Rule Modifications

<meta>Harsh Light uses the vast majority of the rules presented in Vampire: The Requiem and World of Darkness (changes for a single-pull system, of course), but there have been some changes made. The entire Big List can be found below, but any changes will be repeated on their respective pages. If something isn't mentioned here, assume it is the same as printed in V:tR or WoD.

Vampiric Condition:

Predator’s Taint (pg. 168, VtR): Vampires automatically recognize each other on sight unless under the effects of Obfuscate, but this no longer triggers a Frenzy test. No tests of any kind are required.


Weapons and Damage: All normal mortal weapons, be they bullet or blade, deal only Bashing damage to vampires. Extremely deadly weapons, such as grenades, may do Lethal damage. Fire and sunlight deal aggravated damage, as normal.


Quality of unlife: Vampires, even without Auspex, see about twice as well as humans in the dark, needing only very dim light to get by. Furthermore, they have a highly attuned sense of smell for blood, able to detect fresh blood automatically within a number of meters equal to BP x 2. Beyond that range, or if the blood is not fresh, vampires still get a +2 bonus to any perception test to do with blood.


Humanity (pg. 180-186, VtR): Rather than a cap for social pools with mortals, low Humanity will now impose a flat penalty: 10-7 (-0), 6-5 (-1), 4-3 (-2), 2-1 (-4). This penalty can be halved (rounded down) with spending a Vitae for Blush of Health for the scene. Humanity still caps ALL pools during the day. Furthermore, if you take and pass a Humanity test for the same sin three times in close secession, you automatically fail your third test because obviously your character doesn't actually regret their actions. Context, motivation, intent, and length of time between sins will all  be taken into account on a case-by-case basis.


Frenzy: Vampires will not take frenzy tests from small amounts of incidental damage when they know they are in no actual danger (a sparring match, or a point of Bashing from a short fall, for instance). In all cases of frenzy, the STs are the final arbitrators of what provokes a check, you cannot call one for yourself. However, you can ask the STs for a frenzy check, if you feel one is warranted, though they may decline.

Virtues: In addition to the major accomplishments or self-sacrifices needed to regain all willpower from fulfilling one's Virtue as written in WoD, one can also regain a single point of willpower by acting in accordance with one's Virtue in more moderate ways, very much like indulging one's Vice. As always, the STs decide if any given action (or inaction!) is worth awarding willpower for.


Clan Flaws: The Gangrel and Nosferatu clan flaws have been modified to be less crippling in a single-pull system.

Gangrel: At character creation, choose Int or Wits. All non-perception, non-Discipline pools using the chosen Attribute are penalized by -1. In addition, Gangrel suffer a -4 untrained penalty for untrained Mental Skills, rather than the normal -3.

Nosferatu: At character creation, choose Pres or Man. All non-Discipline pools using the chosen Attribute are penalized by -1. In addition, Nosferatu suffer a -2 untrained penalty for Social Skills, rather than the normal -1.



Auspex: A Clash of Wills is a reflexive contested action.

Celerity (pg. 123-124, VtR): The Defense and Initiative bonus from Celerity may be activated reflexively for the scene with the expenditure of a single point of Vitae. The speed multiplier, however, requires an additional point of Vitae spend every ROUND the user wishes to gain its benefits. You may spend a Vitae for a burst of speed without spending to activate the Defense/Initiative bonus, if you wish, but the speed still only lasts one round.


Resilience (pg. 140-141, VtR): Activation is now reflexive. Any wounds in extra health boxes vanish with those health boxes at the end of the scene. Resilience can be maintained seamlessly as long as the user continues to spend Vitae each scene.


Vigor (pg. 141-142, VtR): Activation is now reflexive.


