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Web Video / LA By Night

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The best argument for 5E.note 
"Let's tell a vampire story..."

L.A. By Night is a web video series created by Geek & Sundry that follows a group of players during a game of Vampire: The Masquerade 5th Edition with Jason Carl as the Storyteller. It was originally shown on Alpha and Twitch before gradually being released on YouTube. After three seasons on Geek & Sundry, the remaining two seasons were published by World of Darkness.

The premise of the series: three vampires have been granted domain over Griffith College when a series of anemic students appearing in the clinic clues them into the presence of a "poacher" on campus. Investigating, they meet a fourth member of their coterie and become involved in a conspiracy that threatens the stability of the Anarch Free States as well as their own freedom.

The player characters consist of:

  • Annabelle Li (as played by Erika Ishii): A Naïve Newcomer Brujah of the 13th generation who knows nothing about Kindred society.
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  • Jasper Heartwood (as played by Alexander Ward): A snarky Nosferatu who is the closest the group has to a Creepy Good Friendly Neighborhood Vampire. He relies heavily on stealth and invisibility.
  • Nelli G (as played by Cynthia Marie): A Toreador who uses her good looks and social skills to get what she wants. She's very secretive and hides a Dark Secret.
  • Victor Temple (as played by B. Dave Walters): The self-styled Only Sane Man who is a rich rap media mogul and Papa Wolf turned Ventrue Manipulative Bastard.

Two more were added to the main cast in Season 4:

  • X (as played by Xander Jeanneret): X is a Malkavian who straddles the line between Fishmalk (a "wacky" mentally ill character) and a genuine depiction of his condition's tragedy.
  • Eva (as played by Josephine McAdam): The mysterious White Witch of Griffith Park who is a Creepy Good, Black Magician Girl, and the Love Interest of Jasper. She's also the most powerful of the vamily by far.

The series was also visited by numerous guest stars like Mark Meer, Taliesin Jaffe, Matthew Mercer, and Satine Phoenix.

The story ended on October 29, 2021. In June of 2022 the sequel was announced: New York by Night, starring Aabria Iyengar, Alexander Ward, Joey Rassool, and Mayanna Berrin, with Jason Carl returning as Storyteller.

