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Video Game / Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption

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Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption is a PC role-playing game developed by Nihilistic Software, published by Activision, and released on June 7, 2000. The game follows the adventures of a French crusader, Christof Romuald, through Prague and Vienna in the Dark Ages and modern-day London and New York City. The game is based on the pen-and-paper roleplaying game Vampire: The Masquerade.

In short, you are a crusader who finds himself resting in Prague after taking an arrow to the gut in battle against the pagan barbarian hordes. As you heal, you become friendly with Anezka, the nun who helped you recover, and take it upon yourself to protect her and her convent from the creatures of the night that threaten it. Vampires and monsters of misshapen flesh walk the streets at night in Prague, but you are confident that with your trusty sword and faith in God, you can overcome any enemy.

It doesn't last, and Christof finds himself transformed into a vampire of Clan Brujah instead, and drawn into the murky world of vampire politics and war.

The game's whole story, crossing most of Europe and 800 years of history, culminates in an epic battle to prevent an apocalypse on January 1st, 2000, ultimately turns on Christof and the three things which drive him: his love for Anezka, his despair and rage over his condition, and his faith.

Can be bought from Good Old Games and Steam.

This game contains examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Archbishop Geza is shown to be rather more unsavoury than he first seems, harbouring what's implied to be a most improper lust for Anezka, but disappears from the story after Christof's Embrace.
  • Action Girl: Every female vampire who is not hostile to you. Anezka tries to be this, too, but doesn't really succeed.
  • Aerith and Bob: Anezka, Alexandra, Virstania, Samuel, Vukodlak, George... Mostly justified, what with the 800 year Time Skip halfway through the game, but several strikingly-named immortals endure into the new age too.
  • Affably Evil: Ahzra, who is quite polite despite her inhuman evil. This is Clan Tzimisce's hat in general, although Big Bad Vukodlak is more Faux Affably Evil. The Giovanni boss is also quite polite and pragmatic, and a generous interpretation of Count Orsi could see him as this too.
  • All There in the Manual: The manual contains a lot of information on Christof's backstory and the Old World of Darkness that never actually comes up during the course of the game. The official strategy guide also contains a wealth of additional character details that aren't overly apparent in the game, among them exactly why Christof's faith faltered against Ecaterina, Wilhem's Mysterious Past, Serena's disdain for mortal "mayflies" (only alluded to in cut dialogue), and hints that Pink is a diablerist. Of particular note is its final word on certain supporting characters whose fates weren't obvious in the main game, such as the corrupt Archbishop Geza, who's revealed to have died during Prague's uprising against Vysehrad while attempting to flee with the church's riches.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Christof can learn the disciplines from any clan, whereas the NPCs (friendly or enemy) can only learn their own clan's disciplines.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Averted with most of the clans, including your enemies, most of whom come off looking better against Clan Tzimisce and produce at least one or two reasonable figures. Also averted with the Sabbat, whose ranks notably include Ecaterina and Wilhem after the timeskip. Played straight with the Tzimisce, who from the lowest dreg to the highest Antediluvian-level threat are presented as nothing short of monstrous, which Wilhem ascribes to the clan's propensity to embrace their inner Beasts. By the end of the game, Libussa is probably the most sympathetic Tzimisce, and only then when her madness ebbs.
  • And I Must Scream: Tzimisce vampires live and breathe (er, figuratively) the infliction of this trope. Just look at the Cathedral of Flesh. Christof gets a taste of it if you accept the Big Bad's offer in the end.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Your AI-controlled coterie will no doubt encounter some of the classic pathing problems so many point-and-click RPGs enjoy. Fortunately, them getting stuck on items or scenery isn't a huge issue, as you needn't gather your party to venture forth: any single character entering or leaving an area will teleport the entire coterie to you.
    • Most lengthy levels have a convenient exit after completion through which you can resurface at the entrance or the first floor... except for the Setite Temple, which you'll have to run all the way back through, twice. Justified the second time, though: when you return to the temple with Lucretia's heart, a Setite acolyte will take you down to her sanctum. Said acolyte dies in the ensuing battle, leaving you with no quick exit back.
  • Anyone Can Die: Aside from the villains you cut through, Prince Brandl, Cosmos, Erik, and (presumably) Serena all die over the course of the story.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: A few choice curios from the Dark Ages can carry over to the modern nights (the Ainkurn Sword chief among them) and still retain their deadly effectiveness.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Even the ones who don't advocate human sacrifice will treat you like garbage.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Your allies' AI is only just good enough to keep them from using all of their own blood for disciplines. They tend to stink at any combat that requires a more complex plan than "shoot until it's dead." And even when shooting until dead, they don't ever take advantage of the automatic fire that their weapons may have, and may fire into walls. On the plus side, your enemies are no smarter.
  • Artistic License – History: Judith Bridge, in Prague, would not be built for another 17 years after the game is set, and the full, Gothic cathedral depicted wouldn't begin for 203 years.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The Tremere's base of operations is called "Haus De Hexe". Two problems: "de" means "of" in Spanish, NOT German. Second: Hexe is singular, which is also presumably a mistake as there is obviously more than one Tremere in it. A proper rendering would be "Haus Der Hexen."
  • The Atoner: Wilhem is encouraged to become this after the Time Skip. Anezka believes she has fallen so far from grace that personal atonement is impossible, but she and Christof ultimately find redemption in their love for each other. Needless to say, the topic of redemption is also a theme of Christof's story.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Ainkurn Sword is very powerful, being a two-handed sword that inflicts Aggravated damage and restores your blood when you hit enemies that have blood. However, as a two-handed sword, it's very slow, and in the modern age, you'll take a lot of damage from ranged weapons as you close the gap to your enemies. It's still exceedingly powerful, but it can be outclassed by other weapons relatively easily.
