General Maneuvers

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Below are the descriptions of the most common and basic General Combat Maneuvers used in World of Darkness: Gotham. They are a house blend of the different venues' systems to encompass them all in one common rules source.


General Maneuvers Explanations

Aborting Actions

At anytime you can abort an offense action to a defensive action (Dodge, Block, Parry), but only if your character still has an action available in their combat turn. You must succeed a standard Willpower roll (difficulty 6) or spend a temporary Willpower point. If you fail the roll, your character must proceed with their initial actions. Note that a mage may abort their mundane or magickal actions to countermagick an effect that they are aware of and have the appropriate Spheres to counter. For more information, see Countermagick.

Changing Target

If a character’s intended target is no longer a threat, it doesn’t make much sense to continue with an attack. However, a Willpower roll (diff 6) is still required or a temporary Willpower point must be spent in order to denote your character’s ability to stop what they are doing and shift concentration to another target. Actions against any other targets besides the originally declared target in a combat turn are at +1 difficulty.

Blind Fighting, Firing

Performing an action while blinded raises the difficulty of that action by + 2. Your character cannot make ranged attacks while blinded. Certain supernatural powers partly or fully negate the penalties.


Characters can perform an ambush by rolling Dexterity + Stealth vs. the target's Perception + Alertness. If your character is successful, the character can make one free attack on the target and he adds any extra successes from the ambush roll to his attack dice pool. On a tie your character still acts first, but the target can take a defensive maneuver. If your target wins, both characters roll initiative normally. A target who is already in combat cannot be ambushed.

Flank and Rear Attacks

Characters attacking targets from the flank gain an additional attack die. Characters attacking from the rear gain two additional attack dice.

Multiple Actions

If you declare multiple actions, subtract dice from the total dice pool equal to the number of actions taken. Each action after the first loses and additional die. If a character spends an entire round performing purely defensive actions, the Desperate Defense rules apply instead. Additional actions take place at the same time in which extra actions like those from Celerity, Rage, and Time.

Desperate Defense

Sometimes, all a character wants to do is to avoid being hit. Instead of using defensive maneuvers as part of a multiple action, you can state that your character spends the entire turn defending using a single defensive maneuver. This action is called desperate defense. The normal multiple action rules are not used for an all-out defense. Instead, your character has her full dice pool against the first attack, and loses one die (cumulatively) for each subsequent defensive action made in that turn. Remember also that all actions, including defensive actions, suffer difficulty penalties against multiple attackers. Avoiding multiple attacks is more difficult than avoiding one, and avoiding attacks from several different targets is even harder.


A character can move half her running distance (20 + [3 x Dexterity] yards divided by 2) while taking an action in a turn. She may follow that movement with an action, as well. Your character moves half the distance she could normally cover, then acts. Though this is not considered a multiple action, taking an action while moving is +1 difficulty for walking and +2 difficulty while moving at a jog or run. On the other hand, if your character moves while attempting a second action, such as crossing a room while trying to shoot, each yard moved penalizes the other action’s dice pool by one.


If you want your character to attempt a called shot or to aim for a specific location on the target, the difficulty of the attack roll increases. However, your character can bypass armor or cover, or can inflict extra damage by calling a shot. A successful targeted shot, punch or stab can have a dramatic results beyond simply inflicting damage. It can result in: the destruction of an object, blinding of an enemy, or disarming of an opponent.

If your character uses a blunt object that would normally cause bashing damage, but she aims for the target's head specifically, the resulting damage may be considered lethal unless the intent is to render the target unconscious. Refer to the following chart when determining difficulty and damage modifiers for aimed attacks:

Target Size Difficulty Damage
Medium (leg, arm, briefcase) +1 No modifiers
Small (hand, head, weapon) +2 +1
Precise (eye, heart, padlock) +3 +2
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