Obfuscate is the uncanny ability for Kindred to conceal themselves from sight, sometimes even in full view of a crowd. An Obfuscated vampire doesn’t actually become invisible, however — rather, he is able to delude observers into believing that he has vanished. Obfuscate also allows Kindred to change their features and conceal other people or objects. Typically vampires using Obfuscate must be within a short range of their witnesses (approximately five yards or meters per dot of Wits + Stealth) for their power to be effective. Unless the Kindred chooses to make herself seen, she can remain obscured for as long as she wills it. At higher levels, the vampire can actually fade from sight so subtly that those nearby can’t actually recall the moment at which she left.
Usually, few mortals or supernaturals (even those trained in Awareness) can pierce through the fog of Obfuscate. Animals, who rely more on their instincts than their normal senses, can sometime perceive (and be frightened by) the vampire’s presence. Children and those to whom deception is foreign may also be able to pierce the illusion, at the Storyteller’s discretion.
Finally, the Auspex Discipline enables Kindred to see through Obfuscate. Even that is not guaranteed, however; refer to “Seeing the Unseen” , for more details. (Storytellers needing a die roll for animals or children can use this quick and dirty guideline: treat them as if they had Auspex 1 in terms of contesting Obfuscate. They do not have the Auspex 1 power, but are considered to have it when determining whether a vampire is noticed.)
Since Obfuscate clouds the mind of the viewer, vampires can’t use it to hide their presence from electronic or mechanical devices. Video and photo cameras, for example, capture the vampire’s image accurately. Even so, the person using, say, her cell phone to record an Obfuscated vampire will still have her mind impacted by the power, and she won’t see the Kindred’s image until she views the video at a later date (if even then).
Several Clans cultivate this power — the Assamites, Followers of Set, and Malkavians, for example — but the Nosferatu are particularly known for this Discipline. Some elder Kindred believe that Caine, or perhaps Lilith, bestowed the Clan with this Discipline to compensate for the hideous physical deformities its members suffer.
Most Obfuscate powers last for a scene, or until the vampire ceases maintaining them. Once evoked, they require very little mental effort to keep in place.
• Cloak of Shadows Edit
At this level, the vampire must rely on nearby shadows and cover to assist in hiding his presence. He steps into an out-of-the-way, shadowed place and eases himself from normal sight. The vampire remains unnoticed as long as he stays silent, still, under some degree of cover (such as a curtain, bush, door frame, lamppost, or alley), and out of direct lighting. The immortal’s concealment vanishes if he moves, attacks, or falls under direct light. Furthermore, the vampire’s deception cannot stand up to concentrated observation without fading.
System: No roll is required as long as the character fulfills the criteria described above. So long as he remains quiet and motionless, virtually no one but another Kindred with a high enough Auspex rating will see him.
•• Unseen Presence Edit
With experience, the vampire can move around without being seen. Shadows seem to shift to cover him, and people automatically avert their gazes as he passes by. Others move unconsciously to avoid contact with the cloaked creature; those with weak wills may even scurry away from the area in unacknowledged fear. The vampire remains ignored indefinitely unless someone deliberately seeks him out or he inadvertently reveals himself.
Since the vampire fully retains his physical substance, he must be careful to avoid contact with anything that may disclose his presence (knocking over a vase, bumping into someone). Even a whispered word or the scuffing of a shoe against the floor can be enough to disrupt the power.
System: No roll is necessary to use this power unless the character speaks, attacks, or otherwise draws attention to himself. The Storyteller should call for a Wits + Stealth roll under any circumstances that might cause the character to reveal himself. The difficulty of the roll depends on the situation; stepping on a squeaky floorboard might be a 5, while walking through a pool of water may require a 9. Other acts may require a certain number of successes; speaking quietly without giving away one’s position, for instance, demands at least three successes. Upon success, the vampire, all her clothing, and objects that could fit into a pocket are concealed.
Some things are beyond the power of Unseen Presence to conceal. Although the character is cloaked from view while he smashes through a window, yells out, or throws someone across the room, the vampire becomes visible to all in the aftermath. Bystanders snap out of the subtle fugue in which Obfuscate put them. Worse still, each viewer can make a Wits + Awareness roll (difficulty 7); if successful, the mental haze clears completely, so those individuals recall every move the character made up until then as if he had been visible the entire time.
••• Mask of a Thousand Faces Edit
The vampire can influence the perception of others, causing them to see a face different from his. Although the Kindred’s physical form does not change, any observer who cannot sense the truth sees whomever the vampire wishes her to see.
The vampire must have a firm idea of the visage he wishes to project. The primary decision is whether to create an imaginary face or to superimpose the features of another person. Manufactured features are often more difficult to compose in believable proportions, but such a disguise is easier to maintain than having to impersonate someone else. Of course, things get simpler if the Kindred borrows the face but doesn’t bother with the personality.
