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  • #31
    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

    That's.... really not how brain chemistry works. Very few neurotransmitters are antagonistic (that is, only one can bind to a site at a time, so the one most present is the signal sent), esp. regarding emotional states. If a Presence is making you "happy" you can't send in "sad" chemicals until you're "balanced." You're just going to make yourself happy-sad... which is generally highly distressing, confusing, and fraught with traumatic potential.
    I'm no neuroscientist. But there are two possible ways that Presence could work. By playing with bran chemisry or not. If it does play with brain chemistry, it's pretty easy for the mage to revert the effect by increasing/decreasing hormones/substances levels. If it does not play with chemistry and is just a supernatural power, it still can be somwhat countered by regular increasing/decreasing of brain chemistry.
    Even that there is no antagonistic neurotransmitters, my last sentence was "Or at least another substance that would superimpose the feeling".

    So, imagine the vampire wants a group of people to agree with him that they should do something he wants. He activates Presence and gives a long and nice speech. People are already full of joy and good feelings towards the vampire, they sudenly find themselves feeling really good while paying attention to the vampire and that feeling makes them want to help the vampire. THe mage got his trigger activated, he now knows some supernatural shit is going on and his brain releases a combination of substances, or maybe don't release a specific substance at all, thus increasing or decreasing their levels in a way that he just doesn't feels aboslutely nothing for the moment. That was Engiseer-42 idea. We could even be more radical and tweak the chemistry to make the mage feel numb, momentarily depressed or grumpy. He will think, what the fuck is this guy talking about? I hate that idea.
    Either way would work, though I like Engiseer-42 idea better, since it's not so hardcore and it's enough to work.

    Presence leaves it pretty clear that it's an emotion discipline and the vampire get people to agree and care for him based on that good feeling people get when near him. Doesn't matter if it's supernatural or natural, you can superimpose that feeling with chemistry.


    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    The issue then goes back to what the triggered hung effect actually does, since you wanted to target the one trying to mess with your PC's brain over self-buffing to resist the supernatural mind-whammy.
    Yes, and you don't need to identify him as a vampire for the trigger to activate nor to target him. Whoever is making the power in your brain will be targeted.


    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
    That's specifically in the part about resolving Sphere magic, and should be read as such, not a general statement to all supernatural powers. Especially with the Nightfolk and countermagic sidebar right there two pages later to discuss how to approach that.
    The sidebar talks about counter magick, some already active power, not resisiting one. Although, I grant you that the quote I posted belongs to the about results in Sphere magick, so I guess it does not involve nightfolk powers. So, Auspex Telepathy mind reading is probably the hardest to resist.
    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    ​I got that, but as Heavy Arms said it isn't so simple, and the fact that it is a supernatural and impossibly extreme emotion muddies matters further.

    That's why I said I, as an ST wouldn't let it work, but could make a case for general dampening. But ultimately this is well in the territory of ST's call, so I step down from saying if it is likely or not to work on your case, or even if any particular answer makes more sense for the game. Going how IRL it works, though, Heavy Arms is right, it straight up wouldn't work, instead it would mess your brain royally.
    As I answered above to HeavyArms, even if it's a supernatural power, playing with you chemistry should work and superimpose the effect. It might be a pretty mess in the mage's brain, but a very short one. Presence lasts for a scene, so the mage will be numb for a scene at max.
    IRL we also don't have, with our drugs, the control of brain substances that a Life mage would, and yet we have pretty impressive results.



    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    The thing is the fact that the power is affecting the vampire's opinions, not your thought patterns. It is tricky, but basically it won't make, for example, you believe everything the vampire says is true, or follow through any order whatsoever. But lets say the Awe user says a given course of action is a good idea:

    If you know for a fact that it isn't, like attacking your allies, it will simply fail, because it can't change what you know for a fact. If it is evidently dangerous for you or your interests it fails, because it can't change what your interests and goals are. You can interpret it as giving automatic successes against you in every social roll the vampire makes. Extremely powerful, indeed, but anything that wouldn't merit a social roll to begin with is out of question, and the vampire has no power to decide what a success entails, this is still under your own power. If they convince you that your allies are likely to betray you, it is still on you to decide what to make with this conclusion.

    And remember that anything too weird may prompt you to decide to question the situation. You don't need to know necessarily it is a supernatural power, although even not blocking the power your effect will warn you that you're being so affected. Then it is just a WP point and a roll, and I would personally give you the benefit of making at Dif 6 if you rolled at least 3 successes in your effect.
    Sometimes you don't know for a fact that something is bad right away. And while a normal person would ponder, an affected one would probably agree, since there is no imediate evidence. Also, couldn't the vampire roll manipulation or something to convince the affected mage to do the things you exmeplified? I know nothing that would directly harm the mage himself could be convinced, but your examples aren't like that.

    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    Yes, but Presence doesn't, either. While Dominate requires an order to be given, Presence instantly has your emotions under your sway. So it is basically everything going instant and the trigger doesn't have enough of an advantage to trump the Discipline. For other powers it would definitely work, as they do require some other action from the vampire's part.

    Not that it wouldn't have any effect. Again, you would be under Awe, Majesty or whatever of an incapacitated vampire. The scene will dictate what that entails.
    I'd say a Time 4 trigger would fire instantly in a fraction of miliseconds or less. It's a Time effect afterall. Only other Time effects could happen faster.

    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    You can blotch your eyes with Forces alone, and use sunglasses not for the bonus, but to conceal it from witnesses wen it happens. A small effect to block the light completely should give you the same bonus of having your eyes ripped-off.

    Another options would be to straight-up use Life to freaking move your eyes from their usual spot, as the boxed text mentions that Vicissitude can make things trickier. But that is obviously a little harder to conceal and not harm your eyes.

    I mean, putting then inside a clothed area would be easy to conceal, but not exactly healthy for your eyes.
    That would be an extremelly vulgar and visually bad. Maybe it's better to pla with sound and the commans. it's more low profile.

    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    Even if it does, the question of knowing what's happening is trickier here. Even with your effect there were be no alarm for Auspex because it doesn't affect the brain itself in any biological way. Here I'd say that your Prime effect would need Correspondence to be able to identify the probe, due to lack of anything in the brain itself alerting to the effect. Same goes for Mind Magic that reads your mind or emotions.
    Even if Auspex doesn't directly mess with thr brain chemistry, Prime could scan a supernatural power in motion. Correspondence is only needed when you want to expand beyond your sensorial range. Prime should be enough.

    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    Agreed. Muting or scrambling the commands would work. I'd prefer to record the words instead of setting a delay just to be sure that the vampire won't be pressing the power over you anymore when you decide to hear/read it. A mere delay would be a risk, if certainly a lesser one.
    The issue with recording and listening to it later is that you'd miss what happens in the moment and would not be able to react. Delaying it for a couple of seconds might make Dominate to not work. The command needs atention from the target and eye contact all the time it is given. If you listen as soon as the vampire stops talking should be enough.

    Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
    You are, indeed.

    The problem is that you're doing it with Life, so you're not just messing with the signal you give off, but with your actual thoughts. I'd say you can do that in a pinch, but you would have to define a duration for the effect and be happy with an animal mind for that time. It isn't the best predefined defense you could have, but is an idea for when you're really in a situation where you don't want to rely solely on your WP to protect some secret.
    Indeed it is not the best defense. But might be enough to stop Auspex and at least require more successes from the Mind mage Arete roll, which is diff. 10. Making it require several successes (if done in a ritual you could make it require about 5-10 successes) would make what is already extremelly unlikely (Mind mage beat the target mage resisted roll) to be mathematically impossible.

