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A Bunch of V5 Questions

Hey everyone! I recently gave V5 another read (this time cover to cover) and while I’m really liking the look of the system (especially compared to V1–4) there are some questions I have that maybe could get clarified (thanks in advance!):

  1. Multiple Opponents (pg. 125)
    a) If a character is fighting three opponents, does it matter in which order those contested rolls happen?
    b) Also, is the outnumbered character able to do damage to any opponent after the 1st or does that fall under attacking multiple opponents?
    c) When attacking multiple opponents do the split dice pools from the contest against the second opponent get reduced due to the aforementioned multiple opponents rule, or do you simply split your attack pool?

  2. Bite Attacks (pg. 213)
    So if my vamp has successfully grappled, done the aggravated damage, and my target has not shaken me on the subsequent round, do I have to roll another Bite Attack pool to feed on my action, or does it just happen?

  3. Torpor (pg. 223)
    a) Okay, so when a vampire enters torpor they stay in there for a length of time dictated by their Humanity, unless someone feeds them blood of a higher Blood Potency, EXCEPT in the case of damage, where they stay in torpor until they heal? Or if they take enough damage to drop them into torpor they stay in torpor for as long as their humanity dictates?
    e.g. If my Humanity 7 vampire gets beat up real bad in combat am I out for 2 weeks in game time, or just until I heal my health tracker (I concede this might be the same amount of time or longer)?
    b) Can a vampire in torpor mend damage through a rouse check or are they limited to the one Health point per night?

  4. Disciplines (pg. 244–287)
    This section tripped me up the most. So, first off, I really wish the bolded sub-sections of disciplines were explained. I know Dice Pools, Cost, System, and Duration may seem self-explanatory, but I think the book could’ve helped out newer players more in this regard (and that’s coming from an experienced role-player).
    a) What does Duration: Passive mean?
    b) Am I correct in assuming that ALL disciplines need to be activated? Does Resilience (level 1 Fortitude) need a rouse check to use, or does it just give the System benefit to the character all the time?
    c) What does the book mean when it says “Powers do not usually activate retroactively; they respond to, rather than interrupt actions taken against the user.”? (Using Powers, pg. 244)
    d) Does Earthshock (Level 5 Potence, pg 265) only work if you’re using the advanced initiative system from the Advance System chapter? How is it effective using the initiative system from the Rules chapter?
    e) On that last note, if I’m using the basic initiative system from the Rules chapter can characters activate disciplines before contested pools are gathered? Like if I want to use a power and I’m also shooting someone, do I wait until all existing close combats are resolved before moving on to the shooting step of initiative?

I think that’s it for now. Like I said, I love Vampire, and I think V5 is my favorite of the Masquerade editions, but I do wish the rules were organized and explained a little better.

Thanks again!

  1. The book explains this terribly. After discussion with Karim Muammar, on Facebook about the bad explanations, I wrote a combat primer, which lays it out a lot better. You can read it here: Combat Primer - V5 Homebrew Wiki. However…
    a. The order generally doesn’t matter. Initiative can be used to determine the order if you need it to matter for some reason.
    b. You have to choose what you’re doing when you declare your action for the turn. You can damage more than one opponent, but you’re splitting your dice pool against anyone you want to damage back in a conflict; anyone you choose to dodge/defend against with Dex + Athletics, you don’t do damage back to (per the book, pg. 125 under Dodging). So you would have to choose to fight back against Enemy 1 and 2, and dodge Enemies 3 and 4.
    c. The book explains this badly. The intent, per Karim, was to have a character swap dice pools when they change ‘modes’ of conflict. So you’d split your pools against anyone you’re trying to do damage to, and any purely defense pool gets the deprecating penalty. For example, you are trying to punch back against Enemy A and B, while dodging the knives of Enemies C and D. You would split your Str + Brawl against A (interaction 1) and B (interaction 2, no penalty because it’s an attack pool, not a defense pool), and against C you’d do Dex + Athletics - 2 (as it’s the third interaction) and against D you’d do Dex + Athletics - 3 (because it’s the fourth interaction).

  2. Unclear based on the wording. It mentions ‘lodges your fangs in’ so I’d say to feed you wouldn’t need to roll again to feed (fangs are already there), but to bite again for damage, you’d have to roll the bite attack (without the penalty, per the passage on the same page) to do more Agg damage to vampires.

  3. This is explained on the same page you reference.
    a. If you are in damage-induced torpor, you attempt to heal that damage once per night with a Rouse Check instinctively. If you manage to heal all that damage without going above Hunger 5, you will rise from torpor when you heal all the damage and any critical injuries remaining. If a failed Rouse Check at Hunger 5 happens, then you go into normal torpor, which makes you subject to the time based on your Humanity.
    b. No. They attempt to heal automatically per the wording on pg. 233. They aren’t conscious to actively rouse the blood to attempt to heal more. The book works on the concept of omission; if it doesn’t say something can be done, generally it can’t.

  4. On Disciplines…
    a. Passive means ‘always active,’ and is usually buffs, like the extra health levels or passive damage reduction from Fortitude.
    b. The Discipline will detail if it needs to be activated, giving a dice pool or stating some parameter for activation. If it is passive, it wouldn’t need to be; otherwise, most of them do and explain what you do (such as the dice roll for Awe that grants you bonus dice once successfully activated).
    c. Unless specified, a power won’t interrupt something happening. For example, Defy Bane has a specific ‘interruption’ clause on when to activate in response to an attack. But you can’t, say, see someone draw a gun and then interrupt that action unless something says it allows you to interrupt (like Split Second).
    d. I assume you mean in reference to the ‘lose their action’ effect? It works either way (though I think using Initiative breaks down in general, because of opposed rolls and the way they need to resolve). If not using initiative, they’d just spend their next round getting back up, losing their action for that next turn. If using initiative, whatever fits into whichever initiative version you’re using.
    e. Following the ‘phased’ initiative detailed on pg. 125’s sidebar, you would want to do any Discipline activations, dice rolls for those, and any moving around at the same time as the player and SPC declarations of actions for the round. Unless specified, activating a Discipline doesn’t take a turn, so it gives you a finer control over what is happening in general doing it this way. The way it’s written kind of implies like they would fall in the ‘everything else’ phase, but that kills momentum, especially with the push to only do 3 rounds of conflict. I’ve done it this way in all the V5 games I’ve run, and it keeps combat snappy and the players engaged, and keeps me from having to mess around with dealing with ‘did X activate Y before Z did Q’. If you do all activations as part of declaration (which is logical, since Disciplines don’t take a turn/effort to activate unless they say they do), it keeps the flow of your phases much smoother.

Largely, some of this is badly detailed (combat) but a lot of it is left open for STs to finagle around with the system as they would like, due to the stress on the narrative nature of things in V5.