Last time on Vampire: the Masquerade Bloodlines... We went on a bit of a boat trip for the Prince. Also we found out that I am apparently pretty bad at stealth. Oh, and we got our own ghoul too.
Now it is time to see what else Downtown has to offer.
SPOILER WARNING: Don't read beyond this point if you don't want to be spoiled about the story of the game. But if you don't care or have already played it then go ahead!
This one starts with Damsel, one of the vampires hanging around the Last Round. She is one of the anarchies I said I would talk about earlier and one of the first we get to see as we enter the place.
Her outfit makes it pretty clear from which era she was turned into a vampire around the Cold War and that she is a big believer in Communism.
In fact, if we bring the subject she will say that although Communism failed to the mortals it could work for vampires. At first she says she won't go into details because the others tell her she tends to ramble when talking about it. But we can ask her to go into details which just brings us out of the dialogue while Damsel starts to ramble and gets upset as she notices we are just leaving.
Our conversation with her doesn't start that pleasantly though. In fact it starts outright hostile as Damsel doesn't hide her disdain for us just because we are part of the Camarilla.
As usual there are different ways we can approach this dialogue: we can be neutral but polite, we can gloat about how the Camarilla is great and the anarchies are like a bunch of children throwing a tantrum or we can even show interest in becoming an anarchy ourselves.
Since I am trying to go for something different than I usually do, I chose to try to side with the anarchies.
Regardless of the tone the conversation can end up leading up to a little problem that the local vampire community has been trying to deal with. Apparently a lot of the mortals are getting sick. Now, that isn't exactly a problem for vampires since diseases don't affect them but it a vampire could drink from a sick human and end up infecting another a different mortal they drink from. In this way a vampire becomes a plague bearer.
Then humans starts to investigate this epidemic and it doesn't take long for them to figure out that vampires exist and a second inquisition starts.
One neat detail about all this is that when we just arrive in Downtown we can see some CDC vans and people in Hazmat suits in some of the side streets. So the humans are definitely noticing something wrong is going on.
Anyway, what Damsel proposes is that if we really care about the local community is to find out who this plague bearer is and destroy them. She suggests we start by checking out the homeless people as they seem to have been hit pretty hard. The other lead is a ghoul called Paul. Last time they saw them he looked like death. He said he didn't get bitten but they haven't heard from him in a while so they are worried.
Before we put our detective hat and go investigating there is one other place I decided to check. Back in the beginning of the game we did receive an invitation, in the form a riddle, from the Tremere Regent.
The place isn't too hard to find. It is a relatively looking house in one of the side streets in Downtown. The inside can feel like a tiny maze thanks to some magic that ensures we don't go to anywhere we aren't authorized to.
In one of the rooms we find Maximillian Strauss, the Tremere Regent and Primogen for the clan. What is a Tremere you ask?
Well, to put it short, they are a vampire clan that was born during the medieval ages when some mages decided they wanted to live forever. Except they didn't ask nicely to become vampires and did some horrible things to become one of the undead. Then they did some more other horrible things to survive the following nights.
They did learn to become a lot more subtle during the following centuries at least. But they have a well earned infamy with nobody in their right mind trusting them. Heck, they probably don't trust each other either.
The only reason the other Camarilla clans put with them is because they are one of the founding clans and despite everything they are useful.
If you want to know more about the Tremere there is some info here.
As for Strauss he is a pretty soft spoken, polite man however it is pretty clear by his dialogue that he has his own agenda, a lot of power and a lot of secrets.
Apparently he has been looking forward to meet with us although he doesn't go in details about it nor can we ask about. I imagine the task he has to us has something to do with it though. According to him there is this plague bearer problem going on and he is certain that the anarchies are involved in it somehow.
If we already met the anarchies and got this quest from them we can mention it to Strauss. He will advise that we should be more careful with who we associate.
Oh, he also promises that we'll be well rewarded for this.
Now that we talked to both our employers for this quest, it is time to start the actual investigation. First we go check on Paul. He lives on the same building where our apartment is located.
Since we can't ring the bell to his place we have to resort to some breaking and entering. Inside the place we find Paul laying on the floor of this kitchen. Dead.
Not all is lost though as we find another lead in the form of a phone message. It was a lady called Hannah checking on him. She got sick and was worried that he might got sick too. The lady also asks if he can pick up some cold medicine for her and conveniently enough tells the code to her door.
Even more convenient her apartment is in the same building too. So up a floor we go to meet with Hannah. She is laying down on a bed looking like she is about to die.
Obviously she is very surprised by a stranger just showing up in her apartment. We can pretend for a be a friend of Paul or a doctor.
Hannah is an "escort". She believes sickness came from one of her clients. Usually she doesn't take clients without referrals, nor is she really into women, but this one had something strange about her, something mesmerizing. Hannah could even still remember the ladies' name: Jezebel Locke.
Hannah doesn't really remember what happened when she met Jezebel. All that she knows is that after that she has been sick. Hannah also mentions that other friends of her that worked with Jezebel are also not looking too good.
