Majesty

One of the most legendary powers of the undead is the ability to attract, sway and control the emotions of others, especially those of mortals. Majesty is perhaps the most versatile of Disciplines, for its potential uses and applications are both varied and multitudinous. The more savvy the practitioner, the more use he can get out of each of the Discipline’s levels. Unlike some other Disciplines, Majesty can be used on entire crowds of targets simultaneously, making it even more potent — in the right hands. The only requirement for use of most Majesty powers is that any potential targets see the character. Eye contact is not required, nor is the ability to hear the character (though it certainly doesn’t hurt).

The downside to Majesty, such as is it is, is that its subjects retain their free will. Unlike victims of Dominate, who follow the commands of the Kindred nearly mindlessly, those acting under Majesty are simply emotionally predisposed to do whatever the power (or its user) suggests. While retention of personality makes victims more useful in the long run, it also means they require more care in handling than targets of Dominate. An abused victim of Majesty certainly subverts or represses what his emotions suggest in order to behave in the most appropriate manner. Meanwhile, subjects treated well might be persuaded to act against even their own interests.

Any mortal can resist Majesty for one turn if a Willpower point is spent and a successful Composure roll is made (though the Willpower point does not add three dice to the roll). This roll is reflexive. If the roll fails, the Willpower point is lost and the target remains under the effects of the power(s). If the roll is successful, the mortal probably spends his turn of “freedom” fleeing the vampire’s proximity, lest he continue to be affected. Refusing to pay attention to the vampire, rather than fleeing, can allow a mortal to resist the spell for a turn, but the power resumes effect if the mortal remains in the Kindred’s vicinity. Vampires resist Majesty in much the same way (by spending a Willpower point), but Blood Potency is added to Composure rolls made for them. In addition, vampires of higher Blood Potency than the character invoking Majesty are able to resist his power for the entire scene with the expenditure of one Willpower point and a successful Composure + Blood Potency roll. By and large, the Kindred who choose to develop their Majesty abilities are those who recognize that one achieves more with honey than with vinegar.

Those who swear by Majesty often find Dominate, seen as “the flip side of Majesty,” to be both boorish and crass, and they would swear to calling upon it only in times of dire need.

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• Awe

This power makes the user seem exponentially more charismatic and magnetic than he normally is. The force of his personality issues forth in waves, drawing people to him like moths to a flame. Perhaps the greatest use for Awe is its ability to facilitate public speaking or debate. Whatever the vampire says, people are likely to lend serious credence to his position and views, and even the staunchest opponents gladly hear him out. Awe can often turn the tide in a tense negotiation, tipping the scales from “potentially” to “definitely.”

As with other Majesty powers, Awe ceases to be useful when more pressing matters come to the fore. Personal safety always takes precedence, and any commotion pulls even the most rapt listener from his reverie of attention. Those subjected to the character’s stature likely remember how good they felt around him, and tailor future reactions accordingly.

Cost

None

Dice Pool

Majesty + Expression + Presence

Action

Instant

Usage

If the number of successes exceeds a given target’s Composure, that subject is affected by the character’s powerful personality. If a subject’s Composure is equal to or higher than the number of successes earned, that subject goes unaffected. A character may Awe whomever is present (see the suggested modifiers below), and comparisons are made from lowest Composure to highest among potential subjects.

Effectively, a character may not single out an individual subject in a crowd to Awe. He simply “turns on the charm” and lets it work its magic. Those individuals affected by Awe raptly fawn over the user. Any social rolls he engages in with them gains a number of bonus dice equal to the number of successes rolled to activate the power. This effect lasts for one scene, and people may well expect to thrill to the character’s Majesty the next time they see him.

  • Dramatic Failure: A dramatic failure indicates that the character actually makes himself more unappealing, and people actively seek to avoid him until he leaves.
  • Failure: Failure indicates that the power simply does not activate. The character knows this immediately and may try again next turn.
  • Success: The character succeeds in dazzling his intended audience with his overwhelming charisma.
  • Exceptional Success: An exceptional success indicates that the subjects’ Composures are considered one less than normal for the purposes of determining who is affected. The number of successes the player acquires is compared to the Composure of each intended subject.

•• Revelation

The allure and reassurance of a Kindred with this power is enough to make others forego caution and share their innermost feelings and secrets. A few complimentary or compassionate words or a heartfelt look from the vampire can break down a person’s prudence and fear, inspiring a desire to share deep feelings or dark secrets in an upwelling of affection or release.

