Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines

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"Hurry up, I can only amuse myself for so long..."

The final game of Troika Games, composed of the Black Isle exiles responsible for Fallout and Arcanum. An FPS/RPG hybrid, many consider it the best successor to Deus Ex. The closest thing it has to a Spiritual Successor itself is Alpha Protocol. Though it's not a sequel, fans of Bloodlines will no doubt be pleased to know that the upcoming World of Darkness MMO in development by Crowd Control Productions will be based on the Old World of Darkness, and will start out exclusively focused on Vampire: The Masquerade.

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, newly instated Camarilla Prince of Los Angeles, the PC finds themselves trying to prove their worth by becoming LaCroix's errand boy. They'll become embroiled in local vampire politics and meet a wide cast of characters in their quest to track down an ancient sarcophagus.

Bloodlines was also the first game to make use of the licensed Source engine from Valve 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.

Tropes used in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines include:
  • Abandoned Hospital: The decrepit building in the Downtown area. Not entirely abandoned, as some unfortunate reporters find out.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Adult Child:

Malkavian: "It was stolen. But there were lots of dinosaurs, so I had fun."

  • Affectionate Parody: The short-skirted katana-wielding young Japanese demon hunting girl Yukie you meet in Chinatown and the wereshark seem to be some kind of affectionate parody of anime/manga in general, if not anything more specific. The "I'm bet you're glad that thing didn't have tentacles" dialogue option seems to confirm this.
    • Debatable. She's an example of an actual type of oWoD hunter: a heavily anime-influenced type, but the whole concept of cybernetically enhanced Japanese hunters existed before this 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.
  • AKA-47: For the record, here is a list of all fictionalized (or not) firearms in the game and their Real Life counterparts:
    • Pistols:
      • Thirty-Eight—Colt Police Positive.
      • Brokk 17C—Glock 17C.
      • Colt Anaconda—Colt Anaconda.
      • McLusky .50 Caliber—IMI Desert Eagle.
    • SMG:
      • Braddock 9mm—MAC-10.
      • Lassiter Killmatic—Uzi.
    • Shotguns:
      • Utica M37—Ithaca 37.
      • Jaegerspas XV—Franchi SPAS-15.
    • Rifles:
      • Jaime Sue—Remington Model 700.
      • Steyr Aug—Steyr AUG.
  • 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.
  • Alliterative Name: Velvet Velour.
  • 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 Society of leopold level, where in the mook chatter we hear a reference to the Gladius Dei, a subsect of the organization that was mentioned in one old book.
  • And I Must Scream: Should you choose to ally with the Kuei-jin, Ming Xiao will (after you defeat the Sheriff) 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-Grinding: You get experience solely for completing quests, and in fact will obtain less experience in some missions for killing people
  • Apocalyptic Log:
    • The recordings of Dr. Grout, the LA 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's 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 LA 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." Arguably "Where to?".
  • Artificial Atmospheric Actions: Done rather well: the NPCs move around in a way that is, if not entirely realistic, a much closer facsimile than 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.
  • 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: Nines establishes himself as this in his second appearance. Later cements it by ripping a werewolf's head off.
    • It's implied that he shoved a grenade down the werewolf's throat. Which is of course even more awesome.
    • Badass Abnormal/Badass Normal: Mercurio and Romero are ghouls, so they aren't exactly normal humans, but some of Mercurio's stories (shooting his way to the Nevada state line?) and Romero's zombie-suppression situation are incidents some vampire builds might find tricky to overcome.
    • Smilin' Jack is only tenth generation (which should put him on the weaker side of average). Despite that he is treated like a walking legend.
  • Badass Biker: Smiling Jack. Doesn't hurt he used to be a pirate. Many Brujah love this look. The Female Player Character heavy armor is a kickass biker suit... and nothing else.
  • Badass Boast: If you had to 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 tough, so most of it is hot air.
  • 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: Several outfits.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 a special trick, 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).
  • BFS: One of the many reasons no one messes with the Sheriff.
  • Biological Mashup: The spider-creatures in the sewer; they're actually mashups of multiple human women.
    • One of which was pregnant. Was.
  • Bi the Way: Jeanette and Velvet. Also the main character if female.
    • The vast majority of females. And a very few males.
  • Black and Grey Morality: As fitting for the World of Darkness.
  • Black Comedy/Gallows Humour
  • Black Eyes of Crazy: The Sabbat sport these.
  • 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
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: Averted: body armor is merely a factor in damage calculation.
  • Body Horror: Headrunners. Spider Creations. Belials. Andrei the Tzimisce.
  • 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.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • A Sabbat thug preparing to deliver a thrashing looks over his shoulder into the camera and warns, "Those of you in the first two 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 drunk 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).
    • You can ask a seer a number of questions about the future, including whether you will win the game. She will reply I 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.
  • Break the Haughty:
    • 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.
  • 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 him/her 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 telling him where to get off in most of the endings 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.
  • 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 and suddenly while doing it.
  • Character Level: Averted, XP is spent directly on attributes.
  • 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, and the cabbie that has driven you around the entire game turn out to be the orchestrators of the entire Ankharan Sarcophagus debacle.
  • The Chessmaster: Several of the NPCs are using the Player Character 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 Los Angeles
  • Cloudcuckoolander: If the player chooses to be a Malkavian, he/she seems 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.
  • Companion Cube: Those stop signs. "You've made a powerful enemy today, sign!"
  • Compelling Voice:
    • Ventrue player characters get the option to use Domination in dialogue, sidestepping the need for social skills. Tremere also get Domination, and can even use it in conversation if you've got the unofficial patches installed.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cosmic Horror: 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.
    • Though the implication is the Nosferatu did it.
      • There are references to Bloody handprints and something animal-like in the sewers. It's likely what the sewer-workers saw was simply Andrei's creations.
  • Covers Always Lie: Jeanette is purposeful for only a small portion of the game.
  • 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.
  • Dark Action Girl: All female Player Character's. Brawl, melee, guns, psychic powers, bloodmagic: make your choice. They are all inevitable 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."

