Bloodlust (Extraordinary)

Vampires must occasionally feed on the blood of the living, Immediately after declaring an Action with a Vampire, roll a d6: On a 2+ the Vampire can carry out the Action as normal. On a 1, however, the Vampire must feed on a Thrall team-mate or a spectator. The Vampire may continue with his declared Action or if he declared a Block Action, he may take a Move Action instead. Either way, at the end of the declared Action, but before actually passing, handing off, or scoring, the Vampire must feed. If he is standing adjacent to one or more Thrall team-mates (standing, prone or stunned), then choose one to bite and make an Injury roll on the Thrall treating any casualty as Badly Hurt. The injury will not cause a turnover unless the Thrall was holding the ball. Once the Vampire has bitten a Thrall he may complete his Action. Failure to bite a Thrall is a turnover and requires him to feed on a spectator – move the Vampire to the reserves box if he was still on the pitch. If he was holding the ball, it bounces from the square he occupied if he was removed and he will not score a touchdown if he was in the opposing end zone.

Bloodlust Overview:

The only way to recreate a powerful representation of what a Vampire player would be capable of was to give them a negative trait, which comes in the form of Bloodlust. The current version of the rules have made it lot easier to deal with than the original incarnation, though it is still one of the few ways a player can hurt someone on their own team. The changes now mean that you can only Badly Hurt your Thrall team mates when biting them, before there was no such limit meaning killing your team mates was possible. You also lost any declared action, being forced to take a move action instead. Now you can still perform that action and only have to change a Block Action to a Move one, with all the other possible actions letting you move next to a Thrall if necessary anyway.

That last change of not losing your Blitz, Pass etc. Action was a great help and gives you a much greater control over failing Bloodlust than before. As you can no longer lose that action, whereas before you may have chosen to Blitz with a Thrall if you were out of rerolls, you can now Blitz with a Vampire instead without fear of losing the Blitz action for the turn.

Coping with Bloodlust:

Dealing with Bloodlust then is much less of a problem that it was before but a lot of the strategy that was used previously still applies to the latest rules. The biggest thing to consider before taking any action with a Vampire would be where you want them to end up at the end of the action. As they may have to finish the action feeding on a Thrall, you want to make sure that you have a Thrall in an adjacent square to where you aim to get the Vampire. If you don’t do that and you fail Bloodlust, then you are going to have to change your plan to keep them on the pitch and avoid turnover. Your only other option would be to reroll the Bloodlust (or try Pro if you have it) and with a lot of Vampires on the team, that can be a frivolous use of rerolls.

Being forced to change your plan just because you neglected to move a Thrall first will leave you cursing yourself. Due to that learning to position your Thralls to work with the Vampires is the biggest single thing you can do to combat the effects of Bloodlust, either that or get some dice that have no 1s on them! You may need to think through your turn and the order you do actions to make this possible, or sometimes you might have to just risk it, should it not really be likely to get a Thrall where they are most needed. Those situations shouldn’t come up very often though and if they are you may need to rethink your strategy.

If you do get the Thralls positioned where you need, then failing the Bloodlust roll becomes less of an issue. You will still be able to do the planned action, just at the end of it the Thrall is going to become at least stunned. This will let you save the team reroll and take it out on a team mate instead. That doesn’t always mean you should just go ahead and do that, you will still be down a player for at least a turn so consider it wisely. You still need to move the Thrall there though, as even if you did reroll, you could still fail it a second time as well.

When you do fail Bloodlust though there are some criteria to bear in mind when choosing who to bite. Sometimes it will be very straight forward, such as if you needed to move the Vampire forward to score and there is only the one Thrall you moved forward in advance to bite. That leaves you with the only really sensible option, especially if you have to progress forward that turn.

Other times you will be able to move to a choice of Thralls to bite, usually during a Blitz or Move action. Be careful if you are doing as Pass, Hand Off or planning on using Hypnotic Gaze, these three things will prevent you moving any further after attempting them, so make sure you are adjacent to a Thrall before you roll! You will still usually perhaps have a choice of which Thrall you are next to though so the same criteria apply to some degree.

