CbN – Quick Glimpse – Late May, 1993

“When you think of power you most likely envision money, underlings and guns. If that is the case, forget what you think you know, as you are sad sad little childer. Run home to your Masters if you think this. Go …GO!”
 
The speaker leaped onto the hood of one of the many junked cars that surrounded the group. “Power” he continued “is something that we’re denied by the those bastards in Chicago!” A smattering of enthusiastic replies began to come back from the crowd. This would take more than words. Using the powers granted to his potent generation, the speaker attempted to influence them with his Presence.
 
“Power, is the ability to say NO! Power is the ability to shrug off the commands of your Sire!” The speaker saw that his power was working and that this message touched upon a chord with some of the youngest in the crowd. He focused on that point, the irony not lost upon him. “The Blood protects them, it insulates them. The power, IT IS IN THE BLOOD!”
 
The agreement of the crowd took many forms. Over time, two main camps formed. Some howled for the blood of their Sires, while others demanded that they establish a second free state, here or in Gary. The two groups split slightly, with the would be diaberlists taking up position on one side of the junkyard.
 
By watching and feeling the crowd, the Anarch Speaker identified the most hesitant members in the crowd. “Dammit, none of them look right. Nonetheless…” he thought to himself. “THERE” he yelled as he pointed a hand that looked too young “THAT KINDRED WITH THE BANDANNA! I SENSE IT, SHE IS A SPY…SHE…”
 
He never even had a chance to finish before the crowd fell upon her. This happened more quickly than he had seen in either Joliet or Gary. Black veins seemed to be in fashion this spring.

CbN – Quick Glimpse – Down South

18 MAY 93
02:20
 
Diego pressed the intercom; “Disculpe Maestro, but your ship docked twenty minutes ago. Refueling has commenced.” There was no reply, but Diego knew better than to repeat the information. To his eyes, El Maestro missed nothing.
 
It had been a whirlwind journey so far. The Citation had touched down in San Antonio less than an hour before. The meeting that followed was so short, he hadn’t been able to finish his Marlbro. Diego mused to himself “We’ve three hours until we’re aboard, then I can relax.” Until then, Diego would remain ill at ease.This is not how he liked to protect his grandsire.

  
The Loomis truck, didn’t have the speed or maneuverability that he preferred, and he didn’t give a damn about the armor. Even that puta Miguel, could rip through it if needed. The best part about the truck was it’s markings. They made it easy for the masses to explain away the Ranger escort.

Click, Click, Bang in Vampire

It seems to me that as I enjoy this week of vacation, I must blog a bit. Tonight I shall submit a few words (to be honest, it will be mainly numbers) on Firearms in Vampire 20th.

At the moment, this information pertains to my Chicago by Night (set in the early 90’s) but it may spread to any other V20 games I do in the future. I’ll be using a number of resources for this post, but mainly I will be drawing from the Vampire the 20th and World of Darkness Combat!

V20 is the more recent book and it helped simply the material presented in WoD Combat (and other books). Nonetheless, I wanted to list a few more options for the sake of flavor, and to show that there was/is a decent variety of guns out there.

