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Rules Section

Rules Updates for First Quarter 2000:

The following rules updates have been developed for release by the AIT Storytellers. These rules will go into effect at the 2/26/00 gathering.

This rules set redesigns the combat system of AIT to increase usability and player comprehension. Other changes related to this also exist. 

A note on rules design: the rules of AIT seek to define the world the players work within to provide as level a playing field as possible. They are the laws of physics for our world. What happens within those laws is up to the imagination of the players and storytellers.

Rules are subjective and we as STs attempt to define the world in such a way as to improve the quality and enjoyment of the game as a whole. We hope you enjoy our efforts.

On behalf of my fellow storytellers,

Evil Steve

Summary of Changes:

Addition of Meditation as an Ability
Change to the Gangrel Clan Disadvantage
Change to Embrace the Beast (Animalism-3A)
Rewrite and clarification of Surprise
     Includes changes to several Discipline powers
Rewrite of Combat model
Rewrite of Celerity to allow for combat simplification

Meditation

This ability allows a individual to center her being, regaining some measure of control over her divided nature. By spending 15 minutes out of play meditating, you may regain a number of Control Points equal to your level of Meditation, up to your maximum permanent Control Rating.


Embrace the Beast

When this power is used to defeat another discipline attack, the attacker now treats this as a loss.

Example: Samuel attempts to dominate Nate. Nate uses Embrace to defeat Nate's attempt. Samuel counts this as a loss and must wait before trying to dominate Nate again.

Celerity

This discipline represents a vampire's ability to move with a blinding speed. During combat, you are now able to make certain actions faster than an opponent who doesn't possess similar skills. The section on Combat Resolution contains the details on how this discipline is applied during combat.

Use of this discipline above Reflex is considered a breach of the Masquerade due to the fact that witnesses cannot reasonably explain the speed at which you can move.

Each level of Celerity allows you to take an additional eight steps of ground based movement, or four steps of flying movement during the movement phase of combat (See Movement).

In order to activate levels of Celerity beyond Reflex, you must spend one blood to activate it over the course of a single round, or three blood to activate it instantly. Once activated, the discipline lasts for ten minutes or one scene (in-game time).

The discipline bonus that is received during a challenge for possessing a certain level of Celerity is always available, regardless of whether Celerity is activated or not.

Reflex

Your physical speed has increased to the point that you are able to respond to being caught by Surprise. If you are caught by Surprise by an opponent, this discipline will negate the normal half-traits penalty associated with the Surprise.

Unlike the other levels of Celerity, Reflex is always active (including for the purposes of increased movement) and does not have an activation cost.

Rampage

Due to your increased speed, you are able to put much more force behind your blows in combat. At this level of Celerity, your base hand damage for a Brawl strike is two normal wounds.

Blur

Your speed has grown so great that you become a blur when moving. As a result, your opponents will find it much more difficult to sucessfully attack you.

For the entirety of a combat round in which you declare movement to be your action (or a portion of your action), and immediately following each successful Martial, Touch, or Grapple challenge made against you in that round, you may run a simple test against the opponent who just challenged you. If you lose or tie on this challenge, your opponent's attack resolves normally. If you win the simple challenge, you have dodged your opponent's attack, and suffer none of its effects.

Blitz

Your have now attained a speed so great that your physical attacks are completed before your opponent can even begin to respond. If you make a Martial attack during a combat round, the attack and its resolution will occur during the First Strike phase of the combat round (See section on Combat). Additionally, you do not count as an attacker for the purposes of the three attackers per target limitation.

Velocity

The raw speed you exhibit at this level of Celerity defies comprehension. In combat, you become a non-stop whirlwind. You are now able to make a Martial attack and take Movement in the same combat round. Your Martial attack will take place in the First Strike phase of the round, and you may move as normal during the Non-Attack Action phase. As Movement is a portion of your action, you will receive the benefits of Blur throughout the combat round.

Surprise

Surprise is the process of catching an individual (or of being caught) unaware with an attack which is essentially unforeseeable or unexpected.

