First of all, I don't have the book(s) on me atm, so my question may prove imprecise. Should it be so, I'll try and fix it asap.

As far as I can remember, not all Cainites (vampires) have some kind of night vision in Vampire: The Dark Ages. Quite the contrary. However, during the period covered by the game, the only means of making light was to use fire (candles, torches, chandeliers, and so on.) However, the rules say that vampires have a debilitating fear of fire (Rötschreck), which is rather hard to resist and overcome. So:

How do vampires without night-vision stay "alive" in and navigate the World of Fire-lit Darkness? :)

Sure, they can stay as far from the fires as possible, having their minions light and carry the fire-based light sources, but I think that proves pretty awkward (not to mention unsafe) in any number of situations, conflicts, etc. Of course, larger cities will have some rudimentary form of street lighting, and the Moon (and the stars) will also provide at least a bare minimum of light in the open... but what about all the catacombs, dungeons, castle and fortress interiors, etc.?

Are there rules in V:TDA (any edition) that answer this problem? (Easier Rötschreck than what we had in V:TM, and so on.) How is it best to handle this in a game?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that, in a pure historical sense, you're not going to find torches lighting things indoors. A torch won't last more than an hour or two and it totally spews gross black smoke. Candles and lanterns are much more useful (and presumably much easier for vampires to shrug off). \$\endgroup\$ – Alex P Oct 21 '13 at 14:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is why Clan Gangrel was so flippin' scary in the Dark Ages. \$\endgroup\$ – Jim Kiley Oct 22 '13 at 20:48

I faced the same issue a while back when my players had to go in to a series of catacombs without electric lighting. (Modern day campaign though)

After searching the books and the web for a while I found that there are no variations to the rules except from some slight changes to the definition of what the rötschrek actually is. We used the following adaptation to the rules for controlled and safe fires: If the cause of the rötschrek is of equal or lower difficulty to overcome than the characters courage rating, he is not completely affected. This way candles that dimly light a hallway shouldn't be a problem for most kindred. And small torches are easy to overcome. Bonfires however are a different story.

Although, even if easily overcome, it does not mean the kindred can completely ignore it and grab a torch. He will always be wary, even near the smallest of flames.

This fits with what V20 describes. V20 page 299:

Relatively innocuous stimuli, or stimuli directly under the character’s control, are unlikely to induce Rötschreck. For example, a character who sees a lit cigarette in a nightclub, or a screened-in fireplace in an ally’s home, might grow uneasy, but is unlikely to succumb to the Red Fear. If that same cigarette is pointed threateningly at the vampire, though, or the fireplace suddenly flares up...

The actual rolls shouldn't really come in to play unless the fire is wielded against a player or otherwise beyond their control and a possible danger. Note "under a characters control" in the description above.

This is how I see it: A mounted torch makes them uneasy, one thrown towards them warrants a courage check. A fire burning in a fireplace on the other side of the room causes unease and concern, a log cracks and an ember shoots onto the carpet and the elder flees to the opposite side of the room looking for an extinguisher. When the carpet catches fire, the beast tries to take over.

Hope this helps!

  • \$\begingroup\$ 1) "If the cause of the rötschrek is of equal or lower difficulty to overcome" part is completely RAW (pages 250-251 of the V20 Corebook, "Automatic Success") 2) From the quotation you provided, a vampire may easily use *any * type of fire as soon as it is under his control, and he can do it easily. He "might grow uneasy", but no more. "candles that dimly light a hallway" is never a problem for a vampire, (as soon as the candle is not placed against his face), "small torches" are not just "easy to overcome" are the same story. So are bonfires -- as soon as they are bordered. \$\endgroup\$ – Baskakov_Dmitriy Aug 17 '16 at 17:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Other statements seem to be correct. Rötschreck is strongly overvalued in the eyes of many Vampire: the Something players. Theoretically, this rule would even allow a vampire to use a fire-starting weapons, such as fire arrows, flamethrowers, Molotovs, Greek fire etc. There is no point for any additional rules. \$\endgroup\$ – Baskakov_Dmitriy Aug 17 '16 at 17:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Baskakov_Dmitriy It is true that automatic successes are a part of the defined rule set. However, that rule only covers rolls which are considered relatively simple and are mundane actions to a character. Rötschreck as written is anything but mundane or simple to a Kindred who is affected by it. All I did is suggest to deem it appropriate to allow automatic successes for Rötschrek. As for the rest, that should be considered fluff text which gives context to this adaption to Rötschreck, not as a system text. \$\endgroup\$ – Bob Aug 24 '16 at 13:24

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