Ask Not For Whom the Bell Tolls
Play-test material from the up-coming Blood & Smoke: Strix Chronicle supplement by Onyx Path Publishing: The Choir Invisible
You’re afraid to be alone in the dark. But some horrors can reach you even the light, whether it’s cast by a flickering candle or the streetlights below your window.
Obfuscate is the reason you can never be sure you’re alone.
Face in the Crowd •
Dice Pool: Wits + Stealth + Obfuscate
The vampire turns her Predatory Aura inward, fading from the attention of those around her.
- Everyone around the vampire ignores her completely, so long as she is not grossly out of place (in a room where someone doesn’t expect anyone else to be), or very obvious (pulling a gun or yelling). The same goes for any objects or clothing he’s carrying on his person.
- It becomes very difficult to remember what she looks like. Physical traits, even deformities, are overlooked. This means that his personal appearance has no impact on whether people will think he’s out of place.
- Should something call attention to the vampire, she is not immediately revealed, instead those who might notice roll Wits + Composure, if they score more successes than the vampire did on his activation roll the notice him. Otherwise they remain ignorant to his presence. [bonuses may be added depending on how obvious the vampire is]
- Violent action automatically reveals the vampire, though only to those affected by said violence.
- The vampire’s Predatory Aura seems to disappear. Other vampires cannot sense it.
Touch of Shadow ••
Cost: 1 Vitae
Dice Pool: Wits + Larceny + Obfuscate
The vampire touches an object and it vanishes from sight and mind.
- With a touch the vampire passes the properties of Touch of Shadow onto an object or animal of Size no greater than [Successes + Obfuscate]. A Brawl attack may be necessary to affect unwilling subjects.
- Occluded objects are not transparent or ethereal, merely impossible to notice. This makes it possible for a vampire to hide behind a hidden object (such as an occluded door) and remain unnoticed. What’s more, the unconscious mind will make an effort to steer itself around hidden obstacles. For example, a person wouldn’t be likely to bump into an occluded desk, even if it was in the middle of the room.
- Someone who is forced to interact with the object will immediately recognize its existence. All others must roll Wits + Composure, comparing their successes the vampire’s of Touch of Shadow roll.
- Those hidden by Touch of Shadow may notice other people and objects Obfuscated by the vampire without a roll.
Cloak of Night •••
Cost: 1 Vitae
Dice Pool: None, enhances Face in the Crowd
By spending an extra point of Vitae while activating Face in the Crowd or Touch of Shadow, the vampire may make the subject entirely vanish from the perceptions of viewers.
- The subject becomes completely imperceptible to others, unable to be seen or heard. Personal possessions (i.e. objects currently carried by the person) are masked as well.
- This Obfuscation, though great, does not extend to the incidental signs of the vampire’s action. Floorboards still creak, and smoke still moves as she passes through it. One who is aware of her presence can track her by the incidental signs of her passage.
- Taking violent action will reveal them only to the subject of said violence. It is then up to that person to bring enough attention to the vampire under the rules specified for Face in the Crowd.
The Familiar Stranger ••••
Cost: 2 Vitae
Dice Pool: None, Enhances Face in the Crowd or Touch of Shadow
Instead of removing himself from the attention of others, the vampire adjusts their perception of her.
- When using Face in the Crowd or Touch of Shadow the vampire may spend two Vitae and specify a particular image she wants to project. This can be something subjective, like “frail old man”, in which case each onlooker will view him as their own perception of how a “frail old man” might appear. Or is can be definite, like “Tom’s friend Jason”, in which case everyone would perceive her as that particular person. Disguising herself as an individual person presents the vampire with the appearance and voice each member of her “audience” expects.
- When used on objects (via Touch of Shadow) the vampire can redefine how people see the object. The “illusion” this created must be roughly the same size as the object, but is otherwise totally convincing and endures most mundane inspection (though a “gun” that won’t fire, or a “knife” that cannot be drawn will seem strange).
- While it is possible for the conditions applied to be subjective, The Familiar Stranger cannot influence the thoughts or emotions of those affected. So a condition like “The woman Tom will now fall deeply in love with” or “A trustworthy man who should be told secrets” will simply fail outright.
Cost: [Variable] Vitae and 1 Willpower
Dice Pool: None
Duration: [Blood Potency] Weeks
The vampire hides an entire building or piece of landscape, and manipulates the perceptions of those therein.
- In order to Obfuscate an entire building or location the vampire must spend vitae based on the location’s size [Apartment or small house – 3, Home or alleyway – 6, Mansion or city block – 9, Skyscraper – 12]. The vitae itself must be physically spread about the local, marking key gateways and landmarks. Vitae spent this way is subsumed into the location and becomes invisible to Kindred Senses. She must then slumber undisturbed on location for one full day, sunrise to sunset. This process can be spread over several nights, but requires that the vampire sleep in the location every single day until the Obfuscation is complete.
- Once established, Oubliette permits the vampire to use Touch of Shadow, Cloak of Night and the Familiar Stranger, at any distance, on anything within the premises of the haven.
- She may affect multiple different people, objects, or areas simultaneously with a single activation of a power. For example, making all doors invisible, or lending Face in the Crowd to ghoul confederates within the premises. Using a power this way requires only one roll, with no increase in Vitae cost.
- She may affect individual aspects separately (this door is invisible, those rifles look like canes), or all at once (this house appears to be a stately manor, and the Nosferatu master a venerable old gentleman). In the latter case, this requires only one use of Touch of Shadow, despite affecting so many different targets.
- As with other Obfuscate functions, interaction with elements of an Oubliette may reveal their true nature, but only to the one doing the interacting. Storytellers are reminded, however, that the inclusive nature of Oubliette makes it significantly harder to notice minor tweaks and changes.
Because these powers are affected by the number of successes rolled, players may want to roll and re-roll until they get the best possible result. We recommend that they refrain from that. Instead, only re-activate an Obfuscate power when the situation has changed substantially.
This works both ways. Storytellers shouldn’t demand an Obfuscate roll for every step the vampire takes. Trust us, it’s more fun this way.