Tabletop Game: New World of Darkness
Our world when the Sun goes down... and stays down...
A Tabletop RPG
set in a world much like our own, albeit darker. Shadows run deeper, mysteries exist in every corner, and humanity is not quite the master of the world or
Humans share the Earth with various supernatural creepy crawlies that prey on them like cattle
, use them as pawns
, and kill them when convenient (or at whim). In an interesting tightrope walk, individual humans have little power; but a tenet of most of the supernatural groups is that humanity
as a force is dangerous and must remain ignorant. There is a reason that whenever a Hunter
dies, another rises elsewhere
World of Darkness was created in the wake of Time of Judgment,
the gameline-spanning event
which served as the promised cataclysmic close to Old World of Darkness
. However, while it shares many tropes with the oWoD it is also quite different, since it was rebuilt taking into account many criticisms of its predecessor. Whether these changes were an Adaptation Distillation
or "They Changed It, Now It Sucks
" can be something of a Base Breaker
As a revamping of the Old World of Darkness
, some of the themes it keeps (albeit twists a bit) are the following. The World of Darkness, both old and new, are settings where several Supernatural Creatures exist. Each has a unique niche, theme, and Back Story
. There are three core supernatural races (Vampires
) and many supplemental ones (Changelings
) and humans who hunt them.
The setting is a Crapsack World
, albeit rather than overwhelming oppressive cataclysmic impotence and moral degradation, it focuses on hidden horrors, kitchen sink despair and moral degradation.
Among the biggest differences between the two is that the nWoD is highly modular. The very first
"gameline" that came out was about bland and ordinary mortals. This book also served as the core rulebook, creating a unifying (though not always balanced) set of rules for all the following supplements to build on and adhere to. In contrast to the Old World, it lacks a unifying Crossover Cosmology
, so the existence of the supernatural creatures from any other gameline is optional in your game - in fact, if you're playing a "Mortals" game, you could decide that none of the classics exist. The Story Teller
can craft his or her own cosmology wholesale from the various toolkits given. Because of this, some see the new setting as a Retcon
of the old, to fix mistakes and imbalances; while no wholesale plot is lifted several themes, clans, institutions and other things are ported over. Many key themes and features of the old games were lost. In the case of Changeling
, the new game
is entirely different from the old
. The new games are also much more mutually compatible rules-wise, which is important for those who want balanced and easily manageable crossovers.
It also leaves more room for homebrew expansions and games, though most of them aren't really worth the trouble
. The ones listed here are decent, detailed and balanced enough to be worth consideration
. Although particularly featherbrained homebrew
may be worth noting.
In 2007, a spin-off, Monte Cook's World of Darkness
, was published using the d20 Modern
In 2010, White Wolf announed that it would be moving away from traditional print in favor of focusing on print-on-demand services and publishing to PDFs. While the outcry was expected, the nWoD has continued on with new game-lines released afterwards.
In 2012, White Wolf celebrated the 20th anniversary
of the World of Darkness as a whole, the 8th anniversary of the New World of Darkness.
In 2013, White Wolf released the God-Machine Chronicle, expanding and formalizing on hints and references to the entity made throughout the line. In addition, it overhauled some key systems of the line. Morality became Integrity, Social Maneuvering was introduced, experience is gained through "beats", etc. All pre-GMC lines are in the process of being summarily updated to bring them in line with the new systems, starting with Vampire in "Blood and Smoke: The Strix Chronicle", and all post-GMC lines, starting with Demon: The Descent
, will be compatible with the new systems out of the gate. In 2014, it was announced that the updates would officially be renamed as second editions of their respective games, with "Blood and Smoke" becoming Vampire: The Requiem
second edition, and the core "World of Darkness" mortals rulebook would receive a second edition as well.
CCP Games, the folks behind EVE Online
and owners of White Wolf since 2006, had announced a World of Darkness MMORPG, tentatively called World of Darkness Online, which would be based on the Old World of Darkness
. Sadly, it was cancelled as of April 2014
This RPG provides examples of:
- Ancient Astronauts: Implied in the corebook.note
- Animorphism: Werewolves, skinchangers, vampire Clan Gangrel, the Orphans of Proteus from Mage, Changelings of the Beast Seeming, and the various other changing breeds introduced in War Against the Pure.
- Anthropomorphic Personification: Spirits, although sometimes for very loose definitions of "Anthropomorphic."
- Geists have become, in part, Anthropomorphic Personifications of aspects of Death in order to overcome some of the limitations ghosts normally have. This causes them to overlap with spirits, which are (often much less) Anthropomorphic Personifications of things. The possible causes of this are briefly discussed, but ultimately discarded as unimportant to this particular game line.
- Apocalypse How: The Sourcebook "Mirrors" presents numerous scenarios for catastrophic events, even using the scale on the page.
- Astral Projection: The Auspex discipline for vampires, some mortal merits from Second Sight, and a mage ability.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Well, the vast majority of roleplaying games use this trope at least sometimes, to rein in possible sociopathic behavior of Player Characters, but in the World of Darkness it is particularly prominent. Movers and shakers of the setting tend to be on a completely different level of power than normal starting characters and the main reason this is less noticeable in the new WOD is general downgrading of supernatural abilities, which makes the scale of abilities less steep.
- Beast Man: There are a lot of these, but generally this is the stereotype held against the Beast seeming of Changelings and basically every Werewolf.
- Beauty, Brains and Brawn: This is how the various statistics are organized in the new world of darkness: Social (beauty), Mental (brains), and Physical (brawn).
- Badass Normal: Slashers deserve a mention- most of them are ordinary humans who can be just as dangerous and terrifying, if not more, than inhuman horrors.
- Honestly pretty much any mortal played as a character instead of an NPC will fit this trope. Experience points invested in skills tend to exist on roughly the same "power level" as experience points invested in crazy supernatural powers, and mortals lack the usually relatively obvious supernatural weaknesses as well as powers, if you've actually annoyed them enough to make them figure out what you are and come for you.
- Also, mortals can outright banish ghosts by force of will (with sufficient humanity) and dispel the powers of Mages just by thinking about them too hard.
