# Is Count Dracula's fighting style too powerful?

Found in the future White Wolf PDF for Count F****** Dracula is the following fighting style:

Legacy Fighting Style: Dirty Fighting (• to ••••• )

Prerequisites: Strength (•••), Brawl (•••)

Low Blow (•) Effect: This suggests a male target, but there’s places on the female body just as sensitive and just as dishonorable to stick your boot in. Nail your opponent with a really nasty blow to a really sensitive area, and leave them swaying on their feet, trying not to vomit from the sick vision-twisting pain. A successful Brawl attack that generates more successes than your target’s Composure causes them to lose their next action.

Shank (••) Effect: You can fight with knives, small blades, shanks and other small improvised weapons using your Brawl skill rather than Weaponry.

Suck it Up (•••) Effect: As much as you know about dishing out the pain, you’ve also learned something about taking it. Quit whining and suck it up. Spend a point of Willpower, and ignore all wound penalties for the remainder of the scene.

One or a Dozen, It Don’t Matter (••••) Effect: You know all the tricks for fighting more than one guy at the same time – how to get them in each other’s way, hurt one bad to scare another, and psyche them out. Each opponent beyond the first you’re facing in close combat adds 1 to your Defense and you can spend a point of Willpower each to make simultaneous additional brawl attacks on two or more of these opponents.

I Said Stay Down! (•••••) Effect: After making a successful Low Blow, your victim has to make a Stamina roll. If successful, they only lose their next action like normal. If they fail, they go down in a mewing pathetic heap and clutch their ruptured vitals, turtling up in hopes that you won’t keeping hurting them.

I will start my first chronicle (1st ed) that might take longer and one of my players wants to play a member of the Brides of Dracula with this Fighting Style. I am just not sure it isn't "overpowered".

Is this well balanced or overpowered? And with balance I mean compared to other fighting styles one can find in other sourcebooks of 1st edition books.

• To get useful answers, please edit your question to clarify what you mean by "balance." For example: in your game, is balance about using mechanics to manage the spotlight so everybody gets time to feel useful (does out-of-combat usefulness redeem in-combat obscurity)? Or is it keeping fights interesting by making sure they aren't too long or too short? (What is "too long" or "too short" for your group? How can you tell?) Or does "balance" mean something else entirely for you and your players? – BESW Dec 11 '18 at 12:34
• @BESW I thought the default balance point was typically to similar things, like Is this fighting style balanced compared to other fighting styles? So, while it would be useful to know more about the asker's playstyle and campaign, as long as other fighting styles exist to compare this one to, the question should be fine… or am I totally off here? – Hey I Can Chan Dec 11 '18 at 12:52
• @HeyICanChan I'm not sure we have a specific policy here but it is generally good practice to state what you want something compared to when asking about balance. – Rubiksmoose Dec 11 '18 at 14:04
• @Rubiksmoose O, I agree that's a good practice, but in the absence of other information it seems extremely safe to assume to asker means balanced compared to similar game elements like this one to other fighting styles—rather than, I dunno, the asker meaning Is this fighting style balanced compared to using an assault rifle or driving over a vampire with a truck? – Hey I Can Chan Dec 11 '18 at 14:14

Let's look at the different levels of the fighting style. First note the prerequisites:

Prerequisites: Strength (•••), Brawl (•••)

So you've already spent a bunch of points to get this fighting style. But if you're a melee monster you've probably put a lot of points into these anyway.

Low Blow (•) Effect: ... A successful Brawl attack that generates more successes than your target’s Composure causes them to lose their next action.

In VtM, Composure means something different than in CoD. In the latter it is part of the Social stats, along with Presence and Manipulation. I don't know if the supplement was written for VtM or the Story Teller system of CoD. I'll assume the latter.

A brawl attack is Strength+Brawl. Composure for a World Weary Private Eye (CoD p.121) is 4, for a Hard Nosed Beat Cop (p.120) is 2, so let's assume an average of 3. So, you need to generate at least 4 successes on your attack which starts at 6 dice. To get 4 success on average takes about 12 dice. Even adding in bonuses for situations this might be hard to reach. However, for a less combat oriented victim with a Composure of 2, you can get his pretty easily. So, I would not rate this as overpowered.

