Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines/Disciplines< Vampire: the Masquerade - Bloodlines
Disciplines are essentially spells. You spend your blood points, and then supernaturally freaky stuff happens.
Animalism - Both Gangrel and Nosferatu have access to this Discipline. It's varied in it's focus, from stealth to damage dealing to drawing blood. I'd recommend it as a secondary Discipline, but you aren't likely going to build a character around Animalism, even if they are a horror vampire cool machine. Using Animalism in public areas is a violation of the Masquerade. Beckett can increase Animalism up to level 3 if you're a Gangrel after you clear the Giovanni mansion.
Level 1: Nightwisp Ravens (1 blood point) - This summons a bunch of ravens to peck your target mercilessly. It doesn't do any damage, but it sure is distracting. It lasts for only a short while and stops if you touch them, so be cautious. Cause the hapless fool to be attacked by Ravens, and sneak on by.
Level 2: Burrowing Beetle (1 blood point) - This summons a particularly nasty beetle that digs through a single opponent. If you're a Melee character and you need to hit someone far away, use this instead of digging out that gun. It'll be 100% accurate and do decent damage.
Level 3: Spectral Wolf (2 blood points) - This summons a wolf that instakills a single target, if human. If it's a supernatural creature, it will do quite a bit of damage.
Level 4: Bloodsucker's Communion (3 blood points) - RELEASE THE BATS! RELEASE THE BATS! DON'T TELL ME THAT IT DOESN'T HURT! Uhh... anyway... this summons a group of bats that descend upon a single target and suck their blood. Being gentlemanly bats, they return the blood to you. Isn't that sweet?
Level 5: Pestilence (3 blood points) - Locusts descend upon every enemy within your eyesight. This causes pain and suffering, possibly insantly killing some of your targets. It distracts the others, leaving you to do horrible, nasty things to them. Isn't undeath good?
Auspex - Malkavians, Toreadors, and Tremere have this power. It's power is twofold: 1. You can see the auras of other creatures. This allows you to see them before they can see you. 2. It increases Perception and/or Wits (depending on level). If you're creating a character that specializes in Firearms, it might be a good idea to raise this to five. Auspex never breaks the Masquerade. Auspex always costs 1 blood point.
Level 1: You can see auras from a short distance. Wits is increased by 1. Lasts 20 seconds.
Level 2: You can see auras from a moderate distance. Wits and Perception are increased by 1. Lasts 24 seconds.
Level 3: You can see auras from quite far away. Perception is increased by 1 and Wits is increased by 2. Lasts 28 seconds.
Level 4: You can see auras very far away. Wits and Perception are increased by 2. Lasts 32 seconds.
Level 5: You can see auras from a ludicrous distance. Wits and Perception are increased by 3. Lasts 36 seconds.
Celerity - Both Brujah and Toreador know this Discipline. Celerity allows you to move with great speed. If you're going to be using Firearms, I highly recommend that you purchase this as your primary discipline. Moving at greater than human speed while wielding a shotgun is an American past-time. You're not one of those damned Commies, are you? You are? Oh. Well... my apologies. Uh... more power to you, I guess. Anyway, Celerity level 1 isn't a Masquerade violation, but 2-5 are. I guess moving at bullet-time speed is something that tends to freak people out. You can also jump much higher than a human being. Celerity always costs 1 blood point and lasts 14 seconds.
Level 1: Your walking speed increases by a little bit. Not really all that impressive.
Level 2: Now you can move at superhuman speed. Awesome! You can run circles around most enemies, and easily dodge physical hits.
Level 3: If you're a Melee or Unarmed character, you can easily whack a character and pull back without retaliation.
Level 4: You're pretty much in bullet time by this point. Bullets are way too slow for you, and your
Level 5: You're uncatchable. If you play right, you can easily avoid most attacks and leave your foes riddled with bullets.
Dementation - Only Malkavians can use this ability, and what an ability it is. Besides being able to be used in dialogue to... err... convince people to see things your way, it also has some of the nastiest effects on humans that you could possibly ask for. To top it off: Dementation is NEVER a Masquerade violation.
Level 1: Hysteria (one blood point) - This causes humans to break out in hysterical laughter. As soon as you hit them, they stop laughing, so it's best you use the opportunity to sneak away from the jerk.
