Overview of Vampire: The Eternal Struggle
Vampire: The Eternal Struggle is a trading card game in which two or more players take on the roles of ancient vampires known as Methuselahs. Methuselahs are considered mere legend by younger vampires. Younger vampires think that they pursue their own ends... even as they are being used by one Methuselah to undercut the influence of another. Throughout the world, Methuselahs manipulate their minions to frustrate the designs of the other Methuselahs, just as they have for as long as they can remember. These eternal struggles, sometimes covert and subtle, sometimes open and spectacular, are collectively known as the Jyhad.
Object of the Game
Your goal is to accumulate the most victory points by destroying the influence held by rival Methuselahs. You accomplish this goal by using your influence to gain control of younger vampires and using those vampires to take actions to reduce the influence of rival Methuselahs. Influence is represented by pool counters (see Equipment Needed, sec. 1.2), the main currency of the game. When a Methuselah runs out of pool counters, she* is bereft of influence and ousted from the game. As Methuselahs are ousted, players earn victory points; the winner is the player with the most victory points at the end of the game (see Victory Points, sec. 9.1).
* Throughout this rulebook, references to players (Methuselahs) will be feminine ("she" and "her"), while references to minions (characters represented in the game) will be masculine ("he" and "his"). These pronouns are not intended to identify gender; this is merely a useful method to avoid both cumbersome "he or she" constructions and ambiguity.
This rulebook provides the comprehensive rules of the game; don't feel like you have to absorb all the rules at once. Vampire: The Eternal Struggle is a game of complex strategies that are acquired over time. Once you learn the basics, play the game, and then consult the rulebook when you have questions.
1.1. Important Terms in the Game
- Locking and Unlocking: During play, you will turn cards sideways to "lock" them, indicating that the cards have been used for some particular purpose or effect. Unlocking a card restores it to its original position, indicating that the card is reset and will be able to be locked again later. Only unlocked minions can take actions, block the actions of other minions, or play reaction cards (see Minion Phase, sec. 6).
- Burn: When a card is "burned," it is placed into its owner's discard pile (the discard pile is called the "ash heap" for this reason). The ash heap can be examined by any player at any time. When a counter is "burned," it is returned to the blood bank (see Blood Bank and the Edge, sec 2.2). Sometimes, an instruction may say to remove a card from the game. While some cards and effects can retrieve cards from the ash heap, cards that are removed from the game cannot be retrieved or affected in any way. When a card is burned or removed from the game, any counters or other cards on it are burned.
- Cards: Each player needs two decks: a crypt and a library. The cards in your crypt represent the vampires (or other minions) you hope to control; they have oval portraits on the front and amber marble backs. They must all be from the same group or from two consecutive groups (see Overview of Crypt Cards, sec 1.5). The cards in your library represent the things you or your minions can do or use; they have square illustrations on the front and green marble backs. Each player must have at least 12 cards in her crypt and at least 40 cards in her library. Each player may add up to 10 additional cards to her library per player in the game. Thus, in a six-player game, each player may have a minimum of 40 and a maximum of 100 cards in her library. There is no limit on the maximum number of cards a player can have in her crypt. There is no per-card limit to the number of a given card that a player can include in either her library or crypt.
- Blood Counters: Blood counters are an integral part of the game. Each player needs about 40 counters: 30 for her starting pool and an extra 10 blood counters to help fill the communal blood bank (see Blood Bank and the Edge, sec 2.2). When you burn a blood counter, you return it to the blood bank. Blood counters that you "pay" or "spend" are also considered burned. Blood counters can be any convenient items, such as pennies, glass beads or stones. Single-item methods of keeping track of changing numbers (e.g., dice) are discouraged, due to the frequent need to move counters from one place to another.
- The Edge: The Edge is a symbol showing that your minions have temporarily given you an advantage over the other Methuselahs. It is given or passed to a player who successfully bleeds another player (see Bleed, sec. 6.1.1), and it imparts certain advantages to the player controlling it (see Unlock Phase, sec. 4, and Gaining Votes, sec. 6.3.3). Choose an object to represent the Edge. Any small, distinctive object, such as a coin or a glove, will do.
1.3. Golden Rule of Card Ownership
Your cards are never transferred to another player permanently as a result of card play. At the end of the game, the cards you began the game with are returned to you. If you are ousted before the end of the game, any of your cards that other players control remain in play until burned as normal.
1.4. The Golden Rule for Cards
Whenever the cards contradict the rules, the cards take precedence.
Each crypt card (the amber-backed cards) has a set of elements that describe the vampire: his name, blood capacity, clan, Disciplines (powers), group and any special abilities or political title he has. These elements are described below. Some advanced expansions include other types of crypt cards. Details for these types can be found on the web site. See More Information.
- Name: The name of the vampire appears at the top of the card. Each crypt card is unique, so only one copy of each can be in play at a time. A second Methuselah could contest control of the vampire (see Contested Cards, sec. 4.1), which means that the Methuselahs are struggling for control of him.
- Blood capacity: The number in the red circle in the lower right corner of the card is the vampire's capacity. This number reflects many things at once: the vampire's relative age (larger numbers represent older vampires), the amount of influence (in pool) a Methuselah must invest in him in order to bring him under her control and the maximum ability he has to heal wounds or play cards (some cards cost blood to play).
A vampire with a larger capacity than another is said to be older, and one with a smaller capacity is younger. A vampire cannot have more blood than his capacity; if an effect puts more blood on him than his capacity allows, the excess is always moved to the blood bank immediately.
An uncontrolled vampire (see Play Area, sec. 2.3) will have blood counters stacked on it representing the amount of influence that has been invested in him. During the influence phase, if that stack equals or exceeds his blood capacity, you can reveal the vampire and place him in the ready region (see Play Area, sec. 2.3). He retains the blood counters used to influence him on his card to serve as his blood (see Influence Phase, sec. 7).
- Clan: Each vampire belongs to a clan, identified by the symbol at the top of the attribute bar (the marble stripe on the left side of the card). See the reference pages in the center of the rules booklet for a list of the clan symbols. Some library cards require a member of a particular vampire clan to play, while other library cards may affect only vampires of a particular clan. The clans are grouped into sects (see Vampire Sects, sec. 10).
- Disciplines: These are supernatural powers that vampires possess. The Disciplines possessed by the vampire are represented by the group of symbols at the bottom of the attribute bar. The vampire's Disciplines determine which library cards he can play. If a library card requires a Discipline (noted by a Discipline symbol on the attribute bar of the library card), then only vampires who have that Discipline can play it.
Each of a vampire's Discipline symbols is in the shape of either a square or a diamond. A square-shaped Discipline symbol means that the vampire has one level of that Discipline, the basic level; he can use only the basic (plain text) effect listed on a card that requires that Discipline. A Discipline symbol within a diamond signifies that the vampire has an additional level of that Discipline, the superior level, and therefore may opt to use either the basic (plain text) or the superior (bold) effect listed on the card (but not both).
Some library cards have multiple Discipline symbols on the attribute bar. Some of the effects listed on these cards require one of the Disciplines listed, while other effects require another listed Discipline, and some effects require the vampire to possess several Disciplines. Each effect shows the icon(s) of the Discipline(s) required.
- Group: Each vampire belongs to a specific group, identified by a number above the upper left corner of the text box. A player's crypt must be built using vampires from a single group or from two consecutive groups. This does not restrict a Methuselah from stealing vampires from other groups through play, however. Cards from some older sets do not have this designation. For those cards, the ones with an expansion set symbol (an icon in the upper right corner of the card) are treated as Group 2 vampires; the others are Group 1 vampires.
- Advancement: An advancement card is a type of vampire card for your crypt. An advancement card looks just like a regular crypt card except that it has an Advancement icon under the clan icon.
The advancement card is a vampire card in all respects, so it can be influenced in the normal manner. In addition, if you already control the advancement or the associated regular "base" vampire and the other version of the vampire is in your uncontrolled region, then you can spend 4 transfers and 1 pool to move the vampire card from your uncontrolled region to the controlled vampire card (place the advancement card on top of the base card). The two cards effectively merge to form a single vampire.
The particulars of this merge are as follows. The counters and cards on the vampire remain. The advancement and the base card are treated as a single vampire card, even if sent to the uncontrolled region somehow, until the vampire is burned. Any effects in play that targeted the vampire now target the merged version.
When merged, the text on the base card still applies, but the rest of the card is ignored (capacity, Disciplines, etc.). The advancement card applies in full. If the advancement card conflicts with the base card (a different sect, for example), the advancement card has precedence. Some merged cards have an additional effect that only applies if the card is merged with its base card. Such an effect is identified in the card text by a "merged" icon.
The advanced vampire (merged or not) will contest other copies of the same vampire (advanced or not) in play, as usual.
1.6. Overview of Library Cards
- Playing Cards. There are four main types of library cards: convictions, master cards, minion cards and event cards. Convictions are put in play during the unlock phase (see details in the Imbued Rules appendix); master cards are played by Methuselahs; minion cards are played by the minions (vampires and allies) the Methuselahs control; event cards are put into play during the discard phase to represent events that affects the World of Darkness as a whole (see section 8). Master cards have no icon at the top of the attribute bar while the other cards have an icon there that indicates what type of card it is. A card is played by placing it face up in the playing area or by showing it to the other players and placing it face up in the ash heap. The player completely declares the effect of the card when it is played.
Some effects can cancel a card "as it is played." These effects as well as wake effects (see Special Terms, sec. 11) are the only effects allowed during the "as played" time period of another card. Even drawing to replace cards comes after this time period.
- Drawing Cards. Whenever you play a library card from your hand, you immediately draw another from your library to replace it (unless card text says otherwise, of course). If your library is empty, then you do not draw to replenish your hand, but you continue to play. The number of cards in your hand should always match your hand size (cards that are replaced later reduce your hand size for the duration of the effect). Whenever they don't match (when an effect changes your hand size or adds or removes cards from your hand, for example), immediately discard down to or draw up to your hand size.
- Requirements for Playing Cards. Each library card has symbols on the attribute bar (the marble stripe on the left side) for the card type (except for master cards), the clan or Discipline (if any) required to play the card and the cost (if any) of playing that card. Some cards will have other requirements (such as capacity or title) stated in the card text. Only a minion who meets the requirements given on a minion card can play it, while only a Methuselah who controls a ready minion who meets the requirements of a master card can play it.
Some cards that have a requirement also have a burn option icon. This icon means that a Methuselah who doesn't control a minion that meets the requirements may discard the card during any Methuselah's unlock phase. Each Methuselah is limited to one such discard each unlock phase.
