The Ravnos are known as masters of illusion, although the reason why is lost to history. Rumors abound of Ravnos ghûls, rakshasas, and shapeshifters, but whatever its origins, Chimerstry remains a potent and powerful weapon for the Deceivers. The Discipline is, fundamentally, an art of conjuration that converts the vampire’s will into phantoms that confound the senses and technology alike. Even vampires fall under the sway of the Ravnos’ illusory world, unless they have a strong enough grasp of Auspex . The Ravnos often use this power to swindle and seduce their victims into acts that work out badly for the victim (but great for the Ravnos).
Illusions created by Chimerstry can be seen for what they are by a victim who “proves” the illusion’s falsehood (e.g., a person who walks up to an illusory wall, expresses his disbelief in it, and puts his hand through it effectively banishes the illusion), and explicitly incredible illusions are seen as false immediately (e.g., dragons breathing fire or gravity working in reverse). Sometimes, frequent targets of Chimerstry end up attempting to disbelieve everything around them, leading to derangements (and, quite often, to the amusement of the Ravnos).
• Ignis Fatuus
The vampire may conjure a minor, static mirage that confounds one sense. For instance, he may evoke a sulfurous stench, the appearance of stigmata, or the shatter of broken glass. Note that though tactile illusions can be felt, they have no real substance; an invisible but tactile wall cannot confine anyone, and invisible razor-wire causes no real damage. Similarly, the vampire must know the characteristics of what he’s creating. While it’s easy enough to estimate what a knife wound might look like, falsifying a person’s voice or a photograph of a childhood home requires knowledge of the details.
System: The player spends a point of Willpower for the vampire to create this illusion. The volume of smells, ambient lighting, smoke clouds, and the like are limited to roughly 20 cubic feet (half a cubic meter) per dot the vampire has in Chimerstry. The illusion lasts until the vampire leaves its vicinity (such as stepping out of the room) or until another person sees through it somehow. The Cainite may also end the illusion at any time with no effort.
•• Fata Morgana
The Cainite can now create illusions that appeal to all the senses, though they remain static. For example, the vampire could make a filthy cellar appear as an opulent ballroom, though she could not create a glittering chandelier or a score of graceful dancers. Again, the illusion has no solid presence, though it’s easy enough to fool an enraptured visitor with suggestions of what she might expect. A bucket of brackish water is as cool as chilled champagne, after all.
System: The player spends a Willpower point and a blood point to create the illusion. These static images remain until dispelled, in much the same way that an Ignis Fatuus illusion does.
Not really a power unto itself, Apparition allows a vampire to give motion to an illusion created with Ignis Fatuus or Fata Morgana. Thus, the Cainite could create the illusion of a living being, running water, fluttering drapes, or a roaring fire.
System: The creator spends one blood point to make the illusion move in one significant way, or in any number of subtle ways. For example, the vampire could create the illusion of a lurking mugger lurching at her victim, or she could create the illusion of a desolate street, down which a chill wind blows trash while a streetlamp flickers and hums. Taking complicated actions besides maintaining the illusion — that is, anything that would require a dice roll — first requires success on a Willpower roll, resulting in the dissolution of the false construct if the roll fails.
Once the creator stops concentrating on the illusion, it can continue in simple, repetitive motions – roughly speaking, anything that can be described in a simple sentence, such as a guard walking back and forth in front of a steel door. After that, the vampire cannot regain control over the illusion – she can either allow it to continue moving as ordered, or let it fade as described under Ignis Fatuus.
This power, also used in conjunction with Ignis Fatuus or Fata Morgana, allows a mirage to persist even when the vampire cannot see it. In this way, Ravnos often cloak their temporary havens in false trappings of luxury, or ward off trespassers with illusory guard dogs.
System: The vampire need only spend a blood point, and the illusion becomes permanent until dissolved (including “programmed” illusions like those created by Apparition).
••••• Horrid Reality
Rather than create simple illusions, the vampire can now project hallucinations directly into a victim’s mind. The target of these illusions believes completely that the images are real; a hallucinatory fire can burn him, an imaginary noose can strangle him, and an illusory wall can block him. This power affects only one person at a time; though others can see the illusion, it doesn’t impact them in the same way. Other people can try to convince the victim that his terrors are not real, but he won’t believe them. Note that targets with enough dots in Auspex can still attempt to roll for Seeing the Unseen.