    About the effect, you don't have to directly affect your thoughts or how they are made. You could mess with the frequency and amplitude of the brain waves, making them out of the alpha,beta,gamma, etc. thing. It's not necessarily an animal mind, you think like a human, but the trails left are changed (with Life or Forces, since Forces can mess with electricity, or even better: both) in a way that is not recognized by the intruder. Hell, it could be even a pattern that doesn't exist in any kind of natural mind.

    I'm coming to the conclusion that the best to do is to combine several effect to cover all those powers in a discrete way. And effect that delays the voice, numb the brain chemistry to remove emotions and change brain waves patterns should cover all Dominate, Presence, Auspex and Mind in a personal and discrete way, without much drawbacks.
    Last edited by Lord Revan; 01-10-2022, 12:01 PM.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
      But there are two possible ways that Presence could work.

      It doesn't really matter. Directly manipulating brain chemistry is a horrible solution because being off by exceptionally small amounts (of rather small amounts in the first place) will leave you an emotional wreck and that much easier to supernaturally manipulate. Emotions are complex neural interactions, unique to the current instance of the biochemical state of the individual brain in question. If Presence flooded your brain with happy chemicals, and you take out too much dopamine and too little oxytocin, you're going to make Presence's effects stronger, not weaker, despite the lower level of chemicals in your brain. This is not the approach for a reflexive defense because it's something even the most skilled experts in neuroscience would have to stop and think about before even making an expert assessment using the supernatural knowledge granted by Sphere magic on what levels to manipulate and how much.

      Even that there is no antagonistic neurotransmitters, my last sentence was "Or at least another substance that would superimpose the feeling".
      And I'm saying that's not how the brain works. You're getting into at least Matter territory here if you want something that can get close to doing this by using artificially produced chemicals custom designed for specific effects on the brain rather than manipulating what's already there.

      ...thus increasing or decreasing their levels in a way that he just doesn't feels aboslutely nothing for the moment.
      This is a very dangerous idea. Human brains do not function if you do this. It's an actual disorder. If you robe yourself of the ability to have feelings, you robe yourself of the ability to make decisions at all. The human brain is not governed by rational thought or logic. You would lose all ability to decide anything that isn't running on autopilot in your hind brain, and you become exceptionally easy to manipulate because your brain will take any input on what the hell to do from whatever source it can find.

      This is why people just buy Mind 1. As I said, Life is an extremely blunt tool for messing with your head like this.

      To give you something from the books? There's actually a rote in Revised that has this effect (though it uses Mind) to deaden emotions. While it has benefits, it also causes the caster to lose access to the Willpower trait while it's active. WP rolls fail, and they can't spend WP on anything. And it's using an entirely non-scientific style that isn't even getting into brain chemistry, it just acknowledges that dead emotions means a lack of will.

      You keep talking about "superimposing" emotional states. That's not how emotions work. That's why I brought up antagonistic transmitters. Your brain is designed to try to handle multiple inputs at the same time. Overloading it, or shutting it down, both result is less cognitive ability, and thus less ability to see through manipulations. Screwing your mind so that Presence doesn't work, but making it so a child - let alone a vampire with massive dice pools for Presence - could talk you into doing whatever they want you to do with just mundane words is one of the most pointless efforts to try. It's like trying to win in combat by taking away someone's magical sword, but giving them a mundane tank instead.

      Yes, and you don't need to identify him as a vampire for the trigger to activate nor to target him. Whoever is making the power in your brain will be targeted.
      That doesn't change things like needing Correspondence (or Spirit, since we skipped people doing shit at you from the Umbra, and we might be talking vampires, but vampires can send ghosts to mess with your head), or the target becomes invalid.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
        It doesn't really matter. Directly manipulating brain chemistry is a horrible solution because being off by exceptionally small amounts (of rather small amounts in the first place) will leave you an emotional wreck and that much easier to supernaturally manipulate. Emotions are complex neural interactions, unique to the current instance of the biochemical state of the individual brain in question. If Presence flooded your brain with happy chemicals, and you take out too much dopamine and too little oxytocin, you're going to make Presence's effects stronger, not weaker, despite the lower level of chemicals in your brain. This is not the approach for a reflexive defense because it's something even the most skilled experts in neuroscience would have to stop and think about before even making an expert assessment using the supernatural knowledge granted by Sphere magic on what levels to manipulate and how much.
        In short, if you try to do this using Life, it's going to be a much more challenging Feat to pull off. What Mind can do with two successes (a Standard Feat) will arguably count as an Impressive Feat (four successes) if you attempt to do it using Life instead.

        Which, in practice, kills it as a reflective defense: few mages can reliably generate four successes on a reflexive action.


        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
        And I'm saying that's not how the brain works. You're getting into at least Matter territory here if you want something that can get close to doing this by using artificially produced chemicals custom designed for specific effects on the brain rather than manipulating what's already there.
        Where are you drawing the line between Instrument and Effect? To me, the Effect is the manipulation of brain chemistry; the Instruments would include (but not exclusively) the neurotransmitters.

        Note: I'm not disagreeing with you; I fully agree that you're far better off investing a dot into Mind if you're looking to defend against mind-altering supernatural powers, and that “defenses” that involves hobbling your ability to experience emotions are “cures” that are worse than the disease.


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        • #34
          I'm drawing the line between using Life to do its natural processes but in the way you control, and having Life do something your body can't do on its own (which I admit could also just be higher level Life magic where you give yourself biochemical factory glands or something to make chemicals that aren't naturally occurring). Life 3 isn't enough to make your body produce synthetic mind altering substances.

          I don't see how the Instrument/Effect line comes into play here. If you're replicating what living things can do, you can do it with Life (though perhaps not at Life 3 in a human body), if you're replicating what synthetic drugs do, you do it with Matter (Instruments could matter here in terms of delivery). There's plenty of overlap, but places where one shines and the other doesn't.

          If you want to give someone hallucinations with Life, that's fair, those happen via natural processes, but you have to contend with how those happen naturally. If you want to induce an LSD trip specifically, you need Matter because LSD isn't something you body makes (or any living organism just makes).

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post


            It doesn't really matter. Directly manipulating brain chemistry is a horrible solution because being off by exceptionally small amounts (of rather small amounts in the first place) will leave you an emotional wreck and that much easier to supernaturally manipulate. Emotions are complex neural interactions, unique to the current instance of the biochemical state of the individual brain in question. If Presence flooded your brain with happy chemicals, and you take out too much dopamine and too little oxytocin, you're going to make Presence's effects stronger, not weaker, despite the lower level of chemicals in your brain. This is not the approach for a reflexive defense because it's something even the most skilled experts in neuroscience would have to stop and think about before even making an expert assessment using the supernatural knowledge granted by Sphere magic on what levels to manipulate and how much.
            Are you really arguing that to someone who can transform into a fucking orangutan? Or the entire body into fire? Really? Are you worried that the mage would change too much of a hormone? Dude, that's child play for a Life mage. Life can do things a LOT more drastic than that. You can change your arma into octopuses tentacles, by your logic, how would his neural system works? And his circulatory system? We don't bother with details like that. It's just magick.

