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I was looking for confirmation in the 20th Anniversary Edition of Vampire the Masquerade about what health level a vampire would be at if it fell into torpor from damage and then rose from torpor. I found what seems like a contradiction.

First, it's widely accepted that vampires have to spend blood to heal, absent some wacky magic.

Note that blood expenditure is the only way that vampires can heal wounds. Just as their immortality prevents the Kindred from aging and dying naturally, so it also inhibits the recuperative processes natural to a living body. - V20, p268

But the description of torpor describes a vampire who entered it in the Incapacitated health level leaving it in the Crippled health level without spending any blood to heal.

Following [torpor], the player may spend a blood point and make an Awakening roll (p. 262) for her character to rise. If the vampire has no blood in her body, she may not rise until she is fed; if the player fails the Awakening roll, she may spend another blood point and make an Awakening roll the following night. If the vampire rises successfully, she is considered Crippled and should either spend blood or hunt immediately. -V20, p283-284

It's difficult for me to read "is considered Crippled" as meaning anything other than "is Crippled", i.e. "is at the Crippled health level, one level higher than Incapacitated". One would think that any other more complex meaning would be elucidated in the text.

Note that the blood expenditures mentioned in the above quote are "awakening" expenditures.

Vampires must subtract one blood point from their blood pools every night, whether they rise for the evening or not, as the unnatural magics animating their dead bodies consume the vitae they have taken from their prey. -V20, p268

And there's nothing special about those blood expenditures that also heals wounds as a bonus.

Can anyone suggest the most well-supported interpretation?

  1. The period of rest results in raising the torpid vampire from Incapacitated to Crippled without a blood expenditure to heal.
  2. The vampire remains in the Incapacitated health level, but uses the mechanics of the Crippled health level and is capable of movement. And that was just written really, really ambiguously for some reason.
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The blood point spent for the “awakening” roll, if successful, is what heals the vampire one level into the Crippled state.

This blood point is the same as the one you would use for blood healing, not the nightly blood expenditure you are referring to as an awakening expenditure. That nightly expenditure, per p. 284, doesn’t occur during a torpid slumber. “A torpid vampire may ignore the nightly need for blood; she is effectively in hibernation.”

If you look at the health chart Torpor and Incapacitated both occur at the same level of damage. It’s just that when you’re not in torpor yet, you can automatically use blood to heal. But that ability runs out and you slip into torpor. Afterwards, you have to wait a period of time and you don't automatically get to heal using blood. You have to roll to be able to use blood to heal and thus awaken.

As for your two proposed interpretations, the first doesn’t make sense when you consider voluntary torpor. There’s nothing healing for the vampiric body about the state. Maybe for the mind, but a vampire with no damage entering torpor voluntarily, still goes to this very damaged state. The second option, as you indicated, doesn’t really make sense. V20 just isn’t written to that level of legalese.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is a pretty satisfying interpretation. If I'm understanding your interpretation correctly, you would treat the blood expenditure as an attempt to both heal and awaken simultaneously, with both either failing together or succeeding together. \$\endgroup\$ – Phantom Watson Jun 14 at 20:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ That’s right. The blood point is for both simultaneously. I will try to clean up my phrasing in the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Dana Jun 14 at 20:27

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