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  • #46
    Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
    Hm. In this case how would you rule Presence against a Mind shield? Especially Majesty.
    Specifically against Presence, it would depend on how much the Mage understands the Discipline specifically. For the ideal defense I would ask for at least Mind 2 and a time analyzing the effect of each power in action with Mind 2 or Mind 1, Prime 1 (so a Mage with M1P1 can find out how it works and impart the information to a Mind 2 Mage).

    Under such conditions, a Mind shield against Presence would have full effect, meaning that any use of Presence would be reduced in successes by the number of successes of the effect and it has no side-effects. For a power without roll I would probably give a roll for the vampire or something, but the possibility of making it a Ritual with full access to the tricks a Mage has to reduce difficulty mean that most of the time it would be reasonably strong.

    For a Mind effect without such requisites I would call for more successes, using up one or two to make for the lack of understanding of the Discipline, plus having to dedicate half of the remaining successes to reduce the difficulty of the WP roll instead of reinforcing the shielding in place. That would be a proper Mind effect controlling the Mage's emotions, trying to clash with what Presence does.


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    • #47
      Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
      Specifically against Presence, it would depend on how much the Mage understands the Discipline specifically. For the ideal defense I would ask for at least Mind 2 and a time analyzing the effect of each power in action with Mind 2 or Mind 1, Prime 1 (so a Mage with M1P1 can find out how it works and impart the information to a Mind 2 Mage).

      Under such conditions, a Mind shield against Presence would have full effect, meaning that any use of Presence would be reduced in successes by the number of successes of the effect and it has no side-effects. For a power without roll I would probably give a roll for the vampire or something, but the possibility of making it a Ritual with full access to the tricks a Mage has to reduce difficulty mean that most of the time it would be reasonably strong.

      For a Mind effect without such requisites I would call for more successes, using up one or two to make for the lack of understanding of the Discipline, plus having to dedicate half of the remaining successes to reduce the difficulty of the WP roll instead of reinforcing the shielding in place. That would be a proper Mind effect controlling the Mage's emotions, trying to clash with what Presence does.
      Hm. M20 says that a mind shield is Mind 1 only. If it's enough for Mind Magic and Dominate, why not Presence?

      Presence is a good discipline agains NPCs, but I don't know exactly how it would affect, rule wise, PCs. I mean, if the target is a PC that doesn't have a mind shield, is he obligated to do as the vampire says as long as the suggestion doesn't put him in danger and isn't agains his nature? For example, a vampire trying to put a small group of people against someone, and the PC is among the crowd and doesn't know the guy he's trying to incriminate.

      In the case of the PC having the Mind shield, there would be a comparison of rolls (and in the case of Majesty the vampire would have to roll against the mage), so if the mage succeed he can deny and if he fails he has to agree.

      I find very odd to obligate a player to do something without direct mind control...

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      • #48
        Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
        M20 says that a mind shield is Mind 1 only. If it's enough for Mind Magic and Dominate, why not Presence?
        Because that's how I would deal with its loose nature. I can barely say what in the mind it is targeting, how would the Mage make an adequate protection?

        Yet, as I said, those are the requisites for an ideal Mind Shield. A regular one would have the downsides I described later, but would be Mind 1.

        Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
        Presence is a good discipline agains NPCs, but I don't know exactly how it would affect, rule wise, PCs.
        Yeah, that's one of Presence's long standing downsides.

        But here I see you're still grasping with the basics, I'll repeat: no character is obligated to do as the vampire says, PC or not. That would be the purview of Dominate.

        That's the whole deal with Presence. It gives you no direct control. Period.

        And that's it. The target doesn't have to agree with everything, the target doesn't have to behave in a given way. The target is swayed in the ways described in the power, but otherwise keep their own judgement.

        If the vampire says someone is a threat, they'll still have to present some argument. You'll be strongly swayed by the argument, you may even take it for granted that if the vampire said, it is probably true. But you still do with it whatever you would.

        Presence users are usually very good social manipulators on their own precisely because they have to work withing those limitations. It is a fantastic boost for a good plan, but very limited on its own.


