As in many western RPGs, there is a Haggle skill that can get you better prices in stores. But what use is haggling in modern-day America, where prices are fixed? It seems silly until you realise that every single "store" in the game is one where haggling would logically be permitted. You buy things from a pawn shop and out of the back of a truck. Even the petrol station's gear is being sold "unofficially" by one of the employees, while Vandal's blood-bank operation is obviously illegal.
A fine example is exemplified by the Voerman sisters. Therese, who claims to have sired Jeanette, is acting in a manner completely different from her sister and childe, acting in a typical Ventrue manner and personality while her sister is anything but. Then it is revealed that the two are actually two distinct personalities of the same person, who turns out to be Malkavian. This also justifies how the two personalities fit into the stereotypes of two completely different clans in spite of the fact that one sired the other, in that she obviously has to have a few screws loose to connect the two personalities under the same bloodline.
Related, when Terese and Jeanette are arguing in the final confrontation, the camera shows Therese on the right side of her face, and Jeanette the left side. The right side is attributable to logical thinking, while the left is artistic.
There's a good chance the player will realize the Stealth Pun at work before the Player Character brings it up in dialogue: the Lunatics [in this case, a nickname for Clan Malkavian] are running The Asylum.
While the were-shark quest may seem to come out of nowhere, by the book canon, it is surprisingly thorough and plausible. The wereshark is a Same-Bito, a hengeyokai variant of the Rokea (weresharks). Same-Bito, unlike regular rokea, have taken time to try and adapt to the life on the surface. Hengeyokai also are far more likely to deal with Kuei-Jin on neutral terms, unlike western shifters and kindred.
Why does LaCroix insist that you look at him when you tell him that you saw Nines Rodriguez leaving Grout's mansion? Dominate requires eye contact, and the Prince wants to be absolutely sure he's getting the truth of the matter. Or rather, what he wants you to see.
The Elisabeth Dane, a ship where the Ankharan Sarcophagus was discovered had all its crew slaughtered before the rest of the plot happened. The endings in which you discover what is in the sarcophagus seem to come out of nowhere unless you remember that Jack used to be a pirate. Yes, that, turns out to have been an actual hint.
The entire Malkavian route is full of Fridge Brilliance, because a good part of the story is hidden away in the twisted conversations before anything happens. In theory, you could know the outcome very early just by paying careful attention to the dialogue... but now you're having the exact same problem that the other vampires have with Malkavians; Malkavians can have insights into the future, but are too insane to convey that information in a useful way, if they're even aware that what they're seeing in their heads is anything but yet another hallucination. Also, the weird "tuna-joke" the newscaster tells a Malkavian player? It's exactly what is happening, and might yet happen. Even the chess-motif is similar to the mail you get. The Malkavian even reveals to Rosa the end of the game, but it's possible to side with LaCroix and get blown up by Jack's trap — yes, the Malkavian is too insane to live.
Why are VV's poems so terrible? Because, even though she's a Toreador who appreciates beauty more than other vampires, she's still undead, and most of them have lost the creative spark in the Embrace. Or maybe it's because she's a stripper, not a poet.
Why does Grout take so long to develop the madness of his clan? Answer, he doesn't. Later mentions of hearing voices are separate to his true insanity, which is his "infatuation with reason" as he puts it. A less charitable description would be a sociopath who grows increasingly more cold and clinical in his thinking while distancing himself from emotions.
There's a further layer of fridge brilliance there: what could be the greatest possible madness to afflict a Malkavian, who have incurable insanity as their hat? Being absolutely convinced that he is the Only Sane Man, of course. This leads to yet another layer of fridge brilliance regarding the voices he hears: so far from being random babblings, they are a fine example of paranoia-as-heightened-awareness - truly an ironic affliction for someone who believes himself to see the truth more clearly than anyone else. The final layer comes when one realizes that even this heightened awareness was a falsehood - the greatest danger to him came from Ming-Xiao, not LaCroix. Or wasn't, considering that it was actually LaCroix who ordered his assassination, and the client is usually considered the "original" criminal rather than the hitman, who could've been anyone. Let's not forget the power of Malkavian insight which often turns out to be correct.