An individual is caught by surprise if you initiate a combat attack against her at the same time an applicable surprise enabler is used. A surprise enabler is an effect, usually a discipline, which would create a situation where an opponent would be caught unaware or unprepared and therefore be less able to respond. A surprise enabler may be used with any attack that initiates combat. Examples of such attacks are:

Using Dread Gaze from Unseen Presence
Attacking an enemy from behind the door with a Throwing attack, when she enters the room.

Surprise enablers are divided into three classes, distinguished by the level of surprise generated and/or the cause of the surprise. The two levels of surprise are Partial Surprise and Total Surprise. Partial Surprise represents an attack coming in such a way that only a moment's warning is available. The target of the attack, though physically unprepared, will still be able to take her normal range of actions.

Total Surprise represents an attack coming with absolutely no warning. As such, the target will be able to take no action in response to the attack. The two major causes of surprise are mundane happenstance and Hiding Powers (See section on Hiding Powers).  The three classes of surprise enablers are as follows:

Higher stealth -- This includes the Hiding Powers which generate Total Surprise (Vanish from Mind's Eye and Cloak the Gathering).

Lower stealth -- This includes the Hiding Powers which generate Partial Surprise (Unseen Presence, Cloak of Shadows, and Skin of the Chameleon, as well as the ritual Donning the   Mask of Shadows).

Situational surprise -- Situational surprise is a catch-all term to represent the variety of scenarios in which you may manipulate the situation (without the use of a Hiding Power) to catch your opponent unaware. An example of this would be to spring an attack upon your opponent from behind the door, when she enters the room.

There are three possible effects of being surprise. First, for the round in which you are surprised, you are at half traits for offensive and defensive Martial, Touch, and Grapple (See section on Martial and Touch Challenges) challenges against the individual(s) who surprised you. Second, for the round in which you are surprised, you are unable to select the individual(s) who surprised you as your target during the Target Selection Phase of combat. Third, for the round in which you are surprised, you lose the ability to take any actions (including instant and delayed actions). Depending on the level of surprise generated, any or all of these effects may apply. In addition, certain disciplines can nullify some or all of these effects (See section on Negating Surprise).

Your level of surprise (and its associated effect(s)) may differ for each of your opponents in a given combat round. For example, this may occur if you are caught in Total Surprise by an opponent attacking from Vanish from Mind's Eye, but are also caught in Partial Surprise by a different opponent attacking from Cloak of Shadows at the same time. The effects of being surprised are always evaluated individually with respect to each opponent who has surprised you.

If you are caught in Partial Surprise by someone, this will have the following effects for the round in which you are Surprised:

You are at half traits for the any Martial, Touch, or Grapple challenge which you initiate against this person.
You are at half traits for any Martial, Touch, or Grapple challenge which this person initiates against you.

If you are caught in Total Surprise by someone, this will have the following effects for the round in which you are Surprised:

You are unable to select this individual as your target during the Target Selection Phase of that round.
You are at half traits for any Martial, Touch, or Grapple challenge which this person initiates against you.

If you are caught in Total Surprise by ALL opponents in a combat round, this will have the following additional effect for the round in which you are Surprised:

You are unable to make any actions (including instant and delayed actions) in that combat round.

The effects of being Surprised are cumulative with other penalties, such as Confusion, Wound Penalties, or the effects of being Grappled.

You may still spend willpower, use blood to soak wounds, or use blood to increase traits when you are in Total or Partial Surprise. Additionally, Fortitude is always active and usable, regardless of your current surprise level.

You may not spend willpower to ignore being Surprised.

Negating Surprise

Even if you are caught by surprise with an attack, it is possible through the use of certain disciplines to nullify some (or all) of the effects of the surprise.

If you possess the discipline Reflex (Celerity 1A), you do not suffer the half traits penalty that Partial and Total Surprise generate.
I
f you possess the discipline Insight (Auspex 2A), you may take an action, even when under the effects of Total Surprise.  Also, you may declare an opponent who attacked you from Total Surprise as your target during the Target Selection Phase.

If you possess the discipline Sense of the Predator (Animalism 2B) and spend a control point to activate the power, you may nullify all Surprise effects generated against you for that combat round.

Heightened Senses (Auspex 1A), Whispers of the Chamber (Visceratika 1B), and Whispers of the Castle (Visceratika 3A) do not negate the effects of surprise. These powers allow the user to detect individuals, even those using Hiding Powers (See section on Hiding Powers). As such, the surprise is never generated in the first place.

