Obfuscate

Discipline translation VtM

Obfuscate

Night-dwellers, predators by nature and keepers of the Masquerade,
vampires are inherently (and necessarily) creatures
of secrecy and stealth. From hiding minute objects to the ability
to appear as someone else to the power to fade from sight
entirely, the Discipline of Obfuscate grants the Kindred uncanny
powers of concealment, stealth and deception.
Obfuscate clouds the mind in practice. For example, a
character hiding an object by using this Discipline doesn’t
actually make the object disappear, nor does someone using
the Discipline to hide himself truly vanish. Rather,
the mind sees “around” the Obfuscated object, refusing
to acknowledge it, even if that requires a bit of filling in
mental blanks. To continue the example, if a character
Obfuscated a large sheet of plywood and tried to hide behind
it herself, those looking at the plywood would, indeed,
see the character lurking behind it but not see the
plywood itself.
The shroud of Obfuscate is very difficult to penetrate. Few
Kindred or other supernatural creatures can see through it,
and only under the rarest of circumstances do mortals have
any hope. Because they operate on a less conscious and mostly
instinctual level, however, animals often perceive a vampire’s
presence — and react with appropriate fear or hostility —
even if they cannot detect him with their normal senses. Similarly,
children, the mentally ill and others who see the world
in ways not quite normal might pierce the deception at the
Storyteller’s discretion.
Some Kindred with Auspex are able to see through Obfuscate,
or at least sense the presence of a supernatural deception.
Refer to the “Clash of Wills” sidebar on p. 119 for details.
It’s important to note that Obfuscate affects the viewer’s
mind, rather than making any true physical change to the
vampire. Thus, the Discipline is not effective at cloaking a
character from mechanical devices. Photographs, video cameras
and the like record the normal blurred image that all
vampires leave in such media, not the assumed appearance.
Obfuscate does affect any individual currently using the recording
device, however, so someone videotaping an Obfuscated
vampire sees the illusion when looking through the
lens, discovering the truth only later when he reviews the
tape itself.
Unless stated otherwise, Obfuscate powers require very little
concentration to maintain once invoked, and they last for
the duration of a scene.

  • Touch of Shadow

This first level of Obfuscate allows the vampire to conceal
small items, either in her grasp or on her person. If she is skilled
enough, even a thorough search fails to turn up a hidden object.
Increasingly larger objects might be hidden if the Discipline
user is particularly adept.

Cost:—
Dice Pool: Wits + Larceny + Obfuscate
Action: Instant

Roll Results
Dramatic Failure: The attempt fails and the user actually
draws attention to the fact that she’s trying to hide something.
Further uses of Obfuscate against people present to witness
the dramatic failure incur a -1 penalty for the remainder
of the scene.
Failure: The attempt fails.
Success: The character can hide a single object from
sight, unless someone actively searches for that specific
item. Indeed, “specific” is very literal here — a character
looking for “an Obfuscated book” does not find it, though
she does if she’s looking for “the Ordo Dracul Kogaion’s
handwritten and leather-bound copy of 17th-century rituals”
and has seen it before.
Exceptional Success: The character hides the object even
if a searcher knows exactly what she seeks.
The player must declare which specific item is concealed
and the power must be invoked separately for each item.
If the roll succeeds, the item goes undetected. Perhaps a
careful search such as a pat-down or close examination reveals
it, along with a Wits + Composure roll, successes from
which must exceed those rolled for the activation of the
power. As with all Obfuscate abilities, a character with
Auspex might be able to see through Touch of Shadow
(though he would still have to find the object normally if it
were inside a pocket or otherwise physically concealed from
view). Once the character does anything to draw attention
to the object — such as deliberately showing it to someone
or using it to attack or threaten — Touch of Shadow ends. If
someone successfully detects the item, he can point it out to
others. A Wits + Composure roll is made for each such person,
and successes achieved must exceed those acquired in
the Wits + Larceny + Obfuscate roll made for the Discipline
user. If an onlooker’s successes aren’t high enough, he still
doesn’t recognize the item, even when it’s pointed out.
Note that this power affects only the item in question. A
character could not, for example, conceal a mailbox and then
hide behind it or conceal a computer and hide a stake beneath
it. The mailbox or computer would indeed be concealed
but the character or stake would not.
Once invoked, Touch of Shadow lasts for a scene or until
ended prematurely.

Suggested Modifiers
Modifier Situation

+2 A tiny item, one easily concealed in the palm
of a hand.
+1 An item that can be hidden in a pants pocket.
— An item that can be squeezed into a pants
pocket or easily hidden in a jacket pocket.
-1 An item that can only barely be squeezed into a
large jacket pocket.
-2 An item that can be concealed under a jacket
without too obvious a bulge.
-3 An item too large to be naturally hidden, but
still small enough to be carried easily.
-3 The “item” is actually an abstract ideal or negative
space, such as a hallway or portal to another room.
If a closed door seals the portal, this is not subject to
the penalty, as all the Kindred needs to do is hide
the door, not the portal itself.
-4 An item as large as the vampire herself, such as
a motorcycle.
-5 An item bigger than the vampire herself, such as a
car or large shipping crate, but smaller than five
times the vampire’s Size.
Apocryphal tales insist that sepulchers, tractor-trailers and
even entire buildings have been hidden from the sight of
others, but that’s just not possible… is it?

  • •• Mask of Tranquility

The Kindred masters the art of hiding himself to such a
degree that he may subvert some of the stains that undeath
leaves upon his soul. A vampire who knows this power can
mask his Kindred nature from onlookers, leaving them without
the impression that the Predator’s Taint inflicts.

