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  • Dominate Subtly

    I love Dominate including particularly Mesmerize, but I think it is often overlooked for anything more than "go unlock the Prince's crypt door for me, and put these nice handcuffs on yourself". Dominate has a number of subtle uses, and I suggest (ha ha) that these other uses are equally useful.


    The rules talk about only a single suggestion at a time, but their example suggestions are all tasks. Here are some other "non-task" suggestions I'd like to hear your thoughts on.

    1. "This man is Don Corleone", aka this man is to be feared and respected. Creates a long-term conception or impression of the man. It's not a task, but I would call it more of a persistent idea.
    2. "I love my work", aka creates long-term conception or impression that causes you to accept that difficult job from the user and pursue it with enthusiasm & dedication. He entrusted this job to ME, and I'm gonna do it properly.
    3. Fealty. Hire a person for something, and they know they work for you. Implant a suggestion, and this begins to unconsciously change the relationship to something more like willing vassalage.

    Just with these three ideas, I'd like to solicit your thoughts. Does Dominate 2/3 allow for suggestions of this nature? I'm thinking Dominate 2/3 are "baby steps" to Conditioning, and these should work. I'm thinking commands have the "one suggestion" limit, but long-term suggestions and tweaks to their perceptions would be fine. If anyone else has similar suggestions I'd love to hear them as well. The notion of subtle uses of Dominate, much more Presence-like appeals to me.
    Last edited by g3taso; 08-16-2017, 10:32 AM.

  • #2
    I personally would say that no, suggestions of this kind does not work. Dominate can't invoke feelings in a person which is what all of these examples boils down to.

    What you could do is, in the case of example 1, tell your victim something like "You will show the utmost respect to this person."





    English is not my native language, so i apologize for errors in grammar or spelling.

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    • #3
      I don't think one would work, seeing as it directly prohibits illusions or false memories. Nothing would make them think it is actually The Don. I think Cadmiuncadamium's suggestion is fitting enough to accomplish the same thing. Or 'treat this man as though he were X person' or rather 'as you would treat X person'.

      Again, I think it really toes the line from 'directives' when you are trying to instill feelings. I think 'act as thought you love this job' or 'do this job as though you loved it' would be fine. But actually making them love it? Eh, don't think it goes that far. We'd definitely get into some weird territory if you could command feelings in that nature. Maybe I'm off on this?

      I think you could possibly get away with three if you were very careful in the wording. 'Treat me with respect' and variations for a while and perhaps the person would slowly start to feel that way after unknowingly acting that way. But it depends, and Conditioning would be more appropriate.

      I think three is often underappreciated, especially if used on someone you've never met before. I always wanted to try the idea of beating an enemy, then changing their memory so they think you actually helped them significantly, gaining a friend.

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      • #4
        Yeah, I definitely agree that dominate can't create feelings. That's actually a strength of dominate; it's straightforward, blunt, and reliable. You can dominate people into killing people that they love with enough successes; it doesn't care much about how they feel. You can likewise dominate people to give their all to a certain task they might otherwise not enjoy, but they're still going to hate it. The horror of dominate is that it makes you a prisoner of your own mind, cognizant of your actions, and still even hating them, but unable to stop yourself.

        The existence of conditioning leads me to think that 3 is inappropriate. They might get stockholm syndrome, but that's a function of psychology, not Dominate.

        Similarly with Dominate 3 I think you could create a combination of memories that would influence someone's loyalties, but that's a function of psychology again, not Dominate itself. Not reliable.

        If you want to emotionally control people, you're going to have to pick up Presence.

        <Tremere mode>But why would you want to go and do that? Unthinking, unfeeling servants are way better. When I need a trigger pulled or a haven moltoved I don't need my ghouls thinking about it. Thinking is my job.</Tremere Mode>

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        • #5
          Let me shift focus a bit and rephrase my questions slightly.

          Using Dominate 2 and 3, is it possible to provide elements of what Conditioning or the Malkavian Restructure power provide? More limited of course, but could you create changes in the personality of the victim over time? Like building (or strengthening) loyalty? Perhaps changing their Demeanor or Nature? I guess to put it more succinctly is it possible to change motivations or personality traits over time so that "within reason" a vampire can work with "what's there" and sculpt someone with desireable traits?

          If not, what other power might be appropriate for low level but ongoing or long-term use? Or should this be a separate thread?

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          • #6
            Zanos (and others) : For me, I love ghouls. But they have problems, the most obvious ones being maintaining them and the fact that they have those quirks like frenzying and killing people. Fully Bound mortals have the emotional problems. I'd love to find a way to use Dominate to create absolutely loyal mortals by scuplting them into the best servants.

