"Hurry up, I can only amuse myself for so long..."
The final game of Troika Games, composed of the Black Isle exiles responsible for Fallout and Arcanum. An FPS/RPG hybrid, many consider it the best successor to Deus Ex. The closest thing it has to a Spiritual Successor itself is Alpha Protocol. There was a World of Darkness MMO being developed by Crowd Control Productions based on the OldWorld of Darkness which was to start out exclusively focused on Vampire: The Masquerade, but it was eventually cancelled.The game takes place in the Old World of Darkness. In the Anarch-controlled city of Los Angeles, the player character is a newly-Embraced vampire... and it would seem an illicitly-embraced one, as well. After their sire gets offed for Embracing a mortal without the permission of LaCroix, the newly instated Camarilla Prince of Los Angeles, the PC finds themselves trying to prove their worth by becoming LaCroix's errand boy. They become embroiled in local vampire politics and meet a wide cast of characters in their quest to track down an ancient sarcophagus.Bloodlines was also the first game to make use of the licensed Source engine from Valve Software and was technically the first Source engine game completed, but part of their licensing agreement prohibited the game from being released before Half-Life 2.Thanks to Troika getting Screwed By The Publisher, the game had the markings of a Obvious Beta when it was released, suffering from numerous critical bugs and other problems, and although quite a few was fixed by patches, Troika went under shortly after the release, resulting in many of them remaining unaddressed. Luckily, a small dedicated modding community around the game has fixed most of these over the years through unofficial patches.
This game contains examples of:
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Abandoned Hospital: The decrepit building in the Downtown area. Not entirely abandoned, as some unfortunate reporters find out.
Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Nosferatu use them in lieu of sidewalks and taxicabs. There are also a few plot points down there.
Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Instead of requiring to you regularly drop everything and seek refuge from daylight in your haven, the game world is cast in permanent night while the occasional bit of dialogue suggests the passing of time and days happens off-screen.
Adaptational Heroism: The Toreador clan. In the tabletop game, the Toreador are artistic and sophisticated, but no more or less virtuous than the other six Camarilla clans (if any stands out as nicer than the others, it's the Nosferatu). In this game, the Toreador are kinder and gentler than the other clans - NPC Torador lean more towards being Friendly Neighborhood Vampires than the other clans, and PC Toreador even have a more sensitive Karma Meter, so are encouraged to avoid cruel acts.
Adaptational Villainy: The Sabbat, in a very, very weird way. Generally, they really are as evil and depraved as the game portrays them, but avid tabletop Sabbat players have critisized the game's portrayal of the sect (partially also because the game only features the Camarilla clans playable). For one, the Always Chaotic EvilMooks direction is really played up here, which does exist as shock troops, but there actually are Sabbat vampires capable of subtlety, which are pretty much the only ones that survive for long. This may be in part because the leading clans of the sect, the Tzimisce and the Lasombra, are featured very sparsely, with most Sabbat contact being antitribu (clan traitors) footsoldiers. The game also barely touches a few aspects that make them slightly more sympathetic, namely that they intend to fight the destruction of the world and also that more long-lived Sabbat members tend to belong to a Path, making them more alien and amoral than precisely evil. Andrei is the only exception to this, being a prime example of a high-ranking and successful Sabbat vampire.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: In the sewer level, a blue screen of death texture on the computer that controls the entrance to the Nosferatu Warrens states that computers will take over the world and that the user should send it money. Although that was probably just Mitnick's attempt at a joke.
Air-Vent Passageway: Though vents are more of an alternate way of getting places rather than required paths. They are often a means for the hideously deformed Nosferatu to get into places that more human-looking vampires would enter through the front door.
A.K.A.-47: Used for some guns (for example, the Glock 17 is called the Brokk 17c) and averted for others (like the Steyr AUG and the Colt Anaconda). Strangely enough, it is actually referred to as a Glock in some of the dialog. Similarly, in dialogue Mercurio calls the Jaegerspas a SPAS 15.
All for Nothing: Canonically, it doesn't really matter what you do, as the world is about to end anyway, and there's nothing you can do about it. Note that White Wolf's stance on their own canon is "ignore what you don't like," and many Bloodlines players implicitly ignore this.
All There in the Manual: Despite the game taking liberties in a lot of ways, the amount of research of the setting that went into this game is just juicy for any World of Darkness fan. One of the subtlest references was during the Society of Leopold level, where in the mook chatter we hear a reference to the Gladius Dei, a subsect of the organization that was mentioned in one old book.
Always Night: Unless the story calls for it, the sun never rises, ever.
And I Must Scream: Should you choose to ally with the Kuei-jin, Ming Xiao will -after you defeat the Sheriff- chain you to the Sarcophagus and throw it in the ocean. Since vampires cannot drown and the blood will prevent decomposition, your best hope is to be eaten by sea creatures (good luck, you traitor).
Unless you have Potence, Protean, or something else that ups your physical abilities. In which case you can probably break out with a little work.
Plus, metal chains decay in water whilst you don't, so you'll probably be out pretty soon anyway.
Anti-Grinding: You get experience solely for completing quests, and in fact will obtain less experience in some missions for killing people
Apocalyptic Log: The recordings of Dr. Grout, the LA Malkavian Primogen. Hey, he's a Malkavian. They all go insane. Though he is somewhat more lucid than expected of a Malkavian. He cites his own experience as a psychiatrist as help, though he's still a bit of a Cloudcuckoolander.
There're also less logical examples (Grout wasn't in any direct danger when he recorded his last audio log) found in the Ocean House Hotel and the LA sewers, with people's diaries lying around where they've been writing down things like "aaaaah!" while they were being assaulted.
Why would you write "someone help me" in your diary if someone is breaking down the bathroom door to kill you? It's silly.
Artificial Atmospheric Actions: Done rather well; the NPCs move around in a way that is, if not entirely realistic, a much closer facsimile than those of most games. Many of the random citizens walking around the city hubs can be seen chatting to each other, smoking, using cellphones, using payphones, and being victim to muggings. Some male NPCs can be seen occasionally urinating in back alleys or bathroom stalls, and it's possible at several points to walk in on a woman giving a man a blowjob in an out-of-the-way location. However, the NPCs will knock over any objects in their path, causing more than a few trashcans and debris to roll around and get in the way of the player.
Artificial Stupidity, The Guards Must Be Crazy: As long as an NPC doesn't spot you, disturbances will put them alert but not raise an alarm, and they will eventually go back to their usual patrolling rest state. Even if the "disturbance" is finding a comrade's dead body.
Attack of the Political Ad: Vote Republican Senator Robert Thorne! A candidate NOT accused of being a murderous child pornographer!
Badass Biker: Smiling Jack. Doesn't hurt that he used to be a pirate.
Many Brujah love this look. The Female PC heavy armor is a kickass biker suit...and nothing else.
Badass Boast: If you believe their constant smacktalking, every single vampire you meet is the biggest badass around and all other kindred are completely insignificant compared to them and their clan. They all need your help, though, so most of it is hot air.
Jack's been around since the 1700s, and most of the Kindred around the Anarch Bar are from the 20th century. He's got more experience and strength then they do, and he's not a TOTAL ass to them like the Elders. So they think he's pretty awesome.
Bedlam House: Grout has turned his mansion into one of these for the sake of "research," and also appears to have been the head of one in the pre-Freudian days of psychology.
Better Than Sex: Jack describes drinking blood as better than having sex and taking drugs, although Old World of Darkness vampires can't do the first (unless they are really weak vampires or use their blood to fuel the bodily act, but they're usually not interested anyway) and require roundabout methods for the second (they have to drink the blood of someone on the drug, which requires feeding).
Jack used to be a Pirate. Odds are he had his fair share of both before he was Embraced.
Bilingual Bonus: "The Deb of Night" radio can be this for non English-speaking players. The game has never been dubbed in other languages but exists in different subtitles languages... except the radio show hasn't been subtitled.
BFS: One of the many reasons no one messes with the Sheriff.
Bi the Way: Jeanette and Velvet. Also the main character if female.
The vast majority of females. And a very few males.
Blessed with Suck: While most vampires take a different view, some see their condition this way, and some of them are justified. Of particular note is Clan Malkavian, who have eternal life, kickass powers, and debilitating mental illness, and Clan Nosferatu, who have eternal life, kickass powers, and ugliness so horrific that they have to get around via sewer, because being seen would violate the Masquerade.
Malkavian Thin-blood Rosa got hit by this pretty hard, she got all the madness of a malkavian, and the vampire's thirst, but almost no benefits of actually being a vampire (Though, she can still see the sun and eat and drink mortal food, for all it's worth).
Ash Rivers feels like this VERY much. Especially the second time you see him.
Also, all vampires in this setting have to constantly deal with "the Beast", said Beast being a metaphor for their uncontrollable animal sides, so in order to keep the beast back, they have to avoid doing things like killing innocent people (people trying to take a tire iron to your skull are fair game, though). This is the in-universe justification for why the player has to keep his/her "Humanity" stat high, or else the player will "frenzy", which means he/she will go on a violent rampage with increased combat stats but no control over his/her movements.