A drop of blood with a number on the left side of a library card (in the middle of the side or in the bottom corner) indicates the amount of blood or pool that must be burned to play the card. A number in a red drop represents blood cost (the amount of blood the vampire must burn). A number in a white diamond with a skull represents pool cost (the amount of pool the Methuselah must burn).
- Targets. If a card is played on another card, or selects or chooses or otherwise targets another card, the target card must be in play (i.e., controlled). Vampires in the torpor region are eligible targets by default, but vampires in the uncontrolled region and contested cards are not.
- Sequencing. If two or more players want to play a card or effect, the acting Methuselah plays first. At every stage, the acting player always has the opportunity to play the next card or effect. So after playing one effect, she may play another and another. Once she is finished, the opportunity passes to the defending Methuselah (in the cases of directed actions and combat), then to the rest of the Methuselahs in clockwise order from the acting Methuselah. Note that if any Methuselah uses a card or effect, the acting Methuselah again gets the opportunity to play the next effect.
- Draft Effects. Some cards have a special booster-pack version that also lists, in a gray box identified as "DRAFT:", an additional way to use the card. This effect can only be used in a draft or sealed deck tournament. Any bold text, like "+1 stealth action", in bold at the top of the regular text applies to the whole card, including the draft effect. Card cost applies as normal to the draft effect, as well. Clan and Discipline requirements are given in the draft effect section (and are independent of any Clan or Discipline requirement of the regular effects).
Master cards are cards you play in your role as a Methuselah. There are two types of master cards: out-of-turn and the regular master cards. Some types of regular master cards are: locations and Disciplines (and there are other regular master cards that don't have a specific type). Regular master cards are played during your master phase. You can normally play only one regular master card during your master phase. Out-of-turn master cards can be played during other players' turns. By playing an out-of-turn master card, you are effectively "borrowing" from your next master phase -- that is, playing the card now instead of waiting until your next master phase.
A master card in play is, by default, controlled by the Methuselah who played it, even if it is played on a card controlled by another Methuselah.
The general types of master cards are as follows:
- Locations: A location card represents a place (a building, a city or a designated gathering place, for example) that a Methuselah or her minions control. A location card stays in play and may be used repeatedly, even on the turn it is played. Some library cards (such as Arson) can burn them.
- Disciplines: A Discipline card is played on a controlled vampire (even one controlled by another Methuselah) to give him an additional level of a Displine, either giving a vampire the basic level of a new Discipline or adding a level to one he already has (increasing the level of a Discipline from basic to superior). The vampire also gains an additional blood capacity (the "+1" in the red circle in the bottom right corner of the card indicates this) along with the Discipline granted, but he does not automatically gain an extra blood to fill the new capacity.
- Trophy: A trophy may be put into play using a master phase action (or can be retrieved as listed under "Red List" in section 11). It has no effect until it is moved to a vampire. When any vampire burns a Red List minion in combat or as a (D) action (including diablerie), the controller of the trophy may choose to move the trophy to that vampire. Any number of trophies in play may be moved to the vampire in this way (in addition to the single trophy that the vampire's controller may retrieve from her library, ash heap or hand). Once placed on a vampire, a trophy is controlled by the controller of the vampire it is on, and it cannot be awarded again.
- Out-of-turn: You may play an out-of-turn master card whenever appropriate during another player's turn. Doing so counts against your next master phase, even if the Out-of-turn master card is cancelled (see Master Phase, sec. 5). You cannot play a second out-of-turn master card before your next master phase. You cannot play an out-of-turn master card on your own turn.
- Trifle: Some master cards are identified as trifles. When a Methuselah plays a trifle (and it isn't canceled), she gains an additional master phase action. For an out-of-turn trifle, she gains a master phase action in her next master phase. A Methuselah can gain only one master phase action from trifles in a given master phase; others act like regular master cards.
- Other master cards: Any master cards not explained here have their effects described on them. These master cards are discarded when they are played unless the card says to put it into play or to play it on some other card.
Minion cards are cards that your vampires and allies (collectively referred to as "minions") play. Unless the card states otherwise, a minion card is burned after a minion plays it.
By default, a minion card in play is controlled by the controller of the minion it is on. If a minion card is just in play and not on another controlled card, then it is, by default, controlled by the Methuselah who played it.
In many cases, a minion card will have a Discipline symbol, a clan symbol and/or a blood cost; in these cases, the card can only be played by a vampire who meets the requirements.
Some allies have the ability to play certain cards "as a vampire." In these cases, the ally is treated as a vampire for all effects generated by the play of the card, including duration effects (like "for the remainder of combat"). The ally's life represents his blood (to pay costs, for example). Any blood he gains or loses as a vampire equates to a gain or loss of life for the ally. For purposes of that card, the ally has a capacity of 1 by default (for use if the card requires an older vampire or a vampire of a given capacity). If the ally gains life in excess of his capacity, it doesn't drain off, and if the effect inflicts aggravated damage on the ally, he burns life as normal. However, if the effect would send the ally to torpor, then he is burned instead. The ally is treated as a vampire only for the effect generated from playing the card. In particular, the ally is not treated as a vampire for effects the card has from being in play (like "the vampire with this card" effects).
The general types of minion cards are as follows:
Action cards: A minion can play an action card to take an action other than the default actions like "hunt". Only one action card can be played for the action; action cards cannot be used to modify other actions.
Action modifier cards: The acting minion can play these cards to modify his action. For example, some action modifiers increase the acting minion's stealth or bleed amount or give him more votes. A minion cannot play the same action modifier more than once during a single action.
Ally, equipment and retainer cards: These action cards represent things that a minion can bring into play by taking an action. It takes one action for each card. A minion cannot bring two equipment cards into play in a single action, for example. Equipment and retainer cards are played on the minion playing them (the acting minion), while allies are put into play and remain independent from the acting minion. Equipment and retainers are burned when the minion they are played on is burned.
Political cards: A political action card can be played to call a referendum as an action, or it can be discarded during a referendum to gain a vote.
Combat cards: These are played by minions when in combat (see Combat, sec. 6.4).
Reaction cards: A ready unlocked minion can play a reaction card in response to an action taken by another Methuselah's minion (an action taken by one of a Methuselah's minions cannot be reacted to by any of her own minions). A minion cannot play the same reaction card more than once during a single action. A reaction card does not lock the minion using it.
Reflex cards: A minion can play a reflex card to cancel a specified kind of card played against him as it is played.
|Powers: These action cards are only playable by Imbueds (see the Imbued Rules appendix).|
1.6.4. Event Cards
Event cards are played to represent events that affect the World of Darkness as a whole. Once each discard phase, a Methuselah may use a discard phase action to put an event card in play. Each event can only be played once in a game. An event card is controlled by the Methuselah who played it, by default.
2.1. Order of Play
Seating position can be determined by whatever method the players choose. The player to your left is your prey. She is the player you hope to oust from the game. The player to your right is your predator. She is the player who hopes to oust you from the game. When your prey is ousted, the next player (the prey of your former prey) becomes your new prey.
Each player takes 30 blood counters to form her starting pool. The remaining blood counters are placed in the blood bank -- a common reserve of counters placed so that all players can reach it. Remember that the number of blood counters in the blood bank is limitless -- the bank never runs out.
The Edge (see section 1.2) begins the game uncontrolled and so is placed in the central area as well.
The area in front of each player is divided into two regions: the uncontrolled region, which will start with four uncontrolled minions dealt from the crypt, and the controlled region, which is empty at the start of the game. The controlled region is further divided into two areas: the ready region and the torpor region. Torpor is a special area for wounded vampires (see Torpor, sec. 6.5). As the game progresses, you will gain control of some of your minions, moving them to the ready region, face up (see Influence Phase, sec. 7).
Uncontrolled (Face down)
To begin, separate your crypt cards from your library cards. Shuffle both decks and allow your predator to cut both. Place both decks in front of you. Deal the top seven library cards to yourself to form your hand and deal the top four crypt cards face down into your uncontrolled region. You can look at the cards in your hand and in your uncontrolled region at any time during the game.
You can choose to draw more cards from your crypt to your uncontrolled region later in the game (see Influence Phase, sec. 7).
Turns proceed clockwise around the playing area. Each player's turn is composed of the following five phases, in order:
1. Unlock Phase
Unlock all your cards.
2. Master Phase
Play a master card.
3. Minion Phase
Have your minions perform actions.
4. Influence Phase
Attempt to control vampires in your uncontrolled region.
5. Discard Phase
Discard a card from your hand (and draw another).
Each of the phases is described in full detail in the following sections.
You start your turn with your unlock phase. At the beginning of your unlock phase, you must unlock all of your cards (except your infernal cards, see section 11). Any cards or effects that require or allow you to do something during your unlock phase take effect after you have unlocked your cards. You may choose the order in which these effects take place. Along with effects generated by cards, there are other effects that are resolved during the unlock phase:
- If you have the Edge, you may take one blood counter from the blood bank and add it to your pool.
- For each card and title you are contesting, you must choose to yield or to pay to contest it (see below).
Some of the cards in the game represent unique resources, such as specific locations, equipment or people. These cards will be identified as "unique" in their card text. In addition, all crypt cards represent unique minions. If more than one unique card with the same name is brought into play, that means control of the card is being contested. For the duration of the contest, all of the contested cards are turned face down and are out of play. If another unique card with the same name is brought into play, it is immediately contested and turned face down as well.
The cost to contest a card is one pool, which you pay during each of your unlock phases. Instead of paying the cost to contest the card, you may choose to yield the card. A yielded card is burned. Any cards or counters stacked on the yielded card are also burned.
If all other cards contesting your unique card are yielded, then the card is unlocked and turned face up during your next unlock phase, ending the contest.
Be careful about putting duplicates of the same unique cards in your deck. You can't control more than one of the same unique card at a time, and you cannot contest cards with yourself (if some effect would force you to contest a card with yourself, then you simply burn the incoming copy of the unique card). On the other hand, you may wish to have a second copy handy in case the first is burned.
4.2. Contested Titles
Some titles are unique. For example, there can be only one prince or archbishop of a particular city (see Vampiric Sects, sec. 10). If more than one vampire in play claims the same title, then the title is contested. While the title is being contested, the vampires involved in the contest are treated as if they have no title, but they remain controlled and may act and block as normal.