  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: 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 Ventrue 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 at least two doors that lead straight to the Hollywood sewer system.
    • 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 (Maybe he didn't have room in the restaurant to shapeshift?), 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.
  • Did We Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Were you just ferried around the city by Caine himself?
  • Different As Night and Day: Jeanette (the obviously Malkavian nymphomaniac party-girl) and Therese (the obviously Ventrue strait-laced businesswoman) Voerman. 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.
    • 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.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: Played pretty much straight. It's hardly a good idea to go around murdering prostitutes, but the consequences are entirely personal, not because anyone, you know, cares about the prostitute. If you remember to stop just before they cork it, you can go on a cheery prostitute-drinking spree to no penalties whatsoever.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Dragon: The Sheriff.
  • Dragon Lady: Ming Xiao, the leader of the Chinatown vampires.
  • Driven to Suicide: Tawni Sessions, thanks to you and Imalia.
  • The Driver: The taxi driver.
  • Dronejam: Can happen obnoxiously often with the wandering NPCs. If you're a Ventrue or Malkavian, you can use Suicide or Vision of Death to take them out without violating the masquerade, which is very satisfying.
    • This will cost you Humanity in the unofficial Fan Patches, so you might want to use Suicide or Vision of Death as a very last resort. The jam will clear if you wait a few seconds.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The 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, and more mundane events like the collapse of the European Union.
  • Everything Fades: Bodies fade, but bullet holes and blood spatters from fights remain.
  • 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 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 anting at the host about the end of the world.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Ventrue Tower.
  • Eye Scream: The Blood Dolls kept by the Sabbat have their eyes gouged out.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: To get the good ending. Any Genre Savvy player knows that if a MacGuffin promises power, then the Big Bad will use it to become either undefeatable or much harder to kill. Since any clues otherwise are ambiguously presented, either weakly worded or emphasize the Big Bad's threat, what's the choice a smart gamer will make? Why, reload your save and pick the stupid option next time, of course.
  • 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. Lampshaded by Fat Larry as he 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: The Unofficial Patch focuses on continually adding new features and material to the game. The True Patch focuses only on bugfixes and preserving the original gameplay experience.
  • Fan Service: The "posters" quests, whose only purpose is to give players the pictures of four hot NPCs chicks on the wall of their haven.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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.

      • You are the Wild Card, and whoever gets you on their side will manage to win the game.
  • 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 euthanise 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 backstory-explaining (Yukie got to America by pretending to be in a foreign-study 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.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: If you get Beckett to teach you about stuff, you'll get relevant stat bonuses. It's possible to get a bonus to Research by talking about possible origins of vampires, as well as an extra point to a displine if you're playing a Gangrel.