Body of Bodies: The Tzimisce spider-creatures in the sewer; they're actually mashups of multiple human women.
One of which was pregnant. Was.
Body Horror: Headrunners. Spider Creations. Belials. Andrei the Tzimisce. Andrei's furniture.
Bonus Boss: An Expy of Devil Hunter Yohko named Yukie asks for your help in hunting down the Hengeyokai that killed her master. So you're probably thinking it's a werewolf or a kitsune or something or whatever. Nope, it's a 12-foot tall wereshark with armored skin, claws, and razor sharp teeth. And you have to keep it from killing Yukie during the fight. But your reward is an enchanted katana. If you did not follow Werewolf: The Apocalypse closely, you would probably be going WTF at this point and the game itself never really explains what the weresharks are or where they come from.
A Sabbat thug preparing to deliver a thrashing to your character (as soon as you go Downtown for the first time) looks over his shoulder into the camera and warns, "Those of you sitting in the first few rows will get wet..."
The Malkavian, when advised not to enter a dangerous hideout, can say, "I don't want to, but try telling the guy playing me that!"
If you stick around in the Convenience store in Hollywood long enough, the drunk will mention a "what if" scenario about being in a video game.
At the very end of the game, if you're friends with Mercurio, You can ask him about information on Troika Games(The company that made Bloodlines)
You can ask a seer a number of questions about the future, including whether you will win the game. She will reply I doesn't matter if you win the game, just that you bought it.
Considering she is propably a thin-blood malkavian, breaking the fourth wall with this fits them quite right.
If you use a mod or something to jazz up your starting stats, in your first conversation Jack will call you a cheater and give you the option of starting a new game.
But Thou Must: Justified: If the player character refuses to accept one of the main story quests from Prince LaCroix, he will use his powers to Dominate him/her into doing it. Which is actually rather sporting of him considering the usual punishment for insurrection against the Camarilla Prince is to be nailed to an east-facing wall and left out for the sunrise. It also makes telling him where to get off in most of the endings that extra-bit satisfying.
At the beginning of the museum mission, if you give him a hard time and refuse to accept it, he will just have the Sheriff throw you out of his office. If you go back up to the penthouse, he will just tell you that the car is waiting and everything resumes like you never made a fuss about it.
Camera Perspective Switch: The player can switch between first- and third-person views at any time, although certain contexts force one or the other.
Chekhov's Gun: A few more literal examples than usual: there's a knife on the Prince's table the whole game. It gets used in two of the endings, by you. Also, remember that grenade Nines showed off in his introductory cutscene? It's implied that it's what he used to kill the werewolf.
Chekhov's Gunman: Jack, the vampire that mentors you in the tutorial, and the cabbie that has driven you around the entire game turn out to be the orchestrators of the entire Ankharan Sarcophagus debacle.
The Chessmaster: Several of the NPCs are using the PC as a pawn in their own multi-layered schemes. The most notable would be "A Friend", who sends you chess analogies for what you're about to do next to you on your e-mail and is heavily implied to be either Smiling Jack, or the Cabbie.
Cloudcuckoolander: If the player chooses to be a Malkavian, he/she seems to be one of these.
As a Malkavian, different dialogue options are provided, some of which come close to Leaning on the Fourth Wall. Bizarre events can also occur. For example, it is possible to enter into an argument with a certain stop sign downtown ("No you stop!"); in addition, the newscaster in the in-game TV network will occasionally direct comments through his "fourth wall" at him/her, culminating in the Malkavian at one point being able to enter into a conversation with the newsreader.
Also, to some extent, Chunk.
Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth: Generally affords the player all three options, although choosing the latter two usually rewards the player with more experience or other bonuses. The shift towards combat-centred gameplay in the endgame was one of the game's most poorly received features.
Companion Cube: Those stop signs. "You've made a powerful enemy today, sign!"
Compelling Voice: Ventrue player characters get the option to use Domination in dialogue, sidestepping the need for social skills. Tremere also get Domination, and can even use it in conversation if you've got the unofficial patches installed.
Malkavians can do the same thing with Dementation, though their methods generally involve "convincing" the target the Malkavian is a T-Rex and they should run like hell.
Conspicuously Light Patch: Only if you want it; you need high Inspection to make gettable items shine. If you don't they'll look like any other piece of the background.
To add fuel to the fire, she's involved in only the earliest quests. Once you leave the starting area, she ceases to be involved in the plot to any extent and the player has no need to see her ever again. And that's assuming you didn't get her "killed".
Contract on the Hitman: Happens near the end, right before the final bosses; Prince LaCroix will call one on you. The only way to get it called off is to get to the final boss fights.
Cosmetic Award: A certain series of missions rewards the player with nothing but posters. Other quests also have effects minimal enough to bring their purpose into question.
Covers Always Lie: Jeanette is purposeful for only a small portion of the game and, depending on how you choose to deal with her and Therese, she may become Lost Forever.
Crazy-Prepared: The hunters in the Society of Leopold have stockpiles of guns and ammunition as part of their Survivalist Stash for fighting the forces of darkness during the end of days. This is fair enough, they are hunting deadly creatures of the night. But the boxes of tank shells? That might be a bit overkill.
Fight the Wereshark, and then tell them its overkill...Can't do it, can you?
Critical Existence Failure: Anyone whose blood you suck will be perfectly fine afterwards if you stop just the last second before their blood bar is empty. This likely falls under Acceptable Breaks from Reality, since the actual rules for the Tabletop point out that taking more than 30% of someone's blood (roughly 3 blood points for a normal person) will result in them needing immediate treatment at a hospital, while taking more than 70% will result in their death. However, it would be difficult to keep track of this gameplay-wise and would make losing humanity too easy.
The "blood gauge" from a victim while feeding could also be considered an abstraction, with the empty side of the gauge denoting the point at which the victim would require medical attention for blood loss.
Cultural Posturing: Ming Xiao is rather un-subtle in posturing about just how much better Kuei-Jin are to Kindred. If you play a Malkavian, you can throw her superiority about lacking "childish Caine superstitions" right back at her by name-dropping the big bad bogeymen of the Kindred of the East, like the Yama Kings and the Demon Emperor of the Sixth Age. Which freaks her out royally as, in their own worldview, the Fifth Age is about to end.
Cursed with Awesome: There's a few vampires that quite explicitly state they are very happy with their deal, noting that they have a shot at immortality complete with superpowers so long as they stay out of the sun.
Mitnick, the Nosferatu hacker, being the prime example. He states outright that his embrace was the best thing that's ever happened to him, because he got all kinds of new toys and lives forever. Even the hideous disfigurement due to being a Nosferatu doesn't bother him, because he said that he wasn't too good looking anyway. Although one has to say that he is not that bad looking, by Nosferatu-standards.
Most ghouls feel basically the same way. They have weaker powers and have to rely on a long-term relationship with a vampire, but they tan.
Cutscene Incompetence: The Kuei-Jin ending. Even with swords and guns pointed at them, a PC at this level could likely just tear Ming Xiao and her lackeys apart in an instant. Even so, they just submit and let themselves be thrown into the ocean.
Keep in mind that its quite difficult to restrain a vampire. Why? An innate ability of all kindred is to spend blood to enhance ones physical attributes. If they buff up strength far enough, there's a very real chance they can get out, or if they have Potence, its even easier.
Dark Action Girl: All female PC's. Brawl, melee, guns, psychic powers, bloodmagic: make your choice. They are all inevitable dark and capable of killing lots of things.
Max out your disciplines before asking Beckett for advice at Venture Tower, and he'll comment on how rare it is for a vampire to master their disciplines so soon instead of giving you advice and another dot in one.
If the player by any means manages to get artificially high stats at the beginning, Smiling Jack chews the player out.
And if you're playing Malkavian, you have the option to retort that the Malkavian Antidevelluvian, Malkav, changed them for you. This was actually added in the "Unofficial Patch".
When Jeanette asks you to slash some paintings and steal a donations box, you can comply and carry it out as normal, but since you're stealing from a charity, you'll lose humanity. If you refuse initially, Jeanette will re-affirm it's going directly to the vampire, and not to an actual charity, removing the "wrong" factor and thus the humanity loss attached to it.
The hated sewer level actually has chances to leave before completion, if the player is willing to explore a bit around the sewers. There are at least two doors that lead straight to the Hollywood sewer system.
It's possible to find two future boss fight characters, the serial killer and the wereshark, respectively hanging out in their human forms in a couple of restaurants. Attacking the former results in him assuming his war form and most likely killing you horribly. Attacking the latter just results in a fight with a stronger than average human that is entirely possible to win invoked bypassing the later fight with him entirely. It also grants less XP and a humanity loss.
The quest Replanting A Lily is a great example. The obvious solution is to send a girl from Asylum to the blood bank, but if you hold off on the quest you can instead send the annoying Masquerade-breaking ghoul Patti, killing two birds with one stone. Or you can avoid Humanity loss completely by sending the dismembering serial killer Gimble, which also saves you the trouble of having to fight him yourself.