System: The player rolls Manipulation + Performance (difficulty 7) to determine how well the disguise works. If the character tries to impersonate someone, he must get a good look at the subject before putting on the mask. The Storyteller may raise the difficulty if the character catches only a glimpse. The chart below lists the degrees of success in manufacturing another appearance. Vampires wishing to mask themselves as a person more attractive than they are must pay additional blood points equal to the difference between the vampire’s Appearance rating and the Appearance of the mask (which means that younger vampires may need to take longer in order to spend the blood necessary).
|1 success||The vampire retains the same height and build, with a few slight alterations to his basic features. Nosferatu can appear as normal, albeit ugly, mortals.|
|2 successes||He looks unlike himself; people don’t easily recognize him or agree about his appearance.|
|3 successes||He looks the way he wants to appear.|
|4 successes||Complete transformation, including gestures, mannerisms, appearance, and voice.|
|5 successes||Profound alteration (appear as the opposite sex, a vastly different age, or an extreme change of size). Actually posing as someone else carries its own problems.|
The character should know at least basic information about the individual; especially difficult deceptions (fooling a lover or close friend) require at least some familiarity with the target in order to succeed.
•••• Vanish from the Mind’s Eye Edit
This potent expression of Obfuscate enables the vampire to disappear from plain view. So profound is this vanishing that the immortal can fade away even if he stands directly in front of someone. While the disappearance itself is quietly subtle, its impact on those who see it is anything but. Most kine panic and flee in the aftermath. Especially weak-willed individuals wipe the memory of the Kindred from their minds. Although vampires are not shaken so easily, even Kindred may be momentarily surprised by a sudden vanishing.
System: The player rolls Charisma + Stealth; the difficulty equals the target’s Wits + Alertness (use the highest total in the group if the character disappears in front of a crowd). With three or fewer successes, the character fades but does not vanish, becoming an indistinct, ghostlike figure. With more than three, he disappears completely. If the player scores more successes than an observer’s Willpower rating, that person forgets that the vampire was there in the first place. Tracking the character accurately while he appears ghostlike requires a Perception + Alertness roll (difficulty 8). A successful roll means the individual can interact normally with the vampire (although the Kindred looks like a profoundly disturbing ghostly shape). A failed roll results in a +2 difficulty modifier (maximum 10) when attempting to act upon, or interact with, the vampire. The Storyteller may call for new observation checks if the vampire moves to an environment in which he’s difficult to see (heads into shadows, crosses behind an obstacle, proceeds through a crowd). When fully invisible, the vampire is handled as described under Unseen Presence, above.
A person subject to the vanishing makes a Wits + Courage roll (mortals at difficulty 9, vampires at difficulty 5). A successful roll means the individual reacts immediately (although after the vampire performs his action for that turn); failure means the person stands uncomprehending for two turns while her mind tries to make sense of what she just experienced.
••••• Cloak the Gathering Edit
At this degree of power, the vampire may extend his concealing abilities to cover an area. The immortal may use any Obfuscate power upon those nearby as well as upon himself, if he wishes. Any protected person who compromises the cloak exposes himself to view. Further, if the one who invokes the power gives himself away, the cloak falls from everyone. This power is particularly useful if the vampire needs to bring his retinue through a secure location without drawing the notice of others.
System: The character may conceal one extra individual for each dot of Stealth he possesses. He may bestow any single Obfuscate power at a given time to the group. While the power applies to everyone under the character’s cloak, his player need only make a single roll. Each individual must follow the requirements described under the relevant Obfuscate power to remain under its effect; any person who fails to do so loses the cloak’s protection, but doesn’t expose the others. Only if the vampire himself errs does the power drop for everyone.
••••• • Busy Doing Nothing Edit
With this ability, the Nosferatu is perfectly visible, but appears to be doing something innocuous when he is actually up to something else. If he is picking a lock, for example, he will appear to be standing by the door innocently. Even when involved in a brawl, he will seem to be a bystander. The image works in a similar way to Mask of a Thousand Faces, in that the Nosferatu is exactly where he appears to be.
System: To use this power, the Nosferatu rolls Manipulation + Performance (difficulty 7). The better the result, the more action the Nosferatu can take without disturbing the image. For one success, he might only be able to listen to a door while appearing to stand near it, while for five successes he can be engaged in a fight and appear to be a bystander.
••••• • Conceal Edit
The vampire may mask an inanimate object up to the size of a house (Obfuscate cannot be used to disguise inanimate objects without the use of this power). If the object is hidden, so are all of its contents. While Conceal is in effect, passersby walk around the concealed object as if it were still visible, but refuse to acknowledge that they are making any kind of detour.