Beckett: Try not to think about how much it's going to hurt. Remember, you're already dead. (+1 Fortitude)

  • Gay Option: The Player Character, 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 Jennette Voerman. There is an opportunity for male Player Characters 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) Player Character 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 Player Character 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 Anarachist 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. The Sheriff's boss-form has a little Artistic License though.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Jeanette.
  • God Was My Co-Pilot: That cab driver who's been ferrying you around all game is implied to be Caine. Especially fun if you play a Malkavian; the character actually figures it out and freaks out.
    • God may be Smiling Jack's drinking buddy, it seems. Averted in that Gehenna: The Final Night explicitly points out that the Cabbie in Bloodlines is not actually Caine, but a pretender instead. Which only happened because fans of the pen and paper rpg complained the game wasn't canon enough. It is true that the identity of the Cabbie is a debated issue, mostly over fans of the game and fans of the Old World of Darkness. Within the context of the game, Caine being the Cabbie is perfectly logical and heavily implied, while in the actual Old World of Darkness it's quite odd because of differing personalities and that Caine's arrival is supposed to herald alot more then just another Jyhad. And Vice Versa for Caine being an Imposter in the game, which the game ITSELF does not even consider a possibility, while the actual books basically say that Caine being in Los Angeles is an impossibility. Regardless, White Wolf has more authority then Troika who made the game, so their explanation would be given more weight, especially in the actual World of Darkness Fanbase. Anyone else is basically out of luck.
  • Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: Beckett and Strauss sometimes get this treatment by the fandom.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Used incorrectly with the Giovanni book "Voce del Morte" (which should be "Voce della Morte").
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Yukie... and the voice actress is extremely bad at it, getting some of the pronunciation completely wrong, particularly with trying to say "Los Angeles" Rozu Angerezu with a Japanese accent.
  • Gratuitous Russian: By mafiya goons, used apparently correctly.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: If the player goes to the heart of his sanctum, the insane prosthesis maker Dr. Gimble attacks him/her with a severed arm. After defeating him, he/she can then equip it and use it as a weapon. No pedestrians will look twice at you for walking down the street with a severed arm in your hand.
    • Incidentally, as Dr. Gimble himself has a prosthetic arm (and in fact according to one dialogue option admits the injury was self-inflicted), it's entirely possible the arm he was hitting you with... was his own.
    • 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.
  • Guest Star Party Member:
    • Barabbas, notably the only time in the game when you actually get anything resembling a party member.
    • Also if the player parts with the Japanese Demon Hunter on good terms, she will help you kick some Kuei-Jin ass in the Chinatown Temple level near the end of the game.
  • Guide Dang It: 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.
  • Gun Fu: Toreador have a natural talent for this since all their diciplines 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.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Damsel. The Player Character can even tell her something along the lines of "Did you know you have easily pressed buttons?".
    • Mood Swinger: With a single dialog option, she can swing from "You cammy fuck!" to "Hey, you're not so bad after all."
  • 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 Malkavian case, nothing at all). This get really ridicolous with the vampire hunter stripper Chastity which is barely in bra and fishnets and yet can pull out a katana from nowhere to hack you.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Hellish Pupils: Beckett has these, but subverts the common intent of them by not being nasty per say 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.
  • 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.
  • Hot-Blooded: Every single Brujah. The ones who appear calm at first are inevitably easy to piss off. This makes them both Badass and irritating.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Ash hates 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 wellbeing.
  • 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 use a game guide.
  • Improbable Power Discrepancy: In a few nights, the player is able to gain sufficient experience to overpower vampires hundreds of years his/her 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 *coughCainecough* 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?"
  • 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" miniquest, along with her gun equivalent, the Flamethrower.
  • 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.
  • 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 your getting ready to drive around Los Angeles during the Endgame sequence. This does not make ANY sense, whatsoever; however, the game otherwise implies that the Cab Driver is Caine himself. Ignoring later retcons, of course.
  • Ironic Echo: The last living member of the snuff film producers in Hollywood claim they only killed junkies and runaways, the something of society. The maker of the creatures that killed them claims he made the creatures out of the exact same thing.
  • 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." Though most of them do give you useful cash or items.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: Most of the endings have the player character fighting his/her way up the LaCroix Tower.
  • It's Up to You: You are apparently the only agent (or at least the only competent agent) that Sebastian LaCroix has access to, despite his being a Prince, a Ventrue Elder, and rich enough to own the tallest skyscraper in downtown Los Angles. Also, in a city full of vampires that have been around the block a time or three-hundred, only you (a newly turned Childe) can defeat the ghosts/zombie cult/vampire-hunting fanatics/etc.
    • One of the Let's Play articles on this game raises a fair point: LaCroix is trying to kill you. He's sending you on exceedingly dangerous Suicide Missions ever since Nines' protest stopped him from publicly killing you. In his mind: you die, he wins. You succeed, he wins. Well, he is a Ventrue, and most older vampires would likely have the sense not to stick their necks out in the sort of missions you get assigned.
    • Plus, La Croix isn't exactly respected. He's a very, very young Prince. It's only the Sheriff's imposing presence that keeps him in power. And you don't run into that many Camarilla sympathisers over the course of the game. And the most pro-Camarilla dude, Maximillian Strauss, the Tremere Primogen, will still happily see LaCroix's ass on a stick. And you're weak enough for him to Dominate into doing his dirty work, although the actual rules for Dominate make this inconsistent; see Improbable Power Discrepancy above and Fridge Logic in the Fridge section. Frankly, the Vampires in the area probably think its amusing to keep the Player alive, just so it'll stick in LaCroix's craw.
  • 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 Player Character, 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 he/she 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.
  • Justified Tutorial: The Player Character is turned into a vampire, has his/her sire killed in front of them, is nearly killed him/herself, 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 he and Vandal were 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.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: One of the best melee weapons in game. You can find a superpowerful one during the sidequest Hell at the Hotel Hallowbrook, somewhere inside 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.
  • Lady Not-Appearing-In-This-Game: Jeanette Voerman is featured on the cover and promotional material despite her minor role in the game.
  • 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.
    • Andrey 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.
  • Late to the Party: 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.
  • Let's Play: Marik Plays Bloodlines.
  • Lesbian Vampire: Jeanette can even sleep with a female player character (if you have enough seduction, I think) while Velvet will even go as far as sending you e-mail with hammy love poems all the time. Also the female player character (not Nosferatu) can seduce young girls and such.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Bishop Vick, bonus boss.
  • Limp and Livid: Gangrels when using Protean.
  • Looks Like Orlok: The members of the Nosferatu clan.
  • 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 almost always right.
  • The Mafia: The Giovanni, a vampire mob.

