Very few things can frighten a vampire. Sunlight and fire, however, provoke a soul-deep terror among the Kindred. Under influence of Rötschreck, the kindred enters a flight state in which the Beast takes total control over him.
The Beast knows that some forces can cause its destruction. It instinctively flees sunlight and fire in a blind panic. While in Rötschreck, a vampire wants to do nothing but run away and hide, and she lashes out at anyone in her way. If a vampire cannot escape the cause of her fear frenzy, she might gain a derangement from excess terror.
Exposure to small amounts of sunlight or fire, at a safe distance or under the character’s control, hardly ever provokes Rötschreck. A vampire might step away from a person lighting a cigarette, and she might prefer to stand well back from a screened-in fire in a fireplace, but she doesn’t panic. Nor does a TV or movie image of a sunny day rouse her Beast... much.
If someone jabs a lit cigarette at the character or a flashbulb goes off in her face, however, it might be a different matter. Nothing about a character’s personality has much effect on resisting Rötschreck. It’s the quantity of fire or sunlight, or the degree of control, that makes resisting a fear frenzy more or less difficult.
It should be noted that a vampire can slide from some kinds of frenzy to others. Yet, some forms of frenzy protect the vampire from others. Hunger frenzy is the weakest. A Wassailing vampire can be driven into a rage frenzy if he is kept from his prey, or a sufficient threat can drive him into Rötschreck. Self-preservation takes precedence over hunger, but sheer rage can overpower self-preservation if someone fights too hard to stop a fleeing vampire.
- Vampire: The Requiem Rulebook, p. 180