- The Beautiful Elite (and/or heavy subversion of Beauty Equals Goodness): Requiem's Daeva and Lost's Fairest are typically supernaturally gorgeous and get powers to match - but have trouble resisting their Vice or staying on top of their Karma Meter. Arguably Promethean's Galateids also deserve a mention here, though subverted in that their beauty is artificial and ends up inspiring hate or jealousy in mortals courtesy of Disquiet.
- Being Good Sucks: Basically, trying to adhere to a higher level of benevolence is extremely difficult, to the point it's incredibly easy to lose those high level dots in Morality or equivalent with incredibly minor effort. To put this in perspective, if you boost your Morality to 10, you can then lose it by virtue of having to take (and fail) a Morality check if you have a selfish thought.
- Blessed with Suck: It is not fun to be a supernatural being in the new WOD. In theory.
- Blood Bath: Immortals has The Blood Bathers, who gain a sort of immortality by bathing in blood.
- Blue and Orange Morality:
- Bogstandard for spirits, as given particular attention in Werewolf: The Forsaken. Even the most intelligent spirits is fundamentally alien, with a viewpoint that can be summarized as "promotes my area of influence = good" and "denies my area of influence = bad". This is why spirits can never truly be reasoned with, and certainly not trusted; a fire spirit has to burn things, and simply cannot care about anyone it maims or kills, while a spirit of love may well force someone who is experiencing Domestic Abuse to stay with their abuser, simply because "they still love each other", and thusly the pain the abuser inflicts is unimportant compared to the diminishing of love that would be caused by separating them.
- As beings that are fundamentally part spirit, werewolves themselves are like this; Harmony focuses on promoting and understanding their nature as lupine spirit-beings, and so it is drastically different to Morality. Killing humans is only bad if it is done for no reason, and even then it bothers werewolves far less than murder does for humans, whilst betraying one's comrades-in-arms is a sin of the kind that humans reserve for mass-murder.
- The True Fae of Changeling: The Lost have this explicitly stated as part of their psyches.
- Changelings, however, don't have this; even though "Clarity" is supposed to be a Sanity Meter, it still functions as a near-replica of Morality.
- Ghosts develop this bad as a part of their descent into undeath.
- Geists, being strongly implied to be ghost/spirit hybrids, naturally get a double dose of this.
- Sin-eaters, meanwhile, are similar to werewolves in that their Karma Meter, Synergy, focuses on their nature as walking geist-human hybrids and thusly they are far removed from the ordinary concerns of human morality.
- Demons zigzag on this; their "Morality" meter actually measures how well they can disguise themselves as humans, and thusly it is not only based on the Integrity mechanic (making it very different to the old Morality mechanic), but it also has no ill-effects on their minds as it drops low, as it instead makes them easier for the God-Machine to track. At the same time, their own personal morals are alien enough that they can actually reverse the meanings of virtues and vices.
- Body Horror: Everything in the cult section of the Second Sight supplement. See Lovecraftian Superpower for more.
- Broken Masquerade: Exemplified by at least three minor templates; "Ghouls" are humans who have been fed vampire blood to become super-powered minions to vampires, "Sleepwalkers" have partially Awakened enough they can interact with mages and magic without stuffing it up like humans do, and "Ensorcelled" have been granted the ability to see through the illusions shielding Changelings.
- A hunter's raison d'être. Wolf-blooded also count, as they can see past the lunacy most other humans suffer on seeing a full-blown werewolf.
- Canon Welding: White Wolf is releasing "translation guides" which give guidelines for mixing-and-matching New and Old World of Darkness material.
- Cardboard Prison: Subverted. With all the superpowers the characters, both player and non, have, keeping them confined should be ridiculously impossible. So the FBI built their own Superjail and called it the Lansing Facility.
- Children Are Innocent: Can be averted or played straight. There may be a sourcebook about playing children "called" Innocents, but the innocence in the title refers to a lack of experience rather than a lack of evil. Child PCs have "Faults" instead of Vices, but these include "Cruel" and "Greedy". Played straight if the character has the "Kind" Asset.
- Church Militant: The Malleus Maleficarum, the Order of St. George, and the Long Night in Hunter. Also the Lancea Sanctum in Vampire.
- Clap Your Hands If You Believe:
- In Mage: the Awakening, Paradox was changed from being caused by the subconscious disbelief of non-mage humans to merely being aggravated by it, and is ultimately caused by a flaw in the structure of the universe, and the fact that reality is actually a lie.
- In Changeling: the Lost, the changelings who were originally humans can become more like the fae they are attempting to escape if they lose their grip on the true world, called "Clarity."
- Clockwork Creature / Human Resources: The Patchwork People of Immortals have clockwork hearts that can keep them going indefinitely without sleep, and maintain their immortality by stealing the organs and other body parts of unwilling victims.
- Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Each gameline from the New World of Darkness has a signature color, used on supplement spines; World of Darkness ("Mortals") is Blue, Vampire is Red, Werewolf is Brown/Orange, Mage is Aqua, Promethean is White, Changeling is Green, Hunter is Teal, Geist is Dark Blue, Mummy is Sandy Brown, and Demon is Grey.
- Competitive Balance: While it was something of a problem with the Old World, the New World is a bit better, but given the very different nature of each variety of supernatural and their abilities, 'balance' can be a hard thing to define.
- It's generally agreed that a Mage with prep time can smoke everyone. Justified in that it's hard to compete with someone who can change reality with their mind, and also by the fact that a Mage without prep time is as squishy as any other human.
- Actually, mortals, similar to Mages, can take apart pretty much anything in the setting if they have decent willpower and occult knowledge, even if you don't take into account their usual numbers advantage. While this was initially changed in order to prevent the supernaturals from ceasing to care about the masquerade, it has actually made "not supernatural at all" a completely viable choice for a player.
- Conspiracy Kitchen Sink: Like the previous one but replaces a few world-dominating conspiracies with dozens of little ones.
- Cosmic Horror Story: Averted, actually-part of the horror in the New World of Darkness is you can understand the people and phenomena that are ultimately responsible for the suffering in it (apart from Changeling: The Lost, and even that's a bit of a subversion). Second Sight actually encourages you to avoid this trope when making an Eldritch Abomination cult and focus on the Cult itself.
