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Say two kindred are clinching one another, or one performs a Hold maneuver on another, in blind fighting conditions (in pitch darkness for example).
Let's say one of them is Gangrel with Eyes of the Beast. Eyes of the Beast should mitigate effects of blind fighting (V20 Core Rulebook, p. 274).
Would they have the same Brawl+Str difficulty on rolls to break free from a Hold or Clinch? Or would someone who is under effect of blind fighting have +2 difficulty?


Another question:

Let's say Arms of the Abyss is constricting a victim inside Shroud of Night. The description of Arms of the Abyss (V20 Core Rulebook, p. 189) states:

Breaking the grasp of the tentacle requires the victim to win a resisted Str roll against the tentacle (difficulty 6 for each).

Should the blinded victim roll difficulty 8 to break free? Or is it still difficulty 6?

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Being blinded imposes a +2 difficulty penalty on all actions

The rules break up the relevant information in kind of an odd way, and the description of escaping a Hold or Clinch maneuver is not categorized very clearly. But the key pieces of the issue are that:

  • A character attempts the Blind Fighting general maneuver when they are trying to attack while effectively blind, which corresponds to the Blind maneuver complication
  • Characters subject to the Blind maneuver complication have +2 difficulty on all actions

This is pretty explicit in the description of each:

• Blind Fighting/Fire: Staging attacks while blind (or in pitch darkness) usually incurs a +2 difficulty, and ranged attacks cannot be accurately made at all. Powers such as Heightened Senses (p. 134) and Eyes of the Beast (p. 199) mitigate this penalty. (V20 Core Rulebook, page 274)

• Blinded: Add two dice to attack rolls made against a blinded target. Furthermore, blind characters are at +2 difficulty on all actions. (V20 Core Rulebook, page 279)

The only special thing that the Blind Fighting description adds is to explicitly discuss attacking, specifically. The only relevance pitch darkness has is that it renders you effectively blind.

So that's pretty conclusive: if you are blind fighting, you cannot reasonably attempt a ranged attack. Outside of using a ranged weapon, if you are blinded you have +2 difficulty on any action. And breaking a Clinch or Hold is an action:

• Clinch: [...] A combatant can inflict Strength damage automatically or attempt to escape the clinch. No other actions are allowed until one combatant breaks free. To escape a clinch, make a resisted Strength + Brawl roll against the opponent. If the escaping character has more successes, she breaks free; if not, the characters continue to grapple in the next turn. (V20 Core Rulebook, page 276)

• Hold: [...] On a successful roll, the attacker holds the target until the subject’s next action. At that time, both combatants roll resisted Strength + Brawl actions; the subject remains immobilized (able to take no other action) until she rolls more successes than the attacker does. (V20 Core Rulebook, page 276)

Emphasis mine in each section. Breaking the Hold or Clinch is considered an action. As an action, it will be at +2 difficulty if the character attempting it is blind.

A couple of Disciplines directly mitigate these problems. Eyes of the Beast (Protean) allows you to see "perfectly well in pitch darkness", meaning that you are not blind. Heightened Senses (Auspex) explicitly reduces the difficulty to act in pitch darkness from +2 to +1, and allows for ranged attacks in pitch darkness. The Tongue of the Asp (Serpentis) halves penalties due to darkness because it allows perception of vibrations, though it's not clear if that allows ranged attacks or not.

So if you're in mundane pitch darkness and are effectively blinded, you would have +2 difficulty to break free of a Clinch or Hold. If you have Heightened Senses or The Tongue of the Asp activated, you would only have +1 difficulty. If you had Eyes of the Beast activated, you would have no additional difficulty due to the darkness because your vision is not impaired at all.

Notably, Eyes of the Beast will not help you at all if you've been blinded for some reason other than pitch darkness, while Heightened Senses and The Tongue of the Asp can still offer some benefit.


Shroud of Night is a special case

Shroud of Night explicitly prevents the workarounds allowed by Eyes of the Beast, The Tongue of the Asp, and Heightened Senses:

Those within the cloud lose all sense of sight and feel as though they’ve been immersed in pitch. Sound also warps and distorts within the cloud, making it nearly impossible to accomplish anything (+2 difficulty, as per Blind Fighting on p. 274). Even those possessed of Heightened Senses, Eyes of the Beast, Tongue of the Asp, and similar powers suffer the penalty for blindness due to the unnatural darkness. (V20 Core Rulebook, page 189)

If you're stuck in a Shroud of Night, there isn't much help for you and so you will suffer a +2 difficulty for any action. A character gripped by a tentacle from Arms of the Abyss while inside of a Shroud of Night will, therefore, have to roll against difficulty 8 to escape while the tentacle only has to roll against a difficulty 6 to continue restraining its target.

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