Vampire: Bloodlines- Best Clan/Skills?

I’m one of those gamers that rarely plays through an RPG twice. Therefore, I try to get the best possible experience when I devote my time to a title. Can some of you suggest the most interesting/entertaining clan to play?

Also, can you give me some tips on which skills are vital, and which have no real value. For example, I recall people saying the endgame is heavily oriented toward combat. Should I invest heavily in skills like firearms? Or is it possible to win the game with the more diplomatic skills? I want to avoid making the game frustrating due to poor skills/clan choices.

Thank you for any suggestions!

Invest heavily in the talky-skills. That’s the stuff Bloodlines does best. But you may find yourself switching on a cheat-code to get past some of the shitty, shitty fighting later on. And once you’re done, go back and play as a Malkavian.

I don’t think there is a RIGHT combo for that game. It really does allow you to resolve a lot of things in multiple ways, at least most of the time. Combat can be faked in various ways, but just specialize in one combat skill and you will be fine (firearms is good for an intelligent type clan…melee or brawl for the combat oriented types). I really enjoyed playing as Tremere, personally.

Virtually any of the clans has disciplines that will work to get you through the game; obviously the combat heavy ones like Gangrel will be easier. Personally, I think playing through as a Malkavian was by far the most quality experience, just because the special dialogue was pretty cool. I understand the Nosferatu experience is similarly different, but I can only vouch for the Malkavian.

EDIT: Oh, and I think by far the most useful combat skill, if I had to choose just one to focus on, was melee and its accompanying traits. It is a little harder at first when guns can help you get through some of the fodder, but as far as serious enemies go katanas and the like make it a lot easier on you. IMHO.

Well, I’ve ended up as a Malkavian on my first run through, which I may end up regretting. But as noted above the dialogue for that clan is great.

I’ve only played partway through Downtown LA but so far I think Bloodlines, whatever its other flaws, may have the best writing of any CRPG I have played. I guess the obligatory PS:T nod must be given here, but this is certainly in that ballpark, at least in terms of characterizations if not philosophical deepness.

– To echo another thing LK said, I’m somewhat regretting going 100% firearms. It has made a couple of the boss encounters pretty tough with a lot of forced kiting, reloading, trying to exploit pathing bugs, etc. Actually I was so annoyed by a couple of the boss fights that it turned me off the game somewhat, despite quite enjoying it in every other way.

Gordon, your experience is exactly what I’m trying to avoid. There is nothing like enjoying a game a suddenly hitting a brick wall because you chose the wrong skills/feats.

Dante, here’s a quick rule of thumb: pick a clan that seems enjoyable to you - any of the non-Malkavian, non-Nosferatu are suitable. Then as you develop spend roughly half your points on one or two combat skills - unarmed, melee and firearms all have different strengths and weaknesses, but just choose one and keep it at a reasonable level (along with associated skills like dodge and defense). That leaves you free to spend the other half of your points on talking, hacking, etc.

Here are a few combos that work nicely:

Brujah, rely on the unarmed bonus for easy snacking, but pump up melee to become a combat machine by the midgame. Put a few points into Celerity early and more later. By the late game you will be an unstoppable katana slashing force, and still have a chunk of points for more subtle skills.

Gangrel, just go with unarmed throughout and add Protean and Fortitude. You might also pick up melee later. Once you get the blood claws going, you will be very tough. Not quite as deadly as the Brujah with celerity and a sword but a solid melee choice, and again you can be a combat machine with only half your points.

Toreador, put a few points into unarmed so you can survive until you get better guns and more plentiful ammo (usually by Downtown) and pump up your ranged and celerity skills. You do need enough unarmed so you can Bite victims for blood (need blood to fuel Celerity) and you really need celerity to get the most out of ranged weapons. This is the combat path requiring the most effort but you will be quite strong by late game and will have 1/3 or more of your points to put into seduction etc.

There are many other combos - but choose one of those if you want a fairly reliable character to complete the game and also have points to spend on the interesting non-combat stuff as you go.

FYI melee is very powerful in the game. With melee of just 4 I was able to beat the game, and rarely needed anything higher than a firearms of 3. I cheezed one boss with a gun, but everything else I did with a knife or sword (swing wide to take out up to three people in front of you in an arc) along with the Thaumaturgy ability called Blood Shield (level 2, I think?). Keep one or two bags of blood on you to fill up when you need to, and you’re pretty much good to go. I could see Fortitude and Potence being pretty good though too, so a Brujah or Gangrel might be equally interesting.

Don’t rat Mercurio out! That Spaz-15 is a lifesaver later in the game.

Also: I am replaying as a Nosferatu right now, and for some reason I don’t get Masquerade Violations when people see me. They run away and I get the little icon but nothing happens. :/

The most powerful combat class in the game is probably the Toreador.
You should raise one of the talking talents (persuasion, seduction if you are female, intimidate) to 7. Persuasion is the best of those three, but seduction or intimidate can be more fun.

For combat raise first celerity to the max, then presence. Going melee is probably the easiest route, but late game ranged weapons make the game even easier. That requires raising perception though.

Some skills, where it is wasteful to put points:

  1. strength, dex and stamina. Bloodbuff raises those to 5 anyway before major fights, so put your points somewhere else.
  2. Computers and Ranged weapons in the beginning. You will be able to get those points from books very early.
  3. Finance. You usually have more than enough money and the bonus is pretty low anyway.
  4. stealth. Extra points there don´t seem to make any significant difference.
  5. Auspex. 1 point is fine to increase your wits for hacking attemps, but you don´t get muchb more out of that discipline if you invest points in it.

During character creation it makes sense to specialize. Raising a stat from two to three later in the game costs extra points, but during creation it´s free.

Finally you should download the unofficial patch. It is at version 1.9 now, but 1.7 is probably the best version.

Also wasteful: Domination if you’re a Tremere. Every Domination ability is like a worse version of a Thaumaturgy ability.

You really can’t get stuck with your skills until the very end. For example, you can find a stealth book early on that will give you a stealth of one, then just blood buff for a dex of 5 and a stealth of 6. This allows you to stealth past most of the combat in the game (not good enough for some of the better victory conditions on some quests, but that’s why someone would want to focus on stealth or obfuscate)

If you focus on firearms early on, just use blood buff and a knife to melee through almost anything in the first half of the game. By the end of the game your firearms skill will be enough to take down the bosses.

By the end you need to be a combat monster, but as long as you’ve put the occasional point in some combat skills, you should be fine.

Incidentally, my only discipline was Auspex 5 (generally considered a waste) because I hate having monsters leap out at me from nowhere (being able to see zombies behind walls was pretty nice) and because of the bonus it gave to my firearms skill and I did okay.

The unofficial patches improve some of the firearms, so that routes a little more viable. It’s pretty easy to get a decent firearm skill just from books and training from NPCs though.