Cost

1 Vitae

Dice Pool

Manipulation + Persuasion + Majesty versus subject’s Composure + Blood Potency

Action

Contested, resistance is reflexive

Usage

While a vampire can gain the information he seeks by use of this power, he must be prepared for a litany of confessions from a particularly guilty or tormented subject. A longtime criminal might have many sins to confess, for example, only one of which is important to the character using Revelation. A successful Manipulation + Socialize roll may be required for the vampire to steer the confession to a matter of interest. If the roll fails, the vampire must endure everything that the subject has to say. Should the confession go on for more than a single turn, and the subject turns to particularly deep, dark or dangerous secrets, a Willpower point may be spent and a Composure roll made for the subject to break the spell for a turn. The subject remembers what he confessed after the effects of the power have passed. He undoubtedly can’t explain his lack of discretion, and he might do anything in his power to compensate for his “error in judgment.”

  • Dramatic Failure: The vampire’s manipulative efforts are obvious for the intended subject to see. No more of the vampire’s attempts at Revelation on the same subject work for the remainder of the night.
  • Failure: The character loses the contested roll. He may try again.
  • Success: The vampire wins the contested roll and the subject bares his soul.
  • Exceptional Success: The vampire wins the contested roll with five or more successes. The subject bares his soul until every sin or crime he can think of is revealed. No Willpower can be spent to make a Composure roll to stop.

••• Entrancement

This power is perhaps the closest thing that Majesty gets to serious command over the thoughts of another. Its power warps the emotional state of the subject, making him a willing servant of the vampire. Subjects retain their sense of identity and free will, believing that every instinct to serve and admire comes of their own volition. When the duration of an Entrancement ends, however, confusion and displacement arise, often leading to mixed feelings. Similar to falling out of love, re-entrancing a former “lover” is difficult at best.

Cost

None

Dice Pool

Manipulation + Empathy + Majesty versus subject’s Composure + Blood Potency

Action

Contested; resistance is reflexive

Usage

When a period of effect wears off, the subject does not necessarily bear the vampire any ill will. After all, he has no idea that something unnatural has taken place. He merely comes to the conclusion that he no longer feels the way he once did for the character (even if “once” was an hour ago). At this time, he likely returns to going about his own life, content with never seeing the vampire again. Typically, a vampire who wishes to retain the attention of an affected subject calls upon more reliable (or stringent) methods of indenturing, such as the Vinculum.

  • Dramatic Failure: A dramatic failure offends the subject, making him immune to the vampire’s “advances” for the rest of the night.
  • Failure: The character loses the contested roll. The Entrancement fails and the subject reacts to the vampire normally.
  • Success: The character wins the contested roll by getting the most successes, and brings the subject under his sway for an hour or so — long enough to complete a single task or set of tasks.
  • Exceptional Success: The character wins the contested roll with five or more successes. An exceptional success indentures the target for at least at least a week, and potentially a month or more.

•••• Summoning

This rather potent power allows the vampire to call any individual he knows personally to his side. In short, the vampire reaches out with the force of his personality and makes a colleague, acquaintance, rival or outright enemy know without doubt that he wishes that person to attend him at once. There is no limit on the distance or range of this power, but summoning someone halfway around the world takes time, even under the best of circumstances. The subject of Summoning takes the most direct possible routes to the vampire’s location and intuitively knows when the vampire moves, though doesn’t necessarily know the final destination until he gets there (it’s like a sort of direction sense).

The summoned individual knows to whose Majesty he travels, and he may pause to make arrangements before departure, if necessary. In other words, the compulsion is strong and the subject doesn’t dilly-dally unnecessarily, but he is hardly a single-minded drone in his desire to reach the vampire. The subject does, however, use any resources at his disposal to see that he arrives both safely and punctually.

The call of a summoning fades with the first rays of the sun at dawn. Therefore, if a subject is truly far away or a sufficiently fast means of transportation is not available to him, he can deny the compulsion to attend the summoner at dawn. Indeed, he could return home and go about his business. If the subject is predisposed toward the summoner, however, he may continue the quest of his own accord. During the day, he is under his own power to find the vampire and loses his “direction sense.” Another vampire is not compelled to seek the summoner to the very light of day, causing his Final Death. The seeker finds shelter beforehand. Unless the subject already knows where and how to reach the summoning vampire, the call must be repeated each night until the subject arrives. If, as in the preceding case with the resistant subject, the distance is too far or available transportation is too slow, the subject might never arrive. He falls into a cycle of being drawn to and fleeing from the summoner.
If a Willpower point is spent and a Composure + Blood Potency roll is made for a subject to resist this power, any success defies a summons for a whole night, not just a turn or a scene.

