Tabletop Game / Vampire: The Masquerade
Are you afraid yet? You should be.
- A Storytelling Game of Personal Horror.
The tabletop roleplaying game that started the Old World of Darkness
line. White Wolf
, the game's publishers, subverted many tropes of roleplaying games from the late 80s by making the player characters monsters (as opposed to heroes who hunt them) and installing a Karma Meter
that makes violence a dubious solution in many situations. In this game, players take the roles of vampires (aka the Kindred, aka the Damned), undead beings gifted with eternal (un)life and superhuman power, but forced to endure compulsive bloodlust and the manipulations and predations of seemingly all-powerful elder vampires.
The game presents the players with a finicky moral puzzle: Committing too many evil acts feeds the Enemy Within
(the animalistic urge that vampires call the Beast), endangering your Karma Meter and threatening to transform you into an unthinking monster, but the nature of vampirism and vampire society makes being a saintly do-gooder not only difficult but dangerous, and in that precarious balancing act - "Monsters we are, lest monsters we become" - lies much of the challenge of the game.
Vampires are divided up into clans (loose "families" of related vampires with similar habits and traits), who in turn congregate in sects (broad—and warring—political parties of vampires who don't see eye-to-eye on a vampire's place in the world). The Camarilla, the status quo power holders of the setting who emphasize secrecy and indirect control of the human world, initially boast seven clans in their ranks: The rabble-rousing, independent minded Brujah,
the aloof and wild Gangrel
, bugshit insane Malkavians
, disfigured and shadowy Nosferatu
, the artsy and passionate Toreador
, magic-wielding Tremere
, and the refined but power-hungry Ventrue.
At direct war with the Camarilla are the Sabbat, a sect of vampire anarchist religious fanatics who say to hell with hiding from humans. Oddly, there are only two clans wholly steeped in the Sabbat (with the rest of the ranks filled by outcasts from their parent clan): The wickedly stylish Lasombra
and the cold, alien-minded Tzimisce
. There are four clans who fancy themselves independent: The Assamites, middle eastern vampire assassins
, the Followers of Set, vice-peddling schemers from Egypt
, the Giovanni, an inbred family of Italian vampire aristos
, and the Ravnos, nomadic, illusionist thieves.
There are also endless numbers of Bloodlines (lesser "sub-clans" with only a few members) ranging from vampires who look like gargoyles to pacifist healer vampires to vampires who can kill you by singing (really). Also critical to the game is the concept of Generation: Older vampires with lower Generation scores (that is to say, more closely "related" to the mythical first vampire) are the status quo power structure, while younger, high-generation vampires (like the players) are the low-men on the totem poll. Critical to the game's mythology are the dreaded, mysterious Third Generation, vampires so ancient and powerful they may well be Eldritch Abominations
Masquerade was famous both for the huge wealth of creative material it presented to players...and the stranglingly convoluted metaplot and Byzantine internal contradictions that made it a bit of a mess much of the time. Chicago By Night
stands out as by far the most iconic of the game's supplements. In the early 2000s, White Wolf canned Masquerade (along with all their other World of Darkness games), replacing it with the very similar but more streamlined and thematically broad Vampire: The Requiem
, but the old game was resurrected in a 20th anniversary edition in 2011, published first by White Wolf, then by Onyx Path Publishing.
By Night Studios put out a new edition of the game's LARP
version in 2013 under the title Mind's Eye Theatre: Vampire The Masquerade
, following its own metaplot.
A new edition of Masquerade was announced by Onyx Path at GenCon 2015, following on from where the original run had left off at cancellation, treating the anniversary edition as a "nostalgia edition" that commemorated Masquerade's previous history. However, that got dropped when Paradox Interactive
bought White Wolf later in 2015, announcing their own plans for a new edition.
adaptation was announced in 2006, and spent several years in Development Hell
before being canceled in 2014.
For the video game adaptations, see Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption
and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines
For the television adaptation, see Kindred: The Embraced
For the card game, see Vampire The Eternal Struggle
This game features examples of:
- A God Am I: Cappadocius plotted to somehow diablerize God (yeah, you read that right).
- Abusive Parents: Most sires fall into this bad habit. Sometimes they're really trying to be good mentors, but it's just not in a vampire's nature to have a truly mutually beneficial relationship with one of its own kind. Of course, a great many others are openly abusive and manipulative on purpose.
- The Nosferatu Antediluvian Absimiliard hates his clan and created a race of semi-sentient monsters to wipe them out.
- Actual Pacifist: Obviously varies from character to character, but the Salubri healer caste's Disciplines are all geared toward healing and they can only drink blood from willing victims, so your archetypal Salubri will probably be one of these.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: The Baali Dark Ages clanbook is full of this. In reference to the founder of the Salubri clan mentioned above: "Gentle Saulot. Philosopher. Pilgrim. Pacifist. Passionate. Pathetic. Of what use are his meditations on pity and purity now, I wonder?"
- Addiction Displacement: A common event among ghouls who lose their source of vampire blood.
- Adult Fear: Why it's called a storytelling game of personal horror. Themes such as social alienation, peer pressure, punishment, loss and condemnation run rampant in vampiric society. In other settings, maybe the Big Bad will kill your love interest. In Vampire, your superior might order them killed as penance for your failure, or you might accidentally slaughter them yourself while frenzied. That said, while White Wolf always encouraged this direction in the books, many groups choose a different focus, in many cases leading to the infamous "Superheroes with Fangs" playstyle.
- Always Chaotic Evil: Either Averted or played straight depending on how you look at it. There's no reason per se that vampires have to be murderous, manipulative, and flat-out evil. That said, with the way the world and their own natures work, it's really, really hard not to slide into it even when you're trying.
- On the other hand, this trope is basically the entire point of the Baali.
- Always Night: Of course. A significant contributor to vampire depression.
- Always Someone Better: If you're a mortal, there's a vampire. If you're a vampire, there's always some older vampire. And even if you're the biggest badass in your city, well, vampires aren't the only things walking around out there...
- Ancient Conspiracy: Vampires in general play this role to humanity. There are also multiple conspiracies within their own society.
- Ancient Tomb: Obviously.
- And I Must Scream: Basically the average Tzimisce's hobby.
- Some truly ancient vampires are stuck in this state, trapped somewhere but unable to either escape or die for often magical reasons.
- Also the fate of a vampire staked through the heart; they're left paralyzed, but aware of their surroundings. In fact, a common method of execution is to stake the victim through the heart, then leave them outside to when the sun comes up, unable to move to safety.
- Animal Eye Spy: Animalism 4's ability.
- Animals Hate Him: Animals can tell (usually by scent) that a vampire is unnatural and even the friendliest dog will react badly to the average vampire by default. Vampires can overcome this by training in the Animal Ken skill or taking ranks of the Animalism discipline. Another way of making friends with a particular animal is feeding it vampire blood, which will make the creature your ghoul.
- Animorphism: Shapeshifting into animals is a specialty of Clan Gangrel, but any vampire can learn to do it if they want to invest the time and effort.
- The Artifact:
- Clan Gangrel was created to tie "werewolf" legends into vampires back before Werewolf: The Apocalypse was thought up. Nowadays their "hat" is a more generic Shape Shifter nature.
- Clan Tremere was originally tied to Ars Magica (which has a House Tremere in its version of the Order of Hermes). Later re-purposed into Mage: The Ascension, with its version of the Order of Hermes.
- In general, most of the bloodlines and independent clans were "one trick ponies" to show off cool new vampire powers and then became an albatross around the setting's neck.
- Ascended Demon: Golconda, the maybe-real, maybe-not Nirvana state that supposedly relieves vampires of most of the worst elements of their own nature—if you can discover the secret, that is.
- Astral Projection: Auspex 5.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The Cathedral of Flesh is almost exactly what it sounds like — a mass of constantly-mutating living flesh large enough to serve as a literal cathedral. It is essentially semi-sentient Vicissitude that was created by the 4th generation Tzimisce Yorak, which later turned on its creator. It pops up in various places in the metaplot including Transylvania and New York City as a cool location to do battle, including in Vampire the Masquerade: Redemption.
- Aura Vision: The Auspex discipline has the ability to do this among its powers. Particularly useful for spotting those vampire "cannibals" who have diablerized others.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Vampires' supernatural powers, as a rule, grow and develop with age, and positions of authority are usually occupied by old vampires.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Vampires don't really elect their leaders, and any ambitious vampire needs to be proficient in several disciplines and have combat experience to stay undead. Asskicking is the only thing equal to authority in the more combative clans such as the Brujah and Gangrel, and in the Sabbat.
- Ax-Crazy: The Sabbat vampire sect is infamous for being full of Ax-Crazy young vampires who off humans (and often other vamps) for fun. Older Sabbat members are generally those vampires who lived long enough to grow out of this and into calm and calculated monstrosity.
