Basic info for adjudicating combat is listed below. Note that the terms Storyteller and GM or Game Master are interchangeable. Finally, these rules are standard. If, as a GM, you wish to modify these rules for your scene (which you may, within reason), please let your players know.
A character is limited to one standard action (attacking, dodging, power use, etc.) and one move action per turn.
This is order of Combat.
- Step 1: All PCs roll 1d10 and then adds their Wits rating (not dice) + Dexterity rating (+ Any Bonuses). The GM rolls this for all their NPCs. Generally, the GM will use the +init command will be used to determine initiative for everyone in the room.
- Step 2: In the case of ties, the character with the highest initiative rating (Wits + Dex) goes first. If this continues to result in a tie, roll off.
- Step 3: The character with the lowest initiative declares their actions first. The person with the highest initiative should declare their actions last (after they've heard everyone else's).
- Step 4: The character with the highest initiative acts first; the character with the lowest initiative acts last.
Most of the time, initiative should remain the same throughout the combat for the sake of time and simplicity. However, GMs are free to call for a scenewide reroll if they want to deal with the extra headache.
What dice pool the player uses depends on the nature of the attack. Standard difficulty is 6 unless stated otherwise.
- Firearms, roll Dexterity + Firearms.
- Bows or crossbows, roll Dexterity + Archery; if no Archery, roll Dexterity + Athletics at +1 difficulty.
- Thrown, roll Dexterity + Athletics.
- Hand-held weapons, roll Dexterity + Melee.
- Hand-to-hand attacks, roll Dexterity + Brawl or Martial Arts. Note that Martial Arts can not be used in beast-forms.
- Kailindo works as Martial Arts with the exception that it can be used in beast-forms, and draws from its own maneuvers listing.
The numbers below are all pre-calculated and a very brief simplification. Generally, if a combat maneuver lists its difficulty at 7, this is likely because the maneuver adds a +1 difficulty to a normal attack roll, so please keep this in mind.
Standard Combat Maneuvers
The table below outlines the general difficulties for attacks from Normal Brawl, Shifters (with Brawl), Vampires (with Brawl), Soft Martial Arts, Hard Martial Arts, and Kailindo. For natural weapons (bite/teeth, claws), use the racial difficulties.
|Normal||Shifters||Vampires||Soft MA||Hard MA||Kailindo||Damage|
- NOTE: Weapon Length: A dagger does not have the reach of a sword. In cases where an attacker has less reach than the defender, the attacker loses 1 die to her attack roll.
Some foes possess a protective covering, be it a flak jacket or a slimy carapace. Armor adds dice to a character's soak roll. Some artificial armor also restricts body movement, as is reflected in an increase to Dexterity difficulties. Some armor types are given on the Armor chart. Armor dice (and only the armor dice) can be used to soak lethal damage. Those dice might also be usable to soak damage that might otherwise be unsoakable, at the Storyteller's discretion. It would make sense that a kevlar vest could be used to soak a silver weapon, but a flak jacket is no protection from radiation.
|Reinforced Clothing||Normal clothing|
|Tailored Armor||Normal clothing|
|Kevlar Shirt||Under Shirt|
|Light Ballistic Vest||Windbreaker|
|Medium Ballistic Vest||Not concealable|
|Bomb Disposal Suit||Not concealable|
|Riot Gear||Not concealable|
|Nomex Jumpsuit||Not concealable|
Blind characters cannot dodge, parry or block attacks, and they take a +2 difficulty penalty on all actions. Some Gifts compensate for sight, but the Storyteller has the final say over what effects these Gifts have in combat.
Normally, once a player has declared an action, she may not change it until after the GM's results pose. Please coordinate politely with your GM if a circumstance arises where you feel your pose/action should be modified or change.
A character who is partially immobilized and is unable to dodge is not in a good position. All attacks on such a character receive a -2 difficulty bonus if she is still able to struggle, and they succeed automatically if she cannot move at all.
Some attacks are meant to knock an opponent off her feet. If this happens, the character must get back to her feet. If she has no actions left with which to do so, her opponent may treat her as being partially immobilized.
A character may take multiple actions by subtracting the same number of dice from all of her actions. Taking three actions would result in a subtraction of three dice from each of those actions. Spending Rage or dots in Celerity allow for extra actions without this penalty.
As mentioned previously, a character loses her next turn when she receives more health levels of damage in one turn than her Stamina rating. She may take no action other than stumbling around a bit, and any attacks against her receive a -2 difficulty bonus.
The following details basic rules for most combat options.
This dangerous maneuver may potentially damage the attacker more than his opponent. The attacker runs at full speed toward his opponent, hopefully building enough momentum to knock said opponent to the ground. Both combatants must succeed in Dexterity + Athletics rolls (difficulty 7) or be knocked to the ground. Even if they aren't knocked to the ground, both combatants take +1 diff for their next roll.
If the attack roll botches, one of two things happens. The attacker either trips and falls, or he runs headlong into his target and bounces off, leaving his target unharmed but receiving his target's Stamina in damage dice.
