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What makes Auspex so great for defense?

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  • What makes Auspex so great for defense?

    It seems Auspex is the go-to discipline for Elders who want to stay alive, even more-so than disciplines like Fortitude.
    ​It's pretty obvious how useful and powerful a discipline it is for offensive information gathering, but as a defense, I don't see it.
    What am I missing?

  • #2
    Well when you can read the mood/thoughts of some one at lower levels and see brief glimpses of the future at elder levels it follows the rule of a good offence is a good defense.

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    • #3
      By default, Auspex gives the vampire with it a "spidey sense" which allows them to know when they're about to be attacked, at higher levels an instinctual sense of when, where, and potentially even how ambushes may occur, and at elder levels the "spidey sense" is extended to even allowing the vampire to sense plots against them and their domains, pawns, and properties.

      In addition to and supplanting that, the first three levels allow a vampire to sense deception, plotting, or motives in others. If, for example, a vampire sights the aura of someone speaking with them and detects hatred and anger, it's a fairly good bet they plan to make a move against the vampire at some point. Or, if for example, a vampire is being led into a dark alley or secluded location, it'll be heightened senses which allow a vampire to spot attackers well before spidey-sense goes off.

      And of course, Telepathy is the capstone power in all this. What better way to know if someone's planning something than to simply read their mind? Astral Projection, of course, allows a vampire to "scout" locations or eavesdrop at a minimum of risk to themselves, or even launch a counter- or preemptive attack with the same lack of risk.

      All levels of Auspex, of course, can pierce Obfuscate at an equal or higher level, thereby preventing one potential venue of attack.

      It's not a combat discipline. It's a "prevent combat from happening", or "if you're going into combat, the odds are as stacked in your favor as they ever can be" discipline.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Theodrim View Post
        By default, Auspex gives the vampire with it a "spidey sense" which allows them to know when they're about to be attacked, at higher levels an instinctual sense of when, where, and potentially even how ambushes may occur, and at elder levels the "spidey sense" is extended to even allowing the vampire to sense plots against them and their domains, pawns, and properties.
        ​Where is this detailed? I don't see any text supporting anything like it, at least in V20.
        (Edit - I get the feeling this is where Auspex is getting it's reputation from, as you're hardly the first person I've seen suggest this sort of power.)
        Last edited by Schwann145; 03-05-2017, 07:50 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Schwann145 View Post
          ​Where is this detailed? I don't see any text supporting anything like it, at least in V20.
          (Edit - I get the feeling this is where Auspex is getting it's reputation from, as you're hardly the first person I've seen suggest this sort of power.)
          It's in DA V20 description of Auspex (and maybe in other books).

          In addition to what have been said, Auspex is used in combination disciplines for reflexive dfense (or maybe it's celerity, I'm not 100% sure)

          For me the thing that really makes Auspex so important for survival is to see through obfuscate, with the way damage works, 1 prepared hit against an unprepared adversary that is not dodged at all is a death sentence.

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          • #6
            Auspex 1's power gives up -Auspex difficulty reduction to all Sensory rolls when turned on. An Elder with Auspex 6 can reduce all Sensory difficulties by 6. Combined with the Acute Sense merits, they're basically omniscient in their surroundings; the sound of a master of stealth taking a step is like a loud echo in that state (remember that Obfuscate doesn't cover sounds).

            Auspex 2 gives you some extra clues about emotions and motives, Auspex 3 lets you sense an object's history (for example, the door handle of your haven might tell you that an assassin entered a few minutes before you, if you checked), Auspex 4 lets you read surface thoughts, Auspex 5 lets you travel with your senses globally. And Auspex 6 gets you Farsight, which lets you spy on someone just by thinking about them.

            For an example of Auspex 6 saving an Elder from death...