So, there are Werewolves, notorious for their hatred of vampires, that are hanging out in Griffith Park? Why haven't they attacked the city before now? Especially when an Antediluvian is about to rise? Answer: The sarcophagus contains only explosives, and the werewolves with their spiritual powers know that. Hence, they have more important things to do then mess with a few vampires in a city.
The sarcophagus has no Antediluvian. Instead there's Cain in the city, of whom even werewolves should be scared shitless (it's an official rule in Vt M that if you come across him and get into fight you flatly lose). Being hypocrites they are in canon, werewolves will tiptoe around the city in the woods, fighting only small fish too stupid to actually get there, until the threat moves out.
The game makes a huge deal out of maintaining the Masquerade, to the point that when you accrue enough violations your game is immediately over. How, then, does that explain the Sheriff's Chiropteran form on top of Venture Tower? That's clearly a MASSIVE Masquerade violation, well in the view of several hundred people in adjacent buildings at least. But think about it. Who punishes Masquerade violations? PrinceLaCroix. Who has been trying to kill you the entire game? PrinceLaCroix. Whose office are you a few steps away from? The very outmatched Prince LaCroix, who's probably not happy about this. With the Ventrue being one of the weakest clans in combat and you being a certifiable badass after everything he's thrown at you, LaCroix's so frightened of you that he's willing to sanction this enormous violation rather than risk having to face you in person since he knows he'll die if that happens.
It seems strange that a blundering security guard like Chunk should land a high-profile job as the front desk guard of the Venture Building right after screwing up his last job, until you realise that his sole purpose is to be a disarming figurehead for anyone wondering if there's something sinister going on in the building. The front entrance is filled with cameras, there's a small army of heavily-armed guards, a dozen powerful vampires past them, and finally the Sheriff if anyone should get past all that. Chunk's sole duty is to just sit there and look humorously incompetent to throw Hunters off the trail.
The Santa Monica safehouse has exposed windows and no apparent "safe zone" for a sleeping vampire to hide from the sun's rays. The prince doesn't plan on you staying the day, does he?
Although to be fair, it is heavily implied that the events of the game do not take place during one night, so the protagonist must've spent some daytime in the Santa Monica safehouse. If it's still the protagonist's main base by the end of the game and they've kept Heather with them, she does mention looking after them when they're asleep, no matter what apartment she's in.
Most of the time, the crazy street preacher in Santa Monica just spits out rather generic-sounding demands that passersby repent in their last hours. However, every now and again, he'll remark "The bones of your ancestors will rise up and reclaim the flesh that they lent their sorry progeny!" In most of the legends concerning Gehenna, the apocalypse is supposed to kick off with the Antediluvians awakening and devouring the younger generations of their clan.
Also, in several rants, he makes reference to "The Great Worm" under the city, and "worms stripping the foulness from the skull of the earth." Well, werewolves are already featured in the game, so perhaps the Wyrm as well...
The chess metaphors you're mailed from "a friend" tend to make even more sense if you actually know more than just the basic rules. LaCroix as the white king seems straightforward enough, but consider that the king, despite its critical importance to the game, is extremely weak and vulnerable, and relies on the other pieces to protect it... just like how LaCroix relies on everyone else to play along with his game, and will go down without a fight unless you side with him. Grout is the bishop - technically important and useful under the right circumstances, but also limited in scope and just as useful as a sacrifice (Coincidence or additional layer of fridge, in French, Lacroix's native tongue, the Bishop is named "The madman"). As a Primogen, he's nominally important to the Camarilla hierarchy, but as an insane Malkavian he's unreliable and useless, and very few would miss him, making him a prime subject for trap bait. Finally, the fledgeling as the pawn - commonly acknowledged as the weakest piece, with limited movement and ability; disposable, replaceable, forgettable. But if a pawn manages to survive long enough to cross the whole board, they can become any piece they want to be, and is deep inside enemy territory when that happens. Just like how the fledgeling, at the end of the game, will have a wide spread of powers, abilities, weapons and contacts, and is in a prime position to win the game for any side that they choose to favor. Also, note that "become any piece they want to be" includes enemy pieces, which is a very questionable gambit, but has actually been part of some winning chess strategies.