Majesty (pg. 128-132, VtR):


Summon: Humans are never aware that they are being compelled under this power the first few times it is used on them, but may gain awareness of it over many uses. Vampires are always aware they are being Summoned, but not by whom or where. Ghouls receive a Wits + Composure roll to notice the effects of the power, with one exception: Ghouls always know if it is their domitor who is calling them. All victims of Summon attempt to use the fastest route and method to get to the user of the power, unless such a route endangers them. If the summoner is far enough away from the subject that it will take the subject multiple nights to reach them, then the summoner must renew his Summon every night, with a new contested roll. Any aware victim of Summon may act however they wish while traveling to the user of the power, as long as doing so doesn’t significantly slow their progress. Such actions could include leaving a trail to follow, calling allies to them, or even, in this new aware age, phoning the police!


Revelation: The user of this power must be able to speak with the subject directly, not over the phone or any other electronic means, for it to have any effect.


Nightmare (pg. 133-135, VtR):


Monstrous Countenance: This power now only affects a single target and cannot be maintained indefinitely, every attempt to terrify someone requires a new roll and action.


Dread: The penalty is reduced to -1, but the user can now exclude as many subjects from the effect as they have dots in Nightmare as long as they can perceive those they wish to exclude.


Shatter the Mind: Achieving an Exceptional Success with this power no longer robs the victim of a permanent dot of Willpower, nor does it inflict a permanent derangement. Instead, the victim gains a severe derangement of the storyteller’s choice for a number of weeks equal to the successes rolled and cannot regain Willpower for the rest of the night. They still fall unconscious for the scene, however.


Mortal Fear: Achieving an Exceptional Success with this power no longer robs the victim of a permanent dot of Willpower, but prevents a vampire victim from regaining Willpower through any means for the rest of the night. If an Exceptional Success is achieved against a living subject, there is no further effect, the massive damage inflicted is its own reward.


Obfuscate (pg. 135-138, VtR):


Familiar Stranger: This power no longer functions as written, though the activation and contested pools are the same. Instead, this power now allows its user to disguise themselves as a generic ‘type’ of person for a scene, appearing as an archetypical example of the chosen persona. Some examples of this are: ‘grizzled detective’, ‘tired office worker’, ‘sexy cop’, ‘shabby tramp’  etc. The power can create the image of clothing and small accessories, but not actual equipment (if you cloak as a ‘riot police’, for instance,  you will only appear to be wearing armor and will gain no actual defensive bonus). Furthermore, while the user can dictate broad strokes of the image adopted, even appearing as a different race and/or gender, the details are out of their control and usually skew towards ‘average’. For this reason, mimicking specific individuals with this power is impossible, but the same template can be adopted multiple times if one wishes. For the contested pulls against a crowd of people, test against the highest Resolve + Blood Potency of those who can observe the user. If the user wins, all are fooled; if he loses, no one is. Just like all other forms of Obfuscate, this illusion does not fool electronics.


Protean (pg. 138-140, VtR):


Aspect of the Predator: Total re-write. With this power, the distance at which the vampire can automatically detect fresh blood, and bonus to perception rolls involving blood, are both doubled. Furthermore, by tasting a non-coagulated sample of blood or viate, the vampire can ascertain a few things:
- The general health and age of the human or animal the sample comes from, if blood.

- The Blood Potency of the vampire, if vitae.

- The vampire knows if they’ve tasted this same blood/viate before, and will recognize to whom it belongs to if they have access to that knowledge.

This power costs nothing, requires no roll and is considered ‘always on’. The amount of blood needed for a 'sample' is miniscule, and does not evoke the Blood Bond or risk contracting any blood-born diseases (unless ingested in sufficient quantities anyway, of course).


Claws of the Wild: As written, save the claws now do Lethal damage to everything, including Kindred, and now ignore 1 point of Armor/Durability the target possesses, if any. Claws have a weapon profile of 1/0 and are compatible with the Fighting Finesse merit.


Shape of the Beast: Broadly as written, but the different form’s stats have been altered, and there are now more options for ‘fight’ and ‘flight’ forms. When you purchase this power for the first time, select either ‘flight form’ or one of the three ‘fight forms’ and gain the ability to assume that shape. Additional forms may be bought with the expenditure of 3xp.