If you can bite a Thrall that is already stunned that is the first choice target you should usually go for. You can bite the same Thrall with multiple Vampires in a turn which means only one stunned team mate instead of potentially up to six. Obviously once they get knocked out or worse, then they are no longer an option. As you can potentially remove the Thrall you are biting from the pitch and possibly from the rest of the entire game, try to avoid biting your better Thralls if possible. A rookie Thrall is usually a preferred choice, though if you have any Journeymen or Mercenary Thralls (or even Igor) then biting them may actually be preferable to an already stunned, but better team-mate. Do note though, that you may end up have two stunned players instead of just the one, but you are doing that to hopefully avoid removing a better Thrall.

Again you need to weigh up how vital it is to keep a Thrall with Loner just standing where they are against the loss of losing a developed but already prone or stunned Thrall instead. Just because the Thrall on the floor is better, it doesn’t mean that you can just bite a standing rookie (or whatever) one instead, doing that might weaken your defensive or offensive play. As the worst you can do now is a Badly Hurt, you aren’t running the risk of killing a ST4 Thrall by biting them. Before you would never have done that but now sometimes that can be worth doing it if means you keep an alternative weaker team mate on their feet.

The last great way to avoid Bloodlust is to not take unnecessary actions with your Vampires. Just like in the One Die Block article I suggest that sometimes doing nothing with a player is the best thing they can contribute that turn. Likewise if a Vampire is in a particularly useful square at the start of your turn, then it will do you no harm to just do nothing with them that turn. If they don’t take an action then they don’t have to roll for Bloodlust, so they can’t possibly fail it!

Bloodlust Summary:

Paying attention to what failing Bloodlust could mean for that Vampire and your team before doing an action, is the biggest thing to consider. Avoid those actions that can be avoided, make sure there is a Thrall where you are planning to head, consider which you can most safely bite if the worst happens. As you get later through each turn, you can more likely consider using a reroll if you can easily spare it. Just pay attention to what possible follow up rolls you might want the reroll for before you do use it! Bloodlust is the single biggest hurdle to doing well with Vampires, learn to handle it and the team will be a lot more successful than perhaps you first thought.

33 thoughts on “Bloodlust”

  1. Bloodlust Rule: “The Vampire may continue with his declared Action or if he declared a Block Action, he may take a Move Action instead.”

    Your text: “Now you can still perform that action and only have to change a Block Action to a Move one.”

    Unless I’m missing something, you don’t have to change a block either (could happen that a Thrall was already standing next to your blocking Vampire, and the block is worth more than the Thrall standing there).

    (If you change it, there’s no need to approve this post – that, unless I’m wrong 🙂 )

  2. If you roll a 1 for bloodlust and get tackled or stuck by tentacles on your way to a thrall, I assume this mean you get sent off? But do you still have to make an armour roll (and possible injury roll)?

  3. You have to roll for armour and possible injury if your vampire fails a dodge during a failed bloodlust and regardless of result he is of the pitch if he failed to bite a thrall.

  4. Indeed, if you fail anything that would normally cause you to have to roll for armour and injury then you still need to do it before removing the Vampire from the pitch. Tentacles doesn’t so that but if it stops you from getting next to a Thrall then you just remove the Vampire and suffer a turnover.

  5. One of the Vampire team builds Coach mentions is the killer build, which has Piling on skill (amongst others). If you roll 1 for bloodlust when making a block and then elect to use piling on, does this mean you will get sent off after the block and suffer a turnover? I assume there is no way to bite a Thrall when he is next to you if you have used piling on, right? If so, i wonder piling on isnt a great skill, even for a killer build.

  6. Well Bloodlust only kicks in one in six times assuming you don’t reroll it. The rest of the time you can freely use Piling On. You can just simply elect to not use it if you are going to suffer a turnover due to failing Bloodlust. You can also use them last in the turn and sometimes against certain opposing players, depending on your current situation, it may be worth the trade off to use Piling On in the hope to injure them.

