Underworld Campaign Quick Reference - Close Combat

Close Combat Maneuvers

This is simply a listing of the common maneuvers used in close combat; feel free to develop your own moves (with the Storyteller's approval). All hand-to-hand attacks inflict bashing damage unless stated otherwise. The damage inflicted by melee attacks depends on the weapon type (see the Melee Weapons Chart, p. 214). It is typically lethal, though clubs and other blunt instruments inflict bashing damage.

Difficulty and damage for these maneuvers may be modified at the Storyteller's discretion, depending on the combat style the character uses. As always, drama and excitement take precedence over rules systems.

Bite: This maneuver is available only to vampires (or other supernatural creatures with sharp teeth, such as werewolves). A bite maneuver is a "combat" bite, intended to cause damage rather than drain blood. Bite damage is aggravated. To use a bite attack, the vampire must first perform a successful clinch, hold or tackle maneuver (see below). On the turn following the successful attack, the player may declare the bite attempt and make a roll using the modifiers below.

Alternatively, a player can declare her vampire's bite to be a "Kiss" attack. A Kiss is resolved in the same way as a normal bite, but inflicts no health levels of damage. Upon connecting with a Kiss, the vampire may begin to drain the victim's blood at the normal rate, and the victim is typically helpless to resist (see p. 139 for specifics). Following the Kiss, a vampire may, if she chooses, lick the puncture wound of the Kiss closed, thereby removing any evidence that she has fed.

Traits: Dexterity + Brawl; Difficulty: Normal; Accuracy: +1; Damage: Strength +1

Claw: This attack is available only to vampires with the Protean power of Feral Claws or who construct bone spurs with the Vicissitude power of Bonecraft. A few other supernatural creatures, such as werewolves, also have claws. A claw attack inflicts aggravated damage (if Feral Claws) or lethal damage (if a Vicissitude-constructed weapon).

Traits: Dexterity + Brawl; Difficulty: Normal; Accuracy: Normal; Damage: Strength +1

Clinch: On a successful attack roll, the attacker goes into a clinch with the target. In the first turn, the attacker may roll Strength damage. In each subsequent turn, combatants act on their orders in the initiative. A combatant can inflict Strength damage automatically or attempt to escape the clinch. No other actions are allowed until one combatant breaks free. To escape a clinch, make a resisted Strength + Brawl roll against the opponent. If the escaping character has more successes, she breaks free; if not, the characters continue to grapple in the next turn.

Traits: Strength + Brawl; Difficulty: Normal; Accuracy: Normal; Damage: Strength

Disarm: To strike an opponent's weapon, the attacker must make an attack roll at +1 difficulty (typically 7). If successful, the attacker rolls damage normally. If successes rolled exceed the opponent's Strength score, the opponent takes no damage but is disarmed. A botch usually means the attacker drops her own weapon or is struck by her target's weapon.

Traits: Dexterity + Melee; Difficulty: +1; Accuracy: Normal; Damage: Special

Hold: This attack inflicts no damage, as the intent is to immobilize rather than injure the subject. On a successful roll, the attacker holds the target until the subject's next action. At that time, both combatants roll resisted Strength + Brawl actions; the subject remains immobilized (able to take no other action) until she rolls more successes than the attacker does.

Traits: Strength + Brawl; Difficulty: Normal; Accuracy: Normal; Damage: None

Kick: Kicks range from simple front kicks to aerial spins. The base attack is at +1 difficulty and inflicts the attacker's Strength +1 in damage. These ratings may be modified further at the Storyteller's discretion, increasing in damage and/or difficulty as the maneuver increases in complexity.

Traits: Dexterity + Brawl; Difficulty: +1; Accuracy: Normal; Damage: Strength +1

Multiple Opponents: A character who battles multiple opponents in close combat suffers attack and defense difficulties of +1, cumulative, for each opponent after the first (to a maximum of +4).

Strike: The attacker lashes out with a fist. The base attack is a standard action and inflicts the character's Strength in damage. The Storyteller may adjust the difficulty and/or damage depending on the type of punch: hook, jab, haymaker, karate strike.

Traits: Dexterity + Brawl; Difficulty: Normal; Accuracy: Normal; Damage: Strength

Sweep: The attacker uses her own legs to knock the legs out from under her opponent. The target takes Strength damage and must roll Dexterity + Athletics (difficulty 8) or suffer a knockdown (see "Maneuver Complications").

The attacker can also use a staff, chain, or similar implement to perform a sweep. The effect is the same, although the target takes damage per the weapon type.

Traits: Dexterity + Brawl/Melee; Difficulty: +1; Accuracy: Normal; Damage: Str; knockdown

Tackle: The attacker rushes her opponent, tackling him to the ground. The attack roll is at +1 difficulty, and the maneuver inflicts Strength +1 damage. Additionally, both combatants must roll Dexterity + Athletics (difficulty 7) or suffer a knockdown (see "Maneuver Complications"). Even if the target's Athletics roll succeeds, he is unbalanced, suffering +1 difficulty to his actions for the next turn.

Traits: Strength + Brawl; Difficulty: +1; Accuracy: Normal; Damage: Strength +1

Weapon Length: It is difficult to get in range with a punch or knife if someone else is wielding a sword or staff. A character being fended off with a longer weapon must close in one yard, then strike, losing a die from her attack roll in the process.

Weapon Strike: A slashing blow, thrust or jab, depending on the weapon used. See the Melee Weapons Chart for particulars.

Traits: Dexterity + Melee; Difficulty: Normal; Accuracy: Normal; Damage: Per weapon type

Table: Close Combat Maneuvers

BiteDex + Brawl+1NormalStr +1 (A)
BlockDex + BrawlSpecialNormal(R)
ClawDex + BrawlNormalNormalStr +1 (A)
ClinchStr + BrawlNormalNormalStr (C)
DisarmDex + BrawlNormal+1Special
DodgeDex + DodgeSpecialNormal(C)
HoldStr + BrawlNormalNormalStr +1
KickDex + BrawlNormal+1Str +1
ParryDex + MeleeSpecialNormal(R)
StrikeDex + BrawlNormalNormalStr
SweepDex + Brawl/MeleeNormal+1Str (K)
TackleStr + BrawlNormal+1Str +1 (K)
Weapon StrikeDex + MeleeNormalNormalWeapon

(A): The maneuver inflicts aggravated damage.
(C): The maneuver carries over on successive turns.
(K): The maneuver causes knockdown.
(R): The maneuver reduces an opponent's attack successes.