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        • #49
          Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
          how would the Mage make an adequate protection?
          The mage doesn't need to know every power that tries to affect his mind when shieldind with Mind. It's a regular shield that blocks any kind of invasion. At least M20 implies that.

          Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
          Yeah, that's one of Presence's long standing downsides.

          But here I see you're still grasping with the basics, I'll repeat: no character is obligated to do as the vampire says, PC or not. That would be the purview of Dominate.

          That's the whole deal with Presence. It gives you no direct control. Period.

          And that's it. The target doesn't have to agree with everything, the target doesn't have to behave in a given way. The target is swayed in the ways described in the power, but otherwise keep their own judgement.

          If the vampire says someone is a threat, they'll still have to present some argument. You'll be strongly swayed by the argument, you may even take it for granted that if the vampire said, it is probably true. But you still do with it whatever you would.

          Presence users are usually very good social manipulators on their own precisely because they have to work withing those limitations. It is a fantastic boost for a good plan, but very limited on its own.
          I agree with you, but then the discipline is almost useless against PCs. I know Presence foesn't make you obligated to do anything, as this is the power of Dominate, but it should affect in some way doesn't it?
          The way you put it, the PC seems to be able to just ignore the vampire. Or he will think "what a cool guy" or "I wish I was friends with that dude" but then will have no practical benefit from that.

          If the target doesn't even get some in-game penalty or whatever to benefit the vampire, it's the same as the vampire just saying things without using the power. If the statement is nothing that could harm you or your Nature, and you just believe that it *might* be *probably* true, what's the difference of talking the PC into things with and without Presence?

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
            The mage doesn't need to know every power that tries to affect his mind when shieldind with Mind. It's a regular shield that blocks any kind of invasion. At least M20 implies that.
            And that's why I didn't put such limitation on anything else, but as I said, that's how I would do, for the purpose of highlighting Presence's gimmick. I'm in no way saying that this is my interpretation of RAW.

            In addition to that, the rules for Mind Shields are far less clear on Nightfolk Powers, so this interpretation (where, again, I'm not forbidding a regular Mind Shield, just making it weaker against Presence) isn't strictly against RAW despite being effectively a homebrew.

            Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
            I agree with you, but then the discipline is almost useless against PCs.
            Hence I'm saying it is a longstanding downside of the Discipline.

            Unfortunately that's the gist of it by RAW. The ST needs the player to play along for Presence to work, otherwise it isn't the most effective thing against PCs.

            But again, Presence is relatively simple to withstand even for NPCs that know what's happening. The true strength of it, at least for the two most iconic powers of Awe and Majesty, is its area effect on lots of characters at once.

            That means that the usual Presence user isn't a problem because of what they can do to you, but what they can do to everyone around you. You can fully expect that this will be the focus of most of those characters when using those powers. If the vampire throws a mob of innocents against you, what will you do? Being immune to Presence doesn't actually matters that much.

            Other than that, this is a Disciplines with which house rules and improvisations are common, so much so that some people even forget they're not RAW. The ST can surely demand that you make the WP expenditure and roll if you behave contrary to what they think you should do, although I don't like doing so. They can also apply a plethora of rolls and/or penalties for your actions or whatever. Finally, the ST may effectively jot down homebrew rules for Presence, or even just use VtR's Majesty instead.

            For your situation there's nothing I can help about this. Were you the ST we could discuss the best house rules to deal with it depending on the chronicle and group, but you'll have instead to really talk with your ST to understand how they run Presence. By RAW it shouldn't be that big as a personal threat, but your ST may run things differently.


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            • #51
              Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
              Hence I'm saying it is a longstanding downside of the Discipline.

              Unfortunately that's the gist of it by RAW. The ST needs the player to play along for Presence to work, otherwise it isn't the most effective thing against PCs.

              But again, Presence is relatively simple to withstand even for NPCs that know what's happening. The true strength of it, at least for the two most iconic powers of Awe and Majesty, is its area effect on lots of characters at once.