Gary Golden: Spaghetti and corpses, boss.

  • The Mafiya: Dangerous to Venus, easy for you to kill.
  • Malaproper: The Malkavian Player Character.
  • The Masquerade: Obviously.
  • The Maze: To a small extent, part of the sewers on the way to the Nosferatu hideout.
  • Mismatched Eyes: Jeanette (blue/green), Mr. Ox (grey/amber), the Malkavian Player Character (blue/brown) and the Nosferatu Player Character (blue/brown).
  • Mugging the Monster: Oh, Gimble, you really picked the wrong guy to try and murder.
  • 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 condemns you to a Fate Worse Than Death.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The Nicknamer: The Malkavian almost refuses to call anybody by their real name.
  • 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.
  • 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 her.
  • 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 Player Character 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).
  • Obvious Beta: A solid case of Screwed By The Publisher. The one official patch was made pro-bono.
  • 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. They always have the option of siding with nobody and taking out both the Camarilla and Kuei-Jin.
  • One-Letter Name: E.
  • 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 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.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Goes with being part of Vampire: The Masquerade.
  • 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 feat.
  • Pineapple Surprise: "Nines" Rodriguez saves the Player Character 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.
  • 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.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Of the Storyteller roleplaying system. Manipulation, your social dexterity - one of your most important abilities - is used purely to influence your haggling score. And there are no willpower points, virtues, or vices... instead, you have Blood Buff, which is the Storyteller system's spending-blood-to-increase-stats ramped Up to Eleven. But the degree to which they simplified the system without losing most of the coolness of it makes it a good change in general.
  • Precision F-Strike: Not literally, as there's no swearing involved, but any time the Malkavian Player Character gets angry enough to speak straight, it has much the same effect.

Malkavian PC, after having been taunted by Gary for a while: "Where. Are. You."