- Played with in God-Machine Chronicle: The God-Machine is an alien, utterly amoral supercomputer which views humans as useful but unnecessary tools or meaningless obstacles to its obscure goals...and it also screws up its own plans on a regular basis, is strapped for resources, bound by time constraints for its plans, and has to work extremely subtly in order to get anything done, often with human cultists which it rewards generously if they prove successful. It's ST prerogative if the world is actually Lovecraft Lite or not, and it recommends that you should at least be able to Earn Your Happy Ending for people you actually care about.
- Crapsack World: The world is broken and rotten to the core. Rather fundamentally, Humans Are Bastards, and fighting the darkness means fighting all of humanity. And of course, that isn't even counting the many supernatural monstrosities out to prey on humanity.
- Crazy-Prepared: The God-Machine's most characteristic ability is that it arranges for events to happen using Rube Goldberg methods so subtle that they are the equivalent of a butterfly flapping its wings, except that the God-Machine knows what butterfly wings need to get flapped. In one story, the God-Machine manipulated one of its agents into changing single digits in legal records or losing seemingly unimportant documents that would later result in a bridge collapse. It makes Batman and Xanatos look absent-minded.
- Creative Sterility: Vampires, Prometheans, True Fae, and assorted others.
- Inverted for Mages, for whom 99 in 100 crises are the result of someone accidentally being more creative than they intended to be.
- Crossover Cosmology: Though mostly averted, the core gamelines reference each other, and a semblance of an interconnected setting can be found in many sourcebooks. Individual ST's can decide to create one wholesale or cobble it together as a Schrödinger's Gun. Easing the possibility of having crossover games was also attempted by downgrading and equalizing powers and installing Karma Meters in every game line.
- The Morality systems hilariously backfired in this regard: they were supposed to punish the character for committing certain evils, but what actually ended up happening was players having a mechanical point at which their characters stop caring about committing mass murder. By the time Geist rolled around, White Wolf seems to have said "Who are we kidding?" and points out that Sin-Eaters will likely find the suggestion of Supernatural Angst hilarious.
- Darker and Edgier: The new World of Darkness plays this role to the old one. Changeling games stand in particularly stark contrast, but the difference in attitude is noticeable in every game with the arguable exception of Vampire, where the new version, at least, offers much lesser chance of being eaten by some ancient vampiric demigod. If in the old WOD the world sucked, but in most game lines you had a chance to do something about it, in the new WOD the world sucks, period.
- Then again, there's Hunter: The Vigil, which is pretty much built around the idea people can do something about the world's suckiness, and have done so for time out of mind. Or Promethean: The Created, where it's possible to go from being a monster to being human. You may make a difference on a smaller level in the nWOD, but you can still make a difference.
- Also, there's no five deadly, inevitable apocalypses looming over the world like there was in the Old World of Darkness. Which makes the New World of Darkness relatively more positive in many ways, since the good guys can actually make lasting improvements and differences to the world that won't be wiped away by ancient vampire gods or the Wyrm bursting out of the ground and killing everyone. The more pessimistic activities of day-to-day life were probably increased to compensate.
- With Geist out, it seems that ghosts and fairies swapped places in the new World of Darkness. Fairies used to be joyful humans comprised of dreams fighting against banality and are now mentally scarred half-human survivalists fleeing from inhuman captors. Ghost PCs used to be angst-ridden horrors tortured by both the unholy hellish afterlife and their horrible living pasts are now happy half-human hybrid shamans who are more like magical versions of the Ghostbusters.
- The New is Lighter and Softer in a critical way, though; it's assumed in most games that there is no unchangable reason why things are oppressive, things are just hard all around. This also means there's nothing that says things can't change, or things can't have a happy or Bittersweet Ending. Just don't expect it to be easy.
- On a personal level, it's subjective. A lot of faction characters can be awful at times, but said character writeups usually include an explanation for their behavior which is often quite sympathetic. Generally, protagonist factions are portrayed as having good ideas, but frequently terrible application and endemic corruption, while antagonistic ones often have their admirable and understandable traits.
- Dark Is Not Evil:
- The Moros "Necromancer" mages, who have the capacity to be as good or evil as any other mage. That said, there's a Moros-only Legacy of Black Magicians (Tremere Liches), but that's because of what they do to sustain their immortality - they eat souls. Yes, you read that right, they eat souls. If that doesn't fall under Immortality Immorality, nothing will.
- Similarly with the Mastigos warlocks: You would think a guy whose entire schtick is the "Mind Control" half of Psychic Powers and deals with The Heartless on a regular basis would be a Manipulative Bastard, but their Awakening actually helps counteract that, and they have the unique distinction of having a Mastigos-only Legacy of Good Black Magicians (the Fangs of Mara), who enter the nightmares of Abyssal beings to find what they fear and use it against them.
- Same thing with the Darklings from Changeling: the Lost. They've been shaped to be nightmares, but that doesn't mean they're necessarily bad guys (although having the ability to, for example, heal yourself by sucking the life out of others certainly does make it easier.)
- Lucifuge in Hunter: The Vigil, explicitly stated to be Demon-blooded Hunters who use their powers to fight and bring down other Demons.
- The Dark Side: Every supernatural in the new WOD runs the risk of degeneration and turning into something fully monstrous by losing all points on his Karma Meter. Subverted, as in both cases the degeneration carries nothing but severe penalties.
- Not always subverted. Death rage, the primary penalty for degenerating as a werewolf, does make you incapable of distinguishing friend from foe, but it's also significantly more powerful than 'sane' rage in that it lasts until everything is dead instead of 5 to 8 rounds. Similarly, the vampiric rages have mechanisms for intentionally invoking them, because the Beast is powerful as well as indiscriminate.
- Futhermore, low-Clarity Changelings may expect some drawbacks, e.g. in dealing with mortals, but some rolls regarding fae magic actually benefit from this. Come to The Dark Side, indeed.
- Then you have Mage's slipping in some Abyssal Magic into their spells because they might be desperate and it improves the spell/their chances. Too bad it's addictive.
- Dark World: Several.
- Deadly Decadent Court: Most of them, though Requiem's Invictus fit the stereotype best. And Lost's Gentry.
- Demonic Possession: World of Darkness: Inferno has a very very nasty form of possession which might as well be a Trope Namer.
