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Rötschreck or the Red Fear, is a state of blind fear experienced by a Cainite that failed a Courage roll against an attack by, or even the sight of, Fire or Sunlight - which are among the few sources of injury that can destroy a vampire. A few supernatural powers also can provoke such a condition in a vampire.


Rötschreck is similar to Frenzy in that it is a compulsion that is difficult to control; characters under Rotschreck will hysterically flee from whatever caused the discomfort.

The difficulty of resisting Rotschreck and its effects varies. In the worst case scenario, a vampire under the spell of this Rötschreck is completely controlled by their inner Beast, instinctively driven to a flight-or-fight mentality and forced to flee blindly from the source of fear while they remove any obstacle or person in their way, regardless of their personal attachments to them. Even when maintaining a degree of control, Kindred will avoid fire and sunlight unless absolutely necessary.

In the Book of Nod, Archangel Michael clearly states, while cursing Caine, that he and his children will fear the flame and it will hurt them deeply, causing unbearable agony and pain; vampires have been cursed not only by weakness to flame but also by fear of it.


The following list shows common stimuli that can incite a Rötschreck, and the typical difficulty for a character to resist.

Provocation Difficulty
Lighting a cigarette 3
Sight of a torch 5
Bonfire 6
Obscured sunlight 7
Being burned 7
Direct sunlight 8
Trapped in burning building 9


  • The word "Rötschreck" is a misspelling of the German word "Rotschreck" (which properly uses an unaccented 'o').
  • Rot is the german word for "red", while schreck is the german word for "fright" or "horror".


Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition, p. 299