"My dear Corvo. What a sad hand fate has dealt you. The beloved Empress dead, and everyone thinks you're the killer. But we know what really happened, don't we? You don't want to end your life to the sound of idiots cheering as your head hits the muck, do you? Let's see if we can do better."
— The Outsider
Dishonored is a first-person stealth-based game set in an alternate world resembling SteampunkVictorian London, with gameplay resembling a mix of Thief, Deus Ex, BioShock, and The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay with an artstyle done by Half-Life 2's art director. You play as Corvo Attano, bodyguard to the Empress of the Isles, the land in which the game is set. You've just returned from a diplomatic mission to other neighboring countries, looking for help in dealing with the city of Dunwall's current problems with an epidemic of a deadly, rat-borne plague. Unfortunately, the Empress is killed by an unknown murderer at the beginning of the game. Corvo is framed by the corrupt Royal Spymaster, who captures the princess and installs himself as Lord Regent.Six months later, before Corvo is executed, a group of loyalists opposing the new Lord Regent arranges for his escape. That evening, he is visited in his dreams by a being called the Outsider, who gifts him his Mark, granting Corvo the ability to use supernatural powers. Corvo joins and serves the resistance as a Professional Killer in order to take revenge upon the Lord Regent and his corrupt, villainous government.Released in North America on October 9, 2012. The UK and Australian release dates were October 12 and 11, respectively.Three pieces of Downloadable Content have been announced, with the second and third being story-driven campaigns.The first DLC pack, Dunwall City Trials, was released on December 11 for $4.99 (400 Microsoft points) in North America and on December 19 in Europe. It consists of 10 challenge maps which will test and track your combat, stealth and mobility skills. There are 10 distinct trials - such as an arena battle against AI enemies, timed races, and a gravity-defying run of drop assassinations. The DLC features a new set of achievements/trophies and a global online leaderboard.The second DLC pack, The Knife Of Dunwall, was released on April 16, for $9.99. This DLC is a story expansion, offering several new missions, including new locations, enemies, and weapons. This time around, you play as Daud, given a mystery to solve by The Outsider.Arkane also announced the Void Walker's Arsenal on May 3rd, 2013. It is a complication pack of all the Pre-Order Bonus content originally only available through pre-ordering the game at select retail outlets. It was released on May 14th for $4/320 Microsoft Points.
Tropes to be found in the game:
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100% Completion: The game tells you how many collectibles you found in each level, down to the individual coins. Don't attempt this on your first playthrough, because unless you are intimately familiar with every iota of the sprawling, gigantic levels, you'll never get them all. Finding all bone charms and runes is at least doable thanks to the heart pointing them out, though, and the final level of Dark Vision shows some hidden trinkets.
Action Bomb: Mentioned, but never seen; the Abbey wanted to use wolfhounds as these, but their hound trainer refused to go along with it. You can do this to rats if you load one with a springrazor, even more so if you stop time, possess it, and move toward some unfortunate schmucks, and leave the body before it blows.
Air Vent Passageway: Justified. You only get to use air vents when you're possessing something the size of a rat. On the flipside of things, you often see external vents on the sides of buildings and you can clamber onto them, using them as a makeshift staircase. Played straight with Dunwall Tower, which has a vent that Corvo can use to enter its interior without resorting to possession.
Alien Geometries: In the Dunwall City Trials mission "Burglar", one of the hidden passages is a dead end filled with insane scribbles of the Outsider; turning around reveals a new, different passage to a creepy Outsider shrine, and, after turning your back again, the room returns to normal with treasure.
Alignment Based Endings: You get different endings based on how many people you killed during your playthrough, also known as Chaos.
All Crimes Are Equal: The game actually lampshades this at one point. A guard asks if he should attempt to arrest curfew-breakers, and his superior tells him that their orders are to just kill anyone who's not a guard on sight.
Granted, there is some exaggeration involved, but pretty much every mystical tale people mention is true; specifically, most stories tied to the Outsider seem at least partially accurate (though not completely).
Additionally, saving Slackjaw from Granny Rags results in him confiding that, after growing out of childish rumors that she was a witch, he's horrified to discover it was always true.
Annoying Arrows: Regular crossbow bolts do very poor damage, because a crossbow the size of a pistol wouldn't be very powerful, unless you get a headshot on an unaware enemy. Since the only enemy statuses are alive, unconscious, and dead, this means you can shoot a guard three times in the chest and it'll just make him mad. The crossbow makes up for the lack of damage by a high rate of fire. Lampshaded in-universe by the City Watch, who suggest that they stick to their flintlocks, as they do far more damage than the crossbows of the Assassins.
Another Dimension: The Void, the domain of the Outsider. It comes complete with bizarre gravity, floating platforms, and frozen replicas of normal-dimension characters.
Anti-Magic: The Overseers have special music boxes that can cancel out the powers granted by the Outsider wherever the music can be heard.
Apocalyptic Log: Several notes and journals written by plague sufferers can be found, almost all of them in close proximity to the bodies of those who wrote them.
Applied Phlebotinum: Whale oil. Apparently, this universe has a way of treating it so as to turn it into 'trans', the most fuel-efficient substance known to man. By the time the game begins, it's used to power everything from ships to cars to stilt-walkers to lights to guns. It might have something to do with the "whales" in this world not being very much like our own. The most funny thing is: No one knows how it works. It doesn't help that there's boatloads of hinting that the 'whales' are magical. This is also a Historical In-Joke: Whale oil lamps were cheap. Whale oil, however, was expensive. This was the dawn of Yankee capitalism, which is a running theme of the game.
Artificial Stupidity: The first time you approach a Wall of Light at Lady Boyle's party, a nearby guard will warn Corvo (who is in disguise as a guest) that the wall is dangerous. He will do this even if Corvo has used Possession to take the form of a rat. Awfully nice for him to be so concerned for the safety of the local vermin.
The Assassins' crossbows are this - the City Watch reports note this, saying that they fire and reload much faster than the crossbows the Watch uses, and suggests they stick to their flintlocks.
Corvo can upgrade his crossbow to fire very quickly as well. No matter what, Corvo's crossbow can only fire one bolt before needing to reload, but one upgrade causes reloads to occur faster and automatically.
Creative use of your powers can lead to some truly spectacular ways of taking out Mooks such as slowing down time when someone shoots at you only to possess your assailant and make them stand in front of their own bullet; however, these are needlessly theatrical and horrifically mana-draining ways to kill one enemy, and being stealthy is ultimately the safest and most efficient thing to do in almost any given situation.
This one isn't especially creative, but it's both extremely helpful and insanely wasteful — the Bend Time/Possession combo. It's useful in virtually any situation you can name, but you shouldn't rely on it unless you've got loads of Piero's Remedies. This is actually subverted if you are playing for the Clean Hands (no kill) award. Both are highly useful for stealth runs, particularly in crowds.
Awesome Yet Practical: Your very first power, Blink. There is no situation where it is not useful; you can reach higher areas more easily, teleport from one hiding spot to another, go directly behind a guard to incapacitate him, or zip around in a fight to avoid attacks and confuse your enemies. And as long as you avoid spamming it, it also won't consume any mana either.
Beat Them at Their Own Game: Assassins are just as surprised as anyone else when you blink out of thin air before giving them a very primitive tracheotomy. Directly referenced if you manage to get through the Flooded District without being seen, in fact. You can over-hear an Assassin inform Daud that not a single one of them saw Corvo progress through the area - said leader retorts that Corvo "knows [their] game better than [they] do".
Big Bad: Hiram Burrows, who orchestrated the destruction of the legal government, the murder of the Empress, the abduction of the Empress's daughter and the framing of Corvo, all so he could gain power. Once you eliminate him, Havelock takes his place, styling himself the new Lord Regent.
Bodyguard Betrayal: What everyone believes happened to the Empress. However, Corvo cannot do this while possessing a target's bodyguards, because during a possession, Corvo is too clumsy to use his hosts' weapons.
Much of the interaction between the Empress Jessamine Kaldwin and her Lord Protector Corvo Attano suggests they had a very close relationship. So close, indeed, that speculation exists both in-universe and out that Emily is the daughter of Corvo and Jessamine. In fact, Emily draws pictures which you can find between missions at the Hound's Pit Pub. One drawing of the Empress is labeled Mommy. A drawing of Corvo is labeled Daddy. Even The Outsider broadly hints at it.
Before the Empress' assassination, Emily will innocently wonder if, since you can't marry the Empress, if you can marry her.