-Flight Form: Any winged scavenger or predator of size 1 or 2 that the vampire has seen before (a picture is fine). Statistics remain the same as in VtR, save that this form also confers a +3 bonus on Stealth tests due to its small size. Additionally, after this form has been purchased, an aquatic variant can be bought for 3 xp. Aquatic flight forms have the same stats as regular ones, save that they must be an appropriate fish or amphibian and the flight Speed is replaced by a swim Speed of the same value. Physical attacks in ‘flight form’ deal no damage, though they may cause pain and/or distraction. If both versions of this form have already been purchased once, but a Kindred wishes to still buy additional animal shapes, the cost drops to 1 xp per form.


-Fight Form, Three Options:

“Tank”: 1 Strength, +1 Stamina, +1 Health, +2 on perception tests, gains a -2/2 Lethal attack.

“Versatile”: 1 Strength, +1 Stamina, +1 Dexterity, +2 Speed, +2 on perception tests, gains a +0/1 Lethal attack (FF).
“Swift”: 2 Dexterity, +1 Stamina, +6 Speed, +2 on perception tests, gains a +2/0 Lethal attack (FF).


The above stats replace the generic ‘wolf’ stats in VtR. Animals for a ‘fight form’ must be a mammalian or reptilian scavenger or predator of size 4 to 7 that the vampire has seen before (a picture is fine), and be reasonable for the type of form desired (a bear for Tank, a cougar for Swift, a wolf for Versatile, etc.). Note that attacks listed in the profiles are considered mundane weapons, and thus will do only Bashing damage to vampires. However, a user can spend an additional Vitae to activate Claws of the Wild while in animal form to have their attacks do Lethal to Kindred and gain the Armor/Durability bypass (but the weapon profile stays the same as their current form).  Keep in mind that doing this makes it obvious that the animal is unnatural. The Fighting Finesse merit can be applied to the natural attacks of a Versatile or Striker form, but not a Tank form. If all three versions of this form have already been purchased once, but a Kindred wishes to still buy additional animal shapes, the cost drops to 1 xp per form (each new animal will be assigned one of the three types).


Coils of the Dragon: The XP scaling for Coils has been changed. Instead of 7 x new rating equal to the number of Coils you  have total, the XP cost now counts each type of Coil as a separate Discipline. So, under the base rules if you had Coil of the Blood 2 and wanted to buy Coil of the Beast 1, it would cost you 21 xp. Under the modification, the first level of Coil of the Beast would cost you only 7xp, no matter how many levels of Banes or Blood you have, just as if you were buying a brand new out-of-clan Discipline at level one.




Grappling: These rules supplant any grappling rules found in VtM, WoD or anywhere else that White Wolf has printed complicated and contradictory grappling mechanics. Grappling now works as follows:


Step One: The person wishing to initiate a grapple makes an attack with the pool of Strength + Brawl – opponent’s Defense. At least one hand must be empty to attempt a grapple, and the test is taken at a -2 penalty unless both hands are. If the test succeeds, both the initiating character and their opponent are considered to be ‘grappling’. While grappling, both combatants apply only half their Defense to outside attacks (not versus each other), and they take a -2 penalty to attack anyone but each other with physical attacks. Additional penalties, restrictions or bonuses may apply at ST discretion.


Stage Two: While grappling, either combatant may take their action to test Strength + Brawl – opponent’s Strength. Success on this roll may apply one of the following effects. Remember that the grappling characters are not restricted to only the below maneuvers, and may take other actions at their discretion (unless they are pinned, or wish to leave the grapple- see below).

  • Damage: The opponent takes the tester’s successes in Bashing Damage (vampires can use this maneuver to cause Lethal damage to humans with their fangs).

  • Escape: The grapple ends, and the tester can immediately move their Speed away from the opponent, should they wish.

