First Strike was always somewhat iffy in terms of handling its effect in a VTES game. I think most of it comes from the naming “First Strike” implicating that it is resolved/handled first in any combat (which is not true; see below). Maybe a better naming would have been “Fast Strike” (or something along that line).
From the VTES rulebook section 6.4.5. “Strike Effects”:
First Strike. A strike done with first strike is resolved before a normal strike. Thus, if the opposing minion is burned or sent to torpor by a strike done with first strike, his strike will not be resolved at all. If the opposing minion was striking with a weapon that is stolen or destroyed with first strike, then the opposing minion simply loses his strike altogether. If both minions strike with first strike, then the strikes are resolved simultaneously. A strike done with first strike will still not resolve before a combat ends effect (which always resolves first), and a dodge still cancels the effects of a strike done with first strike (see below).
And here’s a summary of various scenarios that are relevant for handling First Strikes in a combat:
- .. vs. Dodge — according to the rules (under section 6.4.5 — Dodge) a Dodge is handled before First Strike, that is the First Strike effects are evaded by the vampire using the Dodge.
- .. vs. Strike: Combat Ends — also according to the rules (under section 6.4.5 — Strike: Combat Ends) S:CE is handled before First Strike, that is the combat ends before the First Strike is resolved.
- .. vs. another First Strike — in this case, both First Strikes are handled at the same time, similar to the case when both strikes are “normal” strikes (exception are the environmental damage effects (if any; see below).
- .. vs. environmental damage — the environmental damage is always handled during normal strike resolution (regardless of who actually played the First Strike). For example, if one of the combatants goes to torpor (or is burned) by damage effects of the First Strike, the effects of the environmental damage are not resolved.
- .. vs. Rötschreck — Rötschreck is played when strikes are chosen, that is before the strikes resolve. Therefore the effect of Rötschreck kicks in before the sequencing of First Strike and the “normal” strike takes players.
- .. vs. Nightstick/Forearm Block — the prevention effect of Nightstick/Forearm Block is not there yet, when the First Strike is resolved. Therefore the First Strike’s damage cannot be prevented by using these cards.