  • Back Tracking: Usually happens within city-levels you're already in.
  • Badass Bystander: Sumner Montague, your esoteric goods merchant in the modern nights, is not even slightly afraid of the creatures he's dealing with and even talks back to Pink.
  • Badass Normal: Christof, initially. The Society of Leopold's troopers might qualify for this too, given how well they perform compared to most mooks.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Happens to Christof a couple hours in — our noble hero, a holy crusader still dusty from the vampires he's been slaying, is cornered in a dark alley and transformed into a bloodsucking fiend himself. Although, as his sire points out, his faith may not have been so unshakeable in the first place, nor his cause so righteous.
    Christof: By the power of the Lord Eternal, I banish thee from my presence!
    Ecaterina: Poor child. Thy faith died long ago. Amidst a dread battle though came to know thy true nature. Thou art a killer of men, no matter how thou dost try to justify thy deeds. Thou kills not when compelled by God... but when ordered by men.
  • Black Knight: The elite Teutonic Knights are imposing and wear black armor. They're also controlled by the vampires of Vienna.
  • Black Magic:
    • Almost all of the magic you can learn is designed to hurt other people. You can learn some things to heal or bolster yourself, but there are no disciplines you can learn that will help anyone but you.
    • Subverted with two groups of disciplines used by humans (usable for player only in multiplayer mode). The first one is Holy Magic with some spells to heal the caster, others to inflict damage to vampires. The second group is a kind of more "neutral magic", with spells like one that turns the caster invisible.
  • Blood Lust: This game is about vampires. What'd you expect?
  • Blood Magic: All special abilities have a cost in your blood.
  • Body Horror: If this game is anything to go by, Body Horror is the entire reason for Clan Tzimizce's existence.
  • Boring, but Practical: The game is brimming with awesome Disciplines to be learned, but more baseline clan abilities such as Fortitude, Celerity, and Potence will serve you the most consistently.
    • The Berserker Fang is a dagger that you can get relatively early in the game. The damage is unremarkable, but it attacks faster than any other weapon in the game. Low damage means nothing when you're attacking twice as fast as anyone else. It even carries over to the modern age, where it becomes almost completely broken against enemies wielding slower ranged weapons.
  • Breaking and Bloodsucking: Averted when a newly-Embraced Christof breaks into the convent to steal one final glance at Anezka. He departs rather than give in to the dark urges playing upon his mind, for his hunger for her is even greater in death than it was in life. And even more literal.
  • But Thou Must!: Plot-wise, this game is completely linear. Making Christof act like a callous Jerkass and openly stating that you will not pursue Anezka won't keep you from running to her rescue anyway.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Clan Tzimisce. Its leaders glory in how wicked they are and, true to the source material, gleefully foment the clan's evil reputation.
  • Central Theme: The clue is in the title. Christof and Anezka are both brought low by the world of vampires, and both fear for the loss of their souls amidst all the evil they see (and, in some cases, personally commit). Whether redemption can be attained despite their cursed states is a question asked throughout the story. In the end, they find salvation in their love for each other, and each of them is blameless in the other's eyes.
  • Chainsaw Good: Oddly, the chainsaw does less damage than a lot of weapons. In the Modern age, it's the most damaging melee weapon, but it takes some time in order to work. The machete is weaker but faster. Which is pretty realistic; chainsaws inflict huge messy wounds on anything you hold them against, but are extremely unwieldy and in a quick impact they're little better than a spiked club.
  • Chaste Hero: Good Christian that he is, Christof refuses to despoil a nun while he's alive. After he gets turned, he still doesn't respond to anyone's amorous advances, probably because he's too driven to care. In the tabletop game that serves as source material, vampires cannot have sex or perform other functions of human biology involving blood flow without expending points of consumed blood. Since hunting for blood is one of the few activities that puts a vampire in substantial danger, most of them don't bother.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The amulet of St. Jude, patron of lost causes.
  • Chick Magnet: Christof. Many females comment on how handsome he is, while a few others outright try to seduce him. At one point, he seduces Anezka whilst unconscious, and Serena barely waits until you take her back to your haven after you first meet her before "offering what comfort (she) can," though Christof turns her down (and Serena basically says that Anezka is a very lucky woman).
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Christof seems to have a mild case of this. "Mild" because he is focused enough on his objective of finding Anezka that he is willing to do some decidedly unheroic things to find her. You can make him grow out of it.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: A critical death blow can cause enemies to explode like this.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Touched on, in true World of Darkness fashion, when Christof pulls a silver cross on a vampire and it does nothing, because Christof lacks the depth of faith needed to make that trick work. Anezka has no such problem, though.
  • Clock Tower: The self-loathing Lasombra Luther Black's demesne is accessed through one.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Dev/Null the Malkavian. He was actually trying to warn you about Pink the whole time.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Tzimisce.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • Your vampire enemies will never have any problems grabbing you and draining your blood, even if you're wearing a neck protector specifically made to prevent this. There are also numerous Tzimisce monsters that have a "bite your head off" instakill move as a standard attack.
    • This works to your advantage in places. Your coterie will sometimes ignore a stealthed enemy's invisibility and rush over to smash them, even when the character you're controlling cannot.
  • Connected All Along: The battle in the game's opening cutscene is revealed to have been orchestrated by the Ventrue, who made puppets of the crusade's leaders and pit them against barbarians ghouled by Clan Tzimisce.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Averted, especially early on; overpulling enemies can lead to the coterie being overwhelmed. But with the right micro-management, preparation, and knowledge of Disciplines...
  • Coolest Club Ever: London's Club Tenebrae, with its bloody aesthetic and blaring grunge. The nightclub's bartender is all too aware that his clientele encompasses more creatures of the night than partying goths.
