fans of Vampire: The Masquerade know that Vampire: The Masquerade – The Swan Song is finally the story-driven game adaptation the TTRPG deserves. As such, swan song plays and feels more like a Vampire: The Masquerade chronicle story than a typical adventure title. And with swan song using VTM 5th edition for its gameplay and old editions for its Boston setting, hardcore fans would very much recognize the unique popular names, settings, and concepts across the game’s releases.
However, the newcomers are about to embark on swan song might want to be on the lookout for Easter eggs that remind them of the game’s TTRPG origins. What mysterious secrets did the developers place in the game that only eagle-eyed players could spot?
8 Literally Die Hard
A pretty hilarious easter egg from swan song this badass Vampire: The Masquerade fans should notice is something they would probably see if they were movie fans too. In the game, playable character Caleb of the Ventrue Clan is tasked with finding Jason Moore, a financial adviser and repairman, and removing evidence of vampires from his reports.
During his investigation, Caleb comes across Jason’s phone and accesses three voicemails. One of these voicemails is from BNL Corporation, asking Jason to meet him at Nakatomi Plaza to discuss some business expansions. Moviegoers will remember Nakatomi Plaza as the setting for the first die hard film, where NYPD Detective John McClane embarks on a one-man mission to thwart a terrorist attack at Nakatomi Plaza.
seven Memories lost in a room
One of Emem of Clan Toreador’s main storylines is to recover her lost memories, something she works hard to find while traversing the mysterious Tremere Chantry. This is where players learn Emem’s story: she was raised in an artistic family before becoming a vampire, and eventually moved to neutral Boston from Camarilla-dominated Harlem.
Throughout her journey, she slowly opens passages to various parts of her memory, one of which is a room locked by a series of interlocking chains with various padlocks. Horror game fans will immediately recognize the patterns as similar to room 302 in Silent Hill 4: The Hall. As fans know, Room 302 is both a sanctuary and a prison for protagonist Henry Townshend. The locked door inside the Chantry leading to Emem’s memories is similar to how Room 302 contains a part of Henry’s psyche that he must reconcile.
6 Boston updated to present
Boston is a rather “new” setting in the context of Vampire: The Masquerade video games, adding the city to other vampire cities consisting of Prague (Blood Hunt, Redemption), Vienna, London, New York (New York City), Santa Monica (Lines 1), and even Seattle (coming soon) Lines 2). However, Boston in the context of Vampire: The Masquerade is not entirely new.
Table game fans will remember that Boston is one of the Camarilla’s most prolific locations. Notable for being 1990s decor Masquerade books “Dark Colony” and “Giovanni Chronicles”, swan song apparently uses the depiction of Boston in said books but updates it for a modern setting. This is more prevalent in the context of the city’s history and how it affects modern Boston in the context of swan song.
5 Conflicted Boston has a past
Newcomers to the game might think the game is simply using “two conflicting territories being unified” as a plot, but this nature of the game’s Boston setting has some grounding in its story in the context of Vampire: The Masquerade. In the TTRPG, Boston was originally occupied by the Tremere, courtesy of Madeline Coventry of the Winchester Chantry in 1635. Unfortunately, Boston over the following centuries would be the scene of various power struggles aimed at controlling the colony.
First came the Ventrue who expelled the Brujah from the city, who then united with the Gangrel and Malkavians to retake Boston during the American Revolution. In this power struggle, the Tremere returned, founding the Boston Chantry which then became at odds with their Salem counterparts. At one point, the Sabbat viewed Boston as territory after invading Salem, but the growing Malkavian powers held him at bay.
4 The Dark Colony Connection
Building on Boston’s representation in swan song is how his Kindred both connects a new generation of vampires with the original canon of Vampire: The Masquerade. This is more important with protagonist Leysha, whose Malkavian roots can be traced back to her father Richard Dunham. Historically, Dunham currently serves as the Primogen Malkavian of Boston, in charge of the Malkavian aspect of the Principality of Boston. Although he replied to the now absent Prince Quentin King III, Dunham’s reclusive demeanor made him appear less of a threat to the new Prince Hazel Iversen.
What’s more interesting is how Dunham’s own story ties into tabletop canon. Dunham was fathered by William Biltmore, former Prince of Cardiff. In the book “Dark Colony”, a Ventrue plan forced Biltmore out of his own territory. However, a series of events caused him to become a member of the Triumvirate that rules New England. While Biltmore seems more politically active than his child, Dunham’s quiet nature doesn’t necessarily mean passive, especially given the surprising Malkavian tendencies.
3 The Absent Prince in Modern Nights
One of the most interesting aspects of Boston in swan song is its former prince, Quentin King III, who originally had a strong foothold in the city from 1825 until the end of the 20th century. An NYPD Inspector as a mortal, Quentin was brutally embraced and, due to the Malkavian curse, was convinced that he and his coterie of Malkavians were all adventurous Knights of the Round Table. Quentin earned the name “The Arthurian” as he was Arthur of his coterie. Interestingly, as the “Dark Colony” and the “Giovanni Chronicles” indicate, Quentin King III owes much of his Boston reign to William Biltmore, the same father of Richard Dunham.
However, for some reason, Quentin disappeared in the early 21st century, to the point that he lost practice to Boston in 2014. It’s unclear if his absence was due to Beckoning or something else, and the current Prince Hazel Iversen took the opportunity to ensure his rise to power.
2 The real story still contains its mysteries
As players may begin to notice, many characters in swan song are rooted in the TTRPG canon, which makes their modern depiction of Boston rather consistent with the game’s setting. However, this attention to detail isn’t the only way swan song showed off his creative prowess. On the contrary, fans who delve into the backstories of certain supporting characters may find that many of the characters in the game have roots in real-life history.
For example, Prince Hazel Iversen is actually a Ventrue child of Nathan Appleton, assumed to be the same Nathan Appleton in the story who, in his life as a merchant and politician, became a member of the prolific “The Boston Association in the 1800s. Another character of note is Journey Atkins, a Toreador musician and confidant of Emem Louis. His father is none other than Zitkala-Sa, a writer, musician and political activist from Yankton Dakota.
1 A link strengthens the character
A word of advice for players considering exploring the TTRPG is that a vampire’s extended longevity means it’s not far off for them to be remotely tied to historical figures. In fact, a backstory connecting them to these characters can help reinforce their character’s personality and relevance to the plot. This was the case of Galeb Bazory, one of the main characters of swan song.
As the game progresses, it is soon realized that Galeb is actually Sehzade Suleyman, son of Ahmed III of the Ottoman Empire. After being raised by his adoptive family of diamond dealers, he became a vampire thanks to the gem dealer Jean-Baptiste Tavernier. Not only that, Galeb even became a student of Toussaint Charbonneau, a renowned explorer. It was through his centuries of training that he became the most powerful man in Boston, to the point that he became Prince Iversen’s right-hand man.
Vampire: The Masquerade – The Swan Song is available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, and Microsoft Windows.
MORE: Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt: Best Clan Powers, Ranked