- Eldritch Abomination: Many of the New World of Darkness game lines offer them - Maeljin and magath spirits in Werewolf, Abyssal entities in Mage, the Strix in Vampire, the qashmallim (particularly Lilithim) in Promethean, the Kerberoi in Geist, and the True Fae in Changeling.)
- In Demon, you are one, and you used to serve one, the God-Machine.
- There are rules in the Second Sight sourcebook for building a character who worships them. And then gets weird powers from it.
- Empty Shell: Soul loss turns a person into this over a period of time.
- The End of the World as We Know It: The New WoD sourcebook "Mirrors" presents various scenarios in which the world might end (and what might come after).
- Evil Feels Good: Morality is lost by not showing remorse for misdeeds. You also can lose it anyway, if the dice screw you.
- Evil Makes You Monstrous: Slashers.
- Evil Tastes Good: Vampires and blood.
- Evil Twin: Entire race of 'em, the Enemy Within/Without (it depends on the spell used to summon them) Goetia in Mage, who are literally the emotions a person hates about himself given a form similar to his own and a mind. The minor ones just annoy people while they're in the Oneros, while the big ones personify his Vice and cannot truly be defeated as long as he lives.
- Cannot be defeated as long as he lives? The quickstart begs to differ on that count, with a character who has the listed Vice "None" because he beat it. Granted, if it was originally Pride, it may have come back with a vengance...
- And then there are Changeling: The Lost's Fetches, who are created to be replacements for those taken by the True Fae. These can either reinforce or subvert the Trope, depending on how aware and how moral the Fetch is... and how moral the Changeling they replace is when they get back.
- Eviler Than Thou — Default playable factions in both Worlds of Darkness tend to be morally dubious at best and outright evil at worst. Then there are the Outside Context Villains. Requiem had VII and Belial's Brood, Mage has the Seers of the Throne and Scelesti, Werewolf has the Pure and Bale Hounds, and Promethean had the Centimani.
- Some Seers aren't even EVIL, they just think the Exarchs can't be defeated, and sign up to be on the winning side and get advantage of all the assorted Swag that comes with serving the Exarchs. If you have to pick a side, why not go with the winning one that gives you shittons of cash? They may be opportunist assholes, but they just don't want to die horribly when the Exarchs eventually crush the Pentacle Orders.
- Changeling: The Lost tends to avoid this on the large scale. The 'society' of the Freehold is based around 4 Seasonal Courts who differ in general approach to governance and how one should deal with the threat of the Others, but aren't outright malevolent (Autumn Court notwithstanding). The 'other' factions are depicted as individuals or tiny groups of loyalists still beholden to their True Fae abductors or privateers out for themselves. There is no large scale 'Court of Evil' for the setting. One can point to the Gentry as the darker side of the coin, but they aren't a faction per se, unless one wants to argue that the Wyrm of Apocalypse or the Antediluvians of Vampire: The Masquerade were a 'faction' of their respective gamelines.
- Also true for the Sin-Eaters. The Archetypes describe how a Sin-Eater approaches their second chance at life, but again, none are outright malevolent. A krewe may go off the reservation, but there's no evil Sin-Eater wide group.
- True of the demons, too. The Agendas generally relate to what a given demon intends to do with their existence, but aren't necessarily malevolent. Even the Integrators, who seek reconnection with the God-Machine on their terms, aren't antagonistic to their fellow Unchained. If a demon goes against their kind, it's going to be for their own reasons.
- Extra-Strength Masquerade: Deconstructed. With certain gamelines, you may wonder why anything is still secret given the amount of weirdness and destruction supernaturals can cause. Answer: it really isn't, but supernaturals have created such a climate of fear that the average mortal gives it the widest berth possible. Certainly enough to not know anything concrete.
- Fantastic Fragility: Most supernaturals can get all the new powers they want, and more cheaply and quickly than working honestly would bring... at the downside of getting loaded down with (usually permanent) potentially crippling weaknesses. Have we mentioned being a supernatural is Blessed with Suck?
- Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Each game line in the original was incredibly insular, Vampires could go centuries never meeting a werewolf. The new one made the setting modular to help "write in or out" other supernaturals as the ST needs.
- Final Death: Possibly the Trope Namer.
- Five Races: And five factions.
- Averted in Hunter. Since all Hunters are still human (or as human as you can get in some circumstances), they are instead split into various groups based on what they believe, or who found them first.
- Functional Magic
- Game Face
- Genius Bruiser: Mirrors has the wargaz, the purely fleshy descendants of Father Wolf. As one might expect, they're viking berserkers...who also have a vested interest in having high Mental stats, since their pack-forming abilities depend on Intelligence. "Brilliant and savage warrior" is the main keyword here.
- Glamour: Many supernaturals can make themselves seem beautiful, trustworthy, desirable and invincible to onlookers.
- God Is an Amoral Supercomputer with Little Regard for Humans with Even Less Ability to Make Effective Plans: It is unknown if the God-Machine is either a Ditzy Genius with regular bad intel from glitches and errors in its Infrastructure, a master of the backup plan which doesn't care if a scheme fails if it has more in the oven, or both. Either way, Mr. Deus Est Machina is not your friend, and probably not the worst enemy in the divine realm you could have in a horror setting (though it's still damned scary).
- Good Is Dumb: For spirits of negative emotions, even the stupidest ones cause downward spirals in their victims that exacerbate the spirit's emotion and feed it more and more. For spirits of positive emotions, they're so stupid, shortsighted, and ignorant of human culture and morality that they're just as likely to cause horrible tragedies which only end up starving the spirit. No wonder positive spirits are so rare and weak.
- For example, a toy spirit in an abandoned toymaker's store only wants children to have fun playing with handmade toys, so instead of teaching people about keeping traditions alive or a lesson in anti-commercialism, it teaches children to murder anyone who tries to bulldoze the store.
- Gothic Punk: Toned down significantly from the original. The constant grimdark angst is gone, and even the bleakest gamelines have hope for their protagonists. Humans are also every bit as dangerous as the supernatural creatures that feed on them.
- Half-Human Hybrid — Every game has at least one sub-class of mortals who have some of the parent supernaturals' strengths, but none of their weaknesses. It's worth noting that one can only have one template on a character at a time to prevent some of the oWoD wonkiness.
