After waiting for fifteen years, the fans of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines can prepare to take on the role of an undead once more, as Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 has been announced for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
Vampire: The Masquerade started out as a tabletop RPG that was similar in function to Dungeons & Dragons, except that the players took on the roles of vampires (who referred to themselves as the Kindred) in contemporary society. Dungeons & Dragons is a game about accumulating power in order to be able to fight and slay bigger things, while Vampire was a much more in-depth experience and had a stronger focus on role-playing.
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines was released fifteen years ago and the setting of the tabletop game was a lot different back then. The recently released fifth edition of Vampire changed the lore of the world considerably and the setting of Bloodlines 2 might not be as familiar to fans of the first game.
Here are the biggest changes that players can expect to experience in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2.
The Disciplines Used By Vampires Work Differently Now
In Vampire: The Masquerade, each Kindred has access to three clan Disciplines which act as special abilities, though using the more powerful Disciplines can cause a rouse check, which might increase your hunger and make it easier for you to lose control and give in to the Beast within.
The way in which many Disciplines work has changed since the original Bloodlines. The Dementation Discipline used by clan Malkavian which allowed them to inflict madness on other beings has now been turned into a single power and has been replaced by the Dominate Discipline. The Blood Sorcery Discipline used by clan Tremere is also less streamlined in the tabletop game than it is in the video games, with the books offering them numerous powers (often requiring the use of rituals and wards) that likely won't make it into the game.
The Disciplines relating to stats have also been overhauled. In the older editions of Vampire: The Masquerade, the Disciplines of Celerity, Fortitude, and Potence offered passive stat boosts or the chance to succeed on checks. In the current version of Vampire, these Disciplines now have a multitude of powers to choose from.
Mankind & Technology Are The Biggest Threats To Vampires
The reason why vampires need to hide their existence behind the Masquerade is due to mistakes made during the Inquisition. The first Inquisition was caused by Kindred using mortal agents to destroy their enemies... and then having the gall to look surprised when those same mortals turned on them.
It seems that ancient vampires never learn their lesson, as many of them used the rise of terrorism as a cover to dispatch their enemies, which resulted in too many mortals learning of the existence of the Kindred and the forming of the Second Inquisition.
The small groups of hunters who operated in the earlier editions of Vampire: The Masquerade have now been replaced by global organizations with the power and resources to wipe the Kindred from the face of the Earth. The Second Inquisition is the biggest threat to Kindred society in the modern nights and the condescending attitude that older vampires once showed towards the mortals is now gone. A millennia-old elder vampire will last about three seconds against a squad of soldiers with flamethrowers, so Masquerade breaches are even more feared than before, as they can lead the Inquisition straight to the local Kindred.
The Second Inquisition has also caused an edict concerning smartphones and other devices that can connect to the Internet, the owning of which is considered to be a Masquerade breach. Kindred are expected to use burner phones and older communication technology, which is a point of contention for younger vampires.
The Elders Who Once Pulled All The Strings Have Vanished
The world of Vampire: The Masquerade once involved elder vampires using their powers to manipulate the younger generations of Kindred as part of a war known as the Jyhad. The strength wielded by the Methuselahs and other ancients led many younger vampires to believe that they would spend their undead lives being controlled from the shadows.
Then, one day, the elders disappeared.
There is an event in the current edition of Vampire: The Masquerade known as the "Beckoning", which refers to most of the elder vampires vanishing in the middle of the night, with some saying that they have been called to the Middle-East for a conflict that has yet to be unveiled.
The absence of the elders has left many open seats in factions like the Camarilla and younger vampires who would never have become rulers otherwise have now filled the void and taken up lofty positions in Kindred society. The fate of vampires in the modern world may rest in the hands of these unprepared Kindred.
The Sabbat Is Gone & The Kuei-Jin Have Been Retconned
One of the major factions in the original Bloodlines was the Sabbat, who were crazed vampire supremacists who ruled some of the most chaotic cities on Earth.
The fact that the Sabbat flaunted their undead status so openly left them unprepared for the Second Inquisition. The mortals took up arms and almost wiped the Sabbat from the face of the planet.
The Sabbat still exist in some form (the new Vampire books have been coy about what exactly happened to them), but their status as a major faction has been taken by the Anarchs.
The other major faction from Bloodlines that is no longer around is the Kuei-Jin, who were known as the Kindred of the East.
The Kuei-Jin were vampires from countries like China and Japan who were totally different from the Kindred. The perception of the Kuei-Jin is that there are a lot of aspects of their design that are considered problematic and stereotypical by modern tastes, so they are unlikely to return to the series, or at least, not in the way they existed before.
The Kuei-Jin had managed to destabilize the Anarch Free State in cities like Los Angeles in the original version of Vampire: The Masquerade, but this aspect of the lore is now gone, meaning that the Anarchs are stronger than ever.
The Status Of The Other Supernatural Creatures Is Still Unclear
The fifth edition of Vampire: The Masquerade was released in 2018 and the game is still quite young, with many of the original clans and factions still not being fleshed out in any of the books.
There has also been very little information revealed about the other supernatural creatures in the World of Darkness property. In the older versions of Vampire, the Kindred face opposition from the likes of werewolves, mages, changelings, demons, ghosts, and even mummies.
The original Bloodlines featured a memorable encounter with a werewolf and an even more memorable level involving the restless spirits of the dead. Bloodlines 2 might actually give the fans their first glimpse at the changes made to the other supernatural entities in the series.
Gehenna Never Came
The original version of Vampire: The Masquerade was obsessed with the concept of Gehenna and the end of all things. Kindred society was defined by the light at the end of the tunnel, with numerous prophecies detailing the events that would bring God's wrath upon the cursed children of Caine.
It's 2019 and Gehenna still hasn't come. All of the Kindred who wept through the nineties at the thought of vampires being extinguished are all looking rather foolish now.
The new version of Vampire has downplayed the importance of Gehenna. There are events like the Beckoning and the Second Inquisition that have made life more dangerous for vampires than ever, but people are just used to it now. The apocalypse seems as close as it has ever been, but it has felt that way for decades now and some Kindred are bored of waiting for it.
It's possible that Gehenna might still be around the corner, but the dangers of the mortal world don't seem to be as inspired by the anger of God in the same way that events such as the Week of Nightmares and the appearance of the Red Star did back in the day. Vampires once ruled the world through committing acts of unspeakable evil, yet mankind has proven to be just as adept at performing horrors as the creatures of the night.
Gehenna has always been around the corner, but it might be an improvement over the apocalypse that humans are creating for themselves.