            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
            And I'm saying that's not how the brain works. You're getting into at least Matter territory here if you want something that can get close to doing this by using artificially produced chemicals custom designed for specific effects on the brain rather than manipulating what's already there.
            I'm sorry, but that's not true. Tweaking chemistry of the body is Life only. If you want to do it via drugs, that means your instrument is drugs, not that you need Matter. Any change inside the body is the realm of Life. Now, if you want to make a pill that does that, maybe you do need Matter (or again, it's just the instrument).
            This answers your second post (I'm too lazy to make another quote)

            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
            This is a very dangerous idea. Human brains do not function if you do this. It's an actual disorder. If you robe yourself of the ability to have feelings, you robe yourself of the ability to make decisions at all. The human brain is not governed by rational thought or logic. You would lose all ability to decide anything that isn't running on autopilot in your hind brain, and you become exceptionally easy to manipulate because your brain will take any input on what the hell to do from whatever source it can find.

            This is why people just buy Mind 1. As I said, Life is an extremely blunt tool for messing with your head like this.

            To give you something from the books? There's actually a rote in Revised that has this effect (though it uses Mind) to deaden emotions. While it has benefits, it also causes the caster to lose access to the Willpower trait while it's active. WP rolls fail, and they can't spend WP on anything. And it's using an entirely non-scientific style that isn't even getting into brain chemistry, it just acknowledges that dead emotions means a lack of will.

            You keep talking about "superimposing" emotional states. That's not how emotions work. That's why I brought up antagonistic transmitters. Your brain is designed to try to handle multiple inputs at the same time. Overloading it, or shutting it down, both result is less cognitive ability, and thus less ability to see through manipulations. Screwing your mind so that Presence doesn't work, but making it so a child - let alone a vampire with massive dice pools for Presence - could talk you into doing whatever they want you to do with just mundane words is one of the most pointless efforts to try. It's like trying to win in combat by taking away someone's magical sword, but giving them a mundane tank instead.
            Tell that to Mr. Spock. I think you are being too realist for a Mage game, where people is able to do the weirdest shit you can think of. I would agree that maybe the mage would need dots in medicine and make a roll to make sure everything works as intended.
            This is a fantasy game, you don't have to be too technical here. The mage could just adjust his chemistry to get upset and grumpy. Like if you had the worst day and won't take shit from anybody. We all had days like that, where you just dismiss someone's idea because we're stressed/tired. In a state like that, that smiling, two-faced bloodsucker vampire ideas would get a sounding "no".

            As for the revised rote, earlier editions has a fair amount of badly described effects, sometimes with unecessary drawbacks or spheres ratings. I woul take them with a grain of salt.


            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
            That doesn't change things like needing Correspondence (or Spirit, since we skipped people doing shit at you from the Umbra, and we might be talking vampires, but vampires can send ghosts to mess with your head), or the target becomes invalid.
            Ok, if someone is doing shit from a great distance (the attacker would need Correspondence besides Mind) or from the Umbra I admit that I'm screwed. But not so much, since a magr with Correspondence and Mind would still have to make an almost impossible roll against WP 10 just to read mind. And my mage could shrug off the effect with a WP roll (10 dice diff. 6). So, I'm not worried with that.
            Vampires has very, very few way to go to umbra. And even fewer to use Auspex from there (I don't even know if it's possible). But I grant that I'd have no defense against such a powerful kindred. As said earlier in this thread, if a very powerful elder wants to mess with someone, he will. I will not go so far to try to be immune to elders.

            Dataweaver I agree. What a simple Mind 1 effect with a couple of successes could do would require Life 3 and more successes. A ritual would be needed. And it would not be done in a reflexive action, but with a Time trigger.
            Last edited by Lord Revan; 01-10-2022, 07:29 AM.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
              Are you really arguing that to someone who can transform into a fucking orangutan?
              Your character with Life 3 can't do that.

              You can do that at Life 4, but even then, the game makes it clear that it takes time for a mage to adjust to a new form even at this level of magic.

              If you want to use Time to hang a self-transformation effect, and not want to still end up with penalties for a bunch of turns from suddenly being in a radically different body, you need Life 5 (or a specific Merit).

              Or, in other words, I'm arguing this because even with the extremes of what magic can do, the game says that the Life Sphere struggles with this issue.

              Or the entire body into fire?
              You most certainly cannot do this with just Life.

              Dude, that's child play for a Life mage.
              What in the book says that? When the books talk about Life mages doing this, they also stress that this is a blunt instrument compared to what Mind does.

              Life can do things a LOT more drastic than that.
              Drastic isn't convincing when talking about something delicate. Being able to rip someone's arm off is more drastic than ripping someone's finger off. But that has nothing to do with the delicacy need to detach a finger that preserves enough nervous and circulatory connections that you can reattach it.

              Do I need to give a giant list of examples of when "big and drastic," is easier than "small and detailed?"

              We don't bother with details like that. It's just magick.
              Then why does magic have three different levels of self-transformation that include the difficulty of controlling strange body parts with those rankings?

              I'm sorry, but that's not true.
              Please provide any citation that my LSD example is not true: that Life alone could induce a hallucination, but not directly replicate the effects of LSD without Matter. Because chemicals that are not part of a living pattern can't be manipulated with Life. If you want to create something in the body that's not a living pattern, you need to use Life + the appropriate Sphere (Matter in the case of drugs).

              Tell that to Mr. Spock.
              Vulcan's are a fictional species from a science fiction show that was created by someone that repeatedly demonstrated a lack of understand of biology, psychology, or sociology. There's a reason Star Trek was better a predicting/inspiring engineering.

              Even if Vulcan brains can somehow function without emotions (they can't, as later Trek stuff admits, and the whole idea that they need to repress their emotions as much as possible or they couldn't exist as a civilization is also shown to be wrong), that means nothing to human brains, in human bodies, in a setting where there aren't Vulcans.

              I think you are being too realist for a Mage game,...
              You're the one talking about directly manipulating brain chemistry instead of using a Mystic Focus that doesn't even care about such things. I'm talking about it from the perspective of someone that views things in the terms of brain chemistry. If you want to talk about it in term of some other magical perspective, pick one.

              This is a fantasy game, you don't have to be too technical here.
              Sure. That's what the Mind Sphere is for.

              If you want to try to use technical things to do emotional manipulations without Mind? Well then yes, you need to address the technical stuff. A mage that wants to manipulate emotions with Forces (not actually impossible even if very early in the science thereof), you can't just swap Forces for Mind, you need to understand how using differing energy fields to manipulate the energy in a neural system functions.

              The mage could just adjust his chemistry to get upset and grumpy.
              Sounds like an instrument for a Mind effect then.

              Vampires has very, very few way to go to umbra.
              Necromancy and the Dark Umbra.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

                Your character with Life 3 can't do that.

                You can do that at Life 4, but even then, the game makes it clear that it takes time for a mage to adjust to a new form even at this level of magic.

                If you want to use Time to hang a self-transformation effect, and not want to still end up with penalties for a bunch of turns from suddenly being in a radically different body, you need Life 5 (or a specific Merit).

                Or, in other words, I'm arguing this because even with the extremes of what magic can do, the game says that the Life Sphere struggles with this issue.


                You most certainly cannot do this with just Life.
                You completely missed my point. I’m arguing that you are focusing too much in technicalities that normally aren’t addressed in the majority of effects. Yes, you need Life 3+Forces 3 to transform your body into f**ng fire!! My point is that you’re worried that someone who can transform his entire body into gravity could screw his brain by playing a little with hormones.
                You are applying real life medicine limitations for someone who isn’t limited by that at all. He can transform his entire brain into light. What would happen then? What about the dopamine, adrenaline, etc.

