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Judge's Notebook: Action Fizzling

Many of you have heard that an action can "fizzle," but what is that because it's not in the rulebook.

Fizzle: A Definition

Since Vampire: The Eternal Struggle and Magic: The Gathering were siblings, the DCI governed the rulings and competitive play for both games.  Fizzle started off as a term in Magic for a spell that resolved without effect, and was brought into VTES via rulings.

Fizzle does not appear in the rulebook, but the slang, semi-official term is in the rulings.  The earliest reference to it is in RTR-19960221 actually contains no definition of the term.  However, it's not until RTR-20010711 that we have a definition in VTES: the action "fizzles" (resolves with no effect).

How Did We Get Here?

If an action does not meet all requirements at resolution, the action will fizzle.

  • The acting vampire no longer has enough blood to pay for the action (Govern the Unaligned with 0 blood)
    • Note that the acting vampire must have been able to pay for the action to declare it.  This usually means the acting vampire spent too much blood on action modifiers to resolve the action without fizzling.
  • The target of the action is missing (Entrancement on a War Ghoul that burns itself to burn a location)
  • The target is no longer in the correct state
    • Target is unlocked when it needs to be locked (target plays Deep Ecology when rushed with Nose of the Hound)
    • Target is locked when it needs to be unlocked (target of Mind Numb plays Babble to unlock another minion)
    • Target is no longer in torpor (target of a diablerie attempt moves to the ready region via Warsaw Station)
  • The card providing the action is
    • No longer in play (Camera Phone burned in combat and the acting vampire plays Momentary Delay)
    • No longer usable by the acting minion (Talbot's rush stymied by Peacemaker B)

There are certainly many more examples that we can come up with, but I tried to provide the most general categories for action fizzling with examples.

The Outcome

Fizzled actions have no effect, but are successfully resolved.  This means:

  • The action cost is paid (or as much of it as can be paid is paid)
  • The action produces no effect
  • The action has reached resolution and is now bound by "no repeat actions," if applicable
  • Action modifiers and reactions that are "only usable after action resolution" are playable, if their conditions can be met


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