            Stuff like: "So you are a Veteran? Wonderful. Consider me your commander in chief". "If you have a beef with me, come and talk to me about it instead of betraying me". "You will never communicate this in any way without my express prior permission".

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            • #7
              Dominate doesn't work the way you desire it to. Conditioning, which is what you want, also takes away the individual nature of the person as they are conditioned to act a particular way even when they would rather not. What you want is something akin to what happened in Inception, and we see how that went for the poor wife.

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              • #8
                Zanos Dominate can create feelings, just not the way Presence can. By using memory alteration you can make the target remember what ever is needed to develop the feelings you are after. It just depends on how skillfully the Dominate user is in their application of the discipline.

                ‚ÄčAs for the OP line of thinking, Dominate is not Code Geass and as such it does not rewire your brain to accommodate everything you want with a single command. But when you mix and match the results of the various levels of it, over time you can get similar results. Reweave enough memories and the targets mind starts going in a different direction all on its own, using Dominate * & ** keep the target on track to reach the state you are after. But all of this takes time and careful planning.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Thoth View Post
                  Zanos Dominate can create feelings, just not the way Presence can. By using memory alteration you can make the target remember what ever is needed to develop the feelings you are after. It just depends on how skillfully the Dominate user is in their application of the discipline.
                  I...er...said that?

                  "Similarly with Dominate 3 I think you could create a combination of memories that would influence someone's loyalties, but that's a function of psychology again, not Dominate itself. Not reliable."

                  You can use dominate as a tool like any other to influence someone's psychology, but you can't directly dominate someone into feeling something.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by g3taso View Post

                    1. "This man is Don Corleone", aka this man is to be feared and respected. Creates a long-term conception or impression of the man. It's not a task, but I would call it more of a persistent idea.
                    .
                    That sounds more like Dementation. Heck, it reminds me of the Dementation scene in Bloodlines where you make your old friend think you're her long lost turtle.

                    "Shelly??? Holy crap you got big! I'm sorry I flushed you, I thought you were dead. Sooo, what's it like to be a turle?"

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                    • #11
                      I agree with all of the above,

                      Dominate 3 will enable you to give your victim false memory something needed to create a bond. Then use Presence to help yourself make a good impression. To use Dominate 3 by itself to conditionate someone to be loyal to the death, I would never allow something like that to be done, not because its impossible simply put, deep down if a person is the kind of person who would sell his mother for a gun, no amount of dominate(at least not at that level) will ever change that, at the core, he will remain that same double crossing piece of shit. That being said, you could always search for that type of person, loyal, someone who would die for a friend. Maybe a good to heart soldier, brave and bold and ready to serve and help. That person with the right amount of memory could be wired to believe you're his best friend in the world, you guys go way back, and he knows you would put your life on the line for him (or so he believe) and he would do the same for you.

                      To me that would be as close as you could ever get to someone who has your back to the very end. Also being genuinely good with that person could help, if ever he was to discover the truth, aside from lying to him about who you are and what you are, he may have developed a friendship that will hold true even if he feels kinda betrayed.

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                      • #12
                        The most subtle use of Dominate is that if you discover that someone has Dominated you, you know, with a reasonable likelihood, that you could improve your blood by diablerizing them.

                        Oh, wait, you mean subtle on the part of the Dominator?

                        Implanting minor memories of times when you had fun together and bonded as buddies could be somewhat useful. Probably worth a small bonus on social rolls, at least. "Remember last week when we sat around and talked about our hopes and fears, I want you to know I really value your friendship, man. That talk meant a lot to me."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
                          The most subtle use of Dominate is that if you discover that someone has Dominated you, you know, with a reasonable likelihood, that you could improve your blood by diablerizing them.
                          You can dominate Kindred of equal generation, so this will not always be the case. You should also probably stay away from someone that can reliably dominate you.

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                          • #14
                            Which is why it's "with a reasonable likelihood". It does, however, tell you that the one Dominating you is not of weaker blood.

                            For non-Tremere, this is about the most intelligence that can be reliably gathered about the relative blood strength of other vampires. If nothing else, it tells you the Dominator's sire would be a good target for diablerie. When vampires go around Dominating other vampires, they should really keep in mind that they may be tipping their hand, especially if several of their victims get together and compare notes.

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                            • #15
                              Contrary to most editions, the Dark Ages Vampire version of Dominate 2 does allow suggestions. From page 187 of Dark Ages Vampire: "A much more subtle use of this ability simply imposes an idea or concept on the victim's mind -- "You are a brave warrior" or "Your lord's wife is a very handsome woman." The subject includes this idea in his or her routine activities, acting on it as opportunity presents and according to his or her Nature. Again, eye contact must be maintained throughout the implanting of the idea, but one may do so more subtly than by giving a string of precise instructions."

                              Personally, it's my favourite version, since it allows for so much mischief.

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