The cost to contest a title is one blood, which is paid by the vampire during each of his unlock phases. Instead of paying the cost to contest the title, the vampire may choose to yield the title (or may be forced to yield, if he has no blood to pay). Only ready vampires can contest titles -- vampires in torpor must yield during the unlock phase. Yielding the title has no other effect on the vampire.
If all other vampires contesting a title with your vampire have yielded the contest, then your vampire acquires the title during your next unlock phase, ending the contest.
You receive master phase actions during your master phase. A master phase action represents your personal activity during the turn as a Methuselah.
By default, you receive only one master phase action, but some cards may change this amount. You may use a master phase action to play a master card, and some cards can give you alternate ways to use your master phase actions. For example, you can use a master phase action to mark a Red List minion (see section 11). If you've played an out-of-turn master card against this master phase (even if it was cancelled), then you gain one fewer master phase actions than normal (see Master Cards, sec. 1.6.2).
If other effects happen during your master phase, you choose the order in which these effects and your master phase actions are performed.
You cannot save master phase actions for later; master phase actions not used during this phase are lost.
Most of the activity in the game occurs in the minion phases. During your minion phase, you may have your minions take actions. Only ready unlocked minions can take actions, and taking an action locks the acting minion. Other Methuselah's ready unlocked minions may attempt to block your action, and blocking locks the blocking minion (see Resolve Any Block Attempts, sec. 6.2.2). An action is successful only if it is not blocked. Each action is resolved (successful or blocked) before another action can be attempted.
As noted, only ready unlocked minions can take actions, and taking an action locks the acting minion. So, if the minion manages to unlock (due to a card or an effect) during this phase, it is possible for him to take another action.
Some actions are mandatory. For example, a ready vampire with no blood must hunt. During your minion phase, none of your minions can take any non-mandatory actions if any of your ready unlocked minions have mandatory actions yet to perform. If you have two or more minions with mandatory actions, they may be done in the order you choose. A minion with a mandatory action to perform cannot perform any other action. If a single minion has two or more different mandatory actions, then he is "stuck" and cannot take any action (this doesn't prevent your other minions from taking non-mandatory actions, however).
By default (without the use of a card), a ready minion can perform one of two actions: bleed or hunt.
Ready minions can also use actions to bring different types of permanent resources into play. These include equipment (such as computers, guns and exotic artifacts), retainers (henchmen, attendants or animals commanded into the service of the minion) and allies (non-vampire minions, such as mages, werewolves or ordinary mortals). An equipment card is brought into play with an equip action, a retainer with the employ retainer action, and an ally with the recruit ally action. These three actions are very similar, although the cards they bring into play are not. Equipment (but not retainers) can also be moved from one minion to another by taking an action.
Instead of taking a default action, a ready minion could play an action card to perform the action indicated on the card. Some action cards are enhanced versions of the default bleed action or other basic actions, while others are original types of actions. A special type of action card is the political action card, which a vampire can use to call a referendum.
In addition, there are special actions available for dealing with anarchs and with vampires in torpor. These actions are not described here (see Torpor, sec. 6.5 and Anarchs, sec. 10.5).
Bleeding is one of the most fundamental actions of the game. It is the basic means of removing your prey's pool. By default, your minion's bleed actions can be directed only at your prey. Some cards or effects may allow or force you to bleed a Methuselah other than your prey. You can never bleed yourself, however. A minion cannot perform more than one bleed action each turn, even if he unlocks.
Conceptually, taking a bleed action represents the efforts of your minion to undermine the power and influence of the target Methuselah. You might picture bleeding as paying bribes, changing bank records, spreading rumors, etc.
To bleed a Methuselah, announce the action and lock the acting minion (the minion who is taking the bleed action). If the action is successful, the target Methuselah burns an amount of pool equal to the bleed amount. By default, all minions have a bleed amount of one (most allies have card text that overrides the default). Additionally, if the action succeeds and the bleed amount is one or more, then the bleed is successful and the controller of the acting minion gets the Edge, taking it from the Methuselah who has it, if any.
No more than one action modifier card can be played to increase a bleed during a bleed action. Some bleed action modifiers explicitly state that they do not count against this limit; those can be played before or after modifiers that count against the limit. Players are reminded of this rule by the "(limited)" card text on some cards.
Hunting is a vampire's means of satisfying his hunger for blood. Allies cannot take this action.
To have a vampire hunt, announce the action and lock the acting vampire. If the action is successful, the acting vampire gains an amount of blood counters equal to the hunt amount. If this causes the vampire's blood to exceed his blood capacity, then (as always) the excess is immediately returned to the blood bank. By default, all vampires have a hunt amount of one and the blood is taken from the blood bank. Additionally, if the action succeeds and the hunt amount is one or more, then the hunt is successful. This action has a default +1 stealth (see Stealth and Intercept, sec. 188.8.131.52). Note that a ready vampire with no blood must hunt (and cannot take any action except the hunt action).
Equipment cards are action cards that give minions special abilities. The equip action has a default +1 stealth.
To equip with an equipment card from your hand, play the card and lock the acting minion. If the action is successful, the equipment card is placed on the minion (and the cost, if any, is paid). If the action is unsuccessful, the card is burned (see Resolve the Action, sec. 6.2.3). Only one equipment card can be played per action, but there is no limit to the number of equipment cards a minion can have.
To equip with an equipment card currently possessed by one of your other minions, lock the acting minion (the minion who is attempting to get the equipment) and announce the equipment card he is getting. More than one equipment card can be taken from a minion in a single action. If the action is unsuccessful, the equipment remains where it is.
Retainers are action cards that give minions special abilities. The employ retainer action has a default +1 stealth.
To employ a retainer from your hand, play the card and lock the acting minion. If the action is successful, the retainer is placed on the acting minion (and the cost, if any, is paid). If the action is unsuccessful, the card is burned (see Resolve the Action, sec. 6.2.3). Only one retainer card can be employed per action, but there is no limit to the number of retainers a minion can have. Unlike equipment, a retainer is loyal to the minion that employed it and cannot be transferred.
When a retainer is brought into play, it receives blood counters from the blood bank to represent its life (listed on the retainer's card). When a retainer loses its last life counter, it is burned (see Retainers and Combat, sec. 6.4.7).
Allies are action cards that become minions in their own right, capable of acting and blocking independently of the minion that recruits them. The recruit ally action has a default +1 stealth.
To recruit an ally from your hand, play the card and lock the acting minion. If the action is successful, the ally is placed in your ready region, but it cannot act this turn (and the cost, if any, is paid). If the action is unsuccessful, the card is burned (see Resolve the Action, sec. 6.2.3). Only one ally card can be recruited per action. Note that allies brought into play by other means are able to act on the same turn, by default.
When an ally is brought into play (by any means), he receives blood counters from the blood bank to represent his life (listed on the ally's card). When an ally loses his last life counter, he is burned. If recruiting the ally requires a Discipline and the ally is put into play by some means other than recruiting, use the normal version of the ally, if it is different than the superior.
A minion can use an action card to take an action, and some cards in play will allow special actions to be taken as well.
Unless otherwise noted on the card, these actions are at 0 stealth (see Stealth and Intercept, sec. 184.108.40.206) and can be attempted by both vampires and allies. If the card describes a special version of a basic action, then all the rules that apply to the basic action apply, except as otherwise noted on the card.
If Krid plays Computer Hacking (text: "Action. Bleed at +1"), then all the normal rules of bleed actions (only being able to target your prey, for example) apply, except that the bleed amount is increased by one.
To take the action described on an action card in your hand, play the card and lock the acting minion. If the action is successful, it resolves as indicated on the card (and the cost, if any, is paid). If the action is unsuccessful, the card is burned.
To take the action described by a card in play, announce the action and lock the acting minion. If the action is successful, it resolves as indicated on the card (and the cost, if any, is paid). If the action is unsuccessful, there is no effect.
A minion cannot perform an action with the same action card more than once each turn, even if he unlocks. A minion cannot perform each action via the same card in play (including from the minion's own card text) more than once each turn, even if he unlocks.
A political action is an action that is used to call a referendum. It has a default +1 stealth and can only be taken by vampires (allies cannot call referendums). A political action is always undirected (see Who May Attempt to Block, sec. 220.127.116.11). A minion cannot perform more than one political action each turn.
To call the referendum identified on a political action card in your hand, play the card and lock the acting vampire. If the action is successful, pay its cost, and then the terms of the referendum are chosen and votes and ballots are cast and tallied to see if the referendum passes or fails (see Politics, sec. 6.3).
Any ready unlocked minion you control can take an action. The procedure for resolving an action is described in the following sections. Note that action modifiers and reaction cards can be played at any time in this process as appropriate, subject to the restrictions on adding stealth and intercept listed below and the restrictions against the same minion playing the same action modifier or reaction card more than once (see Minion Cards, sec. 1.6.3), and following the same sequencing strictures of all effects (see Sequencing, sec. 18.104.22.168).
Summary of the Course of an Action
- The action is declared, and the card used for the action (action card, equipment, etc.) is played, if any. Lock the minion who is taking the action (the "acting minion").
- The target Methuselahs may try to block the action with any of their ready unlocked minions. If the action doesn't target another Methuselah, or targets a card controlled by the acting Methuselah, then the minions of the prey and predator may try to block.
- If one attempt to block is unsuccessful, another attempt can be made. If no more attempts are made, then the action is successful, and the cost of the action is paid. If a block attempt is successful, then the blocking minion locks and enters combat with the acting minion.
Action modifiers and reaction cards can be played at any time before resolution during an action (unless otherwise noted on card text), with the acting Methuselah getting the opportunity to play first. Only the acting minion can play action modifiers, while only other Methuselahs' ready unlocked minions can play reaction cards. The effect of an action modifier or a reaction card lasts for the duration of the current action by default. Also remember that the same minion cannot play the same action modifier or reaction card more than once per action.
All details of the action are declared when the action is announced, including the target(s), the cost, the effects, etc. Any card required for the action is played (face up) at this time. Lock the acting minion (only ready unlocked minions can take actions).
EXCEPTION: Any decisions to be made for a referendum are not declared until the action succeeds (see The Political Action, sec. 6.3.1).
During Sarah's minion phase, she decides that one of her unlocked minions, Krid, will take an action to bleed her prey, Alexis. Sarah locks Krid and says, "Krid attempts to bleed Alexis for 1 pool."
After resolving that action (successful or not), Sarah decides that another of her unlocked minions, Pug, will recruit an ally, the Loyal Street Gang, from her hand. She locks Pug and plays the Loyal Street Gang, declaring "Pug attempts to recruit the Loyal Street Gang at +1 stealth, costing me one pool." (The pool isn't paid until the action succeeds.)