Then there's the conflict between Slackjaw and Granny Rags. Slackjaw is the leader of a criminal gang that specializes in brewing and selling watered-down elixir to scalp desperate families and pick on locals who can't defend themselves, while Granny Rags is a murderous, cannibalistic, Axe CrazyHumanoid Abomination that doesn't really think twice about spreading the plague to get what she wants.
Blue and Orange Morality: The Outsider, whose only discernible reason for appearing before a human and giving them otherworldly power is because he finds them amusing.
The Outsider: Sokolov believes there are specific words and acts that can compel me to appear before him. ... But if he really wants to meet me, he could start by being a bit more interesting.
Booze Flamethrower: Slackjaw's Bottle Street Gang members have this as a unique ability. If you lure some Whalers to attack the thugs just outside the distiller, it's pretty much all they'll do against them.
The "Whales" of the Dishonored world, occasionally called "Leviathans," are enormous HP Lovecraft-esque monstrosities with blubber that serves as a fantastical energy source that powers entire empires.
"Wolfhounds" are dogs with a bit of giraffe and crocodile thrown to mix things up. The term "dog" is never used to refer to them, always "hound".
Canned Orders Over Loudspeaker: Constantly. This is one of the things that make it stand out against most comparable steampunk quasi-Victorian settings, and also one of the areas its Half Life 2 inspiration becomes clear. You can meet the guy who does these announcements in one of the later missions — he helps you take out the Lord Regent non-lethally.
City Guards: The primary Mooks of the game, in three versions of increasing power and authority.
Clear My Name: Corvo must get the Empress' daughter back to prove he didn't murder the Empress.
Climax Boss: Daud, if you choose to fight him. He's encountered late in the game, is the man who killed the Empress, and is one of the few characters who knows Corvo is connected to the Outsider. He is extremely difficult to take by surprise, and using powers near him will instantly alert him, prompting him to stop time so you can fight uninterrupted.
Church Militant/Cape Busters: The Overseers are a martial branch of the Abbey of the Everyman, who are dedicated to combating those empowered by the Outsider. They wear dark navy uniforms, scary facemasks, and make use of special sound devices that disrupt Outsider-based powers. They're reminiscent of the Hammerites from Thief. Much of Dishonored takes inspiration from Thief in one way or another.
Almost by default, especially when Corvo is up against the average guard. When you've been given supernatural powers by a Humanoid Abomination that allows you to do things like summon a Swarm of Rats to eat people alive, there's really no such thing as a fair fight. Also enforced by design: Corvo isn't really equipped to fight several attackers conventionally, so he has to use pragmatism. Attempting to go toe-to-toe with multiple enemies, even if you block and counter perfectly, usually ends up with Corvo getting chipped away by any enemy with a ranged attack while guards swing harmlessly through each other to hurt you.
This can be used with your standard weapons as well: most regular enemies will only use a sword. One can run up to you, do a lot a feinting back and forth and making a big show with their weapon, then you can just pull out your crossbow, shoot him in the leg, then stab him to death after he falls to the ground clutching his injury. Or, you can dose him with a sleep dart, let him fall asleep in front of you, then kill him however you please while he's defenseless.
Cool Mask: Corvo's mask. It defends against The Plague, as well as providing a zoom function when upgraded.
Corrupt Church: Ever since the death of the empress, the Overseers from the Abbey of the Everyman have become corrupted. The High Overseer intentionally breaks every one of the seven strictures every day as his own little joke.
Crapsack World: The game's world has a plague running rampant, insta-kill Disintegrator Gates forcing average citizens to stay in the infected areas, infected areas filled with Weepers who cry blood and attack other people, and the wealthy using their money to throw extravagant parties rather than using it to solve any problems. The whole world is like this, really. Civilization, as far as we know, only exists on a handful of islands out in the middle of the ocean, separated from the "Pandyssian Continent" by a treacherous stretch of water that people have only recently begun to navigate. The continent itself is uncharted, unexplored and suspected by most to be either barren or teeming with murderous monsters (though there are coastal settlements that tend to have everyone in them go insane). This paranoid suspicion of all things outside of the Isles Empire is shared by a good part of the population; this is a world where people are scared. Even the state religion, the "Abbey of the Everyman", is based on the belief that the Universe is an unknowable Lovecraftian expanse, "swarming with all manner of dangerous spirits and forces, most of which are hostile to man’s existence", and foremost among these is the Outsider. The cosmology of the Universe is equally depressing and bleak, if we were to believe Sokolov: the world is "adrift in a sea of howling chaos" and "all heavenly bodies orbit a devouring core" (supposedly the Void) which will, in time, consume every star and all of their planets.
Crapsaccharine World: For the wealthy, it's more this kind of world. They have nothing to do but gossip, bully and threaten to kill each other, and indulge in soulless, materialistic parties where they do much the same.
Creator Thumbprint: The Half Life 2 lineage becomes particularly apparent when you look at the shape and architecture of the angular metal guard booths installed around the city.
This game has a lot of candidates for the trope, but so far the top contenders are 'proximity landmine made of springloaded razorwire' and 'devoured by magically summoned swarm of enraged plague rats.'
Some of Corvo's non-lethal neutralizations may seem like this.
Cruel Mercy: Yes, you can do a Pacifist Run and let your targets live. Of course, you still need to "neutralize" them, which could mean anything up to and including having them kidnapped, disfigured, and put to work as slaves in their own mine until they die.
Cult: The Outsider describes the Abbey of the Everyman as "that cult dedicated to hating me."
Cute and Psycho: Emily, in a High Chaos run. She talks about filling two ships with people and slamming them into each other, For the Evulz. Callista notes that she's violent and creepy, especially when Corvo is around.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: In most stealth games, sneaking revolves around staying in the dark, and you can often hide from someone by standing in a shadow even if they're looking right at you. Sneaking in Dishonered is based on line of sight, with light and noise being secondary, which requires a different mindset and takes some getting used to.
Death by Irony: The pacifist options, which typically result in the villains getting their comeuppance (such as the Pendleton twins ending up as slaves in their own mines).
Death World: Every non-domesticated animal life form you encounter can easily kill you. All fish are more akin to piranhas (with a bit of moray eel thrown in) and bite you when you step into nearly any body of water, there are carnivorous rat packs, horrible mollusks called "river krusts" that spit acid gather on the undersides of waterways and it's stated that this is all just the tip of the iceberg. Accounts of the Pandyssian Continent state it's full of even more hostile wildlife, such as porcupines that are poisonous enough to kill you with one sting. People in this world have a "everything wild is trying to kill us!" mentality, mirroring similar 18th-Century European sentiments, except here it's true.
Despair Event Horizon: Havelock either poisons his co-conspirators to protect himself, or the two of them commit suicide in fear of Corvo's retribution. It's left ambiguous, although Havelock is clearly raging against the world. When you come across the bodies, the admiral can be heard ranting about how all the defenses and troops in the world will do nothing to stop Corvo. Sooner or later, he'll breach the defenses and find them.
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Zig-zagged. The developers have put a lot of thought into what a player might do (variety of entry routes, violent to pacifist runs, etc), yet a lot of things they didn't consider (deflecting missiles with wind, "I just made a level designer cry!" platforming, etc) are still mechanically possible.
Try throwing something (or shooting) at a Wall of Light just as a guard is walking through it.
In a humorous moment, if you drink the cider next to High Seer Campbell during the prologue as he's getting his portrait painted by Sokolov, when you eventually find it again as a Sokolov Painting treasure item it will be missing the cider bottle at the lower left side. Sokolov even mentions that the cider was there to draw attention away from Campbell, and that he needs to paint over it since Corvo took it.
Also notable is that every level can be completed without killing anyone (as per the "Clean Hands" achievement/trophy which only allows you to neutralize targets). Even if the player manages to get high chaos whilst remaining pacifist, the final map in the dark ending, which urges the player to kill the remaining villains, can be done without killing anyone; Pendleton is wounded in a dispute with Martin, and will die from his wounds; Martin will commit suicide by pistol if approached alone; and Havelock will jump to his death if Corvo does not intervene.
During the mission to neutralize Campbell, pretty much any possible outcome is accounted for, up to and including you preemptively stealing the Solokov painting in Campbell's secret room before he leads Curnow down there - which itself only happens if you smash both wineglasses. Additionally, Curnow will attack you if you show yourself at any point during the mission. Unless you smash both wineglasses, follow the two down to the secret room, remain unseen, and wait until Campbell draws his sword to kill Curnow before you take Campbell down. If all of those conditions are met, Curnow will acknowledge that you have saved his life, and instead choose to look the other way and flee the compound rather than alert the Overseers to your presence. Even the official guide doesn't mention this.
