Ask Not For Whom the Bell Tolls
Play-test material from the up-coming Blood & Smoke: Strix Chronicle supplement by Onyx Path Publishing: My slow descent into Animalism
You meet the victim’s eye, lulling them into a trance.
Dice Pool: Intelligence + Expression + Dominate vs Target’s Resolve + Power Stat
Action: Contested, resistance is Reflexive
The victim becomes muted and repressed, as if hypnotized or sleepwalking. In this state the subject is extremely vulnerable to suggestion and manipulation.
You may do either of the following at a rate of one per action:
- Issue a brief command, no more than two or three words. This command must be a single, discrete action, with no room for creativity or interpretation. (“Drop that gun”, “Repeat after me…”, and “Follow me” work. “Submit” and “Do my bidding” are too subjective.)
- Alter one memory of the current scene. (“I was never here”, “You hurt this man.”)
The victim remains in the trance until they leave your presence, the scene ends, or something shakes them out of it. Actions that would endanger the target’s life or force a degeneration roll usually shake them free, as does taking damage. Sufficiently traumatic stimuli may also suffice, at the Storyteller’s discretion. Used in combat, which is generally both dangerous and traumatic, Mesmerize almost always fails. Afterwards, the victim wakes with almost no memory of what took place while they were mesmerized. Attempts to Mesmerize a character who has already resisted or broken free within the scene are made at a -2 penalty, cumulative with each previous failed attempt.
Iron Edict ••
Your Mesmerism becomes stronger and more insidious.
Cost: 1 Vitae
Dice Pool: None (enhances Mesmerize)
Action: None (enhances Mesmerize)
Iron Edict can be evoked whenever you issue a command via Mesmerize. This costs 1 Vitae, unless the victim is currently in any stage of Vinculum with you, and enhances the command in the following ways:
- Commands issued may be much longer, two or three sentences as opposed to a few words, and can include a successive series of actions to perform.
- Commands last one full night, and may persist outside your immediate presence.
- It becomes much harder to break the victim from their trance. Only extreme trauma, such as receiving their Stamina in damage or being knocked unconscious will suffice to break them free. Similarly, actions which would cause the target to make a degeneration roll do not automatically fail. Instead the target makes the degeneration roll. Failure means they carry through with the action, though do not actually lose Humanity or the equivalent. Success breaks them of the compulsion. (This occurs at the moment of the act, not when the order is given)
Issuing commands with this power takes time, about two turns per sentence, and requires the victim already be Mesmerized for that duration. Victims carry out commands the moment they are issued, and continue to follow the order until the task it done or the time limit has expired. As with Mesmerize they emerge from the trance with no clear memory of their actions.
Entombed Command •••
You hide a command in your prey’s subconscious.
Dice Pool: Intelligence + Subterfuge + Dominate – victim’s Resolve
Action: None (activated in conjunction with other Dominate powers)
Entombed Command is activated in conjunction with other Dominate powers. Doing so hides the effects within the subject’s subconscious, dormant until certain trigger conditions are met. You may add up to [successes] triggers, events or stimuli that will cause the compulsion to emerge. For example, when the victim hears the word “turtledove”, when the clock strikes midnight, when the victim sees his brother, etc.
Powers are modified in the following ways:
- Mesmerize: The subject immediately enters a trance when the conditions are met, if the Vampire is not physically present the trance only lasts for about two to three turns.
- Iron Edict: When the trigger is met the subject immediately falls into a trance and follows the subconscious order. The trance endures until the task is complete or a scene has passed, at which point is falls dormant once again.
- The Lying Mind: The trigger functions as an on-off switch for memory alterations. Different triggers can serve different functions. One could cause false memories to emerge, while another hides them again.
Suggestions can lie dormant for up to [successes] weeks, or [successes] months if the target is in any stage of Vinculum towards you. During this time the effects of the power will re-emerge as many times as the trigger conditions are met. Adding the Conditioning feature to a power is reflexive, but delivering the conditions takes time, about two turns per sentence. As with Command this requires the target be Mesmerized while the conditions are described. If they are distracted part way through the conditioning will not take.
The Lying Mind ••••
You can make more drastic alterations to a victim’s memories.
Cost: 2 Vitae
Dice Pool: None (enhances Mesmerize)
Action: None (enhances Mesmerize)
The Lying Mind can be applied whenever you attempt to alter a Mesmerized victim’s memories. To do so, the victim must first be marked with a small amount of Vitae, included in the cost. This Vitae must either be consumed or dripped onto the forehead. Doing so allows you to make much more drastic changes to the subject’s memories, extending back well before the current scene. You may:
- Affect memories from any point in the subject’s life.
- Create new memories or add new elements to existing ones.
- Erase an existing memories or alter their context, substituting events, people, and locations.
Modifications should be able to be summed up in about three or four sentences, though multiple invocations of this power may be user to create more elaborate alterations. Inflicting these changes requires a long period of uninterrupted interaction with the Mesmerized target (at least a full minute, preferably much more), during which time you explain the alterations in detail. The rewrites should focus on the factual, not the perceived. You can dictate what the character experienced, but not what they thought or felt about it. Should the victim be exposed to very compelling evidence of the falsification (family picture, video of the event), they may roll [Resolve + Blood Potency or equivalent]. If they score more successes than the original activation roll, the alterations are undone and their original memories return. Otherwise this power lasts indefinitely.
You extend your mind fully into that of another, supplanting their will and taking complete control of their body.
Cost: 1 Vitae and 1 Willpower
Dice Pool: Intelligence + Intimidation + Dominate – victim’s Resolve
Action: Contested and Reflexive, resistance is reflexive
Requirement: The victim must be Mesmerized.
- You use the victim’s physical Skills and Attributes, but maintain your own social and mental Skills and Attributes.
- Likewise, physical Merits are maintained while mental ones are suppressed.
- While in a mortal body, you may remain awake all day for the cost of 1 Willpower, spent at dawn.
- You may maintain control for [successes] nights.
- You may not use Disciplines or rituals through the victim, nor may you access supernatural powers that they possess, but you are otherwise in total control of their actions.
- Degeneration rolls do not risk freeing the target. However, should the Vampire deliberately attempt to commit suicide in the body, the victim gets a second Resolve + Blood Potency or equivalent roll to end possession.
- Possession overrules all existing compulsions or commands the subject is experiencing, ending them immediately. Conditioned commands can still be re-triggered once the possession ends, and persistent alterations (like those from The Lying Mind) also endure.