System: A Horrid Realty illusion costs two Willpower points to set in motion and lasts for an entire scene (though its effects may last longer; see below). If the vampire is trying to injure his victim, his player must roll Manipulation + Subterfuge (difficulty of the victim’s Perception + Self-Control/Instinct). Each success inflicts one health level of lethal damage on the victim that cannot be soaked — the Cainite assaults the victim’s mind and perceptions, not his body. If the player wishes to inflict less damage or change it to bashing, he may announce a maximum amount of damage before rolling the dice. Secondary effects (such as frenzy rolls for illusory fire) may also occur.
The victim heals all his damage instantaneously if he can be convinced that the damage he took was illusory, but convincing him may take some doing, such as with at least two successes on a Charisma + Empathy roll (difficulty equal to the Manipulation + Subterfuge of the Cainite using Horrid Reality). The target must be convinced of the attack’s illusory nature within 24 hours of its taking place, or it becomes too well established in his memory, and he will have to heal the damage using blood (if a vampire) or over time (if mortal).
This power cannot actually kill its victims (though a target with a heart condition may well die from fright). A victim “killed” by an illusory attack loses consciousness or enters torpor.
••••• • False Resonance
Illusions of living or unliving beings are all well and good until someone decides to read the illusion’s mind or its aura. The automatic failure to perceive any sense of the target’s thoughts or emotions will usually be passed off as bad luck, lack of concentration, or whatever reason any Kindred might construct to explain why he didn’t succeed in gleaning information through supernatural means. A vampire can use False Resonance to overlay auras and thoughts on illusions, as well as leave a trace that other emotionally resonant powers can detect later.
System: This power automatically applies to any other use of Chimerstry as the user wishes. In effect, any attempt to use Auspex, the Dementation power Eyes of Chaos, or similar sensory powers that generates five or fewer successes will detect an aura, thoughts, Demeanor or whatever the power would normally detect. Thoughts won’t be exceptionally complex, and will relate to whatever is going on around the illusion in a mundane and simplistic way. Auras will consist of colors related to specific emotions (anger, sadness, hatred, love, and happiness) and will not show much complexity beyond that. Spirit’s Touch can pick up the same emotional resonance until the next sunrise.
••••• • Fatuus Mastery
A Ravnos with Fatuus Mastery has no restriction on how often she may use the first three levels (Ignis Fatuus, Fata Morgana, and Apparition) and can maintain or control illusions with minimal concentration or fatigue. Kindred who rely on the high cost of Chimerstry to limit a vampire’s ability to use illusions are in for a very rude surprise when they encounter a Cainite with this power.
System: Fatuus Mastery negates the Willpower and blood cost for using the first three levels of Chimerstry. In addition, the Kindred may direct movement for a number of illusions equal to his Intelligence without intense concentration. Furthermore, the character can maintain the illusion as long as it remains within his Willpower rating in miles (or about one and a half times that in kilometers), although he may not make it react to events around it if he has no way to perceive those events.
Even though Horrid Reality is visible to all onlookers, it can only inflict “damage” on one victim. With Shared Nightmare, a vampire can inflict her tormented visions on a crowd.
System: To use this power, the player must spend two Willpower points, plus one blood point per target. The player rolls Manipulation + Subterfuge once, but compares the results against each target individually. The difficulty is still each victim’s Perception + Self-Control/Instinct.
••••• • Subtle Spy
The user of this power may create a perceivable, understandable illusion (such as a lamp or a person) that incorporates part of her own consciousness, effectively granting the illusion a small amount of independent intelligence. When the Ravnos dispels that illusion, she may draw this intelligence back into herself, learning anything that her illusion witnessed as if she had experienced it firsthand.
System: Imbuing an illusion with Subtle Spy costs two Willpower points, and lasts for one night (or less, if the Ravnos wills the illusion to dispel). If the illusion is an object, it will witness anything that the Ravnos could sense from the object’s location. If the illusion is mobile (a person or animal), then it may be programmed as per Apparition, and at the end of its existence, the Ravnos will learn everything the Apparition sensed. Further, this Apparition is vaguely conscious, and can knowingly change its actions in small ways: stepping around an obstacle, giving the appropriate response to a simple question, and so forth.
