Collaborative effort between an old OP and Tycho's.
Here, I'll let a friend clue you in.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines brings White Wolf's famous pen-and-paper role playing game to the back to the PC . For the first time players can explore the World of Darkness from a first person perspective in a game which utilizes Valve's striking Source Engine.
Unlike third person role playing games, Bloodlines will put you in the shoes of the character you control. You will get up close and personal with the brilliantly animated characters that populate the game world and tangled in the web of intrigue that is the staple of Troika Games' roleplaying titles.
You begin your journey this time in modern day Los Angeles as a newly embraced vampire. By creating you without the consent of your clan's Elders, your sire has violated one of vampire society's most hallowed laws. As punishment for the crime he has been put to death. Normally you would be expected to share the same fate but the newly installed Prince of Los Angeles thinks you might have some merit: you're a newly embraced vampire with no sire to guide you; you are unfamiliar with the world of vampires and their laws and customs. You would be useful and expendable pawn in his grand scheme.
You will employ a variety of firearms and skills such as computer hacking and lock picking as well as your devastating array of vampiric powers called Disciplines. And what would a game about vampires be if there wasn't some blood drinking?
You choose to play as a member of one of seven diverse and specialized vampire clans and you'll need to employ all of your preternatural skills to survive. You'll need to charm, sneak, intimidate and fight your way through the dangerous world the vampires inhabit and along the way decide just who you really owe your allegiance to.
With many different clans, as many as 5 different endings and the ability pursue several avenues of specialization as you upgrade your character, Bloodlines provides a great deal of replayability.
In beginning a game of Bloodlines, first and foremost, you'll want to decide your...
Isolated vampiric groups of varying origin. Each Clan offers a slightly different experience, both in terms of gameplay, and being treated differently by key NPCs.
They all see things differently.
The Tremere - Cainite sorcerers and blood mages without peer.
Pros: Blood Magic! Great for keeping blood on endless tap, and turning groups of assailants to dust.
Swank haven. Strauss.
Cons: Tightly knit organization of upstarts who like to backstab one another. Expect to use up blood fast.
The Brujah - Rebels and Anarchists who like to fight the powa.
Pros: Great for melee and wrecking faces. You're in good with the Anarchs.
Cons: Not favorably looked on by the more 'traditional' clans due to their short tempers, and since you're considered Anarchistic, most of the Camarilla hates you.
The Malkavians - Lunatics and Seers of insight beyond their knowing.
Pros: Best for a second game. You see behind the cracks to the truth of what's really going on in the game's storyline, albeit in skewed text. Dementation is like Thaumaturgy light. You might some friends at the Asylum.
Cons: Everyone thinks you're crazy. Because you are. Or maybe they are. Or maybe you all are.
The Toreador - Artistes.
Pros: Gifted socialites, great for manipulating the lesser folk. Not good in an up-close fight, though.
Use guns. Lots of guns. Good fashion options. Hollywood will offer some helpful folk.
Cons: Tend to exclude others from their cool-kids club. Nosferatu really
The Gangrel - Feral vampires who prefer the wild to the city streets.
Pros: Great for melee, living off the wilderness. Beckett's likely your best friend.
Cons: The more they frenzy(go crazy), the more they go beasty. Recently left the Camarilla due to a massive disagreement, so don't expect many Cammie companions.
The Nosferatu - outcasted vampires of nightmarish appearances.
Pros: Very tightly knit, and they look out for one another. Also, cheap living arrangements.
Your only real friends are in the sewers, those cast lower than you. But they're nothing if not loyal.
Cons: Those living arrangements mean the sewers. Also, walking breach of the Masquerade.
You can not be seen in public without some form of disguise, whether natural or otherwise.
The Ventrue - scions of vampiric society, they keep order where otherwise there would be madness.
Pros: Born leaders, snappy dressers. Keep the Camarilla intact. LaCroix is your best friend, if no one else's.
Great with guns, and telling lesser folk what to do; whether they like it or not.
Cons: Picky eaters. No feeding off rats for you. Also, they have a nice convenient target painted on their back so the Sabbat know who to kill first.
How do I play?
Step one: Buy the game! Steam has it
and it's fully compatible with the fan patches (more on that later). You could wait until Halloween when it customarily goes on sale but honestly it's one of the best games ever made so buying it now isn't a bad idea.
Steam will patch it but otherwise you'll desperately need the 1.2 patch. It's included in the unofficial patches though
, which you should probably grab unless you're Malkavian.
The World of Darkness is a dangerous place, even for vampires, and it's even more dangerous when it crashes all the time.
