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"Life is a splendid thing to indulge in! A pity we're dead..."
Beckett
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Vampire: The Masquerade — Bloodlines is the final game made by Troika Games, composed of the Black Isle exiles responsible for Fallout and Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura. It was released on November 16th, 2004, the same day as Half-Life 2. An FPS/RPG hybrid, many consider it the worthiest successor to Deus Ex. A World of Darkness MMO was being developed by Crowd Control Productions based on the Old World of Darkness which was to start out exclusively focused on Vampire: The Masquerade, but this was, sadly, 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 runner. They become embroiled in local vampire politics and meet a wide cast of characters in their quest to track down an ancient sarcophagus.

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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 a very Troubled Production, the game had the makings of an 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 (though some employees did stay on, unpaid, to put out a single official patch to squash some of them). Luckily, a small dedicated modding community around the game has fixed most of these over the years through Unofficial Patches.

Despite the Obvious Beta aspects, many consider the game to be an incredibly fun, deeply rewarding experience that any fan of PC-RPG's like Deus Ex would enjoy. So much so that the games community is still active to this day, and is always embracing new players who display an interest in the game.

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If you're looking for similar games, the closest thing it has to a Spiritual Successor is Alpha Protocol.

In 2015, Paradox Interactive bought out White Wolf, thereby obtaining the rights to the World of Darkness universe. In 2017, Paradox acknowledged that they are well aware of Bloodlines's popularity, and stated that making a sequel of sorts at some point was definitely not out of the question. In March of 2019, it was revealed that development on Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 is underway, and is scheduled to release sometime in 2020.


This game contains examples of:

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  • Abandoned Hospital: The decrepit building in the Downtown area. Not entirely abandoned, as some unfortunate ghost hunters find out.
  • Aborted Arc: In Alistair Grout's final audio recording, he mentions having struck what he fears to be a "Faustian bargain" to ensure his safety, but his corpse is supposedly discovered in the very next room. We never learn the details of this sinister deal, or with whom it was made.
  • Absolute Cleavage: Jeanette. (Obviously on purpose.) Her counterpart Therese also doesn't quite cover up her DD's.
    • Also Kiki, although it's more subtle.
  • 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.
  • Accidental Innuendo: The first task you must perform in the game that requires your skills is lockpicking a door to an office. The only option you have, really, is to accept the task (like you'd refuse to do it if you were trying to escape homicidal Sabbat nutjobs and had a lockpick handy, anyway). The innuendo comes, sure enough, if you're playing Malkavian:
    I shall invade this orifice.
  • Action-Based Mission: The end of the game is a string of really strong bosses one after another, which disappointed players who were playing stealthy or using social skills. Many sidequests meet this description too. Thankfully, stealth and social based builds usually accrue more skill points to be spent on combat skills in preparation for those last missions.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Justified in that the humans don't actually know the issues in Kindred society. Except for Vandal, the ghoul at the blood bank, but he's got ulterior motives.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Of the Old World of Darkness in general.
  • 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 Toreador 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. Makes sense when you meet Sabbat Toreador, who are a mix between Saw and Hostel with perverted pleasures from displaying artworks where humans are being flayed alive.
    • The Tremere as well, mostly due to Informed Attribute. Whenever they get mentioned by other characters, they are described exactly as the treacherous Token Evil Teammate Clan they are in the tabletop game, but in practice, the only two fleshed out Tremere characters you get to see are the Tremere Fledgling (who, being the Player Character, is just as evil as the player wishes to be), and Maximilian Strauss, whose skeletons in the closet are mostly implied and is otherwise one of the nicest, most reasonable characters in the game.
  • Advertised Extra: Jeanette Voerman is featured on the cover and promotional material despite her minor role in the game.
  • 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.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Sebastian LaCroix, in all but one of the endings.
  • 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. More than a decade later that particular bit of canon received a Re Write, so this trope no longer applies.
    • In the scope of the game, this is pretty much what LaCroix's whole story amounts to. He gambled everything on the Ankharan Sarcophagus, turned the Anarchs, the Kuei-jin, and his own feuding Camarilla against him, all in the hope of diablerizing an ancient vampire lord. Not only was the Sarcophagus empty save for some C4 explosives rigged to blow up whoever opened it, but the body inside was just an ordinary mummified corpse that wouldn't have given him any power. LaCroix's plan was doomed before it began.
  • A Lighter Shade of Grey: Neither the Camarilla or the Anarchs are portrayed as wholly good, as you will have to do some unsavoury things in order to protect the Masquerade for both sides. Neither side is portrayed as wholly evil either, thus taking one of their sides in the end can yield two of the three happy endings available. That said, the Anarchs are generally portrayed as more sympathetic and less cynical than the Camarilla. While characters like Strauss and Bertram are perfectly interesting and neat characters, they aren't as personable and are still prone to the deliberate manipulation so common in their sect. While aggressive at times, the Anarchs are generally straight-forward and direct, and they've got the advantage of having both Jack and Nines as representative members.
  • Alliterative Name: Velvet Velour.note 
    • Club Confession and the Hallowbrook Hotel are location examples.
    • There's also Real Life band Die My Darling, who can be found advertised on various posters in-game.
  • 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, wherein the Enemy Chatter we hear a reference to the Gladius Dei, a subsect of the organization that was mentioned in a single, older book.
    • The reason why the Tremere are disliked is only vaguely explained in the game. In WOD lore, Tremere himself was a power-hungry wizard who desired immortality. He and his followers used forcefully stolen vampire blood and dark magic to turn themselves into vampires - making them immortal, and as they were not directly Embraced, they had no inherent clan related weakness. Later, wishing to be recognized as a proper Clan, Tremere committed the ultimate vampire taboo and diablerized the Antediluvian Saulot, thereby becoming an Antediluvian himself, and thus elevating the Tremere to Clan status. Unfortunately, these deeds made other vampires view the Tremere as evil usurpers who basically cheated and muscled their way into power.
    • Only those who played the pen-and-paper RPG would know the player is an 8th generation vampire (15 blood points to spend). This means the player is a more powerful vampire than Smiling Jack, who is 10th!note 
  • Always Night: Unless the story calls for it, the sun never rises, ever. It is implied to happen off screen, however.
  • All Women Are Doms, All Men Are Subs: What little the game mentions BDSM, it follows this trope. Venus and Larry have this dynamic, and if a female Malkavian PC agrees to sleep with Romero after successfully defending the graveyard, she can imply the same—fitting, given that all her armour is fetish gear.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Isaac, the Baron of Hollywood. He doesn't look or talk like a Jewish stereotype, but his full name is Isaac Abrams, he owns a jewelry store, and he's been a financier for a number of Hollywood movies.
  • And I Must Scream: Should you choose to ally with the Kuei-jin, Ming Xiao will 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).
  • Anti-Frustration Feature:
    • The game automatically saves at useful places, namely right before the final confrontation with LaCroix. Meaning, if you chose to open the sarcophagus in the Independent/Anarch ends, you can easily return without having to fight the Sheriff again and get the better endings (provided your humanity isn't too low).
    • When choosing a side in the endgame, you're given ample opportunity to change your mind. Even once dropped off at your destination, you can go back to the cab and choose someplace else, provided you haven't spoken to the sect leader yet.
    • Most dialogue exchanges allow you to leave the conversation between every NPC's line to avoid locking players into long dialogue trees, or otherwise allow players to get to point quicker by allowing them to bypass lore and world-building dialogue.
    • You can skip a majority of the tutorial by telling Jack to just give you a quick rundown of vampire laws, after which it will take you directly to Santa Monica.
      • And if you've played the game alreadynote , you can skip to Santa Monica even faster by telling Jack you don't want his help at all. Unfortunately, this leaves you without the lockpick you're supposed to gain during the tutorial, meaning you'll have to buy one yourself from Trip's Pawnshop before you can properly utilize your Lockpicking skill. You also miss out on the 2 XP gained for completing the tutorial.
  • Anti-Grinding: You get experience solely for completing quests, and in fact will obtain less experience in some missions or even fail them outright for killing people unnecessarily.
  • Apathetic Clerk: Slater works the night shift at a convenience store and therefore thinks nothing of promoting his Garage Band on the clock or of selling you weapons on the side — in fact, you can't buy his nominal employer's products from him.
    • Trip, who you meet much earlier in the game, seems like he's even more bored with his job than Slater is.
  • Apple of Discord: The Ankharan Sarcophagus. The appearance of some artifact that just might hold the body of an Antediluvian is enough to shatter the tenuous peace in L.A. and make every vampire faction fall all over themselves in an effort to secure it. As it turns out, this was its express purpose; Jack and the cab driver used it precisely to throw the vampire underworld out of balance just to undermine and be rid of the prince.
  • Apocalyptic Log:
    • The recordings of Dr. Grout, the L.A. 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 L.A. sewers, with people's diaries lying around where they've been writing down things like "aaaaah!" while they were being assaulted.
  • Arc Words: "Don't open it." and "Where to?"
  • Artifact of Doom: The Ankharan Sarcophagus. There's a lot of concern all over the city that opening it will awaken an Antediluvian and invoke Gehenna. Turns out that while it's nowhere near as apocalyptic as everyone fears, it will doom the poor sucker that cracks it open.
  • 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.
    • This extends to the Nosferatu's supposed inability to walk the street; in order to freak any of the civilian NPCs out and cause a Masquerade Violation, you have to either bump into them on accident or try to talk to them directly. Otherwise, their AI flat-out ignores you.
  • Asshole Victim: Show of hands: who felt any pity for the Death Mask Productions crew when they were all brutally slaughtered by the Tzimisce creations?
    • To a certain degree, Grout. One look at the state of his ghouls is enough reason to think he maybe kinda deserved his death.
    • The Serial Killer's victims turned out to be the murderers of an entire family (children included), and probably deserved their grisly ends.
    • LaCroix meets his Final Death in every single ending in the game, and by that point, it's been made clear that he's earned it. Bonus points for the fact that every last one of his deaths in those endings is a direct result of his own actions.
    • You, as well, will either die or meet a Fate Worse than Death in three of the endings if you've made the wrong choices up to that point. And two of those endings involve you allying yourself with either one of the two most corrupt characters in the game, so in those instances especially, you'll only have yourself to blame.
  • Attack of the Political Ad: Vote Republican Senator Robert Thorne! A candidate NOT accused of being a murderous child pornographer!
  • Back Stab: The player character can approach most anthropomorphic enemies from behind in stealth mode and, if they are undetected, kill them with a single blow. Backstabbing with a sword weapon has your character impale them through the chest while a Japanese chord sounds off in the background.
  • Badass Biker: Though you never see them actually ride any motorcycles, Nines and especially Jack heavily play into this aesthetic. The Brujah PCs also seem to favor this look to the point where the Female Brujah heavy armor is a fullon kickass biker suit...and nothing else.
    • The Female Malkavian heavy armor also consists of badass leather biker gear. For some reason.
  • 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.
    • Ask Jeanette what her name is, go ahead. Her response is one of the highlights of the game.
    • When speaking to Nines (who is actually Ming Xiao shapeshifted into his image) outside of Grout's manor, he'll warn you not to go in because it's messed up inside. A female PC can assure him that she's too much of a "badass bitch" to need to worry about it.
  • Badass Bookworm: Most Tremere. A pair of smart glasses is pretty much mandatory for females of the clan, both in this game and fan art.
  • Badass Longcoat: Most of the player clans have at least one armour set that features one. Strauss and Beckett wear pretty classy ones.
  • The Bartender: The barman of The Asylum club lives to avert the typical bartender tropes. The man is not friendly, he does not provide you with any rumours and information, pointedly refusing to answer any of your questions. and he is not happy to listen to whatever sob stories you might have. He's there only to serve you drinks. Interestingly, if you do decide to complain to him about your woes (at which moment he will immediately and openly go into "Not this shit again" mode), none of the dialogue options you get describe your real situation or even allude to it, instead being a generic sob stories. This most likely means that your character is just trolling the man over his grumpy attitude.