                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                What in the book says that? When the books talk about Life mages doing this, they also stress that this is a blunt instrument compared to what Mind does.
                M20 and Hdydt says that you can play with your (Life 3) body chemistry and of others (Life 4). Indeed, it’s more blunt than using Mind, hence you need more sphere dots (Mind normally requires 1 dot, depending on the effect) and probably more successes, for a more blunt result. Doesn’t mean it’s inefficient or that it doesn’t work.
                My statement that it’s child play comes from the comparison with other effects that are way more weird, hard, impossible than playing with hormones. Hell, IRL we play with hormones already, imagine if you were able to understand, measure and know exactly how your brain chemistry works! If you gave the knowledge of Life 1 to some real life doctor specialist he probably could pull this effect using only the right amount of drugs. Now imagine someone who can do that with magick! And not only that but major, grotesque changes in the body, like getting wings and gills.


                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                Drastic isn't convincing when talking about something delicate. Being able to rip someone's arm off is more drastic than ripping someone's finger off. But that has nothing to do with the delicacy need to detach a finger that preserves enough nervous and circulatory connections that you can reattach it.
                Do I need to give a giant list of examples of when "big and drastic," is easier than "small and detailed?"
                Are you saying that putting gills isn’t delicated? You’re messing with your entire respiratory system. The one that kills you in minutes if you can’t breath.
                Putting functional wings, with an entire neural system, skeleton structure, circulatory system, etc.
                Almost all Life effects are very drastic AND very delicate, for living beings are a very, very complex thing.

                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                Then why does magic have three different levels of self-transformation that include the difficulty of controlling strange body parts with those rankings?
                I’m not sure if I know what you’re talking about. Could you be more specific please?


                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                Please provide any citation that my LSD example is not true: that Life alone could induce a hallucination, but not directly replicate the effects of LSD without Matter. Because chemicals that are not part of a living pattern can't be manipulated with Life. If you want to create something in the body that's not a living pattern, you need to use Life + the appropriate Sphere (Matter in the case of drugs).
                Any drug works by affecting the body. I understand your point that if the body is incapable to produce some substance that is present in the drug, then Life shouldn’t be able to create that substance as well, Matter should.
                But Life can affect the body practically any way you want. So, for example, if your drug is a substance that the body doesn’t produce and makes one sleep, by acting on some specific part of the body/brain, while Life would’t be able to create the substance, it can produce the same effect. Like, drug X makes you sleep imediatelly by releasing Y substance that makes Z body part react and shut down. You just use Life to shut down Z part of body usimg whatever instrument your mage uses.That’s it. You don’t have to be a PhD to play the game.
                If you agree that Life could induce allucinations like LSD, I really don’t get your point..


                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                Vulcan's are a fictional species from a science fiction show that was created by someone that repeatedly demonstrated a lack of understand of biology, psychology, or sociology. There's a reason Star Trek was better a predicting/inspiring engineering.

                Even if Vulcan brains can somehow function without emotions (they can't, as later Trek stuff admits, and the whole idea that they need to repress their emotions as much as possible or they couldn't exist as a civilization is also shown to be wrong), that means nothing to human brains, in human bodies, in a setting where there aren't Vulcans.
                We have examples of people that doesn’t experience emotions in a normal way: depressives. A depressive person is not 100% deprived of emotions, but they don’t feel like a regular state person. Yet, they are not necessarily easier to manipulate, probably the contrary.
                Also, the mage will be on this effect of no emotion for sure less than a day. That’s not enough time to make him want to kill himself, etc.
                On top of that, you don’t need to completely supress emotions. That’s just a more reliable way to resist Presence. You could, as I said in my previous post, just tweak his hormones to feel grumpy, stressed, surly, like that old dude from UP movie.

                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                You're the one talking about directly manipulating brain chemistry instead of using a Mystic Focus that doesn't even care about such things. I'm talking about it from the perspective of someone that views things in the terms of brain chemistry. If you want to talk about it in term of some other magical perspective, pick one.
                You are confusing two aspects of the game: first is what and how the mage explain his effect inside his mind. This can be as complex as you want, but definitely not requiring real life explanations.
                The second is what Spheres can do and how. This is independent of paradigm and in-game explanations. Here is where we go on a very lighter explanation.
                Just to illustrate, the books say that you can increase your mental attributes with a few words explanation like “increase brain matter” for Int and “altering sensory organs” for perception.
                Will you ask how can you increase brain matter without changing your skull? Will you have a big alien-like head? The game has to ignore tose real life details or it will be impossible to play.
                Note that those are not related to paradigm. Those are the effects per se.

                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                Sure. That's what the Mind Sphere is for.

                If you want to try to use technical things to do emotional manipulations without Mind? Well then yes, you need to address the technical stuff. A mage that wants to manipulate emotions with Forces (not actually impossible even if very early in the science thereof), you can't just swap Forces for Mind, you need to understand how using differing energy fields to manipulate the energy in a neural system functions.
                Sure. As technical as “increase brain matter” or “boosting pheromone production so that he ‘smells right’”. The books don’t go so far as tell what pheromone you’re boosting, the drawbacks of a human having that boosted, etc. In real life everything you do to your body has a collateral effect. Those are ignored for the game.
                Engiseer-42 already gave the technicalities and they can be resumed in a sentence just like in the books.


                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                Sounds like an instrument for a Mind effect then.
                What? I didn’t even said any instrument. It can indeed be a Mind effect. A Mind 1 effect, since this is the territory of the Sphere it is that cheap. Or you could just use Life 3 and more successes, since Life does overlap Mind in several effects, but always needing a bigger rank.
                Or, as you said, a Forces effect, but I’d say this would require way more successes and definitely a medicine roll. Maybe even need Life as well, since it’s affecting the inside of the body, and therefore meaningless to use Forces.

                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                Necromancy and the Dark Umbra.
                Yes, very few ways. I don’t remember what he can do from the Shadowlands, but if it is possible and he have Auspex 4 and Necromancy 4 or 5, then he deserves to read the mage’s mind. XD

                Now, out of curiosity, how would a Mind 1 shield interact with Dominate, Presence and Auspex?
                Mind says that every success in Arete remove one success from the invader Arete roll. Disciplines normally roll Att+Skill which are way higher than Arete. Would Mind just stop disciplines or be a resisted roll? What about Majesty, that doesn’t require a roll?

                Comment


                • #38
                  OK, lets just start with citing the books, since it seems like it's been a while since the actual text was referenced rather than alluded to.

                  On shapeshifting and it messing with your head:

                  M20, page 517:

                  Under Life 3 - "Working with his own Pattern, that mage can work substantial alterations on himself, growing gills, claws, armor and so forth. He remains essentially human, but begins to master the definition of “human.”"

                  Under Life 4 - "Working with his own Pattern, that mage can transform himself into other life-forms of similar size and mass; he could become a Great Dane, for example, but not a hummingbird. Special abilities of that form (flight, water breathing, and the like) do not carry over, however, unless he builds them into that new form with additional Life Effects, and the new body might require an adjustment period before the mind and reflexes reflect the new form."

                  Under Life 5 - " Now the Master of Life may adopt any form he wishes to achieve and may transform other complex organisms the same way."

                  Book of Secrets, page 72, under Nature Shapeshifter:

                  "Such changes still demand the usual Life Sphere Ranks and Effects, but your difficulty for such rolls is reduced by -2 (the usual limits apply), and you don’t need to worry about losing yourself in the new form, as described in How Do You DO That?, p. 20."