    Bartender: We have a wide selection of vitae for your dining pleasure. We have blue collar brews, white collar cocktails, and pink collar daiquiris. We've got young blood, old blood, tainted blood and blue blood. We've got innocence, we've got experience, uptown, downtown, Park Avenue matrons and Bowery winos. Our specialty of the day is a succulent free range virgin fresh off the bus from Iowa, free of additives and preservatives. You'll find it a tart blend, with a crisp and refreshing afterbite.
  • The Corrupter: Vukodlak is not named "The Defiler" for nothing. That said, nearly every vampire Christof talks to does this, to some extent. It is a World of Darkness, and all that.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Christof, if you allow it. Anezka, whether you allow it or not.
  • Council of Vampires: The Ventrue prince Rudolf Brandl juggles one, although we're only privy to his meetings with Ecaterina and Cosmos.
    • The Council of Voivodes, the highest lords of Clan Tzimisce, comprise another. We get an interesting insight into its workings through Voivode Urdo's proclamations concerning his wayward peer Vukodlak.
  • Crapsack World: It is a World of Darkness.
  • Creepy Cemetery: There's one in Prague, cutting quite close to the nosferatu warrens.
  • Critical Existence Failure: All vampires, Christof included, turn to dust when the last hitpoint is gone. The worst they do before that is stagger a bit and gripe about needing blood.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Your eventual showdown with Count Orsi is almost guaranteed to be this. His health pool isn't bad, but his damage potential is quite pitiful and he will be fought with no backup.
  • Cursed with Awesome: The philosophy Ecaterina and many other vampires espouse.
  • Cut Scene: Usually done for dialogue.
  • Death Seeker: Luther. Some people don't take well to being Embraced by vampires, it seems.
  • Degraded Boss: The Vozhd. You first meet a single one of these monsters while storming the castle of Vyserhad in Prague. Later, you faces three of them in the Cathedral of Flesh (though, this time you have guns for long-ranged battles).
  • Dialogue Tree: Christof, when he's permitted to speak, may use these. Generally, conversation options don't do much besides affecting your Humanity score.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: A monstrous Vozhd is the last obstacle between the coterie and Vukodlak at the climax of the Dark Ages.
  • Distressed Damsel: Anezka... In theory, at least.
  • The Dragon: Vukodlak has two, one of which supplants the other, and neither of whom you actually fight. Libussa pulls an eleventh hour Heel–Face Turn and Anezka was never truly evil in the first place.
  • Due to the Dead: Defied after Christof slays Ahzra the Unliving.
    Christof: Farewell, foul misery. I offer thee no last rites. The sweet redemption of our lord is forbidden to the likes of thee. Thou hast no home now but the eternal torments of Hell!
  • Dull Surprise: Honestly, the vampires in modern times, especially Pink, don't react the way they should when an elder who is a fifth or sixth generation vampire walks among them.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending:
    • The game's title isn't an accident. "Redemption", of a sort, is possible, but Christof really has to work hard for it, and you as the player have to make sure to always make the "good" choice even when other choices seem more practical.
    • True in a more literal sense as well. One of the bad endings simply requires you to choose certain dialogue options before the final boss, skipping the fight and triggering its own Bad Ending. The good one requires you to give him the finger and engage in a Nintendo Hard two-phased boss fight against by far the most dangerous enemy in the game.
  • Eccentric Artist: Alexandra Ruthven, Lily's sire, who paints with her own blood.
  • An Economy Is You: Justified. Of course the only businesses in town that are open in the middle of the night cater to vampires and/or nocturnal thugs; that's just good marketing.
  • Enemy Civil War: The reason the Tzimisce Voivode Vukodlak was cast into torpor in the first place: his Voivode peers besieged his castle and deposed him for pursuing an insane Evil Plan they wanted no part in. 800 years later, two sects of the Sabbat are at odds in the modern nights: Vukodlak and his followers and Ecaterina's faction.
  • Enemy Mine: Wilhem, a Sabbat, agrees to work with Christof because a) they're old friends from when Christof was sired, and b) there's a greater evil at work. Also standard operating procedure for vampire politics, especially in the Dark Ages; feuding clans often set their grievances aside to deal with greater, more direct threats.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Averted. No one seems particularly surprised or offended by Pink's betrayal of the group. Christof dismisses the entire affair and, if anything, is jumping with joy at being reunited with his good friend Wilhem in the aftermath.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Tzimisce Voivodes deposed their peer, Vukodlak, as they considered his Evil Plan utterly insane.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Averted with all the merchants you deal with, even the "Smithy" in Prague and "Weaponsmith" in Vienna give you their full names when you first meet themnote . There are a few literal barkeeps in the game, but they're such minor characters that it's reasonable that Christof wouldn't ask them their names.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Redemption's dungeons invariably involve the coterie intruding within another clan's haven and requiring the entire place to be slaughtered.
  • Evil Is Petty: Lots of it.
  • Evil Sorcerer: The Tremere clan of course; although bad as they are, they're the lesser of two warring evils.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Vukodlak has a deep, resonating voice. Cristof gains it as well, should you choose to diablerize the Tzimisce.
  • Evil Tainted the Place: Christof's instant impression of the spooky, stormy Tower of London — likely an allusion to Richard III's purported murder of the Princes in the Tower. Lily is just awed to see the place, and Pink snarks that Anne Boleyn clearly no longer has much of a head for housekeeping.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Clan Tremere vs Clan Tzimisce. Later, "Pink" of Clan Assamite against the Setites and Giovanni, and the Sabbat Enemy Civil War. One could argue the entire Jyhad is this on a fluctuating scale.
