Underworld Campaign Quick Reference - General Combat

General Maneuvers

Aborting Actions: You can abandon your character's declared action in favor of a defensive action as long as your character hasn't acted in the turn. Actions that can be aborted to include block, dodge and parry. A successful Willpower roll versus difficulty 6 (or the expenditure of a Willpower point) is required for a character to abort an action and perform a defensive one instead. When spending Willpower for an abort maneuver, a character may declare the Willpower expenditure at the time of the abort. A Willpower roll to abort is considered a reflexive, not an action. (See "Defensive Maneuvers," below, for descriptions of block, dodge and parry.)

Ambush: Ambushes involve surprising a target to get in a decisive first strike. The attacker rolls Dexterity + Stealth in a resisted action against the target's Perception + Alertness. If the attacker scores more successes, she can stage one free attack on the target and adds any extra successes from the resisted roll to her attack dice pool. On a tie, the attacker still attacks first, although the target may perform a defensive maneuver. If the defender gets more successes, he spots the ambush, and both parties roll initiative normally. Targets already involved in combat cannot be ambushed.

Blind Fighting/Fire: Staging attacks while blind (or in pitch darkness) usually incurs a + 2 difficulty, and ranged attacks cannot be accurately made at all. The powers of Heightened Senses and Eyes of the Beast partly or fully negate this penalty.

Flank and Rear Attacks: Characters attacking targets from the flank gain an additional attack die. Characters attacking from the rear gain two additional attack dice.

Movement: A character may move half of her running distance (see "Movement") and still take an action in a turn. Other maneuvers such as leaping or tumbling may be considered separate actions, depending on their complexity.

Multiple Actions: If you declare multiple actions, subtract dice from the first dice pool equal to the total number of actions taken. Each subsequent action loses an additional die (cumulative). If a character performs only defensive actions in a turn, use the appropriate block, dodge or parry system.

The Discipline of Celerity allows vampires to take multiple actions without this penalty. See the Discipline description for particulars.

Targeting: Aiming for a specific location incurs an added difficulty, but can bypass armor or cover, or can result in an increased damage effect. The Storyteller should consider special results beyond a simple increase in damage, depending on the attack and the target.

Table: Targetting

Target SizeDifficultyDamage
Medium (limb, briefcase)+1No modifier
Small (hand, head, computer)+2+1
Precise (eye, heart, lock)+3+2

Maneuver Characteristics

Maneuvers are typically performed versus difficulty 6. Maneuvers with specific combat effects may modify your attack roll, difficulty or damage dice pool.

Traits: The Trait combination used for the action taken. If your character doesn't have a rating in the needed Ability, default to its base Attribute.
Accuracy: The dice added to the roll to hit an opponent. A "+3" adds three dice to the dice pool for that attack.
Difficulty: Any additions or subtractions to an attack's difficulty (which is most often 6). A "+2" means the difficulty of an attack, if initially 6, is increased to 8.
Damage: The damage dice pool used.

Maneuver Complications

Blinded: Add two dice to attack rolls made against a blinded target. Furthermore, blind characters are at +2 difficulty on all actions.

Dazed: If, in a single attack, the attacker rolls a number of damage successes greater than the target's Stamina (for mortals) or Stamina + 2 (for vampires and other supernatural beings), the victim is dazed. The target must spend her next available turn shaking off the attack's effects. Only damage successes that penetrate the defender's soak attempt count toward this total.

Immobilization: Add two dice to attack rolls made on an immobilized (i.e., held by someone or something) but still struggling target. Attacks hit automatically if the target is completely immobilized (tied up, staked or otherwise paralyzed).

Knockdown: Quite simply, the victim falls down. After suffering a knockdown, the subject makes a Dexterity + Athletics roll. If successful, she may get back on her feet immediately, but her initiative is reduced by two in the next turn. On a failed roll, the subject spends her next action climbing to her feet, if she chooses to rise. On a botch, she lands particularly hard or at a severe angle, taking an automatic health level of normal damage.

Stake Through Heart: A vampire can indeed be incapacitated by the classic wooden stake of legend. However, the legends err on one point: A Kindred impaled through the heart with a wooden stake is not destroyed, but merely paralyzed until the stake is removed.

To stake a vampire, an attacker must target the heart (difficulty 9). If the attack succeeds and inflicts at least three health levels of damage, the target is immobilized. An immobilized victim is conscious (and may use the Auspex Discipline), but may not move or spend blood points.