                  How Do You DO That, page 20:

                  Under Acclimation to the New Form - "Under most circumstances, a transformed creature needs to take time and get used to its new body. The more radical the change, the longer that transition period becomes. A man transformed into an ape will adept much more quickly than that same man transformed into a horse, seal or squirrel.
                  ...
                  Generally, a character in a brand-new form raises her difficulties by +1 (a vaguely similar form) to +3 (a radically different form). The penalties fade as she adjusts to that new body, a process that can range from a few hours to a few days, depending on the differences between the original form and the new one."

                  Under Losing One's Self/"Purchasing" a New Self - "The imperfect shapechanging of Life 4 also bears the riskof sublimation: a person can soon forget who he really is. This holds true for people who get changed into radically different human bodies too; the man changed into a woman might forget his original sex and self, while a clone imprinted to replace a person may soon believe she’s the real deal.
                  ...
                  The shapeshifting mastery of Life 5 allows a mage to retain her original identity in any form, for any length of time."

                  On what adjusting brain chemistry can do:

                  How Do You dO That, pages 120-121:

                  Under Tweaking Chemistry - "In game terms, both techniques use Life as a coincidental modifier for mundane die-rolls. As detailed under Magick Enhancing Abilities, this allows the player to adjust the difficulty of a related die-roll by -1 to -3."

                  Under Paradigms and Science - "One important note: Physical-chemistry adjustments MUST fit the paradigm of the mage who’s attempting to use them.
                  ...

                  There’s also a big difference between knowing that you can adjust your pheromones and knowing how to do so in the desired manner.
                  ...
                  A mage could try to perform this feat without the proper knowledge, but he might not get results he had hoped for…"

                  -------------------------------------

                  So, Lord Revan, I think it is now full on you to back your posts up with more than flinging responses around. In light of all of the above? I don't see, at all, how I'm the one out of line with the game here. You are vastly overstating what the books say Life can accomplish, and directly ignoring the books making the same points about the concerns for consequences of a lack of practical (or "technical") knowledge of what's being attempted.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    I don't know what point you tried to make by quoting the books. But let's see.

                    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                    OK, lets just start with citing the books, since it seems like it's been a while since the actual text was referenced rather than alluded to.

                    On shapeshifting and it messing with your head:

                    (...)
                    Ok, Life lvl 3 let you make drastic changes in your body, but doesn't let you transform completely. Lvl 4 let you transform into a completely different species of similar size and mass. You have to get used to the new form. Lvl 5 has no limitations. Ok, that's it.

                    I don't see anything here that goes against my point. If you refering to the "get used" thing, it only applies to complete changes, with lvl 4+. You are turning yourself into a F***ING DOG!!!. That's nowhere near altering your hormones, or any change that's possible with Life 3 (wings, claws, etc.)

                    My point stands, lvl 3 doesn't talk about getting used to anything. And this is the lvl that let's you grow GILLS. Please tell me, do you think that playing with brain chemistry is more delicate or drastic than changing your entire respiratory system and breathing like a fish??

                    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                    Book of Secrets, page 72, under Nature Shapeshifter:
                    (...)
                    Again, no point made here. Just a merit that let's you ignore the issues presented in HDYDT. Let's see what it says.

                    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                    Under Acclimation to the New Form -
                    (...)
                    Same as your first quote. For once, the author is being consistent :P . Nowhere was said that altering parts of your body requires aclimatation. All the examples are of Life 4+ transformations of the entire body and always into a completely different form. The book example is a godamn APE. Another completely different specie. Or changing from man into woman, though the aclimatation would be much easier, since it's the same species.
                    No point made here either.

                    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                    On what adjusting brain chemistry can do:

                    How Do You dO That, pages 120-121:

                    Under Tweaking Chemistry - "In game terms, both techniques use Life as a coincidental modifier for mundane die-rolls. As detailed under Magick Enhancing Abilities, this allows the player to adjust the difficulty of a related die-roll by -1 to -3."


                    It is getting harder to answer without you making a point about those quotes.

                    This same quote says:

                    Tiny adjustments of physical chemistry can trigger emotional
                    reactions, both from the chemical triggers and from the
                    conscious reactions to those triggers. (“Hey, I feel scared. WHY do
                    I feel scared? There must be something scary around here that I haven’t
                    noticed yet…”) Although such adjustments can’t actually control
                    a person’s mind the way that Mind-Sphere magick can do, it’s
                    still a form of influence that a Life-trained mages can perform.

                    A related form of Life magick lets the mage control his
                    own physical chemistry in ways that might influence other
                    organisms: boosting pheromone production so that he “smells
                    right,” augmenting his endorphins or testosterone in order
                    So, the mage definitely can play with body chemistry, he can control his pheromones, hormones, etc. and it isn't said even once about having consequences about that. By your logic, raising your testosterone would make you more agressive and thus get a penaltiy in some social rolls or having to spend WP to make calm tasks and decisions. However nothing of the sort is said.
                    Your quote only prove yor arguments wrong.

                    Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                    Under Paradigms and Science - "One important note: Physical-chemistry adjustments MUST fit the paradigm of the mage who’s attempting to use them.
                    ...

                    There’s also a big difference between knowing that you can adjust your pheromones and knowing how to do so in the desired manner.
                    ...
                    A mage could try to perform this feat without the proper knowledge, but he might not get results he had hoped for…"
                    Yes, I never said the paradigm could be different. In my OP I said the paradigm was kinda scientific. I also said that, if the change is big, a medicine (or whatever) roll could be necessary, depending on ST. Obviously the mage has to know what he's doing, like in every other effect.

                    I don't know how this invalidates my point.

                    -------------------------------------

                    So, Lord Revan, I think it is now full on you to back your posts up with more than flinging responses around. In light of all of the above? I don't see, at all, how I'm the one out of line with the game here. You are vastly overstating what the books say Life can accomplish, and directly ignoring the books making the same points about the concerns for consequences of a lack of practical (or "technical") knowledge of what's being attempted.[/QUOTE]

                    My point is: it is already clear that Life allows you to tweak your body chemistry the way you want. All the aclimatation examples are under big, different species (or sex) transformations. Life 3 allows you to make a complex and drastic change such as growing gills and you don't need to get used to that.
                    There are examples of using Life 2+ to affect your (or others) emotions . Those tweaks don't have all the collateral effects that we would have in real life (it's magick), like being agressive by increasing testosterone... So, what else you need?




                    Now, out of curiosity, how would a Mind 1 shield interact with Dominate, Presence and Auspex?
                    Mind says that every success in Arete remove one success from the invader Arete roll. Disciplines normally roll Att+Skill which are way higher than Arete. Would Mind just stop disciplines or be a resisted roll? What about Majesty, that doesn’t require a roll?
                    Any thoughts about this?

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                      I don't know what point you tried to make by quoting the books
                      That you clearly don't give a shit about what the books say, while you're trying to lecture me about being too caught up in being a "realist" or "technical stuff," because I'm pointing out that, no, you can't use Life to make yourself so grumpy Presence fails on you.

                      Ok, that's it.
                      You asked where I was getting the three levels of self-transformation and that radical alterations do come with complications from.

                      That's nowhere near altering your hormones,...
                      Tell me you've never been around someone undergoing hormone therapy without saying you've never been around someone going through hormone therapy...

                      Please tell me, do you think that playing with brain chemistry is more delicate or drastic than changing your entire respiratory system and breathing like a fish?
                      If you want the kind of control necessary to do anything about Presence? Yep. Also HDYDT agrees with me.