All damage caused by this attack is considered bashing. If the attack is used by a Garou in Crinos or Hispo against an unprotected human being, the damage might be considered lethal instead (Storyteller's discretion).
|Roll||Dexterity + Brawl/Kailindo/Martial Arts|
Similar to a parry, the character attempts to use a weapon to remove his opponent's weapon. The attacker rolls to attack as usual, but with a +1 difficulty penalty. If the attacker's successes equal or exceed his opponent's Strength score, his opponent drops his weapon. If the attacker does not score enough successes, he still inflicts damage as usual. A botch on this roll usually means that the attacker has dropped his weapon.
It is possible, though much more difficult, to perform this maneuver without a weapon. In that case, the roll is Dexterity + Brawl, Kailindo, or Martial Arts, the difficulty is 8, and the character must remove a die from her attack pool as though moving within range of an opponent with a longer weapon.
|Usable By||Humanoid forms|
|Roll||Dexterity + Melee (or Brawl/Kailindo/Martial Arts as stated above)|
Attacking an opponent's flank reduces the difficulty by one. Attacking from the rear reduces the attacker's difficulty by two.
Any character may attempt multiple hits with a single action. The first hit always has a penalty equal to the total number of hits, and then the penalty increases by one for each successive hit. Thus, a 3-hit flurry would take a -3/-4/-5 penalty to each attack roll, respectively.
Grappling is the act of seizing and holding an opponent with the intent to immobilize or harm him. A grappling attack intended to damage an opponent is called a clinch; an attack meant to immobilize is called a hold.
Either attack begins with the attacker succeeding in a Strength + Brawl or Martial Arts roll. Success indicates that the attacker has grappled his opponent. If the attack is a clinch, the attacker may inflict damage equal to his Strength beginning the turn after he begins the grapple. If the attack is a hold, the target is held until his next action.
When a character is on the receiving end of a grapple, she has two options. The first is to escape, which requires a resisted Strength + Brawl roll. At the Storyteller's option, defenders may roll Dexterity instead of Strength to escape a clinch or hold. If the attacker wins, the grapple continues. If the defender wins, she pulls free. The other option is to reverse the hold. Doing so requires the same roll as escaping, but to reverse the hold successfully, the defender must beat her attacker by at least two successes.
|Usable By||Humanoid forms|
|Roll||Strength + Brawl/Kailindo/Martial Arts|
|Damage||Strength or none|
A character uses her legs or a weapon to sweep an opponent's legs out from under her. Only certain weapons can be used this way, of course. Because their arms are disproportionately long for example, werewolves in Crinos form may sweep a smaller opponent using their arms instead of their legs. Likewise, a Garou can try to trip up a foe while in Hispo or Lupus form, although doing so raises the difficulty by one.
A sweep does no damage, but it does leave an opponent prone if successful.
|Roll||Dexterity + Brawl/Kailindo/Martial Arts|
|Difficulty||8 (9 for beast forms)|
Attacking with two weapons gives the attacker a distinct advantage, but has its share of complications. Doing so is considered performing a multiple action. Additionally, the attacker suffers a +1 difficulty for her off-hand weapon (unless she possesses the Merit: Ambidextrous).
A character who spends time aiming can shoot much more accurately than one who simply snaps off a shot. However, aiming properly requires that the character is not moving faster than a slow walk and that the target stays in the character's field of vision the whole time.
For every turn spent aiming, the player adds one to her Dexterity + Firearms pool, up to a maximum of the character's Perception rating. A scope will add two additional dice to the pool. This bonus applies to only one shot at a time, though. A character with a scope and a Perception rating of 3 could spend three turns aiming and get an additional five dice to the roll (two for the scope and three for aiming). To get the bonus again, he must spend another three turns aiming.
A character must have Firearms 1 to receive this benefit.
Some firearms allow the user to empty an entire clip in a matter of seconds. Firing a gun on full-auto adds 10 dice to the attack roll, but doing so raises the difficulty by two as the recoil throws the character's aim off. This attack is permissible only if the clip is at least half full to begin with. After this attack, of course, the clip is completely empty.
A character may also choose to spray an area instead of emptying a clip at one target. The system is the same as for fully automatic fire, except that successes are distributed evenly among all targets. If the character fires at more targets than the player rolls successes, the Storyteller chooses which targets are hit.
Using a bow requires the character to purchase dots in the Archery Skill. The player rolls Dexterity + Archery to fire a bow; difficulties for various types of bows are listed on the Ranged Weapons chart. A player whose character does not have the Archery Skill may roll Dexterity + Athletics, but every such roll has a +1 difficulty penalty.
At close range, an arrow from a short bow hits as hard as a small-caliber bullet, and bows are silent, so their combat potential is obvious. Another common use for bows is driving a sharp wooden shaft into a vampire's heart. To do so, the player must roll five successes to hit the heart, and at least three health levels of damage must be inflicted after soak.