During LaCroix's briefings, if you lose Masquerade points before talking to him, he will in some instance chew the player character for violating the Masquerade. If you only have one Masquerade point left, there is a special line in which he says that you'll be in big trouble if you only do it again once.
Disposable Sex Worker: Played pretty much straight. It's hardly a good idea to go around murdering prostitutes, but the consequences are entirely personal, not because anyone, you know, cares about the prostitute. If you remember to stop just before they cork it, you can go on a cheery prostitute-drinking spree to no penalties whatsoever.
Averted insofar as killing a prostitute will cost you just as much Humanity as killing any other person.
Door To Before: After you finally get through the Sewers into the Nosferatu hideout, you find a door that leads you straight back to Hollywood. Sure would have been nice if you could have just kicked that open from the other side!
Double Agent: Not only possible, but recommended, especially for the quest "Fun With Pestilence/A Plague for the Angels". That way, you get respect from both factions, double the experience, and an extremely useful magic item.
Down the Drain: The lengthy, obnoxious sewer-level. Also, the majority of the game if the player chooses to be a Nosferatu, who have to stick to the sewers to avoid violating the Masquerade.
Dude, Where's My Respect?: Just because you're supremely competent and capable of defeating supernatural horrors centuries older than yourself, don't expect that every other vampire (and a good number of humans) in the city will think twice about considering you their personal errand boy/girl. Some of the dialogue options lampshade this.
"Nobody tells me what to do! ...Actually, everyone tells me what to do. But this is my chance to get even!"
This eventually gets inverted later on, as the elders running the city start noticing how this days-old neonate manages to defeat things it should, by all rights, be insta-dusted by, and start treating you as someone they want on their side... or as someone they want ashed and out of the way before you can start biting the hands that feed you. Considering the modus operandi of the average elder, this is as close to a compliment as you're likely to get.
To his credit, Maximillian Strauss recognizes your potential immediately.
Earn Your Happy Ending: There are five endings, but four of them require you to fulfill certain requirements such as completing certain missions in a certain way or being polite to certain NPC's. Also, there are two final dungeons in the game, each with a very tough boss at the end. Two of the endings allow you to skip one of them. Both of those endings feature your character getting royally screwed over.
Easily Forgiven: Depending on your actions during the game, you may be given a chance to side with LaCroix in the end. Despite all the evidence that he was trying to kill you and framed you. But it doesn't end well. The same goes for Ming-Xiao if you discover her true goal before the end of the game, although in this case you may well be just Too Dumb to Live.
Emo Teen: Patty, the ghoul going cold turkey. An incredibly whiny character deliberately designed to be as annoying as possible. She needs to be executed for breaking the masquerade. You can off her in a dark corner or even send her to Pisha to get eaten. Of course killing her costs you humanity.
Ending Theme: "Swamped" by Lacuna Coil. Depending on who you ask, it either fits the game extremely well or not at all.
End of the World as We Know It: Through the course of the game, the news anchor on the television mentions various ominous things that imply the world is ending, such as a sea monster washing up in New England, freak sandstorms in the Middle East, and more mundane events like the collapse of the European Union.
Even Evil Has Standards: While the porn dealer isn't exactly evil, he certainly is rather sleazy, but when you ask him about the group of people making hardcore snuff films that are a lot more than just films, he makes it very clear that he doesn't want anything to do with people who'd do something so awful.
Everything Fades: Bodies fade, but bullet holes and blood spatters from fights remain.
As to why Andrei would even bother with this, there is a popular fan theory that Deb of night is actually a camarilla vampire who upholds the masquerade by ridiculing the numerous conspiracy nuts who call her show every night.
Faction-Specific Endings: The game has four faction endings (Camarilla, the Anarchs, LaCroix, and Kuei-Jin) plus the Lone Wolf ending. Although you only have to chose your final alliance in the endgame, several choices across the entire game limit your options.
Fan Disservice: So why exactly is it that the Clan cursed with perpetual, horrific ugliness has one of the skimpiest wardrobes of all playable characters, their males even dressing in skintight leather gimp suits?
Nosferatu love to freak out the norms.
Lampshaded by Fat Larry as he refers to the character as a "freaky S an' M gremlin."
Not to mention when the elegant Ming Xiao becomes a tentacular blob monster.
Fan Sequel: Any unofficial patches or mods that change the original game, although The Final Nights mod is more in line as a sequel.
Fanservice: The "posters" quests, whose only purpose is to give players the pictures of four hot NPCs chicks on the wall of their haven.
The female PCs have several outfits they can choose from to wear. The female Malkavian, in particular, has access to very fanservicy costumes, which can be viewed in, ahem, detail when playing in third person view.
Some of Heather's optional outfits after she becomes a ghoul are fanservice personified.
Jeanette, Velvet — really, virtually all of the major female NPCs, even the former model-turned-Nosferatu is kinda hot. Bonus points for Venus Dare's dropping of an f-bomb.
Female PCs when dancing at the various nightclubs.
Western vampires and Kuei-Jin have a mutual loathing. Vampires consider the Kuei-Jin to be untrustworthy "devils," while the Kuei-Jin are disgusted by the blood-borne curse of the Kindred and would like nothing better than to exterminate them.
Werewolves won't have anything to do with vampires and will try to kill them on sight, usually successfully.
Camarilla vampires hold the Sabbat in contempt, calling them shovelheads after an initiation ritual they use. The Sabbat have just as much vitriol for the Camarilla, whom they consider puppets of the Antedeluvians.
Even the different clans have some bad blood between them. The Gangrel have a not entirely undeserved reputation for being savages, although the most visible one in the game is anything but. The Nosferatu are somewhat shunned for their freakish looks and have a particularly cool relationship with the aesthetically focused Toreador. The Tremere's reputation isn't brought up as much in the game, but some dialogue options with Bertram and the gargoyle show that the clan is far from universally loved.
Final Death: Like in the source material, used as the term for a vampire being destroyed the point where no regeneration is possible. Also what happens to you every time you suffer Critical Existence Failure, even when the final sliver of health is removed by something a vampire would be able to regenerate from normally.
Finger Poke of Doom: Malkavians can kill enemies without even touching them, as long as they have enough Dementation points that Vision of Death is accessible. You just trigger it and the target drops dead in a second.
Flat Earth Atheist: Grout is convinced that there's a perfectly scientific explanation for vampires and all the supernatural things they can do, despite actually being a vampire. It's implied this is a manifestation of his Malkavian insanity.
If you ask the thin-blood seer on the beach to predict the future for you, she'll accurately predict the entire course of the game right up until the point where you have to make the choice that determines your ending. The way she describes it is so incredibly obtuse, however, that it sounds like gibberish unless you've already played through the game, in which case you can easily relate the vague imagery to important quests.
She's less vague if you ask her who you can trust, her answers obviously meaning no one but Mercurio and Beckett. Mercurio will support you through the end game if you've been decent to him, and Beckett warns you not to open the sarcophagus when he learns what's in it.
Playing a Malkavian after already finishing the games makes it clear that their dialogue option is full of these.
The one who has the pawn will win the whole board. note You are the Wild Card, and whoever gets you on their side will manage to win the game.
The Malkavian even adds more foreshadowing to the first example above:
Rosa: "You chased it for the one at the top of the city... on the sea... oh, underground... ha, you found it... in the crypt, heh... it's open... hoh, he... it's open... oh god, oh god, run!" Malk PC: "Yes. The tomb will light up the night sky."
In Hollywood, during a mission given by the local baron, you will find yourself in an internet cafe. In one of the corners of the cafe is a gaming rig which has a paused screenshot of a later area in the game, featuring a monster-miniboss you'll have to fight.
Possibly doubles as a Stealth Pun as well - in the very beginning of the game, when Jack is explaining the details of being a vampire to you, one line he can say to you is, "I'll tell you how jacked this whole situation is." Jack is the direct cause of the Ankaran Sarcophagus madness, having brought it to California and started all the rumours surrounding it. The situation - i.e. the entire game - is literally Jacked.
Not to mention it tends to get you more experience, items and allies. However, even the nicest vamps sometimes have to euthanize a sick puppy to avoid breaking the masquerade.
The Thin Bloods certainly qualify.
Funny Background Event: In addition to the Artificial Atmospheric Actions, the various computer terminals scattered throughout the game provide a lot of background information. This ranges from the entertaining (the corporate peon writing his manifesto) to the backstory-explaining (Yukie got to America by pretending to be in a foreign-study program) to the useful (blackmail material).
Furry Fandom: Mentioned in passing in the sex shop in Hollywood as the owner lists through the products he sells. It appears the Furry Fandom is popular enough to have its own porn movies selling in prominent sex shops. They also appear to have it confused with bestiality.
Gainaxing: The female Malkavian. Also Jeannette, Venus and Velvet. It's played for Nightmare Fuel with the "Spider Creation"'s pendulous breasts.