Sometimes guards will notice that other guards are missing and even briefly patrol in the area where they know their friend ought to be. Never consider any place "cleared" unless there really are zero guards!
In one late game mission, one guard is training another guard, who looks away for a lengthy time as part of the training. If you take out the instructor and hide the body, the trainee will return to where he last saw his master, draw his sword, and immediately (and quietly) begin looking for the intruder.
If you have Slackjaw take care of the Pendleton brothers in House of Pleasure and then cause the death of a thug or weeper in his territory, you get a non-standard game over because you just became enemies with the only person who can handle the Pendleton brothers.
If you kill Slackjaw when you see him, Granny Rags will thank you for killing him and saving her the trouble when you need to get the key from either him or Granny Rags in The Flooded District.
Certain areas have walls covered in posters of all sorts. The posters present (And their content) will vary depending on how the game has been played. For example, if the Pendleton twins are disposed off non-lethally, missing persons posters reporting their disappearance and asking for information will appear.
If you empty Art Dealer Bunting's safe before giving the combination to Slackjaw (who plans to do the same), the latter will call you a "Cheater" next time you meet him.
In Lady Boyle's Last Party, the Outsider's dialogue will change if you retrieve the rune from the shrine after eliminating Lady Boyle.
Daud's final comment will be altered if Corvo wanders off before Daud actually finishes talking, or if Corvo walks away entirely after Daud's speech concludes. Additionally, if you spare said character with Low Chaos, their guards are no longer be hostile toward Corvo and will let him walk around freely.
Should the player backtrack to the gatehouse at Lady Boyle's party and eat the apple in front of the guard, he will comment "My apple! Who do you think you are?"
If you don't release Griff during "High Overseer Campbell", then when you return to the area during "House of Pleasure", you'll find that he has become a Weeper.
If you commit a crime after returning to Dunwall (but before giving the letter to the empress) and commit a crime such as walking on a soldier's head, the game ends and says that Corvo was arrested for committing a felony.
Devil but No God: The Abbey of the Everyman views the Outsider as an evil, corrupting influence, but there's no mention of a "good" counterpart in their dogma. In fact the Outsider is closer to serving the functions of both Satan and God - corrupter, inspiration, agent of creation as well as that of destruction, and general observer of the machinations of life with a side of Blue and Orange Morality. He gives humans powers to see what they'll do with them, and basically acts as a sort of trickster god rather than an arbiter of morality.
Difficulty Spike: There are many examples of this. The introduction of Tallboys, The Flooded District guarded by assassins that teleport here and there as a part of patrolling. Justified in that taking advantage of how easy it is to simply kill and alert everything rather than stealth causes high chaos which affects the difficulty of the final level.
Dramatic Unmask: The player has the option to do this if they kill the Regent personally in his saferoom.
Dresses, Gowns and Skirts: Interestingly, there are almost no skirts in this setting. Even the Empress and Princess Emily wear regal, formal-looking pantaloons. The courtesans at the The Golden Cat are an exception, but given their profession, it's expected.
Down In The Dumps: The worst possible kind: not a garbage dump for trash, but for all the bodies that are stacking up because of the plague. A new train keeps coming to dump dozens more each minute.
Dowsing Device: The Heart. Which is, in fact, a human heart, with some mechanical additions courtesy of the Outsider. It speaks. It's implied that the Heart came from the late Empress.
The Dragon: Played with. The High Overseer is in on the conspiracy with the Lord Regent, but he's also the first target eliminated. Daud may also qualify for this role, as the man who actually carried out the Empress' assassination, but he was only hired for that job and is not encountered again until after the Lord Regent is defeated. Of course, in hindsight this might make sense when you realize YOU'RE the villain's Dragon.
Dragon with an Agenda: Daud certainly has his own objectives unrelated to the Lord Regent. And of course, Corvo is only interested in rescuing and protecting Emily, not Havelock's ambitions.
Edmond Roseburrow, the natural philosopher who invented trans. After he approved of a project to make trans into weapons, and those weapons were used to oppress and subjugate the populace, he took one of his new creations, and used it to put a bullet into his brain.
During the mission "The Flooded District", a wounded thug tells you where to get a key. In the high chaos version of the mission, you hear a gunshot when you get far enough away from him. Turning back reveals that the thug shot himself. Given who he just fought, what he witnessed, and the amount of rats swarming everywhere, it was for the best.
Teague Martin, if you confront him in the High Chaos final level without attacking.
Dystopia Is Hard: One of the way that the Loyalists plan to whittle down the Lord Regent's power is to remove his financial backing. Throughout the game you witness evidence that your enemies don't quite have the manpower they'd like patrolling key areas, and those that they have tend to be so underpaid that the low-ranking guardsmen sometimes tend to supplement their paltry elixir ration with the black-market stuff.
The Assassins. They're much more alert than other enemies, move more quickly and have a few magical abilities of their own - including Blink, which makes their patrol routes much less predictable.
Slightly lower than them on the scale are Overseers, particularly the Overseers with an anti-magic instrument on their chest. In addition to disrupting your powers, the thing is so big it blocks pretty much all frontal attacks. All Overseers also wear big metal masks that prevent frontal headshots.
Also, Tallboys. Who walk on stilts, preventing melee attacks (unless you Blink up to them), wear thick armor that makes them sleep dart proof, use shields that stop ranged attacks, and use bows with explosive arrows.
Empathic Environment: Getting seen, leaving witnesses and murdering people will lead to high chaos, which increases the spread of the plague in later levels through panic and death. Taken Up to Eleven in the level at Kingsparrow Isle Lighthouse; while having low chaos will lead to a standard level, having high chaos means the level is in a heavy storm, there are more guards, and there is a much darker, cynical ending.
End of an Age: Invoked by The Heart. "I can feel a great age ending..."
Et Tu, Brute?: The non-lethal way to deal with Burrows is to broadcast his evil boasting publicly, which leads to a scene where his own guards arrest him for fear of backlash. Also invoked in the late plot with the Loyalists, who decide Corvo is better off dead and try to assassinate him.
Evil Is Easy: Somewhat zigzagged. On one hand, with Corvo's impressive arsenal of lethal weapons and spells, it's considerably easier (and tempting) to complete the game with a High Chaos run where you kill every guard you come across than it it is than it is to take the pacifist or even Low Chaos route and abstain from using the cool stuff. On the other hand, going the High Chaos route will also make the world more dangerous, filling it up with more rats, weepers, and higher security measures.
Exact Eavesdropping: Averted. Random guards could be seen talking about a girl they met, but chambermaids or personal bodyguards could talk about important information regarding targets.
Exact Words: Corvo can utilize this trope during the "Lady Boyle's Last Party" mission if he talks to Lord Brisby first. Corvo then has the option of telling Lady Boyle that someone is there to assassinate her, but that he knows of a way to save her life. He's entirely correct, and hasn't twisted the truth in the least. He's just leaving out the part where the assassin is himself.
Exposition Fairy: The Heart, although it only gives you backstory information, and that only on command.
Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Arkane states that Dunwall is based on London circa 1666, just after the Great Fire, during the last parts of the Black Plague - timeshifted to the 19th Century. Culture counterparts range further outside Dunwall, in the rest of the Isles - there's a fantasy Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Africa, Celtic Isles and others, and generous cultural swapping between all of them.
Gristol - where Dunwall is and the effective capital of the Isles - is Britain and especially England, while some of the accents and the dominant role it plays have shades of the US and Canada.
Serkonos is "Greece or Italy" with at least some Spanish, judging on the local names. Corvo's place of origin as well as Daud's.
In the second mission and with low Chaos, a plague-bearing overseer can be seen asking his friends to kill him, as he does not wish to spread the disease. They oblige him via sword as he kneels and recites the seven strictures.
Daud is quite dignified if you choose to confront him after defeating him.
Face Heel Turn: Martin, Pendleton, and Havelock attempt to have Corvo killed and establish Emily as their own puppet once the Lord Regent is taken out.
The Faceless: Played With through Corvo; his face can be seen on several occasions: on some wanted posters throughout the game; the difficulty screen; as a secret drawing by Emily, which is unlocked if you're a pacifist; and during the endings.
Ironically, a Pacifist Run will actually result in far more gruesome fates for the conspirators than just death: High Overseer Campbell is excommunicated, and the next time you see him he's a plague-infested weeper in the Flooded District; Lady Boyle spends the rest of her life as a prisoner, separated from her sisters and held captive by a man who's obsessed with her; the Pendleton twins get their tongues cut out and are forced to work in their own silver mines; Burrows is arrested by his own guards and shot dead; and Daud spends the rest of his life tormented by the memories of his crimes.