Bows, however, have two main problems. One is that it takes an action (automatic) to nock and draw an arrow, whereas it takes two automatic actions to reload a crossbow. The other problem is that if the player botches the attack roll, the bowstring snaps. If the character happens to have a spare bowstring, he can repair the bow with a Wits + Archery roll (or a Wits + Crafts roll with a +1 difficulty penalty). If not, the bow is just a stick until the character replaces the string.
Aiming for a specific area (the head, the hand, the chest) raises the difficulty by two. Any special effects such a shot has are up to the Storyteller.
When you're the only one with a gun, it is acceptable to stand in plain sight and fire. When engaged in a true firefight, however, finding cover is an intelligent idea. Cover impedes an opponent's attempts to shoot at a character, but it also impedes that character's ability to return fire. Basic cover types and the modifiers they impose on an attacker's difficulty follow. These modifiers are also imposed on return fire, albeit to a lesser degree. A character returning fire subtracts one from these modifiers. Therefore, a character returning fire from behind a wall adds one to his difficulty, while a character lying prone suffers no impediment.
Shooting at a target that is moving faster than a walk, or while moving faster than a walk oneself, raises the difficulty by one.
Any character may attempt multiple shots with a single action. The first hit always has a penalty equal to the total number of hits, and then the penalty increases by one for each successive hit. Thus, a 3-hit multi-shot action would take a -3/-4/-5 penalty to each attack roll, respectively.
Three-round bursts and automatic fire each count as one "shot" for this purpose. The maximum number of shots that may be fired per turn is equal to the gun's rate of fire (listed on the chart).
Each weapon on the Ranged Weapons chart has a range listed for it. This distance is the weapon's medium range; the difficulty is considered 6 within this range. A weapon may be fired at a target twice as far away, but doing so raises the difficulty to 8. If the target is within two yards, however, the range is considered point-blank, and the difficulty drops to 4.
A gun that takes a clip can be reloaded quickly in combat, assuming that the character has a spare clip ready. The gun can be reloaded and fired in the same turn. The player simply loses two dice from her attack pool to make up for the time spent reloading.
A revolver can be reloaded thus only with a speedloader. If the character must reload a revolver manually, doing so takes the full turn and her complete concentration, but it may be performed without a roll if the character has at least one dot in Firearms. Reloading a clip, (actually putting bullets into the clip) however, requires a Dexterity + Firearms roll (difficulty 6). Only one success is necessary, but doing so takes the entire turn.
Some weapons are capable of firing three bullets every time the character pulls the trigger. Doing so in combat adds three dice to the attack roll, but it raises the difficulty by one. Obviously, firing at this rate also empties three bullets from the clip; each bullet is soaked separately and as normal. See the Ranged Weapons chart for which guns are capable of firing a three-round burst.
Firing two weapons gives the attacker a distinct advantage, but has its share of complications. Doing so is considered performing a multiple action, complete with reduced dice pools for total shots taken and for any recoil. Additionally, the attacker suffers +1 difficulty for her off-hand weapon (unless she's ambidextrous). Te attacker can fire a number of shots up to each weapon's rate of fire.
The following details basic rules for other available combat maneuvers.
Similar to a dodge, evading an opponent involving leaping, twirling and generally staying one step ahead of him. This maneuver inflicts no damage, but each success scored subtracts one success from an opponent's attack roll. If the evading character's player scores more successes than the attacker, not only does the attack miss, but the evading character has moved into a good position to counterattack. The evading character receives a -1 difficulty bonus to attack on his next turn, assuming he acts first.
Unlike a dodge, a character cannot abort to an evasive action. It must be her declared action.
|Roll||Wits + Dodge|
With this vicious attack, the a character may target his opponent's lower leg and rips apart the tendons. If successful, the attack will hamper quadrupedal foes severely and cripple bipedal ones (halve the movement rates of quadrupedal foes).
Damage caused by this attack is aggravated. Typically, a lone character uses this maneuver to slow an opponent down until her friends can join the fray.
|Usable By||Humanoids with weapons, forms with claws/teeth|
|Roll||Dexterity + Brawl/Kailindo/Martial Arts/Melee as appropriate|
|Damage||Strength + Cripple|
A beast (or form with the appropriate parts) clenches his jaws onto a target's neck, not to kill, but to immobilize. This attack can be performed only from behind or atop an opponent, so that the attacker can use his full body weight to best advantage. The attacker must first succeed in a bite maneuver with a +1 difficulty penalty. Instead of rolling for damage, however, the attacker and defender must both make a resisted Strength + Athletics roll. If the attacker wins, he forces his target to the ground and holds him there. If the attacker loses, he fails to immobilize his target, but he may inflict bite damage as usual.
The immobilized character may attempt to escape on his next action. His player must roll Strength + Brawl (difficulty of his opponent's Brawl +4) in a resisted roll against the attacker's Strength + Brawl (difficulty of the defender's Brawl +2). If the defender fails, he remains immobilized. He escapes if he matches the attacker's successes, but he takes damage equal to the attacker's successes (which he may soak). If he scores more successes than the attacker, he escapes without further harm.
|Usable By||Crinos/Hispo/Lupus (or form with appropriate parts)|
|Roll||Dexterity + Brawl/Kailindo|
A fighting maneuver for somewhat more graceful and lithe Garou (or other shifters), the leaping rake involves jumping past an opponent and slashing him on the way by. If successful, the maneuver lands the Garou out of range of his opponent.