                      It is getting harder to answer without you making a point about those quotes
                      The point? You're arguing that the books agree with your position, when they clearly don't..

                      ...and it isn't said even once about having consequences about that.
                      I literally quoted it saying that later in the next subheader.

                      I don't know how this invalidates my point.
                      You literally argued that I was wrong to say that mages need to know what they were doing because that's not how to approach Mage.

                      it is already clear that Life allows you to tweak your body chemistry the way you want.
                      This is objectively, 100%, absoutely, incorrect. I quoted what it can do, which is limited to modifying mundane actions. You cannot tweak it the way you want, such as counter-modifying your mood to defeat supernatural mental influence.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

                        That you clearly don't give a shit about what the books say, while you're trying to lecture me about being too caught up in being a "realist" or "technical stuff," because I'm pointing out that, no, you can't use Life to make yourself so grumpy Presence fails on you.
                        I am not trying to lecture you. In any moment I tried to teach you anything nor tried to present myself as superior in any way. I do give a shit about the books, I read all those quotes you posted even before I created this thread.

                        Ok, you don't agree that Life can play with hormones enough to stop Presence. Actually, you probably believe that hormones can't do that at all, then. Ok, that's your opinion. A lot of people in this thread agree that it can. Mage freeform system have this kind of disagreement very often.

                        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                        Tell me you've never been around someone undergoing hormone therapy without saying you've never been around someone going through hormone therapy...


                        If you want the kind of control necessary to do anything about Presence? Yep. Also HDYDT agrees with me.
                        Ok, now you seem to be just trolling. We are comparing hormone therapy with: transforming..a...human being...into...a...GREAT DANE... It's a DOG. You really think that hormone therapy is just as radical as transforming yourself into a dog? No amount of hormones will be near, not even close, to changing your entire DNA structure, changing your species. Just give up...


                        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                        The point? You're arguing that the books agree with your position, when they clearly don't..
                        Of course the books won't say all of the possible effects and even less when it involves other splats. Of course there is no text box saying Life can avoid Presence. Hell, they don't have that even for Mind. Do you think that Mind is also incapable of avoiding Presence?
                        If there were a box about Life, saying that it's possible (or not), I wouldn't create this thread in the first place.


                        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                        I literally quoted it saying that later in the next subheader
                        The consequences of not knowing what you're doing. Only if the mage doesn't know what he's doing there will be consequences. So a mage with dots in science/medicine/whatever, that rolls and succeed, will have no consequences. That's what the text says. It doesn't say that all use of this magick will have consequences.


                        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                        You literally argued that I was wrong to say that mages need to know what they were doing because that's not how to approach Mage.
                        I said that the Player doesn't need to know what they are doing besides the regular bullshit of "changing hormones", just like HDYDT says. The Mage needs to know what he's doing.

                        Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                        Tell that to Mr. Spock. I think you are being too realist for a Mage game, where people is able to do the weirdest shit you can think of. I would agree that maybe the mage would need dots in medicine and make a roll to make sure everything works as intended.
                        You probably missed the underlined part of my post. And I said that more than once.


                        Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                        This is objectively, 100%, absoutely, incorrect. I quoted what it can do, which is limited to modifying mundane actions. You cannot tweak it the way you want, such as counter-modifying your mood to defeat supernatural mental influence.
                        So, mages con only do things that are described in the books? No, they don't. They can do much, much more. That's what a freeform system is. Arguing that it can't be done because it wasn't used as an example exactly the way we want (HDYDT talks about tweaking chemistry to alter hormones and even mentions emotions) won't work in Mage: The Ascension.

                        As I asked above, do you believe Mind can stop Presence?

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                          How Do You dO That, pages 120-121:

                          Under Tweaking Chemistry - "In game terms, both techniques use Life as a coincidental modifier for mundane die-rolls. As detailed under Magick Enhancing Abilities, this allows the player to adjust the difficulty of a related die-roll by -1 to -3."
                          Lord Revan this quote here clearly states what you can achieve with Life Magic in terms of Mind alteration. You can use your brain chemistry to get a reduced dificulty on mundane rolls. That would be at most reducing the dif of the WP roll for resisting Presence, and even then this is arguable since it isn't exactly a mundane roll.

                          The point isn't so much being strict on how to interpret this because of realism or anything, but literally because those effects are clearly and directly intruding in the purview of another Sphere. Nothing of what you said relates to how brain chemistry actually works. You said it yourself that you're not a neuroscientist, I am a psychologist and I do study those things to a reasonable degree. But that is besides the point, completely.

                          What really matters is that, like it or not, Mage was built from a strict perspective of Mind-Body Dualism, the view that ultimately consciousness, emotion and thought is a distinct phenomena from your body functions. To the point that they ARE governed by distinct Spheres. And although the game has some room for distinct Spheres achieving some similar results, they are not meant to be just flavors of interchangeable traits. In this setting, a power that directly affects the Mind trumps any mundane influence unless directly stated otherwise, and because Life isn't the Sphere of Mind whatever it does is, for the mind, a mundane effect, secondary aftereffect of the chemical change made.

                          Dominate is relatively easy to deal with because it does has a lot of built-in limitations. It is built in such a way as for even characters without any supernatural resources whatsoever to be able to counter it if the need arises and they know what they're dealing with. Presence has no such limitations, period. And few people here directly agreed with you that your effect should be enough to avoid Presence. What I said the most was that you could get some bonus and use the alarm that you're under something to use the actual limitations Presence does have instead of trying to immunize yourself.

                          Also, there's the issue of ST evaluation. It kind of worries me that you're far more concerned with finding arguments to make your more favorable interpretation fly than on convincing your ST that this is a sensible effect. Will your ST see things as you do? Because if they will, then you have no need to be so defensive of your point, neither mine or Heavy's interpretations matter, your ST's does. But if they won't, and you know that, building a wall of argument just to bulldoze your ST's rulling isn't nice at all.

                          Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                          Sometimes you don't know for a fact that something is bad right away. And while a normal person would ponder, an affected one would probably agree, since there is no imediate evidence. Also, couldn't the vampire roll manipulation or something to convince the affected mage to do the things you exmeplified? I know nothing that would directly harm the mage himself could be convinced, but your examples aren't like that.
                          The Discipline is still a powerful supernatural effect, so of course it is useful and not something you won't ever have to worry about.

                          It is a question of risk management, though. You will never completely eliminate the risk, and every effort to mitigate it has its own cost. There's a point where the pay-off is simply too low, because the probability of damage over a period is far below the cost of a given mitigation strategy over the same time.

                          You're talking about walking around with a trigger prepared 24/7 with an effect that can seriously harm your ability to act as you normally would. It will be triggered by Mind shenanigans that aren't necessarily related to this (as per your current proposal you'll have all the effects on to not have to find out which power was used), so it is guaranteed to go into effect for no gain sometimes. You're assuming risks and committing resources to this.

                          How frequently will you reap benefits in comparison? How frequently do you expect to be exposed to Presence, specifically, among all other mind affecting powers out there? And how frequently will those expositions really represent a situation where just knowing isn't enough? Compare the damage and costs you'll likely take from this effect to the likely damage from Presence. It definitely seems to me that your risk assessment is really off, even if you really could get immunity from Presence, which I'm still unconvinced that you could.

                          Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                          I'd say a Time 4 trigger would fire instantly in a fraction of miliseconds or less. It's a Time effect afterall. Only other Time effects could happen faster.
                          The trigger fires in response to the power affecting you. There is no Resonance in your brain before the power get there. Even if it is absolutely instant, taking less than Planck Time, it is still in response to an effect that is already there. At this point, to say that the Trigger goes off soon enough to avoid the actual activation of the power is clearly stretching things too much.