  • Pin: Tester totally immobilizes their opponent, preventing them from taking most physical actions, including testing to escape the grapple. If the tester is a vampire, they may now feed on their opponent. Following a successful pin, the tester can now dedicate their action to maintaining the pin, which will keep their opponent restrained as long as they do so. If the tester takes any other physical action besides feeding, the opponent may once again test to escape the grapple. While a pin is active, both combatants completely lose their Defense against outside attacks. However, every time the person pinned takes damage from an attack from outside the grapple, they immediately get another test to escape. Additional penalties, restrictions or bonuses may apply at ST discretion.


Note: A grapple may be ended as a Reflexive action on either combatants turn, should both combatants wish it. Such as when a grenade lands at their feet, for example. Or when the grapple was being used to restrain a Frenzied vampire, who has regained control.


Speed & Steps: Every round, you may move up to your Speed rating in steps. You may choose to move before or after your instant action for the round, but may not split up your movement around it. In order to make the differences in character's Speeds relevant in a system where combat is often acted out in a confined space, the base 'species factor' of the Speed advantage (5 for humans/vampires) has been removed. This will reduce most people's Speed to their Dex + Strength scores.


Weapons: Weapons in Harsh Light have been changed from New WoD standard. Rather than now providing a straight test bonus, weapons now have two values, like so: 0/1
The number before the slash indicates the test bonus that the weapon provides, and the number after the slash is how many levels of automatic damage the weapon adds after an attack hits. In the provided example, that weapon wouldn’t give any kind of a bonus to hit with, but once it did connect, it would provide a level of damage in addition to what was gained through the attack test’s successes.


Furthermore, weapons have been streamlined immensely from the eleventy-billion that you can find in all of the New WoD supplements. Harsh Light uses the following weapon charts:


Melee Weapons:

Light: 1/0 (knife, baton) One-Handed, easily concealable.

Reach: 2/0 (spear, staff) One or Two-Handed, not concealable.


Balanced: 0/1 (Longsword, baseball bat) One or Two-handed, difficult to conceal.


Heavy: -2/+2 (Battle Axe, sledge hammer) Two-Handed, cannot conceal.


Improvised: -1/+0 (broken bottle, rusty pipe) Handedness and concealability on a case-by-case basis.


Melee weapons will do either Lethal or Bashing to humans based on what they are. All mundane weapons deal Bashing to Kindred.



Light Pistol/SMG: +1/ +0 (Glock 9mm, Mac-10) One-Handed,  easily concealable. Autofire capable depending on model. Magazine: 12-30, depending on model.


Heavy Pistol: -1/+1 (Desert Eagle, anything with ‘Magnum’ in the name) Two-Handed, moderate concealable. Magazine: 5-8, depending on model.


Longarm: 0/1 (.306, Steyr-Aug) Two-Handed, not concealable. Autofire capable depending on model. 5-30, depending on model.


Shotgun: -1/+1 (Mossberg, old-fashioned double-barrel) +1 damage at melee range. Not-concealable. Autofire capable depending on model. Magazine: 2-8, depending upon model.


Sniper Rifle: -2/+2 (AWP, Steyr Scout) Test penalty reduced to -1 if stationary (not moving or defending yourself on turn fired) and to +0 if stationary and prone/braced. Magazine, 5-10 depending upon model.

Autofire: See page 160 of WoD Core. Some autofire capable guns may not be capable of autofire modes, depending on magazine size.

Guns do Lethal damage to humans unless said human is wearing bullet-proof armor. Guns do Bashing damage to vampires.


Note for all Weapons: The profiles given here are purposefully generic in order to cover the enormous range of tools humans have invented to murder each other with and because the intricacies of real-world weapon mechanics are not what this game is about. If you want a specific type of weapon, feel free to request it, but keep it mind it will be assigned one of the profiles above.


