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Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 Dev Diary #11: Developing Banu Haqim

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Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 Dev Diary #11: Developing Banu Haqim

Development Info - posted by Infinitron on Wed 17 April 2024, 19:58:38

Tags: Paradox Interactive; The Chinese Room; Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2


Let's now leap into Banu Haqim, another captivating Vampire clan that the players will encounter in Bloodlines 2. The essence of the Banu Haqim is defined by their mastery of stealth, precision, and a moral code that guides their hidden hand of justice. Our team had a lot of fun in reflecting these properties in their subsequent departments.

Designing modern Banu Haqim for Tabletop
The Banu Haqim (“Assamites” at the time) were one of the first clans to be added to the original assembly in 1991. As such, they were less connected to a vampire archetype out of fiction and instead modelled on the Hashshashin — the Order of Assassins — out of Alamut. In time, they were expanded upon in the setting and incorporated new elements of mysticism and religion, but the core stereotype — the “arab assassin-cultist as vampire” — regrettably remained. Needless to say, they needed some work to align with the design principles of Vampire: The Masquerade’s latest edition.

The concept of a hunter of hunters driven by strong principles or a deep-seated sense of justice does resonate with powerful elements of vampire and vampire-adjacent media. Blade, Angel, and (for those that remember it) Forever Knight all feature vampires seeking redemption by taking the fight to their own, while the very vampire-esque Dexter is a poster child for the concept, as is the Caped Crusader. It is no fluke that the internal shorthand for the Banu Haqim was “clan Batman”.

Thus, while their origins are still the same, the shift in focus has provided the Banu Haqim with a role more easily applied to characters of any background or conviction. Cursed with a hereditary thirst for vampire Blood, the so-called Warriors shackle their impulses to strict codes of conduct, derived from mortal religions, vampiric tenets, or personal creeds. These traits, along with their feared reputation, makes them sought after as soldiers, lawbringers, and — occasionally — assassins in the societies of the night. Yet, the siren song of Kindred vitae perpetually tempts them, and more than one Judge has been tasked with the destruction of one of their own. To be Embraced into the Banu Haqim clan means walking an eternal tightrope, with no end and with nothing to catch you when you fall.

Karim Muammar, Designer of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition and Brand Editor for the World of Darkness

Combat Discipline Design
“Banu Haqim, alongside Tremere, is our second clan that leans more into stalk within combat. While we’ve tailored Tremere for a slower, more tactical style of play, the Banu Haqim clan’s use of Obfuscation and Celerity make them much better suited to a faster, more confident approach.

The Banu Haqim abilities primarily focus on these two disciplines – the player can silence themselves and others, move impossibly fast, and vanish from sight completely. These can be used at any pace, but they truly shine when used swiftly together, dancing in and out of sight and dispatching opponents quicker than they can react. This makes them ideal for a player who likes to stay hidden, toy with their victim’s senses, and when needed, kill everyone in the room faster than a Tremere could decide their first move.

While we use quite a bit of slo-mo effects across combat, Banu’s version of celerity is its biggest use case - we needed a small subsystem specifically to manage time dilation across gameplay, to allow for its use in combination with other abilities. This has really paid off, I genuinely never get tired of using Banu Haqim’s lethal beheading strike in (almost) stopped time!

– Max Bottomley, Senior Game Designer

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