  • Beauty = Goodness: Averted by the Nosferatu - their outward appearances are hideous, but they are easily one of the friendliest of all the clans. Suffering from immense prejudice themselves, they are the least prejudiced of the clans, and are the most readily accepting of a PC of their own kind.
    • Subverted by LaCroix and Ming Xiao, who are both very attractive but easily some of the vilest, most manipulative characters in the game.
    • Played straight with the Toreador clan, who is mostly represented by some of the nicest/most harmless npcs in the game like VV and Issac, while also being the "prettiest" clan.
    • Played literally with the Gangrel Clan; low humanity and frequent frenzies lead to very visible animalistic mutations that make them look distinctly inhuman—Sabbat Gangrels are even more of a walking masquerade violation than any given Nosferatu. As such, the friendly Gangrels met in-game (Beckett and Skelter) have few to no visible mutations.
  • 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).
  • Being Good Sucks: By all means, be a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire, keep your Humanity stat maxed out, Never Hurt an Innocent. It can be done. But you'll have a hard time upholding the Masquerade, vampire hunter attacks will make your life very difficult, and too many violations will end your game. Being good is not easy in the World of Darkness. On the other hand, having a low Humanity removes some dialog options and makes you more likely to lose control of your character in a frenzy.
    • It does become easier to play as a good person if you're playing as a socially-inclined character with high persuasion, and/or have Dominate, Presence or Dementation. These will often allow you to talk your way out of a lot of unsavoury situations and allows more non-lethal alternatives to certain quests. However, if you aren't, it is pretty difficult to maintain a 10 in humanity.
  • BFS: One of the many reasons no one messes with the Sheriff.
  • Bi the Way: The women you can feed on in night clubs and some of the men can be seduced both by male and female PCs. Jeanette and Velvet will both hit on you (and in the former's case, sleep with you if you chose the right dialogue options) regardless of your character's gender, and your own character can be played that way (though it's easier if you play female). Heather also falls in love with you regardless of your gender, but in her case it has less to do with her being actually bisexual than with the blood bond giving her a Single-Target Sexuality toward you. Finally, there is Jezebel.
  • Black and Grey Morality: As fitting for the World of Darkness. The Camarilla is mostly made of manipulative schemers who try to use you as pawns for their own benefit, and the Anarchs, while depicted in a slightly better light, can come across as needlessly aggressive, self-destructive and averse to cooperation. Both are, however, overall better people than the Sabbat and Kuei-jin. It's worth mentioning that the closest thing we have to a good guy in the Camarilla is Maximilian Strauss, a Tremere.
  • Black Comedy/Gallows Humour: Jack loves joking about death and murder.
    Jack: [Describing the Sabbat] They're like The Three Stooges with chainsaws.
    • Other minor characters like Arthur and Flynn demonstrate shades of this, especially in the private notes of their personal computers.
    • Almost all of the radio commercials are Black Comedy goldmines. And if your character is a Malkavian, so are half of the televised news reports.
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: The Sabbat sport these.
  • Blamed For Being Railroaded: There's no option for you but to report seeing Nines outside of Grout's manor, even if you're Anarch-aligned and/or noticed that he was Not Himself at the time—the best you can do is act unsure about it. Skelter doesn't hesitate to chew you out for it if you speak to him afterward, and will basically remain pissed off at you until the final two missions (if you chose the Anarch ending).
    • Surprisingly, it's averted for everyone else in the Anarchs; Damsel has no comment on the subject and continues to take your intel on LaCroix, Jack acknowledges you only did what you needed to do and doesn't blame you for it, and even Nines doesn't really seem angry at you for it once you meet with him at Griffith Park.
      • Damsel will also have her foot firmly in the "mad at you" camp if you side with the Camarilla up to that point, but by then, being irritated with you is just business as usual for her. That said, if you try and assert what you saw, her reaction is not pretty.
  • 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 their "Humanity" stat high, or else the player will "frenzy", which means they will go on a violent rampage with increased combat stats but no control over their movements.
  • Bloody Handprint: Quite a lot along the local Ghost Ship, as well as in the monster-infested snuff film studio.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: Averted, body armor is merely a factor in damage calculation.
  • 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... just file everything related to Clan Tzimisce under this category, courtesy of their "fleshcrafting" discipline.
  • 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.
  • Break the Haughty:
    • Many Nosferatu love to do this by transforming vain, attractive people into members of their hideous clan. One of their members is a former supermodel and is decidedly bitter about her new looks.
    • Also, by most of the game's endings Prince LaCroix, courtesy of a crushing Humiliation Conga.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • 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 stoner 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) Goes even further when he implies that the Camarilla were the reason the company went under shortly after releasing the game, because they knew too much about Kindred society.
    • You can ask a seer a number of questions about the future, including whether you will win the game. She will reply it doesn't matter if you win the game, just that you bought it.
    • 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 them 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 resisting his final Dominate attempt in the ending 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.
  • Cat Scare: Used several times in the Hell Hotel level and the Natural History Museum level.
    • Those horrible heads with arms. As if jumping out of every conceivable hiding space (and several ridiculous ones) wasn't enough, they scream horribly, suddenly and loudly while doing it.
  • Character Level: Averted, XP is spent directly on attributes.
  • Chekhov's Army: The opening cutscene showcases all the major Camarilla and Anarch players the Fledgeling will encounter, including Nines, Strauss, Therese, Velvet, Gary Golden, Jack, and Isaac. Skelter, Damsel and Ash also make appearances, though the camera doesn't give them as much focus.
  • 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 turns out to be the orchestrator of the entire Ankharan Sarcophagus debacle.
    • The nondescript cab driver who's been driving you all over the city throughout the game shows up to save you after the Blood Hunt is called on you, and is implied to have been assisting Jack in his plans this whole time.
    • On a smaller scale, the standoffish diner patron you'll see in the Diner in Santa Monica turns out to be the serial killer at the centre of a long-spanning quest you'll complete over a sizable chunk of the game.
    • Julius, the Thinblood with the stuttering problem who you can talk to on the beach near the beginning of the game? A later mission tasks you with killing him to uphold the Masquerade after revealing that he's responsible for a Truth in Television movie script about vampire society.
  • 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.
  • Chinese Vampire: The Kuei-Jin. Just don't call 'em that.
  • City of Adventure: The whole game takes place in and around Los Angeles.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • If the player chooses to be a Malkavian, they seem 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 them, culminating in the Malkavian at one point being able to enter into a conversation with the newsreader.
  • 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 and Tremere player characters get the option to use Domination in dialogue, sidestepping the need for social skills.
    • 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.
    • With the patch, Toreador, Ventrue and Brujah players can use Presence in dialogue, which can be used to manipulate the emotions of the person they are speaking with and compel them to do whatever they want.
  • 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.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Gomez. Hilariously, one of his theories turns out to be the plot of the game.
  • Contemptible Cover: Ms. Fanservice Jeanette Voerman leers from the cover. 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".
  • Continuity Nod: A lot to the Old World of Darkness in general.
  • 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.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Your Sire is killed off right at the start. Under normal circumstances, a fledgeling is supposed to be raised and cared for by their Sire, who has some responsibility for them and their actions; with them gone, you're left to fend for yourself and learn as you go along. On the other hand, it also means you have full freedom over yourself without some other vampire constantly looking over your shoulder.
  • 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.
  • 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. Maybe they need them for the weresharks.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • You can roleplay your character as feeling this way, as you have the ability to remark to several NPCs that you're quite pleased with your unlife.
  • 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.
    • To a much lesser degree, the cutscene that plays after going Downtown for the first time. Your character is taken out by a single good swing of a baseball bat to the head, when they've likely already faced such a blow and worse before from any given enemy faced during the Santa Monica quests.
  • Dark Action Girl: All female PC's. Brawl, melee, guns, Psychic Powers, Blood Magic: make your choice. They are all inevitably dark and capable of killing lots of things.
  • Dark World: Obviously. It is the World of Darkness. Particularly effective is the sinister version of the famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In addition to a fair few characters, the game itself tends towards this:
    Tire Iron: "You could change a tire with it, sure."
  • Developers' Foresight: Not as much as some games, but there are some nice details given thought to.
    • 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.
    • 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 two doors that lead straight to the Hollywood sewer system, and can be used to go back and forth to the surface for blood refill/needed supplies.
    • 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. OR, if you are a Malkavian, you can use Dementation against him to make him forget.
    • 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.
    • The Malkavian playthrough changes everything from basic dialogue and interactions to adding a whole suite of unique, Malkavian-only interactions that change based on how you perceive the world as a complete, stark raving madman. It really adds a huge bonus to the game, and makes for an interesting second playthrough.
    • One of the cooler little touches is when starting a new game during the intro you'll see player characters from any previous saves in the audience. This isn't even a case of using default models as the characters are in later game armor if you were wearing any.
    • If the player moves one of the cameras around in the abandoned hospital Downtown, the view on the corresponding monitor will change in real time to whatever the camera is pointed at. Pointing the camera at its monitor results in a "hall of mirrors" effect just like one would get with a real camera and monitor, although it's only a couple of layers deep. One can even set the camera up so that Pisha appears on the screen.
    • You'll never have a practical reason to, but if you return to Tawni Sessions' apartment after the completion of Imalia's first quest, you'll find the door closed off with police tape.
    • With the plus patch, if you managed to persuade the Gargoyle into helping Isaac, and/or if you managed to talk the Serial Killer out of vigilantism and told him to go to the Last Round after your confrontation, they'll be helping to guard the Anarch Stronghold during the Anarch endgame. note .
    • After returning from Grout's mansion, you can go straight to LaCroix or you can go to the Last Round first and speak to Jack and Skelter about seeing Nines at the mansion. Doing so only before speaking to LaCroix will earn you extra dialogue, in which Skelter fervently denies Nines' guilt and Jack expresses skepticism but encourages the PC to just do what they need to survive.
      • If you managed to find Kent Alan Ryan's remains and picked up his driver's license, you can give it to Skelter and report Kent's death.
      • If you speak to Skelter about it first, then go to speak to Jack, Jack will ask what the big commotion with Skelter was about. This is an entirely unique line you wouldn't see if you'd spoken to Jack first.
    • You can actually pick the lock to the fence keeping you out of Bertram's hiding spot in Santa Monica long before Therese and/or Jeanette tells you where it is. It takes level 5 lockpicking skill to open it, however, so it's unlikely you'll be able to get in at that point in the game unless you pour most of your experience into lockpicking. But if you do, Bertram won't be there and you'll even have the opportunity to snoop on his computer that would be turned off otherwise.
    • If you have high computer skills by the time you rescue Barabus from the Fu Syndicate, you'll be the one hacking into their computers in order to delete their research on Kindred. If you don't, Barabus does it instead.
    • If you manage the quite difficult task of defending Zhao from the Tong without him dying, not only is it recorded in your journal that you managed to save him, but you can report such back to Wong Ho. Zhao also has a unique ambient line afterward warning you to hurry if you want to save Barabus.
    • There's a terrified human girl, implied to be a teenager, found in the foyer of the crackhouse that serves as the HQ of the Brotherhood Of The Ninth circle. She's mostly there for exposition and to top up your blood supply for the fight you're about to have, disappearing once you've cleared the questline along with the doorman, Jumbles. She may seem of a sad case of Killed Offscreen, but if you're fast enough, you can actually catch her fleeing the building in fear after you trigger the zombies upstairs to spawn.
    • Reading Ginger Swan's entry in the celebrity database computer allows you to retrieve the snuff film tape from her grave without having to speak to Isaac about her first.