                          Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                          That would be an extremelly vulgar and visually bad.
                          A black film made with Forces would be quite easy to conceal, and add an actual protection layer to your defense against Dominate. But messing with the commands is certainly the main protection.

                          Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                          Even if Auspex doesn't directly mess with thr brain chemistry, Prime could scan a supernatural power in motion.
                          It can't if it isn't there. The same way that Prime does not detect observations made with any other Sphere, that being in their own purview, Prime can't detect that your Mind is under observation, as there is no effect in the Mind itself. You need Time to detect Time Surveillance, you need Correspondence to detect Spatial Surveillance, you need Mind to detect a Mind Probe. You can try to improvise with Prime and Correspondence, and even this is already being lenient.

                          There is no Pattern in your brain to be examined with Prime, there's no way Prime can help you. That's the case with Auspex.

                          Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                          If you listen as soon as the vampire stops talking should be enough.
                          If the vampire is still keeping eye contact when the delay ends, you're affected, and especially with higher level Dominate the commands may be long, which means you'll be under eye contact for a while. Also, Dominate application is an engaged effort for anything above level 1, so the Kindred is likely to give pauses for you to process and to ask questions to be sure you're understanding the commands.

                          But then, that depends a lot on how broad you make your mental defense. If you really goes into making it as broad as possible, I admit that it will go off on a lot of bad situations. But I don't think such a broad defense with Life will work as intended either way.

                          Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                          About the effect, you don't have to directly affect your thoughts or how they are made. You could mess with the frequency and amplitude of the brain waves, making them out of the alpha,beta,gamma, etc. thing. It's not necessarily an animal mind, you think like a human, but the trails left are changed (with Life or Forces, since Forces can mess with electricity, or even better: both) in a way that is not recognized by the intruder. Hell, it could be even a pattern that doesn't exist in any kind of natural mind.
                          Here you're jumping to the assumption that Mind Reading powers work like an electroencephalogram, pure and simple. That's not the assumption of the game and will only work on a very narrow spectrum of Mage Paradigms and no nightfolk power whatsoever. Auspex does not target your electrical brainwaves, it targets your Mind, conceptually speaking. Again, in the same way that it targets a vampire's mind that has no electrical currents whatsoever to form waves.

                          Unless you use Life to change your brain in a way that Auspex can't target your thoughts because they're effectively animal thoughts through and through, changing the electrical signal does exactly nothing against it.

                          Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                          And effect that delays the voice, numb the brain chemistry to remove emotions and change brain waves patterns should cover all Dominate, Presence, Auspex and Mind in a personal and discrete way, without much drawbacks.
                          I personally doubt that it will be without much drawbacks, and I think you should make any single effect as simple as possible to avoid messing too much with your mind at any one time. This will make every single aspect of this messy effect come into play at any Mind intervention at all. Someone probes your mind, you're left numb and with delayed hearing for no reason, and any drawback of this kicks in.


                          #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs
                          #AutismPride
                          She/her pronouns

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                            Lord Revan this quote here clearly states what you can achieve with Life Magic in terms of Mind alteration. You can use your brain chemistry to get a reduced dificulty on mundane rolls. That would be at most reducing the dif of the WP roll for resisting Presence, and even then this is arguable since it isn't exactly a mundane roll.
                            I understand that resisting Presence might be a stretch, but Mage was never limited by the effects described in the books. Earlier editions had rotes in non core books that had completely different effects (rule-wise) from the main ones presented in core.

                            The best example of this is the Forces shield. There are several ways of ruling a shield: Removing successes from the attack, removing successes from the damage, adding soak pool, increasing attack difficulty, and so on. HDYDT only talks about reducing damage successes, but not in a shield.
                            Another example is increasing your dice pool. Nowhere in M20 is stated that magick can increase/decrease your dice pool. It only talks about difficulty modifiers (like this Life example). Does that means that you can’t increase dice pool? No. In fact, there are several rotes in earlier editions that present such a change in-game (increase dice pool).

                            Again, Mage is a very free form game and making a limitation because the books don’t have what you want as an example makes no sense.

                            Now, if you don’t think that Life should help resist Presence at all, then that’s another matter, not related to how it would affect rule wise. Life can play with hormones and is described to directly affect emotions. As you said, it could reduce the diff of the WP roll, or increase the vampire diff. or remove successes.

                            Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                            The point isn't so much being strict on how to interpret this because of realism or anything, but literally because those effects are clearly and directly intruding in the purview of another Sphere. Nothing of what you said relates to how brain chemistry actually works.
                            Yes, HDYDT has a LOT of effects that can be accomplished by more than one sphere separately. Life and Mind are two spheres that often overlap, though Life always require a higher rank. Entropy is another sphere that likes to get into other spheres business. I’m not saying they’re like flavors that you can choose, but in this case, Life can do something, since we are dealing with emotions. It’s in the first sentence of “Tweaking chemistry”.

                            Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                            What I said the most was that you could get some bonus and use the alarm that you're under something to use the actual limitations Presence does have instead of trying to immunize yourself.
                            Indeed, the best thing about this effect is the alarm that some supernatural power is trying to infiltrate your mind. As you said more than once, this gives a huge edge in the case of Presence. Also, I agree that it won’t necessarily provide complete immunity. A bonus in the form of reducing/increasing difficulty or successes is already something.

                            I just find Presence rules kinda loose. Like, if the vampire says something that doesn’t directly affect the target, is he obligated to do/agree? And how would a Mind shield work against it?

                            Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                            The trigger fires in response to the power affecting you. There is no Resonance in your brain before the power get there. Even if it is absolutely instant, taking less than Planck Time, it is still in response to an effect that is already there. At this point, to say that the Trigger goes off soon enough to avoid the actual activation of the power is clearly stretching things too much.
                            I was thinking about the effect being received by the brain, but not yet processed. There’s a delay on that. But then, the effect really is already in place… And KOing the attacker probably wouldn’t stop it from happening. Well, nevermind this, since I discarded the KO thing. XD

                            Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                            It can't if it isn't there. The same way that Prime does not detect observations made with any other Sphere, that being in their own purview, Prime can't detect that your Mind is under observation, as there is no effect in the Mind itself. You need Time to detect Time Surveillance, you need Correspondence to detect Spatial Surveillance, you need Mind to detect a Mind Probe. You can try to improvise with Prime and Correspondence, and even this is already being lenient.

                            There is no Pattern in your brain to be examined with Prime, there's no way Prime can help you. That's the case with Auspex.
                            Every supernatural effect has a Resonance clue. In fact, every being and even places has Resonance. And any power that has you as a target would leave a trail. And Prime can smell it. Auspex have an exchange of information, it is aimed directly at the target, and it would definitely leave a Resonance trail. Much more subtle things do.
                            Mind would allow to know what was read by Auspex or give any other information you want. But Prime is enough to know something supernatural is in place.

                            Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                            If the vampire is still keeping eye contact when the delay ends, you're affected, and especially with higher level Dominate the commands may be long, which means you'll be under eye contact for a while. Also, Dominate application is an engaged effort for anything above level 1, so the Kindred is likely to give pauses for you to process and to ask questions to be sure you're understanding the commands.