Armor: Armor in Harsh Light has been streamlined and adjusted to keep it in line with the changes to weapons. Like weapons, armor has two numbers separated by a slash, like so: 1/2
The number before the slash is the amount of successes subtracted from a melee attack, and the number after the slash is the amount of  successes subtracted from a ranged attack. With the given example, if someone wearing this armor was struck with a 3-success knife attack, they would only suffer 2 levels of damage thanks to their armor. If the attack had been a rifle shot instead, they would only suffer 1 level of damage. Armor comes in the following forms:



Light: 1/0 (Heavy leather clothing, motorcycle gear) This armor is not so much concealable as it doubles for mundane clothing.

Tactical: 1/1 (Kevlar, flak jacket) -1 Defense when worn, bulletproof. Concealable under high-coverage clothing such a suit or hoodie


Heavy: 1/2 (Riot gear, military-issue) -2 Defense, -1 Speed when worn, bulletproof. Not concealable. Full-coverage.



Light: 1/0 (Combat leathers, padded jerkin) Concealable under bulky clothing.


Medium: 2/0 (Chainmail,  scale-mail) -1 Defense, -1 Speed when worn. Not concealable.


Heavy: 3/1 (Full-plate armor) -2 Defense, -2 Speed, -2 to most Dex-based checks when worn. Not concealable.



Light: 1 Defense, can be used as a +1/0 Bashing weapon. Not concealable.


Heavy: 2 Defense, -1 Speed, -1 to Dex when wielded. Can be used as a -2/1 Bashing weapon. Not concealable. Full coverage.


Bulletproof: Any successful firearms attack that hits this armor does Bashing damage to the wearer, rather than Lethal.


Full-coverage: This armor covers the wearer's entire body and cannot be avoided using a Called Shot.


Attacking around Armor: Most armor doesn’t cover the entire body, and a skilled combatant can aim for an area not covered by it with an appropriate Called Shot (pg. 154 of the WoD core, under ‘Specified Target’), taking the appropriate test penalty depending on where they want to strike.


Archery: Another form of combat that has seen multiple (often contradictory) printings, Archery is handled in Harsh Light as follows:


Crossbows: These use Dexterity + Firearms to use, just like a gun. They have a profile of -1/+2, require two hands to wield, have a single-shot ‘magazine’ and require an entire turn where they user does nothing but attend to their weapon to reload (so, no moving, attacking or even using Defense).


Drawn Bows: Use Athletics + Dexterity to fire, ignores a target’s Defense at range, and require two hands to wield. In order to draw and notch a bow, the user must either use their movement or action to do so. Therefore, an archer can fire an arrow every round if they remain stationary, or every other round if they do not. The Quick Draw merit removes this necessity. Furthermore, you cannot fire a drawn bow at a target who is in melee combat with you. You are not Legolas.


Shortbow: 0/0 (Strength 2 required to use) Two-Handed, not concealable.

Longbow: 0/1 (Strength 3 required to use) Two-Handed, not concealable.


Compound Bow: 1/1 Two-Handed, not concealable.


Staking at range: In order to stake a vampire with a crossbow or drawn bow, a wooden arrowhead must be used, which reduces the damage bonus of the weapon by 1 (this does mean that a shortbow becomes +0/-1 and its first level of damage is discounted). The shot is then taken at a -5 penalty, and requires three levels of damage (after armor soak) to succeed.


Thrown Weapons: Thrown attacks used Dexterity + Athletics – Defense to hit and have an effective range of five meters per dot of the thrower’s Strength.


Light Thrown: 1/0 (Throwing knives, shuriken) concealable within reason.

Heavy Thrown: -1/+1 (Throwing axes, javelins) not concealable.


Thrown weapons have their damage increased by 1 if hurled by an exceptionally strong person (Strength 4-6) and by +2 if used by a monstrously strong one (Strength 7)


Throwing a melee weapon: If you wish to throw a weapon balanced for melee, you may do so, but reduce its profile by -1/-1. Some weapons may not be thrown at all, under ST discretion.


You may not throw a weapon at a character in melee range with you.


Rule Modifications

Harsh Light of Day mike_massiah mike_massiah