Level 2: Mass Hallucination (two blood points) - This is by far the best level 2 Discipline. For only two blood, you cause anybody near you at the time of use to suffer from hallucinations... permanently. This causes a -2 to Firearms, Melee, Brawl, Defense, and Resistence to Feeding for each of those unlucky enough to get near you. I like to use this time to get a quick blood snack.
Level 3: Vision of Death (two blood points) - This causes the target's worst fear to materialize in front of them, causing instant death to humans. It causes a moderate amount of damage to supernatural beings, instead.
Level 4: Berserk (three blood points) - This causes the target to go into a rage and start to kill everybody but you. It says in the manual that it's less effective against supernaturals, but I've used it against vampires with great success. Just don't use it against bosses.
Level 5: Bedlam (four blood points) - Complete insanity. A large group of humans will be hit (randomly) with level 1, 3, and 4 Dementations. This is extremely satisfying. You can even do this for entertainment if you want, and nobody will know it's you. There will be no consequences (except possible humanity loss). It's less useful against supernatural opponents, but they'll still likely be affected in some manner. This is one of the most brutal Disciplines out there.
Dominate - The Tremere and Ventrue have access to this Discipline. It allows you to control the minds of your opponents to a degree. If you're a Ventrue, you can also use this in dialogue. Dominate is never a Masquerade violation, and has some pretty fun effects. If you're a Tremere, I wouldn't bother putting any dots in this. If you're a Ventrue, it's nearly essential.
Level 1: Trance (one blood point) - Causes your victim to go into a hypnotic trance. As with similar disciplines, don't touch them, or they'll snap out of it. Useful for sneaking or running away.
Level 2: Brainwipe (two blood points) - Causes your target to forget you exist for about five seconds. They won't see or notice you. Personally, I'd just use Trance.
Level 3: Suicide (two blood points) - It's in the name. Cause a target to kill themselves. Pretty nasty stuff.
Level 4: Possession (three blood points) - Causes a target to become intensely loyal to you, and start attacking your enemies. Or people that are neutral to you. Really, just starts attacking.
Level 5: Mass Suicide (four blood points) - Like Suicide, only Mass-er. <_< You pick one target. Anybody around that person (as well as that person) feels like they can't go on and kill themselves. This skill obviously doesn't work against supernaturals.
Fortitude - Gangrel and Ventrue have this ability. It's the only means for soaking supernatural damage at all, so if you have it I suggest you put at least a few points into it. It never breaks the Masquerade, and adds 1-5 dots in EVERY soak feat (including Aggravated damage!) depending on how many dots you have in Fortitude. It's the ONLY way you can increase Aggravated damage soak, and the only way besides armor to increase your Lethal damage soak. It's a very good discipline. It's just too bad that the two clans that have it both have a better discipline. It will always be second banana to Dominate and Protean. Beckett can increase your fortitude up to level three if you're a Gangrel after you complete the Giovanni Mansion.
Obfuscate - The art of becoming invisible is practiced by both Malkavians and Nosferatu. If you're running a stealth based character, you'll absolutely love these abilities. They all cost only one blood point, and never violate the Masquerade. When you first activate Obfuscate, you must not be seen by anybody.
Level 1: Hide - Unlike the other levels, this one is fairly useless. You're able to be invisible, but only if you crouch and don't move. Lame.
Level 2: Limited Invisibility - A little improvement. You can walk around as long as you're crouched, but you can't interact with the environment at all or bump into anything, or people notice you.
Level 3: Hidden Killer - The same as level 2, only you can perform stealth kills while invisible. If you break Obfuscate with a Melee or Unarmed attack, damage is increased by 50%.
Level 4: Advanced Invisibility - The same as level 3, only now you can run while invisible. This is where it starts to get really good. If you break Obfuscate with a melee attack, you get 100% damage bonus.