                            But then, that depends a lot on how broad you make your mental defense. If you really goes into making it as broad as possible, I admit that it will go off on a lot of bad situations. But I don't think such a broad defense with Life will work as intended either way.
                            You are right. And here I believe the best defense will be the alarm. As soon as the vampire lock eyes and start talking (using Dominate), the mage will not hear him anymore and will know that he’s being influenced. At this moment, the eye contact must be broken: turning around, speaking over him, etc.
                            Even if the vampire waits for the mage to understand the commands, since the mage knows what’s going on, he can agree and nod with everything the vampire says, in that time that he’s muted and no subtitle has appeared yet. You know, like we all do when we can’t hear someone and already made them repeat themselves like 3 times. Just smile, nod and agree.
                            It will depend on situation, though. But it’s either that or delaying for some minutes. And that might be too long for missing an information, depending on what it is.


                            Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                            Here you're jumping to the assumption that Mind Reading powers work like an electroencephalogram, pure and simple. That's not the assumption of the game and will only work on a very narrow spectrum of Mage Paradigms and no nightfolk power whatsoever. Auspex does not target your electrical brainwaves, it targets your Mind, conceptually speaking. Again, in the same way that it targets a vampire's mind that has no electrical currents whatsoever to form waves.

                            Unless you use Life to change your brain in a way that Auspex can't target your thoughts because they're effectively animal thoughts through and through, changing the electrical signal does exactly nothing against it.
                            Actually, I was working in the assumption that Auspex only works in human minds (even dead ones).

                            From V20 P.137
                            The vampire projects a portion of her consciousness into a nearby mortal’s mind, creating a mental link through which she can communicate wordlessly or even read the target’s deepest thougths. The Kindred “hears” in her own mind the thougths plucked from a subject as if they were spoken to her.
                            (…)
                            To read minds, one success must be rolled for each item of information plucked or each layer of thought pierced.
                            So, the vampire has to create a link, a connection. This means that there must be information flowing in and out (one more proof that there would be a trail for Prime to catch). If you somehow change the way your thoughts are processed, you could cryptograph them, making the vampire unable to create the required link, or at least making it more difficult to do. The Discipline description says that the vampire “hears” the thoughts, or even see images of them, so if you change the structure of the brain process, that information could arrive intelligible to the vampire.

                            I thought about playing with brain waves, because those are the blueprints left by the brain. And animals have waves with different frequencies and amplitude from humans.

                            So, I think the answer is in the format the thoughts happens in the brain. They could be coded as the last step in the process. A more drastic defense would be to stop any thought process, like in classic meditation where you just don’t think.

                            Anyway, I grant that one would not be completely immune to Telepathy. Actually, the meditation like defense probably would, but it’s a state that the mage wouldn’t want to stay for more than a few moments. So, coding your activity could help to make the vampire unlife a bit harder by messing with difficulties and successes.

                            Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                            I personally doubt that it will be without much drawbacks, and I think you should make any single effect as simple as possible to avoid messing too much with your mind at any one time. This will make every single aspect of this messy effect come into play at any Mind intervention at all. Someone probes your mind, you're left numb and with delayed hearing for no reason, and any drawback of this kicks in.
                            To be fair, any mind intervention is a threat. Even the simple act of reading your mind could be something you really want to avoid. And the effect is temporary being able to be dismissed. But, I agree with you. Having all those effects to trigger might be overkill. Perhaps, making them 3 separate effects, one for each intrusion, would be better, less aggressive.
                            Last edited by Lord Revan; 01-11-2022, 02:15 PM.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                              I understand that resisting Presence might be a stretch,
                              Then treat it as a stretch, not as a certainty as you're doing. This effect isn't RAW, isn't directly supported by any rule or example and it's based on several assumptions that are far from granted or agreed upon by others. It may fly on some tables, but any ST that disagrees with it is in their right and still in the spirit, rules and lore of the game.

                              Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                              I just find Presence rules kinda loose.
                              Yes, they are loose by design. This is the Discipline's strength and weakness.

                              Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                              Actually, I was working in the assumption that Auspex only works in human minds (even dead ones).
                              It doesn't change two things. First, on how the brain works, there's no distinction between process and signal. The brain works through a complex of processes that activate a number of neurons in a given order. To physically read the brain is to watch the very thought process happening.

                              For you to mess with the reading without Mind and without messing with your thoughts you would have to find out the medium of the reading itself, but in this case it is a mystical medium looking at the conceptual mind. You could maybe mess with it with enough Prime to mount a dedicated counter-spell, but otherwise you would have to mess with the thoughts themselves.

                              The meditation rote would be a better solution, but you could also use preset thought patterns or something like that. Either way, under Life it would be hard or impossible to make a defense without serious drawbacks. Maybe setting your brain to lock into thinking about a song so much that you start to sing it in whispers, something that will block other thoughts and alert your party of what's happening.

                              Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                              So, the vampire has to create a link, a connection. This means that there must be information flowing in and out (one more proof that there would be a trail for Prime to catch).
                              I stand corrected.


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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                                Then treat it as a stretch, not as a certainty as you're doing. This effect isn't RAW, isn't directly supported by any rule or example
                                Oh yes, if there was a raw statement therr would be no need for the thread. I'm not treating as certain, I'm just trying to argue in favor of it.
                                The best effects of the game are stretches XD

                                Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                                and it's based on several assumptions that are far from granted or agreed upon by others. It may fly on some tables, but any ST that disagrees with it is in their right and still in the spirit, rules and lore of the game.
                                And I know there will be people that agrees and people who disagrees. I just wanted to talk about ideas and arguments about how to do it and got really, really good ideas from people here. My initial idea was to KO the vampire or make him deaf and blind.
                                The only argument so far that really makes those last ideas not work are:

                                - it's not fair for Life to also do that, since it's a Mind effect. Which I argue that Life does that in raw, with a higher rank and lots of successes.

                                - We don't know how Presence and Auspex works exactly, so the solution might not work. My answer to that is: In the case of Presence, you can affecr your emotions regardless of how the discipline works. And Auspex needs a link of communication, which can be denied or at least made really hard to establish.

                                Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                                Yes, they are loose by design. This is the Discipline's strength and weakness.
                                Hm. In this case how would you rule Presence against a Mind shield? Especially Majesty.


                                Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
                                It doesn't change two things. First, on how the brain works, there's no distinction between process and signal. The brain works through a complex of processes that activate a number of neurons in a given order. To physically read the brain is to watch the very thought process happening.

                                For you to mess with the reading without Mind and without messing with your thoughts you would have to find out the medium of the reading itself, but in this case it is a mystical medium looking at the conceptual mind. You could maybe mess with it with enough Prime to mount a dedicated counter-spell, but otherwise you would have to mess with the thoughts themselves.

                                The meditation rote would be a better solution, but you could also use preset thought patterns or something like that. Either way, under Life it would be hard or impossible to make a defense without serious drawbacks. Maybe setting your brain to lock into thinking about a song so much that you start to sing it in whispers, something that will block other thoughts and alert your party of what's happening.

                                That's my point. Thoughts and brain signal/activities are directly related. My idea was to "mask" the signals right after the thoughts are generated, so you don't have to mess with them, just the blueprint they leave.

                                But, since Auspex doesn't seem to read waves, but "hear" thoughts, another approach can be done. Your example of of locking into a song (or memory) is a good one.
                                The meditation state is very good too and would even be good for the mage, since it's a state of low stress.

                                Also, since the discipline is clear about the vampire "creating mental link" and "hearing the thoughts", a state where he can't create a link or hear any thought (or even hearing confusing things instead of thoughts) would at least make it harder for him to do that.

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