    • Attacking the gumball machines in the Diner or Red Spot will cause them to break, which they will remain for the rest of the game.
    • Knox is initially placed just outside the hospital so that, if you decide to go there before speaking to Mercurio, you will still learn about Ghouls and thus will know how to save Heather. However, if you haven't spoken to Mercurio and bypass Knox by taking the hospital's back door and lockpicking your way in, you'll have no option to give Heather blood when you speak to her, as your character has no way of knowing about the healing factor of vampire blood.
    • If you have a very high disposition with the Anarchs and chose to side with them in the end, you can actually return to the Anarch Stronghold between the final two missions and report to Nines that you disposed of Ming Xiao. He'll have unique dialogue congratulating you on your success.
    • During a mission for Isaac, a contact is implied to have been dragged into the sewers and killed. If you go down there to investigate, you'll see blood splatters on the wall that weren't there before you spoke with him, and more distressingly, a severed arm that presumably belonged to him.
    • You can deliver the severed arm weapons to Pisha as a "snack", for which she will pay a small fee in return for.
  • Dialogue Tree: Standard for the rpg genre, but done extremely well regardless. Not only do you often have several ways of replying to NPCs and Multiple Persuasion Modes on top of that, but your choice of clan can even score you some unique dialogue options as well as new lines from NPCs in response. The most famous and extensive example is, of course, Malkavians and their loopy Purple Prose, with Nosferatu and their inhuman appearance being a close second. But beyond that, all clans have occasional extra lines and responses; Gary sadistically taunts and threatens to disfigure a Toreador, Nines will mockingly ask a rude Ventrue if they're going to sue him, Strauss acts as a mentor for a Tremere, Bertram has a different snarky back and forth with each clan, etc.
    • You'll also get different dialogue depending on your disposition with NPCs. For example, being on good terms with LaCroix will have him slip in small compliments about how you're "going places" in the Camarilla, but being on bad terms will have him initially accuse you of stealing the sarcophagus once you return from the museum. Most non-main quest-relevant NPCs will flat out refuse to speak to you anymore if you're rude enough, which can lock you out of many quests.
    • Moreover, you'll get more evil/good dialogue options, depending on how low or high your humanity is. With low humanity, you'll largely lose the ability to speak kindly to people and unlock new, particularly violent dialogue options. In the case of the Brotherhood of the Ninth Circle and your first interaction with Andrei, you're actually trying to join them. With high humanity, you'll have a full range of responses, though not the really sadistic ones.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Were you just ferried around the city by Caine himself?
  • Disposable Sex Worker:
    • Downplayed in that prostitutes are one of the easiest sources of blood for the player, but actually killing one costs as much Humanity as any other murder.
    • Played straight by the local Apocalypse Cult, who purposely seek out prostitutes and street people to infect with The Plague, one of whom is encountered on her deathbed.
  • Dissension Remorse: The Voerman twins are a Cute and Psycho party girl and an Ice Queen businesswoman whose mutual belittlement and sabotage ultimately escalates to an armed standoff. The Player Character can talk them into reconciling their differences since they're both Split Personalities of the same person, which leaves them deeply remorseful of how far they'd gone and inspires them to join forces.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: Seriously, did the thought even pass your mind that Jack and the cab driver were the ones behind it all?
    • To a lesser extent, would you have ever guessed that Ming Xiao of all people was the one posing as Nines at Grout's mansion?
  • 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!
    • After you travel through the abandoned hospital in order to find Pisha, you find a vent that leads right back to the front of the level...which you can't open from the other side until you go through the hospital the long way.
  • 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 (although it's not really necessary gameplay-wise, as the streets are broad enough to walk around without bumping into anyone, and you only receive a violation if you stand literally face-to-face to a person; considering that the sewers are more difficult to orient in, since it's not self-evident which building you're approaching, it may be better to only use them to travel to another area, so a Nosferatu player may still not see much of them at all).
  • Dragon Lady: Ming Xiao, the leader of the Chinatown vampires.
  • The Dragon: The Sheriff, to Prince Sebastian LaCroix.
  • Driven to Suicide: Tawni Sessions, thanks to you and Imalia.
  • The Driver: The taxi driver.
  • Dual Boss: A pair of Kuei-Jin, Claw Brother and Blade Brother.
  • 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. And, to his credit, Maximillian Strauss recognizes your potential immediately.
  • Dumbwaiter Ride: Climbing into the dumbwaiter in the kitchen of the Ocean House Hotel is the only way to get to its upper floors.
  • Dummied Out: A ton of stuff didn't make it into the game in the rush to get it out the door. Fortunately, the unofficial patch reconstructs many of the unused assets that were still left in the game files, and adds them back into the game.
  • Dump Stat: Appearance is next to worthless to put your hard-earned experience into. The only ability it affects is seduction. In instances where you can convince people through seduction, there is always a persuasion option or another method that works just as well. The biggest exception is seducing women in clubs for an easy blood refill, but you can just as well grab someone in a dark alley for that.
    • Intimidation is even worse; like Appearance, there's almost always a persuasion option available that works just as well but it can't even be used to get blood from blood dolls. It's annoyingly necessary to save the life of a human for one single quest, but beyond that, you're hard-pressed to find any reason at all to spend your experience on it.

    E-H 
  • Early Game Hell: Santa Monica's combat-only sections are rather rare and not usually that difficult, except you decide to play as The Gunslinger, since the entire stage only has the weakest pistol in the game and the standard shotgun (which is picked up rather late in the stage with next to no ammo) as your options. It's only once the player arrives in Downtown that the Cool Guns can be picked up, so unless the player either puts off some sidequests, or puts a few hard-earned XP points into either melee or a combat discipline, Santa Monica will be a rough ride.
  • 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, statues of the Madonna crying blood, and more mundane events like the collapse of the European Union.
    • The vampires have their own apocalypse - Gehenna, when the ancient third generation of vampires, the Antediluvians, return to the world and enslave/devour their weaker descendants. The Ankaran Sarcophagus is believed by many to contain one of the dormant Antediluvians, which quickly makes it an Apple of Discord among the kindred of L.A.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • The mindset LaCroix and Ming Xiao took when forming an alliance in order to destroy the Anarchs. Of course, because it was such a tenuous alliance between bitter enemies in the first place, both of them basically turned on the other as soon as it was convenient.
    • LaCroix eventually tries to appeal to the Anarchs this way, pinning Nines' supposed death and all his scheming against them on the Fledgling and the Kuei-jin. It works for about half a night, before Nines reappears alive and clears the Fledgling's name.
  • 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.
    • Or so he says. Take a look at his computer, though, and you'll see that he's at least contemplating dealing with them. But they seem rather scary and best avoided.
    • One of the people who found the snuff tape and were distributing it claims something similar in an attempt to get the PC to stop him from being eaten. Apparently they were making their own snuff anyway, just without monsters.
    • While he suggests that LaCroix was the one to put the word out that you blew up the Sabbat werehouse, Jack specifies that he doesn't believe that even LaCroix would directly work with the Sabbat. However, given that he definitely does work with the Kuei-jin, one has to wonder...
    • More morally grey than outright evil, but LaCroix working with the Keui-jin, even to get rid of the Anarchs, is considered high treason to the Camarilla. Strauss is pretty appalled to find out about it, and it's grounds for arrest, dethronement and eventual execution. Even Nines and Damsel (who downright hate LaCroix to begin with) are surprised he'd go that far.
    • Vandal Cleaver, who is arguably an even worse human being than half of the vampires in the game, draws the line at having sex with dead people. Even if they're the living dead.
    Vandal: "I don't do dead chicks."
  • Everyone Is Bi: Applicable to any female NPCs who can be seduced. If a male player character can hit on them, so can a female player character. The reverse, however, is not true (aside from a gangster mook who can be put off by the attempt).
  • Everything Fades: Bodies fade, but bullet holes and blood spatters from fights remain.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: If the Fledgling's Humanity falls low enough, they'll lose access to some non-Jerkass dialogue options alongside their ability to relate to others. One standout is when they casually reveal that Lily lost control of her Horror Hunger and killed a man; they're caught completely off-guard when her love interest "E" shows her compassion rather than turn her away.
  • Evil Is Easy/Being Evil Sucks: In a game of Black-and-Gray Morality, LaCroix and Ming Xiao are probably the biggest bastards around. If the player chooses to side with one of them in the last act, he will actually skip one of the two Very Definitely Final Dungeons and also one of two difficult boss battles. Too bad that he will also get one of two Downer Endings so bleak that they're virtually Non Standard Game Overs.
  • Evil Is Petty: Andrei the Sabbat Elder loses a few points on the badass meter when you realize he has little better to do one night than thumb his nose at the Masquerade by calling up a radio show and ranting at the host about the end of the world.
    • A good number of the evil dialogue options unlocked with low humanity really just boil down to petty cruelty.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Venture Tower, which you can always see in the distance no matter which hub you're in.
  • Eye Scream: The Blood Dolls kept by the Sabbat have their eyes gouged out.
  • 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. Fat Larry as 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.
  • Fantastic Racism: Plenty, just like in the Old World of Darkness:
    • 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.
      • Likewise, the Anarchs have absolutely no good feelings for either of the above two factions, and often distastefully refer to Camarilla vampires as "Cammies".
    • 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 kept on the edges of vampire society for their freakish looks and have a particularly cool relationship with the aesthetically obsessed Toreador.
      • Malkavians, or "Malkies" get mixed reactions from the other clans due to their insight and the...unique mindset that comes with it, from fascination to pity to outright dismissal as ineffectual raving lunatics.
      • Some dialogue options with Bertram, the Gargoyle, and Andrei give hints of the Tremere's reputation as cultish, amoral Blood Mages who stole their power.
      • Bertram's dialogue suggests Ventrue aren't particularly well-liked (at least, not in the Anarch Free State LA, they aren't), given their usual role as leaders within the Camarilla and tendency to be snooty and classist. Unsurprisingly, Ventrues tend to butt heads with Hot-Blooded and rebellious Brujah clan.
      • Everyone you can ask about the Giovanni will respond with nothing short of disgust.
  • Fatal MacGuffin: The Ankaran Sarcophagus that everyone is looking for is rumored to contain an Antediluvian. The more crazy vampires want it so they can steal the powers of the apocalyptic being inside, with a risk of accidentally waking it and causing it to go on a rampage; others want to keep it out of the hands of the former. You can open it yourself, but it's not a good idea...
  • Faux Action Girl: Not in the actual game, but part of an awful script mentioned on the radio. A female FBI agent is said to be competent (unlike her new partner the main character), then she gets kidnapped and has to be rescued by the (male) main character. The main character then turns out to be the kidnapper.
  • Fiery Redhead: Damsel is this to a tee. Potentially the player is as well, provided they're Toreador and choose the snappier dialogue options.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The player and the Downtown Anarchs, potentially. Your relationship with them will be generally a bit rocky at first, given the fact that you're an agent of the Prince. While you can declare yourself to their side early on and act as a spy, it's a tenuous declaration that you can turn your back on at any point and they don't seem to quite trust you yet... especially not after you unwittingly implicate their leader for murder. If you've sided with them until the end, however, they all loosen up and treat you friendlier. Damsel's voice looses its aggressive edge while speaking with you in the Anarch ending, and she seems genuinely happy that you're alive after Griffith Park. Skelter also speaks much more fondly toward you and even takes to calling you "brother/sister".
  • 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.
    • Beckett considers Caine and the Antediluvians (and by extension, Gehenna) to be nothing more than myths and fairy tales. Except Caine and the Antediluvians are very much real, and very capable of destroying all Kindred if they awaken.
  • Flat "What": Expect to be on the receiving end of this reaction every second minute during a Malkavian playthrough.