              That means that the usual Presence user isn't a problem because of what they can do to you, but what they can do to everyone around you. You can fully expect that this will be the focus of most of those characters when using those powers. If the vampire throws a mob of innocents against you, what will you do? Being immune to Presence doesn't actually matters that much.
              Yes. Still, it's better to be the target of a mob with your mind intact than to be controlled somehow.

              Originally posted by monteparnas View Post
              Other than that, this is a Disciplines with which house rules and improvisations are common, so much so that some people even forget they're not RAW. The ST can surely demand that you make the WP expenditure and roll if you behave contrary to what they think you should do, although I don't like doing so. They can also apply a plethora of rolls and/or penalties for your actions or whatever. Finally, the ST may effectively jot down homebrew rules for Presence, or even just use VtR's Majesty instead.

              For your situation there's nothing I can help about this. Were you the ST we could discuss the best house rules to deal with it depending on the chronicle and group, but you'll have instead to really talk with your ST to understand how they run Presence. By RAW it shouldn't be that big as a personal threat, but your ST may run things differently.
              Demanding a WP point to *not* do something the vampire asks (unless it's against your nature or put you in danger) is adequate. Afterall, there's a supernatural power in play. A simple successful social roll against a PC (no Presence or whatever) could apply penalties if the PC want to resist/ignore it.

              What I'm saying is that, even that the rules doesn't say it, there should be something "forcing" PCs to do what their character is being compeled to do.

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                Yes. Still, it's better to be the target of a mob with your mind intact than to be controlled somehow.
                Possibly. One way or another, most users of those powers won't worry about who is affected, but how many,

                The point is that by worrying so much about your own mind against Presence you're probably losing sight of what's really at stake in any given scene that Presence is used. Being immune to a bullet that isn't meant for you is that big of a deal?

                Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                What I'm saying is that, even that the rules doesn't say it, there should be something "forcing" PCs to do what their character is being compeled to do.
                It isn't so simple. Running Presence that way brings a number of problems.

                First, Presence isn't Dominate. It can't be better at doing what Dominate focus on. Compelling people to do what you say is already what Dominate does, so following this rationale would just make Presence too powerful as it applies to more people, for a longer time and with less drawbacks. It is less reliable precisely because it has many advantages.

                Second, it would mess with the target's agency, and that's actually one of the benefits of Presence. While less predictable, the targets of Presence can act creatively and intelligently while having your best interests at heart. Just having them follow what you say would actually hurt one of the most iconic advantages for a skillful user.

                Third, "forcing" players to a given course of action is generally a bad idea. Simply put, it sucks. It doesn't suck in a "this is a bad thing happening to my character" way, it sucks in a "this is straight up not fun" way. This is still a game and while PCs should face hardships and challenges, the game must be fun for the players. Stripping them of agency isn't fun. So much so that Dominate keeps its effects limited in scope so it hardly controls you all the time for an entire scene, and even them there are several places that will advise you to not use too much Dominate on a PC without player consent. Presence will potentially do that to the entire party for an entire scene. This is the most effective way to have the players find an NPC not fun to deal with and just avoid contact.

                And fourth, you're still making assumptions about what the character is compelled to do. Because the Discipline is very clear that the character is not compelled to do whatever the vampire says. Indeed, it goes to some length into addressing that this is not the intent. If the description said one thing and the rules didn't backed it up I would agree, but the whole point here is that the RAW explicitly says the Discipline doesn't work like that. So intruding to apply the WP cost every time the ST judges the player isn't playing along may work, but very clearly goes against the intent of the rule and the power.

                Despite all those drawbacks, I can guarantee you that from the perspective of the Vampire player Presence is a good Discipline. It isn't without reason that the Ventrue use both Dominate and Presence, and the Toreador and Brujah can both do awesome things with it. It does exceedingly well the job it was made to do, it's just that this job isn't to rob someone in particular of a lot of agency. If the Vampire's use of it relies completely on a specific target doing a specific thing, this was the wrong choice of Discipline all along.