The Unofficial Patch is initially an unofficial patch which fixes a lot of bugs left uncorrected after the end of Troika Games, but it also restores content left in the data archives, moves some items, adds a few more XP gains (like when you free Ash from the Society of Leopold), and adds a brand new quest in a brand new area (the Downtown Library, a location cut during development).
Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: Camarilla Edition by Team Camarilla International is an overhaul of the gameplay mechanics, built on top of the Unofficial Patch. The game now has a timer which progressively drains the player character's blood pool, the health regeneration rate has been toned down (and isn't buffed up anymore when feeding), being low on blood automatically triggers frenzy every 30 seconds, bloddheal and bloodbuff are now disciplines which can be increased in the character sheet, the skill books have been replaced by online college courses, the Masquerade violations system has been changed, there are new quests, etc.
Vampire: The Masquerade: The Final Nights, also by Team Camarilla International, includes the Camarilla Edition changes. It also replaces the playable clans by seven brand new ones, adds new disciplines, new NPCs, new quests, some items are now impossible to find if the inspection feat isn't high enough, a couple of boss fights have been remade, etc.
The Clan Quest Mod offers a new quest for each Clan, a few new "evil" quests, and a "date" with a Kuei-jin lady. Plus, VV will dance for you if she likes you enough. It also allows the player to install a number of other mods along with it, including earlier versions of the Unofficial Patch and the Camarilla Edition, though it hasn't been updated for their newest ones.
Companion Mod allows to hire and be followed by NPCs (and to embrace humans).
The upcoming The Bloodlines Antitribu Mod, which will replace the 7 original clans with 7 new ones, add more quests, more areas, adding more player options for factions.
Gameplay and Story Integration: If you get Beckett to teach you about stuff, you'll get relevant stat bonuses. It's possible to get a bonus to Research by talking about possible origins of vampires, as well as an extra point to a discipline if you're playing a Gangrel.
Beckett: Try not to think about how much it's going to hurt. Remember, you're already dead. (+1 Fortitude)
Gay Option: The PC, male or female, has the option of seducing a number of women into willingly giving up their blood. Additionally, regardless of gender, the player can have a sexual encounter with Jennette Voerman. There is an opportunity for male PCs to seduce a stranded yuppie for his blood early on in Santa Monica.
It's possible to seduce the snobby restaurant critic Tommy Flayton in the A Dish Best Served Cold quest, regardless of gender, in order to complete to the quest. Afterward, when he offers to take the PC on a dinner date in West Hollywood, the (male) PC takes a rain check and promises to call him.
The long-running fan-made patches have enabled an option for males to offer their services to Romero in the graveyard just like females can.
As well as allowing the PC to actually feed from the aforementioned food critic after seducing him, also regardless of gender.
Genghis Gambit: LaCroix makes it look like you set up Anarachist figurehead Nines to get killed, allowing him to unify the Anarchs and Camarilla by making you a target..
A truly weird proper example, however, is the Sabbat Tremere one meets in the Hallowbrook Hotel. There is no backstory or exposition to his appearance and he is never mentioned again. What makes him so special, you may ask? First, the entirety of the Tremere Antitribu were wiped out through the influence of Antediluvian Tremere himself in 1998. Second, Clan Tremere is now *extremely* careful about protecting their knowledge and hunting down traitors. Third, Andrei, the local Sabbat leader, has a passionate hatred of the Tremere.
It actually can be explained: it's someone who learned Thaumaturgy, specifically the Path of Flame branch, from one of the Tremere Antitribu before the purge in '98. The fact that it's a recycled character model is just a gameplay limitation.
God Was My Copilot: That cab driver who's been ferrying you around all game is implied to be Caine. Especially fun if you play a Malkavian; the character actually figures it out and freaks out.
God may be Smiling Jack's drinking buddy, it seems.
Good Guns, Bad Guns: Given the setting, it is hard to determine which faction is good or bad, but a couple of guns commonly seen in antagonist hands fit the trope (although some examples don't):
Steyr AUG are used by the Society of Leopold (Hard-Coded Hostility faction), the Sabbat (idem), and a couple of Kuei-Jin met if you didn't ally with them (the faction which ending consists in them betraying the player character).
MAC-10 are used by mobsters, Sabbat, and the Society of Leopold.
Among aversions, there are mobsters armed with revolvers, and Nines Rodriguez uses a Desert Eagle during the cutscene in which he saves the player character from an encounter with the Sabbat.
Gratuitous French: Santa Monica art gallery, named "Gallery Noir" ("black gallery"). As French common names and adjectives have a gender, it should have been "Gallery Noire". It could also be noir as in film noir since the World of Darkness fits into that genre.
Gratuitous Italian: Used incorrectly with the Giovanni book "Voce del Morte" (which should be "Voce della Morte").
Gratuitous Japanese: Yukie - and the voice actress is extremely bad at it, getting some of the pronunciation completely wrong, particularly with trying to say "Los Angeles"Rozu Angerezu with a Japanese accent.
Gratuitous Russian: By mafiya goons. Voice actors are even worse than in Yukie's case. Boris is particularly awful at it, but all of the Russian voice acting is obviously done by people who never spoke Russian before.
Incidentally, as Dr. Gimble himself has a prosthetic arm (and in fact according to one dialogue option admits the injury was self-inflicted), it's entirely possible the arm he was hitting you with... was his own.
Another severed arm can be found in the Hollywood sewers. It belongs to an NPC that you talked to only moments before.
If you're a Tremere with level 5 Thaumaturgy, meaning Blood Boil, you can burst people into bloody piles of body pieces, and from some of those piles you can obtain a severed arm as well. Very neat indeed.
The closest thing the Hengeyokai can do is to throw huge, frozen tuna at you.
In the Nosferatu Warrens, the first "Tzimisce Spider Creation" encountered throws corpses at you'.
The Chiropteran Behemoth picks up random NPCs off the street below and hurls them at you. That's going to be hard to explain without breaking The Masquerade.
The Guards Must Be Crazy: The penalty for criminal trespassing? The police open fire on you on the streets of Los Angeles.
Barabbas, notably the only time in the game when you actually get anything resembling a party member.
Also, in the Unofficial Patch, if the player parts with the Japanese Demon Hunter on good terms, she will help you kick some Kuei-Jin ass in the Chinatown Temple level near the end of the game.
There is a mod which allows to have more than half of the game NPCs (humans, ghouls, or vampires) as followers, although the number of those who can be followers on the same time is limited.
Guide Dang It: The player has a very small window of opportunity for receiving the body armor, the best clothing item in the game, from Heather. There is no indication in the game that Heather has it (until the player talks to her, which he probably won't since there is no obvious reason to go back and do so) and the window of opportunity is right before she is killed, making the body armor permanently unavailable.
Gun Fu: Toreador have a natural talent for this since all their disciplines enhance gunplay nicely. And since combat becomes more prominent as the game progresses, it's highly recommended not to ignore your gun skills for too long.
Hair-Trigger Temper: Damsel. The PC can even tell her something along the lines of "Did you know you have easily pressed buttons?".
Mood-Swinger: With a single dialog option, she can swing from "You cammy fuck!" to "Hey, you're not so bad after all."
Hammerspace: It's unknown where the character can store pistols, shotguns, swords and fire axes on his person even when wearing just a sweatshirt and pants (or in the case of a Malkavian, nothing at all). It gets particularly ridiculous when Chastity, a vampire hunter posing as a stripper, manages to pull a katana out of her bikini.
Happiness in Slavery: Your ghoul, Heather. Although her "happiness" is purely artificial and beyond her control. The Blood Bond is a quasi-mystical connection forged from the moment she took her first drink of your blood, and is akin to passive mind control. This is why you'll notice her "loyalty" is almost pathological in nature, and gets more and more obsessive the more blood you feed her over time.
Hard-Coded Hostility: Of the four factions, the Camarilla, the Anarchs, the Kuei-Jin and the Sabbat, only the latter cannot be negotiated with, and one of the endgame missions requires the player character to eradicate them entirely.
Harmless Freezing: The quest with the Wereshark contains large tanks of (presumably) coolant that can be shot, freezing the monster if it is close enough. The freezing itself is harmless and the Wereshark thaws off quickly, but you can unload on it while it's frozen.
Justified in that were-creatures of most types in the World of Darkness are obscenely resilient to damage, healing just as quickly as they get hurt. The only thing they can't immediately shrug off are wounds caused by fire, silver (or gold in two cases), or the teeth and claws of other supernatural creatures. Freezing a were-creature solid would be a momentary inconvenience at best.
Hearing Voices: One of the ghosts in the Ocean House Hotel tries to be helpful, but mostly comes across as creepy. Also, the entire game can be filled with cryptic spoiler whispers if you pick Malkavian, though they're really easy to miss due to their comparatively low volume and infrequent timing.
Hell Hotel: The Santa Monica Ocean House Hotel was the site of the violent murder of a family by their father, and is still haunted by his and his terrorized wife's ghosts. The whole level is a Spiritual Sequel to The Shining.
