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Why don't as many weapons do lethal damage in VTR 2e?

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  • Why don't as many weapons do lethal damage in VTR 2e?

    Hi all, I recently picked up VTR 2e (I've owned VTR 1e since it came out, but unfortunately never played it). One of the things I noticed is that, as a general rule, all weapons do bashing damage to vampires in 2e. If I recall 1e correctly, edged weapons and maybe a few other things could do lethal damage to vampires.

    Was there a particular design reason to downgrade the damage?

    It's a genuine question: I haven't played 1e so I don't know whether it was a problem.

    2e generally does a really good job of making really serious violence avoidable. First, everyone involved articulates what their characters want--which, I presume, most of the time isn't simply, "I want to stab this vampire into torpor." Second, vampires have several ways to either avoid violent encounters or to minimize damage. Third, the optional rules would make surrender a perfectly reasonable course of action most of the time. The impression I get is that getting your ass kicked so bad that you go into torpor may partially be the result of bad luck, but mainly is the end result of a long chain of dubious decisions. In that situation, I'm fine with a PC or NPC getting mauled: they ran the risk with full knowledge.

    Am I missing something? Again, I haven't played the game so I don't know how swingy combat can be or how much of a problem this was in 1e that it needed to be fixed in this way.

  • #2
    2nd edition got downgraded all mundane damage for logical (in game) reasons. if a bullet only does bashing, it makes sense that blades weapons do, because they are slashing a dead body. it further shows just how inhuman vampires are and gives more credit to having to maintain the masquerade (having your throat cut and being just fine would raise more than a few heads)

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    • #3
      Basically, since you're a corpse animated by Vitae and sorcery you don't need things like muscles and skin, and so they aren't as debilitating losses when damaged (unless damaged severely).

      A baseball bat across the skull can crack a human's skull and jostle their brain to the point that they suffer major damage, but it isn't an issue for the brain of a vampire. Similarly a sword through the chest.

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      • #4
        I believe the reasons are twofold.

        1) The reasoning for why bullets do bashing damage but blades do lethal was always pretty finicky. Most of the reasons for a gun dealing bashing damage apply to being stabbed with a knife as well. Differentiating between them properly would need to get into the nitty-gritty of realistic wounds that CofD doesn't really support.

        2) It emphasizes the vampires' nature as horrifyingly resilient undying predators, even before the actual Resilience Discipline comes into play.

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        • #5
          Weapons benefit from the Automatic Successes rule in 2e and Vampire is in no small part a resource management game; the vast majority of weapons have a positive damage bonus and the vampire template only provides extra Health as an option to one clan without putting dots into Resilience, which makes getting beaten into torpor a matter of taking three or four hits from somebody who means you harm in the case of weapons dealing lethal damage to vampires.

          It also follows the same logic that ephemeral beings' damage rules follow: they don't have organs to worry about, things that can deal lethal damage to them are usually magical in origin, and things that deal aggravated damage are typically rare and particular. Most young vampires will be taking lethal damage from sunlight and little else.

          Yeah, vampires have ways to minimize damage, but those all have costs and the thing you spend on them is also the stuff you need to wake up at night and you can only hold so much of it until the higher levels of Potency, at which point your options are much more limited. You can spend Willpower to feed below your standards or stave off automatic extra losses from injury, but that punts the issue over to the different corner of "vampires don't recover Willpower from rest." And all the while, you have to account for the fact that frenzy is a factor both internally and externally — sure, you could try surrendering in the case of an altercation with a mugger, but that's not going to help you dig your way out of a hunger-induced frenzy from you or another vampire, or, god help you, a Strix deciding you'll do as an object lesson in entropy for the Prince.

          Vampires in media typically don't show a lot of particular concern for weapons that aren't tailor-made to deal with them, and simple bulletproofing was only marginally more appropriate in 1e where weapon modifiers just added dice.


          Resident Lore-Hound
          Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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          • #6
            The vampires all drank their Ovaltine between editions.

            But what others said; they're animated corpses. Most weapons that break the skin (bullets, blades) kill via blood loss. Vampires don't bleed unless they want to. They likewise have no need for their internal organs. Same with the blunt force trauma; it's like hitting a punching bag with a hammer. Broken bones, organ damage, it's just not going to stop them like it would a human. Vampires can repair their structure fairly easily and in a Frenzy they'll feel no pain.

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            • #7
              Thanks everyone!

              So if I'm understanding it, it's a design change basically due to in-fiction plausibility, and maybe to emphasize how non-human a vampire is.

