Close Combat Maneuvers

The following is merely a list of the most commonly used close-combat maneuvers. Feel free to develop other more specialized maneuvers for your character (subject to your Storyteller's approval). Most Brawl attacks do bashing damage, while most weapon attacks do lethal damage. Look for the type of damage after each maneuver, and see the Melee Weapons chart for further information. Magic, circumstance or simply dramatic effect can modify the difficulty and damage level of all maneuvers listed here. Remember that even in combat, a good, exciting story should always take precedence over rules.


On a successful attack roll, the attacker grabs the target and begins to squeeze. On the first turn the attacker rolls Strength dice in damage. On each succeeding turn, both attackers act at their normal initiative. Each combatant can either inflict damage automatically (roll soak normally) or attempt to break the clinch. No other actions are possible until one combatant breaks free. To escape a clinch, make a resisted Strength + Brawl roll. If the escaping character succeeds she breaks free, otherwise the clinch continues for the next turn.

Traits Difficulty Accuracy Damage
Strength + Brawl Normal Normal Strength (Bashing)


It is difficult to attack with a short weapon like a knife or a punch when facing someone with a sword or baseball bat. A character facing an attacker with a longer weapon must close in one yard and then strike. Closing causes the character to lose one die from the attack roll.


When striking an opponent's weapon, the attacker must make an attack roll at a difficulty penalty of one (typically 7). If successful, the attacker rolls damage normally. If the successes rolled exceed the opponent's Strength (with no soak roll), the opponent takes no damage, but is disarmed. A botch usually results in the attacker dropping her weapon instead, or taking normal damage if attempting a disarm while bare-handed.

Traits Difficulty Accuracy Damage
Dexterity + Melee/Brawl +1 Normal Special


Intended to immobilize a target, this attack inflicts no damage. On a successful roll, the attacker holds the target until the subject's next action. Then, both combatants make a resisted Strength + Brawl roll. The subject remains immobilized and unable to take any physical action until the player rolls more successes than the attacker.

Traits Difficulty Accuracy Damage
Strength + Brawl +1 Normal None

Jab Pistol

On a successful roll, the character jabs a pistol directly against the opponent's body and pulls the trigger. When used at this range, the damage is considerably higher; add two dice of damage to all such attacks. (If using rubber bullets, the damage is not increased, but it becomes lethal.) This maneuver is not for the faint of heart, and it often results in the character being covered in gore. Also, a skilled opponent can disarm someone using this attack. Since the gun is being used as a hand-to-hand weapon, the Melee Sk ill is used. Only pistols can be used for this maneuver.

Traits Difficulty Accuracy Damage
Dexterity + Melee Normal Normal By weapon type + 2 (Lethal)


Kicking covers everything from a simple front kick to a leaping side kick. The base attack roll incurs a difficulty penalty of one, and the base damage equals the attacker's Strength plus one die. Both ratings may be modified at the Storyteller's discretion, depending on their difficulty or potential damage. Steel-toed boots and similar foot gear usually raise kick damage by one or two.

Traits Difficulty Accuracy Damage
Dexterity + Brawl +1 Normal Strength +1 (Bashing)

Multiple Opponents

Characters fighting multiple opponents in close combat suffer cumulative attack and defense penalties of one per additional opponent (to a maximum of four). A character who battles three opponents at once suffers a difficulty penalty of two to all attack and defense rolls.


The attacker lashes out with a fist. The base damage is the attacker's Strength. At the Storyteller's discretion, more complex or difficult punches may do more damage.

Traits Difficulty Accuracy Damage
Dexterity + Brawl Normal Normal Strength (Bashing)


The character uses her own legs to trip an opponent. The target takes Strength damage, and the player must roll Dexterity + Athletics (difficulty 8) or suffer a knockdown (see "Maneuver Complications,"). The attacker can use a staff, chain or similar weapon to perform a sweep. The effect is the same, but the target takes damage based on the weapon used.

Traits Difficulty Accuracy Damage
Dexterity + Brawl/Melee +1 Normal Str/per weapon type, knockdown.


The character rushes her opponent, tackling him to the ground. This attack roll for a tackle incurs a difficulty penalty of one, and it inflicts Strength +1 damage. Both combatants must roll Dexterity + Athletics (difficulty 7) or suffer a knockdown. If the target (but not the attacker) is not knocked down, he is unbalanced and suffers a difficulty penalty of one to all actions for the next full turn

Traits Difficulty Accuracy Damage
Strength + Brawl +2 Normal Strength +1 (Bashing)

Weapon Strike

A stab, slash or overhead swing, depending on the weapon used.

Traits Difficulty Accuracy Damage
Dexterity + Melee Normal Normal Strength + Weapon

Evasive Action

Similar to a dodge, evading an opponent involving leaping, twirling and generally staying one step ahead of him.This maneuver inflicts no damage, but each success scored subtracts one success from an opponent's attack roll. If the evading character's player scores more success than the attacker, not only does the attack miss, but the evading character has moved in to a good position to counter-attack. The evading character receives a -1 difficulty bonus to attack on his next next turn, assuming he acts first.
Unlike a dodge a character cannot abort to an evasive action. It must be her declared action.

Traits Difficulty Accuracy Damage
Wits + Dodge Normal Normal None


With this vicious attack, the character sinks his fangs/teeth into his target's lower leg and rips apart the tendons. If successful, the attack will hamper quadrupedal foes severly and cripple bipedal ones (halve both movement rates). This attack is also possible to perform with claws, although doing so feels less natural (+1 difficulty). Damage caused by this attack is aggravated.
Usable By: Anyone with claws or fangs/teeth.

Traits Difficulty Accuracy Damage
Dexterity + Brawl +2 Normal Strength + Cripple

Leaping Rake

A fighting maneuver for somewhat more graceful and lithe characters with claws, the leaping rake involves jumping past an opponent and slashing him on the way by. If successful, the maneuver lands the character out of range of his opponent. First you must make a Dexterity + Athletics roll to jump the distance needed to cover. If he fails he either lands short or next to the character but this is left up to the Storyteller. But he may still use his extra action but it will be at a +1 difficulty. If he succeeds, he must then roll the characters Dexterity + Brawl for the claw attack. If the claw attack fails, the character still lands where she planned.
This attack cause aggravated wounds. It can also be attempted using a punch (doing bashing damage) or with a weapon (doing damage according to the weapon, and making the roll Dexterity + Melee).

Traits Difficulty Accuracy Damage
Dexterity + Brawl/Melee +2 Normal Strength + 1/Weapon type


The character cavors about her opponent growling, snarling and hurling insults. This tactic may alarm, or distract the target to the point that she hesitates, giving your character an edge. For every two success the player rolls on a Manipulation + Intimidation (when using against your own kind such as garou vs garou us Expression), the opponent loses one die from his next action. This maneuver may be used by a group. If so the effects are cumulative, which means that an opponent's dice pool can be reduced to nothing. If so, he can take no action except dodging.
A garou or vampire may frenzy when having a group use this on him, -1 Difficulty.

Traits Difficulty Accuracy Damage
Manipulation + Expression/Intimidation Opponent's Wits +4 Normal None