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aka: Vampire The Masquerade Chicago By Night

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The supplement which started it all.
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Chicago by Night is a sourcebook for the first edition of Vampire: The Masquerade. Later, editions were made for 2nd Edition and 5th Edition. 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.

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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:

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

In 2018, a Gencon-exclusive adventure called Rusted Veins was used to introduce Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition. It was set in Gary, Indiana and implied a lot of changes to the status quo in Chicago for 2018. It also involved fan favorites Modius, Juggler, and Sullivan Dane. Recently, Onyx Path Publishing began a Kickstarter for a 5th Edition update of the setting.

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This setting provides examples of:

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     Classic Vampire: The Masquerade ( 1991 to 2017) 
  • 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.
    • The Man Behind the Man: Helene is a somewhat sympathetic example of this. Much of that sympathy goes out the window when she starts actively diablerizing young Kindred.
  • Big Good: Maldavis had the potential to be this but failed in her Anarch Revolt, so she's suffering a protracted Heroic BSoD.
    • Menele is the actual Big Good of the city being a Methuselah with Humanity 10.
  • Butt-Monkey: Nothing ever goes right for Modius of Gary. Gets a Throw the Dog a Bone moment when Lodin dies and he has a chance to become Prince of Chicago. He doesn't get it.
  • 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.
    • Gordon Keaton (a Caitiff) becomes one when he switches from serving the Anarchs to the Tremere.
  • City of Adventure: The entire point. Chicago is meant to be a place of adventures in both the Kindred and Kine worlds with constant plots and counter-plots going on at any given time.
  • 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.
    • This is also the case in Milwaukee by Night as the city is defined by an endless blood feud with the Lupines in the city. It started because some vampires killed some werewolves in the 17th century so the werewolves killed some vampires and so on.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: The court of Prince Lodin, which consists of his progeny and the Primogen. The Primogen actually control Lodin and use him as a puppet but are, themselves, puppets of the two feuding Methuselahs in the city.
  • 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 Dog Was the Mastermind: Helena pretends to be a newly embraced Kindred named Portia.
  • 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.
  • Forever War: They have been hunting the vampires of the city for centuries but whenever they kill them, the vampires just Embrace more. The vampires, by contrast, kill Lupines on a regular basis but this is due to We Have Reserves and suffer heavier casualties.
  • 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.
  • Fully-Embraced Fiend: Actually fairly rare in the supplement. Son, Ballard, and Gordon Keaton are among the few Humanity 0 members in the book.
  • 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. Nicolai Blood Bonded his childer, which is a death sentence since that's supposed to be done to the Council of Seven, while Dusable embraced his grandniece after draining her dry. Both did it because of lust and both examples are squicky as hell.
  • 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.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Prince Modius of Gary is a repulsive Elder who lives in a decaying mansion in a city that has long since become synonmous with urban decay. He's considered a joke both in and out of universe. However, he is ''still'' a very powerful Elder who can rip your mind to shreds if he's so inclined. He also has a FemmeFatale who he uses to Blood Bond young Kindred to him.
    • Played straight in Dust to Dust where he and Juggler are considered to be complete jokes.
  • 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.
  • Rebellious Rebel: Juggler has this attitude and he leads the Anarchs of Chicago for decades on the idea of not so much overthrowing the system as looking cool.
  • 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. Sadly, he's Killed Off for Real during Under a Blood Red Moon.
  • Undead Child: Nicolai is a prepubescent 800-year-old Tremere elder.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Virtually the entire city is this with only Khalid, Nicolai, Rebekah the Monitor, and a handful of others knowing what's really going on.
  • 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.