System: In order to activate this power, a character must be within about 30 feet (approximately 10 meters) of the object to be concealed and the item must hold some personal significance for him. The Conceal power functions as Unseen Presence for purposes of detection, as well as the duration and durability of the disguise.
Conceal can be used on a vehicle in which the character is traveling. In this instance, traffic patterns seem to flow around the vehicle, and accidents are actually less likely as other drivers subconsciously maneuver away from the concealed auto. A police radar gun still registers a speeding car masked in this fashion, but the officer behind the gun is disinclined to make a traffic stop of the phantom blip. Using Conceal on aircraft is problematic, as the power’s range generally doesn’t extend far enough to cover air traffic controllers and the like.
••••• • Confusion of the Eye Edit
[Followers of Set]
This power extends the effect of Mask of 1,000 Faces to another person in a specialized way.
While under the influence of this power, the victim perceives one other person of the vampire’s choosing as someone else. For instance, the victim might see and hear the city’s Sabbat Archbishop as a mortal janitor, or a despised Anarch as a Primogen whose favor the victim desires. The victim hears whatever the “masked” person says, but unconsciously explains away any inconsistencies in the person’s responses. If the “masked” person directly tries to persuade the victim of his true identity, the victim will prove hard to convince and may become angry.
System: This power costs one Willpower point to use. The vampire’s player makes a Willpower roll (difficulty of the target’s current Willpower). If the roll succeeds, the victim sees one person of the character’s choosing as one other person, also of the character’s choosing. The effect lasts up to 24 hours.
The victim will rationalize or ignore most evidence that the “masked” person is not who he believes. If the “masked” person tries to convince the victim of her true identity, the “masked” person makes a Charisma + Subterfuge roll, while the victim makes a Willpower roll (both difficulty 7). If the victim gets more successes than the “masked” person does, she is convinced. Otherwise, she isn’t, and must make a Self-Control roll to keep her calm.
••••• • Displacement Edit
The Nosferatu can use his power not only to disappear, but also to appear shifted a little to one side or the other. Essentially, she isn’t standing quite where she appears to be. This makes the vampire extremely difficult to hit. It is almost harder to strike her than when she is invisible, as trying to ignore what you can see in front of you is very difficult.
System: This power costs a blood point to activate for a scene. While active, this power imposes a three dice penalty to any attempt to hit or touch her. The attacker is allowed a Perception + Awareness roll (difficulty 9) to notice the deception after a few blows. If successful, the attacker can reduce the penalty by the amount of successes she gained. The penalty is also further reduced by the attacker’s Auspex rating, but to a minimum of 1 in all cases.
••••• • Mental Maze Edit
[Followers of Set]
This power removes a victim’s sense of direction, forcing him to move in circles and binding him to an area of the vampire’s choosing. The vampire can trap a person in his own home. To the victim’s point of view, the house folds back on itself, and all the exits lead back inside.
System: The vampire’s player must make a Charisma + Intimidation roll (difficulty of the target’s current Willpower). The difficulty increases by 2 if the character cannot speak to her chosen victims, telling them they cannot escape. For each success, the character may affect one victim. The effects last a full scene.
Normally, the power is used in a multi-room structure such as a house, or an outside area about the same size. A much larger area (anything from an office tower to a neighborhood) reduces the difficulty by 1 and increases the duration to a full day. If the vampire wants to trap a victim within a single room, the character must expend a point of blood. A character must also expend a Willpower point to use the Mental Maze upon supernatural victims such as werewolves, mages, other vampires, or ghouls.
••••• • Mind Blank Edit
A vampire with this power is able to shrug off telepathic contact, easily withstanding invasive probes of her mind.
System: Any attempt to read or probe the character’s mind first requires a successful Perception + Empathy roll (difficulty equal to the character’s Wits + Stealth). Even if a potential intruder does succeed, his dice pool for the attempt is then limited to the number of successes he scored on the initial roll.
••••• • Scrawl Edit
What seems like meaningless scribble to the untrained eye is sometimes a tacit way for Malkavians to communicate with one another. Malkavians often communicate to each other in ways only other Malkavians understand, but Scrawl allows the Kindred to choose who makes out her cackling code. The shaky hand is recognizable as Scrawl to anyone with the Discipline, though no one outside the Clan recognizes the hidden meaning at all. Elders often use this to pass messages to other members of the Clan, or leave ones out in the open hidden in graffiti.
System: No roll is required to write the message, but if the Malkavian wants a specific Clanmate to read it only, she must know the target, his sire, or his progeny.
••••• • Soul Mask Edit
In addition to concealing her form, a vampire who has developed Soul Mask is able to conceal her aura. She may display whatever combination of colors and shades she wishes, or may appear to have no aura whatsoever. This power is of particular use to those of elder Generation who have reached such heights of power through diablerie.