  • Foil: Amongst specific characters holding this dynamic (see character pages), the playable clans tend to function as this to each other:
    • The most obvious is the Toreador vs the Nosferatu clan. One is a clan defined by love of art and beauty, closeness to humanity, seduction and manipulation. The other is defined by living in the shadows, hiding from society, and overall working indirectly and anonymously. Toreadors are known for being so beautiful they literally weaponize it, and Nosferatus are so inhuman-looking that they're a walking masquerade violations unable to mingle with humans without revealing themselves.
    • Then there's the Brujah vs the Ventrue clans. One is made up of Hot-Blooded rebels always looking to stand up against The Man, the other of haughty aristocrats who are The Man.
    • To a less obvious degree, the dynamic exists between the Tremere and the Gangrel clans. Tremere are notoriously tight-knit to the point where they are extremely choosy about who even becomes one and actively hunting down any antitribu to protect their clan secrets. Gangrel are generally nomadic by nature, highly disconnected from each other and other clans, and many of them (like Beckett) belong to no sect at all.
  • Food Chain of Evil: Even Nines Rodriguez is terrified of werewolves.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • 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.
      • Though amusingly, she refers to Mercurio as "the man on the couch", which can also be used to describe Romero the Ghoul when you first meet him. Even more amusing is that he ends up being just as honest and straightforward with you as Mercurio. They also know each other.
    • 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 
      • 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.
      • The terminal you can log on to in that same internet café has some bios on notable Hollywood figures, and amongst those mentioned is Classical Age Hollywood movie star Gary Golden.
    • 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 rumors surrounding it. The situation - i.e. the entire game - is literally Jacked.
    • Right before heading onto the Elizabeth Dane in order to investigate the Ankaran Sarcophagus, a conversation with Damsel can tell you that Jack is rumored to have been a pirate prior to his unlife, subtly nodding to his hand in the disappearance of the crew.
    • If you speak to Jack before traveling to Grout's mansion, he remarks that a "Malk going AWOL" is something LaCroix should have seen coming. It's later revealed that Grout is dead, and LaCroix killed him. With his overall involvement in the game's events, it's possible that Jack dropped this hint on purpose...
    • The Malkavian PC and Jeanette Voerman both have Mismatched Eyes. This is a clue to the fact the Voerman sisters are Malkavians. The fact that their room is split according to the left-right brain analogy or that you never see them at the same time also contribute, as well as the fact that they share a voice actress.
    • The password to Carson the bounty hunter's computer is Imalia, after a model whose pinup is placed prominently in his apartment. Come the Hollywood portion of the game, you actually get to meet her... as a Nosferatu neonate.
    • When speaking to Beckett late in the game, the player has the option to tell him they don't know of any problem violence can't solve. Beckett replies that he does, "it's called a werewolf." Later on in Griffith Park, the PC does indeed encounter a werewolf who cannot be defeated. (At least, not without some swift lateral thinking skills... and a set of thick metal doors)
    • One piece of Simon Milligan's hate mail scoffs at the idea of werewolves in Griffith Park, and expresses hope that Milligan get eaten by a flesh-eating monster. One of the endings to Milligan's sidequest involves him being killed and eaten by Pisha, and... not to put too fine a point on it, there totally is a werewolf in Griffith Park.
    • A pretty subtle one comes from the thin-blood E if you manage to reunite him with Lily, although whether he is actually aware that he is foreshadowing the game's ending is somewhat ambiguous. Also doubles as a Stealth Pun.
      E: We're gonna be gettin' out of LA soon. Too dangerous here. Rosa told us something big's about to happen and I don't want to be here when the Jack comes out of the box. Take that for what you will.
    • If you go into the diner in Santa Monica very early in the game (before getting the astrolite back for Mercurio), you can catch one of the patrons leaving a voicemail to a "Mr. Milton". Later, you can find the apartment of the recipient and can play back the very same voicemail you heard in the diner from his phone, which will lead you to his gruesome murder scene.
    • A very subtle one, but on the same computer where you can read about Gary and Imalia, you can read about another celebrity who had a large mansion up in the Hollywood Hills—which now sits empty after their death. Later, Issac will identify it as the setting of the gruesome snuff film making its rounds in Hollywood, which you'll infiltrate and find it occupied by Andrei and his flesh creations.
    • You'll start to hear reports on the TV about the archeologist who found the sarcophagus quite a while before you'll be tasked to go rescue him from the Society of Leopold.
    • Towards the end of the game, the Malkavian PC can have a direct conversation with the news anchor who appears on every television in the game. Keep the conversation going for long enough, and he'll tell you a long-winded joke about a fish that wins a game of chess against a butcher, only for the butcher to kill it afterwards. This doubles as a metaphor for the entire plot of the game.
    • The very first cutscene in the game shows Jack standing in the shadows by himself, watching the gathering from outside of the assembly rather than standing with his fellow Anarchs. This hints to his entire role within the game, both as an outside force watching the events transpire and as a man with his own agenda to fulfill while everyone else fights amongst themselves. It also serves as a Book End, since the end of the game has him separate himself from the Anarch group and take to watching the city from somewhere in the Hollywood hills.
    • You can provoke some from Therese. By being sufficiently threatening and antagonistic to her before agreeing to going to the hotel, the Ventrue-esque mask that she presents herself under will crack and she will lash out toward the player. Her outburst hints toward her being Malkavian and her very traumatic childhood, both of which won't be learned properly by the player until the final stretch of the Santa Monica questline.
    • When approaching the pier for the first time, you can hear two cops discussing a recent murder out on the pier. One of the cops jokingly speculates that it might be a vampire or a werewolf. He turns out to be pretty much correct, as the murderer is a Gangrel Caitiff, ie. the closest midpoint between a vampire and a werewolf.
  • Frame-Up: LaCroix pulls this twice:
    • First, He allies himself with Voluntary Shapeshifter Ming Xiao and has her murder his problematic Malkavian Primogen Grout (who was getting a little too close to figuring out his own treasonous ambitions) while masquerading as his political rival and overall threat to his authority, Nines Rodriguez. Then, he sends in the fledgling as an apolitical witness to catch "Nines" escaping the murder scene, and uses their testimony to call a blood hunt on the real Nines, forcing him into hiding. Talking to Jack before reporting back to LaCroix will have him directly predict all this, but he encourages the fledgling to do what they must to survive.
    • Later, once you begin to uncover his little alliance, LaCroix will call off the blood hunt on Nines, claiming he now understands the true perpetrator was Ming Xiao and the Camarilla and the Anarchs must unite to destroy the greater evil of the Kuei-jin. He tasks the fledgling with forming the alliance, then has someone tail them to Griffith Park, where Nines is hiding. There, his agent sets a fire to royally piss off the local werewolves and drive them to kill both the fledgling and Nines. Afterward, LaCroix pins his alliance on the fledgling and calls a blood hunt on them for Nines' supposed murder—using the fledgling and the Kuei-jin as the common enemy to form his alliance with the Anarchs, while disposing of his political rival and his dangerous new agent in the process. It would almost be a perfect plan; too bad Nines survives to clear the fledgling's name, and the hyper-competent and now VERY pissed off fledgling also survives to personally come for his throat.
  • Freak Out:
    • On the final cab ride as a Malkavian, the PC makes a very horrific realization: The cab driver whose been driving you around all this time? He's Caine, the first vampire and one of if not the most powerful things in the setting. Needless to say, they lose it.
    • The last time the PC encounters Beckett, he's lost all the cool and calm composure and sardonic wit he's displayed over the entire course of the game and earnestly warns them not to open the Ankaran Sarcophagus.
    • While extremely easy to miss (especially if you're a player who avoids being outwardly cruel towards the NPCs), a low Humanity conversation with Therese prior to her sending you to the diner can result in a very heated argument that ends with your character threatening to burn her entire city to the ground and watch the flames eat her alive. This causes her to freak out so badly that she actually loses her grip on reality for a moment.
    Therese: "What?! You can't tell me what to do, Mother! You'll never tell me what to do EVER AGAIN!!"
  • Freudian Excuse, Oedipus Complex and Single-Issue Psychology: Alastair Grout's logs dismiss each of these in turn as unlikely to lie behind most people's psychological problems.
    • Freud would've had a field day with the Voerman Sisters, though.
    • Several of the downtown Anarchs seem to have a distrust for authorities rooted in their experiences from when they were alive during times when regular people suffered while the rich and powerful kept on rolling: For Nines it was The Great Depression, for Skelter it was serving in The Vietnam War. Damsel is less clear, but she has a lot of mannerisms of a militant 60s-70s left-wing activist.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Opting to go for the truce ending of the Sibling Rivalry quest will have one if you leave the subtitles on: Therese and Jeanette's combined last spoken line is "kill you", but the subtitles read the speaker as "Tourette".
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire:
    • Isaac, the baron of Hollywood, is a genial fellow who demands respect but gives it back in turn.
    • VV in a more take-no-prisoners way.
    • It's also surprisingly easy to play as one. 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. They just want to hang out on the beach and keep out of the way of the nastier creatures of the night.
  • 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 expository (Yukie got to America by pretending to be in a foreign-exchange 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.
  • Game Mod:
    • The Unofficial Patch is an unofficial patch which fixes a lot of bugs left uncorrected after the end of Troika Games. It comes automatically bundled with the GOG release of the game.
    • If downloaded, the Unofficial Patch gives the option of installing "The Unofficial Patch +", which is a mod that overhauls weapons, disciplines, quest rewards, item distributions (several instances of Disc-One Nuke), maps, increases the overall XP gain (without significant alterations to challenges), and often removes consequences of making choices (such as with taking sides with the Voerman Sisters, being able to do both quests for Romero and similar) or taking the main challenge factor out of a particular scene (like making minions which respawn in certain challenges not respawn, or adding hitpoints to an Advancing Wall of Doom Puzzle Boss). It also restores some content left in the data archives and adds a quest in a new location, as well as a pro-Sabbat ending. The pro point of the mod is ultimately that it makes the game significantly easier for the player, but do keep in mind that it is a mod and it does differ from the original game significantly.
    • 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, bloodheal 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 versions of the Unofficial Patch and the Camarilla Edition, though it features a few changes and doesn't always have the absolute latest versions. A new version, featuring a quest where the player joins/infiltrates the Sabbat in a Latino barrio and can even diablerize certain characters, was released in October 2018.
    • Companion Mod allows to hire and be followed by NPCs (and to embrace humans).
  • Game-Favored Gender: The Seduction stat is much more useful to a female protagonist, who can seduce both male and female NPCs; she also has an easier time with some quests, such as Romero's. Male protagonists, in contrast, are mostly restricted to women.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: A number of npcs give you free experience points, justified in-universe as them teaching you and giving you tips relevant to that skill. Nines can teach you the brawl and melee skill (Brawl before the Elizabeth Dane quest, Melee afterward, but only if you are below level 3), if you have a good relationship with him. Romero will teach you marksmanship if you're lacking the skill points, but only after you help him out with the graveyard. Beckett is the most significant one: if you ask him to teach you about something, you'll get a number of relevant stat bonuses—a bonus to Research by talking about possible origins of vampires, an extra point to a discipline if you're playing a Gangrel, etc.
    Beckett: Try not to think about how much it's going to hurt. Remember, you're already dead. (+1 Fortitude)
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Playing a Nosferatu, you need to avoid being seen by humans because your monstrous appearance is a walking Masquerade violation... unless they're quest-relevant humans, in which case most of them are shaken but brush it off without consequence.
  • 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 Jeanette 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 Anarch figurehead Nines to get killed, allowing him to unify the Anarchs and Camarilla by making you a target.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere:
    • While almost all of the bosses might seem to be this, their forms are all actually listed in the various books for VtM (with one or two exception, depending on what counts as a boss... and those are still straight from books, just from another World of Darkness line).
    • The Sabbat Tremere in the Hallowbrook Hotel is a straight example. 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.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Jeanette, fitting her depraved-schoolgirl aesthetic.