1. Who May Attempt to Block: If the action targets one or more other Methuselahs (or things controlled by other Methuselahs), then the action is called directed, and only the Methuselahs who are targeted (or control the targets) may use their ready unlocked minions to attempt to block the action (going clockwise from the acting Methuselah, as usual). If the action is not directed at another Methuselah (or at something controlled by another Methuselah), then the action is called undirected and can be blocked by the acting Methuselah's prey or predator, with the prey getting the first opportunity to block. A minion can attempt to block as many times as they wish as long as another minion is not already blocking. If one attempt to block fails, another can be made as often as the blocking Methuselah wishes. Once a Methuselah decides not to make any further attempts to block, that decision is final. As a convenience, when a card describes an action that is typically directed at another Methuselah, the card's text will usually include a (D) symbol as a reminder that the action is typically directed. Remember, political actions are always undirected.
Note that moving past the block attempts (when all Methuselahs have declined to block) is an effect and so allows the acting Methuselah (and others) to play more cards and effects."
Krid's action to bleed Alexis is directed at Alexis, so only Alexis's ready unlocked minions can attempt to block. If one block attempt fails, another can be made.
Pug's action to recruit the Loyal Street Gang is not directed at another Methuselah, so it is undirected. It can be blocked by the ready unlocked minions of Sarah's prey or Sarah's predator. If her prey's first attempt fails, another can be made and so on until her prey declines to make any further attempts, at which point her predator may begin attempting to block.
2. Stealth and Intercept. Conceptually, stealth represents the measures that the acting minion is taking to conduct his business discreetly, to avoid attracting the attention of those who would oppose him. Intercept represents the blocking minion's efforts to discover the plans of the acting minion and to stalk or chase him in order to detain him (by fighting with him) before he can accomplish his goal.
To see if a block attempt succeeds, compare the acting minion's stealth to the blocking minion's intercept. The action is blocked if the blocker's intercept is equal to or greater than the acting minion's stealth. By default, minions have 0 stealth and 0 intercept. So a block attempt will normally succeed unless the action has inherent stealth (such as hunting) or a card or effect is used to increase the acting minion's stealth.
Some actions have an inherent stealth, as noted in the action list (sec. 6.1) and on some action cards. The minion taking such an action starts with greater stealth than normal. Additionally, some cards and other effects can be used to increase a minion's stealth or intercept, as noted on card text.
Stealth can be added during an action only when needed (that is, only if the action is currently being blocked and the blocking minion has enough intercept to block the acting minion). Likewise, intercept can be added during an action only when needed (that is, only by a blocking minion when the acting minion's stealth exceeds his intercept).
Note that all modifications made to a minion's stealth or intercept remain in effect for the duration of the action. Increased stealth and intercept return to normal after the action is resolved.
Sarah announces that Ira is hunting and locks Ira. The action is undirected and has a default of +1 stealth. Her prey declines to block. Her predator, however, plays a reaction card to give +1 intercept to one of her ready unlocked minions, Eugenio. Sarah has no cards to play to increase Ira's stealth, so the action is blocked. Eugenio is locked, and combat begins.
If a block fails (the acting minion's stealth exceeds the blocker's intercept and the blocker's Methuselah cannot add or does not wish to add more intercept), either another attempt is made (with the same or a different minion) or the defending Methuselah declares that she will not make any further attempts to block the action. Note that this declaration is an effect and so allows the acting Methuselah (and others) to play more cards and effects.
Sarah announces that Quentin is bleeding Alexis. Sarah has no effects that she wishes to play before Alexis decides whether to block, so Sarah says "Do you block?" Alexis decides not to block, so then Sarah plays Confusion (an action modifier that adds 1 to the bleed). Alexis is bled for 2 pool.
If the action is successful (all block attempts were unsuccessful), then the cost of the action is paid and the effects of the successful action take place. If the action is blocked, then any card played to take the action is burned (it is moved to the ash heap) and the block is resolved: the blocking minion is locked and enters combat with the acting minion (see Combat, sec. 6.4). The "lock + enter combat" part is called the block resolution, and locking and entering combat happen at the same time. The effects of the action do not take place when the action is blocked. Note that the action's cost, if any, is only paid if the action succeeds; the cost is not paid if the action is blocked. The costs of action modifiers and reaction cards are always paid when the cards are played, regardless of the success of the action.
Obedience is played "if this vampire is about to enter combat with an acting younger vampire" (that is, right before entering combat). If the "enter combat" is part of a block resolution (e.g., the vampire attempts to block and is about to be successful), the card is played and ends the action before the "lock + enter combat" block resolution: therefore, the blocking vampire is not locked.
Change of Target is played "if this minion is blocked, before block resolution." Since Change of Target ends the action, the block resolution never happens. Therefore, the blocking minion is not locked for blocking. (It would require explicit card text such as Mirror Walk that says: "lock the blocking minion and end the action before block resolution")
Politics and diplomacy are as critical to vampires as hunting and feeding. Like mortal society, Kindred society has its own laws, creeds and customs. Politics come into play when a vampire takes a political action or when a blood hunt (see The Blood Hunt, sec. 6.5.6) is called.
To call the referendum listed on a political action card in your hand (or as allowed by a card in play), lock the acting vampire and announce the referendum he is attempting to call (play the political action card, if any, at this time). Political actions are never directed at a specific Methuselah, regardless of what effect the referendum will have if it passes (so a political action can be blocked by, and only by, the acting Methuselah's prey and predator). Additionally, as indicated on card text, political actions have a default of +1 stealth.
Important: The specific terms of the referendum (the choices to be made, if any, by the player who calls the referendum) are not chosen until the action itself is successful (i.e., remains unblocked).
If a political action is successful, its cost is paid, and the referendum is called.
Some cards from older sets use the phrase "during a political action" to refer to the referendum part of the political action.
The referendum consists of three steps: setting the terms, polling (casting votes and ballots) and resolving the referendum.
- Choose the terms, if any, of the referendum.
- Cards that are used "during a political action" but "before votes and ballots are cast" are used at this time.
- Then, all Methuselahs may now cast any votes and ballots they have (see below) at this time, in any order. They call out their votes and ballots freely, and there is no obligation to cast votes or ballots. Once a vote or a ballot has been cast, however, it cannot be changed. The polling stage is completed only when all Methuselahs are finished casting votes and ballots (if you need a time limit, the players can agree to wait 15 seconds after the last vote or ballot cast to close the polling stage).
- Resolve the referendum. If there are more votes for the referendum than against, the referendum passes, and the effects of the successful referendum take place. Otherwise, the referendum fails and has no effect. Tied referendums fail.
Methuselahs have no inherent votes nor ballots -- votes and ballots must be gained, and there are a variety of ways to do so. Once gained, a vote or a ballot need not be cast right away, if at all. Each vote or ballot cast is cast either "for" or "against" the referendum, and a Methuselah may cast some of her votes and ballots in favor and some against, as she chooses, with the restriction that all of the votes and ballots from a each given vampire or other source must be cast in agreement as a group. Once cast, a vote or a ballot cannot be changed. Methuselahs can gain votes and ballots in the following ways:
- Political Action Cards. Each Methuselah may gain one vote by using a political action card. These cards say "worth 1 vote" to indicate this. If a political action card was used to call the referendum, that card provides a vote for the acting vampire's controller. Other political action cards used for votes are simply burned without regard to the text on the cards. Each Methuselah can gain no more than 1 vote from political action cards.
- Titled Vampires. For each ready titled vampire a Methuselah controls, she gains extra votes. The number of votes gained depends on the title. A Methuselah gains:
1 vote for each ready primogen or bishop, and
2 votes for each ready prince, archbishop, baron, kholo or magaji, and
3 votes for each ready justicar or cardinal, and
4 votes for each ready Inner Circle member or regent.
Other minions may have votes or ballots (as listed on card text) without holding one of the titles listed above. A minion's votes and ballots can be used only when the minion is ready.
- The Edge. The Methuselah who has the Edge can burn it (return it, uncontrolled, to the center area) to gain 1 vote.
- The Prisci Block. The prisci as a group have 3 votes. During a referendum, the prisci block of 3 votes is cast "for" or "against" the referendum according to the prisci subreferendum. Each ready priscus provides 1 ballot for this subreferendum, and votes may not be used in this subreferendum. Each ballot cast is either "for" or "against" the main referendum. Whichever side has the greater number of ballots in the subreferendum gains 3 votes in the main referendum. If the subreferendum is tied, the prisci block abstains from the main vote. As vampires cast their ballots in the subreferendum, the prisci block of 3 votes might shift between "for", "against", and "abstain" (as the majority in the subreferendum changes). A vampire must cast all of his votes and ballots in agreement.
- Other Cards. Action modifiers, reaction cards, cards in play, etc. that grant more votes or ballots can all be used subject to the normal rules of playing cards (e.g., only the acting minion can play action modifiers and only ready unlocked minions controlled by Methuselahs other than the acting minion's controller can play reaction cards).
Combat results when a minion blocks the action of a ready minion. Also, some cards' effects may cause combat. Whatever caused the combat, it is important to remember that only ready minions can participate in combat and that your minions cannot enter combat with any of your other minions.
Being locked or unlocked doesn't matter for combat. Locked minions fight just the same as unlocked minions.
Note: The only minion cards that can be played during combat are combat cards (unless a card states otherwise, of course).
Combat occurs in a series of one or more rounds. Each round of combat has three steps:
- Determine Range. Use maneuvers to set the range to close or long.
- Strike. Announce and resolve strikes.
- Press. Use presses to continue into another round or to end combat.
As usual, the acting minion always gets first opportunity to use a card or effect before the opposing minion at every stage of combat.
Each round of combat is fought at either close range or long range. Close range is the default for each round. The range determines which strikes and other strike-resolution-phase effects can be used. Some effects can only be used at close range, some only at long range, and some at either close or long range (see below).
A minion in combat can use a maneuver to get to long range, or he can maneuver to get back to close range if his opponent maneuvers to long. The two combatants can continue playing maneuvers (to keep offsetting the effects of their opponent's last maneuver) for as long as they wish. A minion cannot play two maneuvers in a row (which would effectively cancel each other).
Note: Effects that are played "before range is determined" must be played before the acting minion decides whether or not to play a maneuver at the start of this phase.