- Back from the Dead: Although Final Death is supposed to be, well, final, there are special cases.
- Bad Boss: More abstract parts of fluff, such as descriptions of vampire society in core rulebooks, imply that most vampire elders treat their progeny and other underlings like this. Specific examples of elders provided by city books are usually much more rational and prefer to mix carrots with sticks.
- Bat out of Hell: The fourth level of Protean allows a vampire to turn either into bat or wolf form.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Played with. It is generally true that as a vampire loses Humanity, their natural appearance will become more pallid and corpselike, and it takes more effort on their part to disguise it. On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to have a Nosferatu with high Humanity and a Toreador with low Humanity, to give one example of a subversion.
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: And Cain was the first vampire (spelled Caine when referring to him as a vampire). Many other people from history and mythology were/are vampires too, from Helen of Troy to Houdini. Rasputin was given multiple separate backstories as a vampire, as well as described as a mage, werecreature, and wraith. Generally, the company tried to discourage this kind of thing later on, but at least a little bit of it seems to be inevitable.
- Believing Their Own Lies: The Camarilla's Inner Circle denied the existence of the Antediluvians originally as a means to establish themselves as the strongest vampires in the world. Over time, they forgot it was a lie.
- Beneath the Earth: Nosferatu usually congregate in sewers, abandoned tunnels and the like.
- Beware the Nice Ones: The Salubri are the nice, level-headed, holistic and often genuinely good-hearted vampires — naturally, they're almost all dead. So a few of the survivors went Axe Crazy and joined the Sabbat.
- Beware the Silly Ones: The Malkavians can sometimes be childish or amusing, but messing with them is a very bad idea.
- Beware the Superman: The Antediluvians.
- Superhumans such as elder Kindred may not rule over the human race directly, but they still exert ruthless power over the humans and younger Kindred around them.
- In ancient times, Caine and his childer ruled over humans in the First City, which was far from an urban paradise.
- Biblical Bad Guy: Most prominently Cain(e), the first vampire, but Lilith shows up as part of his backstory, and Elimelech (a minor character from the Book of Ruth) is one of the leaders of the Sabbat.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Giovanni in a nutshell. They sire exclusively from the extended family; incest, necrophilia and domestic abuse are just the tip of the iceberg.
- Bilingual Bonus: The Shadow Clan is called Lasombra. Also, "Bruja" (that is, Brujah) is Spanish for witch, although this has basically nothing to do with the clan.
- Blessed with Suck: This seems to be the general idea: Incredible power at the cost of your humanity.
- Blood Bath: One of the sacred rites of the Sabbat. Although it isn't about rejuvenating youth or beauty, like in other depictions, but more a ritual of baptism and consecration interpreted through the Sabbat's "Crusades-era Catholicism on PCP" lens.
- Blood Magic: Thaumaturgy, the most flexible discipline, and the foundation of Clan Tremere's power.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Some vampires abandon the Humanity Karma Meter for Paths of Enlightenment, which substitute human morality for a code of ethics that fit with vampiric existence.
- Body Horror/Biomanipulation:
- The Tzimisce power of Vicissitude allows them to craft flesh and bone like clay and even graft on body parts from other creatures.
- Nosferatu and Gargoyles get to watch themselves physically turn into actual monsters, and for Samedi the part of undeath that keeps them from deteriorating doesn't really kick in for a few months, leaving them as half-rotted corpses for eternity. The Harbingers of Skulls, meanwhile, after centuries in the Underworld, have ended up looking like shriveled corpses.
- It's not detailed all in one place, but there's some seriously unwholesome things going on behind the scenes of the Tremere Council of Seven. It seems that Tremere's body has turned into a gigantic white slug while his mind plays Musical Chairs with his lieutenants.
- Boom, Headshot: With a shotgun? Bad news for a vampire.
- Brown Note: One use of the "Dementation" discipline.
- Butt Monkey: The Ravnos clan was originally introduced to tie into gypsy stereotypes and the idea of Indian vampires. However, clanbooks clearly established that the Western side of the clan were outcasts hated by everyone else - which included the Indian side of the clan, by far the vast majority - tying with the Caitiff for Butt Monkey status. Then almost the entire clan was wiped out anyway.
- Cain and Abel: The Biblical ones, although here Caine became the first vampire as a result. Also, a number of clans vs. other clans, any clan and its antitribu, and the Ventrue and Lasombra clans get this feel a lot in the flavor text. "Brothers' Keepers," "mirror images/dark reflections," etc.
- Cannibalism Superpower: Diablerie, the act of devouring the blood and soul of another vampire, is primarily used by vampires to gain power above what is normally possible for their generation. One of the few genuinely taboo practices in most vampire societies...though of course, it happens anyway.
- Cast from Calories: Vampires can spend Blood Points on vampiric abilities; they must then recharge their Blood Pool by snacking on some mortal.
- Chainsaw Good: Talbot's Chainsaw is a legendary and very powerful weapon. The chainsaw is also present in the card game and quite devastating. Sabbat members enjoy regular old chainsaw mayhem as well.
- Charm Person: The Presence power. It is easier to resist than Dominate but affects vampires regardless of generation.
- The Chessmaster: Almost every elder vampire gets to that age by being one.
- Chinese Vampire: The Kuei-jin. They are a different species of monster with relatively little in common with Cainites.
- Combat Sadomasochist: Toreador Antitribu.
- The Commandments: The Traditions.
- Conditioned to Accept Horror: Natural for most vampires. Although it might take a few centuries, this eventually leads to loss of Humanity. Vampires with high Humanity are better off avoiding contact with others for this reason.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Many of them turn out to be right after all, in essence if not in details.
- Corrupt Church: In the Middle Ages, the Cainite Heresy was a plot to subvert the Catholic Church with vampiric rites and beliefs. The Inquisition had great success in stamping it out, thanks to the Anarch Revolt distracting (and killing) the leaders of the Heresy.
- The Corrupter: The speciality of the Setites, whose entire Religion of Evil revolves around this. They will use sex, drugs, and lies to corrupt both vampires and humans. The Path of Cathari is another evil belief system that encourages corruption. This doesn't sound that bad, until you read Black Dog books such as Montreal By Night, and realize just what that entails.
- Centuries of Setite influence on Constantinople's Toreador might be the main reason for that clan's degeneration. Likewise, the Baali influence on Carthage's Brujah resulted in the clan embracing violence instead of philosophy.
- The Corruption: Vicissitude in a nutshell. Non-Tzimisce can acquire the discipline only after drinking some Tzimisce blood, and the process of leveling it up utterly corrupts body and soul. Also, if Tzimisce is alive in the Gehenna scenario you play, you're pretty much screwed.
- Some of the Baali's Daimonion powers manifest as this.
- Cover-Blowing Superpower: Some disciplines are unique to a single clan, and an outsider should have a watertight alibi after using them. For example, Obtenebration is a Lasombra clan discipline, and except for the handful of Lasombra antitribu, knowledge of the discipline marks you as Sabbat.
- Crapsack World: The World of Darkness in general is one of these in a nutshell. There are some small glimmers of hope, but you must work hard just to keep yourself from sinking into ever-greater depravity.
- Crazy-Prepared: The best way a Tremere or Tzimisce neonate can survive fights (except for avoiding them altogether). Advanced Vicissitude turns a Tzimisce into a close-combat monster and Thaumaturgy can be used to set enemies on fire, but until then both clans lack any straightforward combat disciplines. Unless the right body alterations are made or rituals prepared beforehand, the vampire will be dusted.
- Cross-Melting Aura: Powerful Baali vampires can do this.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The actual rules for fighting Caine are merely: "You lose."
- Curse That Cures: When you are turned into a vampire all injuries, illnesses and disabilities disappear. However, now you are at the bottom of the pecking order surrounded by vampires who want to use you as a pawn and aren't shy of killing you if it helps them, must prey on humans to survive, can be smelled out by werewolves who will hunt you with prejudice and have to pretend you're human while dealing with the "burns in sunlight" thing.
- Darkest Africa: The Kindred of the Ebony Kingdom supplement paints unlife in Africa as quite different.
- Daywalking Vampire: Sunlight is deadly to vampires but some, especially with the Protean discipline maxed out, can resist it for short periods of time. The Gangrel Beckett, for instance, is known for having once ran the length of a football field under scorching sun.
- The Children of Osiris also have an ability called Ra's Blessing at high levels of Bardo which allow them to walk in sunlight for a short time.
- The Ravnos Antediluvian had such high Fortitude that he had to be destroyed by sunlight focused using orbital mirrors (this comes after surviving a nuke).
