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Dev Diary #9: What is a Brujah?

For those who are new to the Vampire the Masquerade universe, the Brujah are a Vampire Clan. They are all descendants of the same bloodline that gives them similar strengths and weaknesses. They have access to supernatural Strength, Speed and Charisma. Their curse is that they are easily riled to anger and often use this reputation to their advantage with intimidation and threats. All these traits make them deadly opponents on and off the battlefield.

When we looked to adapt these rebels and philosophers into a video game, we were inspired by real world culture and vampiric fantasies to help you get immersed in their playstyle. Here are some perspectives on building different Brujah from across the studio and an introduction from Karim from World of Darkness on how Brujah was developed for Vampire: The Masquerade fifth edition.

Designing modern Brujah for Tabletop

“With the fifth edition of Vampire: The Masquerade, we wanted each clan to primarily embody a vampire archetype out of fiction and popular culture, rather than looking to their powers and fictional history alone for identity. Fortunately, for the Brujah this was easy.

The Brujah clan represent one of the oldest and most recognizable vampire archetypes: that of the eternal rebel. Brujah vampires identify fiercely with a personal cause, and cannot resist picking fights for the sake of this conviction. Explosive strength — of body as well as personality — thus becomes a defining asset of the clan. In previous editions of Vampire: The Masquerade the Brujah were often overshadowed by other clans in martial acumen, at least in practice, so we now made sure that their unique combination of Celerity and Potence would allow them to dominate most physical altercations.

However, in a game of personal horror, each archetype should be defined by their flaws just as much (if not more) than their powers. The tragedy of the Brujah is that beneath their surface idealism lies a deeper need — an addiction — for conflict. Mortals Embraced into the clan come from all walks of life and champion any number of causes, savory and less savory, united only in their belligerence. While many Brujah would claim to fight for the downtrodden, the perception of “downtrodden” is as varied as there are Brujah. And if a Brujah vampire would ever see their cause triumphant, they often find themselves championing the other side, the cold fire in their dead hearts goading them back into the fray — forever caught in a self-perpetuating cycle of destruction.”

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

Simeon Ladock - “Silky”

"Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven, right? Name's Silky. This is my place, these are my people." “Phyre won’t be the only Brujah in town, if you pick that clan. You can butt heads with several other characters that share this clan. Silky is one that we’d like to share today and you’ll learn more about him in the next post too. He may look like he thinks with his fists, but assumption makes fools of us all. Silky is eloquent, persuasive, and a man of letters, quoting Milton, Shakespeare, and the Sex Pistols with equal reverence. He's solid, is Silky, the one you want on your side, clear-sighted and unimpressed by the posturing and drama of the establishment. He was the only one the Camarilla could name as Primogen for the Brujah because he's the only voice the rabble will listen to. You'll find him holding court in The Dutchman, his beloved bar. Stay on his good side and you won’t see trouble there.”

– Cherish Goldstraw , Writer


Writing the Brujah

“It was important to us when designing our Brujah characters to show the variety of the clan - it’s not all about brutality, and clan members have very different ways to challenge the status quo and champion their causes, yet must still co-exist within Seattle’s Kindred society. Silky came in from one of our writers at the design stage feeling fully-formed and someone we wanted to spend time with. We knew who he was very quickly, and that makes writing him a joy.”

– Ian Thomas, Narrative Director

Combat Discipline Design

“Designing the Brujah's in-game powers, we first had to consider the kind of player that best fits the Brujah archetype. Bloodlines 2 pits the player against overwhelming odds, and while Phyre is exceptionally powerful, these situations are often best approached quietly and carefully to begin with. Most clans have tools at their disposal to sustain and exploit stealth, picking apart large groups of opponents and remaining unseen until the time is just right... But for some players, the time is right now and the tool is blunt force. These players rebel against the planning and tension of stalking, instead preferring to trust their skills and instincts in the chaotic flow and dance of combat. With that in mind, the Brujah clan gives them the tools they need to get in people's faces and come out on top!

All the Brujah powers are offensive in some capacity. There's no easy way out, no help in staying alive, it's kill or be killed, so you'll need to be aggressive to survive. While that may sound simple, it won't be enough on its own. Each ability is designed to have utility beyond simple damage, so as you get to grips with combat, you'll find yourself using these more as tools to keep the flow of conflict under your control, which is where Brujah's real strength lies.

Your abilities allow you to crash through groups of opponents and drag enemies into a more isolated spot for a fairer fight or a safer feed. You’ve already seen a video of how to quickly deal overwhelming damage to a single target, but an even better tactical use is for bringing multiple opponents to the brink of death for a lethal follow up.

Brujah will also make use of Presence to taunt and enrage opponents, this makes them predictably aggressive, and is great for motivating a heavily armed mortal to try and club you to death with their firearm instead of shooting you! There's also a big explosive use of Potence , which can be used as both a crowd control and combo tool.

With all of the player's powers (and Brujah in particular), we've aimed to give them all a punchy, rhythmic feeling that makes them weave right in with your regular attacks and punctuates the chaos. My favourite's got to be the Presence-based power- Slagging opponents off to weaponise their emotions really puts you in the mindset of a belligerent Brujah troublemaker.”

– Max Bottomley, Senior Gameplay Designer

What does a Brujah look like?

“When it came to designing the look of the Brujah we really wanted to capture their chaotic and rebellious nature. This direction naturally led us to drawing inspiration from many real-world archetypes and movements that equally encapsulate that same vibe; punks, bikers, metalheads for example. All counter-cultural movements that stem from an anti-establishment and anarchic look on life, movements that we felt really captured the same feeling of being a Brujah. The punk and biker culture we wanted to incorporate has that same feeling of rebellion and conviction that is so prevalent within these movements. It was important to capture the unconventional and distressed clothing that punks tend to wear, like the military surplus wardrobe, all the things that really show a disdain for conformity. These things we felt go hand-in-hand with what the Brujah represent, a rebellious and fiercely individual spirit.

We wanted the areas the Brujah inhabit to reflect their anarchic nature too. The Brujah will likely be found in dive bars, shady sections of Seattle away from the other more authoritative clans who also reside in the city. From this, we wanted their world to be messy, chaotic, with furniture tipped over from a recent brawl and graffiti covering the walls. We wanted the Brujah and their environment to reflect other rebellious pieces of imagery from real-life. Scrawled symbols of anger and defiance. Bright, non-conforming colours. A general sense that, at any point, something unpredictable could happen.”

– Jordan Grimmer, Senior Concept Artist


Brujah Outfit Concept Art

What’s Next?

Over the next few months, you’ll learn more about the playable clans through our upcoming Clan Highlights. Following a dev diary much like this one, where the team at TCR lets you in on their approach to create the clan in question, a Clan Highlight will showcase specific abilities and how the clan choice impacts roleplaying in the game.

Every fourth week, you’ll be able to follow TCR in a new dev diary regarding a specific clan. Following each diary, a Clan Highlight with material related to the clan presented in the previous dev diary will be released, with the Brujah Highlight coming in two weeks.

Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2

Fight your way through a modern-day Seattle on the brink of an open war as an elder Vampire. Meet the power-players, ally yourself and decide who will rule and what the city will become.