After you take down the High Overseer, an audio file found in the Admiral's room has him wondering if Corvo might be dangerous to him due to his obvious skills.
Reading his diary earlier than that will net you one giant foreshadow: he ponders if he could just take power for him himself.
When Corvo visits the Void upon meeting the Outsider for the first time, he sees Emily with the Pendleton twins in the Golden Cat.
If you talk to Cecilia, she may say that if the City Watch invades their hideout, she'll "know how to hide". When Havelock and Co. have betrayed you and killed all the servants, guess who's the only one still around (on a High Chaos playthrough, anyway)?
The music box found on the first real mission and the various documents surrounding serve to forewarn the player about the music box carrying overseers encountered later in the game.
Right after you finish off Campbell, search Pendleton's room before and after you go to bed and you'll find a letter and an audiograph pertaining to his brothers, and if you talk to him before heading down to deal with the weepers in the sewer he'll ask Corvo if he has siblings. Guess who your next targets are. Also, throughout the first two levels you can find tidbits about a party thrown at the Boyle mansion, and an invitation in Bunting's apartment, which alludes to where you'll have to go after dealing with Sokolov.
Force Field Door: The "Pillars of Light" made by Sokolov, a lethal electrical field that fries anyone who the device hasn't been attuned to (or vice-versa). While they're usually flat vertical "doors", there are mobile emitters that will fry anything coming inside its Instant Death Radius.
Friendly Fireproof: Played straight with swords, but averted when it comes to guns. Getting a pistol-wielding guard to accidentally shoot one of his buddies several times is an achievement, even!
Full-Circle Revolution: After helping the Loyalist Conspiracy topple the corrupt regime that rose to power by using Corvo as the fall guy, the Loyalists then insert themselves into the now empty positions and use him as the fall guy again in order to legitimize their claim to power.
A minor example, but it's there; if you choose to eliminate your targets non-lethally in an otherwise High Chaos run, wanted posters will still say you murdered them, and character dialogue about your past targets will act as though you did them in.
You can use the zoom function, even if Corvo isn't wearing his mask.
Gas Mask Mooks: A number of guardsmen can be seen wearing surgical masks. Actual gas masks are worn by the Assassins, probably because their hangout is Plague Central.
The Ghost: Dr. Galvanni. You can go to his office twice, you find various logs he's written on studying the plague, but the man himself never shows up.
Some animals are mentioned but never appear. Kingsparrow feathers can be found, but the actual birds can't (presumably because possession would allow flight, which would be broken). The mysterious Whales don't appear either, meaning possession can't reveal their secrets.
Go Mad From The Revelation: In the third Tales from Dunwall, Piero starts to have visions of death (or maybe the Outsider), which leads to the invention of Corvo's mask.
Hiram Burrows decided that an outbreak of plague would be the best way to Kill the Poor in Dunwall. He was right; it wiped out at least half the city and there was nothing he could do afterward that could contain or get rid of it.
Good Is Not Nice: A "Hands Clean" playthrough will, among other things, see you condemn a priest to living in the gutters, catching the plague and turning into a Weeper, having two men hideously disfigured and sent into a life of slavery, and handing an unconscious woman over to a man who says he's going to keep her locked up for the rest of her life. Corvo may be on the side of right but do not cross him.
Guide Dang It: The best outcome of some quests requires some specific actions that aren't immediately obvious; you can stumble upon them by chance, or you can consult the wiki...
Guilt-Based Gaming: Dishonored excels at making the player feel like a complete and total monster if they kill anyone but the specified target. You killed that maid because she caught sight of you and was about to start screaming? You get to hear her boyfriend talking to his buddy about how he's going to propose to her. You killed that Overseer who was about to attack you in perceived self-defense? He might have been the one who warned his friend about the friend's sister about to be accused of being a witch and that she needs to run. You killed that guard who yelled for help? You get to hear his friends snarling that you just made his wife a widow. Nice work, You Bastard.
Hazardous Water: Fish will sometimes attack Corvo should be in the water with them.
His Name Is...: One of Slackjaw's lackeys tries to investigate who's been murdering his gang members and records an audiograph as a message once he finds out. He spends way too much time saying "I can't believe who it was!" and by the time he gets around to the actually useful part of the message the murderer has caught up with him.
One common tactic: when an enemy fires a projectile at you, freeze time, possess them, have them run in front of their own projectile, leave the body, and unfreeze time. Hilarity Ensues.
When you go after the Lord Regent, if an alarm sounds, he will hide in a safe house at the top of his castle. It's possible to circumvent the Wall Of Light that serves as his last defense, use a rewiring tool to turn it deadly to enemies instead of you, knock the Lord Regent unconscious, then toss him into the wall that was supposed to protect him from you. Or you can go to his saferoom first, before the alarm is sounded, subvert the wall, then set off the alarm deliberately. He will naturally enough race to his saferoom and immediately get vaporized on the way in. Or rewire the Walls near to the staircase and then expose his crimes - which is normally the pacifist route for this mission. The guards will arrest the Lord Regent and march him out of the mansion through the rewired Wall, incinerating the Regent in front of them. This is counted as Corvo killing the Lord Regent for Chaos purposes, though.
When leaving to assassinate Campbell Callista informs you that he's planning to poison her uncle because he's not corrupt like his other men. When you arrive to the meeting room before the men enter, you can switch their glasses, and Campbell end up being poisoned by the very same concoction he had ordered to be shipped for his own, dirty deeds.
Shadows are much, much less pronounced than in Thief (or Splinter Cell, for that matter), even with a relatively low gamma setting. They're also less central to the game's stealth mechanic, which relies more on avoiding line-of-sight than hiding in darkness.
Oddly enough, averted in one scene that is a direct homage to Thief, where a Whaler watches an apprentice make his way through a shadowy obstacle course.
Humans Are The Real Monsters: Invoked by the crappy situation Dunwall is in, as well as by the Outsider himself indirectly: he only ever grants powers to people who interest him, but every single example in the game of a person with magic (including possibly Corvo) seems to abuse these powers heavily rather then using them for decent purposes. The Outsider himself actually doesn't compel them to do this in any way, instead leaving it up to them exactly what they do with them. In fact, should Corvo spare Daud, the assassin who killed the Empress, he will mention that he finds Corvo even more fascinating, because when he had the chance to take his revenge he did not do so.
The Outsider, according to the Abbey of the Everyman. Considering that we know nothing about him, and considering what he can do, they may be right.
Granny Rags, while she may have once been human, appears to have left her humanity somewhere behind her. Until late in the game, it is impossible to kill her, and she possesses some of the same powers Corvo has.
Humiliation Conga: What you inflict on High Overseer Campbell if you go the non-lethal route. First, you use a searing hot brand to mark his face forever. Next, he is banished from his luxurious and decadent lifestyle, forced to scrounge for scraps to survive as it is literally a crime for anyone to try to help him. Finally, he contracts the plague and lives out his final days in squalor and agony, cursing your name. To top things off, you can choose to kill him or just knock him out again if you happen upon him.
Worship of the Outsider is considered witchcraft and heretical by the Overseers in the Abbey of the Everyman. Keeping runes or bone charms is a sign of witchcraft. Accusations of worshipping the outsider are levied against troublemakers to discredit them. Yet almost every person who is rich or in a position of power keeps runes of the Outsider amongst their most precious possessions.
Campbell, the High Overseer, breaks every single one of the Seven Structures every day. According to The Heart, it is his own little joke.
Idiot Ball: Corvo is forced to hold this when the crown loyalists betray him. He is forced to drink from a poisoned cup in a rather suspicious cutscene, which could be understood. However, right after drinking the cup his vision goes blurry and if he even knocks out the traitors that clearly just poisoned him it causes a game over.
Impoverished Patrician: It is rumored that the Pendletons recently became this with suggestions that the family's silver mines are almost out. In the High Chaos ending, Pendleton admits that he is broke.
Infant Immortality: Averted in the Worst Ending, as failing to stop Havelock results in Emily's death. Played straight in that you can't kill or harm Emily (you can kill other allied NPCs, though doing so causes an instant game over).
Item Amplifier: Certain bone charms give you more health and magic from taken elixir. Two skills obtainable can increase the amount of health and mana recovered from using potions.