After you (finally) retrieve the sarcophagus, there's a cutscene that shows you loading it into the back of a truck. Where have you seen a truck like that before? You borrowed it from Fat Larry, of course! Still doesn't explain how you managed to sneak the sarcophagus out of the Giovanni mansion without being spotted, though.
LaCroix seems to go down far too easily if you side against him in the end. Even though he may be a Non-Action Guy, by Kindred standards, an Elder like him still ought to be able to fight back a little even after botching a Dominate roll. Ignoring that this was probably because the devs rushed the game ending, it makes sense when you realize that LaCroix just finished using Possession on one of his soldiers to turn him into a suicide bomb. The only way to "defuse" that bomb is to hurt the soldier a lot... while he's still glowing blue to indicate that he's still possessed. Anyone who's read the original game book knows that possessing another being means that you'll take damage if they're damaged. When you hurt the guard, you hurt LaCroix, who had to use vitae to regenerate the damage. By the time you reach him, he's almost out of vitae and the failed Dominate attempts upon you only drain him further. That's why he gives up and starts begging - he has no power left with which to fight back unless he wants to risk going into a mindless Frenzy. Ventrue don't like doing that.
Velvet's deep affection for and protectiveness over the average looking, slightly awkward Hatter might seem a bit peculiar on the surface, but Toreador appreciation for art goes far beyond looks. His ambition, candidness, and passion for writing are no doubt very attractive qualities to VV, whose clan exalts such human pursuits.
The room that Therese and Janette live in hints toward their true nature: for a room shared by two sisters who don't get along all too well, it's fairly odd that they seem to share the same bed. However, in video games (especially older ones), it's not uncommon for npcs not to have proper homes or sleeping arrangements. Thus, a first-time player is likely chalk up the one-bed situation as a case of that, instead of as a hint toward Janette and Therese being two personalities in the same person. Intentionally or not, the game weaponizes video game logic to further obscure a hint toward one of the game's biggest twists!
You can turn Heather away right when she first approaches you outside Venture tower. It's much handier than running around the city looking for blood dolls, or relying on expensive blood bags, so why would a Vampire turn away a permanent and willing source of blood? Simple, the PC was dragged into the world of vampires suddenly and without their consent, having to cut ties with everyone and everything they'd known beforehand. They didn't want to do the same to Heather, no matter how much she believed she wanted it.
You can only get the second, better haven from LaCroix if you were both polite with him AND if you didn't declare yourself for the Anarchs before completing the Elizabethan Rendezvous quest. Even if you never said anything suspicious and did everything he asks the way he asks, he still won't offer you the apartment. Why? He knew all along you were working for the Anarchs, as he'll reveal later in the game, and he's only going to offer the apartment to someone who's actually loyal to him (at least for the moment, you can switch sides immediately afterward if you want.)
While older vampires use their full names (Maximillian Strauss, Sebastian LaCroix etc.), most of the younger vampires seem to use fake names or nicknames (Skelter, Damsel, Velvet, etc.). This is likely because they still have some living friends or relatives who could potentially recognize them and using their real names could lead to a masquerade violation.
The exceptions to this rule is Ash, who remained a public figure after his embrace; and Gary, who has to leave the public eye all together due to being a Nosferatu and thus is in no danger of the wrong person recognizing him by name.
Beckett's behavior the last time you see him is pretty strange and contradicts everything he's said and done up to this point. At first one might think that it's another case of Ming Xiao using an illusion to try to control you but considering what you find if you open the box he probably was just warned by Jack about its contents and was trying to do you a favor.
LaCroix's office is decorated in decor very reminiscent of Rococo-era France, which matches pretty perfectly with his backstory as a former officer of Napolean's army. Being Ventrue, he was likely raised as an upper-class member of French society right around the time when that decor would have been commonplace and popular.
If you open the safe in the floor 3 apartment closet in Skyline Apartments, the security guard will instantly come running to catch you stealing from the safe. He will do so even if you have your own apartment in the building, and took the vents to get into the room. Why? Going to the basement reveals he has cameras set up in every bedroom in the building, which is where the safe is located.
Paying close attention to your encounter with "Nines" outside of Grout's mansion makes it pretty obvious who's posing as him in a second playthrough. Ming Xiao's attempts to capture Nines' mannerisms not only sound extremely forced, but near the end she accidentally slips back into her own elegant speech pattern.