Level 5: Unseen Force - This is the same as level 4, only now you can interact with the environment. Go ahead and open doors, pick up weapons, et cetera. Nobody will notice. As an added bonus, if you attack an opponent while invisible you get a 300% damage bonus. You win the game. :-P
Potence - Brujah and Nosferatu get this useless ability. With each level you get one extra strength dot. It costs one blood point and does not break the Masquerade. You might think that's okay, but you can't raise your strength above five regardless of how many points you have in Potence. You have one minimum dot in strength, and you can raise Potence up to five, which adds five dots. This would make six dots, but the game doesn't recognize that, and so it only reads as five dots. Furthermore, it's cheaper just to raise your strength instead of spending points in Potence, which allows for TEMPORARY strength improvement. Just use blood buff. Yeah, it costs 2 blood points instead of 1 and doesn't last as long, but at the very least you'll get a guaranteed 5 Strength as WELL as 5 Dexterity and 5 Stamina. Luckily for Nosferatu and Brujah, they have better Disciplines to fall back on. Never put any points into this. Ever. Unless you're a moron.
Presence - Brujah, Toreador, and Ventrue clans all know this one. It causes your opponents in a radius around you to become intimidated and fight less effectively. Sometimes these opponents become paralized by your awesomeness, and stop fighting altogether. This doesn't break the Masquerade, and always lasts 16 seconds.
Level 1: Your opponents in a small radius take a -1 hit to Strength, Wits, and Perception. They also attack a bit slower.
Level 2: The radius around you is a little bigger, and they take a -2 hit to Strength, Wits, and Perception. There's a 10% chance that an enemy affected by this will be paralized for the duration of the spell (or until you attack them).
Level 3: Same as above, only it's a 20% chance of paralization and a -3 hit to the Attributes listed.
Level 4: Same as above, only it's a -4 hit to Attributes listed.
Level 5: Same as above, only it's a 25% chance of paralization and a -5 hit to Attributes listed.
Protean - Gangrel has what is possibly the most powerful discipline in the game. Protean allows you to change your form into a horrible animal-beasty-thingy. It sounds a lot worse than I'm saying. All abilities are cumulative (meaning level 1 abilities are present in level 2, et cetera). This is a flagrent violation of the Masquerade, so don't do it in the middle of the street. Protean always lasts 25 seconds per activation and costs 1 blood point. Beckett can increase Protean to two after you clear the Warehouse, and up to three after you clear the Giovanni mansion.
Level 1: Gleam of Red Eyes - You gain infrared vision. Unfortunately, your eyes also turn red. Wooo- scary. You also get +1 to Wits.
Level 2: Feral Claws - You get long, sharp claws that are perfect for slicing up eyeballs. Oh, ho ho ho! They deal aggravated damage.
Level 3: Will of the Wolf - You start to look a bit more wolf-like, and your Stamina increases by +2.
Level 4: Hunter of the Night - Dios mio! You're even more of a sight. Fortunately, you get +2 Strength as compensation.
Level 5: War Form - You're the biggest, nastiest vampire this in Los Angeles. Well... not really... but you have better claws, now, so you're pretty close! In addition to all the previous bonuses (that's what cumulative means, dummy) your claws do more aggravated damage. You can get up to five Protean by L.A., causing just about every fight you have from then on to be an utter cakewalk. Now you can concentrate on Fortitude.
Thaumaturgy - The Tremere are the only ones allowed to use this dread sorcery. The advantage of using the Tremere is that Thaumaturgy is extremely powerful. The downside is that this is pretty much all you'll be using throughout the whole game. If you're not excited by the prospect of draining people's blood from afar, using blood as a shield, or boiling people alive using their own blood, stay away from this clan at all costs. Thaumaturgy is a violation of the Masquerade. Unless, of course, you thought making people spontanously vomit blood wouldn't cause people to be alarmed.
Level 1: Blood Strike (one blood point) - This fires your blood at your opponent, which causes their blood to be drained. Somehow. I'm not sure of the mechanics of that, but whatever... it's MAGIC! You have to stand still in order for the blood to return to you, though. If you kill the target, the blood doesn't return, either.
Level 2: Purge (two blood points) - This causes enemies surrounding you to vomit blood. This is somewhat distracting for them, as one might imagine.
Level 3: Blood Shield (three blood points) - This puts up a shield that soaks part of the damage that comes towards you. After it takes a bit of damage, it dissipates. It does not dissipate until then (or if you dissipate them manually).
Level 4: Blood Salvo (three blood points) - This is the same exact thing as Blood Strike, which might be a bit of a rip off if it didn't affect multiple targets. You will never be thirsty again.
Level 5: Blood Boil (three blood points) - You cause a target enemy's blood to boil to the point where they explode. As one might imagine, this exploded person tends to hurt people surrounding them. One of the most awesome things you can do in game.