Hellish Pupils: Beckett has these, but subverts the common intent of them by not being nasty per say so much as snarky. "Gleam of the Red Eyes," or "Eyes of the Beast" as the tabletop names it, is Gangrel night-vision, so it has a practical purpose, too. In Beckett's case, he actually can't shut it off; it's an animalistic trait that became permanent because of a frenzy he once succumbed to.
Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: Quite a few of the lead characters are actually accomplished enough liars to avert this. One of the callers to Deb of the Night hemms and haws over every detail of his reply about the "yacht club" he's at and his "two... not wait, three!" yachts.
Hero of Another Story: Beckett. He indeed is a prominent character in old-VtM backstory, participating in many high-profile events. In the game, he shows up from time to time to give player an occasional quest or piece of advice including a critical one towards the end, but is mostly absent on those other adventures of his.
Hidden in Plain Sight: In Downtown, a sidequest (given both by the Tremere Maximilian Strauss and by the Anarchs) requires to put an end to an epidemic plaguing the district (especially against the homeless people). Where can we find the ones who triggered this plague? In the building standing right in front of the Tremere Chantry.
Hypocritical Humor: When you're in Hollywood, you can visit an internet cafe. There's an 'Employees Only' door in there, next to which is a list of rules on the usage of the computers, with a prominent rule being 'No pornography'. Behind the door? An entrance to a pornography studio upstairs. Takes a very dark turn as it's not just a studio, it's a a base of operations for producers of extreme snuff movies.
I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Ash hates his sire, who rescued him after he almost died of a drug overdose, but this action rendered him unable to act, leaving him unfulfilled. It's extra heartstring-tugging because his sire, Isaac, is a kind, sentimental man who refuses to give up on Ash's well being.
Ill Girl: Heather Poe, when you first meet her, although she was technically hit by a car.
If you look in the computers at the clinic, you can see that they had time to diagnose and document her "lacerations, organ damage, and internal bleeding" but not enough time to cure her, but then again she's lucky to have survived the car crash at all. Doctor St. Martin mentions that they have way too many patients and that he's working on someone who was shot in the head, but still...
Implacable Man: The Werewolf. It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead... er. Or escape. Or use a game guide.
Improbable Power Discrepancy: In a few nights, the player is able to gain sufficient experience to overpower vampires hundreds of years his/her senior. Justified by the player's character being an 8th generation Kindred, which would explain great inherent power—there's also heavy implications that someone *coughCainecough* is cheating where the player character is concerned.
If LaCroix's failure to Dominate you isn't simply narrative convenience, then one interpretation is that your generation has dropped sharply since you saw him last. Even Andrei thinks something's up with you: "I recognized the smell of your blood, young Cainite—very potent, greater than our last meeting. I could smell it, even over the flood of my fallen brethren. Doesn't that make you wonder?"
Incendiary Exponent: At one point in the story, you can get set on fire repeatedly. Doing so drains your health bar rapidly (vampires are especially susceptible to fire), but touching human enemies while ablaze kills them immediately. Also, the image of a crazed Malkavian wielding a fire axe, while on fire, bursting out of an upstairs mansion window is absolutely awesome.
Infinity+1 Sword: The Tal'mahe'ra Blade, a mystical katana which deals aggravated damage. Can be found once in the "Hell at the Hotel Hallowbrook" miniquest, along with her gun equivalent, the Flamethrower.
Informed Flaw: It is actually quite hard to violate the masquerade by running around the streets as a Nosferatu so long as you watch where you're going. People don't seem to notice anything until you're close enough for them to smell your breath.
Ink-Suit Actor: Sort of. If you explore the Empire Hotel downtown, in one of the rooms you encounter a party where a woman on stage is singing the song "Smaller God" by the goth band Darling Violetta; the NPC resembles the band's lead singer on the recording, Cami Elen.
Interface Spoiler. It's best not to play Malkavian for your first run-through. Partly because the jokes are funnier when you know the subtext, but also because Malkavians know the answer before the question is even given. For instance, playing as a Malkavian when dealing with the Voerman twins, he'll flat out tell Jeannette that he knows she and her sister are two sides of a multiple personality... though he'll do it with a weird metaphor about Roman gods.
There's also the loading-screen tips, which change with each chapter. Many of them have implied spoilers. You've gone through 4/5 of the game without ever seeing a werewolf, and now the loading screen is telling you how fearsome they are? Not too subtle.
Somewhat more subtle however, is the appearance of Cain's backstory when your getting ready to drive around Los Angeles during the Endgame sequence. This does not make ANY sense, whatsoever, however the game otherwise implies that the Cab Driver is Caine himself. Ignoring later retcons, of course.
Ironic Echo: The last living member of the snuff film producers in Hollywood claim they only killed junkies and runaways, the something of society. The maker of the creatures that killed them claims he made the creatures out of the exact same thing.
Also, near the end, Ming Xiao tells the player that LaCroix sees the player as a liability, and warns that LaCroix will dispose of the player once he finds the right moment. She's the one who disposes of you in her ending once your usefulness is at an end, while in LaCroix's ending, he offers you a place at his side, but the both of you are disposed of for other reasons.
Irrelevant Sidequest: "Sorry Prince, I can't go look for the Sealed Evil in a Can right now. Some creepy shopkeeper wants me to steal the eyes off a corpse." Though most of them do give you useful cash or items.
It's Up to You: You are apparently the only agent (or at least the only competent agent) that Sebastian LaCroix has access to, despite his being a Prince, a Ventrue Elder, and rich enough to own the tallest skyscraper in downtown Los Angles. Also, in a city full of vampires that have been around the block a time or three-hundred, only you (a newly turned Childe) can defeat the ghosts/zombie cult/vampire-hunting fanatics/etc.
One of the Let's Play articles on this game raises a fair point: LaCroix is trying to kill you. He's sending you on exceedingly dangerous Suicide Missions ever since Nines' protest stopped him from publicly killing you. In his mind: you die, he wins. You succeed, he wins. Well, he is a Ventrue, and most older vampires would likely have the sense not to stick their necks out in the sort of missions you get assigned.
Plus, LaCroix isn't exactly respected. He's a very, very young Prince. It's only the Sheriff's imposing presence that keeps him in power. And you don't run into that many Camarilla sympathizers over the course of the game. And the most pro-Camarilla dude, Maximillian Strauss, the Tremere Primogen, will still happily see LaCroix's ass on a stick. And you're weak enough for him to Dominate into doing his dirty work, although the actual rules for Dominate make this inconsistent; see Improbable Power Discrepancy and Fridge Logic. Frankly, the Vampires in the area probably think its amusing to keep the Player alive, just so it'll stick in LaCroix's craw.
Talking to Smiling Jack will reveal he knows LaCroix is trying to kill you. He also discusses how young and desperate the Prince is.
I Was Quite a Looker: Gary, formerly a famously handsome movie star, and Imalia, once a model, are now Nosferatu, hideously disfigured by their vampiric condition.
Imalia is understandably bitter about this. Gary seems oddly unbothered (though he's had at least a few decades to adjust).
Jiggle Physics: The game has numerous female models for the player to control, depending on what type of vampire he/she chooses. Oddly, only some of these have jiggle physics - others appear to have breasts made of solid metal.
Any character with breasts of the "jigging" type can have her breast size adjusted with a console command.
Which can be very confusing for those who type in "money 1000" expecting to receive 1000 dollars, only to find that all the women suddenly have ridiculously large polygons protruding from their chests.
Jive Turkey: Fat Larry, who would like you to know that that's 'fat' with an F-A-T because he knows he has a weight problem, but just doesn't give a fuck. Or, if you're a female player character, he knows he has a weight problem but there's more of him to love.
Justified Tutorial: The PC is turned into a vampire, has his/her sire killed in front of them, is nearly killed him/herself, and is summarily dumped into the street with a "Don't call us, we'll email you." Luckily Jack is waiting outside. He kindly deigns to teach you how to maul pedestrians for their bodily fluids, as well as how to beat things to death with a tire iron when the Sabbat crash the tutorial.
Karma Meter: Two — your humanity rating and your masquerade rating. Sometimes they conflict.
Karmic Death: Phil, The Butt Monkey assistant at the blood bank gets drained of blood by the female vampire Vandal was using as a blood source. Then there is the snuff-film maker who gets torn apart by one of Andrei's creatures. A dialogue option can even point out the karmic justice of it. And last, but by no means least, LaCroix opening the box.
This is very likely to be your character's fate if you are too much of a bastard, since you cannot resist the temptation to open the sarcophagus if your humanity is too low.
Katanas Are Just Better: One of the best melee weapons in game. You can find a superpowerful one during the sidequest Hell at the Hotel Hallowbrook, somewhere inside the abandoned hotel filled to the brim with Sabbat vampires, ghouls and Andrei.
Kick the Dog: The fate of your ghoul if they remain with you late in the game.
And if that's not creepy enough, wait until you see what he meant by "precautions to protect my beloved wife"—her corpse is sealed inside a huge Victorian belljar, surrounded by objects from her childhood and their courtship.