  • 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; S/he actually puts two and two together and freaks the hell 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's 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 (and who betray you if you do).
    • MAC-10 are used by mobsters, Sabbat, and the Society of Leopold.
    • Romero the friendly ghoul has a bolt action rifle as a Weapon of Choice.
    • 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: Although Yukie's dialogue is intended to sound like Poirot Speak from a native Japanese speaker, the voice acting wasn't quite up to the task; instead it's gratuitous Japanese snippets and Japanese pronunciation notes (like "Los Angeles" Rozu Angerezu) read in a thoroughly American 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.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body:
    • If the player goes to the heart of his sanctum, the insane prosthesis maker Dr. Gimble attacks them with a severed arm — very possibly his own, since he admits he amputated his own arm. After defeating him, they can then equip it and use it as a weapon (and it's actually one of the better melee weapons in the early part of the game where you're likely to get it). No pedestrians will look twice at you for walking down the street with a severed arm in your hand.
    • 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. Justified since in this Crapsack World, the cops who aren't corrupt have probably learned to shoot first and ask questions later.
  • Guest-Star Party Member:
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • It is possible (and awards the most experience) to save both Therese and Jeanette, but the requirements are truly obnoxious. You need a moderate Persuasion score, but the trolling is that you also need to have exactly the same number of hidden relationship points with them each. Too nice to Therese when you first met her? Fail! Friendly instead of flirty to Jeanette? Fail! The mechanics seem to be bugged as well, so often you'll not be able to get the good ending to the quest no matter what you do.
    • 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.
    • The Griffith Park werewolf can be killed, but only by doing a series of non-intuitive actions in the correct order while running like hell from an Advancing Boss of Doom.
    • Getting the second haven from LaCroix is a huge pain in the butt. Not only are you given no indication that there even is another, better haven you can get in the first place, but the steps to get it are pretty annoying. You have to treat the notoriously petulant and condescending LaCroix with the utmost respect, referring to him as sir and never snarking at him even once. You have to make sure to ask him about himself and his clan and react with the same unfailing politeness, tell him what Nines said about the Camarilla, and you must have done the werewolf blood quest in Santa Monica to full completion—that includes reading the follow-up email and retrieving your money, or it won't count. You also cannot have declared yourself for the Anarchs before going to the Elizabeth Dane, and cannot kill a single security guard on the ship. Then, and only then, will LaCroix give you the key. If you mess up any of the above mentioned steps, you'll lose out on the apartment (which includes a useful magical object) and will be stuck with the craphole apartment in Santa Monica for the whole game.
  • 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.
  • 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 vampire 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 from LA.
    • The Society Of Leopold is also this. Given that they're hardcore vampire hunters and you're a vampire, it's pretty obvious why.
  • 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.
  • Hate Sink: LaCroix. He's superficially polite, condescending, and demands the utmost respect from the Fledgling despite earning absolutely zilch of it. He's hated/not respected by just about every (vampiric) character in the game, and is so generally unpleasant it's not hard to parse why. Then there's the little detail of him actively trying to kill you via sending you out on constant, not-so-subtle suicide missions and then having the gall to be appalled when The Dog Bites Back. Needless to say, his inevitable humilating defeat and fiery death is nothing short of cathartic.
  • 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.
    • Hallowbrook Hotel counts too. It's hallowed out and crumbling, filled with hostile and creepy Sabbat mooks. The bottom floor is basically Andrei's personal killing grounds, and consists of his fleshy creations and literal pools of blood. To make things worse, there are several human blood dolls scattered around with their eyes gouged out.
  • Hellish Pupils: Beckett has these, but subverts the common intent of them by not being nasty per se 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.
  • Hemo Erotic: The feeding animation the player uses when feeding from a seduced character is pretty suggestive of heavy neck kissing, meanwhile Jack says outright that feeding is Better Than Sex. Moreover, having the vampiric equivalent of sex with Jeanette costs a blood point, suggesting that some sort of blood play/blood drinking was involved.
  • Hesitation Equals Dishonesty: Quite a few of the lead characters are actually accomplished enough liars to avert this. Played straight with one of the callers to The Deb of Night, who hemms and haws over every detail of his reply about the "yacht club" he's at and his "two... actually, 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 directly across from the Tremere Chantry.
  • Horrible Housing:
    • The first haven you get in the game is a one-room apartment above a pawn shop in a particularly grungy part of Santa Monica. The room is filthy, the bathroom's worse, there's no sheets on the bed, and there's nothing to cover the windows with - indicating that you'd be fried in the sun if you were crazy enough to actually sleep here.
    • The Nosferatu haven. A gift from Primogen Gary Golden to Nosferatu players, it's hidden in the sewers of downtown Los Angeles, and most of it consists of bare concrete except for the bits covered by collected decorations. As dank as it is, this is actually an improvement over the first haven, given that it's much more spacious and better protected.
  • Hot-Blooded: Every single Brujah. The ones who appear calm at first are inevitably easy to piss off with the right trigger. Even Jack, who generally projects a chill and jovial demeanor, will go on rants about things that piss him off if you humour him and his patience with you will wear very thin if you continue posturing in favour of the Camarilla.
    Jack: "Why don't you go run back to the Prince, before I show you what they do to Cammy bitches downtown...?"
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Of the vampire variety, with the added caveat that killing innocent (non-hostile) NPCs by draining them dry is a hit to your Humanity.
  • 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-L 
  • Idle Animation: As a nice little touch, the idle animation for the PC changes to reflect their clan. Toreadors idly fix their hair, Tremeres hold their chins in a thinking stance, etc.
  • Infallible Babble: Averted. The many characters one meets in the game regularly omit information, outright lie, or simply have their facts wrong. Any given NPC, even a relatively friendly one, has their own angle on the situation, and very few have any qualms about misleading you even about minor things, if it influences your opinions or behavior correctly. Even many clues that may very well be true aren't guaranteed to ever even come up in the plot. There's a good reason the thin-blooded seer on the Santa Monica beach implies only two characters are trustworthy.
    • Played absolutely straight with the Malkavians. Malkavians in this game are very rarely clear enough to understand, but they are never outright wrong. You can usually spot what they are talking about on your next playthrough, but good luck figuring out what they are talking about before it actually happens.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Ash greatly resents 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 crush it in the Observatory door.
  • Improbable Power Discrepancy: In a few nights, the player is able to gain sufficient experience to overpower vampires hundreds of years their 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 *cough*Caine*cough* 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?"
    • It's also possible that LaCroix botched his Dominate roll and made you immune his powers due to his severe agitation at the time.
  • 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" side quest, along with her gun equivalent, the Flamethrower.
  • Inevitable Mutual Betrayal: Neither Ming Xiao nor LaCroix seem remotely surprised when the other turns on them and both simply respond by trying to screw the other over even worse.
  • Informed Ability: Within the first few minutes of the game, Jack mentions that vampires can do things like "jugglin' dumpsters and outrunnin' the 8-15 from Sacramento", that their bodies can take more of a beating than any human, and that handguns are mostly useless against them. Despite this, your character needs upgraded stats just to lift a table and a special Discipline just to run faster than normal people, and a cutscene shows you getting laid out with a single swing of a baseball bat (albeit from another vampire) and Nines killing a Sabbat thug by shooting him once in the chest with a Desert Eagle.
  • 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.
    • Brujah are usually described as hot-headed, and you do see this at play with Damsel (and to a far lesser degree, Nines), but the Brujah player rarely shows a temper that is any worse than the other clan players.
  • 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 you're getting ready to drive around Los Angeles during the Endgame sequence. This does not make ANY sense, whatsoever, but the game otherwise implies that the Cab Driver is Caine himself. Ignoring later retcons, of course.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: Possibly the only one in the game is Kiki. If you snuck your way into the Tong massage parlor without killing anyone, it's near-impossible to sneak out again after rescuing her because she won't sneak. However, if you hide while the Tong rush to attack her, you'll be treated to the comical sight of her standing stoically while blood spurts from her body as she's showered with machine-gun fire. It's necessary for her to be invulnerable because you have to rescue her to complete a non-optional quest.
  • Ironic Echo: The last living member of the snuff film producers in Hollywood claim they only killed junkies and runaways, the runoff 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.
  • Irony: Downtown has a very gothic-styled highrise building sitting prominently in the centre of the hub, complete with high wrought-iron fences and gargoyle statues. Seems like the perfect building to house a vampire den, right? Apparently not. The vampire dens in the area are a small innocuous dive bar, a random apartment in one of many buildings in the area (if you got the second Haven from LaCroix), a modest boarding house tucked between several larger buildings, and a very sleek and modern office building. The gothic building sitting in the middle of downtown is never used for any quests, you cannot enter it, and nobody ever comments on it. It seems to exist for the pure irony of sitting right across the street from the actual high-ranking vampire den.
  • 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." Can be somewhat justified by the fact that, well... your character is unlikely to actually be loyal to LaCroix (it is, after all, entirely possible that you're already working as a spy for his political rival), thus probably doesn't feel any remorse for dawdling on his missions. Most of them do give you useful cash or items, after all.
  • It's All Upstairs from Here: Most of the endings have the player character fighting their way up the LaCroix Tower.
  • Instant Runes: Appear on a victim whenever a Tremere character uses Thaumaturgy.
  • It's Up to You: Justified in some cases, lampshaded and/or subverted in others.
    • You, a naive fledgling with little knowledge of your powers and the world of darkness as a whole, are Prince LaCroix's main errand girl/boy throughout the game. It is, however, justified because LaCroix is a) not at all well-liked or respected within LA and b) actively trying to kill you. He wants to avoid provoking Nines and the Anarchs, but views the PC as an affront to his authority, and thus sends you out on missions that should be way above your skill grade so that he can get rid of you indirectly.
    • Also justified in that, as a fledgling, you are at the bottom of the social ladder in vampiric society. As such, you'll often be used by Elders in whatever schemes they may have brewing, as your naiveté and eagerness to find a place for yourself make you particularly easy to manipulate. Jack and Bertram lampshade this directly.
    • Subverted mildly with the Downtown Anarchs. During the plague quest, Damsel says that she and some other Anarchs apparently killed another plaguebearer somewhere else in the city while you took out Brother Kanker and Jezebel Locke. In the Anarch endgame, Nines mentions that his forces are out on the streets fighting against LaCroix's, while you take on Ming Xiao and LaCroix personally.
  • 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).
    • Averted with a Nosferatu PC, who doesn't seem at all bothered by how they look. Some dialog options even imply that they actually enjoy it.
  • Jiggle Physics: The game has numerous female models for the player to control, depending on what type of vampire they 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 their sire killed in front of them, is nearly killed themself, 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.
    • Boris, should you decide to help Venus with her problems and choose to kill him. Given that he's been sexually extorting her for who-knows-how-long under threat of taking away her club, he definitely deserves it. Sure you can dominate or persuade him to let her off, but even then, he'll state that it's only for that month and he'll presumably go right back to what he was doing after that.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Ming Xiao, if you side with her. By the end she'll have killed Grout, successfully framed Nines for the murder, attempted to kill the Fledgling over and over again, and double-crossed her co-conspirator. To top it off, she managed to convince the Wild Card Fledgling to side with her, only to chain them to the sarcophagus and leave them to A Fate Worse Than Death under the ocean. Fortunately, she gets her Karmic Death at your hands, no less, in every other ending.
    • The security guard in Skyline Apartments who spies on, records and sells the footage of the building's occupants. He even admits in his computer log that he plans to steal one of the occupants' underwear while she's not home. Despite all this, you can't report him or get him fired, or even inform any of the occupants that they're being watched. While you can kill who is presumably the security guard standing in the building foyer, doing so nets you a loss of humanity even if you've found his camera set up and computer.