  • Exposition Break: See "Cutscene." There's an especially big one at the end in the Hall of Flesh, where Anezka's memories are recorded.
  • Fallen Hero: Christof feels like this, and a low humanity ending will drive it home. Anezka is a complicated version, as her goals were noble but she stained herself with heinous acts of evil to achieve them.
  • Fate Worse than Death: If Christof chooses to submit to Vukodlak, then he will be enslaved to the Tzimisce forever. Vukodlak then forces him to kill Anezka, and promises Christof that his torment has only just begun. Anyone who knows what Tzimisce typically do to their thralls and enemies will know he's not lying.
    Christof: Thou hast murdered me!
    Vukodlak: No, but you will wish I had.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Christof and Wilhem on their first mission together. Christof, who began his un-life cursing his state and wanting nothing to do with his Brujah brethren, develops a sense of respect and camaraderie for Wilhem over the course of their trip to the Cappadocian haven. This develops into a friendship that binds Wilhem to Christof's personal cause.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Christof in the modern nights. To some things he adapts quickly, to others. . . not so much.
    Christof: (on looting his first gun) A metal sling that fires deadly stones. Tis simple to use, but murderous beyond measure. I see man has not rested in his quest to create ever more powerful weapons.
    Christof: (in response to technobabble from an FBI agent) What manner of beast is this central computer, that it can besiege fortresses?
    Lily: Wow, but you've got a lot to learn.
  • Flesh Golem: Szlachtas and War Ghouls. Both, of course, are the Tzimisce's doing.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Dev/Null the Malkavian will tell you the entire plot of the game from the point where you meet him to the end... assuming you can understand a damn thing he says.
    • After an early quest, a ghastly-looking madwoman can be found near the convent spouting dire portents and grim recollections of abuse at the hands of an unknown man in a "cathedral of flesh". Her name is Libussa and she is the Big Bad's chief lieutenant, although the creature she speaks of will not be met for a long while yet. The first boss, Ahzra, also speaks of his coming awakening.
  • Freudian Trio: The coterie of Christof, Wilhem, and Serena, in an understated way. Christof is the impassioned and disillusioned instigator, Wilhem is the cool and dependable exemplar of their clan's tenets, and Serena both mourns her lost mortality and embraces her newfound powers.
  • Friendly Neighbourhood Vampires: On occasion... but mostly not. Clan Brujah professes to respect mortals and preaches coexistence, but their leader places little value in the current "breed" and is far more concerned with kindred affairs. The Tremere and Tzimisce both abduct mortals and craft them into soldiers (invariably through Body Horror) in the war they wage against each other. Christof needs to receive special permission from the Ventrue prince to so much as rescue the captured mortals from Tremere imprisonment. Josef the nosferatu is about the most empathetic of the lot, lamenting his inability to protect the mortals from Mercurio's rampaging golem, but even he freely admits to gorging upon Christian blood now and then.
  • Frozen Fashion Sense: Averted by Christof, who upon awakening to the year 1999 quickly realises he needs to trade his moldering old crusader garments for something modern. Wilhem and Orsi updated their wardrobes across the centuries too. Played straight by Orsi's childer and the Tzimisce villains, though.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The Tzimisce in the Dark Ages wear concealing black robes. The ones in modern age are naked.
  • Fully-Embraced Fiend: Erik is a fairly heroic example, and the villains are brimming with this too.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: A clever bit with Serena, who replenishes her blood supply by nibbling on Christof and uses her necromancy to animate a minion capable of opening the prison cell the coterie is trapped within.
    • As a human, Christof's Faith rating is only at 50 of a possible 100, and he proves to be insufficiently faithful to use it as a weapon. Likewise, his Humanity is 70 out of 100 - while 7 out of 10 is the default level of Humanity in the Old World of Darkness, it shows that he's not quite as infallibly zealous as he'd like to think.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Christof's challenge to Ecaterina during the cutscene in which he's sired ("I know thy ways, demon, and I have lore enough to kill thee!") will still be made even if you'd decided not to consort with the gypsy woman, Unorna, the source of said lore.
  • Gatling Good: You can buy yourself a minigun. The ammo takes up a lot of space, but nothing else in the game does as much damage in as short a time.
  • The Generic Guy: Samuel is probably the coterie member with the least characterisation, simply being a Nice Guy. Downplayed with Serena, who adds very little to the plot and doesn't get much dialogue, but has an otherworldly air about her and is one of the most popular characters with players; some Dummied Out dialogue has her enlighten Christof with some interesting commentary on how she's come to view the curse.
  • The Ghost: Duke Leopold, Count Orsi's benefactor, who's name-dropped a few times but never encountered. Given his title and authority over Kindred affairs, he's likely another Ventrue.
  • Giant Space Flea From No Where: A single white werewolf will burst out from a large crate just outside the Tower of London. No explanation is given, and the coterie seems totally unfazed by this event. Luckily, it's the only one.
  • Giant Spider: Ghoul Spiders in London's Tower and NY Sewers. They're also extremely creepy, as they make sinister, gargling noises as they descend from the ceiling, have creepy eyes and tend to get really close to attack. They also deal Poison damage.
  • Going Through the Motions
  • Gothic Punk: Again, it is the Old World of Darkness.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: A few weapons, notably the Hand of Conrad.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Especially in the Dark Ages portion of the game, whenever Cristof speaks to another vampire, this is all but guaranteed to happen. Notably, his first interaction with Ahzra the Unliving sets the tone for how he interacts with Kindred for the remainder of the game.
  • Happily Adopted: Orsi's one redeeming quality was taking in the three girls he'd make his childer, who were abused by their previous master. They seem perfectly happy with their new lives and while they don't fight you after his death, they're not forthcoming with help either.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Most of your coterie in the modern nights. Badass Longcoats abound.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Averted. Christof starts with a sword, and the blood-draining Sword of Ainkurn is arguably the best weapon in the game, but any character can use any weapon that they have the strength to pick up, from poleaxes to gatling guns.
