My understanding of breaking into a secured area in NWOD is that it is an extended test using Dexterity + Larceny + Equipment vs a set number of successes (5, 10, or 15) required depending on the quality of the security system. How many rounds the player gets to make these rolls is alluded as 'usually 10 or 15'.

Ranks in Haven: Security reduce the amount of dice rolled by the character attempting to break in to a vampire's haven by that number, while also giving an Initiative bonus to any vampire inside the Haven in the presumably ensuring combat.

Each dot of Haven Security subtracts one die from efforts to intrude into the haven by anyone a character doesn’t specifically allow in. This increased difficulty may be because the entrance is so difficult to locate (behind a bookcase, under a carpet) or simply difficult to penetrate (behind a vault door). Also, each dot of Haven Security offers a +1 bonus on Initiative for those inside against anyone attempting to gain entrance (good sight lines, video surveillance).

This is, to put it bluntly, not good enough. I want to use these rules as an abstraction, a single roll (or extended test) to get past multiple security measures (such as traps, guards, danish wolfhounds, cruac magic, legos left on the floor, etc), with if states like 'undetected' or 'without enemy casualties', etc. The existing rules assume the GM will build in any enemy measures 'charging guard dogs' etc as a subtraction from the die roll willy nilly. This isn't great. It seems to assume that bypassing security systems means 'disabling alarms' and everything else is handled by other skills, like athletics, hacking, or stealth.

I should mention that the context for this is a LARP environment that is played in multiple locations with multiple different STs. I'm asking this question as groundwork for a possible rules-change in terms of how security systems and defences, especially those of Havens, will work against attempted infiltrations or attacks. Since currently, they basically don't. It's assumed that any infiltration will deal with each obstacle individually, which in a larp setting you just don't have time for.

So, taking all that into account, I have these questions:

  • Am I understanding the existing rules correctly, in terms of what Larceny actually does and how you enter covertly a secured area? i.e. basically it does very little
  • What would be a well-considered houserule to add a bit more granularity to a single roll/extended test, without turning it into an entire 3-hour play session to sneak into someone's Haven? i.e. a good, single-roll abstraction for the entire process of sneaking into or breaking into a secured area

What I'd Like To See Included In A Rule

  • A single roll or extended test to get into someone's Haven or defended area, that works with ad-hoc defenses (guards, police tape, etc) just as well as built-in (traps in the walls, alarm systems, attack mechanoids), taking into account the various security measures as a 'whole'
  • Some ability for a kindred with high Craft or Investigation to design a more effective security system than one without
  • Something that takes into account how much money has been spent on it or whatever, but more importantly, the dots in Security of the Haven
  • Failure states beyond just a 'dramatic failure' on the roll raising the alarm
  • Success states beyond just 'you disable the alarm'/'enter the building', degrees of success etc
  • Relatively simple, or able to be summed without a huge amount of ST intervention
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi, Jack. Welcome to the site. I've added a few tags to draw some attention. Just to clarify: this "LARP environment that is played in multiple locations with multiple different STs" — is it the Cam? I believe that they're the ones who have a shared Requiem game. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jadasc
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 14:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Beyond the Sunset, the Australian Ex-Cam. Part of Shadowplay International, but with it's own set of addenda and rules alterations on a national level. At least, as I understand it. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2754
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 14:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Makes sense. I think it's still applicable in this case, since it's not relying on Cam addenda or anything like that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jadasc
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 14:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm more looking for a general rule to cover /all/ instances of 'breaking in' to a secured building or haven or sanctum or whatever, than I am a specific clarification or houserule for Larceny vs Haven Security, but that should be clear in the text, and the title is more specific in general so, good. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2754
    Commented Apr 17, 2014 at 16:27

2 Answers 2


My feeling on this one is that I'd boil down the attempt to enter the haven to a single opposed roll. From what I understand here, at a basic level, you're wanting to balance the larceny ability of the would-be infiltrator against the ability of the haven owner to adequately protect the location by whatever means available (hiding it, guarding it, trapping it, locking it).