            One of my PCs is a Caitiff with Combat Disciplines all at 2-4, so Obfuscate, Protean, the Physicals, Auspex... and he tried sneaking up on my version of Mithras while he was distracted with the other PCs. When he got within a few steps he only got 5 successes on the stealth roll to remain quiet, and Mithras got 9 successes, resulting in the PC being hoisted up by Movement of the Mind while Mithras laughed "did you think I couldn't see you, clanless scum?". Obfuscate didn't matter, it was just the sound of his shoe softly touching the ground.

            The next session an explosion was set off near the PCs, and this allowed Mithras to find them, and he focused in on the leader and combined Farsight with Command from Afar and Chains of Obedience to Dominate him to bow. When he refused he took Damage. He repeated this over and over until the PC fell into Torpor (however he managed to resist bowing thanks to his Willpower 10 and Iron Will, which terrified Mithras to no end). That's only possible because of Auspex 6. He can hear an explosion and think "hmm, I'll look for Vampires near that explosion" and within a minute he has found the PCs and can use Dominate on them via his Auspex.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
              (remember that Obfuscate doesn't cover sounds)
              True in V20 but no longer in DA v20

              If you can hear someone with Obfuscate, it lessens the need for Auspex (and also strengthen the use of Auspex vs Obfuscate), though if your Obfuscate is above the Auspex of your opponent, you can use Mask of a Thousand Faces to get close, instead of sneaking in.

              (strategy not applicalbe against Mithras like, we should not be held responsible for any untimely date &/or worst fate that could occur ^^)

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Schwann145 View Post
                It seems Auspex is the go-to discipline for Elders who want to stay alive, even more-so than disciplines like Fortitude.
                ​It's pretty obvious how useful and powerful a discipline it is for offensive information gathering, but as a defense, I don't see it.
                What am I missing?
                ​The defensive aspect is based on the concept that the first step in avoiding a trap is being aware of its existence.

                ​It doesn't have to be particularly over the top sensory information either, just more than standard human. A good example of this is the scene in the Hannibal tv series where Hannibal picks up the scent of a female reporter on Will, but since she was supposed to be long since dead by Will's hand, Hannibal knew that Will was up to something and possibly betrayed him. That would be an example of say Auspect rank one being defensive.

                Telepathy can be used in all sorts of ways, from the oWoD Combat book allowing its use to sense what your opponent is about to do in combat, to being used in the middle of poker game to allow you to know what everyone's cards are. Auspex **** & Dominate * basically allows you to use casinos and underground gambling clubs as your personal unlimited ATMs.

                ​Of course being able to Astral Project into a building to scout ahead is invaluable in a combat situation, but being able to confirm that an item you are after actually isn't where everyone says it is saves you a lot of effort sometimes and avoids ambushes. Astral Projection can be rather useful for mapping out mazes, security systems or just knowing ahead of time where the exit routes are.

                ​One of the key things though is that Auspex counters Obfuscate, thus Nosferatu spies are much less of a security risk, Malkavians have a harder time pulling pranks, and Assamites can't get too close without being spotted. Auspex tends to be the go to discipline for modifiers when it comes to perceiving things like Ghosts, nodes, True Magick, shifter traces, etc.

                ​Auspex defends you by keeping you out of a bad situation, while something like Fortitude defends you once you are already in one. The key thing to consider is that an Elder is supposed to be wise enough and careful enough to do things like always check things out ahead of time. If they were impulsive and reckless then they wouldn't be an undead Elder, they would be a dead neonate.

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                • #9
                  The reduction in sensory difficulties is key. With Auspex 1+, you potentially gain access to near superhuman senses because normally impossible sensory feats become possible. At Auspex 3+, the effects are beyond anything possible for humans, so anything possible for animals becomes possible for the Kindred. In my games, I have had high Auspex characters vibration sense to fight while blindfolded and deafened, track other Kindred by scent, sense the materialization of spirits by the change in local gravity, read data by sensing the electromagnetic changes in their blood, etc. With the proper supporting abilities and a knowledge of all 21 senses by the ST and the PC, Auspex can become quite awesome since it improves all of the senses of the Kindred.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                    I have had high Auspex characters vibration sense to fight while blindfolded and deafened, track other Kindred by scent, sense the materialization of spirits by the change in local gravity, read data by sensing the electromagnetic changes in their blood, etc. With the proper supporting abilities and a knowledge of all 21 senses by the ST and the PC, Auspex can become quite awesome since it improves all of the senses of the Kindred.
                    Against clever Kindreds, that kind of use can be countered by sensory overload though, so you have to be careful. But any Auspex user worth is salt will learn quickly when & how much to use