The Storyteller must first check how many successes the player needs on a Dexterity + Athletics roll (difficulty 3; distances are listed on the Jumping chart). If the player fails to score enough successes to carry his character past or to his opponent, he lands wherever the chart indicates, and he may still use his Rage action, at a +1 difficulty penalty. If she succeeds, she must then roll the character's Dexterity + Brawl for the claw attack. If the claw attack fails, the character still lands where she planned.
This attack causes aggravated wounds. It can also be attempted using a punch (doing bashing damage) or with a weapon (doing damage according to the weapon, and making the roll Dexterity + Melee).
Characters must normally be in Crinos form to perform this maneuver, but Glabro also works if the character is punching or using a weapon. A character using the Gift: Hare's Leap could conceivably even use it in Homid form.
|Roll||Dexterity + Athletics / Dexterity + Brawl/Kailindo/Martial Arts/Melee|
|Damage||Strength + 1 (or as weapon)|
|Actions||2 (move/jump + attack)|
The character cavorts about her opponent, growling, snarling and hurling insults. This tactic may alarm or distract the target to the point that she hesitates, giving the character an edge. For every two successes the player rolls on a Manipulation + Intimidation or Expression, the opponent loses one die from his next action. Shifters may only use Intimidation against non-shifters in non-homid/glabro forms.
This maneuver may be used by a pack (see Pack Tactics). If so, the effects are cumulative, which means that an opponent's dice pool can be reduced to nothing. If so, he can take no action except dodging.
A shifter subjected to this maneuver, especially by a pack, may frenzy. A Rage roll must be made, and the difficulty decreases by one if a pack is performing the taunt).
|Roll||Manipulation + Expression/Intimidation|
|Difficulty||Opponent's Wits + 4|
Usually performed by two Garou in rapid succession, this attack consists of the first packmate stripping away the natural protection (or even artificial armor) of an opponent, leaving a vulnerable spot for the next packmate to attack.
The first attacker rolls Dexterity + Brawl or Kailindo for a claw attack, shredding the opponent's fur or armor and hopefully taking a good chunk of it along (the difficulty on the roll is 7). For every two damage successes rolled (before soak), the target loses a die from soak rolls for that area. The next packmate may then attack as usual, although his difficulty increases by two because he must target the same area that the first attacker hit. This penalty lasts until the target can heal the damage or get new armor.
Wolves do not attack prey outright, even in packs. Instead, they chase and harass their intended meal until it collapses from exhaustion. Werewolves use a similar method to attack and confuse enemies.
Harrying requires at least four Garou: one in front of the victim, one in back and one to each side. The rearmost Garou chases the prey either to one of the Garou on the side or to the lead Garou. The rearmost stalker then reassumes his position and the new stalker surprises the prey, growling and snapping, and chases him toward one of the other Garou, and so on until the victim is exhausted. A human victim will lose a Willpower point each time he is "handed off" to another werewolf.
The system for harrying is as follows: Make a Dexterity + Athletics roll (difficulty 5) for both the chasing Garou and the prey. If the Garou scores more successes, he chases the victim successfully to another Garou.
If, however, the prey scores more successes, he has outdistanced his attacker, and he may attempt to escape. Make the same rolls again, but this time the Garou's player adds the prey's excess successes to her difficulty. For example, if the Garou's player rolled one success on the first harrying roll and the Storyteller rolled five for the prey, the Garou's player adds four to her difficulty, making it 9. The Garou must exceed the prey's successes — at the adjusted difficulty — in order to catch up with the prey and begin steering him toward the waiting hunters. If the prey escapes, the Garou must resort to tracking to find the prey.
If the prey chooses to stand and fight, normal combat begins. Unlike normal wolves, werewolves will not back down from their prey. It's their nature to fight, not flee.
Harrying can be performed in any quadrupedal form. Some tribes, notably the Get of Fenris and the Shadow Lords, use this method to kidnap cubs from their human or wolf families. They wear the pup down to exhaustion, which makes her much easier to capture and transport to her new home.
Also called a "dogpile" by the Bone Gnawers, this brutal attack requires at least three packmates, although it can involve five or more for larger opponents. This tactic involves one werewolf hurling herself at an opponent to knock him to the ground, whereupon the rest of the pack rushes him in Lupus or Hispo form to bite him while he's down.
The system is simple; the first Garou executes a body tackle or sweep attack as usual. Then, his packmates surround the fallen foe and bite whatever part of him they can reach. This attack can slay most enemies in seconds, but even opponents who are not killed outright must roll Strength + Athletics (difficulty 4 + 1 for each Garou involved, maximum 10) to stand up.
This maneuver consists of one or more Garou grabbing an opponent's extremities and pulling him apart. It's not very subtle, true, but it's a superb way to get an uncooperative foe to talk or to scare the hell out of any remaining enemies.