Because this is a Troika game, it's buggy, and because Troika went out of business, it stayed buggy even after 1.2.
This is where the fan patches come in. It's possible to play more or less without them, but you have a chance of running into a crash bug that will end your game or some crap like that, so really, why bother unless you're Cardboard Tube or a masochist? Or both.
This is the place to pick up the latest patch.
There's many, many more on the Steam DBs, too.
To make a long, tedious debate short, you basically just want to download the latest patch by Wesp and install it.
When asked, go for the bugfix install, not the "Plus" install, which changes a bunch of stuff that you can bother with on your 4th time through or whatever.
(Keep in mind it adds a lot of stuff to the game that's bordering on fanfiction territory. In fact, most of it IS outright fanfiction.)
Are you sure I should buy this?
Yes, you should definitely get the game. Here are some of the people you'll meet:
- Velvet is a beautiful woman who only wants to have sex with you. She will never ask you for a favor and would not think of manipulating you.
- Ming is a beautiful woman who only wants to have sex with you. She is inherently trustworthy and has your best interests at heart.
- Heather is a beautiful mortal woman whose life you can save if you want to. She only wants to have sex with you. Despite your status as an inhuman monster who feeds on the blood of the living to survive, she is grateful that you saved her life and spends most of the game living contentedly under your protection. Life is pretty awesome for her and she doesn't really have many of the problems that other characters in the game do.
- Venus is a beautiful woman who wants to have sex with you. She's a bartender in a club. She's not a very important character in the grand scheme of things. Or is she?
Jeanette and Therese Voerman
- Jeanette's the only one who wants to have sex with you but both are beautiful. These two sisters are major players in Santa Monica and they're all business. They've got it together and work together as a well oiled machine. Don't even worry about anything if you take a job from them: just do what they say and there won't be any complications. Do the work, get paid. If only everything were that simple.
- LaCroix is the "prince" of Los Angeles and, being French, is a beautiful man who only wants to have sex with you. He is so powerful that he has no need to backstab or trick you and spends most of the game helping you out and being your pal.
Calico Jack the Pirate Captain of Yore
- Also known as "Jack," his voice actor is the guy who did Bender in Futurama. He's the nicest of all the vampires, even though he doesn't want to have sex with you, and leads you through the tutorial. This is only the first of many times he does something nice for you without ever wanting anything in return. He keeps no secrets from you and is entirely selfless in his dealings with you.
Pretty much everyone you meet is this helpful. Not to even mention the ghost of a serial killer who guides you through a rickety old hotel so that you don't fall through the stairs and hurt yourself, or the obliging werewolf who protects you when you're all alone in an observatory in the woods! There's even an insane scientist who opens his luxurious mansion to you so that you can be safe from a vampire hunter who wants to kill you with fire.
- Pisha eats people. (Sex is inadvisable.)
Those Guys are Neat but What About Me?
As already mentioned, you play as a newly "embraced" vampire. Your sire gets the axe about 2 minutes into the game for breaking the "vampire society before hos" rule or something, and you're left to fend for yourself. Your choice of "clan" drastically changes your play style: a Ventrue will find easy acceptance into vampire society and will be able to manipulate mortals to do their bidding, whereas a Nosferatu will find himself confined to the sewer system so as not to violate the "Masquerade," the set of rules set up by vampires so that people don't figure out wtf is up (otherwise we'd have a mob scene on our hands).
Play as a Brujah and you'll basically get to punch a lot of people, play as a Toreador and make lovey-dovey eyes at stuff and recite bad poetry, or play as a Malkavian and be batshit insane. You will hear newscasters speak secret messages to you and you will have conversations with a stop sign (sample dialog choice
). Other choices include vampires who use blood to do magic tricks that kill people and vampires that have dreadlocks.
You can choose to be a melee character or a ranged combat character (the choice is a little more nuanced) but like, say, Deus Ex, the fun isn't from the combat but from the deep, intricate world, the story and characters, and the voice acting, although in this case it's fantastic voice acting instead of hilariously bad.
Tell me more about the World of Darkness
This Wiki has a lot of fun info
and we have several WoD scholars here on the forums.
Fun fact: White Wolf, the WoD guys, are now safe from the mismanagement of the guys behind EvE and now have a cozy home with Paradox Interactive.
I have a 64 bit OS and V:TM - B doesn't like me
Have I got a link for you
So who do I play as?
Or better yet, join House and Clan.
Just take a little sip from the cup.
What could it hurt? You're already dead.