Combat

LAIA is not a combat-oriented server. If you decide to join us, you must understand that this is not meant to be Player One versus a bunch of generated NPCs, as you would encounter in a video game; Nor is it intended to be used for intense PvP combat scenarios, though we do indulge in combat scenes on occasion and with high-tailored ground-rules that may change on a case-by-case basis.

A storyteller must be contacted when RP escalates to combat. Players may not run combat scenes without a ST. The STs are encouraged to be flexible when arbitrating combat situations; no rules can fully reflect the variety of situations encountered in warfare. Combat systems are meant to add depth to the game, not create conflict between the players and the Storyteller. The text presented here is a guideline and overview of our combat system, but is not exhaustive. A ST might change up the traits called by a roll to better reflect what your character is trying to do, and whatever the ST says goes.

Additionally, player characters can only be killed, ghouled, embraced or blood bound by another player character with consent. This rule does not protect player characters from NPC consequences- Attacking the Prince will get you ashed, and breaching the Masquerade will be met with punishment. Explicit player consent is required for any scene involving hate crimes, sexual violence, or similar themes.

Combat in Vampire attempts to capture the drama of violent conflict without downplaying its grim reality. Every effort has been made to create a system has the feeling of dynamic, vicious combat while still leaving room for the unique (and often spectacular) elements that vampires bring to it.

There are two types of combat, each involving the same basic system with minor differences:
• Close Combat: This covers unarmed combat (Dexterity + Brawl) and melee (Dexterity + Melee). Unarmed combat can involve a down-and-dirty bar brawl or an honorable test of skill. Opponents must be within touching distance (one yard/meter) to engage in unarmed combat. Melee involves handheld weapons, from broken bottles to swords. Opponents must be within two yards/meters of each other to engage in melee.

• Ranged Combat: Armed combat using projectile weapons — pistols, rifles, shotguns, etc. Opponents must normally be within sight (and weapon range) of each other to engage in a firefight.

Combat Turns

In combat, many things happen at virtually the same time. Since this can make things a bit sticky in a game, combat is divided into a series of three-second turns. Each combat turn has two stages — Action, and Resolution — to make it easier to keep track of things

Initiative

This stage organizes the turn and is when you declare your character’s action. Various actions are possible — anything from leaping behind a wall to shouting a warning. You must declare what your character does, in as much detail as the Storyteller requires.

Everyone, player and Storyteller character alike, rolls one die and adds it to their initiative rating (Dexterity + Wits); the character with the highest result acts first, with the remaining characters acting in decreasing order of result. (Storytellers looking for a slightly faster or more predictable system can choose to use Dexterity + Wits + 6 for each character’s initiative, forgoing the die roll. Or simply keep the established post order.) If two characters get the same total, the one with the higher initiative rating goes first. If initiative ratings are also the same, it is up to the ST. Wound penalties subtract directly from a character’s initiative rating, while Celerity dots that aren’t being used for extra actions add to it (see Celerity).

All of your character’s actions are staged at her rank in the order of initiative. There are two exceptions to this rule: The first is if your character delays her action, in which case her maneuvers happen when she finally takes action. Your character may act at any time after her designated order in the initiative, even to interrupt another, slower character’s action. If two characters both delay their actions, and both finally act at the same time, the one with the higher initiative rating for the turn acts first

The second breach of the initiative order occurs in the case of a defensive action (see “Aborting Actions” and “Defensive Maneuvers,”), which your character may perform at any time as long as she has an action left.

Stage 1: Action

Actions are the meat of the combat turn. An action’s success or failure and potential impact on the target are determined at this stage. You use a certain Attribute/Ability combination depending on the type of combat in which your character is engaged:

• Close Combat: Use Dexterity + Brawl (unarmed) or Dexterity + Melee (armed).
• Ranged Combat: Use Dexterity + Firearms (guns) or Dexterity + Athletics (thrown weapons).

Remember, if your character doesn’t have points in the necessary Ability, simply default to the Attribute on which it’s based (in most cases, Dexterity). In ranged combat, your weapon may modify your dice pool or difficulty (due to rate of fire, a targeting scope, etc.); check the weapon’s statistics for details.

