"Why Vampires should resort to violence only as a last recourse."
"Can I afford to pay for this fight?"
Vampires don't really need to pay for food. This much is a simple fact. If needs be, a vampire can go out there and grab someone of a street and chow down. Its dangerous, but its a thing. Blood is fairly important to a vampire. Lets look at the basics of what a vampire needs blood to do.
1: Wake Up.
Thats right. Every day that a vampire survives costs a point of blood. Thats 7 points of blood a week just to wake up. Thats one whole human death a week if you don't feel bad for draining a person dry, Three 'Risky' feedings of 3 vitae per week (9 vitae), four 'safe' feedings of 2 vitae per week (8 vitae) or seven insignificant feedings of 1 vitae per week (7 vitae).
2: Are you a Nomad?
Haven of soil costs 1 blood a night, if you cant find somewhere safe to have a day sleep or are on the run. Thats another point of Vitae.
So, on average, your worst case scenario decrees 14 points of blood per week to survive. or 56 a month. 56 points of blood! Eight average human deaths. One safe feeding a night. This means you are balanced out and not gaining or losing blood. Lets say you're a reasonable person and you arn't snatching people off the street to put them in your face. Thats maybe what, 2 hours of flirting or co-ercion or domination or however you feed?
But lets look back a second there. Flirting/seduction requires certain... bodily aspects to be needed to work sometimes. Maybe you get your blood during sex, or something like that? So lets add...
3: Blush of Life
Blush of life is required to do things like - not feel like a corpse, pretend to have a pulse, be warmer but hardly average human temperature and to get the physical side effects of sexual arousal - getting hard, or moist, or whatever. Thats a point of blood for a scene.
So if your average way of feeding is via sex and you are a nomad, that puts you up to 3 points of blood a night. or 21 blood a week. 84 blood a month. One Risky feeding per night. 12 Humans a month.
But the likelyhood of being a nomadic sexual predator is unlikely. So 2 blood a night is more reasonable. And in those situations, you might even be able to get away with having a safe place to stay for a night or meeting someone who doesnt need sexual stimulation in order to get to a position where you can feed from them. So whats more likely is that you're going to need only about 4 additional blood a week on top of your basic 7.
Its likely that if you life in a city with a lot of vampires, theres not going to be much in the way of spare territory to claim as your own. So its likely that you're also going to need to pay Blood Tithe to an older vampire. Maybe thats human blood, maybe thats YOUR blood. either way, thats around maybe 3 blood a month if you have a landlord and he's not giving you a good discount or making you pay through the roof.
So lets make it a nice round 10 blood a week, yeah? Its a nice solid number and is also co-incidentally the blood pool of a BP 1 vampire.
Jimmy is a Neonate, a daeva who was an up-and-coming actor before his embrace. He's good looking, personable and his way of feeding is via seduction.
Jimmy gets mugged.
Now. Lets stab Jimmy with a knife. We'll ignore the astonishingly appaling dicepools that some characters in the IOD have and assume that its someone who knows how to use a knife (rather then being stabmaster prime), using a knife. An average slash is going to do 2 damage to Jimmy.
A normal mugger is just going to stab someone once if they have to, but when Jimmy fights back (he's had a bad night) the guy gets two stabs in before Jimmy stops him/fends him off. Thats 4 Lethal. Thats four blood... or two nights of safe feeding on TOP of the two nights of safe feeding he normally would have to do a week. Or maybe Jimmy takes a couple of points from his mugger. The point being, thats another 4 points.
Bashing heals at 2 points per point of blood. Lethal heals one-for-one and Aggravated damage takes 5 blood and a night of sleep each.
Except, well... if you look like you'd been seriously hacked to peices or burnt to cinders, you wouldn't have your normal ability to feed socially as i suspect most vampires do. So if you cant heal up most of it, you're going to be on significant penalties to dicepools to do with feeding/ get less blood per night then you normally would.
So injury not only straight away saps from your blood reserves, but punishes you later down the line too.
Though, there was a way for Jimmy to minimise the amount of damage he took, using his celerity.
6: Power Use
Celerity costs 1 blood per turn but makes him very hard to hit. If he doesnt get hit, those two rounds of combat are still going to cost him 2 blood (better then the four of damage) or maybe more if the mugger still got a lucky shot in. or potentially, Jimmy is shooting himself in the foot if his mugger gets seriously lucky and still stabs him twice, potentialy putting the blood cost of that fight up to 6 blood. And we've allready established that as a BP 1 vampire, Jimmy has a pool of 10.
Assuming that Celerity helped on one hit, but didnt on the other means that fight cost Jimmy 4 blood. Meaning that if jimmy continues his normal feeding style, he'll stay on a pool of 6 blood. Which is fine if Jimmy doesnt expect to be attacked anytime soon again.
And lets be fair, on average he wont.
but averages go out of the window when you're fighting another vampire. Vampires can deal Aggravated damage, which is very, very expensive to heal and often very obvious. Vampires rarely stop because they've taken a gut-shot. Vampires can lose control of themselves and become unable to withdraw from a combat.
... Combat against a vampire becomes seriously prohibitive on your 'ability to feed' and 'days left before torpor' counts. Vampires live day-to-day on their ability to hunt/provide for themselves, and they cant 'go without' for a few days, because every day costs at least one blood if you're lucky or well prepared.
Herd helps. Haven Location helps. A bunch of merits help. Be really, really glad that most ST's wont say 'i've you've used these dots once this month, you cant use them again' though if you travel a lot.
The point being, a fight doesnt just course resources.
A fight costs your ability to continue living.
Even if you win.
People get terrified of the concept of having to live on very little money in real life. Why wouldn't a vampire be terrified of the concept of falling into a coma only someone else can wake you up from? the answer is they probably should be terrified of how likely that is.
And thats why vampires shouldn't engage in violent agression until all other options have run out.