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Tabletop Game / Chicago By Night

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The supplement which started it all.

Chicago by Night is a sourcebook for the first edition of Vampire: The Masquerade. It was revised in 1993 as Chicago by Night Second Edition in the Old World of Darkness. The book gives a lot of detail on Chicago for Storytellers to build a campaign centered there.

Only at night do the dead come out no other city so dangerously on the edge of chaos. No other city so desperately overcrowded. No other city so divided. No other city so torn by its conflicts. Chicago's streets are coated with the blood of those who have been destroyed in its ancient war, and soon the flames will raze it yet again. The plots and schemes of the Immortals of this metropolis will always enmesh the unwary or the foolish. Trust no one — not even yourself. Then the Jyhad Doth Rage.

Chicago by Night is the archetypal supplement for Vampire: The Masquerade which established many of the stereotypes and patterns for the game line. It contained over a hundred npcs who would go on to inspire many other city supplements and characters in the rest of the setting.The book had multiple supplements in addition to its two editions:

  • Blood Bond
  • Ashes to Ashes
  • The Succubus Club
  • Milwaukee By Night
  • Awakening: Diablerie Mexico
  • Dust to Dust

This RPG supplement provides examples of:

  • Actually Not a Vampire: The Blood Dolls are deliberately designed to cause this confusion with Kindred encouraging it.
  • Adult Fear: Lawrence Ballard suffers from one of these as he's unable to protect his children from being molested the same way he was as a child by Horatio Ballard (due to Presence, Dominate, and the Blood Bond).
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Any Humanity 0 vampire is basically an irredeemable monster. Oddly, they're almost all yuppies or old money.
  • Artistic License History: The story of Carthage's fall is actually the story of the Fall of Troy (with a vampire twist). The fact the main players of Helene, Menele, and Priam (Paris) are involved in its fall should be a person's first clue.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Maureen O'Leary (who started the Great Chicago Fire) is a Malkavian Elder.
    • Averted with Al Capone who became a vampire after his death.
  • Big Bad: Lodin was generally portrayed as this for any Anarch-themed game. Subverted in that he was nothing more than Helene's most prominent pawn.
    • Helene is a somewhat sympathetic example of this.
  • Big Good: Maldavis had the potential to be this but failed in her Anarch Revolt, so she's suffering a protracted Heroic B.S.O.D..
    • Menele is the actual Big Good of the city being a Methuselah with Humanity 10.
  • Category Traitor: Sheriff is considered this due to the fact he's a lackey to Lodin and an enforcer of the Traditions despite being a Brujah.
  • Coolest Club Ever: The Succubus Club is more cool than any nightclub has a right to be.
  • Cool Old Guy: Always in a setting with so many vampires. Critias is one example as he's a (relatively) high humanity vampire who adores spirited debate and treats younger vampires as students than pawns.
  • Corrupt Hick: Subverted with Sheriff. While he acts the part of a Southern redneck Sheriff, he's actually a Canadian nobleman.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Entire swaths of human history have been determined by the feud between Menele and Helene. Specifically, Carthage is settled by the Brujah Philosopher Kings who then are joined by Helene with her lover Priam. Helene betrays Carthage to Rome when she realizes their cause is lost in order to receive her own city, only for Menele to use his massively overpowered Spirit Thaumaturgy to cause the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius. Menele is then driven to the New World, only for Helene to bring European Kindred as well as Conquistadors over to destroy them.
  • Distant Finale: Dust to Dust was a Vampire 20th Anniversary adventure module which explained the fates of Gary, Indiana's Kindred. The city of Gary has effectively ceased to exist with only two vampires (Juggler and Modius) left to fight over it. The players must decide whether to let the city perish and move on to greener pastures or try one last ditch effort to save it.
  • The Dragon: Thomas Ewell a.k.a Balthazar a.k.a Sheriff serves as this to Lodin.
    • Priam used to have this role to Helene, being the possibly oldest ghoul in the world.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: A number of characters have Humanity 0 without being wild animalistic beasts. A number of other characters have Humanity 10 despite this meaning Jesus-like levels of goodness.