- Hunter: the Vigil has the conspiracy known as "the Lucifuge," who are humans that have demon blood in their family trees but have chosen to turn their heritage to good ends. Inferno gives us their dark counterparts, "L'Enfants Diabolique," who embrace their heritage.
- The Heartless: Inferno demons are like this...Sort of. They either begin as nameless, formless creatures called Whisperers or corrupted versions of spirits and ghosts until they gain enough power through tempting sinners that they gain a True Name and become Dominions, which then do whatever they please.
- Hermetic Magic
- Of special note are the hunters of the Ascending Ones, who accept Hermes Trismegistus as one of their patrons.
- Humans Are Flawed: In a change of pace from the Classic WoD, humans in general (especially in 2nd Edition) are portrayed as well-intentioned and meaning, but prone to very stupid or callous behavior because they at least subconsciously suspect what kind of world they live in and are scared out of their minds.
- Hybrid Overkill Avoidance — Used in the new WoD to avoid a new Samuel Haight.
- Hypnotic Eyes — The vampire discipline of Dominate works entirely via eye contact.
- I Know Your True Name — Shows up in Mage (where knowing someone's true name makes magic easier to use on them), Changeling (where swearing Pledges on your True Name has specific effects, and many Storytellers expand the concept considerably in keeping with its importance in fairy tales), and Mummy (where knowing a true name gives you power over someone, and true name magic is the speciality of the Lost Guild).
- Immortality Immorality — Oh, where to begin:
- Firstly, vampires. While it is possible to live by drinking the blood of animals and to only drain humans of minute amounts, most are so greedy for Vitae that they don't really care.
- From Immortals, we have Blood Bathers, who have to kill people to fuel their life, but the "curse" aspect rings hollow when you realize that they choose this on purpose.
- It is actually possible — although not terribly common — to have a Blood Bathing ritual that doesn't require you to kill the subject... but generally, that only means you're guilty of Serial Assault and Mutilation, rather than Serial Killing. It's still one of the explicitly recommended options for Player Character Blood Bathers so they don't fly screaming off the "Unplayable" end of the Karma Meter in a handful of sessions.
- Also from Immortals, we have Harvesters, who extend their lives by killing other immortals.
- Another Immortal splat, the Patchwork People. Super rich people buying new bodies from a secretive network of unethical doctors who do their job by forcibly taking the body parts from unwilling victims, and stealing the Spark of Life from Prometheans.
- Geist The Sin Eaters gives us abmortals, highly ritualized serial killers that live forever as long as they can shunt the death off somewhere else. Naturally, their existence generates hordes of angry ghosts, putting them at odds with Sin-Eaters. Unfortunately, they can be extremely difficult to kill, as they can only be truly finished off by their Weaksauce Weakness, which tend to be extraordinarily specific. Typically, the weakness is tied to their mythology and method of killing people (an abmortal that shoves people off a specific bridge every full moon might only be truly killed by being pushed off the bridge himself during a full moon, for example).
- And finally, Tremere Liches. Two words: Soul. Eaters.
- By the time a Tremere is old enough for immortality to be useful (Age 100+), they are eating a soul every month.
- Immune to Bullets — Vampires tend to take less damage from gunfire than some other forms of attack. Werewolves can easily shrug off most non-aggravated damage, including gunfire, except when faced with silver bullets.
- Every Mage Arcanum has a protective shield that fits this trope to a lesser (Mind: people just miss) or greater (Death: your bullets just get tired and give up, then fall laconically from the target after giving him a light tap) degree.
- Karma Meter — Universal in the new WOD, and comes with various mechanical punishments for bad behavior.
- For Mortals, this is now averted and replaced with a Sanity Meter...sort of. See the proper entry on Sanity Meter on this page.
- Katanas Are Just Better — Averted.
- Kill It with Fire — Overall, much less true in the NWOD than the old; now only three splats have it as a real weakness. Vampires are specifically burned and blighted by fire as much as they are by sunlight. Prometheans also take aggravated damage from fire. Being instantaneously healed by electricity is a nice trade-off, though. Mummies take aggravated damage from fire and relic weaponry. Other supernaturals have their own banes, of course. Werewolves don't like silver. Fae don't like Iron. Mages don't like....reality. Fire itself specifically only harms vampires and Prometheans more than, say, getting stabbed in the chest does.
- Killed to Uphold the Masquerade
- Life Drinker: The supplement Immortals details a number of types of people who have managed to overcome the limitations of age - generally through this trope.
- Light Is Not Good: Most shown in Hunter. Sure, you're trying to make the world a safer place against the uncountable monsters for humanity's sake, but the sacrifices weigh on the soul, and you might just become...
- Long Runner: 2012 was the 20th Anniversary for the World of Darkness as a whole. The New World of Darkness had been running pretty strongly for about 8 years by then.
- Manipulative Bastard: In some gamelines, being this is almost a requirement for obtaining any power within your supernatural society.
- Masquerade: Each supernatural enforces their own, but vampires and mages are typically first to do clean up. Still, sometimes the ability of supernatural beings to maintain it stretches the suspension of disbelief, considering their penchant for superpowered violence. When they don't maintain it - storytellers were suggested to use hunters in response to Masquerade breaches.
- The Men in Black: Task Force VALKYRIE are the men in black, and work for the US government. There's also Division Six, but they're not a real government agency and actually are the pawns of a Seer of the Throne.
- And then we have the Men in Black of Summoners, who aren't human in the least...
- Min-Maxing: With enough XP and tricky manipulation of game mechanics, supernaturals can be capable of some pretty insane stuff. Examples include golems so heavily armored they can survive nuclear blasts, vampires that can jump 13 stories in a single bound, waterborn Changelings that swim at 1569 MPH, Immortals that can pump their stats up using money and Mages possessed by their own sins that can attack ten times in a row with 27 dice worth of lethal damage without even skirting Paradox.
- Mind Control: Almost everyone can potentially do this, including mortals, but vampires and mages are particularly notorious for this.
- Monster Lord: Vampire bloodlines, or just plain elders above Blood Potency 6. Changelings with Entitlements, at least in the eyes of the Gentry.
- Mr. Vice Guy: Potentially any and every player and character.