Item Crafting: Implied but not actually used, at least not for you, the player. You find various valuable items all around the city and collect them, but they just get converted to instant cash for your convenience. Pierro explains that he sells anything you find on the "black market." However, there's a letter to Pierro from Havelock that saying "We can't give you copper wire and Kingfeathers! Go find your own!" and these two items happen to be two of the common Vendor Trash items you collect. It's possible an earlier version of the game had you collect this stuff for more direct item crafting rather than a simple cash exchange.
Just Following Orders: Eavesdrop on guards and you'll find they tend to range from true believers to just happy to not have the plague.
This has become the upper-class policy for dealing with the plague. As long as the plague remains isolated to everyone who isn't wealthy and/or noble, they pay no mind to it, and let the government deal with it. This is essentially a national policy mirroring Masque Of The Red Death.
Following the Red Death comparison, and given that Corvo can summon armies of plague rats, it is possible to bring the plague to the dinner party of at least one major noble, making it a good deal harder to ignore.
Kansas City Shuffle: One way of taking out Lady Boyle non-lethally is to warn her that there is a plot to assassinate her. You can then advise her to take shelter in the cellar, where you can then knock her out and leave her for Lord Brisby.
Karma Meter: There is a "Chaos" stat that basically tallies how many people you kill. This will directly affect what kind of ending you get and the state of the next stage. The in-universe justification is that more bodies means more rats, and more rats means more plague. Indeed, leave enough dead bodies around, and rats come a-feastin'. The Chaos meter also determines how much rioting there is - again, it makes sense that the guard will be tighter and more violent the more people, especially guards, are dead.
Kleptomaniac Hero: Corvo can steal a variety of items for cash to buy upgrades/supplies. This includes large paintings several times his size. The game even tells you exactly how much coins-worth of items you left behind.
Knight Templar: The Overseers in general, they are known to practice Burn the Witch! and will abduct anyone who they suspect to practice witchcraft or have anything to do with the Outsider. Their base even have torture implements they use to interrogate captives.
Lighthouse Point: Kingsparrow Island has a heavily fortified military base with a huge lighthouse in the center of it, with the base's war room located at the top of it. You climb the thing in the final mission.
Dr. Galvanni, the unseen plague researcher. According to his maid, rat guts get all over the place in his lab.
Sokolov is a more villanous example: his Lack of Empathy leads to him kidnapping random people off the street and performing disfiguring, lethal experiments on them. The lady he's menacing when you take him alive? He dispassionately expects her skin to melt off and have her die of painful exposure and blood loss, and he's hoping the flesh melts off completely.
Refreshingly averted in the backstory: magic doesn't work consistently or on command, generally because the Outsider doesn't care to show up and grant his Mark to people he deems uninteresting. Once you do have the Mark, however, magic works swimmingly.
There's also the case of the runes and whalebone charms. Runes are ancient artifacts that predate Dunwall itself, having been crafted by a long-gone, Outsider-worshipping civilization millennia ago; people frequently find them washed up on the beach and buried in the riverbed, and nobles keep them as good-luck charms (though they generally bring anything but). Bone charms are made by superstitious whalers to grant them good luck at sea, but generally give people headaches and some even seem to attract plague rats. The implication is that only people marked by the Outsider can use these things.
Blow You Away: "Windblast" creates a blast of wind powerful enough to smash through weak doors and even kill people that have thrown into a wall.
Demonic Possession: "Possession" lets the user jump inside anything from rats to fish to people, including assassination targets, and control them. You can even jump inside a rat, sneak through a hole in a fence, and then jump back out on the other side.
Double Jump: "Agility" allows the user to jump while in the air.
Daud, in the DLC, is capable of summoning assassins who get to share his powers.
Super Senses: "Dark Vision" gives the user X-Ray Vision and the ability to see other peoples' line of sight. Depending on your brightness setting, it may help or hinder your ability to see in the dark.
One way of looking at the world is that whales are mystical creatures: all your magic power upgrades come from charms and runes made of the bones of whales. Their glowing oil would therefore be some sort of magical combustible, and so all the technology in the city is Magitek: machines running on magic.
The Heart you get is also a fusion of science and magic; it's got a mechanism keeping it alive and pumping (and talking).
May-December Romance: Lollygag enough in the intro, and Emily will innocently ask that, if Corvo can't marry the Empress, maybe he could marry her.
Meaningful Background Event: As part of the Kaldwin's Bridge mission, the player must disable the water floodlights on the bridge approach so that Samuel can extract Corvo after finding his target and they can get away under cover of darkness. If the player looks off over the water after disabling the floodlights, you can see a distant Samual in his little skiff moving from the position where he dropped Corvo off to where he will pick him up later.
Mini Mecha: The Tallboy is an especially stripped-down version of this. Essentially a man in body armor on whale-oil powered stilts, with some wooden shields for protection and a bow and Molotov Cocktail arrows for weaponry, the Tallboy is a Steam Punk mech for the budget-conscious. It's also a great way of crowd control with a plague going on: this way, they can disperse rioters without risking getting infected by the plague-bearing populace. They can either be a major problem for a Pacifist Run since they can't be knocked out by choke or sleep dart, or a minor problem via air assassination.
Mix-and-Match Critters: Where do we start? Well, how about with the whales? They might be normal animals rather than Lovecraftian horrors, but that doesn't stop them from having tentacles, scales, and other things that probably should not go on a mammal.
My God, What Have I Done?: In the high-chaos ending, approaching Pendleton and Martin alone will result in this; both express regret over what they've done before dying, with the former succumbing wounds from his own guards, and the latter committing suicide.
Never Trust a Trailer: The (exquisite) trailers don't quite match up with what actually happens in the game. You escape prison before the Outsider decides to visit you in your sleep and give you magic powers.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: At the beginning of Back Alley Brawl's infinite 13th wave, Daud appears and stops time for a private duel just like in the main game. However, being frozen in time makes every other enemy currently spawned (usually around 10 in total, including Tallboys and his own men) easy pickings. Thanks for the free kills, Daud!
No-Gear Level: The Flooded District level, you even see your box of gears that was stashed away by Samuel is taken by Daud and tossed into the basement. However, this is probably the only chance you have to swing around an Assassin's Blade or Overseer's Saber.
No Sell: Stopping time and slitting someone's throat sure is fun, right? Well if the target was also touched by the Outsider they can resist. Fortunately, it works both ways. Interestingly, the other powers like Swarm of Rats and Wind Blast aren't No Sell'd. Daud even lampshades this, noting that he and Corvo will have a fight no one else can.
Non-Lethal K.O.: Favored method of neutralizing enemies for pacifists is to choke the enemy from behind or using sleep darts. Then there is also the upgraded Arc Pylon which resulted from the combined work of Sokolov and Piero which can do this in a large area.
Non Standard Gameover: Attacking a Loyalist (or leaping into Callista's bathtub when she's in it) gives a message declaring that the Loyalist Conspiracy has dissolved.
Attacking anyone before the Lord Regent sends Daud's assassins at you will result in Corvo being sent to prison for assault.
Not So Different: The Loyalists, who promptly attempt to frame and kill Corvo and take over Dunwall after overthrowing the villains for doing the exact same thing.
Not the Fall That Kills You: The Blink power still maintains some momentum so if you're falling from a great height and then Blink to the ground, you will still receive some damage.
Not Using the Z Word: Those infected by the plague are called "Weepers". They cry blood, looked like death warmed over, and occasionally attack other people.
There is one notable difference between Weepers and zombies, in that Weepers are disturbingly still alive.
One Steve Limit: Averted. There are two characters in the game named "Lydia": a maid at the Hound Pits pub, and one of the three Ladies Boyle.
Off with His Head!: Corvo will often perform 'finishing moves' on enemies with low health, some of which involve decapitating them. Additionally, if Corvo is killed by a sword, it's highly implied he has been decapitated, judging from the way the camera rolls around on the floor.
Oh My Gods!: "What in the Void?", "[By the] Outsider's Eyes!" and similar exclamations.
Optional Stealth: The game gives options in how you want to play the game. You could, for example, play through the entire game undetected... or become a whirling dervish of supernatural death. Notably, there's the Ghost achievement for playing through undetected and in a Pacifist Run.
Our Animals Are Weird: According to Arkane, they tried to make the animals both normal and familiar while remaining otherworldly. For example, they endowed dogs with long, crocodile-like snouts, sharks have odd squid-like tentacles and a green, sickly color, whales vary in body parts from individual to individual...
Pacifist Run: Despite you playing as an assassin, the devs confirmed you can play through the game without killing anyone via a Technical Pacifist route. However, some of the non-lethal fates are A Fate Worse Than Death. For example, Lady Boyle is an assassination target, but the player can knock her out and give her to a guy with a crush on her, never tobe seen again. He even notes that what he's doing is immoral, but asserts that it's better than killing her.