A minion has no maneuvers by default; he must use a card or other effect to gain a maneuver. The ability to maneuver can come from combat cards or weapons or other cards in play. To use a maneuver from a strike card, the minion plays the strike card during this phase instead of during the choose strike phase (below). If a minion uses the maneuver from a strike card or a weapon, he is effectively choosing his strike as well. As such, he cannot use a second strike card or weapon to maneuver again in the same round.
If a combat card played by a minion has a maneuver as part of an effect, the maneuver must be used that round of combat. If a combat card played by a minion has an "optional maneuver" as part of the effect, then the minion may decline to use the maneuver.
Typically, a minion that can attack at long range will want to maneuver to long range against an opponent that he suspects can only attack at close range.
Mazz has just blocked Ira, and combat ensues. Mazz has a Submachine Gun that allows him to strike for 3 damage at either close or long range and gives him an optional maneuver. Ira, as the acting minion, declines to maneuver. Mazz uses the maneuver from the gun to move to long range, where he cannot be harmed by Ira's hand strike. Ira plays a maneuver card to get back to close range. However, Mazz has another maneuver card as well, and he plays it to move back to long range. Ira has no more maneuvers to play, so the range is set to long.
During the strike phase, the minions strike each other (if possible) or make an effort to avoid being struck (by dodging, for example). Note that not all strikes are aggressive. Defensive effects such as dodges are also considered strikes (see Strike Effects, sec. 6.4.5).
Normally, each minion gets only one strike per round. Some cards may allow a minion to get additional strikes during a round of combat. Each pair of strikes (one from each of the minions) is resolved before going on to the next pair. If only one minion has additional strikes, the "pair" will be just his strike.
During each pair of strikes, the minions first choose their respective strikes (the acting minion first, then his opponent), and then the strikes are resolved. Strike resolution occurs simultaneously, except for a few special cases (see Strike Effects, sec 6.4.5).
- Choose Strike. Each minion chooses his strike. The strike can be from a combat card, from a weapon the minion possesses, (the default) from a hand strike, or can be from any other card providing this minion a strike. If a minion has used a maneuver from a strike (either a strike card or a weapon) this round, then he cannot choose any other strike for his initial strike of the round. For additional strikes, any strike can be chosen, even if a maneuver has been used.
- Resolve Strike. The effects of the strikes from both minions are resolved simultaneously. Most strikes are effective only at close range. Unless the strike is identified as ranged or does "R" damage (or is a defensive strike such as dodge or combat ends), it is only effective at close range. Ranged strikes and strikes that do "R" damage can be used at any range, close or long.
When a minion or retainer takes damage (either from a strike or from other means), he must burn blood or lose life, as appropriate (see Damage Resolution, sec. 6.4.6). Note that the effects of a strike are applied and then damage is resolved. This timing is important for some special strikes, such as steal blood (see Strike Effects, sec. 6.4.5).
If one or both of the combatants are no longer ready (because one has taken too much damage, for instance), then the round and the combat end immediately (no further strikes, no presses, etc.). This is true at any point during combat, not just during strike resolution.
Additional Strikes: Some cards and effects allow a minion to make additional strikes during the current round of combat. Additional strikes are announced (gained) and performed (used) only after the first pair of strikes are completed. The acting minion decides whether or not to gain additional strikes before the opposing minion, as usual. Additional strikes are handled by having another choose strike phase and resolve strike phase in which only the minions with additional strikes may play strike cards. All additional strikes take place at the same range. This is repeated as necessary. A minion cannot use more than one card or effect (a source) to gain additional strikes per round of combat. Some additional strike sources explicitly state that they do not count against this limit; those can be played before or after additional strike sources. that count against the limit. This rule is reminded on some cards by the "(limited)" card text.
Kurt is blocked by Ira, and they enter combat. Neither of them maneuvers, so the round is at close range. Kurt announces he is using an Undead Strength card, which allows him to inflict 3 damage, as his strike. Ira uses a Dodge card as his strike, so no damage is dealt by either vampire.
Next, Kurt plays a Blur card, giving him one extra strike. Ira plays a Blur also, giving him two extra strikes since he has superior Celerity. These additional strikes are resolved at the same range, which is close in this case.
Kurt uses his hands for the second strike. Ira uses his hands also. Both suffer 1 damage. Ira then uses his hands one more time, and Kurt can't use a strike because he had only one additional strike. Kurt suffers one more damage.
At the end of a round of combat (if both combatants are still ready), the combatants will either go their separate ways (the default) or one of them will give chase. Presses can be used to continue combat (start another round of combat) or to end combat (cancel an opponent's press), similar to the way maneuvers are used to determine range. The two combatants can continue playing presses (to keep offsetting the effects of their opponent's last press) for as long as they wish. A minion cannot play two presses in a row (which would effectively cancel each other). If there is an uncanceled press to continue, then another round of combat begins.
Hand Strike. The default strike is a hand strike. When a minion strikes with a hand strike at close range, he does an amount of damage equal to his strength to the opposing minion. Minions have a default strength of 1.
Destroy Equipment. This effect will burn an equipment card of the opposing minion. If there is more than one piece of equipment on the opposing minion, the striking minion chooses which one is burned. The equipment can still be used up to the point at which the destroy equipment strike resolves. The effect may specify destroy weapon instead of equipment, in which case a weapon must be chosen.
Steal Equipment. This effect is like destroy equipment, except that instead of being burned, the equipment card is moved to the striking minion. The stolen equipment may not be used by bearer during the current round of combat. The equipment is retained by the stealing minion after combat ends.
First Strike. A strike done with first strike is resolved before a normal strike. Thus, if the opposing minion is burned or sent to torpor by a strike done with first strike, his strike will not be resolved at all. If the opposing minion was striking with a weapon that is stolen or destroyed with first strike, then the opposing minion simply loses his strike altogether. If both minions strike with first strike, then the strikes are resolved simultaneously. A strike done with first strike will still not resolve before a combat ends effect (which always resolves first), and a dodge still cancels the effects of a strike done with first strike (see below).
Dodge. A dodge strike deals no damage, but it protects the dodging minion and his possessions (cards on him) from the effects of the opposing strike. Retainers are not protected, however. A dodge is effective at any range. A dodge protects even from the effects of a strike done with first strike. (A dodge is a strike, even though it is solely defensive. It represents the activity of the minion during that pair of strikes.)
Combat Ends. This effect ends combat immediately. This type of strike is always the first to resolve, even before a strike done with first strike, and it ends combat before other strikes or other strike resolution effects are resolved. Combat ends is effective at any range. Combat ends is not affected by a dodge, since dodge only cancels effects that are directed at the dodging minion.
Steal Blood. This effect moves blood counters (or life counters) from the target to the striking minion. This does not count as damage, so the effect cannot be prevented with damage prevention effects. This effect occurs before the "heal damage" step of damage resolution, so the stolen blood can be used to heal damage even if the damage is inflicted simultaneously. If the stolen blood causes the striking vampire to have more blood than his capacity, the excess drains off immediately (as usual).
Cohn Rose enters combat with a mage ally. Cohn has a capacity of 5 and has 4 blood. The mage has 2 life. After determining range, Cohn steals 3 blood as his strike. The mage strikes for 2R damage. Two life counters are moved to Cohn from the mage, and Cohn sustains 2 damage. Cohn has 6 blood, but his capacity is only 5, so 1 blood is moved to the blood bank. The mage has no life counters remaining, so he is burned. Cohn has 2 damage to deal with and doesn't prevent any, so he burns 2 blood to heal the damage, leaving him with 3 blood.
Damage resolution has two steps: prevent damage and heal damage.
First, the minion taking damage can play damage prevention cards (such as the combat card Skin of Rock) if he is able to do so. These damage prevention cards are played one at a time until all the damage is prevented or until the minion chooses not to play any more.
Any remaining damage (damage that was not prevented) is successfully inflicted. The damage is then healed (if the victim is a vampire) or causes a loss of life points (if the victim is an ally or retainer).
For each point of damage inflicted on a vampire, he must burn one blood to heal the damage. A vampire can burn all of his blood if needed, and doing so does not have any other negative effects on the vampire. If a vampire cannot heal all the damage (i.e., more damage is inflicted than he has blood with which to heal), he burns blood to heal what damage he can, and the unhealed damage leaves him wounded. A wounded vampire is moved to torpor after the remaining damage is handled (see Torpor, sec. 6.5).
Some damage is described as aggravated damage, such as damage from fire or sunlight or from the claws or fangs of some other immortal creatures, including some vampires. Aggravated damage differs from normal damage in two ways: Aggravated damage cannot be healed, and aggravated damage can burn a vampire if that vampire is already wounded. Aggravated damage is damage that a vampire cannot heal. Since it cannot be healed, the vampire doesn't burn any blood to heal it, but instead becomes wounded (unless the damage is prevented, of course).
Aggravated damage done to a wounded vampire can burn the vampire outright. A wounded vampire is one that has taken damage that he failed to heal or one that is in torpor or on his way to torpor. For each point of aggravated damage that is successfully inflicted on a wounded vampire, he must burn a blood to prevent his destruction. If he doesn't have enough blood, he is burned. Destruction by this method does not constitute diablerie (see Diablerie, sec. 6.5.5).
If both regular damage and aggravated damage are successfully inflicted on a vampire at the same time, the regular damage is handled first. This only applies to unprevented damage; damage prevention effects can be used to prevent the aggravated damage before the normal damage, if the player chooses. If a vampire is wounded, he goes to torpor after all the damage is handled (see Torpor, sec. 6.5). If aggravated damage burns him, he goes directly to the ash heap. He doesn't go through torpor first.
Krid is ready and has 1 blood when he receives 1 point of aggravated damage. He cannot heal this damage, so he is wounded and goes to torpor with 1 blood.
Milo is ready and has 2 blood when he receives 3 points of aggravated damage. He cannot heal any of it. He becomes wounded by 1 point, and so he must burn 2 blood to prevent destruction from the other 2 points (1 blood per point), leaving him empty and in torpor.
Barth is ready and has 1 blood when he receives 2 regular damage and 1 aggravated damage. He burns 1 blood to heal the first point of normal damage. He doesn't have enough blood to heal the second point and becomes wounded. The aggravated damage burns him, since he already is wounded and cannot burn a blood to prevent his destruction.
Allies and retainers treat aggravated damage the same as normal damage. For each point of damage (normal or aggravated) successfully inflicted on an ally or retainer, he burns one life counter. An ally or retainer who loses all of his life counters is burned.