    • Vandal. He gets the blood he sells from someone he kidnapped and is holding in a locked room. When you free her, he gets pissed off at you and refuses to sell you any more blood unless you tell him a violent enough story (which is only available to lower-humanity players in the first place). Worse yet, to be able to buy blood again, you'll have to pay him a good chunk of cash or send him a new unwitting victim, as he is the only way to buy bloodpacks in the entire game. While the game provides the occasional free pack here and there, it's not really enough to last you the game and the final few missions are likely to get pretty tough without some way to get more. You've got basically no choice but fork over your cash to this monster, even while knowing full and well where the blood comes from.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: One of the best melee weapons in game. You can find a superpowerful one during the quest Hell at the Hotel Hallowbrook, at the end of 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.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: Several characters get too close to the truth or threaten to reveal the existence of vampires, and it's up to you to take care of the problem. Some of them you can let go; others have to die. Bizarrely, and in an extremely meta moment, Mercurio also suggests this is the reason for Troika's closing.
  • Kill It with Fire: The flamethrower is the absolute best weapon in the game. Pity you get it so late, and its ammo is so rare, expensive, and limited.
    • Fire is also one of your main weaknesses. Will be used against you from time to time.
  • Knight Templar: Bach and the Society of Leopold as a whole.
  • Large Ham: Beckett has a habit of making everything sound like he's...OVERLY...sarcastic. Eveeeeeen when he's not.
    • Gary, possibly justified since he used to be a movie star capable of drawing the attention of vampires.
    • Grünfeld Bach, that guy is about as subtle as a tactical nuke.
    • Andrei makes it a point to turn every single line he speaks into a work of fine art.
    • LaCroix tends to get pretty melodramatic whenever he contemplates the burdens of leadership. Non-Malkavian players even have the option to directly call him on it.
  • Late to the Tragedy: Grout's mansion is like this: As the main character begins exploring the Malevolent Architecture of the mansion in search of Dr. Grout, they come across tape recordings by the Malkavian Primogen, discussing his condition and history. The further into the mansion you go, the less sane these recordings begin to sound, finally climaxing into some truly epic paranoid rantings that not only turns out to be utterly true, but utterly justified — by the time you get to the inner sanctum, you find his obviously murdered corpse inside.
    • 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.
    • You know Patty's missing domiter? Yeah, he's at Grout's mansion too... or rather, his skeleton, ashes and identifying driver's license is.
  • 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 ambient 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 
  • 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 (non-Nosferatu only) can seduce women in clubs, and in fact will likely be seducing mostly women due to there being overwhelmingly more female blood dolls available over males.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Bishop Vick, a Toreador with Celerity and a hefty shotgun. Jack (and the player, should you choose to play as one) is the only one we see in action, but any Brujah counts, as they're equipped with both Potence and Celerity.
    • The werewolf boss. It runs faster than you, is immune to all of your weapons, and can kill you in only a few hits. Lore treats werewolves as being this compared to vampires, as well.
  • Limp and Livid: Gangrel when using Protean.
    • Barabus, the Nosferatu you have to rescue late into the game, also moves like this during combat.
    • Any time you Frenzy, your character starts moving and fighting like this until they can regain their senses.
  • Looks Like Orlok: The members of the Nosferatu clan.

    M-P 
  • 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 you almost always right.
    • To drive the trope even further, Pisha and Strauss more or less outright state that the Malkavian themself 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. Choose the right babbling dialog option with Jack and he'll casually mention that the fact he knows you don't understand it is the only reason he doesn't kill you on the spot to keep that particular secret quiet.
    • Rosa dabbles into this — mostly she's just a bit uncertain because she knows her visions make her a bit weird and she can't always control when they happen, but when she does get visions she's... more or less the Malkavian PC with less agency.
  • The Mafia: The Giovanni, a vampire mob that dabbles in necromancy.
    Gary Golden: Spaghetti and corpses, boss.
  • The Mafiya: Dangerous to Venus, easy for you to kill.
  • Mainlining the Monster: In the sidequest "Thinned Blood", Vandal Cleaver is revealed to have captured a fledgling Thin-Blood vampire and kept her restrained to leech off her blood.
  • Malaproper: The Malkavian PC.
  • Manchild:
    Malkavian: "It was stolen. But there were lots of dinosaurs, so I had fun."
  • Marathon Level: The Warrens. Luckily, the most recent unofficial patch restores a Dummied Out shortcut to bypass the lower three levels (which are standard dungeon crawls that contain absolutely nothing of importance, so you don't miss anything by skipping them).
  • The Masquerade, obviously.
  • The Maze:
    • To a small extent, the sewers on the way to the Nosferatu hideout. They look very similar and are easy to get turned around in if you lose track of the numbers on the walls, especially the final floor.
    • There's a section of Grout's Manor that is very much the Malevolent Architecture version of this, though it's quite short.
  • 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. Though everything is normally fair game in a combat area anyway.
  • MockGuffin: Once again, The Ankharan Sarcophagus. As it turns out, it only ever housed a regular human corpse, which Jack had swapped out for C4 before LaCroix even knew it existed.
  • Mugging the Monster: Quite literally with the beach drug dealer Dennis and Mercurio. He may just be a ghoul instead of a full-fledged vampire, but that doesn't mean mugging Mercurio and beating him nearly to death was a good idea. Dennis and his gang will end up paying for it either by your hand or Mercurio's, either way, they don't make it until the end of the game.
  • 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.
    • Kuei-Jin ending: You decide to help Ming Xiao double cross LaCroix and help her take control over LA, but at the very end she decides that you're no longer of any use to her and she won't tolerate any Cainites in her city anymore. She does decide to spare your life out of gratitude, but does so by nailing you to the sarcophagus before tossing it into the sea, consigning you to a long, long torpor.
    • 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.
    • Joke Ending: After activating a dancing werewolf easter egg through a laptop in a hotel, you tell LaCroix that you've seen the werewolf once and want to see it again during the confrontation. The werewolf dances throughout the credits and you start joining it soon after.
  • Multiple Persuasion Modes: Three social skills can unlock additional dialogue tree options: Persuasion, Intimidation, and Seduction. Before the patches, good Intimidation opportunities were few and far in-between, so Persuasion was the main mode. Additionally, two vampiric Disciplines (magical spells, in essence), Malkavians' Dementation and Ventrue's Dominate, can be used in dialogue to persuade NPCs. The patch adds the ability for Toreadors to use their Presence discipline during dialogue in a similar way.
  • 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.
    • Ghouls are incapable of not treating their domiter this way, even if, like Vandal and Mercurio, they don't particularly like said master.
  • Mystical Hollywood: Hollywood is all but run by the vampires, particularly, of the Toreador clan, and is host to all manner of supernatural creepiness.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • One of the passwords is "Gil Bates".
    • 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.
  • The Nicknamer: The Malkavian almost refuses to call anybody by their real name.
  • Noble Male, Roguish Male: Played with visually between LaCroix and Nines. Being an Anarch Brujah who dresses like a biker and whose HQ is the local crappy dive bar, Nines is the roguish male. However, personality-wise, he's much easier to get along with and generally treats the player with more respect. In contrast, LaCroix lives in a massive business office, wears his hair slicked back and a prim-and-proper suit at all times; but treats the player like a disposable pawn through the whole game.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: Averted and played straight. The novel Gehenna: The Final Night loosely follows on from the game and the Strauss/Camarilla ending is at odds with it. However, because it is canonical that LaCroix met his end through the sarcophagus exploding, the Kuei-jin ending is also impossible, as LaCroix will be killed by Ming Xiao and the sarcophagus goes unopened in it. The LaCroix, Anarch and Independent endings 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.
    • There's a cheat code that allows you to use the Sheriff's Sword, an item only available by cheating. The item description is "You shouldn't have this."
    • 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.
  • Non-Residential Residence:
  • Nonstandard Skill Learning:
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • Notice This: The main function of the Inspection feat is to highlight collectible items nearby with a particle effect. For this reason, many players consider it useless, since it does nothing that an observant or familiar player can't manage without it. 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.
  • NPC Random Encounter Immunity: Inverted in downtown LA, where random street thugs harass passers-by but not the Fledgling.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity:
    • Knox can play you like a fiddle. That is, unless you can perceive his bullshit (read: Your Perception must be three or higher.) With enough stats, you can call him on it.
    • 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).
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: If you listen long enough to the radio while in Hollywood, an ad comes on for a movie about a terrorist plot to blow up a dam, titled Hoover 2: Hydroelectric Boogaloo.
  • Obvious Beta: A solid case of Screwed By The Publisher. The one official patch was made pro-bono. Thankfully, the unofficial patch remedies this.
  • Older Than They Look: Most kindred NPCs, as is standard for vampire lore. They all look the age they were when they were embraced, even if that was decades or even centuries ago. Averted with Ash and the player, as they are both fledglings and thus look relatively accurate to their ages. Potentially also averted with VV, as she's implied to be quite a young vampire, but offers no hint toward exactly how young.
  • 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. However, they always have the option of siding with nobody and taking out both the Camarilla and Kuei-Jin by themselves. This is functionally identical to siding with Nines, the only difference being you didn't go to the Anarch Stronghold before going after Xiao and LaCroix, and you get an extra scene at the very end where you reject Nines' offer to join the Anarchs.
  • 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.
    • Protean disciplines allow the player to do this.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • Nines Rodriguez. Despite "Nines" clearly being an informal nickname, his birth name is never once used or revealed in the game. Even the most prim-and-proper members of the Camarilla, like Strauss and LaCroix, and the ever elegant Ming Xiao refer to him with the nickname, seemingly not even aware what his actual first name is. It's established in supplementary novels to be Armando, but otherwise, you'll find no mention of it anywhere.
    • Likely the case for Skelter and Damsel, given their lack of a last name and strange first names, but not confirmed so.
    • Averted by Velvet, as much as she wishes otherwise. She prefers to be referred to as Velvet Velour (or VV, to those she's close to), which likely started out as her stage name, but the Malkavian PC will reveal that her name is actually "Susan". For an unknown reason, she actively hides every last hint toward her human identity, and gets upset when called by her original name.
    • The Southland Slasher is never referred to by name. He never introduces himself in the few direct interactions you have with him, nor can you find his name out anywhere else.
  • Only Sane Man: Compared to much of her caller base, radio hostess "The Deb of Night" combines this with a Deadpan Snarker approach; even when unknowingly interacting with actual elements of the World of Darkness.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When the Malkavian PC drops the whimsical speech patterns and talks straight, it's a sign that they're either very angry or very unsettled.
    Malkavian PC: [after having been taunted by Gary for a while] "Where. Are. You."
    • Nines is shown to be nothing if not an unshakable badass for almost the entirety of the game, so when he gets nervous about a distant fire while at Griffith Park, you just know something is very, very wrong.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: Both male and female players can have one with Jeanette, if you complete the Santa Monica quests in her favor. Later, a female (non-Nosferatu) player can also have one with Romero, netting a nice experience reward and bypassing one of the most infamously frustrating quests in the game. A player who has slept with him can also return at any time and use him as a blood doll. The patch has since opened the ability for a male player to do the same.
  • Optional Stealth: You're free to solve any kind of situation in the way you're most comfortable with, but a stealth approach will always grant you more points.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Goes with being part of Vampire: The Masquerade. Jack fills you in on the details over the course of the tutorial.
    Jack: Forget the books and the movies. Garlic? Worthless. A cross? Pff, shove it right up their ass. A stake? Only if it catches you in the heart and then it just paralyzes you. Running water? Eh, it's no problem. I bathe. Occasionally. Now, a shotgun blast to the head? Oh, that's trouble. Fire? That's real trouble. Sunlight? Well, you catch a sunrise and it's all over, kiddo.