  • Light Revolvers
    • Common Stats: Damage 4, Range 12, Rate 3, Conceal in a Pocket
      • .38 Special
      • Dan Wesson Model 15 .357
      • S&W Model 19
  • Heavy Revolvers
    • Common Stats: Damage 6, Range 25, Rate 4, Conceal in a Jacket
      • Colt .45 Peacekeeper
      • Desert Eagle/Long Colt .44
      • Ruger Redhawk .44
      • S&W .44
  • Automatic Light Pistols
    • Common Stats: Damage 4, Range 25, Rate 4, Conceal in a Pocket
      • Beretta 9mm
      • Colt Challenger .22
      • Detonics 9
      • Glock17 9mm
      • SIG-Sauer P220
      • Walther PPK .380
  • Automatic Heavy Pistols
    • Common Stats: Damage 5, Range 25, Rate 4, Conceal in a Jacket
      • Automag .50
      • Browning Hi-Power 9mm
      • Colt 1911 .45
      • IMI Desert Eagle .44
  • Manual Shotguns
    • Common Stats: Damage 8, Range 20, Rate varies, Conceal in a Trenchcoat
      • Double Barrel, Rate 2
      • Sawnoff Double Barrel, Range 10, Rate 2
      • Single Barrel
      • Mossberg 500 Pump, Rate 2
      • Remington 870 Pump, Rate 2
  • Automatic Shotguns
    • Common Stats: Damage 8, Range 20, Rate 3, Conceal in a Trenchcoat
      • Browning Auto-5
      • Franchi SPAS-12
      • High Standard Model 10
  • Rifles
    • Common Stats: Damage varies, Range varies, Rate 3, No Concealment
      • Others, Damage 8, Range 200
      • Sniper Rifle, Damage 8, Range 500
  • Machine Guns & Assault Rifles
    • Common Stats: Damage Varies, Range Varies, Rate 3, Conceal Varies
      • AK-47, Damage 7, Range 150, Rate 3, Conceal Trenchcoat
      • Beretta PM12S, Damage 4, Range 20, Rate 3, Conceal Trenchcoat
      • H&K94, Damage 4, Range 20, Rate 3, Conceal Jacket
      • H&K MP5, Damage 6, Range 35, Rate 5, Conceal Jacket
      • Micro-UZI, Damage 4, Range 10, Rate 3, Conceal Pocket
      • M16, Damage 7, Range 150, Rate 3, Conceal Trenchcoat
      • MAC 10, Damage 4, Range 20, Rate 3, Conceal Jacket
      • UZI, Damage 4, Range 20, Rate 5, Conceal Jacket

CbN – Quick Glimpse – May 18th

At forty six minutes after one AM, and without notice to the world above, gloved hands turned a large valve. The effort only stopped when the valve wheel broke from the stem, closing the pipe where it entered the wall. A cast iron wheel in hand, a shadowy form darted into the pressing confines of the tunnels.
 
On the other side of the same wall, a different scene played out. Mounted on each of the supporting pillars, were small rectangular bundles. One by one, the single light on each went from a solid green to an angry flashing red. Thirteen seconds later, in synchronized order, brief fireballs erupted throughout the barren basement.
 
Sprinkler heads burst throughout the room. The sprinkler system poured it’s contents onto the floor. Without a functional connection to the city main, the system drained itself in record time.
 
Exactly one hundred and forty six seconds after the fireballs had erupted in the basement, the ground floor rocked. A series of similar fireballs blossomed in the ground floor of the newly renovated club.
 
Away from the expanding inferno, beneath murky waters, a form was stirred from it’s slumber.

Celerity RAW

It’s worse than we thought! Celerity got expensive!

Celerity

Not all vampires are slow, meticulous creatures. When needed, some vampires can move fast — really fast. Celerity allows Assamites, Brujah, and Toreadors to move with astonishing swiftness, becoming practically a blur. The Assamites use their speed in conjunction with stealth to strike quickly and viciously from the shadows before they are noticed. Brujah, on the other hand, simply like the edge that the power gives them against overwhelming odds. The Toreador are more inclined to use Celerity to provide an air of unnatural grace to live performances or for an extra push
to complete a masterpiece on time, but they can be as quick to draw blood as any assassin or punk when angered.

System: Each point of Celerity adds one die to every Dexterity-related dice roll. In addition, the player can spend one blood point to take an extra action up to the number of dots he has in Celerity at the beginning of the relevant turn; this expenditure can go beyond her normal Generation maximum. Any dots used for extra actions, however, are no longer available for Dexterity-related rolls during that turn. These additional actions must be physical (e.g., the vampire cannot use a mental Discipline like Dominate multiple times in one turn), and extra actions occur at the end of the turn (the vampire’s regular action still takes place per her initiative roll).