Painful Rhyme: One of the in-universe books 'Tales for Children' rhymes 'Riley' with 'time-y' and 'why me?'. Justified in that it's a book aimed at children.
Patrolling Mook: City Watchmen, Overseers, Street Gangs, and even Assassins.
Pet the Dog: The Overseers, despite being corrupt Church Militant, really do care for their wolfhounds. One can be seen sweet talking to a sick wolfhound in a kennel, and you can find a note where one refused even the idea of having the wolfhounds strapped with bomb vests no matter what the Chaos Level is.
The Plague: The Rat Plague, which has been tearing Dunwall apart for almost a year and a half. People infected by it cry blood in the late stages, have discolored skin, and occasionally attack other human beings.
Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: You're warned ahead of time that High Overseer Campbell is going to eliminate a city guard captain that's investigating corruption in the Overseer's ranks, and an optional mission is to save the guy during Campbell's "Wine and Dine and Poison the Guy" routine. A straight-up switching of glasses is possible, but not necessarily the most ideal solution because the other Overseers will jump to the conclusion that the captain deliberately poisoned Campbell. You can break both glasses, forcing Campbell to initiate Plan B (good for getting them both to a private area) or if you're feeling REALLY murderous, you can mix poison into both glasses.
Police Brutality: This seems to be the general policy of both the City Watch and the Overseers (see All Crimes Are Equal, above). In addition to executing people on the spot for something as innocent as breaking curfew, City Watchmen steal from citizens, round up victims for cruel experiments, and open fire on refugees.
Power Tattoo: The source of Corvo's magical abilities, courtesy of the Outsider.
Reality Ensues: The final boss can be considered as an Anticlimax Boss. But then you realise that you're a highly-trained supernatural assassin, while Havelock's only human, and even he realizes this. He does at least make an attempt if you pick up the key without touching him.
Refuge in Audacity: "Lady Boyle's Last Party". Corvo goes to a costume party as himself, signs the guest book with his real name, and has a possibility of going straight up to his target and telling her someone has come to assassinate her for the nonlethal option. After the job is done, Lady Boyle's sisters, if they are still alive, give Corvo gifts for sparing them.
Reluctant Mad Scientist: Both Piero and Sokolov, though it's more out of For Science! than anything. Though they talk about allegiances, Sokolov quickly squeals when threatened with rats, and seems to care more about the subjects and opportunities the Lord Regent hands him. Piero seems more interested in all the things he can make. They both chum up in the end, despite apparent conflicting worldviews - over science.
Regenerating Health: The second level of the Vitality skill allows the player to regenerate health.
Rival Science Teams: The Loyalists field Piero against the Regency's Sokolov. Both men also have a personal rivalry going since their days in academia. Of course, this becomes a moot point when Corvo kidnaps Sokolov, taking him (but not his technology) out of the running. In the end, both men make up and, in the low-chaos ending, work together to put an end to the Weepers.
In gameplay, this can be taken to extreme levels. Yes, you could just sneak your way through and just go after the target... or you could slaughter everyone who gets in your way, or even every guard between you and the building that is your destination and every person in the building where the target is hiding. You can make the streets run red with the blood of the innocent and guilty alike, and turn every building your targets live in into an abattoir. There's very little that can stop you, especially as you gain greater powers.
In one of the slums, you can find the apartment of a man who's become dangerously obsessed with visions of the Outsider, scribbling "THE OUTSIDER WALKS AMONG US" all over his walls.
At Lady Boyle's Last Party, you can find one of the victims of Granny Rags, with her insane scrawlings all over the wall and a diary note of hers stating of just how bored she is of it all.
Sarcastic Confession: Oddly enough, you can have Corvo make one of these. BotherRamsey enough, and he'll tell one of the guards that he doesn't think you're on the guest list. When the guard asks for your name, you can either lie and tell him that you're Lord Trevor Pendleton, or act drunk and say "I'm an agent of the Outsider." Guess which one lets you continue to wander the party freely, and which blows your cover?
Scare Chord: Used often, usually when you've been spotted by an enemy.
Scenic Tour Level: The intro, which takes the player to the Empress through numerous, lengthy interactions with Corvo's peers. It also serves to introduce the player to the villains and to what will become the Big Bad's lair after the Empress' assassination.
Schizo Tech: The technology is like something out of a 19th century World's Fair. Fluorescent bulbs light streets guarded by soldiers carrying flintlock pistols and swords. Electric death-walls are powered by condensed whale oil and controlled by mechanical computers. Massive trimaran freighters lift whales entirely out of the water after spearing them with harpoon cannons. There's indoor running water, but people still crap in buckets.
The Perfect Crime/Oh, Dear, What a Terrible Accident: Pull off every mission without being seen by anyone and leave no trace that you've been there. This also includes no killing or knocking out anyone except in ways that could reasonably be seen as accidental, such as being devoured by rats.
Corvo Attano, the Loudest Man in Dunwall: Duel everyone you see with only swords, and always announce your presence in some flashy way, such as blowing up whale oil containers or firing your pistol into the air. No magic allowed except for Bend Time (to dispose of grenades and bullets more easily to keep the fight fair) or Blink (to separate guards from the pack or troll them).
Also if you think about, the whole aspect of using Stealth is a Self-Imposed Challenge, as you can easily beat the game simply going through the level and shooting everyone in your way.
Stalker Shrine: In the house for Burglary, there is a secret room in the bedroom that is covered with pictures of Lady Boyle.
Shoot the Hostage: Possible in the high-chaos ending; shooting Havelock when he threatens to jump to his death with Emily will result in him falling, while Emily will grab the ledge.
Along the way to the hideout, there's a sign for the Pratchett Warehouse; this may also account for the major character named Havelock. There's also a Mr. Pratchett you encounter, and Prachett's Jellied Eels are everywhere.
Piero's documents mention that he's working on something called a "Door to Nowhere," and you can find walls with markings rather similar to the portals from Portal.
At the party, wearing a rodent mask no less, is one Lord Timothy Brisby.
The Achievement/Trophy 'Alive Without Breath' is a line of a riddle that appeared in The Hobbit. The full riddle is as follows: Alive with breath / as cold as death / never thirsty, ever drinking / all in mail, never clinking. You gain the Achievement/Trophy by possessing a fish. And fish, of course, is the riddle's answer.
The symbol for the plague marked on infected houses is vaguely similar to—and almost identical to when you see it with a crossbone in a creepy cultist's lair—another symbol for plague-bearing, supernatural rats: the Skaven's logo.
The scowling Overseer masks are reminiscent of the Immortals from 300.
It might be a stretch on this one but the suggestion that Corvo could be Emily's father could be a Shout Out to BioShock 2. As there is a deleted Audio Diary that confirms Delta is actually Eleanor's biological father.
Near the end of the Flooded District stage, you can find an angry letter from Percival Cox.
In a low-chaos playthrough, you meet a group of survivors in the Flooded District and have the chance to assist them in escaping the District. The group led by Blake numbers seven.
At the End of a High Chaos playthrough, Emily has become a sociopathic and violent 11-year-old girl, due to the influence of her father (father figure, at least), and she's played by Chloe Moretz. Quite possibly a Kick-AssShout Out.
"Trans" is a lipid based substance with unwholesome implications for its users.
Strange words can be heard whispered whenever a spell is used, but in fact these words are usually regular phrases in English with the emphasis in strange places or inappropriate vowel pronunciation. For example, the chant for Dark Vision is "en-HA-nced-EYES."
Sticky Bomb: An upgrade to the grenade will enable it to stick on things due to the spikes added on it.
Swarm of Rats: There's a lot of ferocious rats in this game, which seem to be the source of the plague. A swarm of rats can also be summoned to devour your enemies. Rat swarms tend to move as if they have a hive mind, and they love to chew on dead bodies. Learning to use dead bodies to distract vicious rats is just one of the tricks you need to pass. It's notable that these rats are not native to Gristol, but are a larger, smarter and more ferocious variety from the Pandyssian Continent.
Sword and Gun: Corvo keeps his long knife at the ready in his right hand and his pistola in his left. Even if you don't use both at once he's conceivably ready to whip either out. Watch Officers and other firearm-wielding enemies also fight this way, with a saber in one hand and a pistol in the other.