System: The use of this power allows the projection of only one aura (or lack thereof) — the vampire chooses the precise colors to be displayed when she first develops Soul Mask. If the character has no experience with the use of Aura Perception, she may not choose an alternate aura, as she has no idea what one would look like, though she can still choose to display no aura whatsoever. Soul Mask can be bought multiple times, if desired, in order to give a vampire multiple alternate auras from which to choose.
Unless the player states otherwise, Soul Mask is always in effect. If the character has bought Soul Mask two or more times, her “default” aura displayed is the first one she learned.
••••• •• Cache Edit
Most Obfuscate powers require the individual using them to be within a short distance of the subjects of the concealment. Cache extends this range considerably, allowing an elder with this power to leave people or objects safely hidden while he goes about his business elsewhere.
System: A character must be within the normal required distance to initiate an Obfuscate power. Once this is done, the player spends a Willpower point, which activates Cache on top of the already functioning use of the Discipline. The concealment will now remain in effect as long as the vampire is within a distance equal to his Wits + Stealth in miles (or one and half times that in kilometers) from the object or person he wishes to conceal. The enhanced concealment fades at the next sunrise, or breaks (as always) if the Obfuscate subject reveals himself.
••••• •• Veil of Blissful Ignorance Edit
This power’s development is attributed to the Malkavians, but many Nosferatu have also found it to be highly useful. The Veil of Blissful Ignorance allows a vampire to Obfuscate an unwilling victim, removing him from the notice of others. Some Nosferatu use this power to teach a humbling lesson to individuals who take the presence and aid of others for granted, while others utilize it to remove an essential member of a group in the midst of a crisis.
System: The character must touch the victim to activate this power. The player spends a blood point and rolls Wits + Stealth (difficulty equals the victim’s Appearance + 3). If the roll is a success, the victim is subject to the effects of Vanish From the Mind’s Eye for a length of time determined by the number of successes the player rolls.
|1 success||Three turns|
|2 successes||One minute (20 minutes)|
|3 successes||15 minutes|
|4 successes||One hour|
|5 successes||One night|
The victim of Veil of Blissful Ignorance does not necessarily know that he is under the effect of this power. He is only aware that everyone around him has suddenly begun acting as if he were not there. The victim cannot break this effect, even with violence; if he attacks someone, the target ascribes the act to the visible individual nearest to him. More than one fatal brawl has been incited by this side-effect. The Veil persists even if the vampire who activated it leaves the area. Curiously enough, Veil of Blissful Ignorance can never be used on anyone who is ready and willing to accept its effects.
••••• ••• Old Friend Edit
Many elder Nosferatu have made reputations for omniscience with the secrets they learn through creative uses of this power. A variation of Mask of a Thousand Faces, Old Friend allows a vampire to probe a subject’s subconscious and take the semblance of the individual whom that victim trusts over anyone else. Someone using this power does not appear as someone who the victim is frightened of or awed by, but rather someone to whom the victim feels comfortable revealing intimate secrets. Old Friend doesn’t necessarily make its user appear as someone who is still among the living; a long- dead friend or relative is just as likely, and in such cases the subject remembers the encounter as a dream or a ghostly visitation.
System: The player rolls Manipulation + Subterfuge (difficulty equal to the victim’s Perception + Alertness or Awareness, maximum 10). The more successes, the more convincing the impersonation. This power only affects one victim at a time; other observers see the vampire as she truly is, unless she also establishes a Mask of a Thousand Faces in addition to using Old Friend.
••••• •••• Create Name Edit
Some Toreador call this power the ultimate development of method acting. Create Name allows a character to create a completely new identity; face, speech pattern, aura, even thought processes are constructed according to the vampire’s desired identity. The power can be used to impersonate an existing individual, or it can project the semblance of a completely fictional identity with perfect accuracy.
System: A vampire working with Create Name must spend three hours a night in relatively uninterrupted quiet to establish a new personality by means of this power. The player makes an extended roll of Intelligence + Subterfuge (difficulty 8), one roll per night. A total of 20 successes are necessary to construct a new identity, while a botch removes five successes from the vampire’s total. Once a new identity has been successfully created, however, the character can step into it at any time without any sort of roll. Any outside observer without Auspex 9 or the equivalent sees the artificial identity. The character’s face, aura, Nature, Demeanor, even thoughts and Psychological Merits and Flaws all appear to be those of the persona selected and crafted by the character.
The only way to pierce this disguise, other than Auspex 9, is to notice any discrepancies between the assumed identity and the Abilities it logically ought to possess. A character with no dots in Medicine should have a hard time pulling off a created identity as a neurosurgeon, for example. The Storyteller should make a secret roll of Perception + Alertness (difficulty 9) for each character who should catch a slip made by the impostor.