- Dead All Along: Some of the Antediluvians turn out to be this in Gehenna: Veddhartha (Ventrue), Set, Troile (Brujah), not exactly dead but trapped in salted earth at Carthage, unable to rise.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Thanks to Obfuscate, Vicissitude and the secluded unlifestyles of most elders, this is common in the Jyhad. The Sabbat once managed to hit a member of the Camarilla's inner circle and replace him with an impostor; and though the other members noticed immediately, they did not move against him for some time to feed the Sabbat false information. Kemintiri, a Setite Methuselah on the Red List, impersonated the Ventrue justicar for decades. There are also other critical secrets: Melinda Galbraith, Regent of the Sabbat, has been assassinated. The Tzimisce who discovered the body took her form to avoid being killed as a scapegoat; it's only a matter of time before he is discovered. Hardestadt, the 5th generation Ventrue instrumental in the Camarilla's founding, was successfully diablerized by Tyler during the Anarch Revolt. His childe secretly replaced him to prevent the project's collapse. Beckett is one of the few privy to this secret, which is why 'Hardestadt' tries to hunt him down.
- Deader Than Dead: Diablerizing a vampire is more than administering Final Death - it also destroys the victim's soul, denying them an afterlife. This is why Camarilla vampires and even Caine consider it to be a crime worse than murder. Ancient vampires can sometimes circumvent this, but they are stated to be game breakers in canon anyway.
- Deadly Decadent Court: The Camarilla, the main world-spanning sect of vampires, is one big example of this.
- Deaf Composer: Any vampire cooks, by virtue of having normal food taste utterly rancid. Unless they have the Eat Food merit, which does allow them to taste the food in addition to not having the food turn to ash in their mouth.
- Deal with the Devil: Sometimes this is what makes you a vampire in the first place. Sometimes it's what happens when you try to make deals with older (smarter) vampires. A ghoul's relationship to his or her master often takes this form too. Literal deals with actual devils are possible, and they usually turn out about as well as can be expected (Revised strongly discouraged the use of literal demons since it added an element of Black and White Morality that undermined the game's central themes).
- Defector from Decadence: Inverted. The Salubri turned their backs on the violent lives of vampires, and as a result were largely obliterated. The Salubri antitribu are defectors to decadence - Adonai, their founder, got so pissed off by Salubri pacifism that he stormed out of the bloodline and joined the Sabbat.
- Adonai's problem wasn't pacificism so much as restraint from taking bloody vengeance on the Tremere. He was the founder of the Vengeful Salubri faction from the Dark Ages.
- This is technically one of the reasons why many vampires go anarch, particularly Lasombra who believe that the Sabbat has become everything the original anarchs were trying to resist in the first place, only much worse.
- In general, this is the attitude of any vampire that doesn't fall in line with the bulk of their clan, with the general term antitribu used to describe them. It cuts both ways - just as a Ventrue in the Sabbat is considered antitribu, so is the rare Tzimisce in the Camarilla.
- Demonic Possession: While infernalists mostly seek to overthrow their masters and ascend to demonhood, only one very potent Baali is explicitly mentioned to have achieved this. Those that do not end up dead are possessed; both outcomes lead to the soul suffering eternal torment.
- The Descendants of Cain: Here, Cain's curse was actually vampirism, so the modern (Western) vampires are all descended from him by transmission of said curse. For this reason, one name that's used for them is "Cainites".
- Deus Angst Machina: A common, though by no means exclusive, approach to the game.
- Deus ex Machina: In Nightshade, the PCs are just witnesses in the endgame episode - that's all solved by Antediluvians, divine intervention, and prophecy.
- Dhampyr: Introduced in the Time of Judgement books, a dhampyr is the result of a 14th or 15th generation vampire who temporarily reactivated their mortal abilities when having sex. They function the same as a revenant (a human born with some ghoul powers), which led to some uncomfortable questions to those who studied both.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: The Gehenna scenarios allow a coterie to pull off some of these against Antediluvians, who are weakened by the Withering.
- Distracted by the Sexy/Shiny: Clan Toreador's weakness. It might sound lame until it comes up at the worst possible time, say if it clouds their judgement, or if they're driving...
- Don't Make Me Destroy You: A Golconda-seeker attracts the attention of an anonymous master by warning the Sabbat pack attacking him of his age and power.
- Doomed by Canon: In the Dark Ages books, characters are given a Destiny along with the regular info, and many of them meet violent ends. Also, quite a few clans are doomed: the Salubri, the Cappadocians, the Ravnos, and also in Gehenna the Tremere, the Giovanni, the Setites, and the Tzimisce. If you choose to play the Wormwood chronicle for Gehenna instead, God destroys all vampires except for a handful whom he rewards with mortality.
- Dracula: The most famous Autarkis (independent vampire, outside the sects), hated by both Camarilla and Sabbat. As a mortal seeking to become a vampire, Dracula provoked the 4th generation Tzimisce Tabak into attacking his castle ... while also alerting a Camarilla justicar to the Tzimisce presence. Tabak wiped out the Camarilla force, but in his weakened state was driven to torpor by Dracula's men. Dracula intimidated Tabak's captured childe Lambach von Ruthven into Embracing him, and promptly diablerized Tabak to become 4th generation.
- Dump Stat: Since there are so many skills introduced by each book, this is pretty common. Do you really need that point in Drive or Camarilla Lore when you can invest in Intelligence or Melee? There are far more useless skills than these as well.
- Elderly Immortal: Those vampires Embraced at an old age. One example in vampire history is the Lasombra Narses, Archbishop of Nod and leader of the Cainite Heresy, embraced at 98 years old.
- Eldritch Abomination: Earthbound demons and the Children of the Outer Void (identified with the Earthbound after Demon: The Fallen, but de-linked with The Black Hand: A Guide to the Tal'Mahe'Ra). The most inhuman Antediluvians qualify as these - Tzimisce is practically Vicissitude itself now, while Lasombra is a creature of the Abyss.
- Emotion Bomb: Advanced Animalism powers are of the Anger type; Presence can be used to invoke a wide variety of crippling emotions.
- End of an Age: One of the main themes of Vampire: The Dark Ages is the end of the Long Night, the rule of vampires over humans. The Inquisition and the Anarch Revolt are foreshadowed, and will together drive vampires into the Masquerade.
- The End of the World as We Know It: Gehenna, usually envisioned as the time when the godlike Antediluvian ancestors of the 13 vampire clans will rise to devour their progeny and royally thrash the world in the process. However, various sourcebooks ended up whittling down the Antediluvians who will still be alive by the time of Gehenna.
- Enemy Mine: Enemy sects and clans will team up to fight the Baali, who are one of the unambiguously evil factions of the setting.
- Enemy Within: All vampires suffer from the Beast, an animalistic, id-like force with a hint of supernatural malice, that attempts to compel them into immediately satisfying their instinctive urges, such as consuming blood, fleeing fire and sunlight, or fighting at the slightest provocation, no matter the circumstances. On the other hand, complete removal of the Beast (possible if you suffer a botch with a couple of disciplines) also robs a Kindred of all willpower and self-motivation.
- Enlightenment Superpowers: The Salubri.
- Golconda allows a vampire to learn disciplines without being limited by generation. A roughly 200 year old 11th generation Malkavian in "Cairo by Night" has Auspex 7 thanks to Golconda, which is something only the 6th generation and lower is capable of.
- Even Evil Has Standards: The Sabbat may be ruthless cold hearted bastards, but they loathe demon worshippers as much as anyone, and will kill any they find.
- There are some Baali who loathe infernalists too, not least their own kin - they keep various cosmic horrors asleep by performing atrocities, and the last damn thing they need is some idiot trying to wake said horrors up.
- Evil All Along: Saulot thanks to the plethora of Retcons since first edition. According to rumours, he was basically a saint who helped the poor, healed the sick, and farted fairy dust, who may or may not have reached a state where he didn't even drink blood anymore. This was all just part of the plan to take over the world and he might have created the Baali. Further complicated in Gehenna, in which he is the key to saving the world and mankind and he very rarely survives the apocalypse; he is either destroyed or makes a heroic sacrifice to destroy his fellow Antediluvians.
- Listening to elder Brujah, you would think that the Ventrue destroyed their beautiful Carthage out of spite. Turns out that the Brujah had let Baali into the city, leading to its corruption. The Brujah Antediluvian Troile herself, who had lost her Humanity by this time, took up one of the three original Baali (4th generation) as her lover, and attended the Baali's organ pit ceremonies. Turns out that the Roman vampires had very good reason to attack Carthage.