- The Multiverse: In the New World of Darkness, though the full picture only emerges if you piece together Werewolf: The Forsaken, Mage: The Awakening, Changeling: The Lost and Geist The Sin Eaters. The various planes of existance are...
- The World Of Flesh / The Real World: The mundane world in which humanity lives. Referred to as the Gurihal by werewolves.
- Twilight: Partially a state of being and partially a plane in its own right, people and things that are "in Twilight" are intangible and, usually, invisible. It serves as a kind of border-realm between the Underworld and/or Shadow and the World proper; thronged by ghosts that have yet to truly pass into the Underworld and Spirits who have crossed over from the Shadow. It's basically the job of Sin-Eaters and werewolves to clear it out and ship them on to their proper places.
- The Shadow: A Spirit World that resembles a Dark World in form, inhabited by the animistic spirits of the world. Spirits of elements, objects, concepts, animals, places, everything, all have their home here. Referred to by werewolves as the Hisil.
- The Gauntlet: Less of a plane and more of a planar phenomenon, a kind of barrier between the World and the Shadow. When it's too weak, spirits can more easily slip through — this is not a good thing. When it's too strong, though, the spiritual disconnection negatively affects the world, so it's just as bad.
- The Underworld: A Dark World (or perhaps a specifically focused form of Spirit World) that is the resting place of all human souls. Ever wonder why human spirits don't show up in the Shadow? It's because they go down here. Also visited or partially inhabited by animistic death spirits — geister are technically magath (unnatural hybrid spirits) formed of a fusion between a human ghost and a death spirit.
- The Hedge: The twisting, treacherous border plane between the second Arcadia and the World proper, earning its name because it most commonly takes the form of a great field of thorny, soul-tearing brambles. It does take other forms too, mimicking the mortal world it is entered through, but it's always labyrinthine and dangerous to body, mind and soul.
- The previously-listed planes of existance are collectively known, in Mage, as the "Fallen World." The planes listed below are known as the "Supernal Realms" (well, maybe. See Arcadia below regarding some uncertainty on that point).
- Arcadia: 1 — One of the five Realms Supernal from which the Mages draw their power, associated with the arcana of Fate and Time. Said to be a beautiful, terrifying place of emotional extremes and ever-present glamour, home to the myriad forms of faeries. 2 — The nightmarish, ever-shifting domains of The Fair Folk, the terrible hell-realms from which the Changelings have escaped. Whether the two realms are one and the same is intentionally left nebulous so that Storytellers can choose whichever configuration makes for a better story.
- Pandemonium: A twisted, purgatorial plane also known as the Realm of Nightmares, as it is infested with entities that resemble fear come to life and often resemble various forms of demons. One of the five Realms Supernal, associated with the arcana of Mind and Space.
- Stygia: A dark, gloomy, plane of barren wastes and decaying ruins and moaning spectres. One of the five Realms Supernal, associated with the arcana of Death and Matter. Possibly connected to or part of the Underworld.
- Aether: A plane that calls to mind the heavens, both in the terms of stars and celestial bodies and its portrayals in various religions. A world of crackling energy and pure magic, it is one of the five Realms Supernal, associated with the arcana of Forces and Prime.
- Primal Wild: One of the five Realms Supernal, associated with the arcana of Life and Spirit. As the name suggests, an iconic wilderness, untamed and vibrant with emotions and life. Possibly connected / part of the Shadow.
- The Abyss is an anti-existence between the aforementioned Supernal Realms and the Fallen world, filled with cosmic horrors and embodiments of nihilism galore. It taints the magic from the Supernal, and corrupts the people in the Fallen just by (un)existing.
- The Lower Depths, a canonically mentioned but less developed realm supposedly "below" the Underworld, which may or may not be related to...
- The Pit/Inferno/Hell in the classical sense, which has a mentioned-but-underdescribed Empyrean/Heaven counterpart, either of which may or may not be related to the Pyros of the Qashmallim.
- There are also a range of optional "Outside" or "Other" realms, which range from generic homes for homebrew Lovecraftian horrors to more specific "places" populated by undead sandworms and the Men in Black.
- Mundane Utility: Subverted in Mage: The Awakening: while it's possible to use magic for everyday chores, doing so is considered an (extremely minor) act of hubris and dings the Karma Meter.
- Not So Harmless Villains:
- This is the effect the Hunters have when brought into play against the supernatural protagonists of the other game lines—suddenly, the "mere mortals" have very sharp teeth and can completely level the playing field against supernaturals... if not imbalance it the other way when vampires and the like go up against the plasma cannons, biotechnological augmentations, and less... mundane weapons the Hunters can bring to bear.
- The Malleus Maleficarum, Lucifuge, Aegis Kai Doru, Ascending Ones, Cainite Heresy, and Knights of Saint George all bring considerably less conventional tools to the fight. Or recall where the Cheiron Group gets the things they implant into their agents. In no particular order, the Conspiracies mentioned use things like mini-Eldritch Abominations on a leash, on-the-spot divine intervention from God, blood magic rites even vampires don't understand...
- And there's a couple of Cheiron Group weapons which consist of grafting an Abyssal Intruder into your body and living in symbiosis with the thing. Life tip #1: do NOT give the humans prep time...seriously.
- Omnicidal Maniac: One of the possible motivations for worshipping an Eldritch Abomination in Second Sight.
- Our Souls Are Different: Souls can be affected by powerful magic, and every supernatural race has different troubles involving theirs.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Five clans' worth of "Different" in the new setting, which is less than the thirteen featured in the old setting (though there are both lost clans and newly forming clans as well). However, the differences between political views and origins are much more pronounced in the new WoD. All vampires share the same common weaknesses, but each clan has a unique new weakness and each Bloodline (a sub-group of a clan) has an extra one.
- Our Werewolves Are Different: Moreso in Werewolf: The Apocalypse than in Werewolf: The Forsaken. The nWOD also provides werewolf options beyond the Forsaken.
- Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Zigzagged. Becoming a member of the supernatural races often does a number on a person's faith, but sometimes it doesn't, and the general attitudes towards "human" religions varies widely throughout the NWoD even going by "race".
