Expanded Hunting Rules
The default hunting rules on page 308 of Vampire: The Masquerade describe some simple rules for hunting using simple tests rather than roleplaying a hunt within normal scenes of play. This section attempts to expand upon those rules for greater clarity and to allow for better interaction of relevant rules.
By default, succeeding at a hunting roll allows the player character to have successfully found a single vessel, which they may slake hunger from as they wish. If the character has Hunger 4, do not forget to roll for a Hunger Frenzy when they first taste blood from the vessel, which could result in them slaking more than they originally wanted. For normal humans this allows a vampire to slake between 1 and 5 Hunger (but only up to 2 safely), whilst for corpses this allows a vampire to slake between 1 and 3 Hunger (Cult of the Blood Gods, p. 151).
To allow for scaling success, if the margin of success is equal to the original hunting difficulty, or if they experience a critical success, the Storyteller may allow the player to have located two vessels instead of just one. This allows them to slake additional Hunger without risking harm to their prey.
Additionally or alternatively, if the player only found one vessel and has enough time in the narrative that the Storyteller allows them to make an additional hunting roll, “spare” successes/margin from the original roll could be added as automatic successes to any immediately subsequent hunting rolls of the same type.
For hunting rolls related to normal city animals (e.g. rats, stray dogs) or to find bagged blood, each successful roll (or multiple of the difficulty) should allow for enough animals to be hunted or blood bags to be bought to slake a single Hunger. When buying blood bags, Storytellers may wish to require a level of Resources per Hunger they wish to slake in a single roll, for convenience, or else require some other justification for how they are acquiring them.
For characters with a Blood Potency such that they would only slake half Hunger from animals, they must instead exceed the difficulty of the hunting roll by a margin equal to the difficulty, or roll a critical success, in order to slake a single Hunger.
Prey Exclusion & Preferences
Whilst down to the Storyteller’s discretion, a character with Flaw: (•) Prey Exclusion should typically increase the difficulty of any relevant hunting roll by 1 for each relevant Prey Exclusion. This means that a typical Prey Exclusion will increase hunting difficulty against humans by 1, but not affect the hunting rolls of animals. Characters with the Ventrue Flaw should typically increase the difficulty of all hunting rolls by 1, in addition to any Prey Exclusions.
Characters may choose to hunt in spite of their Prey Exclusions or feeding preferences, but any success on such a hunting roll means that they have found an unsuitable vessel and they will incur Stains or Superficial Willpower, as appropriate.
Success at a cost
Due to the high difficulty of many hunting rolls, it is encouraged to allow players to succeed at a cost for many hunts. Example costs include:
- Carelessness: You hunted without sufficient care of the Masquerade, and may have attracted attention. The repercussions may not be felt now, but could result in investigation by police and/or hunters, or a temporary removal of a dot in a Background/addition of a temporary flawed variant of a Background as they over-expended Resources, became Infamous for “mugging” people, became Disliked by a subculture, burnt a Mask, and so on.
- Hurry: You hunted for a long time without success, and then rushed the act. You were only able to slake a single Hunger from a vessel before being spotted, making you unable to hunt in that area for the rest of the Story.
- Over-eager: You were desperate and sloppy, and either fed from someone who looked ill or forgot to clean the wound afterwards which caused them to fall ill. Gain a Stain.
- Cut corners: You had to make some quick moves and take some risks in order to catch your prey, leading to you either needing to throw off some social barbs or take a punch before your fangs sunk in. Take a point of Superficial Health or Willpower damage.
Taking half may not always be appropriate for hunting rolls due to hunting being an inherently risky and drama-filled aspect of the night, but sometimes it may be for the best. However, players may have very high dice pools available to them which would make taking half trivialise hunting. In these cases, it is recommended to remove a number of dice from the hunting dice pool equal to a character’s Hunger level before halving, or even removing the Hunger level from the total after halving. This makes taking half when very Hungry impossible, whilst still allowing it when they are at safe levels.
Disciplines & hunting
The default rules make for very unequal application of Disciplines to hunting rolls, with Presence able to add its full rating to relevant hunting rolls via Awe, whilst Obfuscate provides no benefit. This is complicated further by some Predator Types awarding Disciplines which are consequences of a hunting style, rather than helping with the hunt itself - e.g. gaining Oblivion from being a Bagger.
Whilst balancing Disciplines will never be perfect and is not reasonable to strive for, a compromise for narrative abstraction is to allow players to gain a dice bonus equal to half of a relevant Discipline rating, rounded up, to their hunting rolls, but not allow the use of powers to affect hunting rolls. If players wish to take full advantage of a Discipline power when hunting, such as Awe, then they must roleplay a relevant scene. Hunting within Domains
Alternate Chasse Rules
Every Domain is centred around a particular area, which comes with an associated trait rating, hunting difficulty and additional bonuses and penalties related to the locale and size. This area, including its size and internal locations is called a Chasse. Examples include:
|LOCALE||DESCRIPTION||HUNTING DIFFICULTY||ADDITIONAL RULES|
|••||The Rack||2||-2 to Portillon, Haven Flaw: (•) Creepy|
|•••||Gentrifying neighbourhood||3||-1 to Lien|
|••||Wealthy neighbourhood||6||+2 dice for Finance rolls|
If constructing a custom chasse for your coterie, start by reviewing the hunting ground table on page 308 to see the kinds of locales available and what their normal hunting difficulty is. The base trait rating required for a locale is determined by its hunting difficulty, starting at one dot for a hunting difficulty of 6 and increasing to five dots for a hunting difficulty of 2.
Once you have a starting trait rating, you may modify the rating required by applying merits or flaws to your coterie’s Haven within the domain, to your rolls within the domain in a similar manner as the Haven merit Location or penalties to your domain as if the inverse of Lien or Portillon. For instance, the sample chasse of The Rack in the table above requires two dots and grants a hunting difficulty of 2, but causes any and all Havens within it (such as any shared haven of the coterie) to have the Creepy Flaw, as well as adding two dice to any opponent’s attempt to enter the domain.
Any chasse may also be affected by permanent or temporary modifiers from page 308 like any other hunting ground, or based on the original chasse rules from page 196. For instance, if the coterie wished to have a domain in a wealthy neighbourhood, but have a low hunting difficulty, they could simply represent this by having a large domain, or by having lax security and clubs, or near-permanent festivals going on. When considering a domain’s chasse, bear in mind that the hunting difficulty applies to all hunting rolls - whether for animals, blood bags, corpses or living humans. As a result, there may be limits to how much a particular locale may suit a particular coterie and its preferred hunting methods.
Players and Storytellers are encouraged to work together to have the right blend of mechanics and flavour which suits everyone.