VtM Bloodlines Diary, part 2

My second session was mostly going around picking up spare side quests. (I’m not going to do the full play-by-play on this one.) Possible spoilers behind the cut.

The first goal was to get the lockpick, because it’s pretty clear that without the ability to enter locked doors I won’t see a large chunk of the game.  It turns out the lockpick is $90, so next time I play I won’t skip the full tutorial (and won’t waste $50 on a hooker).  I eventually managed to scrape it together through pawning some random treasure items (a watch, a ring) and the tire iron, since I don’t need both it and the baseball bat.  I put a couple XP into the Security and I’m off.

I didn’t mention the bail bondsman in the last writeup, but I got a quest from him to find a bounty hunter.  I go to his last known location (the only other apartment in Mercurio’s building with an openable door), loot the place, and find out that he was going to the basement of a local tattoo partner, and left the key.  Going down there, I don’t find anyone, but the phone rings.  The person on the other end said that the bounty hunter was posing for medical sketches for him, and invites me to pose as well.  I accept this not at all sketchy invitation to be serial murdered, but I haven’t done the next step yet.

On the beach, I chat with the thin-blooded vampires hanging out around a barrel fire (no Rötschreck for these guys).  One of them is unclear on what’s going on, and once I clue him in his ideas on how vampirism works are straight out of the movies. (No, you can’t cure yourself by killing the head vampire–this isn’t 1st Edition.) He tells me he was Embraced by a woman in a diner.  I go to the diner and find out that she’s missing, but I get her belongings, include a bail bond receipt.  Aha!  I haven’t followed that one up yet either.

I enter the medical clinic and use my blood to cure a badly injured girl that the only doctor on duty is too busy to help.  I manage to reassure her without breaking the Masquerade, and gain a point of Humanity.  I poke around some of the offices for a while, and leave.  At some point in the process I find something very useful: a map of the neighborhood on a bus stop.  Returning to my office, I find an E-mail asking me to retrieve a vial of werewolf blood from the blood bank, so it’s back to the clinic.

I sneak in the back way and head downstairs, where I find the a clerk who offers to sell me blood bags for $99 apiece.  I still have the three from the refrigerator in my apartment, and I don’t have anything near that amount (I could buy a lockpick for that money!) so I file it away for later.  I wander through the back corridors, which are kind of a maze, and find access to some areas through a hole in the wall and the air vents. (These last are a pain to get into; I have to clumsily manipulate a box onto a table to climb on, and somehow when I’m jumping into the vent I injure myself a few times.) The clinic trip goes agley when I absent-mindedly pick a lock in front of a guard, and at this point I decide to stop and return to the last autosave next time because I can do better when I’m paying more attention.

Thoughts: I didn’t get much further into the plot, but these are pretty good side quests; even if they’re largely “go to point A to get clue to point B”, they have more character stuff going on than just “fetch me six wolf pelts”.  The clinic is confusingly laid out, however, and I clearly need to raise my lockpicking because I can’t afford to blood buff in order to succeed on anything but the easiest doors.

The Humanity system still takes some getting used to: I earned two points in this run, one from healing the injured woman and one for helping out the thin-blood on the beach.  This puts me at Humanity 9, which in the tabletop game is practically saintly and very hard to reach.  It’s a classic single-axis video game morality scale, which is fine for its purpose; I’ll be interested to see if there are any actual dilemmas where there’s a notable tradeoff between the Humanity gain and what it costs to gain it, or whether there’s any point where a lower Humanity is advantageous.

I haven’t interacted with too much WoD material beyond what I saw last time, but the thin-bloods are a nice touch.  They’re a part of the setting that’s referred to a lot, but there aren’t a lot of established thin-blood characters in the setting, so it puts a face to the concept.

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