You'll also notice that while the actual Nines speaks with a slight southern drawl and tends to roll his words, the one you meet outside the manor overemphasizes all his vowels. Ming Xiao is clearly unpracticed at imitating an American accent, let alone Nines' specific one, and as such she ends up overcompensating her pronunciation.
LaCroix has almost entirely human soldiers guarding his tower in the final level, with just a few loyal Ventrues on the seventh floor and his Sheriff to account for the Camarilla properly. So where are the Camarilla? Gary was never loyal to LaCroix in the first place, and has been double-dealing for the Anarchs and the Giovanni since day 1. The Camarilla/Strauss ending reveals that Strauss didn't buy LaCroix's story about the fledgling for a second and highly doubts his intentions as a Prince, thus he probably didn't feel that inclined to help protect him. The Anarch ending reveals that Nines has sent out all his men to fight the Camarilla forces, so most of LaCroix's undead soldiers are tied up in that. LaCroix has almost all human guards because that is literally all he has left to defend himself from you.
When you tell LaCroix about Bach burning down Grout's mansion, LaCroix will mention that he thought Bach had finally lost track of him... which can come across as comical considering the massive, conspicuous sign in his building lobby that has his name on it. However, when you came to Venture Tower to have your first briefing with LaCroix, Chunk asked if you meant Sebastian LaCroix, or some other guy with the name LaCroix who also works in the building. At the time, it just seems like a joke poking fun at how clueless Chunk is about his new boss and you, but LaCroix likely chose the building for that reason. It allows him to have his cake and eat it; he can have his name proudly plastered all over the building, but can obscure his personal connection to it by pinning it on this other guy.
If you found Kent Alan Ryan's remains in Grout's mansion, you can bring his driver's license back to Skelter to report his death. Skelter will then take the license and tell you to keep Kent's death to yourself. This may seem like a strange response, until you consider that Kent (an Anarch associated with the Downtown Anarchs) dying at Grout's hands would potentially come across as a motive for Nines to kill Grout in revenge, thus reinforcing the idea that he did commit the crime.
Even more brilliantly, this scene works in a meta sense to add some ambiguity to the possibility of Nines' guilt to a first-time player. While there's clearly something off about Nines at the mansion, to a new player, his behaviour very well could have been a result of guilt. When asked, Jack will (rightfully) dismiss it all as a smear campaign set up by LaCroix on the basis that Nines has no real motivation to kill Grout. Finding Kent can shed some doubt on that idea, and can help justify the Railroading your character feels when they're forced to report it.
When you finally get into the Golden Temple to fight your way to Ming Xiao, you'll notice the Kuei-jin use nothing besides swords and flaming crossbows as weapons. This isn't just to uphold their "traditional" vibe; Ming Xiao knows guns aren't very effective against kindred and that fire is effective. She's putting her Fu Syndicate research to use and has outfitted her guards in a way that best defends against kindred.
Who is trustworthy in the end is somewhat hinted at through the way you unlock the ability to side with them. How can you side with LaCroix and Ming Xiao? Through appealing to their egos, being unfailingly polite to them despite how poorly they treat you, and forgiving them for blatant attempts on your life even though they never really apologize for it. How do you side with Strauss? By helping him with actual important tasks, allowing him confide his worries about LaCroix in you, and demonstrating your trustworthiness through keeping an important secret for him. How do you side with the Anarchs? By helping them with the plague and helping them keep tabs on their enemy. LaCroix and Xiao are sidable through methods that entirely self-serving to them, whereas Strauss and Nines are sidable because you actually proved yourself a loyal member of their sects.
If you manage to pick the lock to Bertram's hideout before Jeanette or Therese tells you he's hiding there, he'll be mysteriously missing and you can snoop on his computer. The fridge brilliance comes in when you realize he's likely not missing at all, he's probably still in there with you, obfuscated.
Bertram comments that he has no interest in running Santa Monica in part because there's only around 4 vampires in the area. At the time, you'll only have met three; him, Jeanette and Therese, so who's the 4th? The Serial Killer living in the junkyard right next door to him.
