Damage in AIT
There has occasionally been confusion for new players, and sometimes for experienced ones, about how to calculate damage in AIT. More specifically, there have been problems with mixing and matching various disciplines and weapons when calculating the damage. This brief article is designed to review how to calculate damage for attacks, and some of the wrinkles associated with that calculation.
In order to see how much damage is caused by an attack, the first step is to calculate the base damage for an attack. What the base represents is the unmodified damage that a successful attack will cause. The most important thing to remember is that base damages do not stack. What this means is that if you should have available multiple options for creating a base damage, you must choose only one of them, and that is the one that can be modified. In other words, if you have a Cestus with a base damage of two normal wounds, and also have Wolf's Claws with a one aggravated wound base, you do not get to do one aggravated and two normal, or one aggravated and one normal. You get to choose between the two for either one aggravated or two normal. Keep this in mind when we review the different possible sources of base damages in the game.
Ranged v. Close Damage
Armor is a handy tool for preventing damage to your character, as it stops cold most damage without requiring the expenditure of blood. There are limitations to it, however. The simple one is that you can't wear more than one set of armor, other than adding an anti-staking plate beneath your normal armoring. It is also ablative, meaning once it is used up, it is gone and must be replaced. It also only stops the first normal wound (this will be covered below) from any single attack. The biggest limitation, however, is that unless it is a special combination model, it is only capable of preventing damage from either ranged attacks such as firearms, or close ones such as brawl attacks. Although there is no tag-line when you are attacking, your opponent has to know the source of the attack so that, amongst other reasons, they can determine the effectiveness of their armor.
Normal v. Aggravated Damage
Not all damage is equal. Kindred are especially vulnerable to certain sorts of damage, such as fire, that makes it impossible to heal without supernatural toughness. This kind of damage is called Aggravated damage and is exceptionally nasty. In addition to being difficult to heal, aggravated damage goes right through armor, which only stops the first normal wound. Finally, if a Kindred is at torpor level of damage and takes an aggravated wound, they are destroyed, becoming a pile of ash.
Base Damage Sources
There are many potential sources for a base damage, and we will cover here most of the ones that are used in martial attacks. There are other powers, such as from Thaumaturgies Path of Mind, that have a damage for their attack that is not modifiable, and we will not cover those here. This also includes the Ward v. Spirit, which when used as a weapon does one unmodifiable aggravated wound to Possessors and Projectors. We will also not cover those powers which are limited to restricted Clans, such as Serpentis. All of these can be learned as appropriate, looking for the key words base damage in their descriptions to let you know whether their damage is modifiable.
Bare hand or fang: Every Kindred, ghoul or human starts with a base damage of one when performing an attack with just themselves, not employing any weapon or discipline. This is normal, non-aggravated damage that can be defended against by chain-mail armor.
Brawl and Melee Weapons: Depending on their type, these will create a base damage of one or two normal wounds, and are defended against using Chainmail Armor. They may in addition give additional traits for the bid to hit or defend against an opponent.
Firearms and Throwing Weapons: While Firearms come in one wound and two wound varieties, throwing weapons are only single wound weapons. Both classes use normal wound levels, and there are no special ammunition types in AIT to cause additional or different types of damage.
Celerity: The Celerity 1b power, Rampage, creates when activated a base damage of two normal wounds in close combat.
Protean: Several of the different Protean powers create base damages for their attacks, all of which are used in close combat. The 1a power, Wolf's Claws, has a base damage of one aggravated wound level. The 2a power, Shadow of the Beast, allows the Kindred to change into the form of a wolf with a base damage of a single aggravated wound level. Finally, the 3a power, Aspect of the Wolf, gives an attack with a base damage of two aggravated wounds.
Thaumaturgy, Path of Flame: The 1a power, Hand of Flame, creates a base damage of one aggravated wound when used in close combat. The 2b power, Fire Strike, does even better, creating a base damage of two aggravated wounds, also in close combat.
Modifying Damage Type
Once the base damage is established for a particular attack, there are ways of modifying the type of damage that is being done from normal to aggravated damage. Ward v. Kindred and Ward v. Ghouls are rituals that when applied to a weapon will turn the first wound of damage done from normal to aggravated if the target of the attack is of the creature type the Ward was created to harm. In order for these Wards to be applied, there must be a Brawl, Melee, or Throwing weapon (or an arrow or quarrel) upon which the ritual can be cast- it will not work for Firearms or on your bear hand. Such rituals are expensive and require occult knowledge, but players in the game do have access to them.
There are other methods for modifying the type of damage, such as an Assamite's use of Quietus, but these function in the same manner, converting a certain amount of damage from normal to aggravated. A new player will not have access to these disciplines so merely needs to understand the effects when others use the powers upon them.
Modifying Amount of Damage
Now that we have reviewed how to establish the base damage, and how to change its type, there is the more common question of changing the extent of the damage done. There are only two ways that the number of wounds that an attack does can be increased.
First, Potence increases the number of wounds of damage done by different attacks. The 1a, X, increases those done by Throwing weapons by one normal wound level, while the 1b does the same for those done in close combat. The 2b and 3a disciplines increase the damage by both close combat and Throwing attacks by 2 or 3 normal wounds respectively. Potence does nothing to improve the wounds done by Firearms or such weapons as Crossbows, however, their mechanical nature not being changed by the Kindred's unnatural strength.
Finally, if a player activates Celerity 2a, Blur, then they can improve their damage done by Firearms attacks by a single normal wound, meaning that a one wound base gun does two wounds and a base two damage rifle does three normal wounds.
So, to review, the damage that an attack does begins with determining the base damage done, in terms of the number of wounds, the range of the attack, and the type of wounds done. Then, it is determined if any of the damage types have been changed. Finally, any additional wound levels given by disciplines, giving the total number of wounds for any given attack.