  • Psychic-Assisted Suicide: The Suicide and Mass Suicide powers of the Dominate discipline. Note that this is mostly there for Rule of Cool, as Tabletop rules explicitly state that you can't use Dominate to order someone to do something that directly goes against their instincts of self-preservation.
  • Psychotic Smirk: Jeanette Voerman.
  • 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.
  • Ragdoll 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.
  • Replay Value: Immense due to the fact playing a different faction of vampire changes the game noticable, with the Malkavian option nearly turning the entire game into a bizarro alternate universe. There are also numerous endgames possible depending who you ally with at the end.
  • 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.
  • 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: Dear God! Practically every single character in the game features in someone's fantasies or artwork. Threesomes of Damsel/Heather/VV, Ming Xiao using her Naughty Tentacles, Twincest and Screw Yourself between the Voerman sisters, Venus wearing denim shorts, the blood-stained savagery of shark-toothed Pisha, and even the putrid horror of Imalia are far from the being only common themes. Even male characters are not immune: there are jokes about Flamboyant Gay Sebastian LaCroix, George Romero was made bisexual by the Unofficial Patches, a girl interviewed on the in-game radio wants to have Ash Rivers' baby, while Beckett, Mercurio, Nines Rodriguez, and Smiling Jack simply ooze with raw animal magnetism. The sheer sex appeal of so many gorgeous characters is apparently part of what makes the game a cult classic even years after release.
    • This Troper has even seen a picture involving all the female cast (both Player Character and NPC) at once, minus the Nosferatu females, and the Malkavian male Player Character... though the fact that both Voermann twins are present at once, as well as Heather in both her normal and "gothic" looks, strongly implies the mass lesbian orgy is just a figment of the Malk's demented little mind.
  • Schmuck Bait
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Majorly and hilariously subverted at the end.
  • 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.
  • Shout-Out: There are references in the game to a number of classic and not-so classic vampire movies including Nosferatu, The Lost Boys and of course Dracula. For example, one of the options when speaking to the bartender is "I don't drink... alcohol", a clear reference to Bela Lugosi's Dracula. Additionally, the Camarilla ending is a Shout-Out to the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which itself was a Shout-Out to Citizen Kane.
    • One of the weapons the player can use is a severed arm.
    • Gorgeous Gary Golden, a former movie star, loves to make these.

"Forget it, boss. It's Chinatown."

    • In the Hell Hotel level, obviously an Homage to The Shining, the ceiling has collapsed right in front of Room 217 (which was replaced in the film by Room 237).
    • The dialogue option of "Did I just fight a landshark?" is a pretty obvious reference to the old SNL skit.
    • The ship the Elizabeth Dane is the name of the Leper Ship in John Carpenter's The Fog.
    • There are several references to being shot like "Old Yella".
    • The flamethrower runs on burninator-brand fuel.
    • In a minor side-quest in Hollywood, LaCroix asks you to make a critics review of an Italian restaurant to be a bad one. If you are playing Malkavian and have enough dots in Dementation discipline you can use "Maggots. You are eating maggots." Line from '87 movie about vampires: The Lost Boys.

Tommy Flayton: This place will pay for this! As sure as my name is Tommy Flayton, they'll never serve food in this town again!
Malkavian Player Character: How could they do that to you? I bet they didn't get that idea from a movie.

    • Mitnick the computer hacker is a reference to Kevin Mitnick, previously one of the world's most notorious social engineers. He now runs an IT security consulting service.
    • The clock in the Player Character's apartment had a brand name printed on it, said brand name being "Zaphod".
    • There's also a reference to Traffik: a cool, afroed Jive Turkey sends you on a mission to retrieve a briefcase, with "beautiful" unknown contents.
    • There's a reference to Futurama in the Santa Monica health clinic: if you examine the patients' files on the doctor's computer, one of them suffers from frequent bouts of sexlexia.
      • You can also use Zapp Branningan's classic pick-up line--"I find the most erotic part of a woman is the boobies"--on a would-be Blood Doll in Hollywood. It works about the same as it did for Kif.
    • Also in the Santa Monica health clinic's computer, you find a listing of doctors, including a Dr. Roberts, who has never lost a patient. The file notes that "No one can succeed like Dr. Roberts."
    • And, of course, the Italian Giovanni's desire for an "endless night".
    • Perhaps more subtly, if you choose to save Heather Poe by giving her your blood, the cutscene goes through the exact motions of the scene in Interview with the Vampire (The Movie) where Lestat Embraces Claudia.
    • There's also a one armed man named "Gimble" who turns out to be a serial killer. Sound familiar?
    • "Nobody expects the Malkavian Inquisition."
    • A radio ad for a brand of butter called "I Thought it was Margarine" (all the crappy taste of margarine, with all the saturate fat of butter).
    • When enduring the Mandarin's experiments, his verbal notes call the squad of commandos you kill "The Belmont Squad".
      • The experiment right before that, which tests if a cross can repel you, is given the name of Dr. Van Helsing from Dracula.
    • Malkavian to the bail bondsman: "Are you the key master?"
    • Malkavians are full of this. "How long have they raged against the machine?" when asking Jack about the Anarchs.
    • The Malkavian Player Character has an option of replying "I SEE DEAD PEOPLE" when asked by Beckett if they have encountered anything out-of-the-way.
    • Malkavian to Damsel after you agree to spy on LaCroix: "I heard a rumor that he was into field hockey players."
    • Dominating one of the employees in the blood bank leads to him saying that he feels asleep.
    • When a Malkavian frees Carson from Gimble's prison, we get this little gem:

