V20 Core, page 285:

After the soak roll, any bashing damage applied to a vampire is halved (round down) — the Kindred’s corpselike bodies simply don’t bruise and break like the kine’s.

How would the damage mechanics of the game be impacted statistically if this passage was changed to say round up instead via house-rule? I suspect firearms would be affected the most since they are probably the single most common type of weapon, and always deal bashing damage to vampires unless the attacker aims for the head.

I want to make firearms and melee bashing weapons slightly more effective than they are and this seems like the most innocuous change to do that. I'm interested in quantifying the precise degree of improvement over the rules-as-written, and possibly identify any unintended consequences.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Just keep in mind, that Kindred are supposed to shrug of fists and bullets. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tritium21
    Commented Sep 5, 2015 at 22:18

3 Answers 3


That change does make it almost 50% more likely a random hit from an "average" person will cause at least one box of damage. If your chronicle is a low-combat campaign where most attackers will be using fists, improvised/"street" weapons (like chains, bats, and tire irons), and small-caliber firearms, this makes combat significantly more lethal for the players, since attacks that would previously fail to harm them at all may now eat one-seventh of their health and reduce all their offensive dice pools.

In a chronicle that already focuses heavily on combat or where the opponents are expected to be competent at killing vampires, this only increases the average damage from bashing attacks by a half-box of damage - since these attacks should already have been doing three to five boxes anyway (assuming a large-caliber firearm, Potence-enhanced ghoul or Kindred, or the like), there's a larger chance of driving someone into their nearly-helpless-but-not-Incapacitated health box, but it otherwise shouldn't increase lethality too much - the players might even prefer the change, since it means they can do that increased damage to rival Kindred. If one of these adversaries is using bashing damage, they're confident they can do enough damage to overcome the halving anyway, so should more rarely fall on the round-down-to-zero-but-up-to-one line that's most important with this rule change.

Note that the most lethal creatures and weapons - snipers, swords, flamethrowers, Kindred from clans with a focus on melee combat, elder Kindred of all sorts, were-beasts, and worse - are already doing lethal or aggravated anyway, and the rule change doesn't affect them at all. On the flip side, a single drive-by by four hoods in the gang-war side of town could incapacitate a young Vampire in only two volleys, depending on accuracy and Stamina+Fortitude rating, where before it would have been a mere annoyance.


You will be adding an average of half-a-level of additional bashing damage per attack (before soak).

Here's how: Damage rolls give a fairly even distribution between odd and even results. Half of the damage rolls have odd numbered results, and you'll add one damage to those rolls. The even numbered rolls remain unchanged.

Impact upon play

Minor damage boost to bashing attacks, just like you want.

Also, it means that sources which deal a single point of damage will actually affect vampires, instead of being automatically ignored. There's a slight narrative impact here, in that characters are a little more easily affected by the world.


Depends on the exact dicepools

I tried to use AnyDice to calculate that just to prove my hypothesis. Select the Summary tab, looking for average difference between the rule with rounding up and rounding down, and see the results as a Table. You may notice a simple fact:

The stronger do soak dice outnumber damage dice, the less is the impact of rounding, as there is more probability of having no rounding at all (when you get 0 damage).

And vice versa. With damage dicepools outnumbering soak dicepools there still is a chance to roll for less damage then soaking, but it is very low. As bashing damage mainly comes from not so potent sources (such as firearms, fists and improvised weapons), a vampire generated for combat is likely to have more soak dice.

So it is now mathematically proved that impact of such a rule is often very low. Rounding only matters if you both roll for more damage successes and the difference between damage and soak successes is an odd number.


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