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the Asp Hole club, there is a NPC complaining that the club always plays the same music. Ingame, each area has one looping musical ambiant track (two if you take the combat music in account), including the night clubs and the Last Round bar, which use real songs for the musical ambiance of the areas.note "Isolated" by Chiasm in The Asylum, "Bloodlines" by Ministry in Club Confession, "Lecher Bitch" by Genitorturers in The Last Round, "Cain" by Tiamat in the Asp Hole, and "Pound" by Aerial in the Glaze Club
Lesbian Vampire: Jeanette can even sleep with a female player character (if you have enough seduction) while Velvet will even go as far as sending you e-mail with hammy love poems all the time. Also the female player character (not Nosferatu) can seduce young girls and such.
There's a completed Let's Play of a Male Malkavian by darkchiron that can be found here. It's really quite good.
There's also a screenshot Let's Play of this game done by a user named "Pesmerga" over at the Let's Play Archive. He plays as a male Tremere, but in a twist, he doesn't pick the "Maximilian Strauss ending" because Strauss was initially rude to him for not having been embraced within the pyramid. Who does he ultimately side with? The Anarchs!
Cry has done a Let's Play as a female Malkavian named 'Hopsfy'. Found here.
Lost Forever: There are several areas which can be accessed only one time (the Museum, the Giovannis Mansion, the Hollowbrook Hostel, the Monastery, etc), and most of them feature unique items which give stat boosts, tomes permanently increasing stats/skills, or sidequest-related items.
MacGuffin: The Ankharan Sarcophagus. Averted in a most hilarious manner in any ending that involves someone opening the thing.
The Mad Hatter: Malkavians know they're insane, which leads to some amusing dialogue options if the player chooses that clan. For example, instead of telling someone they're crazy, you can say "Your insanity surpasses my own!"
Usually the alternate dialogue is quite amusing/interesting, but sometimes it can make it hard to tell the difference between the "sure I'll help" and "screw you" dialogue options. Which can be a bit awkward at times. It's best to play through the game as a sane clan first.
Interestingly, the Malkavian seems to get more coherent over the course of the game.
Mad Oracle: Inspect the Malkavian dialogue options after running through the game, and realize that you're actually guessing at what's going on...and almost always right.
To drive the trope even further, Pisha and Strauss more or less outright state that the Malkavian him/herself doesn't even know what's going on: They start seeing things and babble about their visions without comprehending their context or what they mean. Given that a Malkavian PC is just as surprised by all the plot twists as all the other characters, despite having spoiled several of them in advance with their visions, they're probably right.
The Maze: To a small extent, part of the sewers on the way to the Nosferatu hideout.
Mercy Kill: During the final raid on the Sabbat HQ, you can find human cattle who have been tortured by them (including having their eyes eaten). The game treats draining them dry or killing them in general to be a mercy kill, as you suffer no humanity loss at all.
Multiple Endings: Depending on your choices, there can be several different endings:
LaCroix ending: In one of the biggest examples of videogame protagonist stupidity ever, you remain loyal to Prince LaCroix, kill Ming Xiao for the sarcophagus key and return to LaCroix, who promises to make you his top agent once he uses the sarcophagus' presumed power to become all powerful...only for both of you to be killed when the sarcophagus' C4 goes off.
Camarilla/Strauss ending: You expose LaCroix and Ming Xiao's plot to Maximilian Strauss, who then orders you to deal with them both. You kill Ming Xiao and the Sheriff, and LaCroix is arrested for his crimes. Strauss becomes the new leader of LA's Camarilla and appoints you as his right hand. As for the sarcophagus, Strauss decides its not worth the risk and orders it sealed away.
Anarch ending: Comes in two flavors. At the end, you decide to ally with Nines and, at his behest, kill Ming Xiao and depose LaCroix. At the end, depending on your choices, you either leave the sarcophagus key with the dying LaCroix, who is summarily incinerated by the C4 (good ending), or you decide to take the sarcophagus for yourself, and both of you are incinerated (bad ending). In the end, Nines takes control over LA, and The Stinger reveals that Jack and Caine orchestrated the entire thing.
Lone Wolf/Independent ending: In a particularly ballsy move, you decide not to ally with anyone, instead resolving to make your own path in (un)life. You kill Ming Xiao and the Sheriff, and the confrontation with LaCroix is nearly identical to the good and bad Anarch endings, depending on your choice. In the good ending, Nines offers you a place with the Anarch, but you decline most elegantly and leave the city for parts unknown.
My God, What Have I Done?: The Toreadors humanity shifts are always doubled. So they'll probably react like this if they kill an innocent or perform humanity-losing feats.
My Master, Right or Wrong: You have the option of treating LaCroix like this, defending him against his detractors despite everything he does to you.
Venture Tower, LaCroix's base of operations in Downtown L.A, as well as being close to being named Ventrue Tower, looks pretty much as the old V:TES card Ventrue Headquarters did. Blending in so well.◊
New Game+: Finish the game with any character, then immediately start a new game with a new character with that exact same name, gender, and clan. Your character will start out in a grey box-like area where you immediately gain infinite XP, allowing you to max out everything. Leaving the box then starts the game normally. Jack won't call you out on it either, meaning it's either an unintentional bug or an intentional example of this.
Picking Clan Malkavian on a second playthrough is also considered a major New Game+ among the fanbase.
New Powers as the Plot Demands: The PC is a peculiar example of this. Because you spend XP directly on your skills and abilities, and because you can do so instantaneously, you can save your XP until you run into a task that you cannot do, and then spend XP you have accumulated to increase the requisite ability to the point where you can succeed. So, for example, if you run into a lock you can't pick or a computer you can't hack, you can spend some of your accumulated XP to increase your security or computer skill, or whatever the ability in question may be, and so succeed at the task. As such, this gives you this trope, in effect.
The Nicknamer: The Malkavian almost refuses to call anybody by their real name.
No Canon for the Wicked: Averted. The novel Gehenna: The Final Night loosely follows on from the game, but the only game ending which is at odds with the novel is the Strauss/Camarilla ending. Any of the other four could still potentially be canon, as the issue of the PC's fate never comes up.
No Fair Cheating: If you cheated your stats higher than possible, before meeting Jack for the first time, he will comment on this and tells you to redo the character creation process fairly; however, you can tell him that it's part of a mod.
If you're playing a Malkavian and installed the Unofficial Patch, you can insist Malkav changed your stats. (Malkav is an antediluvian and the original founder of the mad clan.)
On the other hand, in some locations if a "no clipping" cheat code is entered, and the player enters into the area where the TV newscaster is located, quite often a small amount of money can actually be found in the room for pick-up.
There are a couple of instance when completing a quest grants a free point in a specific skill (financial if you convince Fat Larry to give you a discount before accepting the "Traffik" quest, computer if you bring back the CD to Bertram, firearms from Romero if you complete either "You Only Die Once a Night" or "Pimpin' For Romero", etc).
In the mods Camarilla Edition and The Final Nights, the NPC Akeem adds a new discipline (normally not accessible to your clan) in your character sheet as a quest reward.
Nothing Is Scarier: A very good example. There are two levels where you just can't help thinking about dangers you've never seen before that must wait around the corner. Which never appear. The first one is Ocean House Hotel, a Haunted House which actually poses no danger except some "environmental hazards" (like tableware jumping at you, Deadly Gas or falling elevator), though you can actually see the ghost of the killer stalking you if you look carefully (but he never does anything), and the second is the Abandoned Hospital, where all the strange events turn out to be the work of a flesh-eating vampire, who is not hostile towards the player.
Though, the second example can be a fairly challenging Bonus Boss if you happen to be inclined to attack her.
There's something down in the Hollywood sewers, other than vampires and their work, judging by the abandoned logs of the supervisors. What is it? You never find out.
Though the implication is the Nosferatu did it.
Notice This: The main function of the Inspection feat (and why many people consider it useless).
The Final Nights adds some importance to the Inspection feat by making the spawning of items lying in the outside areas depending on the feat's level.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Knox can play you like a fiddle. Unless you can perceive his bullshit (read: Your Perception must be three or higher.)
The Malkavian PC can be a lot more sly than he leads on for his gibbering, sometimes childlike demeanor and as mentioned above, seems to get a bit more lucid as the story get farther in (though the latter may be due to the rush for release).
Omnicidal Maniac: The plaguebearers. All three of them are good examples of what happens when a vampires humanity is completely abandoned.
Omnicidal Neutral: At the end you have to choose whether to side with LaCroix, Strauss, Nines, or Ming Xiao; which choices are available depends on their actions up to that point. They always have the option of siding with nobody and taking out both the Camarilla and Kuei-Jin.
One-Winged Angel: The Hengeyoukai, Andrei's War Form, Ming Xiao's evil blob form, the Gangrel serial killer and The Sheriff's Chiropteran Behemoth.
The Password Is Always Swordfish: In every computer you hack, you find them. So much, in fact, that if you have a password list handy, you don't even need to spend points to raise your Hacking featnote There is at least one mod (Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: Camarilla Edition) which changes some of the passwords, among other gameplay modifications. Also, the password is most of the time an existing word (instead of a random string of digits and letters), which is often related to the place where you find the computer, like "optometry" to disable cameras in the hospital, "sinner" to read some files in the computer of the peep-show owner, or "autopsy" to access (and delete) the results of experiments on vampires in the Fu Syndicate building.