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.
  • 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.
  • Stealth Pun: Did you ever notice that the name of the building you know as "The Ventrue tower" is actually spelled "Venture tower"?
  • 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. 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.
  • Suicide Mission: Prince LaCroix keeps sending the player on Suicide Missions to get rid of you without sparking a civil war with the Anarchs.
  • Sunglasses 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.
  • Take That:
    • When asked to confess his or her darkest secret, one of the confessions the player can choose is having "voted Republican".
    • 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 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.
  • Talkative Loon: The Malkavian Player Character'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.
  • 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 in a box beneath the ocean.
    • Prince LaCroix, as well.
    • None of the factions can really match the utter foolishness of the Society of Leopold. Not only do their 'field agents' dress like your typical cliche Old World of Darkness character (literally a trenchcoat and a katana), making them stand out like sore thumbs, their base is littered with ammocrates not seen in any other base (not even the sabbat) ripe for anyone to shoot everybody to hogh heaven. The actions of the hunters are also so stupid, it gets lampshaded. But the best example of their foolishness has to be their laser trip-wires, while one might expect the lasers to simply warn the hunters, instead, they are explosive rigged. And why would people fighting against vampires allow their own laser tripwires to be easily toggled between being triggered by vampires (room temperature) and humans (body temperature)? Of course, it could just be Law of Conservation of Detail and the player character actually does something more complicated to change the settings than pick one in a menu.
  • Transformation Trauma: Ming Xiao = The Blob.
  • 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.
  • Tsundere: She's no ones Love Interest by any means, but Damsel is a cute example of this trope that cosists 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.
  • Undeathly Pallor: Naturally. Vampires are gray, largely since the standard Caucasian mortal model is pretty pale already.
  • Underground Level: The Nosferatu hideout, after the sewers, though it is not so much a level as it is a town.
  • 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."
  • 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 Own Nightclubs: "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 Vords: Only one character speaks with such an accent.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: Averted completely, and arguably inverted. All the accessible computers in the game work by command line interface.
  • Villainous Breakdown: LaCroix has a particularly brief one.
  • 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.
  • "Wake-Up Call" Boss: The "Cathayan" (a Kindred-coined term for the Kuei-jin, which no self-respecting Kuei-jin would ever use) 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 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.
  • White Dwarf Starlet:
    • Gary Golden is an arguable example of 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 not 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.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Inverted, averted, subverted, justified aaaand played straight in the scene with the Mandarin. The player is trapped in a nigh inpregnable test facility by the Mandarin, with the aim of finding out the limits of vampire powers and 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.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: The Malkavians. Some less 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 worse cases. Which, considering the dialogue you get, is pretty funny.
  • The Wonka: Only the wisest of vampires understand that Malkavians are not Cloud Cuckoolanders, but they have supreme insight... they just don't communicate it well.
  • Xanatos Gambit: There is literally no possible ending to the game that does not go exactly as Jack and Caine planned it. LaCroix will die, whether by C4 or by execution.
  • Yes but What Does Zataproximetacine DO: 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.
  • You Bastard: Some quest log entries will check you out, for instance, if you let the Serial Killer go without talking him out of it first, the questlog will aks 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.
  • Your Vampires Suck
  • You Suck: Humorously, this can be done by the player; depending on who he/she 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.
    • And, well, this is a game about vampires...
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Averted hard: 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 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.