The user of this power does not know what is occurring around her illusion if she is not otherwise there to sense it. She may dispel the illusion at any time, and at any distance, drawing back to herself the substance (and experiences) of that illusion as it is destroyed. If the illusion is dispelled or disbelieved before the Ravnos can reincorporate it into herself, the illusion is destroyed and no knowledge is returned to the Ravnos, other than the fact that her spy exists no more.
••••• •• Blade of the Demons
With extreme concentration the Ravnos creates an illusionary blade that seems real and can inflict terrible wounds on her enemies. Ravnos from the East use these blades to fight demons in their homelands. European Ravnos find the blade equally useful to deal with their own demons.
System: To create a Blade of the Demons, the player must spend one Willpower point and one blood point per die of damage the weapon inflicts (in addition to the wielder’s Strength). The blade appears instantly in the vampire’s hand and she can use it during the same turn. The blade lasts for a scene and inflicts aggravated damage. Once the blade is created, the vampire cannot spend any more blood to increase the damage dice of the blade. Also, the created blade can inflict no more than one die of damage than a normal blade of that type (i.e. a knife cannot inflict more than Strength + 2). If the blade is knocked from the vampire’s hand, she must spend a blood point to prevent the illusion from dissipating. The expenditure of blood will cause the blade to reform in her hand. Damage from the blade does not fade when the illusion of the blade fades.
••••• •• Far Fatuus
This power allows a Kindred to project illusions to any area he can see or visualize. Under most circumstances, accomplishing this requires him to have visited the location in question before he can project illusions there. Although more difficult, a vampire may project illusions on the basis of a description, a photo, or a video clip.
System: The difficulty for using Far Fatuus depends on the user’s familiarity with the location. The player must roll Perception + Subterfuge to affect the location. Once this roll is successful, the vampire may then use any other Chimerstry power on that location.
|6||As familiar as one’s haven; currently viewing with Clairvoyance or Psychic Projection|
|7||Visited three or more times|
|8||Visited once; viewing on a live feed|
|9||Described in detail; seen it in a video or have a undoctored photo|
••••• •• Interrupt Reality
A Ravnos with this power can make a normal ordinary object or person look as though it is extraordinary, inspiring doubt about its reality. For example, the vampire could make a normal sword shine with a brilliant light, causing onlookers to doubt that what they are seeing is anything more than a stick changed by a trick of the light or a hallucination. More elaborate uses can make a man look and sound unrealistic, to the point where people he interacts with refuse to believe that he is really there. The vampire can make a simple object appear unreal, or even entire groups of people.
System: To use Interrupt Reality, the player must roll Manipulation + Subterfuge (difficulty 7). The number of successes determines how many and the type of targets the vampire can make look unreal. The illusion lasts for an entire scene, and anyone who sees them will write them off as mere hallucinations. Auspex will show the objects in question to be an illusion unless the user’s Auspex rating is high enough to penetrate the vampire’s Chimerstry.
|1 success||One inanimate object|
|2 successes||Several inanimate objects, one conscious target|
|3 successes||An entire area, a small group of conscious targets|
|4 successes||All inanimate objects in an area including the area around them|
|5 successes||An entire crowd of people|
••••• •• Suspension of Disbelief
A Ravnos with this power can imbue her Chimerstry with a sense of reality that makes it easier for viewers to believe in the illusion. No matter how strange or surreal the illusion is, an onlooker will accept it as real. If the illusion is wildly unrealistic (fire-breathing dragons, a pack of aliens), once it is no longer in his sight, the observer will question what he saw and eventually deny the event ever happened. A vampire can also use this power to make something appear unbelievable, whether it’s real or not. In this case, observers will write off what they’re seeing as some kind of trick or hallucination.
