In Vampire: The Masquerade, one of my NPCs was a dual-sword-wielding Assamite with the ambidextrous merit.

In the rules, I did not find specifics about dual-wielding in melee other than a short mention in the "multiple opponents" combat feat which says it is treated as multiple actions and you have to separate your dice pools.

My problem is:

  • Adam has a one handed sword and Celerity 1. He declared 2 actions (with use of celerity), both of them are attacks. During the entire round, Adam attacked twice the same opponent with his sword.

  • Betty has two one handed swords and Celerity 1. She declared 2 actions (with use of celerity), both of them are attacks. She cannot use the combat feat "multiple opponents" because she is against only 1 opponent and "multiple opponents" states it's treated as multiple actions with dice pool separation, and use of celerity does not allow further action/dice pool separations. During the entire round, Betty attacked twice the same opponent with either one of her swords (or once with each).

(I might have some terms wrong as I don't have the rule book with me right now, but this contains the gist of my problem)

Where am I wrong here? What have I missed? Can you break down your actions to attack twice per attack despite using celerity, just because you have two weapons? And doing so you would have to separate your dice pool anyway, so it's not that big of an advantage? Is it advantageous only in terms of "my weapons have poison 'charges' so 2 is better than 1"?


4 Answers 4


As per page 248 of the VtM20th Anniversary edition, the prohibition against splitting Celerity actions applies only to the actions granted by Celerity. (I know, seems tautological, but bear with me.) Therefore, the following should be legal:

Carla has two one-handed swords and Celerity 1, and is Ambidextrous. She has Dexterity 4 and Melee 4.

  1. At the start of her turn, she activates her Celerity to get one additional action.
  2. On her initiative, she chooses to split her Dexterity + Melee pool in two for "strike with my left sword" and "strike with my right sword." She rolls 5 dice for the first attack and rolls 3 for the second (p.248), spending a Willpower to get an automatic success on the second one. Because she is ambidextrous, she takes no off-hand penalty on these actions.
  3. When Celerity actions come around, she chooses as her bonus action, "strike with my left sword." For this, she'd roll her full 8 dice.

So, by wielding two weapons ambidextrously, you might be able to eke out an additional effective attack. Spending blood to boost your physical attributes (p.268) can make this more potent. Good luck!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Aug 10, 2016 at 0:37

There isn't a huge advantage to having two swords instead of one. The difference is mostly a cosmetic one, which might matter for your character.

Vampire: the Masquerade combat is fairly abstract in places. A sword attack or parry will be made with the same roll for one sword, or dual-wielding. You cannot double your effectiveness this way.

Making more than one attack in a round can only be done with Celerity or by splitting your die pool. Also, Celerity actions can't be split. It doesn't matter how many swords you are holding, or if you are ambidextrous.

Two swords will help if an opponent tries to disarm you, or you are in a situation where a weapon (or hand) can be otherwise damaged or lost.

Extra Poison

An Assamite will gain the additional advantage of being able to coat more steel with poisoned vitae. A blade only holds a limited amount (ST discretion), so having two swords doubles your capacity. Once you are able to do Aggravated damage this way, that can be a big deal.


Way after the fact, but v20 Dark Ages Companion came out and changed everything with one brief entry. It's probably of no help to OP but just in case it helps anyone else looking at this thread for the answer...

"... two weapons earns one advantage: In multiple actions, she may attack twice in a row (but no more), instead of waiting for the turn to cycle around as usual. Two weapons are ideal for the Riposte maneuver (see V20 Dark Ages, p. 347) so you might give double weapon users a -1 difficulty advantage, canceling the usual +1 difficulty penalty for the maneuver (but not the difficulty penalty for multiple actions) as long as the defensive maneuver to set it up is a parry."

So, main advantage is getting to use two attack actions at the top of the round instead of waiting till the end of the turn like normal multiple action attacks. Might actually swing the balance of the fight if it's close. Makes it far more useful than before, when it did nothing.


A sword in an off-hand doesn't help to attack, but does help to defend

There are no dual-wield rules in the entire Old World Of Darkness except for firing two guns, in which case you split dicepool between two separate attacks. Nothing in the rules prevents you from doing the same with a sword for your first action.

However, you may be interested in Vampire: Dark Ages (V20 edition) parry rules. Page 350 says that a sword in an off-hand that your character is using raises the difficulty to attack you by 1 (harder to hit you). A parrying dagger lowers the difficulty to actively parry by 1 instead, and a short sword may count as one.

No other benefits of dual-wield are present in the official part of the system for now.

It is worth noting that in V20 Dark Ages effects of Celerity (page 202 of the core book) differ from those in V20 Masquerade, so do the rules for multiple actions (page 322). The latter are way easier, simply giving cumulative +1 difficulty and -1 dicepool penalties on each action you take: +1/-1 on the first, +2/-2 on the second etc, until either difficulty reaches 10 or dicepool lowers to 0. Celerity allows you to avoid difficulty penalties (dicepool reduction still persists) and to take more attack actions per turn (only one can be an attack normally). As your character is more focused on using swords, it may be worth using Dark Ages rules for him. Sadly, this still doesn't give any benefits for dual-wielding except possible easiness of parrying with a dagger multiple times in a turn.

If you (or some others reading the answers) somehow decide to step away from the way, you may use an interesting houserule for Vampire: The Masquerade, a Skill called "Dual-wield" I found. It allows you to do two attacks when you would normally do one without splitting dicepools (presumably, even for each action of Celerity). You may not have more of Melee, Brawl or Firearms used in this manner than you have dots in Dual-wield skill, and there are dicepool penalties: -4/-1 on the first and second attacks respectively if you don't have the "Ambidextrous" merit and just -1 to the second attack if you have it.

I didn't try it myself yet, but the numbers don't seem to make it too overpowered unless paired with high Celerity and Ambidexterity.


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