Posted by: markfender | October 9, 2013

V:tR – Bloodlines: The Hidden

More Requiem. I’ll just assume you’re sick of these.

Bloodlines_The_Hidden

Bloodlines: the Hidden
With the new Requiem game, White Wolf invented the Bloodline idea, which allowed them to maintain the “purity” of the five Clan structure while also allowing a billion more bloodlines than the old game could provide. They published quite a number of these collections of various Bloodlines. This was the first one. It’s theme is “Hidden” – that is, groups of vampires that other vampires might not know about. All of these are optional – more of a toolbox to present a bunch of various ideas about vampires that you may or may not choose to include in your game.

We still have the issue I mentioned earlier where Bloodlines are really two concepts plugged into one rules-shell. So, I’ll be determining whether each of these Bloodlines is a Legacy or a Club, just because I can.

The Alucinor are the first group, a Mekhet Club that is into dreams. They’re laser-focused on that idea, too, not really having much to offer other than a Discipline all about dream manipulation.

The Anvari are a Daeva Club that is all into drugs. But only narcotics/opiates, which I thought was odd. I mean, there are other types of drugs. What exactly about narcotics and opiates says “vampire” more than something else? I don’t know. All I do know is that they have a Discpline that lets them manipulate drugs in the blood, or force people to experience drug-like effects.

The Architects of the Monolith are a Ventrue Legacy with an unfortunate name. It reminds me of Aria: Canticle of the Monomyth, which couldn’t possibly be more pretentious than a White Wolf game. Anyway, I actually like this group as they’re all into ruling over cities, believing in the mystical nature of the urban environment. This is super-cool because it reminds me of one of my favorite magic types in Unknown Armies, urbanomancy. So, I’m happy to have this group in Requiem as well. Unfortunately, their Discipline gets a little silly. It’s smartly written up as a bunch of rituals, but I don’t really get how having super-mystical blood lets you control the traffic lights in a 16-block area. The Anvari’s Discipline makes more sense how they could create drug-like effects with their blood, as they’re constantly mixing the two anyway. But control over an urban environment? That doesn’t seem in any way like it’s connected to the powers of blood. So, yeah, I like the idea of this group but find its practical effects a bit lacking.

The Bohagande are the next group. They’re a Gangrel Legacy with a Native American connection to Coyote and other trickster spirits. So, basically, they’re Longshot the Vampire.

The Gethsemani are next and, if you couldn’t tell from the name, are pretty blasphemous. They’re a Nosferatu group who are into stigmata, because that makes sense. They’ve unhealthily fixated on the weird, icky parts of Christianity to the exclusion of all others. I would say they’re a Legacy, but actually through their pre-vampire forms, since they only Embrace stigmatics. Their Discipline lets them enact various stigmatic visitations on people’s flesh. So they’re pleasant.

The Khaibit are an interesting group, since they’re one of the old Clans recreated within Requiem. In this case, they’re the Lasombra. They act as seneschals and have a Discipline called Obtenebration. They have a bit of Setite in them as well. They’re a Mekhet Club, as you’d probably imagine. Obtenebration differs from its old form in that it doesn’t feature shadowy tentacle powers.

Morotrophians are the next group and, wow, are they sick. As a Nosferatu Legacy, they feed on people in mental institutions, feeding on their fear and how no one will believe them when they say they were attacked by a vampire. It’s probably the most disturbing idea in the whole book, but doesn’t make for good protagonists. For one, they’re kind of despicable. For another, they don’t ever leave their mental institutions, making it kind of difficult to involve them in a normal Requiem game.

The Nahualli are a Mexican-based Ventrue Club with some odd beliefs involving Aztec religion. They’re not too bad as far as “vampires based on cultural tropes” go.

The Nelapsi are a Daeva Legacy based on Slavic myths of vampires. For whatever reason, they’re also insatiable feeders on blood, making them a poor choice for including as protagonists. They actually have Devotions instead of a unique Discipline, but those Devotions are based around recreating some of the Slavic myths about vampires, which I thought was a nice touch. They also don’t live in cities and refuse to travel, making them even worse choices for protagonists.

The Oberlochs are your typical redneck murder family written up as a vampire Bloodline. So, they also don’t live in cities and are pretty obviously a Legacy as they only embrace within their mortal families. And, of course, they’re inbred with all the joys that brings.

The Qedeshah are a Mekhet Club that are all the negative ideas about mothers. Smothering, controlling, etc. One of the pictures is of a dominatrix vampire, which doesn’t seem like an outfit a mother would wear.

The Rakshasa are another cultural group of Nosferatu vampires. They were a Legacy but as they extend into the Western world, they’re becoming more of a Club, which is the first time a Bloodline has seemed to embrace both sides of the Bloodline issue. Other than that, they seem almost like a nice group of thinking vampires, which so rarely happens with these super-specific ideas.

So, that’s the first Bloodlines book. Whee. Many of the groups included were decent ideas, but so many of them are based on one tiny factor that I’m not sure they could expand beyond their elevator pitch idea. “Redneck murder family” is a fine horror trope that I suppose makes sense to import into Requiem, but it doesn’t allow for a whole lot of concepts. Whereas ideas like the Khaibit feel like they are based on broader concepts that could be tweaked into an interesting, unique character. Of course, I guess that’s the problem with finer and finer tuning of concepts like Bloodlines, eventually they get so narrow that there’s no room to expand the idea.

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