Take Your Time: Events won't trigger until you actually reach the proper location. Feel free to wander around the Abbey, stealthily taking out every single Overseer both inside and outside of the building, and whether it takes you thirty minutes or six hours to do it, Campbell and Curnow will still be only just arriving at their meeting. Also, after Corvo is poisoned, the symptoms will continually get worse, but Corvo will not collapse until he reaches his room. He is perfectly capable of running circles around the Hounds Pit Pub for hours as long as he stays out of the attic.
Taking You with Me: In the high-chaos ending, Havelock attempts to throw himself from the lighthouse with Emily.
Tears of Blood: The Weepers have subconjunctival haemorrhages that cause their eyes to leak blood.
Technically Living Zombie: Weepers aren't the undead, but the last stage of a painful disease that robs them of their mind while they rot from the inside out. They're still people, which is probably why the game docks you a killing point even if you kill them. And you can still use the Heart to hear their sad stories, and terrible thoughts they're having.
The non-lethal approach to "neutralizing" targets can get pretty nasty: couple of corrupt Members of Parliament who own a mine run by slave labor? Do a favor for a crime boss who will in return have them kidnapped, disfigured and sold to their own mine as slaves! Powerful female aristocrat supporting the Lord Regent? Knock her unconscious and hand her over to an "admirer" who promises she will never be seen again!
This also counts towards a Pacifist Run. The game will only log deaths that you are directly responsible for, like straight-up murder or hacked weapons. But it won't count it if, say, you lead a swarm of murderous rats to an enemy, or a group of Weepers that are chasing you "accidentally" end up running into some City Watchmen. Though their corpses will still alert guards as though you had done it, you won't see any deaths recorded at the end of the mission. People that you knocked out dying after the fact, however (falling, drowning, getting eaten by rats), will count.
Teleport Spam: The Whalers just love abusing their Transversal ability. Daud has it, too, but is not nearly so bad about spamming it.
The Guards Must Be Crazy: Played with. If you get noticed before they recognize you, or if you make some noisy running sound, they often dismiss it as rats or just 'hearing things'. They seemingly have no idea how to replace the trans battery of a wall of light or an arc pylon after you remove it. They also seemingly never bothered to look up. However, the officers in particular, WILL notice if some guards are missing from their post, and they will takeover their patrol routes as well. Alerting a guard will cause him to call for help and if you managed to escape, they will actively search for you with their weapons drawn. They will also be alerted by bodies or unconscious guards that you have to hide bodies constantly. Eavesdropping on the guard chatter will reveal that at least some of them are in fact supposed to put whale oil tanks into the devices as part of their duties. However, given the guards' usual outlook of "deal with your own problems, I'm just glad I don't have the plague - yet" even toward other guards, they probably don't bother popping in a new tank because they assume that it's some other guard's problem.
The Lost Lenore: The Empress, assuming the rumors about her and Corvo are true.
The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Played straight, considering how corrupt and selfish the villains are. The final act subverts this in the worst ending, as, despite Corvo best intentions, the chaos generated in tearing down the totalitarian government causes the plague to continue to spread relentlessly, dooming the city without Emily's guidance.
Theme Tune Cameo: Guards can be heard whistling "The Drunken Whaler" and you can also find the lyrics to it, since it's an in-universe sea shanty.
Three-Point Landing: When falling from a high enough height Corvo lands with his left hand touching the ground, implying this.
Title Drop: The Outsider offers one for the seventh mission.
Touched by Vorlons: Corvo gains his powers from The Outsider's Mark, as do others chosen by The Outsider.
Treachery Cover Up: The reason that Havelock, Martin, and Pendleton poison Corvo and murder the other Loyalists (Wallace, Lydia, and potentially Callista). They had also had planned to kill Samuel, Cecilia, Piero, and Sokolov, but Samuel was smart enough to see it coming and run, and Cecelia escaped by either inadvertently being warned by Wallace* Low Chaos or because she wasn't feeling well* High Chaos. Piero and Sokolov survived by barricading themselves in Piero's workshop. Callista's survival depends entirely on whether Corvo has maintained Low Chaos; otherwise, Havelock will kill her as well.
Trick Bomb: The Razorwire bomb, which doesn't explode, but releases blades to slice up anyone unlucky to run into it.
Urban Segregation: ExaggeratedandJustified. Dunwall has traditionally had districts divided up based on proximity to industry and real estate value, in part to let the nobles get away from the slums and to keep the inhabitants of the slums stuck in them. However, the Rat Plague and the subsequent heavy-handed measures to deal with it by the Lord Regent have made this even worse than usual. Quarantine steps have been taken to limit travel between areas, entire districts have been walled off save heavily guarded checkpoints, and some have even been walled off entirely and given up as a lost cause.
Vendor Trash: There's a lot of things to scavenge, but only a few of them are actually straight-up coins. Just as often, you'll find valuables like maps, refined whale oil jugs, copper wires and rare feathers. You don't need to trade them in at a vendor, either; for player convenience they are instantly converted to cash as you pick them up.
Video Game Caring Potential: One of the very first things that Corvo can do in the game is to indulge Princess Emily in a game of hide-and-seek.
Murder everybody at a dinner party, unleash swarms of rats on unsuspecting guards and townsfolk, lob flammable whale oil containers into a group of plague victims, possess a guard and make him walk in front of his own frozen-in-time gunfire, possess a guard and make him walk in front of his friend's frozen-in-time gunfire, drug a guy and throw him off a cliff, etc.
If you're feeling more petty, you can leave unconscious guards in compromising positions with others, leave them on top of chandeliers, toss a bottle at the back of your target's head, Goomba Stomp someone and run, possess a guard and have him vomit on bystander, toss corpses from up high in front of unsuspecting maids, blow down a door with Windblast that someone is standing behind and more.
The more people that Corvo kills, the more the ending changes. However, guards will also be more alert in later missions, and allies may turn against you when they otherwise would not, causing more alert guards. There will also be more security measures in place (towers, walls of light, and so on).
For a game that was advertised with Corvo stabbing people left, right, and centre, it flat-out tells you that you're going to get a Downer Ending if you run around murdering everyone. With all the Enemy Chatter about how they have loved ones and all of the little notes you can find that detail the lives of the people around you, you might start wondering why the game doesn't just come right out and call you a heartless asshole if you do a lethal High Chaos run.
Villainous Breakdown: Funnily enough, the Lord Regent's Engineered Public Confession is a pre-recorded mid-breakdown speech (so, he breaks down while breaking it all down for you). Step One of his Kill the Poor plan, killing the Empress to put himself in power, worked great - Corvo was even conveniently there to frame! Step Two, kill the rats, didn't work out. Step Three, quarantine, was a total failure because his blackguards, forcefields and tallboys couldn't stop people from breaking quarantine to be with their loved ones.
"You can see how my plan should have worked? Would have worked! If everyone had just followed orders."
Walking Armory: Corvo doesn't employ a Hyperspace Arsenal so much as he packs a very large amount of small weapons at once. A few bolts for his compact crossbow, a sword that folds up into something the size of a pocketknife, a pistol, maybe some grenades and small gadgets and that's it.
Wham Episode: The Loyalists' betrayal of Corvo. Also, on a high chaos run, Samuel, the boatman, the only guy who was still on your side, at the start of the last mission will say you are worse than the other loyalists put together, and signal the loyalists that you are coming if you don't kill him.
What Measure Is a Mook?: You can come across guards who, rather than talking about all of the puppy-kicking they're looking forward to doing later, are talking about their lives. You can overhear at least one man talking to his fellow guard about a prostitute he's fallen in love with, and how he wants to take her away from that life. If you end up killed in a fight with guards, the last thing you'll hear as you lie on the floor is your killer talking about how you just made the wife of one of his buddies a widow.
A ton of this in the guard bunkhouse. One Overseer has a letter from his male lover assuring him everything is alright, he loves him, and he's not mad about a recent incident.note They were seen in public together and the Overseer covered by throwing homophobic slurs at him. A pair of Overseers very nearly take a City Watch guard's sister to be burned at the stake for being a witch, but he stands up for her despite knowing he won't be shown leniency; Corvo can take out the Overseers and save them. The guard himself has a letter in the post from a friend warning him that someone's taken evidence proving his sister is a witch to the proper authorities, telling him to take her and get out of the city as soon as possible.
Though the feeling of guilt over murdering the guards is mitigated a lot if you use the Heart on them and find out that a lot of the guards are sadistic and greedy monsters.
What the Hell, Hero?: If you murder indiscriminately, Samuel will call you out on it in the final level in a big way — and he'll alert the loyalists and every one of the numerous guards on the island that you're coming, unless you kill him first.
