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Deathtraps usable on vampires?

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  • Deathtraps usable on vampires?

    I don't use traps in Vampire scenarios very often, but every now and then I think about creating a deathtrap or a Saw-like scenario. The problem I'm having is coming up with traps and scenarios that are actually a threat to vampires other than just "you have to cross a room filled with fire". You can't have rooms that fill with water because vampires don't drown. You can't have it so they need to cut a key out of their own bodies, because they can just do it and spend a couple vitae to heal afterwards. So, does anyone have some ideas for deathtraps that would actually be a threat to vampires?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Shadowdragon View Post
    I don't use traps in Vampire scenarios very often, but every now and then I think about creating a deathtrap or a Saw-like scenario. The problem I'm having is coming up with traps and scenarios that are actually a threat to vampires other than just "you have to cross a room filled with fire". You can't have rooms that fill with water because vampires don't drown. You can't have it so they need to cut a key out of their own bodies, because they can just do it and spend a couple vitae to heal afterwards. So, does anyone have some ideas for deathtraps that would actually be a threat to vampires?
    • Key at the bottom of a pool of acid.
    • Key in a mirror maze with pivoting mirrors and a skylight that lets in sunlight.
    • Place them in a position where they have to chose whether to kill the favorite Thrall of the Prince of either one city or another city. Or in general must avoid doing X where X will get a really powerful senior vamp annoyed enough to want them thoroughly destroyed.
    • Make the only way to escape the trap humiliate them in the eyes of all other vampires. Make sure they know the consequences.
    • Use your water trap but put their beloved human friend in the room with them...

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    • #3
      Deathtraps for vampires are a bit harder to do unless you want to poke their banes--on purpose. Vampires are all about surviving.

      However: they are all about running out of their resources while surviving. If you want to use a "deathtrap" all you need to do is run it as an attrition scenario until the characters are down on blood, vibrating with contained frenzy (and Conditions that make resisting harder), and at risk of falling into torpor. Torpor is the little death, that disengages the vamp from the world. Too long and his "life" will pass him by, age and fade until he has to wake and reinvent himself.

      It's pretty easy to functionally kill a vamp who's found slumped over in torpor. Just bury the guy and pave over him, for example.

      --Khanwulf

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      • #4
        Especially Gangrel can survive basically anything you throw at them.

        So the most effective traps, imo, don't go after their (un)lives: they go after the things they care about.

        Most vampires can get out of a burning building without too much difficulty, through judicious application of Physical Intensity and maybe some frenzy bonuses. But what if their Touchstone is in there? Will the vampire still focus on surviving above all else, or will they stay a few seconds too late to save the person who connects them to their Humanity?

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        • #5
          I mean, if we're already referencing SAW?

          SAW 1 doesn't really work on vampires where they're simple "hurt yourself or get hurt worse," sort of deals.

          SAW 2 works even if you need to adjust it a bit. The presence of a ongoing negative damaging environmental effect on top of a series of SAW 1 type traps over several in-character hours is dangerous to a vampire (esp. multiple vampires that have no reason to cooperative if they think they can survive at the cost of one of the others).

          SAW 3 works really well, because as noted above, it's all about going after what the vampire cares about.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
            I mean, if we're already referencing SAW?

            SAW 1 doesn't really work on vampires where they're simple "hurt yourself or get hurt worse," sort of deals.
            I could see SAW1 working for a high humanity pc coterie. As long as they can still take the beaten down condition, they'd get into a vitae/wp spending loop. Maybe to cut into yourself you need to succeed a Comp+Res roll. You can always spend WP, but you can't spend WP when beaten down. So after cutting a couple times, you have to spend vitae to get rid of beaten down. I'd give the players an option to roll a breaking point in lieu of a successful Comp+Res roll.

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            • #7
              You seem to have Beaten Down backwards. Beaten Down requires you to spend WP to take specific actions (namely attacking in combat), rather than not letting you spend WP in general.

              Beaten Down also only applies in a fight... so most of the time it doesn't really matter to this sort of thing.

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              • #8
                You're right. But I think that honestly works better.

                "There's a key in your arm. Dig it out"
                Roll Comp+Res. Take 3 Bashing. Take Beaten Down.
                "Reach your hand into the razor thing to open the door."
                Spend WP, Roll Comp+Res. Take 3 more Bashing.
                "Swim through the pit of needles to the other side of the room"
                Oh shit I'm getting low on WP, do I spend another WP, knowing that I might have to fight someone again soon, or do I heal myself?
                ...
                "Chainsaw through you leg to get through"
                I really wish I hadn't spent that blood earlier. Spend WP, Roll Comp+Res. Fail. Roll Breaking Point. Succeed OhGodOhGodOhGodOhGodOhGod. Take Bestial Condition, take Several Lethal, maybe lose Vitae.
                Last edited by DubiousRuffian; 06-26-2019, 02:03 PM.

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                • #9
                  Eh, it just seems like a combination of needless attrition and going against the design framework of the way the game is meant to make that all actually be fun to play though.

                  A vampire that's taking 3 damage a trap and has no readily accessible source of food is already in a tense situation without making them roll or adding WP to the mix. To heal or not to heal is going to be a constant question as long as they don't know how much damage they might face. Beaten Down doesn't even need to come into play. If the penalties on the dice roll are high enough most characters are going to have to seriously consider the risk of failure for not spending one vs. the attrition of doing so.

                  As well, the CofD are built on a "carrot" method here to get players to want to engage. Beaten Down has a bonus if you accede, Conditions give you Beats, etc. If you want players to actually enjoy being put through this, there needs to be some reward for it, not just trying their best to bet blindly on the optimal balance of expenditures to make it through.

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                  • #10
                    If I were to do it the way I'm describing, I probably wouldn't make them roll more than a few times. That beaten down/blood/willpower/humanity cycle wouldn't be worth going through more than once.

                    I think the reason I like the cycle is that it does more than just "you have to hurt yourself" "I do it. Cause I have blood and am an animate corpse." "OK, well it hurts a lot", "yeah but it's only bashing damage." "it's a breaking point," "for /bashing/ damage?" "yeah dude, that would put a human in the hospital". Admittedly, that's more an rping/sting problem...

                    How would you go about applying the penalties? Something like a -2 for each trap, or something escalating? I guess risking frenzy should also kick in - but what is your fear frenzy going to do? You cower in the corner for a while and then it wears off..

                    I do think you're right that it's already a stressful situation, and the "carrot" method is an important feature to preserve in the system. I just feel like in a situation where the environment itself is the antagonist, using tilts does make sense, and what I've described offers the player a range of options, while charting an emotional arc.

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                    • #11
                      What about a false floor over a 20 foot drop onto a bunch of pointy wooden stakes? A vampire with high levels of Vigor can jump pretty far, but that's actually a good thing: the player spent those experience points to be good at jumping over stuff like this; letting them succeed is totally appropriate, while making sure any vampires who didn't get make that investment will have to think of a solution.

                      I can't look up right now how the "solace" drug works in VTR 2e, but if it really does make you absolutely human for a couple of hours, that's a pretty huge impediment when the situation calls for Super Vampire Powers. Deliver the drug via a needle or a drugged human vessel, and you've just handicapped a vampire pretty badly.

                      "Rocks fall, everyone dies" works in a pinch.

                      You could simply do a "Cask of Amontillado" thing where the the vampire gets snared, walled up, thrown in a pit, whatever, and denied blood until they fall into torpor.

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