Therefore I'd have the infiltrator roll Larceny (with bonuses where appropriate such as +1 for inside knowledge, specialist equipment, or cunning in game planning) against the haven defender's Larceny + Haven level (with bonuses for additional layers of security such as +1 for guards, expensive locks, cunning traps).

Note: The defender has the advantage in this situation by having the Haven level added to the Larceny roll - this is because I don't think you want people wandering into each other's havens too easily - they'll need inside information or other advantages to even up the odds a little. You could of course, adjust this to suit your play style.

To include the requirement for Crafts and Investigation - I would make a separate roll for building defenses - so building the traps or camera rooms as an action. Success meaning +1 on a later defending roll and failure resulting in a -1 due to badly made traps being worse than no traps.

Results would be based on margin of success:

Infiltrator wins

  • by 5+ they get in without disturbing anything - nobody will know they were even there
  • by 3+ they get in undetected, but things are broken on the way in (guards, windows, locks)
  • by 1+ they get in, but are detected - they can smash and grab but must leave quickly or be caught

The Haven owner wins

  • by 1+ the infiltrator is repelled but not identified
  • by 3+ the infiltrator is repelled and there is enough evidence to identify them
  • by 5+ the infiltrator is caught red handed or trapped

These results would then be narrated with reference to the specific defenses at the haven - so the guards can be knocked out, sneaked round, or killed - or they perhaps chase the intruder off. The GM would need to interpret the result in a way that made dramatic sense in the fiction.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm fine with the GM narrating the result in the fiction, but i'd prefer if all possible modifiers were included, such as those for high Crafts or Investigation, or Magic rituals, etc. I can do this myself but i'm not super familiar with WoD so i'm looking for concrete numbers to back up my own. The idea is this system will be used by different GMs and must be absolutely fair due to pvp, so ad-hoc modifiers should be avoided if at all possible. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2754
    Commented Jun 19, 2014 at 22:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ You could allow the the defender to choose to use Crafts or Investigation in place of Larceny for the base roll which would cover that angle. As for other bonuses, I would be tempted to just compile a list of things that are permitted to grant a +1 bonus. WoD as a system is rather more narrative than games like D&D and allows GMs to dictate based on what seems right in the fiction so it can be hard assure absolutely fair treatment across different GMs - If it must be totally fair, I'd suggest start with your own arbitrary list and tweak by play-testing until it feels right for your game. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kaine
    Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 8:19

Good question, my answer is for table top but it may translate into MeT, I've run and played Vampire the Requiem and most other New Wod gamelines for a couple of years now and when something like this occurs, and it does at least once in every game, here's two things that I do.

The first is this, occasionally I make the players roll a stealth check to approach the house unseen with a penalty equal to security to reflect watchdogs, surveillance, security guards, etc.; secondly, the player's larceny check to unlock the door is also penalized security which this time is representing the quality of the lock (or locks as a shortcut) making each roll take about five minutes worth of effort. that way I don't limit their number of dice rolls by a solid number but instead rush them with length of time. Lastly, if the player hasn't made a perception check this whole incident, I assume they hit what ever trap that's been laid. Though for solid mechanics, I use the Hunter the Vigil core book for traps because in their safe house merit, instead of security they have "traps" and since none are mystical in nature, there's no reason for that merit not to cross genre. As far as monetary value of the traps and security, it doesn't matter, only the scope and complexity does, for example a tightly strung High tension wire with a release trigger can do the job of a craftsmen lazer for a fraction of the cost, though the wire can only hit in an isolated area but requires less maintenance.

As far as a single hard fast dice roll. As a house rule, I'd suggest combining all stealth checks into a single roll and all lock pick and hacking checks into a single roll. just increase the difficulty or time per roll as needed for difficulty and grant them a bonus for skill checks that help assess the scene maxing at a +5.


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