  • Overly Pre-Prepared Gag: One lasting the entire game. The entire Ankharan Sarcophagus plot turns out to be an elaborate knock-knock joke by Jack and the Cabbie.
  • 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 . 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 written backwards.
  • Permanently Missable Content: 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.
    • It's within your best interest to be at least a little cordial with NPCs, as being too rude will actually piss a good number of them off enough to directly cut you off from several quests and might even end in a fight. Being sufficently antagonistic to Knox, E, Damsel, Arthur Kilpatrik, and Velvet in particular can cost you your ability to complete some quite lengthy and rewarding questlines. Thankfully, the game is quite lenient with this mechanic and you'd have to be directly trying to anger them in order to trigger it.
  • Pineapple Surprise: Nines Rodriguez saves the PC from a gang of Sabbat shovelheads by threatening them with a grenade.
  • Point-and-Click Map: The taxi / sewer map which serves to leave the current district.
  • 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 comes across as an overly-stereotypical Toreador (flirty, hedonistic, outgoing), while Therese comes across as an overly-stereotypical Ventrue (cool, collected, and controlling). 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 (although Therese never claims to be Ventrue, just behaves like one, so the player might think that's just her manifestation of Malkavian Psychosis).
    • 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.
  • Precision F-Strike: Venus uses one to underscore a moment of Tranquil Fury where she asks you to kill the man who's been sexually extorting her:
    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.
  • Properly Paranoid: You can overhear some Enemy Chatter at the beach house between the goons who beat up Mercurio. One is disquieted by Merc's apparent Healing Factor and thinks they should've outright killed him, as someone like that may come back to get revenge... or have powerful friends exact it for him. They are slaughtered either by your hand or Merurio's, after he convalesces.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Shortly after you place the Bad Luck Charm in the target's locker, said target promptly appears and gets into an argument that likely forces you to kill him — exactly as Ox intended. A clever player can get out of the encounter non-lethally, in which case Ox is disappointed that his ploy went Off the Rails.
  • Protective Charm: Strauss can be convinced to give the fledgling the Rune of the Third Eye, a token that reduces the damage they suffer from the Gargoyle's blows.
  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: The Suicide and Mass Suicide powers of the Dominate discipline force their targets to strangle themselves to death.note 
  • Psychotic Smirk: Jeanette Voerman, a Malkavian seductress, favours this look.
  • Purple Prose: Malkavian speech has plenty of this.
  • 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. Subverted: Killing the Werewolf one-on-one can actually be achieved (in Unofficial Patch only) by using a combination of maxed-out attributes, artifacts, disciplines, and the Tal-Ma-He-Ra blade (or Protean if the PC in question is a gangrel) to buff your stats Up to Eleven, which is only possible through the use of the console or possibly New Game+. It's still a very difficult fight. If you want to try this, prepare for a Worthy Opponent.

    Q-T 
  • 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.
  • Rape as Backstory: Jeanette and Therese were sexually abused by their father as children, which is the root of their Malkavian psychosis. When you talk to them during their attempt to "kill" each other, Jeanette taunts Therese with the knowledge that Therese was the one who killed their father... because she caught him in bed with Jeanette. It's unclear if she did it to protect her sister, or out of a twisted sense of jealousy.
    • Also a possible Background for the PC, if you have a patch that restores the Dummied Out Background system.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Humorously, this can be done by the player; depending on who they 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; and it is glorious.
  • 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.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Very shortly before the endgame Becket seemingly loses his nerve, abandons his attempt to open the Sarcophagus, and warns the Fledgling to not open it under any circumstances. At the time it comes off like him concluding there really is an Antediluvian inside, but on later playthroughs it's clear that he's figured out exactly what's inside but doesn't want to make powerful enemies by telling you outright.
    • Your encounter with "Nines" outside of Grout's mansion reads very differently once you've already played through the game once. In a first playthrough, you might view his odd behaviour as him being nervous or shifty because of guilt. But in a second playthrough, his behaviour points out some very noticeable hints toward who you're really speaking to. Not only is Ming Xiao unable to properly replicate Nines' casual-but-gruff way of speaking (it sounds very forced and unnatural when she attempts it, and her inflections are all wrong), but she accidentally slips back into her own speaking patterns near the end. Suffice to say, Nines is not the kind of person who would say "Pardon me" to excuse himself, but Ming Xiao absolutely is.
  • Riddle for the Ages:
    • The game never answers why the Fledgling was sired, why their Sire did it, nor why Lacroix was eager to kill him/her (though one suspects the Sire caught wind of Lacroix's plans for the sarcophagus.)
    • Kent Alan Ryan. His remains and driver's license can be found deep into an entirely optional labyrinthian wing of Grout's mansion, so finding out what happened to him at all is, in itself, easy to miss. Skelter seems to have no clue what happened to Kent and worries about making enemies by taking care of Patty, so it's unlikely that he was doing some sort of mission for the Anarchs that went south. So what was an Anarch doing so far within the mansion of the Malkavian Primogen? The game doesn't even hint towards an answer.
    • Grout's so-called "Faustian bargain" to save his own life. What was it? Who did he strike it with? We never find out.
  • 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.
  • Romance Sidequest: Played with. Velvet's quests, if done with no unneeded violence and if she's spoken to respectfully/flirtily, are essentially the closest thing the game has to this. There's no kissing nor any indication you're in a committed relationship, but she will send the PC love letters and openly states you've "stolen her heart", as well as allowing you to use her Affectionate Nickname "VV".
  • 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 you 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.
  • Schmuck Bait: At the end of the game, you can open the Sarcophagus, after nearly everyone you've ever met has told you that it's a bad idea. And it is, though not in the way you'd expect.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: What everyone believes the Ankaran Sarcophagus to be. Majorly and hilariously subverted at the end.
  • Secret Keeper:
    • Pressing Bertram about Jeanette after you have your final (story relevant) encounter with her and Therese will reveal he's well aware that the two of them are the same person, to the point where he'll even compliment the clever nickname given to them by the Malkavian player. For whatever reason, he generally keeps it to himself and continues to let Jeanette think she's pulling one over on him.
      • You'll also become this for Jeanette and Therese, but you can subvert it somewhat by telling Beckett about their secret. Granted, he doesn't seem to tell anybody about it and Therese and/or Jeanette never seem to find out you did so.
    • You can be this for LaCroix about his alliance with the Kuei-jin. While you can tell Damsel, Nines (Anarch end only) and Strauss (Camarilla end only) about it, you don't have to. You even have the option to justify it to LaCroix, saying he only did what was necessary, which is the only way to get him to admit to it directly.
    • You can do this for Strauss regarding the Gargoyle, even while Anarch aligned. While it's perfectly possible to tell Issac about Strauss' connection to it, it's actually more rewarding not to. Keeping the secret will earn you a reward from both Issac and Strauss, while telling Issac will not earn you anything extra and will leave you locked out of the Tremere Chantry for the rest of the game... Of course, there's always the option to go to Strauss first, get your reward, ''then'' go to Issac for his reward and rat Strauss out anyways.
    • Subverted with Samantha, your human friend who recognizes you in Hollywood. Try as you might, there's simply no way to convince her not to make the masquerade-violating phone call if you admit who you are. You're stuck either taking the violation, convincing (whether through persuasion or brainwashing) her you aren't her missing friend, or killing her.
  • Serial Killer:
    • Throughout a large portion of the game, there's a destructive serial killer covered by the news. The player eventually has the opportunity to deal with him.
    • Dr. Gimble is one of these, but little does he know that the player character is far more dangerous.
  • Severed Head Sports: An easter egg is to be found by picking up the severed head of a serial killer's victim and throwing it through a nearby basketball hoop.
  • Shoot the Dog: In order to uphold The Masquerade, you'll sometimes be forced to do unsavory things to innocent people that will cost you your Humanity. With the right skills, you might be able to find more peaceful solutions, but good luck getting all of them in a single playthrough.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: The male player Ventrue, Toreador and Tremere potentially, doubling as a Badass in a Nice Suit. There's also LaCroix and Issac, who spend the entire game decked out in a full business suits. Contrary to the rest of his clan, Gary dresses in a classy bowtie and vest, perhaps to represent his time as a former star.
    • One of the generic npcs, usually used to represent blue bloods, wears a nice suit.
  • Shout-Out: a page of them.
  • Shown Their Work: With an Experience system that makes you as powerful as an Elder vampire in a matter of days (not really days, as it's implied that at least several months pass, which is still a short amount of time, but nonetheless makes more sense) aside, Bloodlines is amazingly faithful to its parent setting and contains more Continuity Nods than you can shake a stick at.
    • Some people speculate that Caine has been lowering your generation to help you out, so they believe the experience and discipline system is explained within the plot. Although going by your blood pool you start out at generation 8, already a lot more powerful than the tabletop standard of 13.
    • 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.
  • Side-Effects Include...: 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.
  • 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 vs. 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 most obscene creature I've ever seen", despite him 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.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The attack on Venture Tower in the climax follows a conventional formula.
    • On the first floor, you deal with harmless Fat Idiot Chunk and a small group of mortal guards. A PC who's paid a modicum of attention to their combat stats will probably cut through both obstacles like a knife through butter.
    • As you ascend the tower, the grunts are replaced by special ops with more powerful weapons, clad head to toe in heavy equipment that prevents you from feeding on them.
    • Near the apex, you start encountering LaCroix's best: Ventrue loyalists with heavy weapons and access to vampiric disciplines.
    • Finally, you face off with the Sheriff in a sprawling two-part battle that ends with you coming face-to-face with our Non-Action Big Bad himself, whose fate is decided outside of combat.
  • 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.
  • Split-Personality Merge:Therese and Jeanette. If you're nice to both of them and have more Persuasion points, you can convince them to work together. Weird future conversations will follow.
  • Split-Personality Takeover: One of the ways the Voerman sisters' problem can be solved - have either Therese or Jeanette shoot the other and kill her, so only one personality is left.
  • A Spy at the Spa: The Lotus Blossom spa and massage parlour is a front for the local Tong gang (and, therefore, for the Kuei-Jin vampire cabal). Given the peepholes and hidden recording equipment in some of the rooms, it's implied that the Tongs engineer compromising situations to use as Blackmail material.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Did you ever notice that the name of the building you know as "The Ventrue tower" is actually spelled "Venture tower"?
    • Delacroix means "of the cross" in French. An ironic name for a vampire.
    • The thin-blood E's comment that he doesn't want to be in LA when "the Jack comes out of the box". See Foreshadowing above.
  • 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.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: At Griffith Park you're forced to either babble out questions or obliviously tease Nines for being worried about the werewolves instead of just listening to him, as there's no way of cutting your dialogue short. Either way, because of the PC's stalling, the lift leaves without you and you both end up nearly being killed by werewolves. The fight, Nines' near-death, as well as the bloodhunt that will be subsequently called on the player for said believed-death, could have all been avoided if they had simply listened to Nines when he first said they needed to leave.
  • 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.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Vampires don't need to breathe, though there are only a few parts with swimmable water anyway.
  • Supporting Leader: Nines and Strauss, if you sided with one of them in the end. Moreso Nines, as he will directly mention that he has his soldiers fighting off LaCroix's soldiers while you personally storm Venture tower.
  • Take That!:
    • 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."
    • Velvet 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 television news also mentioned a Senator Limperman being outraged at at a game taking unsubtle shots at him, referencing Senator Joe Lieberman.
    • After scamming one of the thin-bloods, you have the option of telling him that the President of the United States 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.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: The male Tremere PC, Nines and Ash are all dark-haired and conventionally handsome. Especially fitting for Ash, being a former-actor-turned-Toreador.
  • 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.