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                • #53
                  I'm just going to throw my two cents in regarding a handful of questions or remarks you've asked/made throughout the thread; this is specifically not a response to any of your interlocutors, so feel free to come back to this later or just ignore altogether.

                  In the interest of actually addressing your main question (as I see it,) I honestly don't know what, other than Mind, I would allow to shield against explicitly mind-altering powers, and just wouldn't allow it at my table any more than I'd allow someone to heal a stab wound with Matter.

                  Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                  Bonus question: how would a Mind 1 dhueld work against powers that doesn't rewuire rolls, like Presence 5 Majesty?
                  The revised Storyteller's Handbook more or less explicitly covers how one would handle, systematically, a contest between Mind 1 and Presence 5. There's two answers to your question because the book gives two different options for handling cross-over power clashes: "Quick and Dirty" and "Success-Based".

                  "Quick and Dirty" would have you simply compare the mage's rating in Mind to the Vampire's rating in Presence--whichever is higher wins automatically (e.g., so a vampire with Presence 6 using any of their Presence powers would always beat a mage with Mind 5, regardless of how many successes the mage may have used to make their mind shield.)

                  "Success-Based", would have you roll a Mind 1 effect to create your shield (remember this is Revised, so you're separately allotting successes to potency, duration, etc.); if the vampiric doesn't require a roll (such as Presence 5, or many uses of Obfuscate,) assume the vampire gains one automatic success per dot in the power--e.g., the vampire in the previous example would be considered to have six automatic successes for the purposes of comparison to the mage's built-up shield.

                  Please keep in mind that this is a very loose and truncated explanation of a system that takes up a handful of pages to fully explain, so I'd encourage you to take a look for yourself (it starts on page 194 of that book.) I'll add that even though the 'Success-Based' method forms the basis of what I use at my table, my group and I ultimately ended up having to expand on/homebrew this method a good deal more; our issue was that we wanted to give due deference to a willworker's strength coming from planning and preparation, while still not allowing just any mage with Mind and 10-success to literally beat any vampiric mind power (and, for that matter, giving Rank 5 shifter gifts the heavy-hitting power they deserve considering they only go up to 6, and Rank 6 gifts are wild.) Our homebrewed mind shields system adds a little more crunch to the overall endeavor of making and managing a mind shield, but it works for us (we all started playing RPGs in the 90s, when 'very crunchy' was the norm).

                  Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                  The rules does not favor direct Mind influence.
                  You are correct. I didn't think the old rules regarding mind control were very much of problem (but I've also run vampire, so players mind controlling people is sort of old hat to me at this point. ) I get the sense from HDYDT and interviews with Satyros Brucato, that in the intervening 20 years since second edition, he's become almost a little embarrassed that there's a power in this game he had such a huge part in developing (his big claim to fame in the gaming community, such as it is,) that allows players to roleplay subverting the will of others, and he wanted to make it difficult enough for it to maybe not get used as much? That's my theory. Anyway, I won't be the first, second, twentieth, or maybe even hundredth person to say that HDYDT is a hot mess, and that I take whatever is in there with a huge grain of salt.

                  Originally posted by Lord Revan View Post
                  Hm. M20 says that a mind shield is Mind 1 only. If it's enough for Mind Magic and Dominate, why not Presence
                  Going back to the revised Storyteller's Handbook, it is clear from that that text that Mind directly counters Presence; it's taken as a given in the actual explanation of the crossover systems, and there's a chart in that book (on pg. 196) that matches up the spheres to the sorts of powers they would counter (because they obviously weren't going to able to cover every power of every splat in the entire WoD). The "Mind" sphere has written next to it as follows: "Mind-control powers (Dominate, Fuddle, Presence, Puppetry)" Absent some explicit write-up to the contrary somewhere in M20, I'm going to assume that Mage: The Ascension (Rev.)'s take on the metaphysical nature of what Presence is, still holds true in M20.
                  Last edited by CaptOtter; 01-24-2022, 04:51 AM.


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