- Evil Counterpart: The Sabbat Antitribu generally embody the worst characteristics of their parent clan and take it Up to Eleven. Sabbat Brujah, nicknamed Brutes, are super-violent frenzying shock troops who torture their victims For the Lulz. Sabbat Toreador, nicknamed Perverts, can only see beauty in ugliness and pain, and do horrible, horrible things to humans. In a minor subversion, Ventrue Antitribu are dubbed "True Ventrue" and tend to be Knight Templar types, complete with codes of honor, which nonetheless require shedding copious amounts of preferably main-clan-Ventrue blood.
- Evil Feels Good
- Evil Former Friend: Quite common among immortal monsters. Vampires can rise from torpor to find that their former companions have joined the Sabbat and abandoned Humanity, for example.
- Evil Is Not Well-Lit: Naturally comes up a lot. Setites hate the light, but the one best associated with it is the Antediluvian Lasombra.
- Evil Is Petty: A few vampires are strong enough to truly wreak havoc and have grandiose plans, but the majority of them whittle away eternity by getting into feuds for no reason and terrorizing a mortal once in a while for shits and giggles. They manage to get bored in a world that has mystery and adventure around every corner.
- Evil Tastes Good: The act of drinking blood is described as incredibly addictive and tempting to vampires. To further the analogy, vampires who are low on blood risk losing self-control and attacking people on sight to get a "quick fix" right now.
- Evil Versus Evil: The default type of conflicts in this game, as vampire factions, with few exceptions, range from "deeply corrupt" to "demonically evil."
- Eviler Than Thou: Many Tzimisce, Lasombra and Followers of Set actually take pride at being Eviler Than Thou monsters, more often than not of the Nietzsche Wannabes variety.
- Evilutionary Biologist: Tzimisce on the Path of Metamorphosis not only think that vampires are an evolutionary step above humans, but that the vampiric state is the precursor to a 'perfect' life-form. Their aspiration is to turn into a planet-wide organism through Vicissitude, and they experiment constantly for this goal. The results are not pretty, to say the least.
- Eye Remember: One of the Giovanni powers.
- Eyeless Face: A Transylvanian Fiend called Noritz has mouths instead of eyes. This is one of the many ways Tzimisce go for the grand effect.
- Fallen Hero: The Assamites were originally the Clan of Judges, punishing those who broke the Traditions and fighting the Baali. However, the Baali used captured Assamites in a Dark Thaumaturgical ritual that laid a curse which spread through the clan, making the warrior caste addicted to vampire blood. The result is that the warriors, the majority of the clan, are now ravening assassins with an entire Path based on diablerie.
- False Flag Operation: Sabbat packs operating in Camarilla territory often pretend to be Anarchs. Baali infiltrators also conduct false flag operations to pit Camarilla and Sabbat against each other - canon states that they fan the flames whenever sect violence dies down.
- False Innocence Trick: The modus operandi of a Samedi who used to be on the Camarilla's Red List. She used Obfuscate and Chimerstry to conceal her corpselike appearance and looked like a small girl to her prey (both vampires and humans).
- Fantastic Drug: Vampire blood. In humans, it induces feelings of ecstasy, super strength and speed, and eternal youth. After three tastes, a human is "blood bound," becoming hopelessly addicted and usually falling in love with the vampire supplying it. Vampires who are fed three tastes of another vampire's blood become "thralls," utterly unable to resist the will of the supplier.
- Also, the blood of other supernaturals - particularly fae and "mystic" mages - supposedly work this way for vampires. Results... vary. The blood of the Technocrats augmented by mad science, and their cybernetic minions the HIT-Marks, however... it has the same effect on vampires as drinking battery acid has on humans.
- Fantastic Racism:
- The linchpin of the Sabbat's ideology. As openly ruling "human cattle" is beyond their ability, they often make up for this with random atrocities.
- Caitiff (rare vampires who do not exhibit blood traits of a specific Clan) are treated as sub-vampire mongrels by almost everyone, but they're lucky compared to thin-blooded vampires that did not completely transform into undead - those are hunted and killed as supposed harbingers of The End of the World as We Know It.
- Fantastic Slurs: A lot. The books provide us with derogatory nicknames for every single Clan.
- Faux Affably Evil: A persona adopted by many vampires. Hallmark of clans with lots of ancient nobility, such as the Lasombra, Tzimisce, Toreador and Ventrue.
- Fearless Undead: Averted. Sunlight and fire can cause a vampire to totally freak out and run away in a frenzy-like state called Rotschreck. Also, turns out there are much scarier things out there than your run-of-the-mill vampire, most of which can inflict A Fate Worse Than Death.
- Fictional Document: The Book of Nod, The Ericyes Fragments, The Prince's Primer and Revelations of the Dark Mother, which all underwent Defictionalization. All were referenced and dwarfed by the Encyclopædia Vampirica.
- Fighting from the Inside: Possession, Presence and Dominate can be resisted and even overcome, but this takes a lot of Willpower and some serious creativity.
- Final Death: As an In-Universe technical term, no less.
- First Time in the Sun: A possible ending for your repentant character in the Gehenna scenario "Wormwood" has you confront the sun as a human once again. This is an example of Cue the Sun as well.
- Flat-Earth Atheist: Recurring NPC character Beckett the vampire archaeologist refuses to believe the more magic or religion-oriented vampire mythology. He's wrong about that. Usually right about everything else, though.
- Malkavian Dr. Netchurch does a lot of scientific tests on vampires (which science can't fully explain), studies thin-blooded seers, and knows that certain sites and individuals imbued with great faith repel vampires like himself. Of course there are perfectly rational explanations for all that...
- Flies Equals Evil: The hallmark of the Baali. Some of them worship Lords of Disease, and most of them can use swarms of flies to do their bidding. Attracting insects is also available as a Flaw.
- Food Chain of Evil: Some of the really old low Humanity vampires can only find nourishment from vampiric vitae, and since drinking it without killing the victim creates a blood bond, they go all the way. Those vampires who believe in Gehenna fear the day when the Antediluvians arise to consume their childer.
- For Science!: The stated motivation of many of the Tzimisce. And the stuff they're willing to do For Science curls the hair of other vampires.
Jack: A Tzimisce? No kiddin'! Those are some creepy evil bastards. Ran into one down in Mexico, had this whole village of experiments, like nothin' you ever seen in a movie. Sick, sick shit.
- Only really true of some Tzimisce - their motivation is more often toward a greater understanding of their Body Horror discipline Vicissitude, the Path of Metamorphosis or both. Metamorphosis regards sharing information as a sin - if you aren't able to find out a secret then you aren't entitled to be given it.
- Dr. Netchurch's motivation. By inflicting the same injury every time to test subjects and measuring their need for blood, he has discovered the blood point, which he terms VEU (vitae effectiveness unit). Netchurch responds to allegations of unethical practices by stating that every test subject has signed a disclaimer and is happy to participate. What the Malkavian doctor does not realize is that he unknowingly Dominates others to become test subjects.
- Four is Death: Cappadocius was diablerised on the fourth of April, 1444: 4/4/1444.
- From Bad to Worse: And then From Bad To Worse again. With The End of the World as We Know It on the horizon, that's the most logical direction of plot development, really.
- Frozen Fashion Sense: Quite common among ancillae and elders. Some of the oldest Methuselahs have never gotten used to this newfangled invention called clothing. As pointed out in the Revised Edition core rulebook, this can make them easily-identified (though not always easy to kill) targets for hunters - after all, a vampire wearing 18th-century clothing in a modern dance club is definitely going to stand out.
- Funny Schizophrenia: A holdover from the very first edition, when Clan Malkavian was all about playing pranks on people and talking to faeries. Later editions' attempts to focus on the tragedy and seriousness of mental illness were often overshadowed by players playing "wacky" vampires.
- Every once in a while you do get someone who plays a wacky Malk and then proceeds to explore the more serious consequences of things like lack of inhibition/impulse control... but don't hold your breath.
- In LARP parlance these "wacky" Malks are often referred to as Bunny Eared Malks, Fluffy Malks, or Fish Malks.
- Fur Against Fang: The natural enemies of the vampires are the eponymous creatures from the sister game Werewolf: The Apocalypse.
- Gambit Pileup: And how! Many campaigns have become entirely self-sustaining (the Storyteller only serves as referee) because of this.
- Probably the best part is the occasional mention that the entire Jyhad, the long-running game of control and conquest between vampires, may have started as a practical joke. Oh, Malkav...
- Gang Bangers: A very common starting enemy in most chronicles. Good as expendable Mooks, and little else. They are to VTM what Orcs and Goblins are to D&D.
- Genius Bruiser: The Brujah were originally philosophers. Not so much these days.
- Genius Loci: A particularly horrifying version: many Tzimisce use their fleshcrafting power to create lairs that are at least partially made out of the still-living flesh of their hapless ghouls.
- And then there's the Tzimisce Antediluvian, who figured the ghouls were hogging all the fun and became the bedrock of one of the biggest cities in the world. Poor New York.
