Most victims cannot stand against the effects of Dominate. Still, there are situations where this Discipline is powerless to sway the subject.
- Mortals: Few mortals can hope to resist Dominate, their strength of will nothing compared to the supernatural magnetism of a vampire. Still, there are extremely rare individuals who, due to strong religious faith, unique psychic talent or simple mental resolve, can shrug off this Discipline's effects. Beyond these scattered few, a select number of organizations like the Inquisition know certain rituals to render a mortal immune. Only a foolish vampire ignores the potential threat such human beings represent.
- Vampires: It is impossible to Dominate another Kindred who is of stronger Blood - the vampire must be of an equal or higher generation than the target for the powers to be effective.
- Nature: A character's Nature can have a distinct impact on how easily Dominate influences her. A vampire might control subjects with inherently empathic Natures (Caregiver, Child, Conformist) more easily, while those whose Natures denote a great degree of inner strength (Bravo, Director, Rebel) can be more of a challenge. The Storyteller may reduce the required difficulty or number of successes by one or two when the player rolls against those subjects with "weaker" Natures, or raise them by a similar amount for "stronger" Natures. On the other hand, "strong" Natures might be more easily influenced to take aggressive actions - for example, coaxing a Rebel to denounce the prince is likely easier than goading a Conformist to do the same thing. Ultimately, the Storyteller must adjudicate this.
- Botches: If a Dominate roll botches, the target is rendered immune to future attempts by the same vampire for the rest of the story.
The vampire locks eyes with the subject and speaks a one-word command which must be obeyed instantly. The order must be clear and straightforward - run, cough, fall, yawn, jump, laugh, sneeze, stop, belch, follow. If the command is at all confusing or ambiguous, the subject may respond slowly or perform the task poorly. The subject cannot be ordered to do something directly harmful to herself, so a command like "die" is ineffective.
The command may be included in a sentence, thereby concealing the power's use from others. This effort at subtlety still requires the Kindred to make eye contact at the proper moment and stress the key word slightly. An alert bystander - or even the victim - may notice the emphasis; still, unless she's conversant with supernatural powers, the individual is likely to attribute the utterance and the subsequent action as bizarre coincidence.
System: The player rolls Manipulation + Intimidation (difficulty of the target's permanent Willpower). More successes force the subject to act with greater vigor or for a longer duration (continue running for a number of turns, go off on a laughing jag, sneeze uncontrollably).
With this power, a vampire can verbally implant a false thought or hypnotic suggestion in the subject's subconscious mind. Both Kindred and target must be free from distraction, since Mesmerize requires intense concentration and precise wording to he effective. The vampire may activate the imposed thought immediately or establish a stimulus that will trigger it later. The victim must be able to understand the vampire, although the two need to maintain eye contact only as long as it takes to implant the idea.
Mesmerize allows for anything from simple, precise directives (handing over an item) to complex, highly involved ones (taking notes of someone's habits and relaying that information at an appointed time). A subject can have only one suggestion implanted at any time.
System: The player rolls Manipulation + Leadership (difficulty equal to the target's permanent Willpower). The number of successes determines how well the suggestion takes hold in the victim's subconscious. If the vampire scores one or two successes, the subject cannot be forced to do anything that seems strange to her (she might walk outside, but is unlikely to act like a chicken). At three or four successes, the command is effective unless following it endangers the subject. At five successes or greater, the vampire can implant nearly any sort of command.
No matter how strong the Kindred's will, his command cannot force the subject to harm herself directly or defy her innate Nature. So, while a vampire who scored five successes could make a 98-pound weakling attack a 300-pound bouncer, he could not make the mortal shoot herself in the head.
If a vampire tries to Mesmerize a subject before the target fulfills a previously implanted directive, compare the successes rolled to those gained during the implanting of the first suggestion. Whichever roll had the greater number of successes is the command that now lodges in the target's subconscious; the other suggestion is wiped clean. If the successes rolled are equal, the newer command supplants the old one.
The Forgetful Mind
After capturing the subject's gaze, the vampire delves into the subject's memories, stealing or re-creating them at his whim. The Forgetful Mind does not allow for telepathic contact; the Kindred operates much like a hypnotist, asking directed questions and drawing out answers from the subject. The degree of memory alteration depends on what the vampire desires. He may alter the subject's mind only slightly - quite effective for eliminating memories of the victim meeting or even being fed upon by the vampire - or utterly undo the victim's memories of her past.
The degree of detail used has a direct bearing on how strongly the new memories take hold, since the victim's subconscious mind resists the alteration the vampire imposes. A simplistic or incomplete false memory ("You went to the movies last night.") crumbles much more quickly than does one with more attention to detail ("You went to the nine o'clock showing of the new Leonardo DiCaprio movie. You thought about getting some popcorn, but the line was too long so you went right into the theater. The couple next to you kept whispering through the film until someone else shushed them. You liked the movie well enough, but the plot seemed weak. You were tired after it ended, so you went home, watched a little late-night television, and went to bed.").
