Dev Diary #3: Vampire Clans and Powerful Lords

What makes a vampire lord so powerful, they may lead vampire clans?

Good evening, my hungry visiting bloodsuckers!

Well now, vampire clans. I was going to initially devote this dev diary (or should I say… vampire diary?) to the Explore pillar after having covered the core Build pillar in the previous vampire diary (still feels weird). Instead, I’d like to talk about a concept I’m quite a fan of, vampire clans.

Vampire clans appear most visibly (to me anyway) in White Wolf Publishing‘s outstanding World of Darkness RPG, Vampire: The Masquerade. As a matter of fact, Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines is one of my all-time favourite PC games (and role-playing game for that matter). Actually, probably the best vampire game I’ve ever played if I’m being completely honest.

My First Taste of Vampire Clans
Pretty sure I instantly fell in love with this character. ©Activision

To be fair it was developed by Troika Games, whose underrated gem Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura I also enjoyed tremendously. In fact, these legendary developers were responsible for the original (and best?) Fallout game!

Sidebar: I’m also a huge fan of their other works (of sheer art imo!) like Wasteland 2, the Pillars of Eternity series, Tyranny, Torment: Tides of Numenera and The Outer Worlds. Now, rather brilliantly, they are associated with Obsidian Entertainment (of upcoming Avowed fame and hence the mention to The Outer Worlds), who are themselves responsible for the rather excellent Fallout: New Vegas; and are basically Black-Isle Studios.

Yep. The Black-Isle, responsible not only for developing Fallout, Fallout 2, Planescape: Torment and the Icewind Dale series, but for also publishing BioWare’s Baldur’s Gate and its sequels! (Barring, of course, Baldur’s Gate III, which is is the expert hands of Larian Studios, they of Divinity fame)

Someone over at Microsoft knows what they’re doing. (Bethesda of course inherited the Fallout franchise and went on to give us Fallout 3 and 4)

In short, there’s some serious, serious, game design pedigree involved in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. I’d be a fool not to learn from these guys.

Their implementation of vampire clans, and the source vampire clan ideas and mechanics in White Wolf’s vampire RPG is definitely inspiration worthy. My intent is to try and marry some vampire clan characteristics and abilities (that have almost become tropes) to Dracula’s powers and techniques.

My main question is; if Dracula was part of one of the vampire clans, or hey, even founded one! — What sort of abilities would he have? Without betraying the source material in Bram Stoker’s masterpiece too much. (But then, I’m willing to be flexible here, I adore Castlevania after all.)

Finally one of the other vampire works I admire hugely is Neil Jordan’s Interview with the Vampire, based on Anne Rice’s novel of the same name. Starring an absolute belter of an all-star cast; Christian Slater, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, (an absolutely incredible and break-out role) Kirsten Dunst and Puss in Boots himself; Antonio Banderas.

Vampire Clan Charlatans
That woman is probably not having a fabulous evening. ©Warner Bros.

Well, not to spoil anything, but Puss in Boots Marius is a most powerful vampire lord who leads a vampire clan from a base in the Paris underground. Le Théâtre des Vampires. A fake theatre troupe, they basically have no morals and go around killing anybody and collecting blood like this big European elitist, privileged, high society gang of scam artists. IN FRONT OF EVERYONE.

So probably they are Ravnos (gleefully practice their arts of deception and theft) with a mix of Giovanni/Ventrue. Maybe a bit of all three. But it’s interesting to see the sort of clan culture at work in the movie, their values; and how it ultimately affects the sensitive Louis de Pointe du Lac.

So going forward, I’m going to put some work into seeing how vampire clans can work with Dracula’s Castle. I’ll be keeping the implementation details under wraps for now but they’re sure to make for many an interesting vampire diary.

As they say in France, à plus mes amis!

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