- Glamour: The Presence discipline.
- Glamour Failure: Quite a few examples. Animals are agitated by the presence of vampires without the Animalism discipline or Animal Ken skill. Clan weaknesses give many vampires away. Most of them are also unable to keep food down, or approach fire. While Obfuscate may be used to conceal appearance or go invisible, innocents, children and those with True Faith can see through the glamour. A vampire can only roll as many dice for a Self-Control check as they have blood points available; a particularly hungry vampire will likely lose control when presented with a source of blood sooner rather than later.
- God: Who do you think marked Caine in the first place?
- God Guise: A chronicle in Berlin By Night revolves around the appearance of an extremely powerful vampire who claims to be Caine. Investigation by the player coterie reveals that he is actually a 5th generation Ravnos being controlled by the Setites, who uses his level 8 Chimerstry to become a Reality Warper performing miracles.
- Good All Along: The Assamites were originally portrayed as blood-thirsty monsters hated and feared by the other clans, but the revised clanbook put a much more positive spin on them as warriors against evil. Although later books tried to tone this down a bit, the Assamites are still the clan with the healthiest attitude towards humans, mostly ignoring them altogether. Their Path of Blood has avoiding killing mortals as a main tenet, so all the evil of the clan is directed towards other vampires.
- Gothic Punk: Pretty much the Ur-Example and the Trope Namer.
- Guns vs. Swords: Definitely in favor of swords, which can inflict lethal damage, while vampires are very resilient to gunfire. A competent swordsman is a much more serious threat to a vampire than a sharpshooter.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: The Brujah's clan weakness. Also true for any low-Humanity vampire.
- Heavy Sleeper: A consequence of low Humanity. Some Sabbat vampires cannot bring themselves to rise from sleep even if their haven is on fire.
- Hell on Earth: What would happen if a Baali vampire managed to succeed in using the "Open the way" power. Fortunately this ritual is so complex, costly and likely to fail it never worked whenever it was attempted. And those who tried it got what was coming to them.
- Hemo Erotic
- Hero with Bad Publicity: The six surviving Salubri healers (if you believe they actually exist). The Tremere want them dead,so they convinced the Camarilla of the supposed horrible crimes comitted by the "soul eaters".
- Hitler's Time-Travel Exemption Act: The vampires may have run society from the shadows since time immemorial and had a hand in everything from Rome to modern politics... But it's explicitly stated that the Third Reich was all human-made. Not necessarily out of any moral consideration, mind you, but rather that they hate the idea of their food source killing itself off.
- Hive Drone: The Blood Brothers bloodline, created by vampire sorcerers to serve as shock troops, consists of groups of vampires that can share their senses and abilities and communicate telepathically. The process by which they’re created also destroys their creativity, individuality and personality.
- Hive Mind: It's strongly suggested that Malkav currently lives in the head of every vampire of Clan Malkavian as the Malkavian Madness Network, and it's normally tuned down. When he turns it up, things get... weird.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Caine cursed the Antediluvians (minus the virtuous Saulot) with curses that stemmed from their own nature. This was passed to their childer.
- Holy Burns Evil: Potent True Faith can do this. Areas with high Ambient Faith ratings generally cause great discomfort to Kindred; but vampires with low Humanity and self-control can actually be destroyed by them. The Baali's bloodline weakness makes them particularly susceptible to this.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Cappadocius ignored his childer's objections and embraced Augustus Giovanni, a depraved and ambitious man who would eventually diablerize him and destroy his clan.
- Horrifying Hero: The nicest player characters can at best become this. The sourcebooks make it clear that, even in Golconda or at very high Humanity, a vampire is still an undead monstrosity.
- Horror Hunger: There's the usual thirst for blood, which can lead a starving vampire into Frenzy trying to slake their thirst. And then there's Methuselah's Thirst. Simply put, elder vampires eventually can only derive sustenance from other vampires. But drinking vampire blood induces Blood Bond, so they would go all the way to Diablerie. But what about the truly ancient ones? If your elder needs to drink vampire blood, what would his elder drink?
- Humanity Ensues: One theoretical possibility for a vampire that achieves Golconda is to become human again. Canonically, it's never been known to happen; whether a player could achieve it is left to the Storyteller's discretion.
- Humanoid Abomination: While many elder vampires are weird, the Assamite Methuselah Ur-Shulgi doesn't even pretend to anything resembling humanity. It is genderless, looks like a scarred, burned child, its thought processes are completely incomprehensible to lesser beings, and the rules for fighting it can be summed up with "You lose."
- Hypnotic Eyes: Dominate powers. Also the first level of the Setites' special magic, which is called "The Eyes of the Serpent."
- Hypocrite: Camarilla elders will punish diablerists with horrible deaths and ban the practice in strongest terms - but quite a few of them got to where they are the very same way.
- I Am a Monster: Really evil vampire factions also tend to use alternate Karma Meters based on this trope, so that they may wreck shit and do Squicky stuff without instant degeneration into animals.
- I'm a Humanitarian: The curse of the Nagaraja bloodline. They have to consume human flesh along with blood to gain nourishment.
- I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Even when a new vampire isn't created purely as a servant, and doesn't mind his new condition, his relationship with his sire often goes sour sooner or later, because vampires have centuries to get sick of each other and their unlifestyle greatly facilitates distrust and paranoia.
- Inescapable Horror: In the Gehenna scenario "The Crucible of God" Tzimisce becomes this.
- Intrinsic Vow: A creature under the effect of a Blood Bond tries to obey its Regnant's wishes, but will not follow orders that violate its core principles.
- Islam: A large minority of the Nosferatu are Muslims and call themselves the Hajj. The Lasombra also had a significant Muslim branch before the Anarch Revolt. The Assamites are an interesting case, since a plurality of the clan were Muslim; but after the Methuselah ur-Shulgi's awakening and takeover of the clan, they have been persecuted. A schism has occurred among the Assamites, with many Muslims defecting to the Camarilla.
- Karma Meter: One of the major sources of angst is the fact that you will lose points on your Humanity Karma Meter. It's practically the entire point of the game in many ways.
- Kill It with Fire: Theoretically, this is the next best thing against vampires after sunlight. In practice, supernatural beings, including other vampires, can and often do have better means of vampire-slaying...although white phosphorus grenades are still not to be underestimated.
- Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Standard.
- Kiss of the Vampire: A vampire's bite is actually called "the Kiss," and is described as being unspeakably pleasurable for both vampire and victim. Except for the Giovanni. Their clan weakness is that their bite hurts more than it reasonably should.
- Knight Templar: The Society of Leopold falls into this category, an uber-Orthodox Catholic secret society routinely described as the modern Inquisition.
- Level Drain: There is a Thaumaturgical ritual called Quenching the Lambent Flame which raises a vampire's Generation to 13. Elder Baali have a Daimonion power that lowers Humanity or Path rating.
- Lightning Bruiser: Celerity grants super-speed; Potence grants super-strength. Brujah have both as clan disciplines, and naturally have a reputation as lightning bruisers.
- Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Starts kicking in for elders and fully in effect for Methuselahs. Level 5 Celerity, Melee and Potence make a physically-oriented vampire a Tremere ancilla's worst nightmare. However, beyond level 5 the law of diminishing returns is in effect, so that moving really really really fast is not worth the XP after being really really fast. In contrast, sorcery takes centuries to master, but then allows a Methuselah to cast curses on entire clans or destroy bloodlines, rendering most physical stats irrelevant. The exception is Fortitude; you can't have too much Fortitude.
- The level 8-9 Dementation powers of the Malkavian Methuselahs turned the tide during the Battle of Carthage against the Brujah, who got into melees and used Presence to lead the Carthaginian army. After a certain point, physical might just doesn't cut it.
- Living Doll Collector: Depraved masters of Dominate. The Tzimisce. Mortals in third stage vinculums. People under enough Majesty. Really, we could go on all night.
- Looks Like Orlok: Nosferatu have a tendency to take on the "Orlok" look in official artwork (especially since the concept of the clan is inspired by him).
- Lord British Postulate: Most famously found in the Rules for Fighting Caine: "You lose." However, this isn't limited to Caine; Antediluvians and Methuselahs are, in general, not given stats because any coterie of random PCs has no chance against living gods with Disciplines in the 8-10 range, and the game designers don't give them stats for precisely this reason. Such characters only die because the plot demands it.
- Lunacy: The Malkavians were originally known as the Moon Clan.
- Manipulative Bastard: Vampires are veeeery prone to Manipulative Bastardry. Easily available Mind Control powers and demands of the Masquerade help to push them further in this direction.
- The richest clans with the greatest influence over mortals are the Ventrue, Tremere, Giovanni and Lasombra. Guess which of the 13 clans have Dominate as a clan discipline.