System: The player rolls Manipulation + Subterfuge (difficulty 7). The number of successes determines how many witnesses are affected. If the player uses the power to make something look unbelievable, Auspex will show the thing in question to be an illusion unless the Auspex rating is not high enough to penetrate the Kindred’s Chimerstry.
|1 success||Five people|
|2 successes||10 people|
|3 successes||25 people|
|4 successes||50 people|
|5 successes||Everyone who can see it|
••••• ••• Synesthesia
A Cainite who masters this power can shuffle others’ senses around to suit his preferences. He can select one target and inflict a serious, disorienting, and all-encompassing case of synesthesia upon her, making it impossible for her to interact meaningfully with the real world for the power’s duration. The vampire has complete control over how the target’s senses work and can manipulate them to suit. For example, he may decide that she smells all sounds as varieties of nauseating stenches, or more subtly, he may exchange pain for pleasure. Used against a crowd, sensations are randomly shuffled, so one man will see what the woman next to him sees, but hears what the man 15 feet behind him hears and feels what the child a block away feels. The end result is extremely disorienting for all victims.
System: When used against a single victim, the player must spend one Willpower point and roll Manipulation + Intimidation (difficulty is victim’s current Willpower points). For use against crowds, the difficulty is 7, and the power affects everyone within the vampire’s line of sight and subtracts one point from Perception per success rolled. Victims whose Perception has been reduced to zero can only sit down and wait for the disorientation to end. Duration against a single victim is determined below. Against a crowd, the power persists until sunrise.
|1 success||One week|
|2 successes||One month|
|3 successes||Six months|
|4 successes||One year|
••••• ••• Visions from the Asura
The vampire is capable of inflicting constant illusions on a victim, working subtly within her mind to make her question everything. The victim experiences random illusions (affecting all senses at once) of normal everyday occurrences. For example, when the victim is walking through town, she may be stopped by a hawker, she may feel someone attempt to pick her pocket, or she may hear someone call out her name. These images always fade the moment the victim reacts to them, showing her that it was only an illusion. From time to time, the illusion depicts something horrible, such as a nearby building catching fire or an attack from a hated enemy. In the end, the victim begins to wonder if anything she sees is real.
System: To use Visions of the Asura the player spends one Willpower point and rolls Manipulation + Subterfuge (difficulty equal to the victim’s current Willpower). If the target has any Derangements, the difficulty increases by 1. The effect lasts for one night per success. At the end of each night of Visions, the victim loses one point of Willpower. If he has no Willpower left, he gains a Derangement instead.
Victims with Auspex may suspect that certain events are illusions and can attempt to see through them as per normal. Ideally, the nature of the illusions will prompt the victim to use Auspex to see if everything she encounters is an illusion, as she is uncertain what is real and what is not.
••••• •••• Mayaparisatya
This expression of Chimerstry allows the Cainite to directly alter or create real objects or creatures, although such changes are of finite duration. A vampire with this power can transform the air around a rival Kindred into fire or render a locked door insubstantial. A more harrowing use of this power enables the vampire to force an object out of existence by transforming it into nothing more than a wisp of its former reality.
System: To use this power, the player must spend 10 blood points and one permanent Willpower point and roll Manipulation + Subterfuge. Difficulty for the roll is 6 for affecting inanimate objects, and the victim’s Willpower rating for affecting characters. This power can affect anything within miles (kilometers) of the vampire, as long as the character is aware of the target in some way. If used with Far Fatuus, the effects are centered on the chosen location. This power can affect a number of conscious targets equal to the Kindred’s Willpower per use.
When dealing with inanimate objects, the number of successes determines how drastic the alteration may be. No matter how many successes the player rolls, the duration is always a scene. This power can affect any objects of a type within the vampire’s targeted area.
|1 success||Render an object harmless (swords won’t cut, firearms won’t shoot), create a large volume of obscuring smoke|
|2 successes||Change an object into another object (turn candles into tarantulas, etc.)|
|3 successes||Render the object insubstantial, make smoke solid|
|4 successes||Cause drastic changes (stone becomes highly flammable)|
|5 successes||Cause the environment to behave illogically (gravity twists sideways, rivers stand still as hills flow upward)|
|6+ successes||Delete any offending material objects from existence. This effect is permanent (to use this on conscious targets, follow the system described below).|
When using the power on conscious targets, consult the table above for alterations (such as forcing the victim into another form or transforming her into a different substance). If using the power to negate the victim’s existence, the power inflicts two levels of unsoakable aggravated damage per success. If the power doesn’t kill the victim, subtract one dot of Strength and Stamina per success. The damage must be healed normally, but the lost Attributes return at the end of the scene. Victims of this power look hazy and insubstantial. Victims destroyed with this power simply vanish.