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. 22.214.171.124). 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. 126.96.36.199) 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. 188.8.131.52). 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. 184.108.40.206).
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 2 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.