A retainer is not normally harmed in combat (unless the minion employing it is burned). However, an attacker can choose to target one of the opposing minion's retainers with a strike rather than striking at the opposing minion. This can only be done at long range (close range combat is too harried to allow for such distractions) and, thus, only with strikes that are effective at long range (see Strike, sec. 6.4.3). To target a retainer with a ranged strike, the striking minion must announce his intended target when the strike is announced.
When a vampire cannot heal his wounds, he enters into a deep sleep known as torpor. A vampire in torpor is particularly weak and vulnerable to attacks from others of his kind. A vampire in torpor may be killed (burned) by a ready vampire through the act of diablerie. By committing diablerie, the diablerist drains the victim of his blood and grows stronger (and takes whatever equipment the victim had). Vampiric society condemns this act, however, so the risk may outweigh the reward (see Diablerie, sec. 6.5.5 and The Blood Hunt, sec. 6.5.6).
A vampire in torpor is still considered controlled but is not ready. He still unlocks at the start of the unlock phase as usual.
If a vampire cannot heal his wounds, he goes into torpor. For example, a vampire who doesn't have enough blood to heal the damage inflicted on him or who sustains aggravated damage (see Damage Resolution, sec. 6.4.6) goes into torpor.
Vampires in torpor are placed in an area to one side of the uncontrolled region, called the torpor region. Any retainers, equipment and other cards on the vampire stay with the vampire when he goes into torpor.
A vampire in torpor can take no action except the "leave torpor" action (see below) and cannot block or play reaction cards. He can play action modifiers during his actions.
This action is the only one a vampire in torpor can take (unless a card has explicit text saying otherwise). The cardless action costs 2 blood and is undirected. (Card versions of this action cost whatever the card costs.)
To have a vampire in torpor attempt to leave torpor, announce the action and lock the acting vampire. If the action is successful, the acting vampire pays the cost (2 blood) and moves from the torpor region to the ready region. If this action is blocked, there is no combat (vampires in torpor cannot enter combat). Instead, if the blocker is a vampire, he gets the opportunity to diablerize the acting vampire (see Diablerie, sec. 6.5.5). If he chooses not to, or if he is an ally, then the action simply fails (the acting vampire remains in torpor, and no cost is paid). This action has a default +1 stealth. A vampire leaving torpor is no longer wounded.
A vampire in torpor can be the target of the following actions, which can be taken by any ready vampire:
The cardless action costs 2 blood, which can be paid by the acting vampire or the rescued vampire, or the cost may be split between them. Allies cannot take this action.
To have a vampire rescue another vampire from torpor, announce the action (including how the cost will be paid) and lock the acting vampire. If the action is successful, the cost is paid, and the vampire in torpor is moved to the ready region. The rescued vampire does not lock or unlock as a result of being rescued. If the action is blocked, the acting vampire and the blocking minion enter combat as normal. This action has a default +1 stealth and is undirected if the acting vampire and the vampire in torpor have the same controller; otherwise it is simply a directed action. A vampire rescued from torpor is no longer wounded.
To have a vampire diablerize a vampire in torpor, announce the action and lock the acting vampire. If the action is successful, the victim is diablerized (see below). If the action is blocked, the acting vampire and the blocking minion enter combat as normal. This action has a default +1 stealth and is undirected if the acting vampire and the vampire in torpor have the same controller; otherwise it is simply a directed action. Allies cannot take this action.
Diablerie is the act of sending another vampire to Final Death by drinking his blood. Only ready vampires can commit diablerie. Vampires marked as Blood Cursed cannot commit diablerie. The vampire committing diablerie is called the diablerist. Diablerie is resolved as follows:
- All blood on the victim is moved to the diablerist. Blood in excess of his capacity drains off as normal.
- The diablerist may take any equipment on the victim.
- The victim is burned (sent to his owner's ash heap). Any cards and counters on him are also burned.
- If the victim was older (had a higher capacity) than the diablerist, the diablerist can be given a Discipline. His controller may go through her library, ash heap and hand to get a master Discipline card to put on the diablerist and then reshuffle her library or draw back up to her hand size as necessary. This may increase the diablerist's capacity by 1, but does not automatically give the diablerist a blood to fill that new capacity.
- If the victim was Red List, the diablerist may receive trophies (see section 11).
The steps of diablerie are treated as a single unit. No effects can be used to interrupt the diablerie; effects may be played either before or after, as appropriate. After diablerie, a blood hunt may be called on the diablerist.
As stated, vampiric society condemns the act of diablerie. The penalty for committing this act is death, and the method of justice is a blood hunt (called a "wild hunt" by some groups of vampires; the terms are interchangeable), in which the diablerist is hunted down and destroyed by others of his kind. In practice, however, this brand of justice is not always meted out fairly, depending on the connections that the diablerist has.
When a vampire commits diablerie, a referendum is automatically conducted to determine if a blood hunt will be called on the diablerist. If the referendum passes, a blood hunt is called, and the diablerist is burned. This referendum is not an action, so it cannot be blocked, and action modifiers and reaction cards cannot be played. Otherwise, this referendum is handled just like any other.
Methuselahs vehemently strive to dominate vampire society, but most younger vampires are reluctant to defer to the whims of the ancients. Methuselahs must apply their resources skillfully to entice their younger brethren (and other minions) to do their bidding (often with the minions not even realizing that they are being manipulated).
Your influence phase allows you to devote some of your influence (measured by your pool) to controlling the minions in your uncontrolled region. This phase can also be used to move new minions from your crypt to your uncontrolled region. The activities conducted in this phase are administered through a type of "influence phase action" called a transfer. Transfers, like master phase actions, are not represented by counters and cannot be saved for later use.
Each Methuselah normally receives four transfers at the start of her influence phase. To balance the advantage of going first, however, Methuselahs do not receive the full allotment of transfers during the first three turns. Instead, the Methuselah who has the first turn receives only one transfer on her first influence phase. The Methuselah who plays second gets two transfers on her turn, and the Methuselah who takes the third turn gets three transfers. Thereafter, each Methuselah receives the standard four transfers during her influence phase.
During your influence phase you may spend transfers as follows:
- Spend one transfer to move 1 blood counter from your pool to a minion in your uncontrolled region.
- Spend two transfers to move 1 blood counter from a minion in your uncontrolled region to your pool.
- Spend four transfers and burn a pool to move a vampire from your crypt to your uncontrolled region (drawing from the top, as always).
At any time during this phase, if a vampire has at least as many blood counters as his capacity, the player can move that vampire face up to the ready region, unlocked. The counters are kept on him to represent his blood (counters in excess of his capacity drain off immediately as usual). If the vampire grants additional transfers, those can’t be used on this turn because transfers are gained at the start of the influence phase. Other types of crypt cards are handled similarly.
Nora comes to her influence phase. She has four transfers to spend, but only 2 pool. She sees that she has built up 8 blood counters on a vampire with a blood capacity of 10, and she thinks she can win the game if she gets it into play. However, she cannot use both counters in her pool to put it into play because that would put her out of the game. She had invested a couple of blood counters in a vampire with a blood capacity of 7 on a previous turn, so she spends two of her four transfers to take back 1 of those counters and put it in her pool. Now she has 3 pool and two transfers left to spend. She spends the two transfers by moving 2 of the 3 blood counters from her pool to the vampire with the blood capacity of 10 and moves that vampire to the ready region.
For Imbued crypt cards, refer to the Imbued Rules Appendix.
In your discard phase you receive, by default, one discard phase action. You may use a discard phase action to put an event card in play (no more than one per phase) or to discard a card from your hand (and draw to replace it as usual). Some effects may change the number of discard phase actions you receive or may give you alternate ways to use your discard phase actions. Discard phase actions not used in this phase are lost; they cannot be saved for later.
When a Methuselah runs out of pool counters, she is ousted from the game. If you are ousted, all the cards you control are removed from the game. Any of your opponents' cards you control are returned to them at the end of the game. Any of your cards controlled by other Methuselahs remain in play as normal (see The Golden Rule of Card Ownership, sec. 1.3). The game continues until only one Methuselah is left. You get a victory point whenever the Methuselah who is your prey is ousted (no matter how or by whom your prey was ousted). You receive an additional victory point if you are the last player left. At the end of the game, the winner is the player with the most victory points, even if she has been ousted. Along with a victory point, you gain six pool from the blood bank when your prey is ousted.
EXCEPTION: If a player is ousted at the same time that her prey is ousted, the player gets the victory point but does not gain 6 pool.
When your prey is ousted, the next Methuselah to your left (the ousted Methuselah's prey) becomes your new prey, and you become her new predator.
Richard, Steve, Justin and Lisa are seated clockwise around a table in that order. Steve is reduced to 0 pool first. Steve is Richard's prey, so Richard gains 6 pool and a victory point. Justin is ousted next by Richard. Since now Justin is Richard's prey, Richard gets another 6 pool and another victory point. Now, Richard and Lisa are the only ones left, and so each is prey of the other. All the pool Richard earned doesn't save him from falling, and Lisa gets 6 pool and a victory point. Since Lisa was not ousted at all, she gets an additional victory point. The final score is tied between Lisa and Richard, with 2 victory points each.
9.2. Withdrawing from the Game
If you have exhausted your library and begin your turn with less than a full hand, you have the option of withdrawing from the game. To exercise this option, you must announce your intent to withdraw during your unlock phase. For the withdrawal to succeed, you must meet the following conditions:
- None of your minions enter combat until your next unlock phase.
- None of your minions lose (or spend) any blood until your next unlock phase.
- You do not lose (or spend) any pool until your next unlock phase.
If you have met these conditions when you would start your unlock phase, you successfully withdraw. The withdrawal fails if you lose a single pool or blood, even if you gain enough to make up for the loss.
If you successfully withdraw, you receive one victory point to add to any victory points you have already gained. Your predator does not get a victory point or any pool for your withdrawal.
Some of the various clans of vampires have grouped themselves into sects. Each sect represents clans with similar philosophies and goals. Each sect has its own codes of conduct and its own political structure and titles.
No matter what sect, a vampire cannot have more than one title. If a vampire with a title gains another, he loses the first title, even if the new title would be a demotion. If a vampire with a contested title (see Contested Titles, sec. 4.2) gains a title, he immediately yields the contested title.
Each vampire's sect is given in its card text, and that may override the default sect of that vampire's clan (see the lists in the following sections). If a vampire changes clans (by means of a Clan Impersonation card, for example) to a clan that belongs to a different sect, he changes sects as well.
A vampire must belong to the appropriate sect to receive a title. If a vampire with a title changes clans or sects to a clan or sect inappropriate for his title, he loses the benefit of the title until his clan or sect changes appropriately. If he receives a new title, or if his title is contested (see Contested Titles, sec. 4.2), he immediately yields the old title.