Normally, a character without Celerity must divide their dice if she wants to take multiple actions in a single turn, as per p. 248. A character using Celerity performs his extra actions (including full movement) without penalty, gaining a full dice pool for each separate
action. Extra actions gained through Celerity may not in turn be split into multiple actions, however. – Page 142, V20

My take away: Celerity allows you to add extra dice to your Dexterity, or extra actions if you expend blood. The extra actions must be declared in advance, just like any other multiple actions, they may not be split into multiple actions on their own (see Multiple Actions), and each additional action must be a physical action. Also, each point of Celerity used for multiple actions requires the expenditure of One Blood per action, per turn of combat. This usage of blood does not count toward a Vampires’ normal generational limit on blood pool usage per turn.

You may ask:

  • So if I want to use two Celerity for two additional actions, how much does it cost me in blood? Two blood per turn you wish to use those actions.
  • Also when do I need to declare Celerity use? You need to declare during the deceleration phase in initiative, after everyone has declared their ‘normal’ actions.

What we misunderstood: We’ve been continuing to mix up the many versions of how Celerity has worked over the years, mainly focused on the amount of blood and the rate at which it must be spent. The wording on the V20 book could have been a little clearer, but I’ve checked a few reputable sources after rereading this today, and the ‘new’ cost of 1BP per Celerity Dot per turn is the widely accepted interpretation.

Vampire Hunting/Feeding

Tonight I’m tackling something I meant to bring up last week. As I have mainly run Sabbat games for Vampire, the Players have been less concerned with some of the rules around hunting and feeding. As there is a lot to refer to, I’m going to paraphrase the highlights and cite where you can read the whole text.

Let’s get to it!

Earning Blood Pool – Pg 269-270 Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition

  • Vampires replenish blood pool by taking it from others
  • You can contract diseases through taking blood, this results in you becoming a carrier (as opposed to being infected/affected by the disease).
  • 2 Blood Points is ‘safe’ to take out of a healthy mortal. Taking all a vessel’s blood will kill it. Mortals regain 1 BP a day if they are well fed and rested.
  • A vampire may take up to three blood points from a given vessel in a turn.
  • Once the Kindred breaks her vessel’s skin with her fangs, that vessel no longer resists the vampire (if he did in the first place).
  • Indeed, the ecstasy caused by the vampire’s bite is called the Kiss, and it engenders as much exquisite, subtly painful pleasure in vampires as it does in mortals.
  • Exceptionally strong-willed mortals (9+ Willpower) may continue to resist, but even these vessels eventually succumb to the pleasure.
  • While Kindred find the Kiss pleasurable, they may resist it more readily than mortals can. Any Kindred, regardless of Willpower, may make a Self-Control/Instincts roll (difficulty 8) to avoid succumbing to the Kiss. This enables vampiric victims of diablerie (p. 293) to have a chance at fighting back.
  • Animal blood is not as nourishing or appetizing, though it can be drunk for sustenance.
  • Blood that has been stored in bottles, blood bags, etc, is never as satisfying as fresh blood. Imagine the differences in taste between a day old can of beer or soft drinks that has been sitting in the sun, as opposed to one fresh from the fridge.
  • Elders have vast blood pools.

Hunting – Pg 259-260 Vampire 20th Anniversary Edition

  • It is in the nature of a Vampire to hunt.
  • There are several ways to hunt for your prey.
    • Seduction
      • Appearance + Subterfuge
    • Chasing
      • Stamina + Athletics
    • Stalking
      • Wits + Streetwise
    • Others
      • Describe the method and the ST can assign some relevant abilities.
  • The area you hunt in determines the Difficulty that you roll against.
    • Slum / Bar Scene …4
    • The Projects / Skid Row …5
    • Downtown Business or Warehouse District …6
    • The Burbs’ …7
    • Heavily Patrolled Area …8
  • Successes on the roll means that you’ve found ONE prey. Of course you can ingest as much blood as you wish, but keep in mind the Masquerade!
  • Failure on the roll means you haven’t found any suitable prey, and a botch results in something very bad (like a Masquerade breech).
  • ” If the character catches prey, but currently has fewer blood points in her body than [7 minus Self-Control or Instincts], the character is considered to be hungry and a frenzy check (p. 298) is necessary — Self-Control to
    see if the character frenzies, or Instincts to see if the character can control her frenzy while feeding. If the player fails this roll, the character  continues to gorge on the vessel until she is completely sated (at full blood pool), the victim dies from blood loss, or she somehow manages to regain control of herself.”
  • The backgrounds: Fame and Domain reduce hunting difficulty by one point per dot (this stacks to a min difficulty of 3), whereas Herd gives you an extra dice per dot.

