When a PC is up against multiple foes in Vampire: the Masquerade 5e they have the option to switch between their attack dice pool and their defence dice pool, this allows them to attack and/or defend against multiple opponents. So what about a single foe? If they can do it against multiple enemies provided they take a -1 penalty to their defence pool for each extra foe they are up against it would make sense to allow the PC to attack and defend themselves simultaneously (in the space of a turn) against one foe. Here's an example of what I mean:
Alex (the PC) engages in combat with Foe (an SPC), her intent is to punch Foe in the face. Her initiative Dexterity + Wits is higher and allows her to go first in the attack.
Using her attack pool she rolls Brawl + Strength against Foe's defence pool Dexterity + Athletics.
After taking a hit to the face regardless of whether it was successful or not, and provided Foe still has health left, he then decides to uppercut Alex using his attack pool Strength + Brawl against Alex's defence pool Dexterity + Athletics - and this constitutes a full turn as both attack and defence pools have been depleted.
This is how I interpreted the rules in 5e; simultaneously using both attack and defence during a turn to fight an opponent. This also resonates with All-Out-Attack and All-Out-Defence. Otherwise:
If we're not using both attack and defence pools simultaneously during a conflict turn with a single opponent wouldn't PC's use the All-Out-Attack or All-Out-Defence mechanics every turn?! Doesn't that seem a little bit overpowered to be adding +1 damage to an opponent because you are attacking not defending, or a +1 dice because you are defending not attacking...?
This is perhaps the single most frustrating mechanic in V:tM combat and I haven't found anything which clarifies it anywhere, not in the combat primer, not in the official rulebook or companion...
The combat primer does not go into detail about attacking a single foe as it states: "One on one combat is pretty straightforward and we are not going to reiterate it here" - perhaps I'm reading too much into it and I should just play the way I interpret it as in the rulebook on p.289 it states: "Storyteller should, and will undoubtedly have to, invent their own dramatic systems" and "If you come up with a resolution system you like better, by all means, use it!"
It would help me a lot if someone could explain combat and specifically how the all-out-attack / defence systems work. or at least clarify with me that my interpretation is 'close enough' and 'usable' during play. I haven't had to ST many combat scenes yet but when I do I'd like to be certain how the mechanics are going to work. thanks!