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In Vampire: the Masquerade (5e), how strong would be a mortal NPC who specializes in combat? Think "spec ops" who are ready to fight vampires but without true faith or other mystical abilities. How many of them would be needed to present a fair fight against a rather powerful vampire? (ancilla level with combat-oriented abilities)

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    \$\begingroup\$ What are they armed with? I mean, do they get flamethrowers, breaching charges and phosphor grenades? \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Jan 29 at 18:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ Are the mortals aware of vampires' strengths and weaknesses? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 29 at 18:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ I feel like those answers miss the point : my question isn't "how many soldier would the Inquisition use", it's "how much would be a fair fight". Like, if a lone vampire had to steal something/assassinate someone guarded by X of those soldier, would they have a chance? How much does X need to be to tip the scale? \$\endgroup\$ Jan 29 at 20:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @AnneAunyme And the answer is: The inquisition doesn't fight fair. The moment fire is in the game, they win. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Jan 29 at 22:17
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Trish That misses the point though. The question isn't about how mortals would hunt vampires that they're trying to track down and kill. Or about whether overwhelming numerical superiority allows a bunch of mere mortals to bring down a vampire. It's 1) what's the upper-bound on the strength/abilities of one "mere mortal", and 2) how many of those are a match for a single vampire in a fight. Presumably the scenario is less "vampire is camped/hiding in a known location and being hunted by a mob" and more "vampire is on a mission and walks into a room of armed guards on his own terms". \$\endgroup\$
    – aroth
    Jan 30 at 2:48

2 Answers 2

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A top of the line very well trained mortal would have a dice pool of 7-8 for relevant task (before specialities). A world-class one would have a dice pool of 9. The best of the best would have 10.

For soldier/mercenary/spec op types it is probably safe to assume a dice pool of 7-8 plus a relevant speciality (snipers, swords, CQC, etc) and they would be planning to use their advantage, so a total of 8-9. Really elite squads might even have a mortal with 9 in the relevant dice pool and a speciality for a total of 10.

When going against vampires, you would likely pick the best available.

This probably gives a baseline to work with.

However, "fair fight" is not really what they would do. If the mortals are really out to hunt vampires, they would be using overwhelming force and everything they can to their advantage. They would attack by day, or set the vampire's haven on fire. Use stakes fired from a gun, if really necessary to bring the vampire in "alive" (well, not as ash). Otherwise use dragon's breath rounds, incendiary grenades, flamethrowers, mines, etc. Anything that vampires hate. The mortals will also track their target with cameras and any other available surveillance to prevent it from "disappearing" (Obfuscate, or perhaps Dominate).

In 5th edition, the metaplot has it that the Second Inquisition is in progress and has shown that the worst fears of the Kindred are true - a failed Masquerade has indeed led to the vampires be hunted down and eliminated. As page 39 of the core VtM 5e book reads:

Despite unceasing strife between the undead, the worst threat to Kindred might just come from humanity. The Camarilla has long argued that if mortals were to become aware of the existence of vampires, all Kindred would die on a pyre. They believe that the world would see witch-hunts like never before, and that no amount of immortal power would be able to defend the lords of the night from the teeming billions inhabiting the planet.

The Camarilla is being proven right.

It explains that these are not even exceptionally well-informed mortals but ones that do know just enough about the threat. It continues with

The Second Inquisition has killed Princes in London and Las Vegas, and it has crippled a clan in Vienna. Dozens of incautious Anarchs and arrogant Sabbat have lost their lives, unused to mortals who know how to hunt for vampires.

If it was not clear, the "a clan in Vienna" which was crippled is the Tremere. Their head Chantry was raided and destroyed by the Second Inquisition. One of the scariest clans in the world were dealt one of the hardest blows by mortals, utterly destroying the core of their establishment and the seat of their power. Upturning centuries of rigid hierarchy. The Pyramid is broken.

Apparently, so bad was the blow they were given in Vienna that "Tremere elders have declared the domain out-of-bounds" (page 95).

Because humans would not fight fair.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Side remark: humans have not too much chance even in unfair fight. Most importantly, it is very unlikely that any of them would ever learn that vampires exist. A little minority learns this ever; humans capable to harm vampires are a little minority even in this little minority. The count of the humans successfully killed a vampire is probably much below the RPG players played such a human. However, the RPG itself is also a game for the vampires, it helps them to experiment with human creativity in a world what no human should ever know. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gray Sheep
    Jan 30 at 20:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ Btw, very likely the "old boys" behind SI are such players, they must master human behavior to puppet them so far. I would not be surprised if they would like RPG, or some mentalist analogue of it a lot. \$\endgroup\$
    – Gray Sheep
    Jan 30 at 20:14
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It heavily depends on the weaponry and circumstances

It highly depends on how skilled and deadly you want them to be - and how much collateral damage they are willing to commit. But really, dedicated vampire hunters don't fight fair. They fight to win.

Kill it with fire

On the somewhat dangerous side, a few of the NPC archetypes with Molotov cocktails and dragon's breath for their shotguns can be very deadly. To reskin the Molotov to phosphorous grenades make it easier to hit with them, as they blast over a bigger area and maybe even make it harder to remove the burning material. And for backup, pack a .50 cal and load it with a mix of RAUFOSS and Incendiary ammo. And snipers that wait to fire the moment the target shows itself.

In either case, they deal aggravated damage from fire, which is the most leveling factor here. Have them try to stay on distance and gang up. Depending on skill level, taking an Inquisitor Investigator or Inquisitor Delta is enough for a baseline NPC - those are normal soldiers and highly trained soldiers respectively. That's 5 to 9 dice on everything relevant, most likely 7 or 8 dice minimum for all the rolls they need in the combat.

There ain't no kill like overkill

The most deadly vampire killer team doesn't need to get personal. They don't even get near a waking vampire if everything goes right. The building is breached in broad daylight, prepared with explosives and napalm, and blown up before noon. Only very few vampires stand after that.

At least one of the following happens, more likely multiple things at once:

  • The vampire is thrown into Torpor by the massive amount of superficial damage from the combination of a detonation and falling rubble.
  • The vampire is turned to crisp by half a dozen rounds of fire damage from being engulfed in the burning Napalm for 3+ aggravated damage per turn.
  • The vampire is crushed to paste by the falling building and dies from effectively a decapitation.
  • If the vampire isn't already burned, or turned to paste for the building was only small or lightly constructed, they are now exposed to broad daylight with no cover in a crater that is on fire and take the appropriate sunlight and fire damage.

If the vampire survives, then the hunters are dealing with someone of [Ravnos] caliber. The Storyteller just shouldn't roll at all if the hunters pull out all the stops like this. The vampire and everything in its surroundings is toast.

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