Cost: —
Dice Pool: This power involves no roll, and is considered
“always on.” Therefore, the character
doesn’t even appear as a vampire to other Kindred who
see him. Kindred who can discern auras fail to register
the vampire as undead; his aura is no different from a
mortal’s (the colors are not pale like a normal Kindred’s).
Note that this power doesn’t render the user immune to
the Predator’s Taint himself, he merely doesn’t cause the
reaction in others.
The character may turn off this power if he wishes, but such
is an all-or-nothing proposition. He may not turn off certain
aspects of this power and keep others active. Note also that
uses of Auspex may call this power into question — see the
“Clash of Wills” sidebar on p. 119 for details.
Action: N/A

  • ••• Cloak of Night

An essential expression of the Kindred’s secretive nature,
Cloak of Night allows a vampire to literally fade from
sight, becoming completely invisible to observers. Though
it’s easiest to invoke the capability out of sight, Cloak of
Night is so potent that it allows the vampire to vanish even
under direct observation.
The actual process of fading away is subtle, but its effect
on witnesses might not be. Mortals 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.

Cost:—
Dice Pool: Intelligence + Stealth + Obfuscate

Action: Instant

Roll Results
Dramatic Failure: The character believes he has vanished
from sight, when in fact he has not.
Failure: The character does not vanish at all, and knows it.
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.
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.
Successful use of Cloak of Night 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.
Hiding oneself with this power 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.

Suggested Modifiers
Modifier Situation

+1 Character is by himself when he activates
the power.
— Character vanishes before a single witness.
-1 Each witness after the first present when a
character invokes the power.

  • •••• The Familiar Stranger

This power allows the character to assume the image of
whomever the subject most expects to see under the circumstances
in which they meet. The character has no say
in whom he “becomes.” In fact, he is not even immediately
aware of what aspect he is perceived to have, unless
the target gives the identity away through verbal or behavioral
clues. For this reason, The Familiar Stranger is best
used under circumstances when contact between the character
and the subject is likely to be brief. Otherwise, the
character runs a substantial risk of giving the deception
away through improper behavior.
Note that this power does not actually change the vampire’s
true appearance. It merely convinces an onlooker that the
Kindred is someone other than who he truly is by clouding
the subject’s mind.

Cost: —
Dice Pool: Wits + Subterfuge + Obfuscate versus subject’s
Resolve + Blood Potency

Action: Contested; resistance is reflexive

Roll Results
Dramatic Failure: The character believes she is accepted
differently, when in fact she is recognized as herself.
Failure: The vampire loses or ties the contested action. The
character’s recognition does not change, and the vampire is
aware of the failed attempt. Onlookers see the vampire for
who she is.
Success: The vampire wins the contested action and is recognized
as someone else for the duration of the scene.
Exceptional Success: Five or more successes are rolled for
the Discipline user. The vampire wins the contested action
and is accepted as someone else for as long as she wishes, rather
than for the scene.
If faced with more than one observer, the character must
choose one and hope the others expect to see the same
person. Success in the contested action indicates that the
character assumes the aspect of whomever the chosen subject
most expects to see, and the others see that person as
well, even if they have no knowledge of him or her. The
character himself does not gain any knowledge of the individual,
and might prove unable to maintain the deception
for long. A character with Auspex can potentially see
through this disguise, as per the normal rules for Auspex
versus Obfuscate (see p. 119). Note also that it’s entirely
possible that the next person the subject thought she would
see is the vampire himself….
Example: Scratch uses The Familiar Stranger to appear
before a child at home, who is attended by a babysitter. Three
successes are rolled for him and none are rolled for the child.
The child sees Scratch and shrieks, “Daddy!” which alerts
the babysitter — who sees a person who she assumes is the
child’s father.

Suggested Modifiers
Modifier Situation

+2 Character knows for a fact who the subject
expects to see.
+2 Power is turned on a vampire with whom the
user has a Blood Bond .
— Character has no idea who the subject expects.
-1 Character displays an emotion or undertakes
an action not entirely appropriate to the
circumstances.
-2 Character displays an emotion or undertakes
action clearly out of place under the
circumstances, or one largely foreign to the
person whose appearance he mimics.

  • ••••• Cloak the Gathering

A more powerful manifestation of Cloak of Night, Cloak
the Gathering allows the vampire to extend her powers of
vanishing from the mind’s eye over others.

Cost: —
Dice Pool: Intelligence + Stealth + Obfuscate
Action: Instant

Roll Results
Dramatic failure: The character believes that he and his
entourage vanishes from sight, when in fact they do not.
Failure: The characters do not vanish at all.
Success: The characters vanish from sight. Mortal witnesses
reconstruct the scene in their memory to justify the characters’
disappearance if successes achieved on the invocation
roll exceed their Willpower dots.
Exceptional Success: Five or more successes are rolled
and the characters vanish from sight. Check previous for
the effect on mortals. Kindred witnesses reconstruct the
scene in their memory to justify the characters’ disappearance
if successes gained on the invocation roll exceed their
Willpower dots.
A vampire can hide one extra individual per dot of Obfuscate
she possesses, not counting herself. She may attempt
to hide more, but in doing so invokes a penalty to
the player’s roll.
While under the effects of this power, each individual
must obey the rules of Cloak of Night. 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 becomes visible while the rest of the
characters remain hidden.

Suggested Modifiers
Modifier Situation

+1 Character is with only those to whom she extends
this power when she activates it.
— Characters vanish before a single witness.
-1 Each witness after the first present when a
character invokes the power.
-1 Each person Obfuscated beyond the number
equal to the character’s level of Obfuscate, not
counting the character herself.

Obfuscate

Game Idea Voidoblivion