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  • Lord Revan
    started a topic Avoid Vampire mind control

    Avoid Vampire mind control

    I am thinking in ways of avoiding mind control, especially from vampires, using only Forces 3, Life 3 , Prime 1 and Time 4 triggers from external sources (not Time 4, only the trigger).

    The main mind control powers from vampires are Dominate and Presence. You could add Chimerstry and Dementation, but let's not for now.

    So, my idea is also to avoid it in a way that would attract the least attention possible. Best scenario would be like Watto and Qui-Gon from Star Wars Ep1. when he simply says that mind tricks won't work with him. So, I'd like to avoid, if possible, burning everything down to avoid being affected.
    The mage's paradigm is a mixture of scientific and mystic: he is a science man, but believes in the supernatural as well. He cast effects using mystical ways, but affecting physics, biology, etc.

    Having said that, I believe there are two important components: detecting the attempt and dealing with it.

    Detection can be done with Life+Prime to identify any supernatural effect acting on the mage's brain. Any Ressonance that shouldn't be there, or something like that. I'm not sure this could be done with an always running effect, but surely can as a Time 4 trigger.

    I thought about two ways of dealing with it. Messing with the vampire or messing with the mage's brain.

    The first seems more efficient, but what can be done to avoid Presence? Getting the vampire blind+deaf+soundless would isolate him from reality making it impossible to give commands (thus avoiding Doninate) in a discrete way. However, I'm not sure this could stop Presence.
    So I ask, how can Presence be avoided?
    I know every Presence power can be avoided by rolling WP (diff. 8) and spending a WP point, but that requures a successful test and lots of WP points wasted, I would prefer another way, if possible.

    Now, messing with the mage's brwin can be very dangerous. I thought something about resetting the brain for a fraction of a second, like when you quickly fall asleep and wake up. Would that avoid the power? I believe both Dominate and Presence needs activstion, and if in the moment they are activated the mage's brain isn't "on" maybe this could work. The drawback is that the vampire could just keep activating the power.

    So, any thoughts?

    PS: I know that Mind 1 is enough to build a shield to avoid all of this, but I want to find a way to do it with those spheres. Bonus question: how would a Mind 1 dhueld work against powers that doesn't rewuire rolls, like Presence 5 Majesty?

    Oh, and consider a crossover of rules, using both M20 and V20.

  • CaptOtter
    replied
    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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  • monteparnas
    replied
    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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  • Lord Revan
    replied
    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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  • monteparnas
    replied
    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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  • Lord Revan
    replied
    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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  • monteparnas
    replied
    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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  • Lord Revan
    replied
    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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  • monteparnas
    replied
    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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  • Lord Revan
    replied
    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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  • monteparnas
    replied
    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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  • Lord Revan
    replied
    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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  • monteparnas
    replied
    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.

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  • Lord Revan
    replied
    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?

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  • Heavy Arms
    replied
    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.

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