- With vampires, not only is there the Lancea Sanctum, which is essentially a vampiric take on the Abrahamic religions — most obviously Christianity, though references are made to Islamic and Judaic-based sects — complete with Crystal Dragon Jesus in the form of Longinus, their "first vampire", but many vampires believe God exists — and hates them, personally. One splat even presents an alternate mythos (which may or may not be true) that vampires are literally the sons and daughters of Eve's bastard offspring by the Snake in the Garden of Eden. On the other hand, they also have, among other things, the Circle of the Crone (vampire Wicca with a heavy emphasis on Blood Magic) faction, and minor/optional beliefs like the Blood Gods cult (vampires are literally gods that have lost their power due to growing corrupt) and Mithraism (a claim by vampires they are descended from the "God of Darkness", Ahriman, of Zoroastrianism).
- Werewolves have a very hard time holding on to Abrahamic beliefs they held before their First Change — constantly travelling to the spirit world and interacting with the animistic spirits that are the reality of the World of Darkness tends to erode such beliefs. "Blood of the Wolf" even implies that the tendency for new werewolves to violently argue with and break away from their former church is something that Hunters can take advantage of. Indeed, many werewolves are Naytheists, though some do come to worship spirits in their own right (particularly those who used to adhere to more "compatible" religions beforehand). However, some do retain their old beliefs; the most notable mention of these, though, is that they have actually led hunters to their "heathen" kin more than once.
- Many Mages break with their old religions upon awakening, others don't. Notably, despite it being an obvious choice, White Wolf didn't go with the angle that those who were strong believers or The Fundamentalist before are more likely to become Banishers (mad mages who seek to kill all magic users). Admittedly, two of the most notable Christian mages mentioned are a somewhat-unwitting founder of an Abyssal cult and a Holier Than Thou type who actually used his powers to become an inquisitor and hunt down other mages — he failed to realise what his spirit-infused axe was learning from his actions and ending up being beheaded with his own weapon after being condemned as a witch himself.
- Changelings may or may not experience religious changes as a result of their trauma. Many do become Naytheists, though — especially those who believe the Gentry are angels that, abandoned by god, have gone mad.
- Prometheans don't care about religion one way or another; they may adopt a faith, but usually to find some comfort or to try and understand humanity.
- Sin-Eaters, surprisingly, are the least-likely to lose faith, even though the Underworld looks absolutely nothing like heaven or hell. On the other hand, they are very, very willing to create their own new belief-systems, mixing and matching whatever details and ideas sound good to them.
- Also subverted in general for the mundane parts, in contrast to the Classic version: While mortals generally claim to not believe in monsters, the books often emphasize that this is, in general, complete hogwash. They know perfectly well that something goes bump in the night (despite what they may tell themselves), but (a) don't want to be seen as eccentric or crazy, and (b) suspect (probably correctly), that if they talk about it, they make themselves targets. Thus, the general response to suspected supernatural activity is to very loudly ignore it. As a side note, this is also noted as one of the main differences between Real Life and the World of Darkness-people are more deceptive and paranoid in the setting, which is probably the main reason why it's a Crapsack World.
- Hunters zigzag all over the place, but Null Mysteriis is a third dominated by extreme rationalists who hold no stock in religion anymore.
- Mummies typically had their belief in the gods of Irem validated with the Rite of Return; meeting the judges of the afterlife will do that.
- Demons have their perceptions of divinity tied in with the God-Machine, and tend to view it and the Judeo-Christian as synonymous. Most are also Nay Theists, though Integrators, who want to rejoin it on their own terms, tend to be quite religious.
- Parabolic Power Curve: All supernatural characters have a "Power" stat that determines how much Mana they can store and impacts the power of their abilities. Raising it above 5 usually starts to incur drawbacks: Mages have to roll more dice for Paradox (and successes = bad stuff), Werewolves lose Essence over time, Sin-Eaters start having to spend a part of each month in the Underworld, and so on.
- Balanced with the exclusive advantages: raising supernatural advantage ("Power") over five is the only way to permanently raise attributes over five, and the amount of supernatural "mana" you can hold at one time increases exponentially. (At advantage 1 you can hold 10, advantage 5 you can hold 14, advantage 8 you can hold 30, advantage 10 you can hold 100) Supernatural advantage is also used to resist other supernatural powers, and each race has their own perks for raising their advantage over five.
- Point Build System
- Power Perversion Potential: White Wolf's willing to acknowledge it sometimes. There's at least one supernatural power per major splat specifically aimed for this.
- Prestige Class: Each game has a set, used to further specialize or develop a character. Vampire has Bloodlines, Mage has Legacies, Werewolf has Lodges, etc.
- Recycled In Space: Or rather, Recycled IN ANCIENT ROME! in the case of Requiem.
- The historical settings and 'world shards' are basically this. New Wave Requiem transplants Vampire to the 1980s (whilst the earlier "Requiem for Rome" and "Fall of the Camarilla" splats allowed one to play Roman Empire-era games). Mage Noir is Mage post-World War II. Victorian Lost is Changeling in Victorian Britain. Bleeding Edge is the World of Darkness as Cyberpunk. And Infinite Macabre does this literally, making the WOD Space Opera.
- Romanticized Abuse: Common in the relation between vampires and their ghouls, among other things. Also, in the book Inferno, you can build a character with superpowers based on one of the seven deadly sins. The "lust" ones pretty much run on this trope.
- Sanity Meter: An option presented in Mirrors allows for human characters to learn Things Man Was Not Meant to Know, gaining power at a price.
- Clarity in Changeling is quite literally this, though it also doubles as a Karma Meter.
- With the new rules in God-Machine Chronicle, humans' Karma Meter (Morality) has been replaced with Integrity, which is this...kinda. Unlike most sanity meters, it doesn't go down when exposed to most supernatural events, only things that the character would find genuinely traumatic (watching a monster kidnap a human when the character had that same thing happen when she was a child would ding it, seeing a zombie after being informed of their existence, especially if the necromancer controlling it is friendly, would not). That, and many of the things that ding it would, in fact, be Karma Meter violations (again, you're encouraged to customize it), and derangements are no longer a thing, meaning an Integrity 1 Stepford Smiler is just as functional in daily life as someone with Integrity 10, although they're teetering on the edge.