- Masquerade: Camarilla vampires have codified this into an explicit Tradition, with Final Death penalty for violating it. Other vampires also maintain it, even if some of them are very vocal about their hatred for it.
- Maximum HP Reduction: Aggravated Damage is sustained from fire, sunlight, and holy relics, and cannot be healed or regenerated by most normal means.
- Medical Horror: The Path of Death and the Soul.
- Metaplot: Oh so much. Beckett's Jyhad Diary is basically one big guide to the game's metaplots and how to make use of them, with a few twists of its own thrown in there.
- Mighty Whitey: The majority of Ebony Kingdom Ventrue like to think they are this.
- Min-Maxing: Mostly averted. Traits, Skills and Disciplines are all taken into account to determine success in Feats, and since boosting one of these to level 5 is really expensive XP-wise, the smarter choice is to spread your XP around to maximize performance. Furthermore, disciplines are rarely automatic successes, instead requiring you to 'roll Stealth + Dexterity' for example, so a well-balanced character works best.
- Mind-Control Conspiracy: Elders use their powers of Presence and Dominate very liberally to enforce their wills, thinking themselves at the top of the Jyhad. Most of them are quite unaware that their grandsires and even clan founders are very much in charge and using them as pawns in their proxy wars thanks to even higher levels of these disciplines.
- Mind Rape: Malkavians can inflict crippling insanity through the Dementation discipline. High-end Dominate powers can mold your head into any configuration of the vampire's choosing.
- The Mirror Shows Your True Self: An ancient's tomb in the "Diablerie: Britain" chronicle has, among other traps, a mirror enchanted to reflect the Beast's true form. Vampires with high Self-Control can overcome the shock and avoid Rotschreck; but since diablerists already have low Humanity and Self-Control, the mirror is quite effective.
- The Missing Faction: The lost/extinct vampire clans: the Cappadocians and the Salubri. The Giovanni and the Tremere filled in the power vacuum they left behind in the Final Nights. Coincidentally, they both usurped the previous clans' positions.
- Mistaken Age: You should NEVER try to judge a vampire's power by his looks; that teenage girl might just be an elder. This is one of the reasons why vampires don't simply attack each other on sight: they have no way of knowing how old or experienced the other is.
- Mistaken Identity: It's possible to take several clan weaknesses as flaws, which can result in other vampires misidentifying another's clan. Depending on the situation, this could be a boon or a severe drawback - if you're a Camarilla vampire that has the Lasombra clan weakness, be ready to explain. A lot.
- Monster Progenitor: Caine is the first Vampire.
- Moral Myopia: Extremely common among vampires, as psychologically distancing themselves from human herds makes their night-to-night unlives so much easier.
- It exists within clans, too. The Lasombra, the Giovanni and the Tzimisce are utter bastards to each other, but if anyone dares try treat them the way they treat everyone else, God help them.
- Mugging the Monster: Mugging a vampire is generally a bad, bad mistake. Vampires themselves can have their short Oh, Crap! moment when their most recent victim turns out to be a werewolf.
- Attempting to diablerize an Antediluvian is a very bad idea, because even if you somehow succeed, there's a good chance that they will simply take over your body. When a vampire publicly announces the successful diablerie of an Antediluvian and then disappears or goes into torpor, it generally means something very bad has happened to them. Unless you are already 4th Generation (one step below the Antediluvians); Troile, the 4th Generation Brujah, managed to pull the "eat the vampire dad" successfully.
- Muggles Do It Better / Not So Harmless: Individual humans ignorant of the existence of vampires are all but helpless if they find themselves confronting one, but humans in very large numbers, humans with powerful modern weapons, and humans educated in the ways of the undead can pose quite a danger to the average vampire indeed. This, of course, is why the Masquerade exists in the first place.
- Murder Makes You Crazy: Murder is one of the fastest ways to lose Humanity, and by the time vampires get to Humanity 1, they will be barely coherent monsters rambling in their blood-soaked havens.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: Blood Buff and Potence are magical means of raising strength, so there's no way of telling how strong a vampire is by his or her looks. A Lasombra embraced as a teenage girl might just lift a car and bash you over the head with it.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: The Camarilla actually suppresses this mindset, as it is detrimental to the Masquerade. The Sabbat and some other groups embrace it.
- The Path of the Feral Heart, followed mostly by Gangrel and the rare Brujah and Nosferatu, has acceptance of the Beast as its main tenet, and so most adherents fall into this category.
- Nightmare Face: The Tzimisce, Nosferatu, Samedi, Harbingers of Skulls and some Gangrel.
- No Immortal Inertia
- No Saving Throw: Unless you have Fortitude, you cannot soak aggravated damage (fire, sunlight, vampire claws, supernatural effects).
- Noble Demon: Vampires on the Path of Honorable Accord are in contrast to their brethren in the Sabbat. They place honor and chivalry foremost and never go back on their word. Background books state that they prevented the Sabbat from disintegrating in its early days and drafted its only 'laws', the Code of Milan. Their chivalry does not mean that they are any nicer to humans, however.
- Not So Different: For all of the Camarilla's Civility and the Sabbat's "You're a monster, ACT like it" mentality, much of the rules that govern the Camarilla also govern the Sabbat, they just come about it from different angles. For instance, the Camarilla's masquerade is in place to keep mortals from finding out about vampires and mobilizing accordingly. The Sabbat employs a similar law, but with the justification that they're better than mortals anyway and don't need to associate with such rabble.
- Obfuscating Insanity: A common tactic for Malkavians is to act even crazier than they really are.
- Obvious Rule Patch:
- Turning a werewolf into a vampire is a transparently bad idea but it's also pretty much an inevitable one. After some half-starts and ill-advised avenues that threatened to create walking Game Breakers, the rules were eventually bent into such a shape that the feat is still possible on paper but incredibly (and fortunately) difficult to pull off.
- When the creators broke down and allowed dhampirs into the game, they made a rule more or less banning them from combining with any other supernatural type.
- Celerity was, briefly, almost the only power a vampire needed to become a walking cyclone of melee badassery, and was eventually nerfed.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Quite a few, although most are fringe groups or lone lunatics with little chance of success. The Giovanni, oddly, have a master plan that means merging the worlds of the living and the dead—exactly how well this would work out for them isn't clear, since they never pull it off.
- One Stat to Rule Them All: Generation is a potent thing indeed. Once a vampire gets a sufficient number of Generational brackets over you, there's basically no way to beat them without resorting to downright unfair methods.
- Only Sane Man: Beckett, the Kindred historian and archaeologist. Too bad he's wrong about Caine and the Antediluvians being just a myth.
- Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Ghouls are mortal servants of vampires who gain magical powers (and an overwhelming addiction) by drinking the blood of their masters. They're routinely coerced/forced into unspeakable acts and are extra-prone to mental illness, and the resulting behavior is a big part of the reason they're called "ghouls" to begin with.
- Our Souls Are Different: There are a few subtle hints that the Beast is the closest thing a Kindred has to a soul.
- Our Vampires Are Different: 13 clans plus umpteen extra bloodlines plus the Kuei-jin means there's almost no subtype of vampire myth or trope that goes unexplored.
- Ouroboros: The clan symbol of the Tzimisce.
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: The Camarilla. Half the people present are trying to be angry without offending anyone, and the other half are trying to get the first half to frenzy just for lulz.
- Picky People Eater: Ventrue are inherently limited to only feeding on a limited group of potential victims as a clan flaw; other vampires can take the flaw at character creation.
- Playing Sick: "Schere's Disease" was created to mimic vampire symptoms and to be used as a cover-story, explaining why someone burns in sunlight and needs to drink blood from a medical perspective. The Schere Foundation was likewise created to give out false information about the disorder and provide medical credentials for individual vampires who might need them.
- Poisonous Friend: Ghouls can often become this.
- Power Born of Madness: Clan Malkavian and their Dementation Discipline.
- Power Perversion Potential: This game does not stop at "potential."
- There was even an official erotic novel. It may not be canonical, but White Wolf did publish one.
- Power Parasite: Diablerie, which involves eating the soul of someone if you want to get their powers. It's a serious crime, even for vampires of this setting.
- Pragmatic Villainy: The main difference between the Sabbat and the Camarilla is that the Sabbat use their vampire abilities to be the biggest dicks they can. The Camarilla favor a lower profile; not because they're not also dicks, just because it suits their ends.
- Premature Empowerment: This often happens with people being Embraced (turned into a vampire) without being asked first, then being taught how to act in their new lives.
- It's a standard procedure of the Sabbat, which performs mass Embraces, with the victims being buried and those who dig themselves out being brought into the group.
- The adventure "Blood Nativity" is about a group of people being Embraced simultaneously and being forced to fend for themselves without any training. Those who survive can join vampire society.
