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How Narrative Meets Role-playing in Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong

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What if vampires were real? What if these bloodthirsty predators lived hidden among us, meticulously and skillfully hatching plans over the centuries? And what if you became one of them? That’s the world of Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong, a narrative RPG in which your choices determine the fate of our three main characters, and the entirety of Boston’s vampiric society.

In Swansong, you will play as Emem, Galeb, and Leysha, three century-old vampires investigating on the ashes of a terrible attack that has put your secret organization, the Boston Camarilla, on its knees. Who is after you? How far will your loyalty to the Prince of Boston go when matched against your personal motivations? And how long can you respect the Masquerade, the vampiric law that conceals your existence from mortals?

Each character can be played in the order and the style you choose, intimidation, and stealth are just some of the options on the table. After all, each character is from a different Vampire Clan, a different blood lineage that unlocks specific vampiric powers called Disciplines. For instance, Emem has Celerity which gives members of the Toreador Clan supernatural speed and reflexes. Throughout your journey, you’ll earn experience that can be spent in the character sheet, developing those disciplines further.

Alternatively, you can invest in more generalized Skills and Attributes such as psychology or technology, making it easier to read people or work your way around the latest human tech. That’s not all, your play style and choices you’ve made will also influence your character sheet through the addition of permanent Traits. With the overview out of the way, let’s see how Emem can tackle one of the many situations in Swansong by using either her vampiric powers or her wits.

The Boston Camarilla is the main vampiric sect in Boston, but it’s far from the only one. In one of the missions in the game, Emem is sent by the Prince to try and convince the leader of rival vampiric group to join forces. In Swansong, there are multiple ways of dealing with tricky situations like these. Depending on your play style, your character sheet and previous decisions the options available to you can be vastly different.

For example, those with their ears to the ground can snoop around and listen to what the local vampires have to say. Doing this, you can discover that a certain someone wants to betray his boss and he might be willing to make an agreement with you. You can choose between helping him bring down his boss or reporting his betrayal and possibly winning the trust of said boss, if they’ll believe you.

This time, we’re going to bring down the boss and it’s a classic frame up job. We’re tasked with gaining access to a secure room and placing some compromising documents in a safe that only the boss has access to. The easiest way might be to use your vampiric discipline, Prescence, or the skill, Persuasion to fool the guard to let you enter the room. But it’s important to keep in mind that every character in Swansong also has their character sheet and if your stats aren’t high enough, then you’ll be left in an awkward position.

Alternatively, explorers can find a pathway behind some locked doors and make use of Celerity to gain access to secret passages through the roof or an alternate route through the sewers and make their way into the security room completely unseen. It’s an option that leaves less witnesses if you have the skills for it. 

These are just four of the options available to you, but whether you’re tampering with documents, convincing mortals and vampires alike with either your rhetoric or your vampiric charisma, finding secret passages or more, one question will remain. Are you ready to face the consequences of your actions? We’ll see when the game releases on May 19 on Xbox series X|S! 

Thanks for reading!

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