    I’m personally not a big fan of Piling On generally anyway, though I wouldn’t really consider Bloodlust a massive reason to not take it.

  7. From playing on Cyanide, when your ball carrying vamp fails a bloodlust roll, it wont let you throw the ball unless you have a thrall next to you to bite. I assumed you could pass the ball and then be sent off, but (at least in Cyanide) it doesn’t let you and the ball just scatters from where the vamp was standing. This is a major negative of bloodlust IMO.

  8. Just started a Vamp team, thanks for this advice Coach, off to read Hypno Gaze article now 😀

    In anser to Narly Bird above, that is the correct rule I think:

    “Either way, at the end of the declared Action, but before actually passing, handing off, or scoring, the Vampire must feed.”


    “Failure to bite a Thrall is a turnover and requires him to feed on a spectator – move the Vampire to the reserves box if he was still on the pitch. If he was holding the ball, it bounces from the square he occupied if he was removed and he will not score a touchdown if he was in the opposing end zone.”

  9. Figure I should add something I discovered while playing a match against a vamp team. When the vampire gained bloodlust, he was not in range of another player to bite which in usual cases would get rid of the vampire player for the game. However, he did his action which was to block rolling a push and both down. He chose both down and got a KO from it. This actually prevented him from being affected by bloodlust.

    • Well Bloodlust would have only sent him into the reserves, having the Vampire KO’d is actually much better for you and is how the rule was designed to work.

  10. Just keep in mind, that if you have bloodlust, scoring a TD will result in a turnover, the ball will be dropped, and no points added. (Cyanide)

    • That’s how it is meant to work in the rules, so sounds like Cyanide implemented that correctly. Or did you mean that it doesn’t give you the option to bite even if there is a Thrall there?

  11. After rolling a 1 on a bloodlust roll, can you take any actions with players other than the vampire before he is ejected for being too far from a thrall?

    • No, actions in Blood Bowl are resolved one player at a time. You can’t start an action with one player, move onto another player and then go back to the previous player.

  12. If I pass a Bloodlust roll, then move to pick up the ball, will I have to roll for Bloodlust again while I attempt to pick up the ball?

    • No, you only have to roll for Bloodlust at the start of your movement action. Players can only do one action per turn so you only have to roll for them once per turn that you use them, picking up the ball isn’t an action.

      • What about with passing? If you throw the ball to another Vampire, will you have to roll Bloodlust first when they attempt to catch the ball?

        • No, catching the ball isn’t an action. Moving, Blocking, Blitzing, Passing, Fouling and Hand Off are the only actions, see page 7 of the Competition Rulebook.

  13. So you’re saying if I move a Vampire by passing Bloodlust, then declare a pass, I would have to roll for Bloodlust again before rolling for the pass?

    • No, if you want to pass it with the Vampire you have to declare you are doing your team’s Pass action for that turn with him. A Pass action includes moving as well (it sounds like you really need to read the rulebook), if you declare a Move action with that player then they can’t then Pass the ball. If you intend to pass with a player and you move them first, this is a pass action not a move action and you only get one pass action per turn.

      Please note if you are playing the computer game version, I don’t think they’ve implemented the action declaration rules properly. So you can just pass with anyone who moves to pick up the ball. Usually this isn’t a big deal, though there are situations it makes a difference. So to be clear I think the PC game they don’t have any difference between move and pass actions (effectively every player you move is making a pass action).

      You only ever have to roll for Bloodlust once per Vampire per turn if you use them.

  14. The Cyanide client essentially lets you turn a moving action into a passing, hand-off or fouling action on-the-fly. Only blitzing actions need to be declared, which you do by right-clicking the player you want to blitz or hitting the somewhat obscurely placed button that does it. It still enforces the limit of one type of action per turn for the actions it applies to – so every move action is a *potential* pass action.