Most attacks are made versus difficulty 6. This can be adjusted for situational modifiers (long range, cramped quarters), but the default attack roll is versus 6. If you get no successes, the character fails her attack and inflicts no damage. If you botch, not only does the attack fail, but something nasty happens: The weapon jams or explodes, the blade breaks, an ally is hit, and so on.

Normally, additional successes gained on a Trait roll simply mean that you do exceptionally well. In combat, each extra success you get on an attack roll equals an additional die you add automatically to your damage dice pool. This creates cinematic and often fatal combat.

Stage 2: Resolution

During this stage, the Storyteller determines the effects of your character’s actions, and you may post describing what your character does this turn.

At the beginning of your post, you will likely have to describe the resolution of another characters actions as well. If Alice digs her claws into Bob, it is up to Bob's player to describe how Bob reacts.

Attack and damage rolls are merely ways of describing what happens in the story, and it’s important to maintain the narrative of combat even as you make the die roll.

Normally, additional successes gained on a Trait roll simply mean that you do exceptionally well. In combat, each extra success you get on an attack roll equals an additional die you add automatically to your damage dice pool. This creates cinematic and often fatal combat.

Combat Summary


Initiative

Initiative is determined alongside the ST, and you may either continue with the established post order, roll intiative or use your initiative ratings.

Your base initiative rating is your character's Dexterity + Wits. Wound penalties subtract directly from a character’s initiative rating, while Celerity dots that aren’t being used for extra actions add to it (see Celerity).

When rolling for initiative, roll a single 1d10 roll and add your initiative rating to determine who acts first.

The character with the highest initiative performs her action first. Actions can be delayed to any time later in the order of initiative.

Actions & Resolution

After initiative has been established it is time to determine what happens. When the ST get to your turn in initiative, declare what your character is planning on. It is highly recommended not to think in terms of maneuvers and actions, but what your character would do. We are, after all, an RP server.

Before you roll, remember to declare whether or not your character will attempt multiple actions so the ST can reduce dice pools accordingly. This is also the time to declare Discipline activation and Willpower expenditure.

• For unarmed close-combat attacks, roll Dexterity + Brawl.
• For armed close-combat attacks, roll Dexterity + Melee.
• For ranged combat, roll Dexterity + Firearms (guns) or Dexterity + Athletics (thrown weapons).
• A character can abort to a defensive action (block, dodge, parry) at any time before her action is performed, as long as you make a successful Willpower roll (or a Willpower point is spent).

Resolution
• Determine total damage effect (weapon type or maneuver), adding any extra dice gained from successes on the attack roll.
• Targets may attempt to soak damage, if possible.

Damage


All attacks have specific damage ratings, indicating the number of dice to roll for the attack’s damage (called the damage dice pool). Some damage dice pools are based on the attacker’s Strength, while others are based on the weapon used. Damage dice rolls are made versus difficulty 6. Each success on the damage roll inflicts one health level of damage on the target. However, the damage applied may be one of three types:

Bashing
Bashing damage comprises punches and other blunt trauma that are less likely to kill a victim (especially a vampire) instantly. All characters use their full Stamina ratings to resist bashing effects, and the damage heals fairly quickly. Bashing damage is applied to the Health boxes on your character sheet with a “/.”

Lethal
Attacks meant to cause immediate and fatal injury to the target. Mortals may not use Stamina to resist lethal effects, and the damage takes quite a while to heal. Vampires may resist lethal damage with their Stamina. Lethal damage is applied to the Health boxes on your vampire’s character sheet with a “X.”

Aggravated
Certain types of attacks are deadly even to the undead. Fire, sunlight, and the teeth and claws of vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural beings are considered aggravated damage. Aggravated damage cannot be soaked except with Fortitude, and it takes quite a while to heal. Aggravated damage is applied to the Health boxes on your character sheet with an asterisk (“*”).

