Vitae, vampires, and song
PLAY Magazine UK|November 2021
Maxime Moze and Laure Delmas talk to Jess Kinghorn about Big Bad Wolf’s next pretty little ditty, Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong

Dead like me

Meet your three dead and loving it protagonists

Leysha

Clan: The unconventional and irregular clan of the moon, Malkavian

Laure Delmas, who is both the game’s writer and a clinical psychologist, tells us the team has taken particular care in how they portray the Malkavian clan’s fractured perspective. She tells us, “We thought it was more interesting to build a realistic psychopathology than exploiting the well-known and clichéd ‘goofy’ or ‘sadistic’ psychopath. Leysha’s character sheet is built upon a true clinical test, avoiding any caricature.” As she searches for her daughter, Halsey, we can see Leysha is caught at a crossroads of perception. This is both a curse and a blessing, as it allows Leysha to hide reality behind illusion. The Obfuscate discipline can be used to hide potential Masquerade violations or indeed Leysha herself from the view of humans. Maxime Moze says this ability is especially useful as it allows Leysha to pretend “to be some important person or to access high-security areas.”

These modern nights are unpredictable at the best of times. As Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong begins, vampires are under threat. Across the pond London is no longer a safe home for their kind, and stateside Kindred are forced to set aside clan politics in an anxious bid for survival. Under the guidance of its newest Prince, Boston tries to reclaim its former glory by merging into a unified domain with Hartford, Connecticut. But this bid for stability is threatened when peace treaty celebrations erupt into a violent bloodbath.

That’s the point at which you enter this mess. Singing from the same hymn sheet as the massively popular Vampire: The Masquerade tabletop roleplaying game, you play as three vampires already established in Boston – there are no baby vamps warbling here. Vampire: The Masquerade – Swansong’s lead quest designer Maxime Moze tells us, “Even though [each of the protagonists] has their own agenda, the three of them have one thing in common: for reasons unknown they are the only ones the Prince wants to talk to in this time of crisis.”

Boston’s Prince, Hazel Iversen, rose to power with unusual swiftness given the usual glacial pace of vampire politics. Writer Laure Delmas describes her as “a clever being who knows how to keep up appearances.” As Prince, Hazel has her mindset on restoring Boston’s status while keeping her enemies close. Her widely renowned charisma has earned her the title ‘The Swan.’ Whether she can be trusted is beside the point given how much power she wields, and when she summons your three protagonists to an audience with her they’ve no choice but to acquiesce.

Moze says, “The missions she sends [the protagonists] on will allow you to have a different perspective on the unfolding events, and it is your ability to connect things together that will allow you to have the full vision [of] the story.”

THREE-PART HARMONY

Laure Delmas assures us that this story has been written to be accessible regardless of your familiarity with the TTRPG. “With three heroes from different clans, Swansong gives an overview of a part of the World Of Darkness,” she tells us, adding “Our story is built upon the pillars of this fantasy world (clans, Camarilla, [etc]), and so we sought an experience balanced between one that’s friendly for newcomers, with enough tutorials and explanation, but satisfying for core World Of Darkness fans.”

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