The trope is lampshaded in an office of Kamikaze Zen, where there is a mail of a programmer complaining that his boss password is the man's surname with the letters scrambled.
Pineapple Surprise: "Nines" Rodriguez saves the PC from a gang of Sabbat shovelheads by threatening them with a grenade.
Point of No Return: The game lets you wander freely through unlocked areas right up until Griffith Park. Once you head off for that quest, you're locked into a sequence of three to four endgame missions. The game does allow you to buy blood, weapons and so on in between stops.
Polar Opposite Twins: Jeanette (the nymphomaniac party-girl) and Therese (the strait-laced businesswoman) Voerman. Jeanette is obviously Malkavian, which makes Therese the same as the PC learns that the latter is the former's sire. The player later learns they are actually the same vampire; Jeanette is a Split Personality, the manifestation of Therese's Malkavian insanity and the result of her disassociation from being molested by her father as a child.
Interestingly enough, Therese always stands on the left side of the room's screen, as in left-brain, and Jeanette always stands on the right. When she's having her Freak Out!, she stands in the middle.
There's a subtle warning - for anyone who's paid close attention or knows the setting - that there's more than mere sibling rivalry at play, because one of the sisters mentions having Embraced the other, which means they can't be of different clans.
If you are a Malkavian you know from the spot that they are the same person, though it is cleverly hidden in the very colorful speech and almost impossible to get during your first playthrough. The Malkavian calls Jeanette and Therese the white and black daughter of Janus respectivly. Janus is a roman god with two faces.
Power Born of Madness: Malkavians, obviously. Their powers range from seeing bits from the past and future to being able to induce their insane thoughts into anyone they choose, provided it's not a very powerful or strong willed individual.
Pragmatic Adaptation: Of the Storyteller roleplaying system. Manipulation, your social dexterity - one of your most important abilities - is used purely to influence your haggling score. And there are no willpower points, virtues, or vices - instead you have Blood Buff, which is the Storyteller system's spending-blood-to-increase-stats ramped Up to Eleven. But the degree to which they simplified the system without losing most of the coolness of it makes it a good change in general.
The Malkavian also gives a straight answer to Gimble blurting that he loves the vamp's arms and simply must have them: "NO."
Played totally straight, however, with Venus, the owner of Club Confession downtown asks you to kill Boris (doubles as Fanservice thanks to being spoken by a sexy character with a posh British accent):
Venus: I refuse to...fuck...that fat, misogynistic old man one more time to hold on to the club. So I need someone to eliminate him.
Also, a Precision D-Strike occurs in the Giovanni mansion if you try to seduce Mira Giovanni while playing a female character: she says something in Italian, pauses, and then looks at you and says "Dyke."
Psychic-Assisted Suicide: The Suicide and Mass Suicide powers of the Dominate discipline. Note that this is mostly there for Rule of Cool, as Tabletop rules explicitly state that you can't use Dominate to order someone to do something that directly goes against their instincts of self-preservation.
Puzzle Boss: The werewolf in Griffith Park is completely invincible, so you can either evade it until the tram returns (thankfully it's not very smart, although it can tear doors to pieces, leading to hilarious Oh Crap moments) or you can find another way to deal with it... If you're curious, you can smash him between a particular door.
Rag Doll Physics: So much so that enemies go flying at even a single hit and you'll often have to wait for them to get up just to hit them again.
Regenerating Health: The player character's health regenerates (very, very slowly) over time, and takes even longer after receiving aggravated damage. Feeding will accelerate the process dramatically. Several of the patches restore a Dummied Out discipline called "Blood Heal", which briefly accelerates the process also.
Revolvers Are Just Better: Subverted. The .38 revolver has very poor accuracy and does low damage, though this could possibly be attributed to the game engine. Played straight with the Colt Anaconda.
Right for the Wrong Reasons: Alastair Grout's logs initially paint him as surprisingly lucid for his dismissal of much outdated Freudian theory - only for him to express his longing for the days when phrenology was all the rage.
Room Full of Crazy: The prosthetics lab. Pictures of extreme bondage on the walls with the eyes and mouths crossed out (It's research for torque, apparently), huge bloodstains, torture tools in neat little rows all over the place, and it's such a long area with so many downward staircases and down ramps and side rooms that by the time you fight the guy you're totally freaked out. Which makes him kind of a letdown in the end.
It's really an interesting bit of meta-horror; the only reason we're not terrified out of our wits by Gimble is that he's bitten off way more than he can chew.
Rule 34: In-Universe. Gary Golden is the quest giver of a minor sidequest which allows to exchange some trinkets against sexy posters of most of the female vampire NPCs of the game (usually when they were still alive), which are then used to decorate the walls of your haven.
In a minor side-quest in Hollywood, LaCroix asks you to make a critics review of an Italian restaurant to be a bad one. If you are playing Malkavian and have enough dots in Dementation discipline you can use "Maggots. You are eating maggots." Line from '87 movie about vampires — The Lost Boys.
Tommy Flayton: This place will pay for this! As sure as my name is Tommy Flayton, they'll never serve food in this town again! Malkavian PC: How could they do that to you? I bet they didn'tget that idea from a movie.
Mitnick the computer hacker is a reference to Kevin Mitnick, previously one of the world's most notorious social engineers. He now runs an IT security consulting service.
The clock in the PC's apartment had a brand name printed on it, said brand name being "Zaphod".
There's a reference to Futurama in the Santa Monica health clinic: if you examine the patients' files on the doctor's computer, one of them suffers from frequent bouts of sexlexia.
You can also use Zapp Branningan's classic pick-up line—"I find the most erotic part of a woman is the boobies"—on a would-be Blood Doll in Hollywood. It works about the same as it did for Kif.
Also in the Santa Monica health clinic's computer, you find a listing of doctors, including a Dr. Roberts, who has never lost a patient. The file notes that "No one can succeed like Dr. Roberts."
And, of course, the Italian Giovanni's desire for an "endless night".
Perhaps more subtly, if you choose to save Heather Poe by giving her your blood, the cutscene goes through the exact motions of the scene in Interview with the Vampire (The Movie) where Lestat Embraces Claudia.
There's also a one armed man named "Gimble" who turns out to be a serial killer. Sound familiar?
The network you set up for Mitnick in one of the sidequests (on which all the in-game Nosferatu, save for your PC if applicable, have e-mail accounts) is called "Schreck Net", a clear reference to Max Schreck, who played Orlok in... Nosferatu.
One of the computers in the Ground Zero internet café contains a directory featuring short biographies of famous Hollywood actors, all of whom are thinly-disguised expies for their real-life counterparts (Jon Revolta, for example, had his bio removed at the request of the Church of Solicitology). Even a minor character, Ash Rivers, is a stand-in for Robert Downey, Jr.: Rivers is a successful Hollywood actor with a history of problems with drink and drugs, whose star-making role was in an L.A.-set drama film called Negative Zero.
His name is a reference to River Phoenix; at one point, the Malkavian PC can refer to him as a phoenix in dialogue.
The bum with the "End Is Near" sign is actually shouting the lyrics to "The Dead Flag Blues" by Godspeed You Black Emperor!. In particular, he screams about "The sewers are all muddied with a thousand lonely suicides!"
A very subtle one, but everyone who has ever taken a contracts class in law school will recognize the name McGee, from the famous case Hawkins v. McGee. McGee was a doctor who operated on Hawkins, promising to remove a scar from his hand by means of a skin graft, but who instead mutilated his hand. In the game, McGee is instead one of the victims of Gimble, who cuts pieces off of him.
Also, its implied that Caine has been lowering your generation to help you out. So even the EXPERIENCE AND DISCIPLINE SYSTEM is explained within the plot.
Beyond that, one of the designers mentioned in an interview how Jeanette/Therese developing an alternate personality as a way to cope with childhood sexual abuse is based on the known mechanic of how Dissociative Identity Disorder develops in real life.
Signs of the End Times: This game runneth over with all kinds of approaching apocalypse signs. Turns out, most of them are fake or just misinterpreted, even though the Gehenna really is approaching fast.
Slobs Versus Snobs: The preoccupied-with-beauty Toreador versus the clobbered-with-an-ugly-stick Nosferatu. Also, the Ventrue "blue bloods" versus the Brujah "rabble."
If you're playing a Toreador or Ventrue, the first thing out of your mouth upon first seeing Gary is "you are the vilest creature I've ever seen", despite he being downright handsome by Nosferatu standards. This comes after Gary informs you that:
I want to stick your lovely face in a piranha tank; I want to apply an acid glaze to your sculptured body; I want to throw your pocket mirror under a thresher and watch you fetch it.
