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Optional Damage Rules

by: Belladonna A Legacy Article from Sanguinus Curae

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Human Target'The S.W.A.T. officer spins, his weapon at the ready, his eyes searching the darkness for any telltale sign of your whereabouts...
...you have but a few seconds to aim and get your shot off, maybe less...
...a body shot is the easiest, but they are known for wearing tac vests...
...pop quiz, hotshot, what do you do?'

The circumstances may vary, but choosing where to strike/shoot your intended victim is a common occurrence throughout gaming, and V:tM is no different.
When your opponent/victim is human, the options present themselves as rather obvious - as the illustration shown here indicates.
Any attack has three options - the 'A' shot which is almost a guaranteed disable if not outright kill, the 'B' shot which is certainly disabling but doubtfully lethal, and the 'C' shot which is only moderately disabling except in unusual circumstances.

But what if your target is NOT human...

Quite abruptly, the situation changes completely. Vampires are able to virtually shrug off most types of damage, and it takes a great deal more to simply take them down for the count - when speaking of conventional attack types.
Yes, it is relatively easy to simply record damage as it happens - Health Level by Health Level - and ignore the location and circumstances of each wound. OR one may spend hours in fruitless discussion with one's players about exactly HOW any particular wound should affect play. The basic Health Level system is fairly straightforward, zero to eight Health levels from Hale to Incapacitated and then on into Torpor, and the progression is easy to follow.
But - should losing an arm due to three hits from a Colt Anaconda .44 in that limb actually incapacitate a Kindred, whose nervous system no longer works the same way and who does not bleed?

I don't think so, and if you sit back and think about it for a moment in the spirit of the game - neither will you, most likely.
Vampire Target
Shooting or striking a Vampire in the chest, for instance, is somewhat the same as throwing bricks at a fire - it isn't going to do much of any good for a very long time - at least long enough for your opponent to perpetrate unseemly nastiness upon your person. Why? Because a Vampire no longer has anything vital in their upper torso - their lungs do not breather, their heart does not beat - you're pumping damage into dead flesh.

This does not mean that certain tried-and-true targeting methods are not still viable against Kindred. A shot to the head will disable the thinking processes somewhat, since Kindred still use their brains - a shot to the face is even more effective, as it will impair their senses as well as their faculties. Similarly, a broken or shattered leg will make locomotion somewhat difficult (enabling that quick getaway), and a disabled arm may mean the difference between an unshakable grip and freedom.

To make this even easier to interpret for the StoryTeller, I have devised a set of optional Damage Interpretation tables that take these different kinds of disabling into account. These tables need never be seen by the players, as the die pool modifiers can simply be applied by the StoryTeller.

Besides answering many of the annoying questions often posed by the players or the situations, these tables will add a 'cinematic' quality to the game - allowing Vampires to behave as the undead inhuman monsters they really are - even when faced with what should be crippling damage were they still mortal.

(These tables refer to the second illustration above.)

Physical Rolls Area Type
'A' 'B' 'C' 'X'
HL 1 Bruised Bruised Bruised Bruised
HL 2 Hurt -1 Bruised Bruised Bruised
HL 3 Injured -1 Hurt -1 Bruised Bruised
HL 4 Wounded -2 Injured -1 Hurt -1 Bruised
HL 5 Mauled -2 Wounded -2 Injured -1 Hurt -1
HL 6 Crippled -5 Mauled -2 Wounded -2 Injured -1
HL 7 Incapacitated Crippled -5 Mauled -2 Wounded -2
HL 8 Torpor Incapacitated Crippled -5 Mauled -2
Mental* Rolls Area Type
'A' 'B' 'C' 'X'
HL 1 Bruised Bruised Bruised Bruised
HL 2 Hurt -1 Bruised Bruised Bruised
HL 3 Injured -1 Bruised Bruised Bruised
HL 4 Wounded -2 Bruised Bruised Bruised
HL 5 Mauled -2 Hurt -1 Hurt -1 Bruised
HL 6 Crippled -5 Injured -1 Injured -1 Bruised
HL 7 Incapacitated Wounded -2 Wounded -2 Hurt -1
HL 8 Torpor Mauled -2 Mauled -2 Injured -1

*Mental Rolls refer to any non-physical activity including the activation of any Discipline save Potence or Fortitude, as well as Perception rolls and the like.

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