Besides the ashy skin, a unifying physical trait of the vampires in game are very pale eyes (barring those with red eyes like the Sabbat and Beckett). Even characters like Isaac and Skelter, who have brown eyes, have an abnormally light and dull shade of brown. This may simply be to give them a subtly inhuman appearance, but eye colour does tend to appear to change in death in real life. The cornea clouds over because normal eye functions are no longer functioning, giving the eyes a dull appearance not unlike the Kindred both met and played as in-game. This is further supported by humans in the game, by and large, having more vividly-coloured eyes in comparison.
A bit of a mix of fridge brilliance and Developers' Foresight, but Knox is initially waiting outside of the hospital for a reason; if your character goes to the hospital and finds Heather before speaking to Mercurio, you'll almost certainly have heard from Knox that a vampire's blood can help "heal (a human) up real quick". This justifies how your character knows how to help Heather, despite not having spoken to Mercurio about ghouls beforehand.
Jack makes a passing comment about "never trusting anyone with a X in their name". Guess which sect leaders you can't trust? LaCroix and Ming Xiao.
When you talk to Jack about the sarcophagus, he advises that even if it's dangerous to work to get Lacroix the sarcophagus, it's still the best move. He packed it full of bombs so it getting to Lacroix is the best outcome for Jack.
Following Jack's suggestion to keep working to get it to Lacroix, he points out that it would still be hard just to get in to the sarcophagus. That's a minor point until later when you find out the sarcophagus is locked in a way impossible to open without the original key, something Jack couldn't have possibly been sure of unless he was involved in acquiring the sarcophagus from the start.
The result of the Kuei-Jin route and your character's reaction might seem strange, but by that point your character's resources have almost assuredly been used up just getting to the end. You've already fought through a tower of security guards, armored assault troops and vampires, including that Sheriff whose sheer strength has everyone absolutely scared, and you've more than likely used up every blood pack you've got just to keep from running out of vitae reserves while fighting your way up the tower. For all intents and purposes, you're spent. You don't have enough energy left to kill your way through that many heavily-armed supernaturals, much less the Kuei-Jin Elder who (thanks to you) didn't have to fight a single person on her way up to the office.
After you finally destroy the Sabbat hideout and report back, Chunk mentions that he wasn't told to expect you, and when LaCroix congratulates you for your accomplishment he mentions how even the Sheriff never managed to accomplish that. LaCroix never expected or intended for you to actually succeed in your one-vampire charge, which is why he sent you on your own.
As Dr Johansen tells you, the sarcophagus is littered with imagery relating to various bits of vampire mythology. Small wonder everybody thought there was an ancient inside it - it was practically screaming that to the heavens.
In the first bounty hunter quest, if Gimble had already captured McGee and cut his arms and legs off, why was he still trying to reach him at the tattoo parlor?
It's likely he'd bugged the parlor and wanted to drag in more victims (like people looking for McGee) by using the phone to contact them.
Also, are we really sure he did get McGree? I don't remember them actually saying it.
Gimble did get McGee; Carson mentions that Gimble has been mutilating both him and McGee, and after the boss fight with Gimble, you can look in one of the cells and see McGee's corpse.
Not sure if this is a later addition with the patch (or the + Patch) but the fledgeling is actually the one who calls Gimble.
A more serious problem in the same quest. Being able to send Gimble to Vandal in the blood bank is a great idea, but why doesn't it make you lose humanity? OK, Gimble is a serial killer, but when the mentioned dialog option appears, the player character is talking with Gimble in his waiting room and it is the only opportunity to do it. You discover the proofs that Gimble is a serial killer after this point, when you explore his basement (and speaking with him is no longer possible). You just sent to his death someone you didn't have any reason yet to suspect, so it should have triggered a humanity loss.
I had already figured out what Gimble was up to by that point, so maybe the game assumes that everyone did?
You just have suspicions, not the slightest proof. And more, much later in the game, there is another quest (the Wereshark) in which you can skip the boss fight by attacking and killing the main suspect when you just meet him... which this time costs some humanity.
This seems to have been a glitch or an oversight fixed in a later patch, as I lost the usual amount of Humanity for sending Gimble in a recent playthrough... though you get it back after speaking to Carson.
During the tutorial, at the sequence when Jack teach the player character how to feed from rat blood, a Ventrue player character answers that his/her clan is unable to feed that way. The problem is: how could a just embraced neonate already know this? His/her first contact with kindred society happened less than a hour ago (the opening cutscene) and still lack most of basic information about the kindred societies.