- Pride: Everything Tremere ever did, which caused massive, ever-lasting shifts and rends in vampiric society, came about because he never admitted failure. One wiki sums up every one of his actions with "It half-worked".
- Also Caine himself. The Book of Nod reveals that he was offered forgiveness and release from his curse by God three times and each time refused because doing so meant submitting to another's will. There are even hints that that offer is still open, that Caine could redeem himself and all other vampires at any time, but still refuses to accept forgiveness until God asks him for forgiveness first.
- Prophecy Twist: The rise of thin-blooded vampires is supposed to herald Gehenna, the vampire apocalypse, so a lot of vampires' reactionary plan is to kill then en masse. The catch? Killing them is precisely what instigates the end of the world.
- Psychic Surgery: Tzimisce. Seldom used for healing.
- Punic Wars: In the setting, Carthage was founded by the Brujah as a city where vampires of all clans could walk openly among humans. A rivalry with the Roman Ventrue and their Malkavian and Toreador allies developed into a proxy war; and eventually the Romans directly attacked Carthage and razed it to the ground. The Brujah and the Ventrue have been at odds ever since. This is listed as the first true war of the Jyhad, rather than conflicts between individual vampires and their broods.
- The Punishment: Vampires came into existence as a result of God's curse on Caine, presumably aimed at making Caine repent. As you can guess, this worked about as well as most examples of The Punishment.
- The Metaplot may or may not try to do this, depending on the GM and fan. But one example that just jumps from the book to beat you to death is in New York by Night, where the writer pretty much orders you to explore the deep meaningful theological discussions between two hunters (a young angry man with a crippled sister (Mike and Zhanna) and a ex-security guard (Bobby)), that your players should stop the game to pay attention and if they die, that they should lose Karma points instantly and brutally.
- The choo-choo is written directly on the page in Crucible of God's "Masquerade's End" episode.
Please note that this episode involves grossly unfair treatment of the players’ characters. The characters become Destiny’s bitches. At every stage, examine the characters’ actions for ways that things might go wrong and make matters worse — and have that happen. In particular, remember that you, as Storyteller, can make Cainite powers fail at any time.
- Real Men Wear Pink: The Brujah antitribu wear purple as a sign of clan affiliation. Mind, they are generally considered the Sabbat's shock troops. Badass indeed.
- Really 700 Years Old: Vampires stop aging at the moment of their transformation, which leads to this trope. And often to Squick.
- Recycled IN SPACE!: There are settings for the Dark Ages, the Victorian Age, the Far East, and Darkest Africa.
- Subverted by the unfortunate hype around White Wolf's later science-fiction game, Trinity, which many players billed well before its release as "vampires in space". Oh how wrong they were. (Hint: It's a game about politics, psychic supersoldiers, and fighting mutants, spies, and crazy scientists)
- Religion of Evil: The Followers of Set. Their whole faith revolves around corrupting others, including each other. Their special Karma Meter includes options like the Path of Ecstasy (sample moral precept: "To resist temptation is a great wrong") and the Path of the Warrior (sample moral precept: "You are a warrior; do not hesitate to kill").
- Resist the Beast
- Retcon: Along with a Continuity Snarl worthy of any comic timeline. Each new edition changes things and the flavor of the verse (even the 20th anniversary edition - it may not update the metaplot, but it still changes things up). There are splats that confound, sneer at or simply invalidate others, and the sheer amount of rumors is frankly ridiculous. There is a reason why Vampire is synonymous in RPG circles with metaplot... and railroading.
- Reviving Enemy: A tried-and-true combat tactic of the Ravnos and Ventrue. They can survive massive damage thanks to Fortitude, but like to play dead until their foe thinks he or she is done and walks away ...
- Rise from Your Grave: The Sabbat rite for siring. The embraced human is hit over the head with a shovel and buried. Those with strong wills manage to dig themselves out; the less fortunate fall into torpor.
- This was originally a Cappadocian tradition before adoption and perversion by the Sabbat. The Cappadocians would aim for the opposite effect: only those with enough willpower not to burst out of the grave in hungered and terrified frenzy were deemed suitable for the clan. The ones who panicked or frenzied were put down immediately, while those who endured were dug out and inducted into the Clan proper.
- Rodents of Unusual Size: Vampire blood allows animals to grow far beyond normal size; naturally, the Nosferatu use giant ghoul rats (and even alligators) to defend their sewer lairs.
- Romanticized Abuse: Often, the relationship between vampires and ghouls. And between vampires and pet humans. And between vampires and other vampires...
- Rule of Seven: The Tremere like to organize themselves around the number seven, with each leader responsible for seven subordinates. In practice, since there aren't enough Tremere around to realize this ambition, only the top of the pyramid obeys the rule of seven.
- In some versions of the healer Salubri, there are said to be only seven of them at any time.
- Rule of Three:
- Three drinks of a vampire's blood binds the drinker to that vampire's will.
- The Antediluvians (progenetors of the modern clans) were the third generation of vampires.
- Sadist: The Toreador antitribu are undeniably this. In the Revised Edition of Guide to the Sabbat, they "find human suffering, pain, and cruelty beautiful" and "take pleasure in the torment of others and reveling in the gore with which they surround themselves." Even some of the other Sabbat find them disgusting, believing that the "Perverts" are only interested in suffering for suffering's sake rather then a specific purpose.
- Salt the Earth: When Troile realized during the Battle of Carthage that the Brujah had lost, she embraced her 4th generation Baali lover and together they melded into the earth. The Ventrue had the Romans salt the earth to prevent them from rising again; however, there are mentions in the V20 books of an ancient Baali presence stirring in the ruins of Carthage...
- Scaled Up: Setites' powers revolve around turning into snakes. Gangrel can turn into any predatory creature, but a significantly powerful one can turn into a dragon. High-end Vicissitude powers such as Zulo war-form and Chiropteran Marauder allow the Tzimisce to turn into powerful beasts with a nightmarish aspect.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The level 5 Serpentis power allows a vampire to take out its own heart so that they are immune to staking and some other forms of attack; powerful Setites usually keep them in canopic jars.
- The Children of the Outer Dark are Eldritch Abominations the Baali are supposed to keep asleep by performing monstrous atrocities. Problem is, there's the occasional Baali (or other infernalist) who gets it in their head to wake them up, or risks doing so by accident...
- Seamless Spontaneous Lie: Of the supernatural sort; an advanced Auspex power allows a vampire to make up intricate stories on the spot.
- See the Invisible: To pierce through Obfuscate, a vampire needs an Auspex level greater than or equal to the level of the Obfuscate power. Low-level Obfuscate powers fall to careful observation and some logical thinking.
- Sexy Packaging: The cover of the first Tzimisce splatbook combines this with Covers Always Lie. It displays a voluptuous and scantily clad blond woman in a sexy pose.
- Shattered Sanity: The emblem of Clan Malkavian is a shattered mirror, symbolising both their fractured minds and the fragments of deeper truths they see.
- Sliding Scale of Vampire Friendliness: The best are coldly indifferent to humans. The worst, well ...
- Slobs vs. Snobs: The Toreadors (Snobs) and the Nosferatu (Slobs).
- The Social Darwinist: Clan Lasombra practically monopolizes this trope with all the factions within it implementing social darwinism in both their behavior and laws. They are completely unapologetic in their goal of creating a world where the weak are made to be subservient obeying the strong.
- Society Marches On: The entire setting ended in 2004, one year before YouTube came alive. In the Camarilla sourcebook, it stated that the Masquerade was by that point already becoming more and more difficult to uphold because our society was voyeurist with international instantaneous devices in the hands of the humans.
- The 20th Anniversary edition updates the setting to the 2010s, with all the potential that implies. The artwork vampire in the Giovanni section even has a smartphone in hand.
- Sociopathic Hero: Among the favorite tropes of clan Brujah.
- Stages of Monster Grief: All over the place. Some highlights: Most Camarilla vamps are Fully Embraced Fiends, with the occasional Golconda seeker. The Sabbat and Tzimisce in particular are fully into embracing their sadistic natures.
- Sticky Fingers: Each Ravnos has an irresistible vice as their clan weakness. Kleptomania is a very common choice among players.
- Superpowered Evil Side: Subverted. Losing control to the Beast does not make you meaningfully stronger and the mindless frenzy associated with that is a major disadvantage more often than not.
- Swarm of Rats: A tactic commonly used by the Nosferatu; other users of Animalism can also pull it off.
- Tears of Blood: Although possible, very few vampires would be driven to it.
- Telepathy: Auspex 4.
- Third Eye: The Salubri.
- 13 Is Unlucky: There are thirteen clans (not including Caitiff and Antitribu). Further, unless a player spends points during character creation, all player characters are thirteenth generation vampires.