Cost

1 Vitae

Dice Pool

Manipulation + Persuasion + Presence versus subject’s Composure + Blood Potency

Action

Contested; resistance is reflexive

Usage

  • Dramatic Failure: The target is aware that the vampire tried to summon him, and is immune to that vampire’s Summoning attempts for the rest of the story.
  • Failure: The character loses or ties the contested roll. The subject remains unaware of the Summoning, and nothing happens.
  • Success: The character wins the contested roll. Complete success brings the subject as quickly as possible within the space of one night, without questioning the motivations or origins of the summons.
  • Exceptional Success: The character wins the contested roll with five or more successes. An exceptional success draws the subject to the vampire with all deliberate haste, no matter how long the journey takes. The compulsion to arrive prevails even during daylight, and the subject’s sense of the summoner’s location persists throughout.

••••• Sovereignty

One of the most potent of all Kindred abilities, Sovereignty augments the power of a vampire’s personal deportment to incredible levels. The newly empowered mien inspires devotion, respect and fear in those who stand in the vampire’s proximity. The weak-willed (and cunning) supplicate themselves for the chance to serve, and the stout of heart find themselves at a loss to do anything but acquiesce. Sovereignty’s power influences decisions, breaks hearts, cripples confidence and shakes the ambitious to the foundations of their determination.

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The vibe the vampire gives off makes others quick to surrender, and the thought of risking his displeasure quails even the heartiest souls. Raising one’s voice to a sovereign Kindred seems unthinkable; aggressing upon him seems impossible. The power of this level of Majesty is a terrifying thing to behold, and a difficult thing to rein in once it’s let loose. Elders are wise not to abuse it or use it too flippantly, as its power is most effective when used both sparingly and exactingly. Despite its mighty prowess, Sovereignty is a finely honed tool — a scalpel, rather than a sword.

Cost

1 Willpower per Scene

Dice Pool

Presence + Intimidation + Majesty versus subject's Composure + Blood Potency

Action

Instant; contested and reflexive

Sovereignty is considered “always active” during scenes in which it is invoked, though it may be turned off at the Kindred’s discretion. Activating the power requires an instant action. Its capacity is tested whenever challenged. When the power is at its “normal” level, people can speak freely around the vampire as long as they don’t try to defy or criticize him, though their demeanor is marked by an obvious obeisance to the Kindred invoking Sovereignty. Anyone wishing to attack the vampire, however, whether physically, mystically or socially, calls the user’s Sovereignty into question. A reflexive and contested roll is made for presiding vampire and would be attacker.

Note also that, unlike other uses of Majesty, Sovereignty may not be overcome with the expenditure of a Willpower point and success on a Composure + Blood Potency roll. The power is defensive and overwhelming, and it must be countered by a determined foe as described here.

Usage

Note that a contested roll must be made every time someone wishes to make a new attack, use a Discipline or criticize the vampire who uses Sovereignty (with the obvious exception of dramatic failures and exceptional successes).

The power applies against physical attacks as well as intended uses of Disciplines that could harm or affect the reigning vampire negatively. Intentions to speak an ill word about or at the sovereign vampire invoke the same contested roll. If the effort fails, the would-be critic cannot bring himself to say what he wishes to.

If the presiding vampire responds to aggression by physically attacking back, he breaks his Sovereignty with respect to that subject alone. Use of a Discipline in a damaging or negative way against a would-be aggressor also breaks the spell against that individual alone. All other would-be combatants, Discipline users or naysayers must continue to overcome the reigning vampire’s power if they wish to turn aggressor. The sovereign vampire does not break his spell over a subject by disparaging him publicly.

  • Dramatic Failure: A dramatic failure is rolled for the sovereign vampire. The assailant may attack, use Disciplines or criticize for the rest of the scene without having to make challenges to the character’s Sovereignty.
  • Failure: The sovereign character loses the contested roll; attacks, Discipline uses or criticisms proceed without penalty, but the attacker feels the weight of his action in every movement.
  • Success: The sovereign character wins the contested roll by getting the most successes, and the assault cannot be carried out this turn. A subsequent attempt calls for another contested roll.
  • Exceptional Success: The sovereign character wins the contested roll with five or more successes, and the would-be assailant cannot attack or disparage the vampire for the duration of the night.
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