     5th Edition (2018-Present) 
  • Ambiguous Situation: Just what the hell is Lester Knife feeding people to.
  • Ax-Crazy: Nikolas "Sweetie Pepper" White is completely insane and an urban terrorist who wants to burn down the system any which way he can.
    • Sun Che is prone to homicidal berserk furies which are more appropriate to the Sabbat than a Kindred of the Tremere.
  • Asshole Victim: Jacob Schumpeter is someone who will be mourned by no one, being a Ventrue who fed on abused women. Particularly ones he abused himself.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Lodin is revealed to have survived Under a Blood Red Moon and become king of the homeless.
    • Marc Levensque a.k.a Frenchie was actually just in torpor for a decade.
    • Nero the violinist (no, not that one) was also in torpor and has recently awoken.
  • Big Bad: Kevin Jackson is now Prince of Chicago.
  • The Bus Came Back: Chicago by Night 5E is coming as a sequel to Chicago by Night 2nd Edition, which came out in 1993.
  • Canon Welding: The character of Jacob/Esau is revealed to be the sire of Jeanette/Theresa Voorman from Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines which makes her an incredibly potent 6th generation.
    • The Jade Demon from The Book of Chantries is mentioned in the city description, though it's more of a Take That! than homage.
  • Character Development: Anita Wainwright and Gengis have both gone from being mid-tier Anarchs to powerful leaders in the Movement.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Helena as Portia the Neonate continues to be the case, though she's been a "Neonate" for decades now.
    • Noah "Flyboy" Grehal is a Duskborn (Thin Blood) pilot. He's also in control of O'Hara Airport and heavily involved with the Second Inquisition to the point of being the most dangerous Kindred in the city after Helena.
  • Epic Fail: The Gencon-exclusive adventure Rusted Veins is based around Modius' attempt to make money by becoming a heroin dealer. Modius has no skill at being a career criminal, however, and acquires incredibly pure heroin he lowballs. This results in a fight between gangs, the police stealing both the drugs as well as heroin, then the PCs becoming involved. Sullivan Dane, Juggler, and the Primogen Council of Chicago also become involved with Modius' Final Death implied to be the result.
  • Evil Is Petty: Damien's price for becoming Sheriff and betraying the Anarchs? The Prince's help in getting his band back together.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Damien has defected from the Anarchs to join the Camarilla as the Sheriff. Many of his former friends have become his victims.
  • Fur Against Fang: Kevin Jackson is heavily against it and does his best to maintain the truce Inyanga negotiated. Anita Wainwright and Rose Hernandez wish to break it.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Edward Neally has escaped the Sabbat and turned over as much information as he could on their activities.
    • Averted with Balthazar, who has joined the Anarchs but is every bit the scumbag he was before.
    • Perhaps the biggest in the book is the defection of a good half of the Lasombra Clan to the Camarilla, which the PCs can aid or derail.
  • Killed Off for Real: Jacob Schumpeter crossed Noah Grehal and he called his Second Inquisition friends down on him.
    • Maureen O'Leary was killed by her childe, Son, before he ascended to the Princedom.
    • Dickie Fulcher was killed by Edward Neally.
    • Annabelle eliminated Andrei and Tammy with Kevin Jackson's help.
    • Modius is presumed dead and Juggler has gone missing.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Anita Wainwright is a high humanity vampire who absolutely loves everyone but is willing to murder the families of the Lupines who killed Theodore Dooley. Zig-zagged as she's always had a vicious vengeful streak.
    • Maldavis plans to use Anita Wainwright as a tool to draw hunters.
  • Put on a Bus: Menele, Khalid, Nicolai, Inyanga, and Patricia Bollingbrook have all been Beckoned. Iffy on Nicolai who just so happened to be in Vienna when it was hit by the Second Inquisition.
    • Al Capone and Lorraine are both missing. So is the Primogen Eletria and Maxwell. Played with as Al Capone and Eletria's fates will be determined by Kickstarter backers.
    • The Wolf Pack were almost literally put on a bus by Kevin Jackson and sent to Seattle.
  • Race Lift: Kathy Tyers is revealed to be Indian American after being presented as Caucasian for much of her career.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Cedrick Calhoun became Primogen of Chicago by pretending to be Khalid and does so by pretending to be an exotic foreigner who speaks meaningless driven while acting mysterious. The Primogen, who have known him for a century, doesn't notice.
  • Sex Slave: Annabelle has been turned into one of these by Helena and the latter's power is so great that Annabelle doesn't even remember it.
  • Unexpected Successor: Kevin Jackson as Prince of Chicago. He was always a powerful Ventrue elder but most believed Capone or Ballard would be Prince instead.
    • Joseph Peterson was also a vampire no one believed would become Prince. Even if it was done retroactively.
    • Cedrick Calhoun as Primogen of the Nosferatu, Son as Primogen of the Malkavians, and Rose Hernandez as Primogen of the Gangrel are all picks no one saw coming. Even more so was Marcel, a Follower of Set...err Ministry of Love member, who took the Tremere Primogen's place.
  • Victory Is Boring: Helena is struggling to figure out what to do with her life without Menele in it.


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

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