So, in situations where characters need to refill nearly their whole blood pools in a short order, we will likely move toward this system. When it’s a quick “top up” during downtime, we’ll likely just skip it.

 

Sunday RAW – Vampire Oversights

Intro

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

Multiple Actions

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

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

Sunday RAW – Vampire

With today’s Rules as Written (RAW), I’m tackling Aggravated damage in Vampire (Modern and Dark Ages). We re-read the rules on it at last night’s session due to some PvP, and we were all surprised.

Aggravated Damage

DARK AGES – Aggravated: Aggravated damage is a damage type specific to Cainites and other supernatural creatures. Mortals treat aggravated wounds just like lethal wounds. Aggravated damage reflects those deadly banes to vampiric existence such as the sun, fire, and the teeth and claws of other vampires and lupines. This damage may only be soaked with a vampire’s Fortitude dots. A  single level of aggravated damage requires a full day’s rest and five blood points. The vampire may spend these five over any number of days, but the wound will not heal until the fifth is spent. He may spend five additional blood points to heal additional levels while he slumbers. A Cainite with a health track full of aggravated damage suffers Final Death. – Dark Ages: Vampire, pg 345

MODERN – Certain attacks are anathema to the undead. Fire and the rays of the sun inflict terrible wounds on the undead, as can the teeth and claws of other vampires (and werewolves or other supernatural creatures).
As mentioned, each level of aggravated damage should be marked with an “*” on the Health chart. Aggravated damage may not be soaked except with the Discipline of Fortitude. Moreover, aggravated damage is far more difficult to heal. A level of aggravated damage may be healed only with a full day of rest and the expenditure
of five blood points (though a vampire may, at the end of the full day’s rest, cure additional aggravated health levels by spending an additional five blood points and one Willpower point per extra aggravated health level to be healed). Worst of all, a vampire who loses his last health level due to aggravated damage meets Final
Death — his eternal life ends at last, and he goes to whatever awaits him beyond the grave. Mortals may ignore sunlight, but still take damage from fire, fangs, and claws. Aggravated damage to mortals
is treated as lethal wounds instead. – V20, pg 285

My take away: Aside from the subtext of “Aggravated Damage is very bad news!” warning, the system seems simple. The rule is pretty clear, Fortitude is the only way to soak Aggravated Damage, body armor does not help. You can heal Aggravated damage with a full day of rest and the expenditure of 5 blood. You can also spend more blood to heal more aggravated damage while you sleep in the Dark Ages. I’d define a full day of rest as, an interrupted day of vampire sleep (dawn until dusk). To heal the extra damage in a Modern game (such as my Chicago by Night), you also need to expend a point of Willpower per point of additional Aggravated damage that you wish to heal.

You may ask: Can I heal the damage while I’m awake if I have enough blood? The answer to this is, No, you need to rest to heal this, and each point requires 5  blood be spent (and Willpower in a Modern game, for any damage beyond the first point).

What we misunderstood: Pretty much everything. We’ve been running with “5 blood and 5 nights of time to heal one point of Aggravated Damage.” in Dark Ages and Modern. With this new understanding, it is fairly clear that someone with a large (and full) blood pool, could heal multiple points of Aggravated Damage in the course of one night/day’s rest (in the Dark Ages). This is in stark contrast to a young vampire with a smaller blood pool of 10 points (as an example). At most that 10 Blood Pool vampire could heal one point of Aggravated Damage on the night they took the wound(s). This new understanding, also reduces the level of crippling that a character suffers over a longer running story (as Aggravated damage could take them out of action for weeks at a time). Of course in the Modern ages, the addition of needing Willpower to also heal the damage will level the playing field a little.