- Science Is Wrong: Subverted it in ''Awakening''. While other books did hint that science might have been a device of the Exarchs to keep humanity in line, the book about their servants makes it explicitly clear that they actually hate it, since as science helps humanity grow into the truth, the better chance they have of Awakening, something the Exarchs do not want. Well, actually it's their servants who hate it, but the odds of their masters not sharing their opinion are slim at best (to Luddites).
- In general, science gets a far better shake in the New WoD than the old... with the painful exception of Second Sight.
- Sealed Cast in a Multipack: Ubiquitous.
- In Vampire: The Requiem, these is usually some kind of elder vampire in a torpor. The awakening of just one of them is enough to change the power dynamic in a town.
- In Promethean: The Created, these are the Pandorans, failed Promethean creations that lay dormant until a Promethean gets near them. They are not nice. They are less characters and more like (extremely nasty) forces of un-nature.
- Serial Killer: Any old person or supernatural can be one. Special mention goes to the Slashers from the source book of the same name.
- Seven Deadly Sins: By fulfilling their Vice, the character can gain a point of Willpower due to gratifying their ego. However acts that fulfill Vices are usually going to damage the Karma Meter.
- Shout-Out: The new World of Darkness has several that border on Mythology Gag or Continuity Nod, in the form of references to the Old World of Darkness. Division Six and Panopticon are both nods to the Technocracy from Mage: The Ascension, while the Cainite Heresy, which is portrayed here as a Hunter faction, is a nod to vampire history in Vampire: The Masquerade. In fact there are a fair amount of nods to the Technocracy in Hunter: The Vigil, up to and including arguably the entirety of Task Force VALKYRIE and the entire Cheiron Group.
- Look closely and you'll see this happening all over the NWOD. Werewolf: The Forsaken's 'Hosts' are essentially two of the changing breed races with completely monstrous personalities. The Lancea Sanctum is most certainly a latter day Sabbat (tweaked to be a little less 'evil by evil's standards', of course, and given a Crystal Dragon Jesus touch). And then there's the pinnacle of this trope: Mage: The Awakening has their 'Supernal Realms', which amongst other things are pretty blatant shout outs to Changeling: The Dreaming, Wraith: The Oblivion, Demon: The Fallen and arguably Werewolf: The Apocalypse.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: VERY far on the cynical end of the scale.
- Sliding Scale of Turn Realism: Action by Action.
- The Soulless
- Special Snowflake Syndrome: Almost every game has several smaller splats mentioned in the various sourcebooks. Vampire has Bloodlines, Werewolf has Lodges, Mage has Legacies, Changeling has Entitlements, etc.
- Splat: Essentially the Trope Namer, more or less.
- Stages of Monster Grief: Just about every splat has members who deny, love, hate, or go off the deep end after changing from mere human. Except Prometheans, who weren't human but still feel the effects of their inhumanity, and Demons, who likewise aren't human, and instead react to their newfound independence from the God-Machine.
- Super Loser: The default for a player character.
- Take That: Lots of little tidbits around, but Dudes of Legend is an entire book of take thats.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill: Since God-Machine Chronicle, this is now an inherent part of the human condition; it is always an Integrity check to kill other human beings, even for soldiers, police and other "hardened" individuals.
- Touched by Vorlons: The origins of Changelings in Changeling: The Lost, Only they were touched in the worst way possible. Imagine experiencing a combination of kidnapping, sexual abuse, Mind Rape and some terrors humans don't even have words for. As a result of this, you are horribly mutated and in many ways no longer essentially human. The only plus side is that you MIGHT have enough power to keep yourself from getting taken back after you escape (if you even manage to escape; the escape rate is fairly abysmal).
- Un Equal Rites: The feelings between the Lancea Sanctum and Circle of the Crone in Requiem.
- The Unmasqued World: Mirrors gives you several suggestions on doing this and the possible consequences thereof. Scenarios range from simply the Internet making it impossible to hide anything anymore, to all-out warfare between the supernatural factions.
- Unstoppable Rage: Vampires when they frenzy, Werewolves in frenzy/Death Rage, and certain Prometheans (mostly Frankensteins) in Torment.
- Werewolf's crossover rules lampshade this by mentioning that mages do not quantifiably explode in Rage.
- Urban Fantasy: Authors prefer to define the genre for most World of Darkness games as Horror, but WoD actually fits this trope.
- The Usual Adversaries: Humans!
- Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Hunters generally don't know the difference between the good supernaturals and the bad. Can't really blame them.
- Virtue/Vice Codification: They are: Charity, Faith, Fortitude, Hope, Justice, Prudence, and Temperance. They take more effort than Vices to fulfill, but fully restore Willpower when pulled off.
- Walking Wasteland: If a Promethean settles down for too long, the world around them begins to suffer.
- The Wall Around the World: The borders between the physical realm and the spirit worlds.
- Weapon of Choice: Quite a few of the fighting styles provided in supplementary material for the New World of Darkness focus around these, including knife fighting, sword-and-shield, and heavy sword.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist:
- Hunters in general are at risk of this.
- One of the many, many dangers of traveling the roads is the risk of running into Gremlins, which are one half this, one half Mad Doctor, and all Body Horror. They want to fix things... cars, machines, people, they don't care what. They live to fix things. But they aren't very smart: if something moves, it's working, if it's not moving, it's broken. If you stop near a gremlin's lair, be it consciously or not (say, you have a crash), then the gremlin will come to fix you. Or use you to fix something else. They'll just keep tampering and tinkering until you die, all in the name of trying to get you to "work". Then they'll take you apart and keep the best bits for future "repair jobs".
- Also, be careful around hobgoblins. They mean well, but sometimes...
- Wolf Man: The Uratha, naturally. They actually have a sliding scale of forms; human, wolf, "dire wolf" (really big wolf), "near-man" (this trope), and "war form" (the form modernly associated with werewolves; essentially an anthropomorphic wolf... only very muscular and stuck in a berserk rage that can easily lose focus on the werewolf's enemies).
- Wrong Context Magic: Just about anything from the perspective of a different gameline. However anything related to the Divine Fire is in a league of its own for being incomprehensible to other forms of magic. Faerie magic isn't nearly as far out of context but still plays by different rules to most other magic.
- Your Vampires Suck