Each player must roll his character's Dexterity + Brawl or Kailindo (or Martial Arts if applicable) to grab an extremity. The difficulty begins at 6 and drops by one for each Garou thereafter (as the opponent's ability to dodge is gradually reduced). After all possible extremities are restrained, each player rolls Strength for damage. This damage is considered lethal. The Garou involved may choose to either pull slowly as a torture method (in which case the damage is considered bashing) or to simply give a quick jerk, maximizing damage. If any one Garou inflicts more than three health levels of damage after soak, the extremity is broken or severed (Storyteller's discretion).
This maneuver is possible to perform in Lupus or Hispo; it just requires knocking the victim down first.
- Note: Some sufficiently large forms (notably a Mokole Archid with Huge Size) may be able to perform this maneuver individually, at GM discretion.
A character can choose to take one of three defensive actions in a turn instead of attacking. At GM discretion, she may also choose to abort a previously declared action or give up her next turn (or spend Rage) in order to do so. These actions are dodging, blocking and parrying.
Dodging is simply the act of getting out of the way before an attack lands, and the roll is Dexterity + Dodge. The difficulty depends on how much cover is available and how much space the character has to cross to get to it, as well as the nature of the attack being dodged. A Garou in Lupus form dodging a kick needs only to jump back a few feet, so the difficulty is only 5. However, a Garou in Crinos form trying to dodge a shotgun blast from 15 feet away with no cover should probably just grit her teeth and get ready to get shot — her difficulty should be 9 or even 10. Successes on the dodge roll subtract successes from the attacker's roll to hit the character. So, in order to avoid being hit entirely, the dodging character needs more successes than the attacking character.
Blocking involves using one's own body to stop an incoming attack. A character cannot block a firearms attack (well, he can, but it isn't very smart), but a character may attempt to block any hand-to-hand or melee attack. The roll is Dexterity + Brawl or Martial Arts (or Kailindo) and the difficulty is determined by the nature of the attack being blocked. (A fist is easier to block than a sword). Otherwise, the system is identical to dodging.
Parrying is the use of a weapon to block an incoming attack. The system is the same as blocking, except that the roll is Dexterity + Melee.
Mortals heal bashing damage fairly quickly, and doing so requires no medical treatment up to the Wounded level. Wounds just heal naturally by themselves. Past the Wounded health level, however, medical care becomes necessary as wounds take the form of broken bones, concussions or worse.
|Health Level||Recovery Time|
If a mortal reaches Incapacitated from bashing damage, he falls unconscious but does not die. Instead, any further damage starts at the top of the Health spectrum and is recorded as lethal (and recovery is handled as per lethal damage). Thus, even bashing damage can kill, given enough severity and duration.
Lethal damage is exactly that. Any lethal wound worse than Hurt requires medical treatment before it will heal. Any such wound left untreated worsens by one level per day as wounds re-open or become infected. A mortal who reaches Incapacitated through lethal damage is at death's door; if he takes one more health level of any sort, he dies.
A mortal at Mauled or higher from lethal damage may simply rest and recover his health. A mortal at Crippled or Incapacitated, however, needs constant medical attention over the times listed for any healing to take place.
|Health Level||Recovery Time|
Note that a mortal must heal one health level at a time. That is, she must rest for the full amount of time for each health level in order to begin healing the next one. For example, a mortal who has reached Injured from lethal damage must rest for one week to heal the Injured level, three days to heal the Hurt level and an additional day to heal the Bruised level.
Aggravated damage heals as if it were lethal for humans. The only significant difference is that aggravated damage is harder to heal through supernatural means.
Changing Breeds heal at a frightening pace. They regenerate one bashing or lethal health level every turn. Homid- and lupus-breed (or similar) shifters can regenerate roughly a health level a day while in their natural forms if they are in critical condition, but doing so requires their bodies to work in overdrive. If they are conscious and moving around in their breed form, they heal as humans do. Metis are blessed with full regeneration in all forms. No Garou, regardless of breed, can regenerate aggravated damage. Aggravated damage is healed at one level per day, during which the shifter must rest in a form other than his natural one (if homid or lupus/beast).
Remember that to regenerate damage while engaged in stressful activity (like combat), the player must roll the shifter's Stamina (difficulty 8) each turn. This roll is reflexive, so the player does not have to split a dice pool or use a Rage action. Success means that the shifter heals as normal. Failure means that he heals no damage, and a botch indicates that the shifter cannot regenerate until he has had a chance to rest.
Vampires treat all firearms damage as Bashing, unless aimed at the head (which is a Difficulty 8 target), in which case they are considered Lethal. Special types of ammo (incendiary rounds spring to mind) can bypass this.
All post-soak Bashing damage done to vampires is halved, rounded down. Vampires soak Bashing and Lethal damage with their full Stamina (plus any dice granted by Fortitude).
Both Bashing and Lethal damage are treated as "normal" damage by vampires for purposes of healing. While resting (not during combat), a vampire may spend one blood point to heal one level of normal damage, up to their usual points-per-turn limit (as defined by their Generation).
