Combat Hacks

  • Aggravated Called Shots
    A called shot to the head, using any kind of weapon or firearm, inflicts aggravated damage. An unarmed strike to the head still inflicts bashing damage, unless the character has some way to inflict lethal hand damage. Targeting the head imposes a –5 modifier.
    • Rationale
      Damage to the head with anything hard or fast enough to crack the skull often causes brain damage, and that’s a pretty sure way to kill a person.
  • Automatic Damage
    The damage modifier on a gun does not add dice to the roll to hit. Rather, the damage is applied automatically provided that the Dexterity + Firearms roll is successful. For instance, if a character with Dexterity 2 and Firearms 1 uses a light pistol (damage 2L), the player rolls three dice. If the player rolls one success, the target takes three points of lethal damage. If the character had been using a shotgun (4L damage plus 9 again), the player would still have rolled three dice, but with one success would have inflicted five points of lethal damage (the gun’s damage rating + number of successes rolled). This rule can easily be applied to hand weapons as well, if the Storyteller wishes.
    • Rationale
      Guns are deadly, even in the hands of someone untrained in their use. This hack makes it less likely that an untrained person will hit a target, but if they do, they will certainly injure him.
  • Bleeding Out
    Any wound that causes at least two points of lethal or aggravated damage, and is inflicted by
    a firearm, blade, claw or any other source that causes deep tissue damage, begins to bleed profusely. The victim suffers one point of bashing damage each turn the wound is left untended. Bleeding victims can be stabilized with a successful Intelligence + Medicine roll, with a –1 dice penalty for each point of lethal damage caused by the initial wound.
    • Rationale
      A gunshot might not kill a person, but the resultant blood loss very easily can.
  • Combination Momentum
    When a character successfully hits with a Brawl or Weaponry based attack and the victim attacks the character in response, if the victim’s retaliatory attack misses then the character’s next attack against that target receives a +1 bonus. This bonus is cumulative and lasts until either the original attacker attacks another enemy or the victim lands a successful attack on the character. Like most bonuses, the bonus from this hack tops out at +5.
    • Rationale
      When one combatant gains the momentum, he is difficult to overcome until his opponent is lucky enough to turn the tide of battle.
  • Dangerous Explosives
    Characters standing within the Blast Area suffer half again (round down) the flat Damage of the explosive, plus damage rolled. So, a character standing at point of origin for an explosive with Damage 4 suffers six automatic points of damage plus any successes rolled on four dice. Characters outside the Blast Area of the explosion still suffer the possibility of
    being hit by flying shrapnel and debris. Roll the Damage rating of the explosive against any character outside the primary radius of the explosion but still within half the Blast Area in yards (round down). An explosion with Blast Area and Damage of 4 rolls inflicts four dice of
    damage against characters within a 5–6 yard radius of the explosion.
    • Rationale
      Explosives kill and maim with fearsome ease. Characters shouldn’t be blasé about handling them.
  • Freezing Under Fire
    Whenever a character is fired upon, the player must roll Resolve + Composure. If the roll
    succeeds, the character can act normally. If the roll fails, the player must spend a Willpower point for the character to act (this Willpower point bestows no other bonus on
    any rolls the player might make that turn). If the character has no Willpower to spend, for whatever reason, he freezes up. A character who has frozen up does not receive Defense during that turn. A “frozen” character regains control on his next action, or sooner if a comrade
    devotes an action to snapping him out of it. This hack does not apply to characters with the Combatant Merit.
    • Rationale
      Being shot at is terrifying, even if the shots don’t stand any real chance of hitting. Loud noises trigger our panic responses, and the sound of bullets careening off nearby surfaces is enough to try anyone’s courage.
  • Shooting Through Cover
    Subtract the Durability of cover material from the shooter’s dice pool. For example, someone shooting at a target behind a pane of glass would lose one die from his pool, provided that
    he had a clear view of the target. If the Durability of the cover is higher than the damage rating of the gun, or if the gun does not use solid slugs (a shotgun firing birdshot, for instance), the bullets do not penetrate the cover and the target is unharmed. Bulletproof glass or armor piercing bullets provide exceptions to this hack, of course. The former operates at a higher Durability against bullets, while the latter ignores points of Durability
    entirely.
    • Rationale
      Glass doesn’t provide much of a defense against bullets.
  • Stun
    On any turn in which a character suffers damage equal to his Stamina rating, the player must
    roll Stamina + Resolve. If the roll fails, the character is stunned and can take no action (and receives no Defense) until the same point in the initiative order during the next turn (that is, if the character acts on initiative 10 and is stunned on initiative 8, he loses his
    action next turn, while if he is stunned on initiative 10 and would act on initiative 8, he loses his action in the current turn). If the damage sustained is greater than the character’s Stamina, the stun is automatic. The Iron Stamina Merit is added to the character’s Stamina for purposes of determining stun, including to the dice pool to avoid it.
    • Rationale
      A sudden shock to the system is disorienting; ask anyone who’s ever been punched in the nose or in the solar plexus. The stunning effect only lasts a few seconds, of course, but that’s at least a turn in Storytelling terms.
  • Toughness Matters
    When attacking someone with bare hands, the attacker’s player subtracts the target’s
    Stamina from the dice pool, as well as Defense and armor. If the character is somehow able to inflict lethal or aggravated damage with an unarmed strike (using Fighting Style: Kung Fu 5, or a power than grants claws,for instance), this rule does not apply.
    • Rationale
      People who are used to working out or are just naturally tough can absorb more punishment than people who lack endurance. This doesn’t help when weapons are involved (running every day doesn’t make you bulletproof), but against an unarmed opponent, general physical prowess
      is beneficial.
  • Watch My Back
    Although being ganged up on can be deadly in the World of Darkness, having stalwart
    friends at your back can even the odds. For every ally within your reach, you ignore one point of Defense reduction due to multiple attackers. For example, if three of your friends are within arms reach during a fight, you can be attacked by up to four opponents before your
    Defense starts to drop on the fifth.
    • Rationale
      This hack encourages characters to stick together and fight as a team, especially when outnumbered.
  • Weapons Kill
    All weapons inflict lethal damage, regardless of whether they are blunt at one end or not.
    • Rationale
      Any health care professional will tell you that being hit with a baseball bat is more serious than being hit with a fist. Weapons take advantage of small impact points (greater energy in small surface area) and hard materials to break bones and damage tissue. Even a relatively weak combatant can kill someone with a sharp blow to the head, if he uses an object to strike that blow.

Combat Hacks

Artifice and Ash Darkmyth