You gotta remember, clan members tend to pick people like other members of the clan when embracing. Since most Ventrue are high and mighty and a lot are like that before being embraced, the PC could just be recoiling at the idea. Possibly said Clan as instinct?
This, and also that Lacroix and/or one of his vampire goons could've given you a very brief debriefing on your clan offscreen to avoid you going Caitiff.
In newer versions, a Ventrue player will simply refuse to drink rat's blood, which is very in character for a Ventrue.
A minor one, but still: Lacroix, a former soldier of Napoleon's armies, speaks with a british accent during the whole game... Except any british native person, or anyone acquainted with one, could tell you that this really is nothing more than a fake accent (basically, the words are pronounced in a "british" manner, without the right diction or rhythm). Why would they do such a glaring mistake, in a game with otherwise flawless dubs, instead of just hiring a british voice actor?
Well, one way to see it: the defining idiom of Lacroix is that he is a massively pompous Ventrue jerk. And what better way to hint that than making him talk with an imperfect british posh accent?
Alternatively: He learned English in England, but enough of his original French accent remained, and enough of the American accent he is currently immersed in snuck in, to make his accent sound "fake".
Very few people, especially those who have moved around a lot, have perfectly identifiable accents. This goes doubly when it comes to languages not native to the speaker. Figuring out someone who has never left Birmingham is from Birmingham by accent alone is one thing, but try figuring out the accent of a Frenchman who learned English from a German teacher at a school in Belgium, listens to British audiobooks and watches American TV.
How could Vandal be using Lily as a "donor" at the blood bank? Being a vampire, she wouldn't be capable of producing blood.
This idea might be worthy of Fridge Horror. Maybe she wasn't staying to simply donate. She was being restrained, fed and then drained of her blood. Vandal probably has a good idea of how the blood bond works, and that Vampire blood could be used to replace normal human blood. He could be using Lily's blood to give people blood transfusions, making them become addicted to her and thus be willing to come back. Essentially, he's making it so that there will always be people willing to give blood so he can make a killing off of vampires.
Another explanation is that she is a thinblood, like E, even though a generation lower than him. It might be that her blood lost most of the vampiric capabilities and is thus perfectly suitable for drinking by other vampires. This is supported by the fact that the blood you can buy from Vandal prior to her rescue is hers ("I'll go buy another bag of you."), and the protagonist doesn't seem to develop any blood bond with her.
As you keep doing the main plot quests, TV-Anchor starts telling about some strange occurences around the world. One is about a bestial deer-man that (most likely some random Gangrel fledgling or a Tzimisce from Ratti-Ben's lineage, since a Fera wouldn't have any reason to attack the villagers unless they are slaves to Wyrm) terrorizes the villagers in New Delhi. The Tv-Anchor also notes that those villages were once attacked by bear-men and monkey-men as well, indictating that the villagers are being harassed by a Gangrel pride, since there are no deer or monkey fera. Humans, of course, call it mass hysteria. The other is about a freak sandstorm eliminating several US jets flying over the Persian Gulf, and the last survivor saying that the sandstorm blotted out the sun. One might chalk it up to hysteria in part of the only surviving pilot, but those who have read Gehenna, the Last Night knows what that sandstorm actually is... It's Haqim, the Assamite Antediluvian.
Beast-men were reported during the Week of Terror, being chimeras made by Zapatashura's insanity and power over illusions. His death also released a huge amount of dream energy. So, it's basically dreams of a dead god.
Hyper-sexualization and an aversion to sex are both possible coping mechanisms that victims of sexual abuse have in response to their trauma. Suffice to say, Jeanette/Therese's personalities encapsulate both sides of this, and it goes a long way in showing just how much their father's abuse has traumatized them even probable decades after his death.
A Tremere PC, if they sided Anarch or Independent, is potentially going to be hunted down and killed after the events of the game. Tremere are notoriously protective of their clan secrets, and make active efforts to hunt down Pyramid defectors like yourself.
The "good" option to get rid of Patty is to lie about Kent's whereabouts and send her on a wild goose chase to San Diego... which is pretty much pushing off the problem on the vampire community there, and who knows how charitable they'll be feeling.