Shank (••) Effect: You can fight with knives, small blades, shanks and other small improvised weapons using your Brawl skill rather than Weaponry.

This is nice for saving points. In CoD all weapons are Lethal. You're getting Lethal damage from your Brawl points. But this isn't much better than buying brass knuckles, which gives you Lethal damage with your Brawl.

Suck it Up (•••) Effect: ... Spend a point of Willpower, and ignore all wound penalties for the remainder of the scene.

This is comparable to Iron Stamina. You're effectively getting several points of Iron Stamina by going up this one dot in the style.

One or a Dozen, It Don’t Matter (••••) Effect: Each opponent beyond the first you’re facing in close combat adds 1 to your Defense and you can spend a point of Willpower each to make simultaneous additional brawl attacks on two or more of these opponents.

It's not clear if this voids the default penalty of fighting multiple opponents and turns it into a bonus, or if it just adds to your defense, partially cancelling out the penalty. If it's the former, this sounds nice if you typically are in mass brawls. Otherwise, it's not a big advantage.

I Said Stay Down! (•••••) Effect: After making a successful Low Blow, your victim has to make a Stamina roll. If successful, they only lose their next action like normal. If they fail, they go down in a mewing pathetic heap...

If your opponent makes their Stamina roll (which they can buff with Willpower) then at worst they lose their next action. If they fail, there's no indication of how they recover. For five dots in the style, they get the possibility to one-punch a single opponent in a brawl. Again, this is situation dependent.

As others have mentioned, the CoD rules are not so keen on balance at times. However, I don't think that the Style is unbalanced.

And with balance I mean compared to other fighting styles one can find in other sourcebooks of 1st edition books.

If you consider that several other feats are insanely overpowered, then answer is no - it's not too powerful at all.

Combat Marksmanship

Rapid Fire (•••••): Your character’s concentration is such that she can unleash a hail of bullets. In a single action, she may make one extra Firearms attack for each point by which her Composure exceeds 2. Each extra attack is made at a cumulative –1 modifier. Thus, she can perform a total of two attacks at Composure 3 (the second of which is at –1), three attacks at Composure 4 (the third of which is at –2) and four at Composure 5 (the fourth of which is at –3). She must declare the targets of all attacks before rolling the first one. Each attack not directed against her initial target suffers an additional –1 penalty. All attacks made with this maneuver must be single shots. Drawback: Your character cannot use her Defense against any attack in the same turn in which she intends to use this maneuver. If she uses Defense against attacks that occur earlier in the Initiative roster, before she can perform this maneuver, she cannot use Rapid Fire this turn. In addition, your character may not use this maneuver with bolt-action or break-action firearms.

So let's say I have a character, Ivan Murderhobovich, with 5 dots in Composure, 4 in Dexterity and 5 in Firearms with proper Specialization for my weapon (completely achievable for starter character, along with buying 5 dots in Combat Marksmanship!)

Ivan's base attack pool would be 10 dice. Let's equip him with some 7.62 gun. Maybe almost freely available AK-109 back from when saying "comrade" could get you in trouble. According to Armory, this grants 4 damage die and 9-again rule. Let's slap a laser on this AK, which grants +1 at short range.

During first semi-interactive cutscene PCs meet with Sucky McFangs, game's main antagonist, who threatens players and yadda yadda, usual stuff. Ivan Murderhobovich decides to teach this dude a lesson, so he fires his trusty AK-109 at that weird dude who's definitely not a vampire, because vampires are not real.

• He has laser sight, which grants him another 1 die
• His base pool is 10 dice, coupled with weapon and bonuses, that's 15 dice

Ivan uses Rapid Fire, which grants him 4 attacks, each at increasing -1 penalty

• First attack: 15 dice
• Second attack: 14 dice
• Third attack: 13 dice
• Fourth attack: 12 dice
• For total of: 54 dice (9 again)

• Especially considering treats such as JUMPING: Success: Your character leaps a number of feet equal to the successes rolled, or a number of meters equal to the successes rolled divided by three. With enough luck you just might jump across Great Canyon. – schroedingersKat Dec 17 '18 at 7:23