Damage dice pools can never be reduced to lower than one die; any attack that strikes its target has at least a small chance of inflicting damage before a soak roll is made. Moreover, damage effect rolls cannot botch; a botched roll simply means the attack glances harmlessly off the target.

Characters can resist a certain degree of physical punishment; this is called soaking damage. Your character’s soak dice pool is equal to her Stamina. A normal human can soak only bashing damage (this reflects the body’s natural resilience to such attacks). A vampire (or other supernatural being) is tougher, and can thus use soak dice against lethal damage. Aggravated damage may be soaked only with the Discipline of Fortitude. Fortitude also adds to the defender’s soak rating against bashing or lethal damage (so a character with Stamina 3 and Fortitude 2 has five soak dice against bashing and lethal damage, but only two soak dice against aggravated damage).

Soak


Characters can resist a certain degree of physical punishment; this is called soaking damage. Your character’s soak dice pool is equal to her Stamina. A normal human can soak only bashing damage (this reflects the body’s natural resilience to such attacks). A vampire (or other supernatural being) is tougher, and can thus use soak dice against lethal damage. Aggravated damage may be soaked only with the Discipline of Fortitude. Fortitude also adds to the defender’s soak rating against bashing or lethal damage (so a character with Stamina 3 and Fortitude 2 has five soak dice against bashing and lethal damage, but only two soak dice against aggravated damage).

Armor

Armor adds to your character’s soak. The armor’s rating combines with your base soak for purposes of reducing damage. Light armor offers a small amount of protection, but doesn’t greatly hinder mobility. Heavy armor provides a lot of protection, but can restrict flexibility. Armor protects against bashing, lethal, and aggravated damage from teeth and claws; it does not protect against fire or sunlight. Armor is not indestructible. If the damage rolled in a single attack equals twice the armor’s rating, the armor is destroyed.


Class Example Armor Rating Penalty
Class One Reinforced clothing 1 0
Class Two Armor T-shirt 2 1
Class Three Kevlar vest 3 1
Class Four Flak jacket 4 2
Class Five Full riot gear 5 3

Armor adds its rating to the character’s soak dice pool against bashing damage, lethal damage, and aggravated damage from fangs and claws. It does not protect against fire or sunlight. However, armor also subtracts a number of dice from dice pools related to bodily coordination and agility (most Dexterity-based dice pools). This is reflected in the penalty listing. Attackers may make targeting rolls to hit unprotected portions of a defender and thus ignore the armor (Storyteller assigns difficulty penalty — typically +1 or +2).

Combat Maneuvers


These maneuvers give you a variety of choices in combat. Roleplaying combat is more entertaining if you can visualize your character’s moves instead of simply rolling dice. Most of these maneuvers take one action to execute.

Maneuvers are typically performed versus difficulty 6. Maneuvers with specific combat effects may modify your attack roll, difficulty, or damage dice pool.

Traits: The Trait combination used for the action taken. If your character doesn’t have a rating in the needed Ability, default to its base Attribute.

Accuracy: The dice added to the roll to hit an opponent. A “+3” adds three dice to the dice pool for that attack.

Difficulty: Any additions or subtractions to an attack’s difficulty (which is most often 6).
A “+2” means the difficulty of an attack, if initially 6, is increased to 8.

Damage: The damage dice pool used.

General Combat Maneuvers



Aborting Actions
You can abandon your character’s declared action in favor of a defensive action as long as your character hasn’t acted in the turn. Actions that can take the place of a previously declared action include block, dodge, and parry. A successful Willpower roll versus difficulty 6 (or the expenditure of a Willpower point) is required for a character to abort an action and perform a defensive one instead. When spending Willpower for an abort maneuver, a character may declare the Willpower expenditure at the time of the abort. A Willpower roll to abort is considered a reflexive action. (See “Defensive Maneuvers,” below, for descriptions of block, dodge, and parry.)

Ambush
Ambushes involve surprising a target to get in a decisive first strike. The attacker rolls Dexterity + Stealth in a resisted action against the target’s Perception + Alertness. If the attacker scores more successes, she can stage one free attack on the target; she then adds any extra successes from the resisted roll to her attack dice pool. On a tie, the attacker still attacks first, although the target may perform a defensive maneuver. If the defender gets more successes, he spots the ambush, and both parties determine initiative normally. Targets already involved in combat cannot be
ambushed.