Hannah then tells us we can find Jezebel at the Empire hotel, a luxurious place in Downtown. Just before she dies she asks about Paul. I try to be nice about it as it is her last moments.
In her room we can also find appointment book which pretty much details what Hannah just told us. There are also some humorous notes about her clients, some of which we even met in Santa Monica. There are also some notes about a date she had with Paul. It seems he was the first man to be decent to her and she was looking for another date. Poor girl.
At the Empire Hotel I just use Dominate on the lobby guy to get the keycard to Jezebel's apartment. As for the lady herself... she isn't surprised that we just entered into her room uninvited. In fact, she looks pretty happy about it. Happy in a kind of crazy, predatory, pseudo-religious way.
Jezebel tells us she has been using prostitutes to spread disease. She also mentions something called the Ninth Circle, a name we'll be hearing again soon and try to invite us to join it.
Since that isn't an option we end up having to fight her. It isn't a particularly hard fight either, just a bit annoying as Jezebel has a discipline that debuff us.
With Jezebel gone it is time to report to Damsel. She isn't all that impressed though as it seems the anarchies destroyed another plague bearer somewhere else in Downtown and she guesses there are still more of them out there.
That means we have to go check that other lead, the homeless people. Fortunately it isn't hard to find someone who knows something about it. It is a homeless man we find in one of the back alleys.
When we ask about the epidemic the man tells how he was kidnapped by an ugly monster in the middle of the night, one that came from the sewers. It took him to some "bad place" then bit him in the neck. After that he woke up in the alley. The incident left him understandably terrified. So much that the man dies as soon as he finish his tale. Well, it was either the fear or the sickness.
Side note: At this point my humanity had dropped to 5 because of some things I did in the other side quests (I will get to that later) and it was start to affecting my dialogue choices making me a real scumbag.
It was time to go down in the sewers to look for the other plague bringer. It didn't take long to find the "bad place" as it was a large chamber with big columns and an impaled cop in one of the walls.
Just as we enter the area a Nosferatu, who was pretty ugly even for their clan's standards, appears like it was out of thin air. He identifies himself as Brother Kanker. Again there is some pseudo religious rambling about disease, a New Age and the Ninth Circle and another invitation to join them. Of course it ends up in another fight.
This one is actually a bit dangerous as Brother Kanker has some claws that do Aggravated damage. It is a type of damage caused by sunlight, fire, supernatural attacks and so on. It is slower to heal than regular damage.
Once he dies though we can get a "Brotherhood Flyer" which has a pretty a symbol of a skull in the middle of a kind of stylized eight-stars and the words "I am enlightened"
Time to pay a visit to Damsel again. I ask if she ever saw a symbol like that anywhere and Damsel mentions she saw it in a building somewhere. Said building isn't too far from there with the entrance being in a back alley.
Right at the entrance there is a man behind a very protected counter asking if we are enlightened. I say "Yes" and give him the flyer. He let us in, saying the Bishop will want to see us upstairs.
The inside of the building looks like it was abandoned a long time ago. Just as we get near the stairs there is a scared woman asking if we were summoned by the Bishop. As we ask for more information the woman says that when the Bishop wants to see someone they go upstairs to the temple.
The woman doesn't know what goes in there as she never has been summoned. But she had a friend who snuck up to the temple once and said there were some really bad things going on.
I bid her farewell and make my way upstairs. There is a few side rooms just as dirt as the first floor, some with piles of clothes on it. Some zombies come out of those rooms to attack too but they are pretty weak, slow and easy to avoid.
At the top floor we find the "temple" which is just a bigger room than the others. At the other end of the room there is a shirtless man with the symbol tattooed on the upper left of his chest.
This is Bishop Vick the leader of the Brotherhood of the Ninth Circle. It is basically a crazy cult that believes in the end of the days. Not the vampiric apocalypse Gehenna but something different.
From his dialogue it is implied that the guy had a lot of faith that got shattered once he became a vampire. Now in his nihilistic belief he became a god of this crazy religion where the end of the world will be brought by the spread of diseases.
Since the guy is obviously crazy our only choice is to fight him. This is another one that can be dangerous because Bishop Vick has Celerity, a discipline that allows vampires to move much faster than humans. If you are from a clan that doesn't have that discipline then it can be annoying to chase him around the room as he shoots at us with his shotgun. To make it even more complicated there is a few zombies in the room that if we are not careful can grab us and try to eat our brains.
Once he is dead it is time to report our success. Damsel almost can't believe we killed all the plague bringers but she is willing to drop the tough act for a bit to thank us. She is even willing to believe we really want to join the anarchies. However she wants to keep working with Lacroix to inform them what "fancy pants" is up to.
I also go back to Strauss to report my success. He offers to pay us either in cash or an unique talisman. I choose the talisman, the Bloodstar, which looks like a rabbit foot that was drenched in blood. It increases the duration of Bloodbuff, a pseudo disciplines that all vampires have access to and boosts all the physical stats temporarily.
This post became a lot bigger than what I was planning. Sorry about. Next time we'll finish with all the side quests in Downtown. I will also try to be less verbose so we don't end up with another gigantic post.