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I'm playing a character in a Werewolf game and I'd like to play a sniper or soldier who specialises in Firearms.

It seems from my limited understanding of the rules that it's quite hard to kill a Vampire or Garou with a firearm, especially with a single shot.

How can I work the lore and/or rules of the game to optimise for shooting these unstoppable monsters? Are there any mundane or magical ammunitions, special weapons, or Gifts that can be used to eliminate them? Or is it simply a matter of shooting a LOT of silver bullets?

I've only mentioned the werewolf game but feel free to source something from any other classic 'World of Darkness' books as I can always buy one in PDF form and persuade my GM to integrate it.

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Only material I know that deals with this theme is The Hunters Hunted ©1992 by White Wolf.

There is newer edition of it. I don't own it, don't have access to it, so what follows is based on the old one. But it is THE book about killing supernaturals (especially vampires) using mortal means.

Page 28 describes The Heavy Firepower Method, only hunt method that actually involves firearms. It describes ways to use already described firearms, without providing additional rules for them, so it should be easy to incorporate. It also provides guidelines for ammo like Dragon's Breath (totally real ammo you can see in action here), that is effective against supernaturals, because it damages them with fire. and of course it mention bows - arrow is essentially a wooden stake that can be placed in heart remotely.

At page 60, there is pretty expensive merit that lets you do aggravated damage with bare fists. But you want to be a sniper. That leads us to Appendix Two, Hunting Gear. Spike-thrower shotgun (page 86) seems to be your friend, as it can fire also specially prepared wooden stakes, or even molotov-like bullets. Described as using wooden spike or molotov cocktail per their rules, but with range and power of a shotgun, so incorporating it into new WoD should be perfectly doable. And I see no reason for it not to be able to shot stakes inlaid with silver and cold iron, to also deal aggravated damage to creatures that are hurt by those metals.

In oWoD/cWoD, there are two considerations when it comes to damage: the amount and the type.

  • With firearms, there is only one way to increase the damage amount: Larger attack dicepools. Your Net Successes on your attack are added to the damage roll, giving you a better chance to inflict serious pain.

  • Damage type is split into 3 varieties: Bashing, Lethal, and Aggravated. Aggravated wounds are the most difficult to survive. Ag damage also only comes from 2 sources: fire and supernatural effects. A nice GM might allow you to either have a mage ally enchant your bullets or use a previous kill to craft special bullets from things like fangs or claws. Otherwise, you're reduced to things like silver bullets or the various fire-based rounds described above.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Agg also comes from Sunlight for Vampires. \$\endgroup\$ – user47897 Nov 29 '18 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MarkTO This part was provided by Mickle, and I decided to leave it be, because sun making damage is supernatural to me. Too much details wouldn't really help. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Nov 29 '18 at 14:59
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Garou: Find them in their breed form and kill them from surprise.

Werewolves in their breed form (that is, human shape for homid and wolf shape for lupus) can't soak lethal or aggravated damage with Stamina. (WtA20, p.255-6) In this state, they're most vulnerable. Take all the advantages you can and then fill their wound tracks with damage and they're done. However, you get one chance; if they have the opportunity to spend Rage and transform, their regenerative powers kick in and you'll be fighting them "fair," which means you'll likely lose.

Vampires: Headshots.

Only when targeting the head are bullets treated as lethal damage. (VtM20, p.281) Targeting the head adds +2 to difficulty and adds +1 damage dice. (VtM20, p.274) They'll still get to spend blood to heal, but you can torpor them with greater ease that way and then finish them off later.

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I've been carefully reading the Werewolf the Apocalypse 20th Anniversary rules and running some numbers. My assumptions, based on the accepted answer to this question and my own answer to the same question, are that, on average, you get a certain number of successes for the number of dice rolled:

            Difficulty      
Successes   6   7   8
1           3d  4d  5d
2           5d  6d  9d
3           7d  9d  14d
4           9d  13d 18d
5           12d

Note that deviation is +/- 1 for up to 6d and +/- 2 for 7 or more so there is quite a wide variety of outcome.

Now assuming that the shooter has Dex 4 and Firearms 5 for a 9 dice pool, that the target has Stamina 3 to Soak the damage, and that Dodges and Armor are not in effect we can work out the following options.

Single Shot

  1. 9 dice to hit gives 4 successes and thus +3 dice for damage
  2. 30.06 rifle does 8 dice damage upped to 11 dice from the to hit bonus which gives 4 successes for 4 levels of damage
  3. The target then Soaks 1 level of damage ending up with 3 levels of damage

To do 7 levels of damage to incapacitate will take at least 3 turns which gives plenty of time for changing form and regenerating and thus it's reasonable to assume that it is not generally possible to kill a Garou with a normal rifle, let alone a smaller firearm, regardless of whether the damage is lethal or aggravated damage. So how about trying those special manoeuvres?