  • Token Evil Teammate: From a Camarilla perspective, the Ventrue seem to be this: While every Camarilla clan has its positive or at least morally ambiguous representatives (the Brujah have Nines, Damsel and Jack; the Gangrel have Beckett and Skelter; the Nosferatu have Bertram and all the other non-villains in the Warrens; the Tremere have Strauss; the Toreador have Isaac, VV and Ash; and the Malkavians have Grout and the Voermann sisters), the only named Ventrue you run into is LaCroix,the Prince.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Damsel and Velvet, respectively.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • There's a thin blood on the beach at Santa Monica who can be talked into handing over his money in exchange for 'special gum for vampire teeth', 'unicorn blood' (i.e. ordinary blood packs) for a blood transfusion and the 'holy stake' (i.e. a random piece of debris on the beach) to kill the "head vampire." Once you've sold him all this with a minimal persuasion check, he'll cheerfully run off on a suicide mission against either LaCroix, Nine Rodriguez, or the President of the United States, depending on who you've pegged as the "head vampire." Even if you hadn't come along and conned him, it's hard to imagine his life expectancy among the undead would have been very long.
    • Helping the Kuei-Jin. Of course, you can't die so you just end up living forever chained to a box beneath the ocean.
    • Prince LaCroix, as well, for planning to open the Sarcophagus and try to diablerize the Antediluvian believed to be sleeping within.
    • 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.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: At one point, the main quest requires you to go to the headquarters of a Mad Scientist whom you know has already captured one vampire, then to walk into a small dead-end room at his direction. You need not act surprised when you are also captured, though you might wonder why the Locked Door on the other side of the lobby is impervious to your powers until you need to break out.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: The Tongs are antagonists in a couple of quests.
  • 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.
    • The PC gets a few opportunities here and there, sometimes depending on the clan. For example, an exchange the Toreador PC can have with Imalia:
    Toerador PC: "Who's Tawni Sessions?"
    Imalia: "Tawni Sessions is a wannabe face-girl with no talent and cabby little knees. Did you know she got Model of the Year? Before I got here, she would have had a hard time making the catalogue for 'Jacque Penney'."
    Toreador PC: "OH! That Tawni Sessions. She's so hot right now..."
  • Tsundere: She's no one's 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.

    U-Z 
  • Ultimate Final Exam: Having been illegally Embraced and only spared execution due to public outcry, you're given a number of jobs in Santa Monica to prove yourself worthy of a place in the Camarilla (including the removal of werewolf blood from a local clinic); the final task requires you to destroy a Sabbat warehouse - alone and with minimal resources apart from the bomb.
  • 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 powders her face with flour.
    • Strauss looks downright blue in most lights.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Most human mooks, aside from the Society of Leopold, don't know the random guy or gal who just strolled into their sights is, in fact, a bloodsucking monster and will attack without realizing just how outmatched they really are. Many curb-stomp battles ensue.
    • Dennis and his crew on the beach treat you like any other customer, making sure to intimidate you before laying the groundwork for any sort of deal—Dennis will even try to hit on a non-nosferatu female character. Little does he know, however, that you're a vampire sent to kill him in revenge for that guy he just robbed.
    • Gimble is a human serial killer who tries to lure who he thinks is an unsuspecting wannabe bounty hunter into being his next victim, only to find he's invited an actual supernatural monster into his lair.
    • When you burst into his office in Glaze, local mob boss Johnny immediately starts rattling off threats and insults... only to realize his intruder isn't exactly human too late.
    • Subverted by the Mandarin, who is extremely prepared for your inhuman strength. He hides himself behind thick concrete walls and bulletproof glass, only speaking to you indirectly through web cams and intercoms. You likely wouldn't have ever gotten to him if he hadn't made the mistake of putting pressurized gas canisters near one of his windows, allowing you access into his lab with the blast.
  • 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, Mercurio shall be your most solid ally throughout the entire game, setting you up even for elite weapons and armor near the endgame even if you betray the Camarilla.
  • 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." She is frightened by the prospect, but goes back to this behavior once safely back at her daddy's place, which is a non-combat area.
  • The Unintelligible: Various CDC types in hazmat suits are standing around Downtown, presumably to deal with the local epidemic. They have lines but they just sound like muffled noises. The Clan Quest Mod adds a quest that involves talking to one of them. The fan voice acting provided only reinforces the troop - thank God for subtitles!
  • Unnaturally Looping Location: The Tremere chantry seems to have some sort of enchantment on it that only allows the player to visit Strauss' office or a small reading room. Trying to go anywhere else will lead to spending several minutes walking in circles.
  • 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 Are Sex Gods: With the Toreador clan it's a given, but generally (save for Nosferatu) the vampires you'll meet in the game fall into the good-looking department. Even Pisha, despite that her kind is considered a flesh-eating monstrosity amongst vampire society. Ironically, despite this, its part of the game's lore that vampires do not generally have sex; Janette and her partners (which can include the player) are the exceptions.
  • Vampires Hate Garlic: Averted. Jack confirms this is bullshit.
  • 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.
  • Vampire Variety Pack: As part of the Old World of Darkness. There are seven playable vampire breeds (Nosferatu, Gangrel, Toreador, Tremere, Ventrue, Malkavian and Brujah), and several breeds that appear as antagonists (Tzimisce, Lasombra, Giovanni, and, should you choose to fight them, Nagaraja, a clanless Caitiff and thinbloods, not to mention the antitribu Sabbat clans and the Kuei-Jin).
  • Vampire Vords: Only two characters speaks with such an accent. One is ancient, the other is probably unfathomably ancient.
  • Vendor Trash: Watches, jewelry, pills, morphine, car stereos...
  • Video Game Caring Potential:
    • Jeanette and/or Therese. The way to save them both is difficult to figure out on your own and requires very specific dialogue choices and social skills (Seduction for Jeanette, Persuasion for Therese). If you were unable to convince them to work together again, both of them do seem genuinely sad after killing the other—Jeanette in particular seems to be just about choking back tears.
    • Heather. Not only is she The Cutie who positively adores the PC (bloodbond not withstanding), but if you do take her in, it'll eventually become clear that her proximity to you is putting her in danger. Not only that, but she slowly becomes more and more consumed by you until she changes her entire appearance, drops out of school and gives you all her money. Should you not release her before the end of the game, by the time the Sabbat attacks LaCroix's tower, she'll be murdered. It really may just be best for the girl if you turn her away right when she first approaches you outside Venture Tower.
    • Yukie. While fighting the the Hengeyokai, she very well can die, but most players will feel inclined to make sure she doesn't. If she survives, she'll request that you continue to defy your nature and remain good, and you'll part ways on fairly pleasant terms considering she's a Hunter of Monsters and you're... well, a monster. Taken Up to Eleven with the patch installed, as she'll show up to help you take down the Kuei-jin in the penultimate level. You have the option to tell her to wait by the front and stop anyone from fleeing instead, as taking her up on this offer will almost certainly lead to her death.
    • Zhao. He's likely to end up dead after revealing to you where Barabus is, however, he can actually be saved. Doing so is very, very difficult and requires you to basically distract all the Tong mooks yourself, which could get you killed. But, considering he's a good man trying to move on from a checkered past, and a close friend of Wong Ho, the effort to save him is worth it.
    • Wong Ho. A little digging around Chinatown reveals Ming Xiao is plotting his death, and considering he's one of the nicest people you'll meet in the game, it's likely you'll want to stop that from happening. You can warn him about it and convince him to skip town with his daughter, provided you found the Mardarin's computer and have a high enough persuasion skill.
    • Hannah. Unlike every other example, Hannah is tragically doomed to die no matter what. However, you can decide not to tell her that her boyfriend Paul is dead, and instead Let Them Die Happy by lying and saying he sent you to check up on her.
    • The Southland Slasher. As it turns out, he was a victim of a botched home robbery that ended in the robbers murdering his entire family (children included) pointlessly. After the fact, the perpetrators got off on very light sentencing, and were free again after an unspecified but much too short amount of jailtime. After being embraced, he'd decided to enact his own justice by savagely murdering his family's killers. When you confront him, he'll tell you all this and imply he plans to continue his vigilante ways with other criminals. Typically, you'll have to choose between killing him or leaving him. However, with a persuasion of 8, you can convince him away from vigilantism and can even send him over to join the Anarchs if you're aligned with them. Given his sympathetic backstory, you'll really feel inclined to wait until you have the persuasion before confronting him, because the neither of the other endings will feel remotely as satisfying and heartwarming.
    • The friendly Nosferatu that can be found in the last level of the sewers who rushes to engage two of the Tzimisce bloated monsters, presumably dying in the process. Saving him is doable, if tricky, but he thanks you afterwards before disappearing, which is just plain heartwarming.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: Inverted. All the accessible computers in the game work by command line interface.
  • Villainous Breakdown: LaCroix has a particularly brief one.
  • Villainous Ethics Decay: The retired Professional Killer Lu Fang gripes about how the Tong these days are too disorganized and murder-happy, whereas in his era, they were at least better-organized. It's eventually revealed that gang violence in Chinatown really is getting worse, thanks to the recently arrived vampire Ming Xiao, who's indirectly sponsoring the Tong and exploiting the chaos to build her power base.
  • 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 
    • Please note everyone in the game with some sense of wisdom from Beckett to Rosa has told you do not open it.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: For the Scrappy Level, unsurprisingly.
    • 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. Although there are quests early on that give you a taste of what's to come (see Wake-Up Call Boss below), and many missions involve stealth, which is still applicable to these last sections, so you should be prepared anyway.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The "Cathayan" (a Kindred-coined term for the Kuei-jin, in the Santa Monica warehouse side-quest qualifies. If your character is combat-oriented, however, he is fairly easy to kill without giving it much thought; in this case, the Wake-Up Call Boss would be Bishop Vick.
  • 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 has both the will and opportunity to stay true 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.
  • We Do the Impossible: The reason LaCroix uses the Player Character.
  • Weird Moon: In the World of Darkness, the moon's craters resemble not so much a face or a rabbit, but a skull.
  • Welcomed to the Masquerade: In one of the most unpleasant way possible. What was supposed to be a one-night stand results in the player character turning a newly-Embraced vampire... and an illicitly-embraced one. After their sire gets offed for Embracing a mortal, the PC finds themselves trying to prove their worth by becoming LaCroix's errand boy, and has to learn how to survive as quickly as possible.
  • 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.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Replace "seaside resort" with "mountain resort" and the Back Story of the Ocean House Hotel is basically the same Back Story with Grady in The Shining.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Inverted, averted, subverted, justified and played straight in the scene with the Mandarin. The player is trapped in a nigh-impregnable test facility by the Mandarin, with the aim of finding out the limits of vampire powers & resilience. To get out, you do shoot/eat him. A squad of mooks ''do'' attempt to shoot you in one of the tests. To progress, you do have to shoot parts of the environment. Shooting you wouldn't be nearly as informative as testing the character's resilience to UV, flame, spinning blades, bullets and some more flame. Finally, when you escape, the Mandarin does attempt to shoot you. Revenge is delicious.
    • As is the Mandarin.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Malkavians. Not helped by the fact that they tend to Embrace people who already have mental health issues. Some are less extreme 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.
  • World of Snark: Damn near everyone has a snarky comment to make. Anarch, Camarilla, Independent, Kine; doesn't matter, everyone has some word-play up their sleeve. The player character is no exception to this either, especially when having to periodically report to living snark bait like LaCroix.
  • 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.
  • 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 quest log will ask if you're feeling proud of yourself now.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: The Kuei-Jin ending.
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: Dialogue implies that you will become the new Sheriff if you side with the Camarilla and defeat LaCroix.
  • You No Take Candle: The fortune-teller in Chinatown speaks like this.
    You going to get a visitor at your door next week - DON'T OPEN DOOR! It Jehovah Witness. They so annoying!
  • 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 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. Makes you wonder how Romero was able to hold the line all by himself, night after night.


"Remember, wherever we go, it is the blood of Caine which makes our fate. Farewell, vampire."

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