  • Hide Your Children: Possibly justified because you're almost always out in the middle of the night, when any child that has even remotely responsible parents would be at home and in bed.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: The Tzimisce, surprisingly, between the Dark Ages and modern nights. The chroniclers in the Society of Leopold attribute Vukodlak's Evil Plan to the entire clan, when in truth he was deposed and cast into torpor by his fellow Voivodes for being too radical.
  • Hit Points: Recovered as a mortal with healing potions, recovered as a Kindred by spending blood to activate the Blood Heal Discipline.
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: Vukodlak rises from torpor at the exact moment New York rings in the year 2000. The ever-dramatic Count Orsi rejoices in his master's rising to meet the new millennium... but Lily points out that technically isn't for another year.
  • Hufflepuff House: The Ravnos are the only one of the 13 clans not to appear anywhere in the game. Around half of the othersnote  only have one or two members in the game, although they are mostly either party-joinable or otherwise memorable. Surprisingly, the Camarilla also qualifies: Pink claims to work for them and Lily, Samuel, Dev/Null and Alexandra Ruthven are presumably notional members, but you never meet anyone significant in the Camarilla or have any real involvement with them despite them being the largest sect. However, all the clans and sects get the same amount of background info in the manual.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: The Cathedral of Flesh.
  • I Fought the Law and the Law Won: An unusual case. Starting a brawl or trying to drink blood in public will call down infinite numbers of city guards/policemen down on you, but the real danger is not from their weapons. Instead, the danger is that every time you kill one, your Humanity score goes down by 5 points, and when it reaches 0 you get an automatic game-over.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten!: A very extreme and protracted example. Anezka positioned herself as Vukodlak's most trusted advisor and foremost lieutenant in charge of his worldly affairs, but she was forced to defile innocents and commit all sorts of evil deeds across the centuries to keep the voivode placated and ignorant of her true agenda.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: You can make Christof act like this.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: If you pay attention to your surroundings it quickly appears clear that Orsi International is a food processing factory manufacturing deep-fried human corpses. It also gathers their blood for vampire customers before going through with the cooking, think about recycling!
  • Immune to Bullets: Vampires aren't immune, but they are resistant. However, resistance alone isn't enough to stop the Society of Leopold from blowing you to bits with shotguns. Liberal application of More Dakka helps you kill enemy vampires as well.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: One of the two items that can make the time skip with you is the Berserker Fang. While it has no special properties, it deals a surprising amount of aggravated damagenote , which is very powerful against very enemy in the game, and it has the highest speed in the game, letting you attack very quickly with it. It will easily get you through the Society of Leopold at the beginning of the time skip.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Ainkurn Sword, found in the Teutonic Knight Base. This incredibly powerful item may very well remain your most powerful and useful weapon throughout the rest of the game. Notably, the sword is one of only two items in your inventory that survive the 800-year Time Skip.
  • Invulnerable Civilians: Played straight for monsters, averted with players. There are a few events in Prague wherein monsters roaming the streets will cheerfully attack you, but ignore less well-armed citizens who happen to be in the same area. You, however, are free to murder the populace as you please, if you don't mind the drop in your humanity score.
  • Karl Marx Hates Your Guts: Oddly enough, 800-year old axes are worth about the same in the 20th century as they were in the 11th.
  • Karma Houdini: A couple of villains are smart enough to make a wise exit from the story after getting what they want, Etrius being the most obvious (and infuriating). Subverted with Orsi: It takes 800 years for karma to catch up with him, but it does. With a vengeance.
  • Karma Meter: Humanity. Dialogue choices and decisions made at plot-integral points will raise or lower it; killing the innocent will lower it too. It doesn't really affect how the story plays out, or Christof's core personality throughout it, but certain endings are only available with higher or lower humanity.
  • Killed Offscreen: Prince Rudolf when the witch hunt against Vysehrad Castle kicks off. Also the case for a few friends, foes, and entire clans between the Dark Ages and Christof's awakening in 1999. Notably:
    • Cosmos, Ecaterina's second, did not survive the battle of Prague.
    • The Cappadocian clan were wiped out and usurped by the Giovanni family. Even Christof isn't too surprised at their fate, given how easily subverted they were even in his day. Serena, at least, is confirmed to have survived the purge.
    • Near the end of the game, it's revealed that the Premysls, ghoul servitors of Clan Tzimisce who served as recurring villains throughout the Dark Ages, got themselves slaughtered at Vukodlak's own command even as they began the ritual to raise him from torpor. Anezka, Vukodlak's ascendant right-hand-woman, poisoned the Voivode against his loyal subjects to delay his awakening.
  • Kiss of the Vampire: Biting someone results in an awful lot of grunting and moaning...
  • Knight Templar: Christof has the look and disposition down, especially if certain puritanical dialogue choices are made while he's still a human. His illicit love for Anezka, his unjust fate, and some scathing commentary from his sire all challenge Christof's faith, but as Wilhem tells him, the curse of Caine is not necessarily a bar to the slaying of wicked creatures. Archbishop Geza is a straighter, less sympathetic, and more hypocritical example.
  • Lady of Black Magic: Serena is built this way, with the look and attitude to match.
  • Large Ham: Christof at times, as well as other characters. There's also a notable Ham-to-Ham Combat of epic proportions between Christof and Ahzra the Unliving near the beginning of the game.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The Tremere lore Etrius pulls this by converting Erik into a demonic gargoyle and loosing him on the coterie, although Etrius himself is a Background Boss during this battle.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Both the Tremere and the Tzimisce are antagonists, at odds with each other as well as you, but the latter is up to far worse things than the former. The Tremere lord, Etrius, even calls you out after his boss battle for wasting his time and resources when he's trying to fight a war against real monsters who'd see the world destroyed.