    Today I also found out that by right-clicking on a Really Stupid Troll you can roll to lose the Really Stupid state without technically declaring an action; you still have the option to move or block. (You probably can’t blitz anymore; I didn’t check that.) Do you have to actually move after you declared a move action in the board game version, or is it possible to declare a no-move move action in order to reroll for your tackle zone?

  15. First I’d like to add a few words about Cyanide’s game and Bloodlust.

    Lets say that you have a thrall in a scoring position and you want to have your vampire hand the ball over to him. Well, in the computer game, when you fail bloodlust, you can run to another thrall that’s a bit off and bite him, followed by a pass to the intended target. This would be impossible to do with the CRP rules since you can’t change action like that.

    A version of this that does work in the real game is to declare a pass (or handoff) action, even though you just intend to run in and score. If you make the bloodlust roll, great! If not, then you bite a thrall and try to shift the ball to another potential scorer. You can also declare a blitz if no other scorers are available and throw a block on the way to the thrall. That may be a somewhat risky tactic, but other times it can save you a dodge.

    Moving, gazes, fouls and blocks comes before biting. Passes, hand offs and scoring comes after. Remember that it sometimes is preferable not to bite. Your vampire is safe in the reserve box and mayhaps it wasn’t much left of the current drive. You can also choose to run the ball to safety and if you fail a GFI doing that, well the turn was over anyway.

    Now to something I’m a lot less certain about. Should vamps do bloodlust rolls when they use kick-off return or pass block? My guess is no, but Cyanide has implemented it in the latter case, (but you get to move in your own turn as well before you have to bite). Still, it’s a reason for vamps to avoid that skill if you need to succeed with bloodlust an extra time.

    • You only roll for Bloodlust at the start of an action with that player. Moving due to skills such as Kick Off Return and Pass Block aren’t actions so don’t require a Bloodlust roll.

  16. Then we are in agreement. That instead makes them decent skills for vampires as they can move and maybe even get the ball without having to roll for the negatrait.

    • I don’t know about agreeing with them being good skills for Vampires. I’d much rather have Block, Dodge, Guard, and Side Step for starters and then options of other skills like Frenzy as well. These are skills that tend to be useful every turn of the game, instead of perhaps just once in a game that I’ve never found I’ve really needed to have in the case of Kick Off Return. I could see Pass Block on one being a late skill choice but I’d have a hard time justifying ever taking Kick Off Return. Even Sure Hands would be preferable but more to combat Strip Ball.

      I don’t see the Bloodlust roll as that big of a deal and you can always pick it up with a Thrall and pass or hand off the ball to a Vampire if that’s a concern. Of course nothing stopping anyone going whatever route works best for them or to try things to find out what does or doesn’t work for their teams.

  17. Oh, I did not intend them as early skills. I also held back and refered to them as “decent” skills, not “good”. Thanks for the input though.

  18. HT

    There is a human(H) sorrounded by a Vampire(V) and a Thrall(T) as the diagram shows.
    The Vamp action is to block, but he rolls 1 with Vampire Bloodlust, can he Block anyway and then bite the Thrall, avoiding this way going to reserves? Or is the vamp forced to bite first the Thrall and then block the Human?
    The same example works with Blitz…

  19. If you declare a move action and fail the Blood Lust role can you move, bite a thrall and continue your remaining movement?

    • No you can’t, you have to bite a Thrall at the end of your action. So if you’ve got any remaining movement, you can’t use it cause you’ve ended that player’s action.

  20. Given the slightly different wording of the 2016 version:
    2016 ‘Similarly, if the team suffers a turnover during the Vampire’s Action – for example, if they attempt to dodge and are Knocked Down – they are moved to the Reserves box (they stalk off into the crowd once they have recovered)’
    Does this imply that if they are knocked down during a dodge they don’t roll for armour or injury just move to the reserves box! So worth a risky dodge if no Thralls about?

    • That’s the case before the change in wording as well. You have to work out if losing the Vampire off the pitch is worth risking. The dodge itself isn’t any worse as failing that causes a turnover for any player, but losing a Vampire as well can make life harder.


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