This week is a little different, as I’m only posting one rule that we’ve been using incorrectly, and the others are just rules/options that not all Players are necessarily aware of them.
The Incorrect Rule – 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.) If two characters get the same total, the one with the higher initiative rating goes first. If initiative ratings are also the same, the two characters act simultaneously. 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, p. 142).
Although you declare your character’s action now (including stating that your character delays her action to see what someone else does), you wait until
the attack stage to implement that action. At this time, you must also state if any multiple actions will be performed, if Disciplines will be activated, and/or if Willpower points will be spent. Characters declare in reverse order of initiative, thus giving faster characters the opportunity to react to slower characters’ actions.
All of your character’s actions are staged at her rank in the order of initiative. There are three 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,” both on p. 274), which your character may perform at any time as long as she has an action left.
Finally, all additional actions that turn (including actions gained through Celerity) occur at the end of the turn. If two or more characters take multiple actions, the actions occur in order of initiative rating. An exception is made for defensive multiple actions, such as multiple dodges, which happen when they need to happen in order to avert attack. – V20th Anniversary Edition, Pg 271
My take away: All Players roll Initiative and then declare what they want to do in the round (including extra actions). For the sake of simplicity, you declare in the order of your Initiative score/result. This means that faster results declare first, or you can delay your declaration of action until any lower point on the Initiative order. Extra actions that result from splitting dice pools, or from Celerity occur at the end of the declaration (and turn). You can attempt to change your action and Abort to a defensive maneuver during your action (see Aborting Actions later on)
You may ask: So, if I am playing a fast character with multiple actions, who is in a fight, how do I avoid being hit? Playing it safe, I would say that you delay your declaration for as long as you can, to find out what the other combatants are doing. You then use your primary action to Dodge/Block/Parry the most serious attacks that you know are coming. Then follow up with attacks for your remaining ‘extra’ actions. Keep in mind, you can always try to abort to a defense maneuver (discussed later). Alternatively, you could be ballsy and attempt to use your main action to seriously wound your opponent in an attempt to outright kill them, or apply a serious wound penalty to them.
What we misunderstood: Holy shit, we’ve been using the rules incorrectly for eons. Basically, this explains why being fast and having a bucket full of Celerity matters in a fight. Combat declaration is now a serious case of Game Theory.
Raising Attributes with Blood
A player may spend one blood point to increase a single Physical Attribute (Strength, Dexterity, Stamina) by one dot for the duration of the scene. The player must announce at the beginning of the turn that he is doing this. A player may spend as many blood points on increasing Physical Attributes as the vampire may use in a turn (based upon Generation), but may only freely increase these Traits up to one higher than their generational maximum (i.e., a Tenth-Generation vampire may increase Traits to a maximum of 6). With effort, a character may increase a Physical Attribute to above this limit, but each dot above the limit lasts for only three turns after the character stops spending blood. This enables vampires to perform truly amazing physical feats, such as throwing cars, moving preternaturally quickly, and withstanding blows that would fell trees.
Note: No character may increase Physical Attributes above 10. – V20th Anniversary Edition, Pg 268
Willpower to Ignore Wound Penalties
By spending a Willpower point, wound penalties can be ignored for one turn. This allows a character to override pain and injury in order to take one last-ditch action. However, an incapacitated or torpored character may not spend Willpower in this manner. – V20th Anniversary Edition, Pg 267
Occasionally, a player will want her character to perform more than one action in a turn. For example, a character may be trying to search through a notebook to find a password while creeping stealthily through a hallway, or might be trying to sidestep an incoming attack while firing a pistol into her assailant’s gut. In such situations, the player can attempt actions normally, though all actions become more difficult as the character’s attention is split among them.
The player declares the total number of actions he wishes his character to attempt and determines which of those dice pools is the smallest. He may then allocate that number dice among the actions as he sees fit.
At the Storyteller’s discretion, certain action combinations that are wildly disparate may incur a difficulty increase (see below) on top of the split dice pool limitations. Composing a stirring poem while showering an enemy with a hail of bullets is a task not lightly undertaken. As well, at the Storyteller’s discretion, splitting dice pools to a certain degree may well just be plain impossible.
Vampires with the Discipline of Celerity (p. 142) may take multiple actions without subtracting dice from their dice pools. These extra actions may not themselves be divided into multiple actions. – V20th Anniversary Edition, Pg 248
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.) – V20th Anniversary Edition, Pg 271