  • Locked Door: A common obstacle. Even more common are "doors" which are apparently just painted onto walls.
  • Ludicrous Gibs: Seeing enemies explode into meat is fairly common.
  • The Magnificent: A few vampires are styled this way, notably Ecaterina the Wise and Orsi the, er, Magnificent, but Clan Tzimisce embraces the habit with a macabre bent. There's Ahzra the Unliving, Libussa the Defiled, Viceroy and Voivode Urdo, Sculptor of the Flesh of Thousands, Master of the Hellhounds, Revenger of Wayward Voivodes; and the Big Bad himself, Voivode Vukodlak, Scourge of the Carpathians, Smiter of Lesser Clans, Slayer of Lupines.
  • Manual Leader, A.I. Party: Although life is easier when you pre-cast buffs before difficult encounters begin.
  • Meaningful Echo: Two beautiful examples:
    Christof: My lady, I pledge my arm to thy cause, for as long I draw breath and beyond...
    • Well...what happens in a couple of hours? And another one...
    Christof: (to Orsi) If Anezka has been harmed, I will destroy thee in the most painful manner possible, even if it takes a thousand years.
    • A little less than a thousand years, but still... as for "the most painful manner possible"... well, yeah.
  • Meaningful Name: Vukodlak really earns his title, "The Defiler."
  • Meet Cute: Christof and Anezka once the former awakens in the convent. The bleary-eyed crusader mistakes the beautiful nun for Mother Mary at first.
  • Mercy Kill: How Christof sees putting down Erik, who'd been forcibly transformed into a gargoyle. Etrius, the Tremere lord responsible for this, actually seems surprised that Christof had it in him.
  • The Mole: Pink turns out to be an Assamite who wanted to delay Christof until it's too late.
  • Money for Nothing: Averted for most of the game; even if you forgo as much shopping as you can and trust your luck to dungeon loot, money can be tight. In the last stretch of the game, though, you're showered with cash and will likely have enough in your pocket to deck the entire coterie out in decent armaments.
  • Morality Chain: Christof learns early that, if he wants to keep his humanity while bearing the curse of vampirism, he must choose something, some cause, that he can dedicate himself to to keep his sanity. Naturally, he chooses Anezka. Hence, the significance of Christof killing Anezka in the game's two bad endings.
  • More Dakka: In the portions of the game that take place in the middle ages, bows and crossbows are all you have in the ranged weapon department. But by the year 2000, assault rifles are surprisingly easy to come by.
  • Motive Decay: Your respective introductions to the Brujah in the Dark Ages and the modern nights highlight how far the clan has fallen from its once-lofty ideals. Sort of. The Brujah who gives Christof this impression turns out to not be Brujah at all, although he did base his behaviour on the prevailing Brujah stereotype.
  • Ms. Exposition: Unorna the gypsy woman, who will share her intimate and extensive knowledge of Cainite lore if asked. Many other characters are happy to offer commentary on the World of Darkness too.
  • Mugging the Monster: Christof encounters a mugger (or, as he calls it, a "common cutpurse") shortly after stepping outside in the 20th century. Said mugger quickly backs down once he realizes that he's chosen the wrong target, and Christof gets a free set of 20th century clothing out of the deal.
  • Multiple Endings: Which one you get depends on how high your humanity score is when you reach the end.
    • High humanity: Cristof kills Vukodlak and embraces Anezka to keep her from dying.
    • Mid humanity: Cristof can choose from high and low humanity endings or submit to Vukodlak, who forces him to drain and presumably kill Anezka.
    • Low humanity: Cristof kills Vukodlak and usurps his power via Diablerie. Then, he drains Anezka - whether he will Embrace her is unclear, since on the one hand, the game shows her falling down, implying her death. On the other hand, he talked about "claiming his prize" before, meaning his love for Anezka has turned into obsession.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Expecially at a giant albino Ghoul Gator.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: Parodied in the credits:
    No Szlachta were harmed in the making of this game
    OK, well maybe one or two...
  • No Hero Discount: Averted. You get hefty discounts with higher "social" stats, to the point where buying and selling to merchants can square you with money indefinitely if your manipulation stat is high enough.
  • No Points for Neutrality: As a fledgling, you'd do better to shut your mouth and mind your manners around your elders, and you're indeed given the choice to do so, but the more impassioned dialogue options are much more satisfying (not to mention more in-character), and allow you to raise or lower your humanity. Played with in some cases, like an exchange with Prince Brandl, in which you can either nod along like a lemming or bluntly ask him if he gives a shit about the mortals whose blood their unlife relies on. You get a nice humanity boost for your empathy, but he will damage you for your insolence.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Mercurio and especially Ardan, two snivelling weasels that can still prove frustrating boss fights. Justified in both cases though: for all his personality defects, Mercurio is a Cappadocian prodigy, and Ardan deliberately stalls for time to prepare a barrage of powerful spells.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: "Pink" affects the stereotypical new-age Brujah aesthetic and attitude, although for all his rudeness and impulsiveness, he never comes off as stupid. He even calls it "idiotic" after The Reveal.
  • Off with His Head!: It's possible to behead enemies while using a bladed weapon, causing them to die shortly after. This, however, can also lead to creepy/hilarious situations, including those huge teutonic knights getting beheaded, running around for a while like chickens asking for reinforcements and then finally dropping dead while screaming "I'm dying!".
  • Oh, Crap!: Christof's first encounter with the Ghoul Rats.