              It seems like an unfortunate change in some ways. (Solely from my perspective of not having played the game.) By letting edged weapons do lethal damage to vampires, 1e basically privileges melee weapon attacks. Given that most of our modern-day action movies involve protagonists drawing guns all over the place, it seems pretty alien yet stylish to bring a sword (or a fire ax) to a gunfight, but it seems to fit the general aesthetic. Plus, it puts you at risk of biting, claws, Vigor, and probably several other things, and also helps make those types of attacks viable for PC's who want to go that route. Whereas in 2e guns once again become the preferred weapon for both mortals and vampires, because it allows you to strike at range.

              For vampire players who want to really get a bang out of the combat system, how would they go about it?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by James_Nostack View Post
                Given that most of our modern-day action movies involve protagonists drawing guns all over the place, it seems pretty alien yet stylish to bring a sword (or a fire ax) to a gunfight, but it seems to fit the general aesthetic.
                Vampire: the Requiem is not an action movie in either edition. The Chronicles of Darkness games in general are not action movies, either. The reason 2e Violence system has participants declare their intent is because "combat" is a thing that has stakes.

                Whereas in 2e guns once again become the preferred weapon for both mortals and vampires, because it allows you to strike at range.
                2e did not remove ammo from the equation that keeps ranged attacks from being the go-to and a bat is going to give you more dings at a vampire's Vitae reserves than a handful of bullets by virtue of the simple fact that it sticks around.


                Resident Lore-Hound
                Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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                • #9
                  Gangrel claws can still do Lethal damage and, with a merit, Aggravated when the Gangrel is in a Frenzy. Fire is still bad, sunlight hurts, werewolf bites, and vampires develop other banes as they go. I don't have a quote but the value of XP applies too; ST's have said if you have a mortal character whose invested XP into a fighting style to do Lethal damage, it'll do Lethal to vampires as well. I would't use this rule for NPC's other than a Big Bad Guy if you're looking for more action oriented play. Also check out the Vampire fighting styles.

                  Even Bashing damage adds up though. If a team of hunters opens up on a neonate with full auto fire, even with Resilience active, they're going to be filling said vampire full of damage faster than it can heal. Even Bashing damage shouldn't be taken lightly. Remember too, a vampire adds their Blood Potency to all physical actions during a frenzy. Vampires can spend blood to boost physical die pools. There's a LOT of ways the kindred can boost their damage. Suddenly, Bashing wounds suck when each time you get hit you're taking 5-8B. Going to slip into torpor really quick if you don't escape.

                  A neonate with Vigor 3 and a fire axe (3L) can, for one vitae, do a minimum of 7B damage per hit if he only gets 1 success. Snarl McSnarlface say has a Weaponry of 2 and a speciality from when he was a firefighter in life. Strength is 4 because he's burly. He spends a Willpower, goes all out, Snarl McSnarl face is rolling 15 dice minus your Defense to ruin your day. Assuming a Defense of 5, he's averaging 3 successes a hit, so 9B (or Lethal versus a non-vampire). But wait, if Snarl McSnarlface has been eating his peers lately (naughty!) and has Blood Potency 3? Add another +4 dice for augmenting his pools and for Vigor. 19 dice, minus 5, 14 dice is roughly a 5 success average to 11B per hit. Add another +3 dice if he's Frenzied for his Blood Potency. And when he's done beating you into torpor, which may take 2-3 turns, he's eating your soul.

                  Yeah... even with the downgrade? I'd avoid combat unless the deck is stacked in one's favor. Anyway, that's what Ghouls are for .
                  Last edited by Nickpire84; 05-01-2019, 06:06 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Take the Kindred fighting style and max it out then go for blood. I mean that literally, taking their Vitae is nearly as good as doing lethal damage.

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                    • #11
                      Yeah, the whole downgrade is because of vampires being dead and things not affecting them like a living body.

                      The VtR book never makes a distinction between mundane and supernatural damage sources being treated differently when it comes to downgrading, unless the power calls it out specifically or it's one of their banes. So a person tossing a lightning bolt and a natural lightning bolt hitting them should both be downgraded in my opinion; however that will be up to ST fiat in this case since I think most people run it as only mundane sources are downgraded. I've just always been the fan of the vampire being really tough to put down for good.

                      Also, aggravated sources of damage to mortals are downgraded to lethal for vampires. So you could always shove them in a vat of acid (where would you even get one though) and that should do the trick faster than bullets.

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