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Vampire The Masquerade - Bloodlines: Vampiric Clans and Politics

by: Eric Stallsworth ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

This article continues the examination of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, diving more into a discussion of the vampire clans to choose from in the game, as well as how vampire society affects gameplay.

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    Vampire Clans

    In part one we looked at the basic content of the game. We continue with the discussion of vampire society and its implications on your character. Not long into the game you have to choose what clan you will be associated with. This can be taken care of through questions you are asked by a mysterious vampire named Jack (who for some reason decides to help you adjust to your new unlife) or you can just choose directly. This is where things become more important, because the various clans each provide benefits and drawbacks to your character.

    So what are the clans you can choose from? You can choose to be:

    • Brujah - a clan of fury-filled vampires that while stronger in some ways have difficulty containing the beast within themselves.
    • Gangrel - often seen as gypsies, these vampires gain the ability to shapeshift to animals.
    • Malkavian - a clan of insane vampires that possess great mental abilities, despite the tendency to talk to inanimate objects.
    • Nosferatu - malformed and ugly, this clan is the invisible eyes and ears of vampiric society.
    • Toreador - this clan admires beauty above all else, and they expect it of their own.
    • Tremere - skilled in Thaumaturgy (blood magic), they are feared and distrusted by all other clans.
    • Ventrue - rulers and politicians, this clan expects to be in charge in all things - and they usually are.

    Each clan has its own benefits and drawbacks, but once the choice is made, there's no going back. Its worthwhile to take a good look at each and see which one fits best.

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    Politics and Societal Rules

    Vampire politics is just as deep as its counterpart in the human world. There are dangers at every corner, and sometimes being friends with both sides is the only way to survive. But first you have to figure out who is who. There are three main factions to be aware of:

    • The Camarilla - Headed by Prince Lacroix, this is the self-declared rulers of vampire society. Not all vampires agree they should be, but there doesn't appear to be anyone willing to unseat them either.
    • The Anarchs - The direct opposition to the Camarilla, this group of vampires would really like to see the Camarilla destroyed. Nines Rodriguez is their unofficial leader, despite their seeming lack of organization.
    • The Sabbat - This group of vampires believe in the idea that the strongest vampire leads, regardless of age or generation. And they truly believe they are stronger than the rest, but their animalistic natures seem to keep them from taking over.

    The undead world you now find yourself in has some rules, and you have to learn them quickly. The Masquerade refers to what all vampires maintain to keep their existence a secret. That means you can't use many of your vampiric powers in public. You also shouldn't be seen drinking blood in the street, since normal society tends to frown upon that. And if anyone ever questions whether you are a vampire or if the undead exist, you need to find a way to lie with a smile. You are rewarded by maintaining the Masquerade, and you get five chances to violate the Masquerade before you are summarily executed.

    As a vampire, you also have to strive to maintain as much of your humanity as possible. If not, the bestial nature of the vampire takes over and you start attacking anyone in sight. There is an indicator of your humanity level, so make sure you don't let it get too low. The way you increase your humanity is by making moral choices that better those around you. If you make things worse for the humans, you lose humanity points. During the quests you perform, or while talking to people, you will have choices you have to make. It is then that your ability to maintain some semblance of humanity comes out.

    In the next part of this series, we'll take a look at the various powers, abilities, and skills available to you as a vampire.



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