  • One-Gender Race: Most of the vampire clans you'll face will have only male mooks or, in case of Toreador and Dark Age Malkavians, female ones. There are some cases of The Smurfette Principle with Ecaterina (female Brujah), Virstania (female Tremere), Teta Kazi and Zeel (female Ventrue) and Libussa (female Tzimisce). The only exceptions are the Cappadocians, as you'll find both men and women in their lair.
  • One Size Fits All: Anyone can use any armour provided they have the stats, but it's always tailored to match their own aesthetic. Christof in heavy armour, for instance, calls to mind your classic Knight In Shining Armour, while on Serena it's a hauberk with a pauldron thrown over a hooded dress.
  • One-Winged Angel: After the first beating, Vukodlak turns himself into a dragon-like monster named Zulo... who is actually quite a bit easier to defeat than Vukodlak's humanoid form.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: But of course. The game is filled with delicious Vampire: The Masquerade lore and exposition. Within the scope of said lore though, not so much. Although the cast is rich and brimming with flavour, most of them lean heavily on their clan's prevailing stereotypes.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Pink thinks we have. Christof disagrees.
    Pink: ...and some people still believe the world was created in seven days, even though men have walked on the moon!
    Christof: The Lord completed his work in six days.
  • Permadeath: Actually averted as a vampire. Your game over condition is every coterie member entering torpor; so long as at least one is still active, the others can be awoken. Your enemies suffer this en masse, though.
  • Pet Gets the Keys: When the coterie is tossed in a Teutonic Knight dungeon, Serena animates a corpse on the other side of the bars to throw its lever.
  • Playing with Fire: Fire is a very effective way to deal with vampires, making weapons like the Fire Broadsword, the Fire Scimitar and the Flamethrowers very effective. Sadly, the Tremere (any of them) are aware of this trope, as they'll gladly turn your characters to charcoal with their spells.
  • Point Build System: You get Experience Points for killing enemies and completing quest objectives, and spend them to increase attributes or but Disciplines, more of which are unlocked when you complete certain story events or find Tomes which teach you the Discipline. What a character has to start is fixed, however.
  • Point of No Return: Whenever you move from one city to the next, there's no going back. Fortunately, there's generally no reason to go back, either.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The high lords of Clan Tzimisce lauded Vukodlak's evildoing, but chastened his blatant evildoing, and denounced his Evil Plan to usurp the Antediluvians. When he went ahead with it anyway, they cast him into torpor (deeming outright warfare too costly) and dispersed his holdings amongst themselves.
  • Railroading: Various dialogue options let you argue against following the plot. In one instance, you can even argue with Ekaterina for carrying out the plot, and have her pull a one-eighty the moment you agree not to go along with the plot.
  • Recruitment by Rescue: Erik is a classic example: he's chained up in a Tremere dungeon and offers you his services in return for his rescue. Lily is the more Masquerade flavour of this, as she joins up with you before the rescue occurs, but the rub is she won't truly be free until her blood bond with the Arc Villain is dispelled.
  • The Reveal: There are a few big twists.
    • The main reveal is that Anezka, far from undergoing a Face–Heel Turn, is playing the long con and sabotaging Vukodlak from inside the enemy camp.
    • "Pink" being an Assamite assassin is another.
  • Ritual Magic: How Vukodlak's followers plan to prematurely awaken him from torpor.
  • RPGs Equal Combat: You'll spend a lot more time trashing enemy havens than you will exploring any of the cities.
  • Run, Don't Walk: Your coterie will walk if directed across very short distances, and run to all the rest.
  • Sanity Meter: Your Humanity score. When it's at or below 20, you can use the game's most powerful equipment, but if it goes to 0 you literally lose control of your character permanently. Game Over. There's also the Frenzy Meter, which will cause you to go berserk and possibly try to drain your allies' blood if it fills up.
  • Save Point: You can save anywhere, but there are still savepoints in your haven, vestiges of earlier versions of the game.
  • Save Scumming: As with other RPGs of its time, this is many players' favourite tactic of bending fate to their advantage.
  • Save the Princess: You'll spend most of the game chasing after Anezka...
  • Saving the World: ...but you'll end up doing this on the way. Hopefully.
  • Scaled Up: Lucretia the Setite turns herself into a giant cobra for the second battle. It's actually pretty dangerous.
  • Schmuck Bait: Meta example. Serena seems like an ideal candidate to learn blood magic, and indeed powering her up with the game-breaking Theft of Vitae skill makes the entire first half of the game a cake walk. The first half, since she leaves the party permanently at the halfway mark, leaving you to adjust to a party without that crutch of a skill.
  • Scripted Event
  • Second Hour Superpower: Your vampiric abilities are only gained when you become a vampire, which is around the second level.
  • Skippable Boss: It's easy to miss the werewolf completely by using Walk the Abyss to leave the Tower of London instead of having to back-track through the level. This will then leave you wondering what the heck the Argent Baton was for.
  • Smash Mook: Tzimisce War Ghouls and Vozhd.
  • Smug Snake: A handful of villains. Count Orsi is the embodiment of this trope.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Although some vamps express interest in Christof, Christof cares for no one but Anezka.
  • Sinister Scimitar: The Premysl Revenants mostly wield scimitars despite coming from Prague. Other examples include ghouls (both normal and Lasombra ones) and Nosferatu mooks.
  • Sinister Scythe: The Cappadocian vampires are armed with sickles.
  • Slave Mooks: The Tremere abduct mortals to use as soldiers in their bloody war against the Tzimisce. And, against all Cainite law, their fellow vampires to craft their flesh into monstrous gargoyles.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Any time there are more than two people in your party, one will be female. No exceptions.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Pink, to the core.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Pink.