Aggravated damage can only be soaked by any dice granted by Fortitude. It also takes a full day of rest and the expenditure of five (5) blood points to heal one level of Aggravated damage. If, at the end of a full day of rest, further levels of Aggravated damage remain, each can be individually healed by the expenditure of five more blood points and a Willpower point.
Note that blood expenditure is the only way vampires can heal. If they do not heal themselves consciously, their body will attempt to automatically heal itself upon rising for the evening. This has sometimes led to underfed vampires falling into Torpor after sustaining severe wounds.
A vampire may spend one blood point to increase a single Physical Attribute (Strength, Dexterity, or Stamina) by one dot for the duration of the scene. They can spend as many blood points as is allowed by their Generation, and may boost these Attributes to one level higher than their standard Generation maximum (i.e. a 10th Generation vampire could boost their Attributes to 6).
A 9th generation vampire may spend 2 points of blood per turn. He could thus raise any one of his Physical Attributes by 2, or 2 of them by 1, every turn. The highest he can maintain these at easily is 6.
With effort, they can even boost above this limit, but every dot above this limit lasts only three turns after the vampire stops spending blood to "buff." However, no vampire may ever increase their Physical Attributes above 10 in this way.
A vampire on the path of Humanity may also spend blood to appear fully mortal for a scene (i.e. their breath will mist on cool nights, their skin loses its deathly pallor, etc). To do this, they must spend a number of blood points equal to (8 - their Humanity).
Thus, a vampire with Humanity 6 would need to spend 2 points of blood to gain this effect.
Only vampires on the path of Humanity can do this, as those on Paths of Enlightenment have completely forsaken their human qualities.
Changing form requires a Stamina + Primal-Urge roll. The difficulty varies based on the character's starting form. However, the number of successes needed also varies based on which form the character is attempting to reach. She must cross over all intermediate forms before reaching the one she desires. Therefore, the player must roll one success to begin the change and then one for each form the character must "pass through" to get to the desired form.
In combat, it takes a full action to shift without rage unless you have an ability that states otherwise (Kailindorani may shift and attack; some merits make shifting easier). A character may always shift to their breed form as if they had spent a Rage point, but without actually doing so. Typical shifting difficulties are as follows:
|Form Shifting To||Difficulty|
- Keep in mind that Crinos/Hispo forms generally reduce perception difficulties by 1. Lupus forms reduce these difficulties by 2.
- Bastet perception difficulties are reduced by 2 in all forms but Homid.
Rage and Gnosis may not be spent in the same round.
The following conditions might call for a Rage roll (also known as frenzy checks), at the Storyteller's discretion.
- Embarrassment or humiliation (botching an important roll)
- Any strong emotion (lust, rage, envy)
- Extreme hunger
- Confinement, helplessness
- Being taunted by an enemy
- Large quantities of silver in the area
- Being wounded or seeing a packmate wounded
Difficulties for Rage rolls are as follows.
All shifters subtract one to the difficulty if in their Crinos (or related) form when making this roll. Garou/Gurahl subtract one to the difficulty if making a rage roll during their auspice moon. These penalties stack, but may never drop the difficulty below 3 (thus, a Crinos Ahroun during the Full would be rolling against difficulty 3, not 1).
A critically injured shifter may attempt to channel her Rage to save herself. Doing so is risky, however, for even if it succeeds, it throws the character into the depths of frenzy. It is sometimes the only way to save a character's life, though.
If the player wishes a character to remain active, she must roll the character's permanent Rage (difficulty 8). For each success, the character heals one health level. However, no matter how many health levels are healed, the character begins the next turn in a berserk frenzy.
The roll to remain active can be attempted only once per scene. If a character is Incapacitated more than once in one fight, she takes the worst effects of the damage. Rage-Healing always results in a battle scar of some variety.
Any Rage roll can ignite a frenzy, even those made to activate specific Gifts. Any Rage rolls should be interpreted as an attempt — willing or otherwise — to awaken the primal Beast that drives the shifter. If a player rolls four or more successes on a Rage roll, her character frenzies. The player may spend a Willpower point right then to halt the frenzy, but her character loses any further actions that turn.
Shifters with permanent Rage ratings lower than four can frenzy, but only under extreme circumstances. Highly emotional and personal circumstances (such as the threat of rape in a Black Fury's case, or the threat of imprisonment for a claustrophobic Silent Strider) can boost a werewolf's Rage above the permanent rating. It is this higher rating that the player uses for Rage rolls.
To avoid an imminent frenzy, a character may spend a Willpower point. Thralls may not be avoided in this way.
- The shifter sees only red and moving shapes. They wish only to reduce these shapes to mangled carcasses. A berserk shifter transforms immediately to Crinos or Hispo (or related; player's choice) and attacks.
- Exactly whom she attacks depends on the circumstances. A Garou whose permanent Gnosis exceeds her permanent Rage will not attack her packmates (unless she is in the Thrall of the Wyrm). She will attack anything else that moves, however, including allies who are not members of her pack.
