameplay footage. Granted, it's pre-alpha, and the facial animations and movements look pretty janky and robotic. But hopefully, those issues will be resolved by March. Also disappointed that the mission they preview is pretty uninspired. Really hoping that isn't setting the tone for the rest of the game. :| I'm hoping to see more action, more intrigue and more horror, the three pillars that will make or break this game. Oh, and the player's actions having consequences affecting the outcome of the ending, that too.

Author:  snowman1989 [ Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

I found a longer gameplay preview, but had to wait until Gamestop uploaded theirs, because IGN's journalist looked like he was playing the game with a steering wheel. :lol: As I said before, the pre-alpha is janky, and combat and emoting needs a lot more spit-polish. But I am pleased that there are multiple ways of completing missions through your dialogue options, and that this isn't some one-way track like most games are nowadays.

At the top of the screen, you might have noticed the player going in and out of certain "zones" of sorts. This is something that was in the previous game, and it's something to keep in mind. These are:

Masquerade Area: Here the Masquerade is in full effect, and it is wise to make every effort to conceal your true nature. You could still use Disciplines and weapons, but doing so will attract unwanted attention, freak everyone out and break the Masquerade. Violate the Masquerade too many times, and it's literally game over. You'll be quickly overwhelmed by police, other vampires and worst of all, vampire hunters from the Inquisition.

Elysium: A safe zone, usually a club or home. You are in no danger, but you are not allowed to use Disciplines or use your weapons. This is generally the domain of a powerful vampire, and it'd be wise not to piss on their hospitality. Here you can receive missions and build connections with others. And if you're feeling like a Casanova, there are typically people in these zones you could seduce for a quick feed.

Blindspot: In the previous game, this would've been designated as a Combat Zone, but this name change is more fitting. These are places out of the way from the mortal masses where you can use the full force of your vampire powers without fear of breaking the Masquerade. In short, anything goes.

Author:  snowman1989 [ Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

There've been further updates concerning the factions that you'll be able to join, and possibly pit against one another if you're manipulative enough. Two have been revealed so far, but there are three more coming soon.

The Pioneers: Representing old money and the original vampire settlers of the Northwest, this faction clings to the past and the "good ol' days" when they were the unquestioned rulers of Seattle. These guys grow increasingly irrelevant by the year as newer, more aggressive organisations take root, much to their dismay and resentment. In these Final Nights may lie their last chance for greatness; the only other path is fading, forgotten, into the darkness.

The Camarilla: Riding the coattails of the tech boom, the Camarilla have arrived from the East Coast to become Seattle's new masters in recent decades. With its members comprising tech moguls, CEOs, politicians, and generally the rich and powerful, they are flush with cash and lead nice comfortable unlives. Many don't even need to leave their boardrooms and penthouse suites to hunt. But the leadership is far from complacent, being careful to leave the other factions with just enough power to mollify them, while being sure that they cannot unite or gain enough strength to actually challenge the Camarilla. Of course, their endgame is to eradicate all opposition, but the Camarilla is good at playing the long game. If all this sounds like I'm describing the Ventrue, well, that's because the Ventrue are the leaders of the Camarilla and have shaped the institution into their image.

I have a good idea of who the other three factions might be. I'm betting they'll comprise the Anarchs, the Sabbat and the Kuei-Jin, but I'll wait until they're revealed before going into details. Before this game, I'd never heard of the Pioneers after all.

Author:  CWS [ Sun Sep 08, 2019 12:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

Those last two sound like natural enemies.

Author:  snowman1989 [ Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

CWS wrote:
Those last two sound like natural enemies.

This is vampire society we're talking here. EVERYONE is an enemy or a future enemy. Smartest thing to do when you first start a game? Trust nobody. Assume everyone is out to either kill you or use you for their own ends.

But you mentioned the "last two" being natural enemies. If you mean the Sabbat and Kuei-Jin, you'd be right. Without going too deep, the Sabbat are vampires who've abandoned humanity and see vampires as the Ubermensch, while the Kuei-Jin are... not actually vampires. :? They are a form of undead from the Far East who possess vampiric traits, but are certainly not Kindred. They're weird and scary, and vampires hate them.

Author:  CWS [ Sun Sep 08, 2019 3:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

I meant The Pioneers and The Camarilla. Their description makes it sound like this game's plot could easily revolve largely around a conflict between them, particularly since you'd never even heard of one of them before now.

Author:  snowman1989 [ Sun Sep 08, 2019 5:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

CWS wrote:
I meant The Pioneers and The Camarilla. Their description makes it sound like this game's plot could easily revolve largely around a conflict between them, particularly since you'd never even heard of one of them before now.

Oh. :oops: Fair enough. I'm more familiar with the previous video game from 2004, not the tabletop. But from the sounds of things, the Pioneers are a faction found only in the American Northwest, a region that up until recent history was far from the big players in vampire politics. The previous game took place in early 2000's Los Angeles where the Camarilla was repeatedly trying to get a toehold in the region while fighting the Sabbat, Kuei-Jin and the Anarchs.