Smug Snake: LaCroix is a perfect example of this trope - a powerful, cunning, self-satisfied individual who is clearly a Magnificent Bastard wannabe... but somehow doesn't appear to be really up for the role, often losing his cool and being generally distrusted or despised by pretty much every other NPC in the game, good or evil. It's worth noting that in spite of being the Big Bad in almost every ending, he is not even worth a boss fight - you face his Dragon instead.
Source Music: A lot of the game's music is actually heard over in-game radios or being played in clubs.
Spiritual Successor: As noted above, both in gameplay and the general feel and atmosphere of the world, the game is strongly modeled on Deus Ex.
Straw Critic: The Toreador, as ever. "Who's going to organize art shows without the Camarilla? You? Free mud wrestling for everyone!"
Stripperiffic: The female Malkavian's armor graphics are all literally stripper outfits. Somehow this manages to be more disturbing than erotic (though many would say the opposite). There's nothing quite like beating somebody into submission with a fire axe while wearing a sexy cop outfit and giggling maniacally the whole time.
Suicide Mission: Prince LaCroix keeps sending the player on Suicide Missions to get rid of you without sparking a civil war with the Anarchs.
Sun Glasses At Night: Most notably Beckett wears his shades always. Justified in that he uses it to hide permanent inhuman-looking eyes and can see perfectly well in the dark. Some others apply too, including certain clan/gender/clothing combinations of the player character.
When asked to confess his or her darkest secret, one of the confessions the player can choose is having "voted Republican".
Venus: "Oh, I don't think I have anything that can wash that particular kind of sin."
One NPC questgiver tells you of a human she knows writing a movie script about "secret societies" of things that go bump in the night and powerful elders ruling the world from behind closed doors. It's blatantly obvious that what she's really saying is "this human is being fed information on our society and is writing a movie about it." One of your possible responses is, "What? He's writing a movie about the Bush Administration?"
The quest could also be a Shout-Out/Take That to Kindred: The Embraced, the much maligned VtM-inspired TV show.
After scamming one of the thin-bloods, you have the option of telling him that the President is the head vampire.
Two to Valve Software, who requested the game be delayed so that Half-Life 2 would be the first game on the market using the Source engine, as computer passwords in the museum: valveleaks, steamblows. Kinda ironic given that it's now sold on Steam, but hey.
It is possible to try buying a nuke from Mercurio. Here is his answer:
Only a lunatic'd want that kind of ordnance. That's why they got'em in Washington.
Talkative Loon: The Malkavian PC's dialog, sadly unvoiced as they're the best lines in the game.
That Woman Is Dead: Talking to Velvet Velour as a Malkavian lets you ask her why she doesn't use her real name Susan. Velvet reacts by speaking coldly about Susan in the third person as a "weak woman who died".
You can also invoke it literally when attempting to convince Samantha (a friend from your living days) that you're not...you.
To Be Lawful or Good: Comes up sometimes when someone has seen behind the masquerade, and the player must choose to kill an otherwise innocent to uphold the masquerade (sacrificing humanity to uphold Kindred law) or let them go and risk a masquerade violation (violating Kindred laws but being more humane.) The penalties for either are defused somewhat by the fact the game offers many opportunities to regain lost humanity or masquerade points.
Helping the Kuei-Jin. Of course, you can't die so you just end up living forever in a box beneath the ocean.
Prince LaCroix, as well.
None of the factions can really match the utter foolishness of the Society of Leopold. Their 'field agents' dress like your typical cliche oWoD character, making them stand out like sore thumbs; their base is littered with ammo crates for the benefit of invaders; the actions of the hunters are so stupid, it gets lampshaded; and their laser trip-wires, instead of simply setting off alarms, detonate rigged explosives inside their own quarters - and are comically easy to turn against them.
Troll: Andrei, of all people, calls into The Deb of Night and trolls the host in one of the late-game broadcasts. He does this by speaking entirely truthfully (or at least the truth as he sees it) about current events the regular humans don't see, mostly signs of Gehenna.
Gorgeous Gary hasn't evolved beyond the joys of trolling either, boss.
Tsundere: She's no ones Love Interest by any means, but Damsel is a cute example of this trope that consists of 97% tsuntsun and 3% deredere. If you go anarch in the finale and Damsel sees you survived the werewolf attack she honestly sounds like she wants to hug you...for a fraction of a second.
Twist Ending: In the independent and Anarch endings, you hand LaCroix the key to the Ankharan Sarcophagus if your humanity's up to snuff (probably realizing that thing contains more trouble than it's worth). When he opens it to diablerize the ancient vampire within, the box contains... Half a ton of C4, a timer counting down from '5', and a note saying "BOOM! :) Love, Jack". Cue maddened laughter from LaCroix, and likely from the player too. The actual occupant of the sarcophagus, a perfectly inert and ordinary mummy, is seen "hanging" with Jack on a hill outside of town.
Undeathly Pallor: Naturally. Vampires are gray, largely since the standard Caucasian mortal model is pretty pale already.
The female Malkavian PC's so white, it looks like she uses white pancake on her face.
Underground Level: The Nosferatu hideout, after the sewers, though it is not so much a level as it is a town.
Undying Loyalty: Should you choose not to report his failure, Mercutio shall be your most solid ally throughout the entire game, setting you up even for elite weapons and armor near the endgame.
Ungrateful Bastard: Kiki, a girl that got kidnapped by the Tong crime gang; as you brave gunfire to reach her prison which is a boarded up closet, all she does is scream at you and call you all sorts of names even after finding out you're not part of the Tong. It gets to the point where you can basically tell her "Shut up or I'll shove your ass back in that closet."
The Uriah Gambit: There are several characters who would quite like to kill you, but can't for political reasons; so they send you on suicide missions instead. Most notably, Ming Xiao (it's not personal; she just hates your species) and Prince LaCroix, whose pride was hurt when Nines interrupted your execution.
Vampires Own Night Clubs: "Asylum", owned by Therese and Jeanette Voerman, "Asp Hole", owned by Ash, "Vesuvius", (a strip club) owned by Velvet Velour, and "Confession", which can be co-owned by the Player Character.
Violation of Common Sense: So, when was the last time a game gave you one of the best possible endings for handing the Big Bad the MacGuffin he needs for his Artifact of Doom and then just leaving? note Yeah, the PC had been warned by that point that the sarcophagus would be bad news for anyone opening it, but they still could not know that it wouldn't involve a pissed-off ancient tearing said opener apart and then going on a bloody rampage around the city, so it was still quite a risk to take.
Please note everyone in the game with some sense of wisdom from Beckett to Rosa has told you do not open it.
For all final levels too. There is a plethora of ways to get through first quests, including talking your way through half of them. But the final quests are always a massacre and if you can't fight, you are screwed.
We Can Rule Together: In the endgame, the player can possibly get this offer from LaCroix, Ming-Xiao and Strauss. Strauss, however, is the only who have both the will and opportunity to stay truth to his word, and names the player his second-in-command. Allying with LaCroix will lead to both the player and him getting killed, and Ming-Xiao will subject the player to a Fate Worse than Death.
Weird Moon: In the World of Darkness, the moon's craters resemble not so much a face or a rabbit, but a skull.
White-Dwarf Starlet: Gary Golden is a male version of this. His career was abruptly ended by his transformation into a hideous Nosferatu and now he lives in the sewers, dressed in a tuxedo and surrounded by decaying relics of his Glory Days, including two corpses stuffed into costumes.
And Ash, who used to be an actor but now can't act as he's a vampire. He's become a club owner and minor celebrity. Not as bad as Gary perhaps, but a lot more Angst.
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Malkavians. Some less than others, but all inevitably have at least one mental illness. Of course, some might not even seem insane, but the player is one of the worst cases. Which, considering the dialogue you get, is pretty funny.
Xanatos Gambit: There is literally no possible ending to the game that does not benefit Jack and Caine. LaCroix will die, whether by C4 or by execution. The mildest fate LaCroix can possibly suffer is getting arrested in the Camarilla ending, and even then it is implied that he will most likely be sentenced to death.
Yes But What Does Zataproximetacine DO: WARNING: The Surgeon General Has Determined That Cigarette Smoking Can Cause Cancer, Lung Disease, Emphysema, Diarrhea, Jock Itch, VD, Alien Invasion, Swamp Foot, and May Lead to the Death of Cute Little Puppies.
You Bastard: Some quest log entries will chew you out, for instance, if you let the Serial Killer go without talking him out of it first, the questlog will ask if you're feeling proud of yourself now.
You Suck: Humorously, this can be done by the player; depending on who he/she sides with at the end of the game. Should one decide to go it alone, you even get to do it to all the major factions who have tried to use you throughout; anditisglorious.
And, well, this is a game about vampires...
Zombie Apocalypse: Averted: the CDC has the outbreak pretty firmly locked down by the time you show up. The only reason you care, in fact, is not that that the zombies might get out and spread, but rather that the CDC might do such a good job dealing with the zombies that they could figure out who - or rather what - is really behind it.
There is another one in the cemetery that one ghoul is containing by himself. If you agree to cover for him the task is almost impossible as their numbers increase exponentially trying to break down two separate gates it takes time to travel between.