Obfuscate

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 a hundred yards) for their power to be effective. Unless noted otherwise, obfuscate powers must be invoked while the vampire is out of sight of the targets.

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 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 may enable Kindred to see through Obfuscate. (See Auspex for details.)

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).

While not exclusive to the clan, 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.

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• Cloak of Shadows

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.

Cost

None

Dice Pool

None

Usage

Cloak of Shadows requires no roll 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.

Action

Instant.

•• Unseen Presence

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.

Cost

None

Dice Pool

Obfuscate + Dexterity + Stealth versus Wits + Investigation + Auspex

Action

Instant; contested and reflexive

Usage

Generally, the most perceptive NPC present at the scene (i.e. the one who would have the best dice pool) makes the opposed check. If for some reason that NPC would not react to the vampire's presence if he saw him (e.g. because the vampire has a prior arrangement with him), the next most perceptive NPC rolls. The NPC only gets his Auspex dice if his Auspex powers have been activated.

  • Dramatic Failure: A dramatic failure indicates that the vampire actually calls attention to himself, either by knocking an object in the environment, or bumping into someone. This so startles the person who spotted him that he calls out, alerting all other people in earshot.
  • Failure: Failure indicates that the vampire is spotted by the NPC making the opposed check.
  • Success: Success indicates the vampire is successfully hidden, and need not roll again until attempting to do something that would temporarily break Obfuscate (e.g. manipulating the environment in some way). Success on this subsequent roll indicates the vampire timed his actions such that he was able to successfully return to the shadows attracting nice. Successive actions of this nature may incur penalties.
  • Exceptional Success: An exceptional success indicates that the vampire has so adeptly hidden himself that he need not roll again even if he attempts one or two actions. At the storyteller's discretion further actions of this nature may incur rolls and penalties.

••• Mask of a Thousand Faces

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. It is important to note, however, that this illusion fails completely upon physical contact.

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.

Cost

1 Willpower per scene.

Dice Pool

Obfuscate + Wits + Subterfuge to merely disguise oneself; Obfuscate + Manipulation + Subterfuge versus Wits + Subterfuge to actively impersonate another.

Action

Instant; contested and reflexive

Usage

If the character tries to impersonate someone, he must get a good look at the subject before putting on the mask. The Storyteller may impose penalties if the character catches only a glimpse. The vampire should also know at least basic information about the individual; especially difficult deceptions (fooling a lover or close friend) may incur further penalties.

  • Dramatic Failure: Dramatic failure indicates someone sees through the power at an inopportune time. Depending on the circumstances, someone may try to touch the vampires face, or notice something odd about the vampires reflection, and then that person calls attention to it. The illusion is broken for affected parties.
  • Failure: Failure indicates that the vampire is unable to create an believable illusion.
  • Success: Success indicates the vampire successfully creates a believable illusion. If the vampire has created an assumed identity, no one questions him. Affected parties will find it difficult to recall the features of that assumed identity, and when pressed will only be able to vaguely recall their interactions with him. If the vampire is impersonating another party, the affected parties believe that the vampire is the person he says he is for the remainder of the scene, and no further rolls are necessary unless something happens to threaten the illusion (e.g. the vampire says something completely out of character for the impersonated party, etc.).
  • Exceptional Success: An exceptional success indicates that the vampire has created an illusion that is nearly perfect. No one will question it unless the vampire does something that will definitely cause the power to fail (such as initiating physical contact).

•••• Vanish from the Mind’s Eye

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.

The actual process of fading away is subtle, but its effect on witnesses might not be. Kine are likely to panic and flee the area, or to find some way to justify what they’ve witnessed, even if it means constructing new memories of the event. (“I glanced away for a moment, and when I looked back I think I saw him leave through that door.”) Some especially weak-willed mortals might simply forget the vampire was ever present at all. Kindred, of course, tend to be less strongly impacted, though even an experienced and knowledgeable vampire might find the experience somewhat startling.

This is the only obfuscate power that can be invoked while being directly observed.

Cost

1 Willpower

Dice Pool

Intelligence + Stealth + Obfuscate

Action

Instant

Usage

Successful use of Vanish from the Mind's Eye renders the character invisible until and unless he does something to draw attention (launching an attack, smashing a window, shouting a warning), in which case the cloak drops.

  • Dramatic Failure: The vampire does not vanish, but in fact does something so memorable (e.g. bumping into something while taking a step back) that all intended targets will be aware of his exact position for the rest of the scene.
  • Failure: The character does not vanish at all.
  • Success: The character vanishes from sight. Mortal witnesses reconstruct the scene in their memory to justify the character’s disappearance if successes achieved on the invocation roll exceed their Willpower dots. A successful roll even accounts for a character inadvertently revealing himself. A vampire doesn’t accidentally bump into bystanders, as they subconsciously move out of his way. No one hears when he steps on a squeaky floorboard unless they have somehow already pierced his Obfuscate.
  • Exceptional Success: Five or more successes are rolled for the Discipline user. The character vanishes from sight. See preceding text for the effect on mortals. Kindred witnesses reconstruct the scene in their memory to justify the character’s disappearance if successes gained on the invocation roll exceed their Willpower dots.

••••• Cloak the Gathering

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.

Cost

1 Willpower

Dice Pool

Obfuscate + Dexterity + Stealth versus Wits + Investigation + Auspex

Action

Instant

Usage

The zone that the vampire creates in invoking this power is limited in volume. It can typically hide around five human-sized individuals. More individuals may attempt to hide, but doing so causes the zone to become more crowded and may incur a penalty to the invoker’s roll.

Generally, the most perceptive NPC present at the scene (i.e. the one who would have the best dice pool) makes the opposed check. If for some reason that NPC would not react to the character's presence if he saw him (e.g. because the vampire has a prior arrangement with him), the next most perceptive NPC rolls. The NPC only gets his Auspex dice if his Auspex powers have been activated.

While under the effects of this power, each individual must obey the rules of Unseen presence. That is, anyone who draws attention through loud or brash actions likely becomes visible. If the Discipline user herself becomes visible, the effect fades away utterly, exposing everyone involved. Vampires under the effects of Cloak the Gathering can see each other, but if an individual ever leaves the sight of the vampire extending “invisibility,” the power ceases for him. He will be unable to see the rest of the characters, and he becomes visible while the rest of the characters remain hidden.

  • Dramatic Failure: A dramatic failure indicates that the vampire actually calls attention to himself, either by knocking an object in the environment, or bumping into someone. All affected characters are revealed and this so startles the person who spotted him that he calls out, alerting all other people in earshot.
  • Failure: Failure indicates that the invoking vampire is spotted by the NPC making the opposed check.
  • Success: Success indicates the vampire has successfully hidden all characters within the power's zone, and need roll again until a character affected by the power attempts to do something that would temporarily break Obfuscate (e.g. manipulating the environment in some way). If a character other than the vampire invoking the power makes such an attempt, depending on the nature of the action she either rolls Dexterity + Larceny or Dexterity + Stealth opposing the NPC's Wits + Investigation + Auspex. If the invoking vampire attempts such an action, the invoking roll is merely repeated. Success on this subsequent roll indicates the vampire timed his actions such that he was able to successfully return to the shadows attracting nice. Successive actions of this nature may incur penalties.
  • Exceptional Success: An exceptional success indicates that the vampire has so adeptly hidden himself and his companions that he need not roll again even if characters within the zone attempt one or two actions (between them, not each). At the storyteller's discretion further actions of this nature may incur rolls and penalties.
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