But yeah. This game could easily be a story pitting one set of entitled rich snobs against equally entitled nouveau riche. But this is Vampire the Masquerade; it's not going to be that simple.

Author:  snowman1989 [ Wed Sep 18, 2019 7:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

Another brand new faction based in Seattle's grimy backalleys and poor neighborhoods has been revealed.

The Baron: Nobody knows how many Kindred work for the Baron, as he works exclusively through his lieutenants. Very few know precisely who he is, where he's based or what his goals are. What is known is he's sunk his teeth into the poor, the destitute and those angered at the status quo. Molding the dregs of society into disciplined enforcers, he ruthlessly defends his business interests and hoards his favours for the right moment to cash them in.

Kinda sounds like the Anarchs, but too disciplined. Oddly enough, the title he's taken for himself - the Baron - that's a title that an Anarch leader gives themselves when they gain domain over a city. So the title could be a coincidence, or the Baron may have been (is?) an Anarch, or the Anarchs are trying to build themselves up low-key in a laughably ineffective fashion.

Author:  snowman1989 [ Thu Oct 10, 2019 11:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines 2

We got the last two factions revealed - with more details that you can find on the dedicated website.

The Newcomers: The Tremere have historically been kept out of Seattle - until now, with the Camarilla Prince Cross suddenly allowing a sect from Europe to set up shop in the University District, one of the richest hunting grounds in the city and a centre for academic research. The Newcomers have risen greatly in power despite only just having arrived, in large part because of their focus on academia and the occult, searching tirelessly for the secrets of the vampiric condition. They offer a visibly attractive alternative to the technocratic Camarilla, the thuggish enforcers of the Baron (who doesn't take kindly to their presence), or the gated community of the Pioneers.

The Unseen: Seattle has always been home to vagrants, drifters and the homeless, with most people choosing to look the other way. This suits the Unseen just fine, as they hide in plain sight among the city's unfortunates. Headed by the Nosferatu, the Unseen have borne witness to every meeting held, every deal struck, and every body buried. They know who you are, what you did, where you did it, why you did it, and who will pay to know.

Soooo this game is shaping up to be nothing like the previous game in terms of factions and organisation. There are similarities, like the Camarilla and the (Unseen) Nosferatu, but Seattle has a different dynamic from Los Angeles. The Pioneers seem to be headed by Toreador (Old Money), the Camarilla by Ventrue (Corporate CEOs), the Newcomers by Tremere (Uni students), the Unseen by Nosferatu (the destitute) and the Baron seems to like employing Brujah (the Mob). The only clan not heading a faction are the Malkavians, but those guys are wildcards who do what they want (honey badgers) :P .

From what i can make out so far: the Camarilla bring in the Newcomers in exchange for something very pricey (what that was we don't yet know) to set them up as rivals for the other factions - and redirecting attention away from the Camarilla. But this also tells me the Camarilla want the Tremere to do research for them - something requiring a scientific/occult approach that none of the other factions can do. But of course the Tremere aren't satisfied with being lackeys and want to rule Seattle themselves and are rapidly building strength using the university grounds to recruit. Meanwhile the Unseen are everywhere, gathering files and blackmail, the Baron is running a protection racket and the Pioneers want all these goshdarn whippersnappers off their lawn. :lol:

Speculating on the inter-organisational relationships:

Baron: - Hates Newcomers because they are poaching potential recruits from him, plus extensive knowledge of the vampiric condition is a threat.
- Likely sees Unseen as competitors - both have similar behind the scenes Modus Operandi - but equally likely he views them as an asset.
- Likely sees the Camarilla as the main threat - if he is Brujah, he'll have an instinctive hatred for the Ventrue running it.
- Likely sees the Pioneers (as they are currently) as irrelevant dustfarts.

Newcomers: - Will be trying to break out of the Camarilla's oversight - but at the same time will try to use the Camarilla for protection while they gather strength.
- Would view the Baron as a threat as he's made it clear he doesn't appreciate them in his city.
- Most likely have the best relations with the Pioneers with a shared interest in academia - but currently I can't see much else.
- Most likely will try to keep on good terms with the Unseen - knowledge is power after all.

Pioneers: - Hates the Camarilla for usurping their rule over Seattle
- Would likely hate the Baron's artless crimes sullying their city.
- Would get along best with the Newcomers - but even here there'd be resentment over them taking more of the city.
- Absolutely despises the Unseen. Toreador and Nosferatu hate each other.

Unseen: - Utterly contemptuous of the Pioneers, who they see as living it up while they are left fighting over scraps. Plus the Nosferatu hate the Toreador because they're pretty, while the Nosferatu are cursed with abject hideousness.
- Everyone else are business opportunities. Everyone wants dirt on the other.

Camarilla: - Views everybody as pawns to be used against one another while the Camarilla cruises to the top.

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