Flank and Rear Attacks
Characters attacking targets from the flank gain an additional attack die. Characters attacking from the rear gain two additional attack dice.

Movement
A character may move half of her running distance and still take an action in a turn. Other maneuvers such as leaping or tumbling may be considered separate actions, depending on their complexity.

Multiple Actions
If you declare multiple actions, declare the total number of actions you wish to attempt and determine which of the dice pools is the smallest. Then, divide that number of dice between all of your actions. If a character performs only defensive actions in a turn, use the appropriate block, dodge, or parry system.


Targeting
Aiming for a specific location incurs an added difficulty, but can bypass armor or cover, or can result in an increased damage effect. The Storyteller should consider special results beyond a simple increase in damage, depending on the attack and the target.

Target Size Difficulty Damage
Medium (limb, briefcase) +1 No modifier
Small (hand, head, cellphone) +2 +1
Precise (eye, heart, lock) +3 +2

Defensive Maneuvers


It’s a given that your character tries to avoid being hit in combat — that’s why everyone makes attack rolls to try to hit you. Sometimes, though, all your character wants to do is avoid attacks. You may announce a defensive action at any time before your character’s opponent makes an attack roll, as long as your character has an action left to perform. You can declare a defensive action on your character’s turn in the initiative, or can even abort to a defensive maneuver. You must make a successful Willpower roll (or may simply spend one point of Willpower) to abort. If the Willpower roll fails, your character must carry out the action that you declared originally.

There are three types of defensive actions: block, dodge, and parry. Your character can defend against virtually any kind of attack with these three maneuvers. However, your character may not be able to avoid every single attack that’s directed at her. She can’t dodge when there’s no room to maneuver, and she can’t block or parry if she doesn’t know an attack is coming.

Maneuver Traits Description
Block Dex + Brawl Deflect Hand-to-Hand Bashing
Dodge Dex + Athletics Dodge Melee/Brawl Attacks
Parry Dex + Melee Use your weapon to meet their attack

Each defensive maneuver uses the same basic system: The defensive action is a resisted roll against the opponent’s attack roll. Unless the attacker gets more total successes, he misses. If the attacker gets more successes, those that he achieves in excess of the defender’s successes, if any, are used to hit (the attacker doesn’t necessarily use all the successes he rolled). So if the defender has fewer successes than the attacker does, the defender’s maneuver can still reduce the effectiveness of the attack, even if the maneuver can’t counteract it completely.

Block, dodge, and parry can be performed as part of a multiple action in your character’s turn (punching then blocking, shooting then dodging, parrying then striking). Using a multiple action to act and defend is advantageous because your character can still accomplish something in a turn besides avoiding attacks. Rather than having to divide your dice pool among multiple defensive actions, you may declare that your character spends an entire turn defending. The normal multiple-action rules are not used in this case. Instead, you have a full dice pool for the first defensive action, but lose one die, cumulatively, for each subsequent defense action made in the same turn. It is still difficult to avoid several incoming attacks, but not as difficult as trying to attempt multiple things at once.

Remember that any actions, including defensive ones, versus multiple attackers still suffer difficulty penalties

Block
A Dexterity + Brawl maneuver using your character’s own body to deflect a hand-to-hand bashing attack. Lethal and aggravated attacks cannot be blocked unless the defender has Fortitude or is wearing armor.

Dodge
A Dexterity + Athletics maneuver useful for avoiding attacks of all types. Your character bobs and weaves to avoid Melee or Brawl attacks (if there’s no room to maneuver, she must block or parry instead). In gunfights, your character moves at least one yard/meter and ends up behind cover (if there’s no room to maneuver or no cover available, she can drop to the ground). If your character remains under cover or prone, cover rules apply against further Firearms attacks.