  • Soul Jar: In London, you have to kill the leader of the Setite vampires, and you need a certain heart artifact which contains her soul to vanquish her once and for all.
  • Species Loyalty: Deadly averted. Allied clans are united as much by convenience as they are camaraderie, and even the closest of them will not shy from violence if treachery is suspected; the Brujah incursion into the lair of their Cappadocian allies is Christof's first taste of kindred politics. Ecaterina is also allied to the Ventrue and keeps to their rules, having sought the prince's permission before siring a new vampire, but privately detests the clan of kings and would revel in its downfall as surely as she would the Tzimisce. Prince Rudolf is allied with the much-maligned Tremere, as the two are hated enemies of the Tzimisce, but the mages' poor conduct during their war leads Rudolf to order their chantry sacked. And kindred politics only get bloodier and uglier from there. Kindred might see mortals as lesser beings, but as Unorna tells a yet-mortal Christof, vampires save their true hatred for other vampires.
  • Sssssnake Talk: Most of the Setites.
  • Storming the Castle: Pretty much every level is a variant on this, though the two most notable are the last mission of the Dark Ages era (literally storming Vyserhad Castle) and the last level (storming the Tzimisce Cathedral of Flesh in New York).
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: The genius Premysl revenants who identify Christof as a force to be reckoned with and throw their lives away against him anyway. Minus the one guy smart enough to suggest fleeing.
  • Suicide by Sunlight: Luther.
  • Tactical Suicide Boss: Etrius. You take him on in a two-round battle. In the first round, he is incorporeal and cannot be harmed. In the second round, he is not, enabling you to hit him. He also displays the ability to teleport at will, but doesn't use it in battle, again enabling you to hit him.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Not in the Dark Ages — after Christof and Wilhem bond on their mission to the Cappadocian haven, they and their coterie of Serena and Erik all get along famously. 800 years later though, neither Lily nor Samuel can stand Pink, and even Christof has difficulty keeping him on a leash.
  • Time Skip: Halfway through the game, Christof is entombed as a castle collapses around him and he spends eight hundred years in torpor.
  • True Companions: Christof manages to inspire the unflinching, unfailing loyalty of his coterie, even crossing thousands of years in the case of Wilhem (and, in the Age of Redemption mod, Serena). These vampires will do anything to stay at Christof's side and help him reunite with his true love. Except Pink.
  • Undead Abomination: Well, with Clan Tzimisce as the main villains...
  • Unknown Item Identification: Better teach someone Spirit's Touch.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Pink's Cockney Rhyming Slang.
    Pink (to Lily): Look, I'm gonna kick you right in your Sir Anthony Blunt if you call me [a coward] again!"
  • Vampire Procreation Limit: The reason Ecaterina has to get the Ventrue prince's approval before siring Christof. More civilised kindred are fairly picky with who they Embrace and there are rules in place — princely permission among them.
  • Violence is the Only Option: For the last time, it is a World of Darkness...
  • Warrior Monk: Crusader Christof most certainly is one at the start of the game. Whether or not he still is one at the end of the game is partially up to you.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The soldiers and scientists of the Society of Leopold appear to be this.
    • Mercurio in the Dark Ages.
    • Vukodlak turns out to be this his plan is to kill all the Antediluvians in their sleep and absorb their power before they can awaken and destroy the world. Christof points out that one superpowered Antediluvian would be no better than 13 normal ones.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • You never learn exactly what happened to most of the vampires and people from Christof's early years. Though, in the case of your Cappadocian buddies, the answer is both obvious and horrible, given that clan's eventual fate...
    • George Thorne, the FBI agent. The second and last time you meet him, he's slumped over in the Giovanni warehouse, baffled by his enemies' inhuman abilities. Later as you pass through the same room, your party will point out that he's gone and wonder what happened to him, but he never reappears again.
  • Wooden Stake: Available as a weapon, it works like a dagger, deals pitiful damage but has a chance of impaling a vampire enemy in the heart, rendering him helpless for a while as you whale on him. Oddly, enough the same effect can be achieved with arrows and bolts (though it's rarer). Finally, the modern age brings up the a Stake Gun, which is a stake-shooting gun.
  • Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: Christof's speaking style confuses people in the year 1999. This is often Played for Laughs.
    Pink: We're gonna need some supplies. You can sell some of that old junk and get some REAL weapons.
    Christof: We require an armorer and an alchemist.
    Pink: Er... something like that.

    Christof: What manner of beast is this central computer, that it can besiege fortresses?
    Lily: Wow, but you've got a lot to learn.
When Christof accuses a mugger of being "A common cutpurse" the man's reply is a baffled "What?"
  • You All Meet in an Inn: The multiplayer scenario "To curse the darkness" starts the players off in a tavern.
  • You Are Worth Hell: Crusaders and other devout Christians in the Dark Ages believe that being a vampire means being forever denied any chance at salvation. In the good ending, when Christof laments that he can offer no salvation for Anezka's terrible deeds (done for the greater good), only damnation, she quickly declares that "Damnation with thee would be sweet as salvation!", leading to her Embrace.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: There's no way to save Erik after he's turned into a gargoyle by Etrius. You can either put him out of his misery or leave him to suffer. However, there is a fiddly way to prevent the transformation from triggering in the first place. Your objective in Haus de Hexe is marked as complete the moment you acquire Etrius' journal; the showdown with the Tremere lord himself and gargoyle-Erik is technically optional. Positioning a Walk the Abyss gate near the journal and syncing a character's beeline for the latter with another character's interaction with the former will cancel the cutscene and warp the entire coterie, Erik in tow, back to the forsaken church haven. This is not the intended progression path and Erik's now-permanent place in the coterie will prevent you from recruiting Samuel after the Time Skip, but it does feel good to save your friend from such a fate.