- This Is a Work of Fiction: Most Vampire: The Masquerade books come with one of these disclaimers. The book on Thaumaturgy states that the spells don't work, while the one on Paths states "You are not a vampire".
- To Win Without Fighting: The proper way to play the Jyhad. Attacking a vampire is always extremely risky, since clever ones keep some strong abilities secret. Physical violence is also frowned upon unless in the right context. The most dangerous vampires prepare schemes covering decades that result in humiliation or destruction for the enemy. In any case, why would you need to fight a vampire if you can just manipulate the city council into demolishing their haven in the middle of the day?
- Torches and Pitchforks: Were surprisingly effective during the Inquisition. Turns out that a large mob wielding fire is a match for most vampires.
- Town with a Dark Secret: Pretty much every setting in the game is guaranteed to have a sleeping Methuselah or trapped demon secretly manipulating events and playing elders like pawns. In the Dark Ages supplements, expect a Baali coven to show up.
- The Tragic Rose: Appears in one form or another on the covers of the corebooks. Also, the clan symbol for the Toreador.
- Treacherous Advisor: A few foolish or power-hungry princes enlist help from the Setites. It turns out as well as you'd expect.
- Treacherous Quest Giver: The norm in this game. No vampire will just pat you on the back and reward you: they mean to use you.
- Treasure Chest Cavity: Tzimisce with fleshcrafting can do this.
- Truce Zone: Elysium, those officially declared social hotspots where vampires gather and are forbidden from (direct) conflict.
- True Companions: More or less forced on Sabbat packs. Essentially, each member binds himself to the pack in order to prevent domination by others. While members of the same pack don't necessarily like each other, the supernaturally enforced loyalty ensures personal differences have little or no impact on a pack's warfighting ability.
- Undead Child: "Child" is an available flaw. As one Fauxtivational Poster puts it, "In due time your name may cause shudders among the Kindred... but mortals will always ask why you're up so late on a school night."
- Undead Tax Exemption: Discussed and justified, in vampires frequently using their powers of mind control and their own skills at politicking to set these up. One preferred method of Passive-Aggressive Kombat involves finding ways to revoke your rival's Undead Tax Exemption.
- Undeathly Pallor: Gets worse as a vampire ages (except for the Assamites, who grow darker). The Blush of Life is a vampiric ability that allows a vampire to look hale and healthy, but the cost in blood points is tied to Humanity. Humanity of 8 and above can do it for free; each level lower than 8 costs an extra point. There is a flaw that prevents Blush of Life from being used, making this enforced; the Cappadocians universally had it as a clan flaw.
- Underground City: Many of the larger Nosferatu warrens.
- Unfinished Business: One of the reasons ghosts exist. The Giovanni exploit this by doing horrible, horrible things simply to produce wraiths so they can enslave them.
- Unholy Ground: The demonic entity Kupala is bound within the soil of Eastern Europe.
- Using You All Along: The norm. Make the assumption that every NPC is secretly under an elder's control; and that every quest you perform benefits some other vampire who has been manipulating you from the start.
- Überwald: Transylvania in the World of Darkness, of course.
- Vampire Hunter: Come in normal and Imbued varieties. The best of them, armed with True Faith, supernatural powers and modern weaponry, can maybe take down an ancilla if they're lucky and Crazy-Prepared. However, they are a serious threat to neonates, and their numbers have started growing rapidly, so that they will eventually outnumber their enemies.
- Vampire Monarch: Caine, though he's not particularly interested in ruling his vampiric descendants. That task falls to the Antediluvians.
- Vampire Variety Pack: Possibly the Trope Codifier, using a whopping thirteen clans to make sure they really covered all their bases when it comes to vampire myths.
- Vampires Are Rich: Many of them are. As the corebook points out, between being Really 700 Years Old and having Mind Control powers, it's not that hard for a vampire to accumulate lots of cash. The Ventrue and the Giovanni also tend to recruit people who are already very wealthy into their clans.
- Vampires Are Sex Gods: There's no actual sex, but this trope is what the Presence Discipline is all about. It's a Clan Discipline for the Toreador and the Followers of Set, naturally. Whether or not vampires can have sex seems to vary, but the general consensus is that even when they can have it, they don't really enjoy it. It's a good means to an end sometimes, though.
- Vampire Bites Suck: The clan curse of the Giovanni, the Lamia bloodline in Dark Ages, and also a Flaw that can be taken by other Kindred.
- Also a natural side consequence of the Nagaraja clan weakness (needing to devour actual flesh as well as blood).
- Vampiric Draining: Unlike Cainites, the Kuei-jin can obtain nourishment this way.
- Villain Has a Point: The Sabbat go on about fighting the Antediluvians when they're not torturing people. Turns out that having your Antediluvian destroyed in the past is the one thing that gives you a shot at surviving Gehenna.note
- Villain Protagonist: The Kindred are not Friendly Neighborhood Vampires. Vampires can be as good or as evil as any human, but it's tough to stay a nice guy and also stay alive (or undead) in the World of Darkness.
- Villainous Breakdown: Vamps who let their karma meter slide too much may end up in this as well, as will those who run afoul of powerful Malkavians.
- Warm Blood Bags Are Everywhere: When vampires are hungry, this can lead to frenzy.
- Warrior Poet: Older members of the Brujah clan have tendencies toward this. Younger members tend to be less cerebral and more smashy.
- Was Once a Man: One of the main themes of the game.
- Weakened by the Light: The clan weakness of the Followers of Set.
- Weaksauce Weakness: As there are thirteen vampire clans, never mind multiple bloodlines, and each of them has a unique weakness, some examples of this trope are inevitable. Not having a reflection simply isn't in the same league as being an obviously hideous monster, incurably insane, or at the mercy of great beauty.
- Wham Episode: The Week of Nightmares, depicted at the end of the Time of Thin Blood book. The Ravnos Antediluvian wakes up and goes on a rampage in Bangladesh, causing the entire Ravnos clan to go insane for a week trying to kill each other and anyone else around, spitting out dangerous illusions. Three of the most powerful Eastern vampires try to stop him, conjuring a hurricane to block out the Sun. The hurricane prevents the Technocracy from using their orbital mirrors, so they launch a dual-plane (Skinland/Shadowland-affecting) nuclear weapon. It kills the Kuei-jin and hurts Ravnos. The hurricane dissipates and the Technocracy hits Ravnos with their mirrors of doom, which may not have worked if the Kuei-jin and the nuke hadn't hurt him first. In the wake an entire clan is near dead, the Antediluvians are clearly real and other consequences reverberate across all the other games.
- The World Is Always Doomed: Averted. The metaplot builds up to Gehenna, and finally it happens.
- Wound That Will Not Heal: One flaw can give a character one, which will seriously hamper at least some part of their lives. In addition, this is yet another creepy Body Horror move that a Tzimisce can pull with Vicissitude.
- Wretched Hive: Many cities in the setting, especially those controlled by the Sabbat. This makes a city or neighborhood much easier to defend for them, since they have a practically inexhaustible supply of shock troops in the local hoodlums. Camarilla attacks often make use of shock and awe tactics for a speedy victory, since they have no other means of forcing out mass-embracing Sabbat.
- Inverted when the Camarilla writes a city off. The prince's last acts before retreating consist of letting mortal reformers and anti-corruption types loose. With the city's new Sabbat overlords deprived of resources and blood in the safer, cleaner city, it is ripe for a counter-attack.
- Wrong Side All Along: After an encounter with a Methuselah, the Gangrel justicar Xaviar realizes that the Camarilla has been lying all along about the Antediluvians. He responds by taking the clan out of the Camarilla.
- A Lasombra elder of the Sabbat recalls joining the Anarch Revolt after having an audience with Lasombra himself, and recognizing the evil of the creature.
- On the other side of the line, a Sabbat Lasombra archbishop takes himself and his city over to the Camarilla after growing disillusioned and disgusted with the Sabbat.
- Your Soul Is Mine: How Diablerie generally works.
- Zerg Rush: The standard tactic of the Sabbat is to mass-embrace lots of people and throw them at the Camarilla. While these poor shovelheads are slaughtered by the enemy, they also help pin them down while more experienced Sabbat packs wipe them out. Rushes are also the best way to take down a lonely elder, who could easily solo an inexperienced coterie.
- If a Shovelhead SURVIVES their mission, they're admitted into the Sect in full as "True Sabbat", so if you want to get past your first night or two as a Sabbat-Sired Kindred, you only have to survive a suicide mission!
- The Ravnos practicing this in their battles with the Kuei-Jin is what caused the Week of Nightmares. Long story short, the Ravnos would mass embrace childer, and send them into battle against their enemies. These increasingly weaker childer would die quickly. The increasing amount of deaths of these descendants is what eventually caused their Antediluvian to wake up.