Aimed Shot

  1. Add 1 dice for aiming and 2 dice for a scope
  2. 12 dice to hit gives 5 successes and thus +4 dice for damage

An aimed shot is better but it's only going to add a level of damage if you're lucky. A fully aimed shot (3-4 turns of aiming) adds another dice of damage.

Aimed Head Shot

  1. Add 1 dice for aiming and 2 dice for a scope
  2. 12 dice vs difficulty 8 gives only 2 successes and thus +2 dice for damage after including the +1 for a headshot

So an aimed head shot is no better than an ordinary shot unless the StoryTeller gives some sort of bonus for it.

Three Round Burst

  1. Add 3 dice for 3 round burst
  2. 12 dice vs diff 7 gives 3 successes thus +2 dice for damage

A three round burst is actually worse than a normal shot for our shooter! This is partially due to the way I have calculated the dice vs successes chart above, for certain cases it is better to shoot a three round burst.

Full Auto

  1. Add 10 dice for full auto
  2. 19 dice vs diff 8 gives 4 successes thus only +3 dice for damage
  3. But the only full auto rifle is the Assault Rifle with 7 dice damage which gives 10 dice damage in total so only 4 successes again

In conclusion, unless I'm missing something, the rules for firearms seem to be kind of feeble and designed to be in line with melee damage. Using manoeuvres does not improve the damage done because the difficulty increase usually outweighs the bonus dice.

The optimal way to do damage with firearms is to simply increase the dice pool without increasing the difficulty. Aim the first shot, then keep taking single shots.

If you want firearms to be deadly to Garou then some house rules need to be added to make firearms more deadly and allow burst fire, full automatic, and head shots to do significantly more damage or have some sort of special effect. However what those rule should be is definitely out of scope for this question.

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Sadly, killing Garou with silver bullet is simple:

Silver weapons and bullets deal an extra level of Aggravated damage to you. You suffer one level of Aggravated damage every round you're in nonviolent contact with silver.

So if you choose a small caliber bullet that stays inside the body instead of large AP round from sniper rifle that would shoot through the body, you'll give them a silver poisoning in max 7 rounds. Of course, they can revert to breed form but then they are not resistant to lethal damage. Or they can try to dig out the bullet... but how easy is to do your own surgery when you are dying?

As for vampire there is one sure method: fire. Not only it deals aggravated damage but also creates "Rotschreck" (panic similar to "fox frenzy" in Garou). It might not kill the target but will definitely disable it.

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  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ How is being shot 'nonviolent contact'? \$\endgroup\$ – YogoZuno Dec 21 '14 at 21:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ Carrying a bullet inside you is "non violent" since its not something that is actively damaging you. \$\endgroup\$ – Yasskier Dec 21 '14 at 21:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Clever! Where's the quote from in the books? This would mean that using two pistols and taking two actions per round would work out quite well. \$\endgroup\$ – A Pale Shadow Dec 22 '14 at 9:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ Page 259 in the W20 edition (chapter 6), also in the info table on page 256 (silver weapons). Sadly, there is no written rule whether the bullet stays inside of the body or not, but for such big, "meaty" target as a garou its easy to assume that even relatively large calibers would stuck. \$\endgroup\$ – Yasskier Dec 22 '14 at 19:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ Garou doesn't regenerate in natural form (except for Methis) and while he no longer takes damage from silver, in this form is vulnerable to normal lethal damage. Methis is an exception - he is always vulnerable to silver. \$\endgroup\$ – Yasskier Mar 3 '15 at 19:06
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This is really more of an expansion to Molot's excellent answer.

Prias, a ghoul in service to the methuselah Helena, wields a special silver sword that was masterfully crafted by the ancient vampires of Carthage. This sword deals aggravated damage, and this particular aggravated damage is special because it cannot be healed by vampires without a lot of extra effort (it requires more blood points than normal, and the assistance of another vampire). Since the sword is made of silver, it also happens to work pretty well on werewolves. In the Chicago by Night supplement, it is revealed that Prias is killed by a pack of werewolves.

I see no reason why your GM couldn't design a short game session specifically for you to track down and obtain the sword (which could then be melted down to make silver bullets with the same vampire-killing property) from its new owner, either via force or persuasion. Failing that, finding a supernatural craftsman who could duplicate the effect and forge you some special ammo is also a possibility worth discussing with your GM. The benefits of this are two-fold: (A) you're going an extra mile to obtain the special gear so your GM feels less guilty about giving it to you, and (B) your GM has a RAW example of a mystical weapon designed to kill vampires on which to base special ammunition so he or she doesn't feel obligated to make something up and potentially throw game balance out of whack.