LA by Night provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Aborted Arc: A few of the plotlines of the game didn't pan out.
    • The Ministry betraying Victor Temple never amounted to much due to Satine Phoenix's busy schedule.
    • Chloe's role as Jasper's Love Interest and Lost Lenore was gradually replaced with his romance with Eva due the actors' awesome chemistry.
    • Strauss was about to replace Vannevar Thomas as Prince but the recovery of the latter's sanity allowed him to resume his duties.
    • Fiona's ultimatum to Nelli after her ghoul Greg caused Fiona to be captured by the Second Inquisition was also left unresolved.
  • Ascended Extra: A lot of them.
    • Eva moved to become the Love Interest of Jasper before becoming their Glass Cannon as well as a Sixth Ranger.
    • Gregory Demetrios was originally an antagonist before becoming The Renfield as well as a major supporting character.
    • Lavender is another ghoul that joined the main cast, being one of Chaz's former servants.
    • Kyoko joined the main cast as well in Season Four. She serves as Annabelle's Birds of a Feather and the rest of the vamily's Annoying Younger Sibling.
  • Anti-Hero Team: None of the coterie is without sin.
  • Big Bad:
    • Bobby Blaine is this for the first season.
    • Vannevar Thomas is this for Season 2, 3, and 4 with his Hot Consort Suzanne.
    • The Second Inquisition becomes this with Season 5.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: There's a number of villains who don't quite pull off being as dangerous as the main threats.
    • Fiona is an eternal irritation to Victor and Jasper. She manages to steal some of Victor's territory and take Chloe as a ghoul but the former is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things while she quickly loses the latter.
    • Don Antonio is a ghost and can't affect the group the majority of the time.
    • Chaz is killed as a lesson to Vannevar.
    • Vannevar and Suzanne prove to be this as well, neither of them proving to be nearly as big a threat as the Second Inquisition.
  • Big Good: Isaac Abrams is a particularly dark example of such. Subverted by the Council of Barons, where Isaac joins in betraying Victor.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": After Victor alerted the police to the Kindred presence, Abrams interrupts one of his futile attempts at explaining his prior actions.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Grand Finale of the series in Season 5 has a number of things that make it more bitter than sweet, reflecting the tragedy of the gameline. Los Angeles has survived the Second Inquisition and the Anarch Free States is formally re-established. However, the vamily has broken with Nelli and Jasper turning on Victor due to his constant scheming. Eva has been Driven to Suicide and X has entered torpor, possibly forever. Annabelle also can't stay due to her anger making her unable to deal with peace. Mark is in a coma and, while he's getting better, is still in a bad way.
  • Bomb Throwing Anarchist:
    • Annabelle torched an office in an act of defiance. She moves away from this, however.
    • Jeanette reveals herself to be this and advocates violence at every opportunity, even against her own sister. Who is also her split personality.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Victor Temple and Nelli G often use Presence 1's "Awe" power to make themselves more persuasive in regular conversation.
    • The plan for taking down Chaz? Just invite him to a remote spot and gang up on him.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Shows up numerous times, usually at the hands of either the villains or Victor Temple.
  • Break the Cutie: Annabelle undergoes this after being Embraced.
  • Blood Magic: Eva uses Thaumaturgy, which is basically this.
  • Broken Pedestal: X becomes this to Annabelle when he attempts to kill her after a mission in order to gain the strength to fight Therese. It proves to her that she can't actually trust her fellow Kindred as much as she thinks.
  • The Caligula:
    • Vannevar Thomas gradually starts turning away from being a Lawful Evil Aristocrats Are Evil Jerkass to this. This is due to Therese Voerman using Dementation on him to drive him mad. He uses his Scourge extensively, pours molten gold down the throats of his own minions, and heavily quotes the Book of Nod.
    • This was apparently the same way that François Villon ruled the Kindred of Paris right before the French Revolution, though his persecution was primarily directed at mortals.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Victor takes being lectured badly.
  • Catchphrase:
    • Victor has "I activate Awe". Following Episode 4, he always introduces himself at the start of episodes as the "undisputed Baron of the Valley".
    • Jason has a habit of responding to important rolls or info with, "I'm going to make a note of that."
    • Fiorenza has "Victor, my boy!", which has flavors of Condescending Compassion.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: X is the Malkavian variation of this.
  • Color Motif: White is a color of purity and divinity, but also the color of death in some cultures. Eva dresses in an all white outfit.
  • Cool Shades:
    • Both Nelli and her sire Chaz have them.