Parry
A Dexterity + Melee maneuver using a weapon to block a Brawl or Melee attack. If a character makes a Brawl attack and the defender parries with a weapon that normally causes lethal damage, the attacker can actually be hurt by a successful parry. If the defender rolls more successes than the attacker does in the resisted action, the defender rolls the weapon’s base damage plus the parry’s extra successes as a damage dice pool against the attacker.

Maneuver Complications


The following are common combat complications. The Storyteller should add any others as the situation warrants.

Blinded: Add two dice to attack rolls made against a blinded target. Furthermore, blind characters are at +2 difficulty on all actions.

Blind Fighting: Staging attacks while blind (or in pitch darkness) usually incurs a +2 difficulty, and ranged attacks cannot be accurately made at all. Powers such as Heightened Senses and Eyes of the Beast mitigate this penalty.

Dazed: If, in a single attack, the attacker rolls a number of damage successes greater than the target’s Stamina (for mortals) or Stamina + 2 (for vampires and other supernatural beings), the victim is dazed.
The target must spend her next available turn shaking off the attack’s effects. Only damage successes that penetrate the defender’s soak attempt count toward this total.

Immobilization: Add two dice to attack rolls made on an immobilized (i.e., held by someone or something)but still struggling target. Attacks hit automatically if the target is completely immobilized (tied up, staked, or otherwise paralyzed).

Knockdown: The victim falls down. After suffering a knockdown, the subject makes a Dexterity + Athletics roll. If successful, she may get back on her eet immediately, but her initiative is reduced by two in the next turn. On a failed roll, the subject spends her next action climbing to her feet, if she chooses to rise. On a botch, she lands particularly hard or at a severe angle, taking an automatic health level of bashing damage. Maneuvers like tackle and sweep are intended to knock an opponent down. However, an especially powerful attack of any kind may send the target to the ground. Such instances are best left to the Storyteller’s discretion, and should occur only when appropriately cinematic or suitable to the story.

Stake Through Heart: A vampire can indeed be incapacitated by the classic wooden stake of legend. However, the legends err on one point: A Kindred impaled through the heart with a wooden stake is not destroyed, but merely paralyzed until the stake is removed. To stake a vampire, an attacker must target the heart (difficulty 9). If the attack succeeds and inflicts at least three health levels of damage, the target is immobilized. An immobilized victim is conscious (and may use perception powers, such as those in the Auspex Discipline), but may not move or spend blood points.

Close Combat Maneuvers


This is simply a listing of the common maneuvers used in close combat. All hand-to-hand attacks inflict bashing damage unless stated otherwise. The damage inflicted by melee attacks depends on the weapon type (see the Melee Weapons Chart). It is typically lethal, though clubs and other blunt instruments inflict bashing damage. All references to Strength also gain the benefit of Potence, if you have dots in that disciplines.

Difficulty and damage for these maneuvers may be modified at the Storyteller’s discretion, depending on the combat style the character uses. As always, drama and excitement take precedence over rules systems.

A character who battles multiple opponents in close combat suffers attack and defense difficulties of +1, cumulative, for each opponent after the first (to a maximum of +4). It is difficult to get in range with a punch or knife if someone else is wielding a sword or staff. A character being fended off with a longer weapon must close in one yard/meter before striking, losing a die from her attack roll in the process.

Close Combat Maneuvers Table

Maneuver Traits Accuracy Difficulty Damage
Bite Dex + Brawl +1 Normal Str +1 (A)
Block Dex + Brawl Special Normal None (R)
Claw Dex + Brawl Normal Normal Str +1 (A)
Clinch Str + Brawl Normal Normal Str (C)
Disarm Dex + Melee Normal +1 Special
Dodge Dex + Athletics Special Normal None (R)
Hold Str + Brawl Normal Normal None (C)
Kick Dex + Brawl Normal +1 Str +1
Parry Dex + Melee Special Normal None (R)
Strike Dex + Brawl Normal Normal Str
Sweep Dex + Brawl/Melee Normal +1 Str (K)
Tackle Str + Brawl Normal +1 Str +1 (K)
Weapon Strike Dex + Melee Normal Normal Weapon

(A): The maneuver inflicts aggravated damage.
(C): The maneuver carries over on successive turns.
(K): The maneuver causes knockdown.
(R): The maneuver reduces an opponent’s attack successes.