One of the major sects is the Camarilla, which is composed of seven clans: Brujah, Malkavian, Nosferatu, Toreador, Tremere and Ventrue, as well as the Caitiff. Some vampire cards from older sets do not have any sect designation -- these vampires are all Camarilla vampires.
Only Camarilla vampires can hold the Camarilla titles primogen, prince, justicar and Inner Circle member. Additionally, each clan's justicar and Inner Circle titles are unique (see Contested Titles, sec. 4.2) and can only be held by vampires of that clan. The title of prince is associated with a particular city and can be contested by another vampire who claims any title to the same city. The title of primogen is not unique and cannot be contested.
The second major sect is the Sabbat, which is composed of 15 clans: the antitribu clans (corrupted versions of some of the main clans) and the Lasombra, Tzimisce, Pander, Ahrimanes, Blood Brothers, Harbingers of Skulls and Kiasyd. These clans' icons all have the Sabbat wax seal underneath. Only Sabbat vampires can hold the Sabbat titles bishop, archbishop, priscus, cardinal and regent. Like Camarilla princes, the title of archbishop is associated with a particular city and can be contested by another vampire who claims any title to the same city. The other Sabbat titles are not unique and cannot be contested. The title of regent is unique (see Contested Titles, sec. 4.2). The regent counts as cardinal by cards and other effects, but has an additional vote as well.
The antitribu clans are distinct from their non-antitribu counterparts. A vampire of one of the antitribu clans does not qualify to play a card that requires the counterpart, and vice versa. Likewise, if a vampire changes sects, his clan doesn't automatically change. For example, a Brujah antitribu who becomes a Camarilla vampire via Writ of Acceptance is still a Brujah antitribu, not a Brujah.
The third major sect is the Laibon, which is composed of just four clans: Akunanse, Guruhi, Ishtarri and Osebo.
Only Laibon can hold the Laibon titles kholo and magaji. The magaji title is not unique and cannot be contested. Clan kholo titles can only be held by a vampire of the appropriate clan, and each is unique to that clan (see "Contested Titles," sec. 4.2).
Anarch is a sect on its own. An untitled non-Anarch vampire can become an anarch as a +1 stealth undirected action that costs 2 blood (or 1 blood if the controller controls at least 1 other ready anarch). A vampire can also be made an anarch by certain card effects. Becoming an anarch changes the vampire's sect to Anarch. If the anarch changes sect, then he is no longer anarch. Like other sects, being anarch has no effect on game play except as defined by cards and effects in play. Some cards can only be played by anarch vampires, for example.
Baron is a title that can only be held by an anarch. A ready baron gets 2 votes. The title of baron is associated with a particular city and can be contested by another vampire who claims the title of prince, archbishop or baron of the same city. If the title is contested with a prince or an archbishop, then the anarch's cost to contest it is increased by 1 blood. If a baron changes sect, he loses the benefit of the title until he becomes Anarch again, as usual for titles.
Other clans are not aligned with any of the major sects; they are called Independent. Any clan not listed above as belonging to one of the sects listed above is Independent. These vampires are identified simply as "Independent" on card text. Some vampire cards from older sets are identified as "Non-Camarilla" on card text -- these vampires are all Independent vampires. Independent vampires are "Non-Camarilla", "Non-Sabbat", "Non-Laibon", and "Non-Anarch".
Some Independent vampires may start with votes, as listed on card text. Treat these vampires as if they had titles of their own.
Blood Cursed: A vampire with Blood Curse cannot commit diablerie.
Infernal: An infernal minion doesn't unlock as normal in the unlock phase. During his controller's unlock phase, she may burn a pool to unlock him.
Red List: Any Methuselah may use a master phase action to mark a Red List minion for the current turn. Any ready vampire she controls may enter combat with a marked Red List minion as a +1 stealth (D) action that costs 1 blood. Each vampire can take this action only once each turn. If a vampire burns a Red List minion in combat or as a (D) action (including diablerie), his controller may search her library, ash heap and/or hand for a master trophy card to put on that vampire and then reshuffle her library or draw back up to her hand size as necessary. Other trophies may be moved to this vampire, as well (see section 1.6.2). This is done before the blood hunt referendum is called, if any.
Research Area: Some cards may move cards to a special staging area called the research area. The cards in your research area are face down and out of play; they can be affected only by cards and effects that say so explicitly. You may look at the cards in your research area at any time.
Scarce: When a Methuselah moves a scarce vampire from her uncontrolled region to her ready region during her influence phase, she must burn 3 pool for every other vampire of the same clan she controls.
Slave: Some minions are identified as slaves to a specified clan. A slave cannot take a directed action if his controller doesn't control a ready member of the specified clan. Also, if a member of the specified clan controlled by the same Methuselah is blocked, the controller can lock the slave to cancel the combat and to unlock the acting vampire and have the slave enter combat with the blocking minion instead.
Steal: A player who steals a card takes permanent control of it. The card stays in the same region as it was before (for instance, if a vampire in torpor is stolen, it stays in torpor). If the stolen card is attached to another card, the player who steals it can attach the stolen card to a card of the same type they control (for instance, a location that is attached to a minion will be moved to another minion they control).
Sterile: Sterile vampires cannot take actions to put other vampires in play.
Title: A Title card is a placeholder for a title. If the title is yielded or lost, the card is burned. If the title is unique, contests are paid with vampire blood, as normal for titles.
Unique: Only one copy of a unique card can be in play at a time. If another Methuselah puts a copy of the card into play, the copies will be contested (and out of play) until all but one is yielded (see Contested Cards, sec. 4.1).
Wake: A vampire that wakes during an action can attempt to block that action and/or play reaction cards as though unlocked for the duration of the action. Wake effects can always be played during the "as a card is played" window, in order to play other reaction cards that must be played in that window. A reaction cards that unlocks a vampire but doesn't wake it is not considered as a wake effect and can't be played during the "as a card is played" window.
“During X, do Y”: The “during X do Y” template is used in several cards. When this template is used, only one Y can be done per X with this card. For instance, you may move blood from your vampire to your pool with Vessel only once per unlock phase.
“Cancel a card”: A "canceled" card has no effect, but it is still considered played. Unless explicitly written, cost for the card is paid. If the card was a strike card, the minion who played it must choose a strike, which might come from another strike card. If the card was an action card, the minion doesn’t lock (he doesn’t pay for the action card), and can play the same action card again.
“Lock X to do Y”: Some cards use this wording, for instance: superior Bauble, Isanwayen. Such effects can’t be used by locked minions, even by those under a wake effect. These effects require an unlocked minion to be used. Conversely, “Lock X. Do Y” effects (for instance: Redirection) are usable by locked minions under a wake effect.
"Search": Some effects have you search your library or cyrpt. Searching can result in not finding the card. If you search your library or crypt, you must shuffle it afterwards.
Acting Minion: The minion performing the current action.
Action Card: A card that a minion can play to perform a special action. Includes equipment, retainer, ally and political action cards.
Action Modifier: A card that the acting minion can play to modify the action he is performing.
Additional Strike: Allows a minion to strike an additional time in the same round of combat (at the same range as the initial strike).
Aggravated Damage: Type of damage that vampires cannot heal. It can even burn a wounded vampire.
Ally: A non-vampire minion. Brought into play by a "recruit ally" action, he acts independently of the minion who recruited him (but can't act on the turn he is recruited).
Ash Heap: The discard pile. Cards that are burned or discarded are returned to their owner's ash heap. An action that targets an ash heap is always considered to be undirected.
Attached: If a card is put on another, both are considered attached to each other.
Bearer: The minion an equipment is put on. If the equipment refers to a type of bearer (for instance, "the bearer with Auspex"), then the equipment can be used only by that type of bearer.
Bleed: An action that attempts to burn another player's pool. By default, it can only be attempted against a player's prey.
Block: The successful attempt of a minion to prevent the action of another minion. Typically concluded with combat.
Blocking Minion: The minion currently attempting to block an action, or the minion who has successfully blocked the current action.
Blood (also Blood Counter): A token representing a vampire's capability to heal himself or to perform certain feats.
Blood Bank: Repository of blood counters not in use.
Blood Hunt: The act of burning a vampire that committed diablerie. A referendum is conducted to see if a blood hunt is called.
Burn: Move a card in play to the ash heap. A burned card goes to its owner's ash heap. A burned counter or token is returned to the blood bank.
Capacity: The maximum number of blood counters a vampire can have. It is also a relative measure of the vampire's age.
Circle: Each Blood Brother is identified with a particular circle. A vampire without a circle designation is his own circle.
Combat Card: A card that a minion can play in combat.
Combat Ends: A strike that ends combat before any damage or other strike effects happen.
Contest: The struggle for control of a unique card or title.
Controlled Region: Area containing a Methuselah's controlled cards.
Conviction: Card played during the Unlock phase on an Imbued.
Crypt: The deck of cards containing a player's vampires.
Diablerie: The act of burning a torporous vampire. Can be used to gain a Discipline.
Diablerist: A vampire who commits diablerie. A blood hunt can be called to burn a diablerist.
Directed Action: An action of one Methuselah's minion that targets one or more other Methuselahs (or the minions or cards they control).
Discard: Move a card in hand to the ash heap.
Dodge: A strike that protects a minion and the cards on him from an opposing minion's strike. Retainers are not protected.
Edge: A token symbolizing who has the upper hand at the moment.
Equipment: An object a minion uses for a special bonus or ability.
Employer: The minion a retainer is put on.
First Strike: An offensive strike done faster than normal, so that the strike resolves before a normal offensive strike would.
Hunt: The action that a vampire takes to regain blood.
Imbued: A type of crypt card. They are allies.
Influence Phase: The phase of a turn in which a Methuselah may make transfers to her uncontrolled vampires and during which vampires are moved from the uncontrolled region to the ready region.
Intercept: A measure of how well a minion can block the action of another minion. If it equals or exceeds the acting minion's stealth, the minion's block is successful. Intercept can't be played unless it is needed.
Library: The deck containing a player's conviction, master, minion and events cards from which her hand is drawn.
Life (also Life Counter): A token representing a retainer's or an ally's health.
Lock: Turn (a card) sideways. Typically done to indicate that the card has been activated for some purpose.
Maneuver: The efforts of a minion in combat to move away from or to close in on the opposing minion.
Master Card: A library card that can be used as a master phase action.
Master Phase Action: The Methuselah's personal activity for the turn.
Minion: A vampire or ally.
