The number of successes rolled “to hit” determines the difficulty of the damage roll. A complete success (3 successes) means the damage roll is at difficulty 6; each additional success lowers it by one, each less success raises it by one.

Successes Difficulty to Damage
1 8
2 7
3 6
4 5
5 4

Extra successes above 5 can produce special effects:

  • Stunning the opponent
  • Knocking the opponent down or backwards
  • Disarming the opponent
  • Striking a specific body part (eg a vampire’s heart)
  • Ignores armour
  • Severing an appendage
  • Transform the damage to aggravated

A “quick ‘n’ dirty” rule would be that each success above 5 means one of the wounds is turned into aggravated damage.

Projectile Weapons

Bows, slings, shuriken and throwing knives do a fixed amount of damage rather than damage based on the user’s Strength. However, each success on the roll “to hit” allows that attacker to add an extra die to the damage dice pool. The maximum number of dice that can be added in this way is equal to the attacker’s Skill in Archery or Throwing (plus any Aiming bonus).

Firearms also do a fixed amount of damage. Each success on the roll “to hit” counts as an additional automatic level of damage. The maximum number of extra levels of damage will be equal to the attacker’s Firearms Skill (plus Aiming bonus).

Multiple Actions

Characters can try to take multiple actions in a turn. Each action is at a dice penalty equal to the total number of actions being attempted. Furthermore, each action after the first is at a cumulative -1 dice penalty.

Pedro Su De Cuerda wants to fire his pistol then slash someone with his cutlass, in the same turn. With a Dexterity+Firearms total of 8 and a Dexterity+Melee total of 7, Pedro would roll 6 dice for his pistol shot (8-2) and 4 dice for his cutlass (7-2-1). If he also wanted to swing on the rigging over his enemies’ heads while doing this, using his Dexterity+Athletics dice pool of 6, then the pistol would use 5 dice (8-3), the cutlass 3 dice (7-3-1) and the rope swinging 1 dice (6-3-2).


At the end of each round of dueling, combatants can roll Perception + Melee / Brawl (difficulty is opponent’s Wits + Dodge or a straight 6). If successful the character gains an extra dice for the rest of the duel that can be applied to:

  • Own initiative, attack, dodge, parry or damage roll
  • Opponent’s initiative, attack, dodge, parry or soak roll

Combatants roll at the end of each round, but to obtain a second modifier requires 2 successes, the third requires 3 successes, etc. The maximum number of dice that can be applied to a single roll is equal to the combatant’s Melee or Brawl score.

The modifiers last for a Scene. If the combatant fight again later they must re-roll for modifiers (but the Storyteller might adjust the difficulty by -1 if you are dueling an opponent you’ve studied closely before).

The Duelist Merit means that a character automatically gains a modifier each round without having to roll and gains a modifier for watching an opponent fight someone else for 2 rounds.

Gun Duels

Each duelist rolls initiative but keeps the result secret. Each then bid how many successes they want to add to their initiative score (to a maximum of the Wits + Alertness dice pool). Bids are revealed and the character with the highest initiative takes the first shot with a penalty to the attack dice pool equal to the size of the bid.

If the other combatant is still active, he can return fire but with a penalty equal to the size of his bid.

Firearms do aggravated damage in duels because each combatant is unresisting and not dodging. If a character does dodge they take only normal damage, but have acted shamefully: the Shadow can roll on a relevant Dark Passion or simply gain 1 Angst from the social disapproval.

If the other combatant in the duel doesn’t fire immediately they can instead take aim, canceling out their penalty. Sometimes the opponent may feel honour bound to stand and suffer the aimed shot, but most don’t and choose to dodge instead. This is considered legitimate by most onlookers.

Some surviving combatant choose not to fire back, or to fire harmlessly into the air. This is called deloping.

The Pistol Duelist Merit allows the character to see his opponent’s initiative dice, making it easier to judge what size of penalty to risk in order to shoot first.


Rime of the Restless Mariners Jon_Rowe