My PCs decided to torture a vampire; are there rules regarding bonuses to social rolls (for information) or how to deal with inflicting damage in the controlled manner of a torture method?

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    \$\begingroup\$ If you're going for information, torture should give penalties, not bonuses. Torture is great for propaganda purposes (especially for getting confessions, since a propagandist doesn't need them to be true, or ev to know if they're true or not), and about as useful for punishment/revenge as those things could be said to be in any case, but for getting accurate information about anything, it makes things far, far worse, not better. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 6, 2015 at 15:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @MatthewNajmon I think the benefit of using the Doors system as I've described is you could decide whether torture would be an effective motivator for the individual... because by default it would knock down doors, but then the individual would become hostile and you wouldn't be able to get further. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 7, 2015 at 12:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ Realistically speaking, torture is going to break the mind of the victim and nothing useful will come out after. It's known to be a terrible way to useful obtaining information. I'm not sure if it'd be any different with a vampire. Probably the vampire will simply confess to everything the PCs demand, regardless of whether it actually did any of those things. \$\endgroup\$
    – Erik
    Jan 7, 2015 at 13:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ or it's less effective because... "oh no, you're cut me... boo hoo..." since, you know, vampires don't really need most of their body. whether torture realistically works, imho, is not necessarily the most interesting way to apply it in a story. We got a pretty good scene out of it. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 7, 2015 at 13:16

2 Answers 2


The subject is likely to be dealt with in greater detail in the upcoming Hurt Locker sourcebook. For now, the roll is Intimidation, using either Strength (for physical torture) or Manipulation (for mental), and it's "almost always a Breaking Point."

  • \$\begingroup\$ surprised it would be strength and not dexterity \$\endgroup\$ Jan 3, 2015 at 23:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ You might use Dexterity and Medicine to accomplish a particularly delicate or precise procedure, but when it comes to using physical force, which torture is, to achieve an end, Strength's your go-to. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jadasc
    Jan 3, 2015 at 23:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ after doing some research, and stumbling across some things, I wonder where you got your dice pool suggestions from... I do know that Torture was mentioned in the Hurt Locker open development. \$\endgroup\$ Jan 6, 2015 at 5:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's a reference to it in one of the scenarios in the GMC. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jadasc
    Jan 6, 2015 at 6:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think a suitably creative character can probably use just about any set of stats for torture. "Manipulation+Drive, I strap him to the side of my car, and convince him, I'm about to side-swipe a lamp post.". "Presence+Fire Arms, Let me explain to you exactly what happens to your leg when I pull this trigger..." \$\endgroup\$ Nov 15, 2015 at 13:27

Social Maneuvering can be used here. p194 of the God Machine Chronicle

Hard Leverage represents threats, drugging, intimidation, blackmail, kidnapping, or other heavy-handed forms of coercion. It drives home the urgency required to force open a character’s Doors.

Hard Leverage that requires the character to suffer a breaking point removes one Door (if the modifier to the roll — not considering the character’s breaking points — is greater than –2) or two Doors (if the modifier is –3 or less).

The example mentions threatening someone and shooting them in the leg. Torture is an automatic -3 modifier.

p107 God Machine Chronicle

Intimidation: The captured soldier from the other side of the lines knows where the Flag is…but he’s only going to talk if you convince him it’s worth his while or that you’ll kill him (or worse) if he doesn’t. Roll Strength + Intimidation to scare him into talking painfully, or Manipulation + Intimidation to do it by intimation. Torture, by the way, is almost always a breaking point.

you could also use the Interrogation mechanic from the Original Core book p81, the skills chapter did not undergo heavy modification, though you might consider applying a condition for sleep deprivation.

Interrogation Dice Pool: Wits + Intimidation + equipment (interrogator) versus Stamina + Resolve (subject)

Action: Extended and contested (the task demands a number of successes equal to the subject’s Willpower; each roll represents one hour of interrogation)

Interrogation involves wearing down a subject’s resistance until he or she is incapable of concealing information. It’s an extended and contested process. Make Wits + Intimidation + equipment rolls for the interrogator. Roll Stamina + Resolve for the subject. The number of successes that each participant seeks is equal to his opponent’s Willpower dots. Thus, if an interrogator has 5 Willpower and his subject has 3, the interrogator wins if he accumulates three successes first, and the subject wins if he accumulates five successes first. The winner breaks the opponent’s will to continue asking questions or to resist any longer. The interrogator’s roll can be modified by equipment such as torture instruments. If the subject is allowed sleep between interview sessions, rolls are made for him normally. If he’s denied normal sleep, he suffers a cumulative -1 penalty for each night of sleep that he misses. Thus, he’s at -1 after the first night, -2 after the second, and so on.


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