    • Jasper gets a pair in season 2.
  • Court Mage:
    • Eva's role in Anarch society. She is known as the White Witch of Griffith Park. Until she rejoins the Camarilla in Season 4.
    • Strauss is her Evil Counterpart in the L.A. Camarilla.
    • Katya takes up the role of Strauss in the L.A. Camarilla court when he becomes Keeper of Elysium.
  • Decadent Court:
    • The Camarilla is portrayed as this.
    • The Council of Barons proves to be no better.
  • Declaration of Protection:
    • Victor tells Annabelle he'll do anything to protect his children. Including wiping their memories and killing Annabelle.
    • Annabelle makes one towards Mark and Ellenore.
    • Jasper then makes one to Annabelle, Eva, and then Chloe.
  • Depraved Bisexual:
    • Nelli G and Victoria Ash fall under this. They feed on and kiss girls and boys in the Succubus club.
    • Suzanne is Vannevar's consort but attempts to seduce Nelli G into becoming her handmaiden.
  • The Dragon:
    • Campbell is this for Victor Temple.
    • Greg and Lavender gradually become this for Nelli G from Season 3 onwards.
    • Aurora and her brother Rodrigo are this for Vannevar Thomas.
  • Driven to Suicide: In Season 5, Eva chooses to meet the Sun, taking the extreme risk that it might turn her human but very clearly burning. X also chooses to enter torpor as a last ditch attempt to cleanse himself of a curse, knowing he is unlikely to awaken on his own.
  • Enraged by Idiocy: Annabelle at the beginning of the 3 episode of season 2, when calling out Victor. Later on, also Jasper, when Victor babbles about his secrets to everyone, and at the end Abrams, for the same reasons Annabelle was.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Victor and Annabelle both have their Touchstones addressed.
  • Exact Words: Jasper doesn't hurt people. Other vampires aren't "people" though.
  • Face–Heel Turn: X turns against the group when he attempts to diablerize Annabelle.
  • Famed In-Story: Nines Rodriguez is considered a One-Man Army and the toughest man in L.A. He denies this reputation.
  • Family of Choice: The vampires don't have anyone beside their coterie to turn to without violating the Masquerade.
  • Fantastic Racism: What most Kindred express towards Thin-Bloods.
    Victor: They're like ghouls plus.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: The coterie is very close at the beginning and gradually comes to protect Annabelle with equal fervor.
  • Flower Motifs: Red and pink flowers, mostly roses are Eva's aesthetic. She also gave different kinds of flowers to the coterie members once.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire:
    • A Downplayed Trope example as none of them are actively trying to harm mortals but only Annabelle (along with possibly Jasper) really qualifies. Eventually, both of them are forced to Shoo the Dog at various points.
    • The Valkyries are a Good Is Not Soft variety of these.
  • Funny Schizophrenia: X is a "Funny" brand of Malkavian, making odd allusions and metaphors to screw with people.
  • Grand Finale: Season 5's Valediction wraps up all of the remaining plotlines and characters.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Second Inquisition looms over everything as an enemy to the Camarilla and Anarchs. They initially seem to be an overstated threat that is swiftly dealt with before its revealed that the three agents taken down were not part of Project: Firstlight.
  • Heroes Want Redheads:
    • Before Jasper's embrace he dated redheaded Chloe. After Jasper's embrace there is an air of romantic tension remaining between the former lovers.
    • Annabelle is in a relationship with the also redheaded Ellenore before and after Annabelle's embrace.
  • Hot Witch:
    • Eva is both beautiful and creepy, she also uses blood magic.
    • Nelli also counts as this, as she knows Thaumaturgy and is also quite attractive.
  • Horror Hunger: A constant threat as per 5th Edition. The characters lose control over themselves multiple times.
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • Vampires, obviously are this by default.
    • Jasper, however, turns out to be this to his fellow Kindred.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: There are questions on whether Nelli G will be able to replace Isaac Abrams in Season 4.
  • Ignorant of Their Own Ignorance: Victor seems to be unable to realize how reckless he's being, thinking himself to be somewhat untouchable.
    Abrams: You probably expect me to yell at you...
    Victor: Nope!
    Abrams: Well, you were wrong!!!
  • Informed Attribute:
    • Jasper bemoans his hideousness but it's implied he mostly just looks like his actor with visible black veins.
    • Annabelle is said many times to have great leadership ability. This...doesn't seem to be the case on-camera.
  • It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Victor's "plan" for distracting the police when rescuing the Weird Sisters is this to him. And only him.
  • Killed to Uphold the Masquerade: comes with the setting. This hits Annabelle really hard when Chris the lacrosse player is killed, despite not knowing anything, cementing the seriousness of the Masquerade in general and You Can't Go Home Again.