Even in its simplest applications, The Forgetful Mind requires tremendous skill and finesse. It's a relatively simple matter to rifle through a victim's psyche and rip out the memories of the previous night, without even knowing what the subject did that evening. Doing so leaves a gap in the victim's mind, though, a hole that can give rise to further problems down the road. The Kindred may describe new memories, but these recollections seldom have the same degree of realism that the subject's true thoughts held.
As such, this power isn't always completely effective. The victim may remember being bitten, but believe it to be an animal attack. Greater memories may return in pieces as dreams, or through sensory triggers like a familiar odor or spoken phrase. Even so, months or years may pass before the subject regains enough other lost memories to make sense of the fragments.
A vampire can also sense when a subject's memories were altered through use of this power, and even restore them like a hypnotist draws forth psychologically suppressed thoughts. However, the Kindred cannot use The Forgetful Mind to restore his own memories if they were stolen in such a way.
System: The player states what sorts of alteration he wants to perform, then rolls Wits + Subterfuge (difficulty of the target's Willpower score). Any success pacifies the victim for the amount of time it takes the vampire to perform the verbal alteration, provided the vampire does not act aggressively toward the victim. The table below indicates the degree of modification possible to the subject's memory, depending on the number of successes gained. If the successes rolled don't allow for the extent of change the character desired, the Storyteller reduces the resulting impact on the victim's mind.
|1 success||May remove a single memory; lasts one day.|
|2 successes||May remove, but not alter, memory permanently.|
|3 successes||May make slight changes to memory.|
|4 successes||May alter or remove entire scene from subject's memory.|
|5 successes||May reconstruct entire periods of subject's life.|
To restore removed memories or sense false ones in a subject, the character's Dominate rating must be equal to or higher than that of the vampire who made the alteration. If so, the player must make a Wits + Empathy roll (difficulty equal to the original vampire's permanent Willpower) and score more successes than his predecessor did.
All vampires possess a preternatural constitution that makes most normal damage inconsequential. Fortitude bestows a resilience and vigor far beyond even normal vampiric toughness. Kindred with this power ignore the mightiest punches and barely feel hails of bullets. This Discipline also helps protect against sources of damage even vampires fear, such as sunlight, fire and terminal falls.
System: A character's rating in Fortitude adds to his Stamina for the purposes of soaking normal damage (bashing and lethal). A character with this Discipline may also use his dots in Fortitude to soak aggravated damage (Kindred cannot normally soak things like vampire bites, werewolf claws, magical effects, fire, sunlight or massive physical trauma). So a vampire with Fortitude 3 has three dice to soak aggravated damage.
Awe amplifies the sublime magnetism this Discipline gives the vampire. Those near the vampire suddenly desire to be closer to her and are very receptive to her point of view. Awe is extremely useful for mass communication. It matters little what is said - the hearts of those affected lean toward the vampire's opinion. The weak want to agree with her; even if the strong-willed resist, they soon find themselves outnumbered. Awe can turn a chancy deliberation into a certain resolution in the vampire's favor almost before her opponents know that the tide has turned.
Despite the intensity of this attraction, those so smitten do not lose their sense of self-preservation. Danger breaks the spell of fascination, as does leaving the area. Those subject to Awe will remember how they felt in the vampire's presence, however. This will influence their reactions should they ever encounter her again.
System: The player rolls Charisma + Performance (difficulty 7). The number of successes rolled determines how many people are affected, as noted on the chart below. If there are more people present than the character can influence, Awe affects those with lower Willpower scores first. The power stays in effect for the remainder of the scene or until the character chooses to drop it.
|1 success||One person|
|2 successes||Two people|
|3 successes||Six people|
|4 successes||20 people|
|5 successes||Everyone in the vampire's immediate vicinity (an entire auditorium, a mob)|
Those affected can use Willpower points to overcome the effect, but must continue spending Willpower every turn for as long as they remain in the same area as the vampire. As soon as an individual spends a number of Willpower points equal to the successes rolled, he shakes off the Awe completely and remains unaffected for the rest of the scene.
While all Kindred can frighten others by physically revealing their true vampiric natures - baring claws and fangs, glaring with malevolence, hissing loudly with malice - this power focuses these elements to insanely terrifying levels. Dread Gaze engenders unbearable terror in its victims, stupefying them into madness, immobility or reckless flight. Even the most stalwart individual will fall back from the vampire's horrific visage.
System: The player rolls Charisma + Intimidation (difficulty of the victim's Wits + Courage). Success indicates the victim is cowed, while failure means the target is startled but not terrified by the sight. Three or more successes means he runs away in abject fear; victims who have nowhere to mn claw at the walls, hoping to dig a way out rather than face the vampire. Moreover, each success subtracts one from the target's action dice pools next turn.
The character may attempt Dread Gaze once per turn, though she may also perform it as an extended action, adding her successes in order to subjugate the target completely. Once the target loses enough dice that he cannot perform any action, he's so shaken and terrified that he curls up on the ground and weeps. Failure during the extended action means the attempt falters. The character loses all her collected successes and can start over next turn, while the victim may act normally again.
A botch at any time indicates the target is not at all impressed - perhaps even finding the vampire's antics comical - and remains immune to any further uses of Presence by the character for the rest of the story.