For best results, combine this solution with Jadasc's suggestion of employing headshots against vampires and ambushing werewolves before they can shift.

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Monster Hunting in the WoD is dangerous, but there is a sure and proven way:

Kill it with fireTV-Tropes. FireV20 p284 / W20 148 is the go-to for almost all supernatural beings, as it automatically does aggravated damage. There are some ways to evade it (Vampires use Fortitude, some Garou gifts make one immune to it, some Demons1 & all Wraiths are immune, Mummies come back), but the standard method to kill supernatural beingsat least temporarily in the WoD was proven by the Inquisition/Hunters in the early modern age: Burn the WitchTV-Tropes.

But in a modern age, methods refine. So we unpack more modern weapons that bundle the power of fire:

  • Nuclear Warheads can kill every supernatural being that is not on par with a 3rd generation vampireTime of Judgement - Gehenna p179 and the redaction outright refused to give damage values for such devices in World of Darkness Combat. M20 delivers: Seriously?M20 p455(you believe anybody but mentioned vampires would survive inside the 1-30 mile blast radius?!)
  • Incendiary AmmunitionWorld of Darkness Combat p105/106 / M20 p454 sets stuff on fire. Use an LMG full of it to try to guarantee it.
  • Explosive AmmunitionWorld of Darkness Combat p105/106/107 is an explosion, and explosions are fire damage.
  • Depleted UraniumWorld of Darkness Combat p105/107 and silver work well against Werewolves, the one for being wyrm tainted to the core(=aggravated damage), the other for being silver.
  • Fireball AmmunitionWorld of Darkness Combat p107 aka Dragon's Breath turns your shotgun into a flamethrower.
  • FlamethrowerWorld of Darkness Combat p109 / M20 p453 are perfect to coat the monsters and set them ablaze till nothing remains. Use them plenty.

Beyond this, the solution to kill a Garou or Vampire is to go big. If you can kill them or maim them beyond regeneration in a single attack, they stay dead. Best if they also burn. Items like Molotov CocktailsM20 p455, NapalmM20 p455 or the No. 76 Special Incendiary Grenade take this to 11, even though the books graciously forgets to give us damage for the last item.

But you can possibly field large mundane firepower. Check out the overkill potential of Rochet launchers, .30 cal & .50 cal machine guns or, if you want to go really BIG, 30mm Machine cannons (12-16 Lethal, before ammo adjustments)M20 p453.

Bombs are also an all-time favorite for large-scale destruction, they include a lot of fire and might be spiked with silver shrapnell, or even have an autokill on being strapped to peopleM20 p455.

If one heavy weapon isn't enough, grab a tank, they pack moreM20 p461.

If you just happen to be a member of the Technocracy, ask to be issued some Ectoplasmic DisruptorsM20 p454 or call to have the Ragnarok protocolsTV-Tropes triggered and let them use the giant space mirrors to glass the area and destroy even 3rd generation vampiresTime of Judgement - Gehenna p179.


1 - Demon the Fallen p239 does not list fire as a source of aggravated damage => Demons only get Lethal damage from fire, if at all: p263, under Fire tells "Some demons may be protected from fire by their apocalyptic form."

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Demons are immune to fire? Which version of demons? CoD demons (Demons: The Descent) take fire damage AFAIK. \$\endgroup\$ – Kieran Mullen Nov 29 '18 at 19:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @KieranMullen CoD /= WoD. Demon the Fallen. Also, provided source. DtF demons get just Lethal damage from it. \$\endgroup\$ – Trish Nov 29 '18 at 20:15
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See, there's this problem with going after Garou on your own, expecting to take them down:

Garou operate in packs. They are not solitary creatures, unlike many Vampires.

As such, even if you come up with your ideal surprise-werewolf-killing move, you then have to think about what you're going to do with the roughly half dozen sorely miffed-off packmates, who will come at you like so many knife factories in a tornado.

Then there are Garou Gifts to concern yourself with. You see, by merit of some very useful cheap Gaian magic, such as Paranoia, or Eye of the Falcon, many Garou will be able to see any kind of hostile coming a mile away, let alone a pesky mortal with a pea shooter.

No, no. If you want to surprise kill a whole pack of Garou, you need to be a Garou, or at least a kick-ass formor, or Kindred with Celerity, Fortitude, AND Potence. It would also be preferable to have a pack of your own to have your back.

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