    • Averted with Archangel as neither X or Annabelle are willing to kill Chloe despite her regular violations of the Masquerade.
  • Klingon Promotion: Jasper gets one of these when he kills the Sheriff and is unexpectedly promoted to replace him. Sadly, for the Camarilla, he refuses this request.
  • Knight Templar: The Second Inquisition has a Sorting Algorithm of Evil with the Society of Leopold's faith-based hunters being at the top.
  • Les Collaborateurs:
    • Bobby Blaine and a group of Thin-Bloods are working with both the Second Inquisition.
    • Baron Therese is working with the Camarilla.
    • An iffy case with Nelli G as she takes one of the Inquisitors on as a ghoul. Greg eventually becomes her full-time servant.
    • Archangel turns out to be this as an independent ghoul a.k.a Chloe working for the undead.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: After the Second Inquisition was repeatedly run rings around by our heroes, they proceed to mop the floor with L.A.'s Kindred in Season 5.
  • Lighter and Softer: The protagonists are much more on the Friendly Neighborhood Vampire scale of things than is typical for the World of Darkness. They even rescued a bunch of human trafficking victims and sent them to college.
  • Loophole Abuse: Jasper won't feed on humans, but he feeds Tara who Jasper then feeds upon. Later, it is revealed that he embraces humans he sees as monsters in order to feed on them in the future.
  • Looks Like Orlok: Comes with being a Nosferatu. Jasper is actually implied to look a great deal more human than most of his kind (as befitting 5E) but still ticks most of these tropes.
  • The Masquerade: Discussed and demonstrated numerous times. The Masquerade is treated with grave importance by the characters, even above it being the title of the game.
  • Metaphorgotten: X is prone to this as he often loses track of his own allusions.
  • The Mole:
    • X proves to be one of these for Baron Theresa.
    • Eva becomes this among the Camarilla in Season 5.
  • Mr. Exposition: Victor tends to play this role, usually to Annabelle.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Annabelle knows absolutely nothing about Kindred society.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: Revealed in Episode 4 to be one of Victor's values.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Apparently Chaz was hit by a flying Malkavian before.
    Chaz: There was that time in '48...
    • Annabelle apparently punched a cougar to death.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: The Council of Barons introduced in Season 2. They can barely formulate a plan against the Camarilla and swiftly throw Victor under the bus.
  • Not Using the Zed Word: Annabelle is quickly told in episode 1 that the proper term for what she has become is Kindred, and that their society doesn't like the V word.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • A Toreador, a Brujah, A Nosferatu, and a Ventrue are more or less a collection of the polar opposites of Kindred society.
    • Eva and Jasper as well as their whole Ship Tease.
  • Our Founder: Jeremy MacNeil is cited as this to the Anarch Free State.
  • Police Are Useless: They are just oblivious mortals.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The head of Project: Firstlight gets one of these from a Society of Leopold Inquisitor at the end of Episode 1, Season 5.
  • Running Gag:
  • Sad Clown: There's a few genuinely heartbreaking moments with X as he sometimes communicates how desperate and terrified his condition makes him.
  • Ship Tease: Despite most vampires not really being romantically inclined in this setting.
    • Jasper with Eva, and Chloe.
    • Victor and Nelli G.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: Averted. Despite the characters all being Anarchs, most of them are reasonably posh. The exception is Jasper.
  • Tears of Blood: Vampires don't have any other fluids in their body, so they cry tears.
  • True Companions: The cotrie are a group of best friends and they swear to take care of one another.
    Nelli: And you're not alone.
    Victor: We look out for eachother.
    Jasper: I mean... yeah, I guess.
    • Subverted by Victor dominating Eva not to attack Strauss and losing her frinedship. Later in a big way when X attempts to kill Annabelle.
    • Ultimately subverted by the series as a whole as Jasper and Nelli turn on Victor, Annabelle leaves LA, and Victor is left contemplating that Kindred never band together in times of crisis.
  • Urban Fantasy: It is a story about magic, vampires, and general weirdness existing behind the surface of present-day Los Angeles.
  • Vampire Hunter: The Second Inquisition as a whole, but especially the Society of Leopold that shows up in Season 5.
  • We ARE Struggling Together:
    • The primary problem of the Anarchs according to virtually everyone. They are divided into baronies that are constantly at each other's throats.
    • Victor believes this is the problem of vampire society with regard to the Second Inquisition. He's proven correct in Season 5.
  • What Were You Thinking?: What Annabelle, Abrams, and Jasper subject Victor to in episode 3 of season 2 after he nearly broke the Masquerade and caused a war.
    Abrams: If "fine" exists in the bright center of the galaxy, you're on the planet that's farthest from it.