Minion Card: Any library card that is not a conviction, master or event card -- a card that a minion can play.
Out-of-Turn Master Card: A type of master card that can only be played during another player's turn, using the next master phase action of the player playing it. A player can never play more than one Out-of-Turn Master card between two of her turns, even if she regains a Master Phase Action.
Polling: The step of a referendum during which votes are cast.
Pool: A token representing a Methuselah's status. Also, a collection of such tokens. A Methuselah is ousted if she loses all of her pool.
Predator: The player to a Methuselah's right.
Press: The efforts of a minion in combat to escape from or to give chase to the opposing minion.
Prey: The player to a Methuselah's left. A player receives a victory point and 6 pool when her prey is ousted.
Reaction Card: A card played by a Methuselah's ready, unlocked minion in response to an action taken by a minion controlled by another Methuselah.
Ready Region: Area containing a Methuselah's minions that are not in torpor.
Referendum: The part of a political action (or a blood hunt referendum) during which the terms are set, the votes are cast and the effects are applied (if it passes).
Retainer: A mortal creature or being that serves a minion. Brought into play by an employ retainer action, he remains with the minion who employed him and cannot act independently.
Stealth: A measure of how well a minion evades other minions' attempts to block his action. If it exceeds the blocking minion's intercept, the block fails.
Sterile: A vampire that cannot take an action to create a vampire.
Strength: The amount of damage a minion inflicts with a normal hand strike.
Strike: The effort of a minion in combat to harm his opponent or to avoid being struck by his opponent.
Torpor Region: Area where vampires are placed when they cannot heal damage done to them. A vampire in torpor is vulnerable to diablerie attempts. A vampire in torpor is not ready but is still considered controlled.
Transfer: Influence phase action used to move pool to or from an uncontrolled vampire or to move a card from the crypt to the uncontrolled region.
Uncontrolled Region: Area containing a Methuselah's uncontrolled vampires.
Undirected Action: An action that is not directed. An undirected action can be blocked by the prey or the predator.
Unlock: Restore a card to the normal, upright, position. See Lock.
Victory Point: The measure of a player's ranking. A player receives a victory point when her prey is ousted and for being the last player in the game. The player with the most victory points at the end of the game wins.
Withdraw: An attempt to leave the game by a player who has run out of cards in her library.
Wounded: A vampire who has received damage that he has not healed or a vampire in torpor or on his way to torpor is said to be wounded.
World of Darkness Glossary
The following is a glossary of some of the relevant terms of Vampire: The Masquerade.
Amaranth: The act of killing a vampire by drinking all of his blood. Commonly known as diablerie.
Anarch: A Kindred rebel who opposes the rule of the elders.
Antediluvian: An ancient vampire, a grand-childe of Caine. Most of the major clans of the Camarilla were created by the Antediluvians.
Archbishop: A vampire who serves as leader of a city under the Sabbat's influence.
Archon: A powerful vampire who travels from city to city, usually in the service of a justicar.
Baron: An anarch "prince".
Beast, The: The drives and desires that pull Kindred away from their humanity and turn them into monsters.
Bishop: A vampire who serves or advises an archbishop.
Blood Bond: A mysterious link that forms between Kindred that drink one another's blood. The blood bond can give the donor control of the recipient.
Blood Hunt: A system of punishment for vampires who disregard the laws of the Masquerade. The hunted vampire is slain by those who heed the call.
Book of Nod, The: The sacred book of the Kindred, which allegedly traces their origins and history. Most of it has been lost to time.
Caine: The first vampire, from whom all other vampires are allegedly descended.
Camarilla, The: A sect made up of seven clans that have banded together and are governed by the Traditions.
Canaille: Mortals, especially referring to the most unsavory elements of mortal society.
Cardinal: A Sabbat vampire who oversees the influential affairs of a large territory.
Clan: A group of vampires that share certain mystical and physical characteristics.
Consanguineous: Belonging to the same clan (usually used to refer to a younger member).
Domain: The fiefdom (usually a city) claimed by a vampire, most often a prince.
Elysium: The name given to a place where the elders meet. No violence is tolerated at such a location.
Embrace: The act of transforming a mortal into a vampire.
Gehenna: The impending Armageddon in which the Antediluvians will rise up and devour all Kindred.
Ghoul: A mortal who drinks the blood of a vampire but has not been drained beforehand.
Haven: A vampire's "home"; where he finds sanctuary from the sun.
Inner Circle: The group of vampires who comprise the ruling body of the Camarilla.
Justicar: A vampire who serves as judge, jury and executioner of Camarilla vampires who have broken the Traditions.
Jyhad: The secret war waged between the few remaining Methuselahs using younger vampires as pawns.
Kindred: The term that vampires use to refer collectively to their kind. Sabbat vampires scorn the term.
Kine: A term for mortals, largely contemptuous.
Masquerade, The: The Tradition of keeping mortals ignorant of the existence of vampires, essential to survival.
Methuselah: A powerful vampire, thousands of years old (but still a few generations younger than the Antediluvians), involved in the struggles of the Jyhad from afar or in complete anonymity.
Path: A belief system followed by more alien members of the Sabbat and some Independents in place of Humanity.
Praxis: The right of a prince to rule a domain.
Primogen: A council of vampires in a city that supports the city's ruling prince.
Prince: A Camarilla vampire who rules a city and enforces the Traditions upon the city's vampire population.
Priscus: A Sabbat vampire who advises the regent and cardinals.
Regent: The "leader" of the Sabbat, insofar as the sect recognizes one.
Retainer: A mortal or creature that serves a vampire master.
Sabbat, The: A violent sect of vampires bent on destroying the Camarilla.
Sect: A group of Kindred arguably united under a common philosophy.
Traditions, The: The six laws of the Camarilla. These Traditions are laws that protect the vampires from mortals and from one another.
Imbued are new crypt cards. An imbued is considered a mortal ally, not a vampire. Imbued have 1 strength and 1 bleed, by default. Their cost is also their starting life, and it is specified on each card individually (like capacity). They have creeds (like clans). They have virtues (like Disciplines, but only one level). When they have zero life, they are incapacitated (like torpor) instead of being burned (see 5 below). Any "burn ally" effect will still burn an imbued, however.
Conviction is a new card type. It is played in the unlock phase, so it is an "unlock" card, not a master or minion or discard (event) card. During your unlock phase, you may play 1 conviction on each of your imbued. You may play these conviction cards from your hand or from your ash heap. When an imbued enters play with no conviction, he may gain 1 conviction from your library, hand or ash heap. In addition to their own effects, conviction cards may be spent (burned) to pay the conviction costs which some cards require. Each imbued has a limit of 5 conviction. Any conviction gained above five is burned instead.
Power is a new minion card type, only playable by imbued. An imbued may get a power as a +1 stealth action, like equipment or retainers.
The imbued unlocks if the action is successful. An imbued may not have two copies of the same power. Some effects or powers are "always on". Others have a card type icon (action, combat, etc.) indicating when and how the effect can be used. To use one of those effects, you must lock the power card (and pay whatever cost the effect requires). Standard rules for using such effects apply (e.g., a reacting minion must be ready and unlocked). "Always on" effects are still on while the power card is locked.
4. Terms and Icons
Imbued: a new minion type which counts as a mortal ally.
Monster: any vampire or non-mortal, non-animal ally or retainer.
When an imbued has no life, he is placed in the incapacitated region (controlled but not ready). Effects which are not usable by an ally being burned are not usable by an imbued being incapacitated. Any minion may burn an incapacitated imbued and take his equipment as a (D) action. If that action is successful, then each ready imbued may burn 1 conviction to inflict 1 unpreventable damage on that acting minion. An imbued may leave the incapacitated region and gain a life (not to exceed his starting life) by burning 3 conviction during his unlock phase.
Note that an imbued gains a life (not to exceed his starting life) if he leaves the incapacitated region by any other effect, as well.
In earlier sets, card effects that deal with crypt cards have generally assumed that crypt cards were all vampires. Now that this is no longer true, some questions arise.
In general, if you (the Methuselah playing the card or activating the effect) can look at the crypt card (e.g., because it is in your uncontrolled region or in any ash heap or in play, or if you're "searching" your crypt), then the target crypt card must match the parameters given by the effect. This usually means that imbued cannot be targets of these effects.
If you target a crypt card "blind" (either an unseen card from the crypt or an unseen card in some other Methuselah's uncontrolled region), then work with whatever you find. If the effect only checks/compares the card's "capacity", then treat the imbued's cost (starting life) as its capacity for that comparision.
Those two guidelines should clear up all the ways of interacting with imbued who aren't in play. But for clarity, individual cases are shown below.
The following effects are imbued-compatible:
- Bear-Baiting (checking cost as capacity from crypt OK).
- Brainwash (targeting unknown uncontrolled card OK).
- Cairo Int'l Airport (targeting unknown uncontrolled card OK).
- Clotho's Gift at [obf] (moving card from crypt OK).
- Effective Management (moving card from crypt OK).
- Gemini (targeting unknown uncontrolled card OK).
- Gisela Harden (targeting unknown uncontrolled card OK).
- Goodnight, Sweet Prince (moving card from crypt OK).
- Innocent Bystander (removing card from crypt OK).
- Kindred Intelligence (moving card from crypt OK).
- Lázár Dobrescu (targeting unknown uncontrolled card OK, but the recipient must be a vampire).
- Memory's Fading Glimpse (moving unknown uncontrolled card OK).
- Petra's Resonance (checking cost as capacity from crypt OK).
- The Portrait (checking cost as capacity from crypt OK).
- San Lorenzo de El Escorial (targeting unknown uncontrolled card OK).
- The Soul Gem of Etrius (can retrieve an imbued, and will even put him in play if he's smaller than the bearer, but he gets no blood or life).
- The Trick of the Danya (targeting unknown uncontrolled card OK, but the recipient must be a vampire).
The following effects are not imbued-compatible:
- Chain of Command (cannot put imbued into play)
- Clotho's Gift at [tem] (cannot target imbued in uncontrolled region)
- Dreams of the Sphinx (cannot move blood to imbued in uncontrolled region)
- Illusions of the Kindred (if the bottom card is an imbued, no new combat begins and the imbued is removed from play)
- Might of the Camarilla (won't force a Methuselah to burn an uncontrolled imbued)
- Recruitment (search as indicated: vampire)
Note: Heaven's Gate text applies in full -- an imbued can be moved to the uncontrolled region, controlled but not ready, and will eventually be moved to the ready region just as a "normal" ally would be.