Does anyone know how the decapitation mechanics work in nWoD? I checked all books and didn't find it.


2 Answers 2


There is no RAW about this in the rulebooks, but we can construct something that works.

I would take inspiration from Stake through the Heart to create a Decapitation attack.

  • It has a -3 penalty to attack, since we're attacking the head (see Specified Targets on p165 of the Core nWoD rulebook)
  • If 3 (or more) damage is done in a single attack, the head is successfully severed.

I was considering to follow the Knockout (p168 of the Core nWoD rulebook) damage guideline, but needing to do 5 (or more) damage to decapitate a human seems a bit much.

Some examples:

  • Bob the Police officer (p206 of Core nWoD Rulebook) tries to Knockout Joe the Gangbanger (p205 of Core nWoD Rulebook):

    1. Bob has a dicepool of 6 to use his Sap
    2. Joe has 2 Defense, this gives Bob a -2 penalty
    3. Knockout suffers a -3 penalty for targetting the head
    4. Bob has 1 die to roll for his attack (30% chance of success), but even if he hits it isn't going to do enough damage.
    5. Bob uses a Willpower point, which boosts his pool to 4 dice (now he has less than 1% chance to do 5 damage and trigger the stamina check for Joe)
  • Jane the Monster Hunter (p207 of Core nWoD Rulebook) tries to stake Natasha Preston (p294 of Vampire the Requiem book)

    1. Jane has 4 dice to stake somebody (which already incorporates the -4 penalty for targeting the heart)
    2. Natasha has 2 Defense
    3. This leaves Jane with 2 dice on her attack (about 2% chance hit 3 successes through the 10-again rule).
    4. Using a Willpower point boosts her dicepool to 5 (or about 22% chance to hit 3 successes)
  • Jane the Monster Hunter (p207 of Core nWoD Rulebook) tries to decapitate Natasha Preston (p294 of Vampire the Requiem book)

    1. Jane has 9 dice for wielding her Machete
    2. Natasha has 2 Defense
    3. Attack the head gives a -3 penalty
    4. This leaves Jane with 4 dice on her attack (close to 14% chance hit 3 successes; if 5 successes are needed, then she has less than 1% chance of succeeding).
    5. Using a Willpower point boosts her dicepool to 7 (or about 41% chance to hit 3 successes; 7% to hit 5 successes)

This comes from Mirrors, which is a book of system options. It is not a standard rule.

This does not result in the the rules result of a head definitively removed. It is intended to simulate the effects of a strong strike to the neck with a heavy bladed object. That's probably going to kill somebody, but it's not a guarantee. Some people might be tough enough to survive having a sword buried deeply in their neck. For me, that's not a bug, it's freaking awesome.

From page 75: Combat Aspects.

You can create a move with a number of conditions, modifying the roll and its result. Here's what I came up with:

  • Difficult -3 : Subtract three dice from your roll
  • Explosive +2 : You gain the 8 again quality for this roll
  • Vulnerable -2 : This leaves you open to attack. You lose your defense for the rest of this turn and the first attack on the next turn. Ranged attacks against you get +2 against you during this time period.
  • Rewarding +3 : Roll the actions governing stat as additional damage if you get at least one success.

This results in a more difficult roll, that, if successful, will result in massive damage, but leaves you open to attack afterwards.

Or, you could pair it with a Zweihander or a War Axe, which give both give you 9 again already. Then you could switch out one point of Explosive, and balance that by ditching Vulnerable, for Predictable (repeated strikes suffer a cumulative -1 to each hit).

It's probably 6-9 damage in one strike, which should kill most enemies.

(You could throw in a Setup action (like a leg sweep with your weapon that knocks them down and exposes the neck) you can get even more crazy bonuses, possibly enough to fill the Agg bar in one hit, which would really represent decapitation, without a doubt).


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