- If, however, her permanent Rage exceeds her permanent Gnosis, she attacks anything that moves, and she can make no distinction between targets unless her player spends a Willpower point. If such is the case, the Storyteller can direct her as to which target to attack. In addition, such Garou do not remember what happens to them during frenzy. Often, they collapse when the frenzy ends.
- Entering a fox frenzy means that the character flees in terror for her life. She shifts to Lupus (or a related) form and runs, attacking anything that gets in her way (although more with the intention of getting past than of killing). Once the character reaches a safe hiding place, she will remain there until the frenzy passes.
In either frenzy, special maneuvers and pack tactics are impossible. The extent of the shifter's attack capability is to bite, claw or run. The character may spend Rage for extra actions. Using Gifts in frenzy is normally impossible, as is stepping sideways. A werewolf does not suffer from pain in frenzy, though, so he ignores all wound penalties.
Coming out of frenzy requires that the situation that triggered it be over. When the trigger event is over, the player may roll Willpower (difficulty of the shifter's own Rage, but no lower than 3) to escape the frenzy. Even if this roll fails, she may try again each turn.
Choosing Fox or Berserk
The Rage inside a Garou is their connection to the Beast, that feral side of them that gives them their vicious anger in battle. But the beast is also simply that: A wild animal. And an animal's first instinct isn't always to fight. So when a Garou falls into a frenzy, their player should take into account the causes of the frenzy.
When a frenzy is caused by fear or surprise, a wild animal's first instinct will be to run away. When in pain and not cornered or being directly attacked, their instinct is the same, to get somewhere safe and lick their wounds. However, when hunting their quarry or fighting for their life, a wild animal's first instinct is to do harm. In the same way, a Garou's frenzy should reflect the instinct of the Beast inside them.
Some of the ways a Garou can frenzy is by anger or humiliation. While wild animals don't have these emotions (or at least don't experience them the same way humans do), Garou can still feel the Beast tugging on them in similar ways. When angry or in an argument, the Garou's instincts are telling them to physically attack their opponent in the same way they're verbally attacking them, and a frenzy from this would likely be a Berserk Frenzy. When they are humiliated, for example, the Garou will be feeling the desire to get away and hide from the mocking stares of their peers, so this could result in a Fox Frenzy.
As is the case with everything in White Wolf, there are always exceptions. Use your common sense and remember that anger isn't the only emotion that's heightened by Rage, nor the only one that drives the Beast within.
Thrall of the Wyrm
A shifter's Rage is fearful enough, but sometimes a frenzy is abnormal. If a shifter descends too far into frenzy, his Rage is no longer pure. Instead, he has opened himself up to be used by the Wyrm.
If a player rolls six or more successes on a Rage roll, the character enters a berserk frenzy, and spending Willpower will not bring her out of it. The character is said to be "in the Thrall of the Wyrm." The frenzy follows normal tendencies with regards to attacks and duration, but it includes some even more horrific aspects.
Each of the three typical breeds carries a piece of the Triatic Wyrm, and during such a frenzy, that Wyrm can demand its due.
- Eater-of-Souls has long held humans as its special children, and this attention includes Homid shifters. The Wyrm can drive such shifters to acts of cannibalism upon humans, beasts or even other shifters. When a homid-breed in the Thrall kills or incapacitates an opponent (friend or foe), her player must roll Wits (difficulty 7). If the roll botches, the Garou must stop for a turn and feast.
- Barred as they are from breeding, metis are special targets of the Defiler Wyrm. Metis in the Thrall sometimes practice unspeakable acts of perversion on fallen opponents, regardless of their respective genders. If a metis kills or incapacitates a foe while in the Thrall, her player must roll Wits (difficulty 7). If the roll botches, the shifter stops fighting for a turn and slakes her unholy lust on her helpless opponent.
- The savage, feral beast (lupus, etc.) feel the pull of Beast-of-War. A beast-shifter in the thrall will savage a fallen opponent, friend or foe, and not pull away until the body lies in pieces around her. The shifter loses all sense of mercy, regardless of her comparative Gnosis and Rage scores. When a beast-shifter kills or incapacitates a foe while in the Thrall, her player must roll Wits (difficulty 7). If the roll botches, the shifter must continue to attack until her opponent is torn limb from limb.
Succumbing to the Thrall of the Wyrm is terrifying to any shifter. A normal frenzy is considered a defense mechanism against pain, a pure if brutal method of survival. A Wyrm-frenzy is nothing of the kind. It brings to light the inner struggle with the Wyrm, which is something few shifters are prepared to face. Unable to live with their deed, some shifters even end their lives after such a frenzy.