  • Fat Bastard: Horatio Ballard weighs four hundred pounds and looks like a fat sagging caricature of the Godfather.
  • Fully-Embraced Fiend: Actually fairly rare in the supplement. Son, Ballard, and Gordon Keaton are among the few Humanity 0 members in the book.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Anita Wainwright has a Humanity 9 and is a perky lovable Granola Girl despite being a vampire.
    • Maldavis and, to a lesser extent, Annabelle Triabelle and Inyanga also qualify for this.
    • Baby Chorus is composed of these as well.
  • Fur Against Fang: The events of Under a Blood Red Moon and Milwaukee by Night in a nutshell.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Aside from the Humanity-rating Early Installment Weirdness, the characters are poorly optimized with many of them having disciplines they can't use effectively.
  • Generation Xerox: A humorous one in that both Dusable and Nicolai screwed up in more or less the same way.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Ballard is a child-molester whose childe, Lawrence, wants to kill to protect his children.
  • Gothic Punk: One of the great examples thereof.
  • Gray and Gray Morality: While the stats say otherwise (Humanity 10 vs. Humanity 4), the conflict between Helene and Menele really comes off like this. Neither side is blameless for the atrocities committed by both.
  • Just the First Citizen: Beckkett's Jyhad Diary has the Primogen make Critias this. They don't have a Prince but as the most powerful of the Primogen by far, he's close enough.
  • Killed Off for Real: A massive number of the city's quirkier and less powerful Kindred during the events of Under a Blood Red Moon. This included Lodin, the city's Prince.
  • Looks Like Orlok: All of the Nosferatu characters in the book(s).
  • Love Makes You Stupid: Dusable and Nicolai both embraced women they were attracted to, leading to decisions which could get them killed in the Tremere.
  • Puppet King: A Downplayed Trope example as Lodin is a major power in the city but the real movers and shakers are the Primogen. He's also nothing more than an Unwitting Pawn for Helene.
  • Romantic Vampire Boy: Damien is a parody of this concept, being a 14 year old ladies man who is meant to appeal to the target audience.
    • Maldavis, Erichtho, Anita Wainwright, and Annabelle have been all used as romantic interests for straight male gamers (and many bi or lesbian female). Priam appears to have been created with this in mind as well for straight female gamers.
    • Bret Stryker and Sophia seem to have been made as a parody of this as well. They're beautiful, true, but shallow and kind of stupid.
  • Rule-Abiding Rebel: Garwood Marshall acts like Dusable's loyal but rebellious son.
  • Straw Loser: Modius is basically a formerly impressive Prince who has degenerated into this. He's pathetic to an insanely comical degree but somewhat subverted in this fact he's also still a centuries-old elder who could pose a threat to a coterie of pcs.
  • Stronger with Age: Played with as some vampires are weak due to their high generation but played straight with most vampires.
  • Token Heroic Orc: Garwood Marshall is a jazz playing Tremere Anarch who is also a Rule-Abiding Rebel.
  • Undead Child: Nicolai is a prepubescent 800-year-old Tremere elder.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Virtually the entire city is this between Menele and Helene.
  • Vampires Are Rich: Annabelle Triabelle and most of the Ventrue Elders.
  • Vampire Hunter: Sullivan Dane is the most famous of Chicago Hunters.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Bret Stryker, Sophia Meyers, and Priscilla Gibbs are all examples of this.
    • Annabelle Triabelle and Portia are Elder examples.
  • Vampire Monarch: Lodin is the Prince of the City during 1st edition with the title up for grabs in the 2nd book.
  • Vampires Own Night Clubs: One of the trope naming examples with Portia and the Succubus Club.
  • Vampire Wannabe: Blood Dolls are an entire grouping of this, being vampire-themed Goths who share blood.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: Doyle is an example of this despite being Creepy Good.
  • Wham Episode: Under a Blood Red Moon changed the face of Chicago forever by killing much of the vampire population and creating a power vacuum. The Sabbat and Black Spiral Dancers team up to frame start a False Flag Operation where the local sept of the Garou is attacked by vampires so a massive war begins between the Kindred and werewolves. While both sides eventually figure it out, it's not before many are killed in the process.
  • Would Harm A Child: Both Gordon Keaton and Son are examples of this, which is why they are 0 Humanity.

Alternative Title(s): Vampire The Masquerade Chicago By Night