I Swore I’d Never Play: Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines

There’s a storied history behind my reasons for not wanting to play this particular gem of a game. It’s a dark and twisted journey into the inner-most workings of my cliche ridden subconscious, but you made it this far, past the harrowing opening sentence and through the melodramatic and overly long second sentence. You even made it to the end of this paragraph, you adventurous individual, you!

Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is one of those games that is celebrated for being what every RPG should be, an interesting and more importantly a deeply involved story. The RP part of RPG is often ignored by so-called RPG makers of this generation, but Bloodlines does its best to keep you involved with your choices and decisions.

Nosferatu

Chances are this guy doesn’t sparkle.

The creation scheme grants you have a wide variety of vampire clans to throw your lot in with and it’s amazing how much your experience will change if you choose to play as the socially-adept toreador and then, on your second playthrough choose the path of the hideous nosferatu and you’ll find yourself playing the game like a vampiric Splinter Cell, ducking and diving from shadow to shadow to keep out of sight of humans.

Personally I went with the Malkavians, the crazy, bordering on dangerously psychotic, vampire clan where each member displays their insanity differently. For some it shows as a split-personality, while others suffer from paranoia and hear voices that are not there. The player in particular displays a failure to communicate rationally, making even the most mundane of conversations hilarious at times.

Officer Blud, keeping the peace, one sucker at a time.

So why wouldn’t I want to play this game? It’s a classic, and I’ve been told as such on more than one occassion. In the true spirit of biased revelations, I should really point out that my interest in vampires is something that vaguely resembles a rollar coaster. When I was very young they never appealled, as in not even a little. I used to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it was a great show, but my favourite villains were rarely vampires. I was all about the crazy-ass demons.

Then at some point, I can’t remember when exactly, I read a great Doctor Who novel about vampires. It went into the romanticism of these supernatural entities and for a time got me very interested in them. Then, as I grew up I started to believe I’d matured out of being interested in such things. Besides it was a time when ‘vampire’ meant a cross between Grandpa Munster and Marilyn Manson, both of which have their individual merits, but by the act of combining the two seemed to lose them completely. Lastly let us never forget the indignities enacted upon the undead by the invention of Twilight and all derivatives therein.

That awkward moment when there’s no-one around to say “He’s behind me, isn’t he?” to.

Vampires became, in my highly biased eyes, a very girly thing. There’s plenty of arguments for and against this viewpoint, but it’s what held me back. In any case I’ve played the damned game now, and it was good. I like vampires again… well… for now.

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About A. R. Whitehead

I'm an aspiring author, with a degree in English and Creative Writing. I love books, comics, games and film. My favourite genres are Science Fiction and Fantasy.
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3 Responses to I Swore I’d Never Play: Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines

  1. L.V.S. says:

    I know what you mean, I only just got into playing this game (late 2017) and you posted this 5 years ago. Talk about behind the times… Vampires however have always been a dire interest. I read the Meyer novels and after the first movie I avoided the rest. I was honestly more disappointed in the way they portrayed their werewolves…the full blown CGI absolutely killed me.

    I’ve actually created my own vampiric races for a fantasy realm I call Glimmer that are considered to be Demonik (the Vamdregir.)

    I also live with a modern Sanguinarian which is interesting to say the least. I share a lot of attributes that makes someone consider themselves as one as well.

    • Hey, thanks for the reply! I’ve also had the misfortune of watching both Twilight and New Moon, the latter I actually saw in the cinema – I do not know why I did this to myself. The rest I’ve avoided like the plague.

      That said, while I’m not all that keen on Meyer’s take on vampires, I can’t say I totally disliked the idea of sunlight not killing them but instead “exposing them”. One of the biggest issues I’ve had with vampires and their derivatives is the idea of sunlight killing them. I can understand why this works in many stories, but it’s such a glaring weakness that apart from anything, makes the whole immortality deal a bit naff.

      I definitely agree about the CGI werewolves. They just looked like oversized dogs to me, and cuddly ones at that. I don’t know how I feel about werewolves being cuddly. My favourite take on werewolves has got to be the “lycans” from the Underworld movies. The idea that they can transform at will, not just with the help of the moon, and that their forms are not just large wolves or stereotypical wolf-men but actually something exceptionally hideous and unnatural really made it work, especially given the story of the first film.

      It’s always interesting to hear about someone’s take on things though. How do you approach vampiric races in your setting?

      Also, I can’t say I know what a modern Sanguinarian is, but it sounds intriguing!

      • LiVanSinA says:

        My take on vampires is the concept that the Vamdregirs require both flesh and blood for sustenance. Their methods of concealment among civilizations are by the use of illusory magic, where they take on either a more human or elven appearance depending on their individual preferences for prey. As opposed to having two fangs, they rather have many sharp and serrated teeth intended to tear and consume flesh. This world “Glimmer” is actually being introduced in a tabletop RPG that I’m developing so this concept makes players more on edge when it comes to trusting other folk. The Vamdregir have a demonic appearance thanks to their Demonik Ancestry, having horns, wings, tails, claws, and the like. There are also 15 clans that were established by the deity “The Crimson Mother” who is also responsible for the Lamians, another vampiric race that is Reptilian in nature, having the upper body of a woman and the lower body of a snake.

        If Sanguinarians interest you at the thought, I do recommend doing some research on your own. 🙂

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