A vampire on the verge of Frenzy must make a Self Control roll against a variable difficulty, typically from 6 to 8 (if attempting to resist the urge to commit a blatantly evil act, they can instead roll against a difficulty of (9 - Conscience)). They must score at least five (5) successes to completely overcome the desires for violence, but even one success halts the frenzy temporarily. For each success below five, the character can resist the urge to frenzy for one turn (i.e. three successes = three turns of coherence). After this duration expires, the character may roll again to try and gain extra successes and thus continue to resist the frenzy. Once five successes are accrued during this extended roll, the vampire has resisted the Beast's urges and fights down the Frenzy.
|Smell of blood (when hungry)||3|
|Sight of blood (when hungry)||4|
|Taste of blood (when hungry)||6|
|Loved one in danger||7|
A vampire in the midst of an active Frenzy can spend a Willpower point to control one action for one turn, but this does not stop the Frenzy. This merely gives them a very brief window of lucidity (i.e. halting an attack long enough to growl out "Run!" at the innocent they were about to mangle). A Frenzy generally lasts roughly until the end of the scene, the vampire is knocked unconscious, or at GM discretion.
Roughly equivalent to the Garou Fox Frenzy, and also known as the Red Fear. In this state, the vampire flees in a blind, instinctual panic, doing everything they can to get as far away from the source of their terror as quickly as possible. To avoid Rötschrek, the vampire must make a Courage roll, with similar rules to overcoming a standard Frenzy (see above).
|Lighting a cigarette||3|
|Sight of a torch||5|
|Trapped in a burning building||9|
A Willpower point may be spent at any time to guarantee one success on any appropriate roll. This is normally announced before a roll is made, and may only be used to avoid a failure or botch at the GM's discretion.
The Gauntlet divides the places of matter from the places of spirit. Matter and spirit, craving unity, pull toward one another with a palpable force, ever struggling to rupture the Gauntlet and be one yet again as they were in the First Times. An ancient war wages between the Earth, the Umbra and the Gauntlet since two sides are attracted to each other, and the third exists only to hold them apart. The Weaver maintains the Gauntlet, sending her spirits to reinforce its strength tirelessly. In some areas, the strength of the Gauntlet has rendered the physical world virtually spirit-dead. In others, though, spiritual energy leaks through the Gauntlet trying to force ever-widening holes in this barrier. Civilization is the Gauntlet's greatest ally. As humans seek to control the environment, they crush the Wyld and strengthen the Weaver, pushing the spirit world farther away. The relative strengths of spiritual beliefs in people from more "developed" countries as compared to those in the rest of the world act as some evidence of this theory.
Yet, there might yet remain some hope for civilization. The Glass Walkers argue vehemently to promote the new creativity and connectivity of people brought about by the advent of the Internet. However, there are far more voices in other tribes that call for the destruction of the scabs and an end to the tempestuous escalation of technology.
Every place on Earth has a Gauntlet rating from 2 to 9. Stepping sideways in areas with a high Gauntlet rating is well nigh impossible. Areas in which the Gauntlet is thin allow almost unhindered access for those who know how to step sideways.
What does it feel like to step into the Umbra? It's like diving into cold water. First, you feel the splash as you break the surface. Then, for a moment, you freeze as your body and mind try to come to grips with the change. Finally, you swim for the surface, take a breath and try to get used to the water. Or maybe you panic, swallow water and start drowning. That's how it feels.
The spirit world lies just a whisper away. Children feel it, hiding beneath their beds at night, lurking in the woods behind their homes. You dance through it in your dreams. It's where reflections lie, on the far side of the mirror. To go there, stop walking forward and backward, and just step sideways. It's that easy.
All werewolves have the ability to "reach" or "step sideways" into the Umbra. This ability comes intuitively once the First Change passes. Somehow, they begin to sense the world waiting on the other side of the mirror. Shifting between worlds becomes a skill like walking; it's something that they can just do. Bastet are not so lucky, and may only enter the Umbra with certain gifts.
But, of course, the Gauntlet lies in the way, and a werewolf must push through it to step sideways. In most places, the player must make a Gnosis roll against the Gauntlet rating. If she succeeds, the character slips through to the other side. Failure means that she can't push through the webs in this location and needs to move and try again. If she tries to enter the Umbra in the same place, Weaver-spirits reinforce the Gauntlet and the difficulty increases by two for each further attempt. The Gauntlet rating can never exceed 10, though. On a botch, the character may get trapped in the Pattern Web, appear in the midst of a spirit storm or simply vanish for a while, only to reappear hours later with no memory of the missing time. It's important to note that stepping sideways cannot be done as a Rage action. A character cannot normally use Rage and Gnosis in the same turn, after all.
A pack may nominate a single "opener of the way" to lead the entire pack into the Umbra. The player of this character rolls once for the pack (the pack member with the highest Gnosis usually receives this task). Her result affects all of her packmates. Only packs may enter the Umbra this way, and non-packmates accompanying them must step sideways using their own Gnosis.
- As normal, a Willpower may be spent for one success on this roll.
- If a Kailindo maneuver is named, all difficulties listed here are always overridden by the difficulties associated with the stated maneuver. The same applies to Martial Arts in general.
- Glabro and related forms may make bite attacks at difficulty 8, with Strength - 1 damage. Lupus Breed (or Feline, etc.) in their breed form always make bite attacks for lethal damage because they are not supernatural in that form. A homid shifting to lupus form and biting does inflict aggravated because that form is supernatural.
- Claw damage is only aggravated in Crinos/Hispo forms and related, or if a Vampire uses Feral Claws.