What You Are in the Dark: This may be the theme of Dishonored; Corvo was once a protector of the Empress and her daughter. Now that he's an assassin without an Empress and his identity is a secret from all but a select few people until near the end, he has choices to make while in the dark; kill everyone (like Hitman) or spare them (like Batman Arkham Asylum). It's a test of character that ends with the empire in flames or in good hands. Havelock failed, as did Martin and Pendleton.
Would Shiv a Girl: Corvo doesn't seem to find killing or harming women any more troubling than killing or harming men.
Worth It: The boy in the second Tales of Dunwall video spends his last living hours searching for the Outsider. Despite the plague-ridden bite of an infected rat that the Outsider gave him the ability to control, it's to thank him, because he was able to get revenge on the children that had tormented him - and because, at last, he was no longer afraid.
Subtle, but it's there. If you kill anyone with your blade, the blade stays bloody for the rest of the mission, regardless of what you do afterwards. This also includes the creepy rat fetuses in the jars in Dr. Galvani's office.
If you had a High Chaos run, Samuel will throw this in your face, saying that you're worse than the other ex-Loyalists put together, and signal the guards on the last level that you are coming.
Guards will also occasionally yell it verbatim when you kill their fellows in front of them.
The Conspirators to you, since they believe you will object to them using the new Empress as a puppet. Plus, you're visible proof of their complicity in the overthrow of the Lord Regent. Havelock also harbored thoughts of being Lord Regent himself, and succumbs to the temptation.
In a High Chaos ending, if you were able to save Emily, she said that she'd wind up murdering all of the co-conspirators, anyway.
Zombie Infectee: People pretending they don't have the plague, only to succumb and spread it to others, is a major, major problem in Dunwall.
Following the success of Dishonored, the creators have a second and third set of DLC campaigns planned; both follow Daud, the man responsible for killing Empress Kaldwin, and have been dubbed The Knife of Dunwallnote Released on April 16, 2013 for $9.99 (800 Microsoft points) and The Brigmore Witchesnote Due for release late-2013The Knife of Dunwall, the first of the two packs, is set 6 months after Kaldwin's assassination and around the time Corvo first escapes. Upon killing the Empress and inadvertently putting Dunwall at risk, Daud finds himself contacted by The Outsider and given an ultimatum: unravel the mystery of the name "Delilah" before his time runs out.
Brick Joke: A common piece of Enemy Chatter in the main game consists of one guard asking another if he thinks he will get his own squad after what happened last night. The Knife of Dunwall features a guard who actually did get his own squad because of what happened last night.
The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: If you leave Rothwild unconscious in a room with Abigail for too long, then you will return to find him dead. Abigail claims that getting knocked out gave him a heart attack and she has no clue why an awl has been embedded in his skull.
Corrupt Corporate Executive: Rothwild tortures his workers into obedience, has a brutal crew of enforcers and uses the number of industrial accidents and fatalities as a safe code. He's also amused by the "songs" of the tortured whales, which drive his less sociopathic employees mad.
Crate Expectations: Beating Rothwild and his butchers non-lethally requires locking him in a crate and shipping him several continents away.
Cruella to Animals: Rothwild and his whale slaughterhouse. Whales are initially eviscerated alive to drain oil from them; once their oil secretions begin to plummet, they're milked for additional oil through a slow death by gradual electrocution to cause extra secretions.
Additionally, the "Butcher" enemy type. Not only are they required to carve up both living and dead whales with enormous buzz saws, they are pretty much required to be psychopaths (especially considering most other thugs complain they hear whale songs and screams in their sleep.)
The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Looking at the statue of Delilah on the top level of Barrister Timsh's house with Void Gaze level 2 will make it yellow, the same colour of living beings.
Dirty Old Man: Barrister Timsh, who pretty much holds a maid hostage just so she would stay with him that night.
Gameplay and Story Integration: In the main story Daud can grant powers to others. In the DLC this appears in the form of the Void Binding power Daud possesses by default, which grants powers to the assassins he summons. Unlike in the story, however, he can upgrade this power so that assassins are immune to the time stop power he uses to enforce a duel.
Daud's assassin organisation also helps him in gameplay by arranging "favors" via its intelligence network and aids in battle through the Summon Assassin power.
Et Tu, Brute?: Billie, Daud's greatest student, is responsible for the assault on their base, and has been working with Delilah behind his back.
Evil vs. Evil: Bundry Rothwild vs Abigail Ames. Rothwild is a hybrid of a Corrupt Corporate Executive and a Mob Boss who remorselessly exploits his workers, uses torture to keep them in line, and indulges in animal cruelty to maximize his profits. Abigail Ames seems like a saint at first, but she’s really a professional rabble-rouser who’s been hired by Rothwild’s competition to sabotage his business. She is disdainful of the workers she’s rallying, despises Rothwild for being a low-born commoner who rose above his station, has no qualms about murdering a man while he’s unconscious, and is perfectly willing to demolish a warehouse while fully aware that several dozen men will “die screaming.” within. Though they are Asshole Victims.
Foreshadowing: Billie, who has had your back through two missions is suspiciously absent just as Daud's base is under attack in High Chaos.
Grand Theft Me: It’s hinted that the Brigmore Witches are capable of inflicting this on others. According to a poem written by Delilah, her next victim will be Emily.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Arnold Timsh is a corrupt barrister who makes money evicting and bankrupting anyone who doesn't hand themselves in immediately upon suspected infection. Should Daud non-lethally dispose of him, the player must cause him to inadvertently confess to breaking these laws, resulting in him losing everything and his arrest by his own corruption.
Klingon Promotion: In the High Chaos ending Billy Lurk duels Daud for leadership of the Whalers.
Leeroy Jenkins: Overseer Hume, who leads the attack on Daud's base, does so despite orders to hold back until enough men are gathered. This leads to Daud taking the base back as well as shows the Whalers the Overseers' plan of attack, which lets them wipe out the rest of them (which is most likely why you see the dead army of Overseers in the Flooded District as Corvo in the first game). Many different characters comment on this rush to action and how he failed as well as doomed the entire plan because of it.
Madness Mantra: A letter you found right next to the empress in the void is just written with "YOU KILLED HER" over and over.
This is also a Continuity Nod to the main game's plot, where, when Corvo first meets the Outsider, the letter next to the dead Empress repeats "YOU CANNOT SAVE HER".
The Mafia: The Butchers, who are both criminals and slaughterhouse staff.
Mercy Kill: Daud can deliver one to a whale that is being slowly killed for its oil.
Miles To Go Before I Sleep: Daud is told by The Outsider that his story is soon coming to an end, but he must accomplish one last thing before his fate.
The Mole: Billie reveals that she has been working with Delilah. Doing this because she believed Daud has lost his edge after killing the empress.
Lowest Chaos: Billie admits her betrayal, and requests an honorable execution. Daud spares her, and she leaves Dunwall forever, and spreads Daud's legend; the epilogue shows Daud confronting Corvo, implying he survives.
Low Chaos: Billie admits her betrayal, and requests an honorable execution. Daud, with Billie's help, stabs and kills her; the epilogue notes Billie redeemed herself, but questions if Daud has done the same.
High Chaos: Billie fights Daud, stating he has been slipping and he is unfit to continue. Daud defeats her and either executes her or knocks her out; the epilogue shows Corvo sneaking up on Daud, implying his death.
No OSHA Compliance: Pretty much the Rothwild Slaughterhouse. Guard rails missing and employees being outright killed. This is pretty much the reason the employees went on strike.
Remember the New Guy: Billie Lurk. Despite being the Second in Command of the assassins she is never mentioned in the first game. Justified as she is either killed or banished by Daud for her betrayal by the time Corvo finally reached the base.
Redemption Equals Death: In Low Chaos, Billie realizes her mistake in working with Delilah and allows Daud to kill her as penance.
Shock and Awe: You know get mini arc and stun mines that electrocute anyone unfortunate enough walk by them.
Touched by Vorlons: The Outsider mentions that there are only eight in the world he has gifted in this way. This comment is made chronologically before Corvo gets empowered.
Villain Protagonist: Although, just how much Daud remains one is up to the player. If you want, you can play through the entire DLC non-lethally (just like you could in the main game) and follow the story path of Daud redeeming himself after the murder of the Empress (which, of course, is Low Chaos). Alternatively, you can hack through every living thing between you and your goals and leave a bloody swath marking your path through Dunwall in a High Chaos playthrough where Daud accepts his murderous self. The trophies/achievements for each ending explain it best: Redemptive Path for Low Chaos and No Regrets for High Chaos.
The Brigmore Witches
Antagonist Title: It's named for Delilah's coven, and she's not that keen on Daud.