You can see a more indepth description of each maneuver in the hidden block below.

Ranged Combat Maneuvers


Many physical conflicts involve ranged weapons. The following maneuvers allow for a number of useful actions during a firefight. Don’t feel limited by this list; if the need arises, try developing a new maneuver (at the Storyteller’s discretion). Refer to the Ranged Weapons Chart, for specific information.

Ranged Combat Maneuvers Table

Ranged Combat Maneuvers Table
Maneuver Traits Accuracy Difficulty Damage
Automatic Fire Dex + Firearms +10 +2 Special
Multiple Shots Dex + Firearms Special Normal Weapon
Strafing Dex + Firearms +10 +2 Special
3-Round Burst Dex + Firearms +2 +1 Weapon
Two Weapons Dex + Firearms Normal +1/off-hand Weapon

Range:
The Ranged Weapons Chart lists each weapon’s short range; attacks made at that range are versus difficulty 6. Twice that listing is the weapon’s maximum range. Attacks made up to maximum range are versus difficulty 8. Attacks made at targets within two meters are considered point blank. Pointblank shots are made versus difficulty 4.

You can see a more indepth description of each maneuver in the hidden block below.

Weapons


Damage: Indicates the damage dice pool. Against mortals, firearms are considered lethal damage. Versus vampires, firearms are considered bashing damage unless the head is targeted (see “Targeting,”), in which case the damage is considered lethal.

Range: This is the practical shot range in yards or meters. Weapons may be fired at twice this distance, but the attacks are considered long range (difficulty 8).

Rate: The maximum number of bullets or three-round bursts the gun can fire in a single turn. This rate does not apply to full-auto or spray attacks.

Capacity: The number of shells a gun can hold. The +1 indicates a bullet can be held in the chamber, ready to fire.

Concealment: P = Can be carried in the pocket; J = Can be hidden in a jacket; T = Can be hidden in a trenchcoat; N = Cannot be concealed on the person at all.

For the sake of convenience, these weapons also work as stand-ins for other similar weapons.

Melee Weapons Chart

Weapon Damage Conceal
SapB Strength +1 P
ClubB Strength +2 T
Knife Strength +1 J
Sword Strength +2 T
Axe Strength +3 N
StakeP Strength +1 T

B Denotes a blunt object. Blunt objects inflict bashing damage unless targeted at the head (see “Targeting,”). Head shots inflict lethal damage.
P May paralyze a vampire if driven through the heart. The attacker must target the heart (difficulty 9) and score three damage successes.

Ranged Weapons Chart

Type Example Weapon Damage Range Rate Capacity Conceal
Revolver, Lt. SW Bodyguard (.38 Special) 4 12 3 6 P
Revolver, Hvy. Ruger Redhawk (.44 Magnum) 6 35 2 6 J
Pistol, Lt. HK USP (9mm) 4 20 4 15+1 P
Pistol, Hvy. Springfield XDM (.45 ACP) 5 25 3 13+1 J
Rifle Beretta Tikka T3 (30.06) 8 200 1 3+1 N
SMG, Small* Glock 18 (9mm) 4 20 3 17+1 J
SMG, Large* HK MP5 (9mm) 4 50 3 30+1 T
Assault Rifle* FN SCAR (5.56mm) 7 150 3 30+1 N
Shotgun Remington 870 (12-Gauge) 8 20 1 5+1 T
Shotgun, Semi-auto Benelli M4 Super 90 (12-Gauge) 8 20 3 6+1 T
Crossbow** n/a 5 20 1 1 T

*Indicates the weapon is capable of three-round bursts, full auto, and sprays.
**The crossbow is included for characters who wish to try staking an opponent. Crossbows require five turns to reload. Unless the crossbow is aimed at the head or heart, it inflicts bashing damage on Kindred. It inflicts lethal damage versus mortals.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License