Combat

When two or more characters are engaged in a challenge involving attack, or if they are engaged in a sequence of challenges such that the order of their resolution is important, then these players are said to be in combat.

Combat is organized into a sequence of rounds. Each round of combat is then broken down into phases. For the purpose of combat, we use the relevant speed of the challenge to determine in which phase a challenge (and its effect) takes place. It is these phases that determine the order in which challenges are made and resolved.

A character may make (at most) one combat action per combat round, along with other auxiliary actions. It is possible (such as in the case of high levels of Celerity) for a combat action to actually consist of both an attack and movement.

A character may be physically attacked in close combat (Brawl or Melee) by a maximum of three attackers in the Normal Attack Phase of a given combat round. There is no limit to the number of social, mental, or ranged physical attacks (Throwing or Firearms) that may be targeted at a given character in a given combat round, nor is there a limit to the number of physical attackers in the First Strike Phase.

If you are both attacking and defending in the same combat round, the relevant challenges are handled separately, even if they are with the same person. So if two people are attacking each other, it is possible for both to hit, or both to miss.

Combat can be modified by various penalties such as those caused by Surprise, Confusion, or Wound Penalties. These penalties will modify the bids for certain challenges. Additionally, Surprise can disallow a character to take particular (or even any) actions in a combat round (See section on Surprise).

Unless disallowed by surprise, you may initiate ALL of the following actions in a given combat round:

Any number of instant actions. This consists of auxiliary actions which are initiated and resolved within the Instant Phase of Combat. Examples are spending 3 blood points to activate Celerity, or spending 3 blood points to activate Form of Mist.

Any number of delayed actions. This consists of auxiliary actions which must be initiated during the Instant Phase, but do not resolve until the End Phase of the same round. Examples are spending 1 blood point to activate Celerity, or spending 1 blood point to activate Form of Mist. This category does not include attacking actions whose effects are delayed.

One combat action. A combat action consists of making either one Attack action or one Non-attack action.


An Attack action can consist of ONE of the following:

One mental-based attack (excluding Firearms and Throwing attacks)

One social-based attack

One Martial attack.

One Touch attack

One Grapple attack

A Non-attack action consists of ONE of the following:

Movement-- You are able to move a certain number of steps depending on your current form as well as current active level of Celerity (See section on Movement. When multiple people are taking movement in the same combat round, those who are able to take the fewest steps will move first.

Fair Escape (See section on Fair Escape)

Drinking blood-- You are able to drink one blood point plus one blood point per level of Celerity. You are only allowed to drink from an intimate object (such as bottle or bucket) or drink from someone who is in Torpor or Staked.

Healing one wound-- This is in addition to any wounds you may have soaked. The use of Fortitude may modify this.

Initiating a non-attacking discipline that does not happen instantly (such as initiating Unseen Presence).

These challenges and their resolution are done in phases, in the following order:

1. Target Selection Phase-- In this phase, you will need to select the target to attack. Determination of Surprise and challenges to pierce Majesty are included in this phase. The target you select may be dependent on the outcome of these challenges.

2. Instant Phase-- Initiation and resolution of instant actions. Initiations of delayed actions. Initiation and resolution of Combat actions that cause Confusion (Eyes of the Serpent, Shadow Veil, Echoes of Death, Delusions). Initiation and resolution of the instant Unseen Presence via Soul Mask.

3. First Strike Phase-- Challenges for first strike Martial attacks, and their resolutions (Celerity 2B and higher).

4. Normal Attack Phase-- Challenges for mental attacks, social attacks, normal Martial attacks, and Grapple attacks (Potence 2A) and their resolution. Challenges for Touch attacks and their associated challenges and their resolutions.

5. Non-attack Action Phase-- Resolution of non-attack actions.

6. End Phase-- Resolution of delayed actions. Reversion from altered form (Form of Mist, Horrid Form, etc.) to original form. Check for Frenzy. Check for Final Death.

Wound penalties incurred in the First Strike Phase are applied to all offensive and defensive challenges for the remainder of the round (See section on Wound Levels).

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