                    To go back on Obfuscate, I found only 2 other way to counter obfuscate;

                    -Visceratika lvl2, inside a building at lvl -1 from your level of visceratika (so a rare discipline, in specific use, and with a drawback if you level it high, though it has some uses)
                    -Koldunism Way of Spirit/Genius Loci, which make is quite interesting, as it is then also accesible to Telyavelic Tremere (and can potentially be reproduced by other blood magic)

                    Is there any other ways? (apart from the really high level ritual to protect a chantry)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Schwann145 View Post
                      ​Where is this detailed? I don't see any text supporting anything like it, at least in V20.
                      (Edit - I get the feeling this is where Auspex is getting it's reputation from, as you're hardly the first person I've seen suggest this sort of power.)
                      From DAV20 page 194:

                      Sudden Revelations

                      Characters with even one level of Auspex may occasionally
                      get a sense of an impending threat against them. While they
                      are otherwise using any level of Auspex, the Storyteller may
                      choose to roll for a sudden revelation. In secret, she rolls the
                      character’s Auspex score. The difficulty varies by Storyteller
                      discretion, as a robber behind an inn door would probably
                      be difficulty 4, while a plot by the Prince’s childe to destroy
                      the character that would take decades to unravel would be
                      difficulty 9. Difficulty can also reflect how important it is to
                      the story that the character has a glimpse of what’s coming.

                      Keep in mind though, it is only a brief precognitive
                      glimpse that may or may not make sense before the event
                      unfurls. Divination is not a science; express the revelation
                      in small sensory details or simple gut feelings. “You smell
                      fire with no source coming from the farm house” or “he
                      can’t be trusted alone” are excellent examples.
                      From V20, page 134-135:

                      The Storyteller may also use this power to see if the
                      character perceives a threat. In this case, the Storyteller
                      privately rolls the character’s unmodified Auspex
                      rating, applying whatever difficulty he feels best suits
                      the circumstances. For example, sensing that a pistol is
                      pointed at the back of the character’s head may require
                      a roll of difficulty 5, while the sudden realization that
                      a rival for Primogen is planning her assassination may
                      require a 9. Note that even this “precognition” comes
                      only as a result of interpreting details the Kindred is
                      able to notice. It’s not an all-purpose insight or miraculous
                      revelation.


                      I seem to have acquired a site for running play by post games. This is unexpected and frightening and come watch either the glorious play or the magnificent train wreck:

                      The Malkavian Madness Network

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                      • #12
                        Because knowing is half the battle and auspex let's you know.

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                        • #13
                          In combination, Auspex and Obfuscate are really powerful because the character cannot be surprised by Obfuscate and can use Obfuscate to surprise other people.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                            In combination, Auspex and Obfuscate are really powerful because the character cannot be surprised by Obfuscate and can use Obfuscate to surprise other people.
                            Which is why Malkavians can be so dangerous.

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                            • #15
                              Auspex grants the most/best Combination Disciplines. Pick a Discipline, it probably has a + Auspex combo which is incredible. For a simple example, we have Dementation + Auspex allowing you to smell derangements. Being able to tell if someone has a derangement just by smelling them is a surprisingly flexible power; using a more advanced version she crafted herself (Auspex 4 + Dementation 5) one of my PCs learnt to figure out which derangements with enough information. When she checked the scary powerful Elder she got Megolomania and Split Personality, and it turned out that the tiny part of him that is still human has its own force of will, and when she spoke to it later on it begged for her to kill him so that his suffering could end (giving her a pass on the Humanity check).

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