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  • Mask of a Thousand Faces Q&A

    1) Is the Mask of a Thousand Faces power reflected by a mirror? What I mean to say is if a vampire is using MoaTF to present an visage illusion other than his own does that image reflect back from a mirror if one is presented? Or would it be that anyone looking at the vampire sees the image the vampire wants to be seen but anyone looking at a mirror would see the vampire's true visage?

    2) Is MoaTF bugged? It says that when using this power to imitate an appearance higher than one's own appearance score that it costs one blood point for each dot higher than your own that you are trying to mimic. Now I realize that there are a few clans for which obfuscate is an In-Clan Discipline but Obfuscate was clearly created with the Nosferatu in mind, Since they don't even have an appearance score that means MoaTF costs them at least one BP per use if not more, dependent upon what they're trying to accomplish. Just seems kind of wonky to me to make the clan that relies on it the most has to pay for each use of it but for most anyone else using it it is very likely free to use.

    3) If question #1 is answered with a 'yes' and a mirror does reflect the desired image back then wouldn't a Lasombra be able to use it to bypass their clan curse rather easily? Suddenly that curse is not such a big deal after all and its a lot easier to infiltrate the Camarilla or just interact with mortal society in general.

  • #2
    1 - Mask of a Thousand Faces wouldn't be reflected by a mirror in the sense that it's still a mental trick, but the subject being affected by Obfuscate would indeed see what the Obfuscate user wants to see. The power still works as intended.

    2 - I just use older versions of the power where there's no blood cost at all. Nosferatu do indeed have difficulty posing as anything but ugly or ordinary people, until they level up their acting ability enough to pull this off.

    3 - Nope, the Lasombra clan curse continues working just fine. The Obfuscate illusion might not be broken when you look at the user, but you will realize that you are facing a Lasombra once you realize there's no reflection. The clan curse continues being a dead giveaway.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by WilyQuixote View Post
      2) Is MoaTF bugged? It says that when using this power to imitate an appearance higher than one's own appearance score that it costs one blood point for each dot higher than your own that you are trying to mimic. Now I realize that there are a few clans for which obfuscate is an In-Clan Discipline but Obfuscate was clearly created with the Nosferatu in mind, Since they don't even have an appearance score that means MoaTF costs them at least one BP per use if not more, dependent upon what they're trying to accomplish. Just seems kind of wonky to me to make the clan that relies on it the most has to pay for each use of it but for most anyone else using it it is very likely free to use.
      Considering that MoaTF circumvents 100% of the Nosferatu clan curse, paying blood for it is a feature, not a flaw.

      Comment


      • #4
        It doesn't really circumvent the curse at all - only install a false sense of confidence. Assuming a high Acting skill, Nosferatu using MoaTF is like depending on high-level Fortitude, where nothing seems to hurt you ... except for that one time, when it really matters. As Clanbook Nosferatu: Revised and other pieces make it clear, this is a very tempting power for Nosferatu, as they can now feel they can safely impersonate humans, carry on normal interactions, walk down the street, and so forth. While extremely useful in a pinch, using it as a crutch is fatal. You can pull it off flawlessly for 10,000 rolls, but if you mess up the 10,001st, you will be a massive Masquerade breach. Even if you think your Acting skill is up for it, other vampires will be extremely nervous about the idea of Nosferatu strolling down the street and will take you to task.

        Granted, this may not come up as an issue in gameplay since high-level PCs who can reliably use the power will not be making a year's worth of MoaTF rolls, and the weakness seems confined to fluff. But if players abuse this, the ST is given the option to throw them a curveball and teach them a lesson. It's perfectly acceptable for the offending Nosferatu to be discovered by the Society of Leopold, or for the coterie to suddenly find themselves in a Hunter chronicle.

        In my books, a Nosferatu who relies on Obfuscate to survive is a dead Nosferatu, and one who relies on MoaTF to carry on like other vampires becomes dead much quicker.

        Comment


        • #5
          Well, Mask of a Thousand Faces mitigates the Nosferatu clan flaw, but isn't a perfect fix.

          It does cost blood if you don't want an Appearance of zero, so just taking a walk on a nice night is something the Nosferatu needs to plan for. Unless your Manipulation + Performance dice pool is bought up to seven or higher, you must roll to activate it, and we've all seen unforeseen failures and even botches occur at the worst possible time. Also, even if you have a high enough dice pool for the auto-success, it only works under favorable conditions and only gives one success. I assume that would not include instances where the viewer is specifically checking out your Appearance, like a cop during a traffic stop, a bouncer deciding whether to let you past the velvet rope, or an all-night check cashing place deciding whether to do business with you. These would all require actual rolls, and so have a chance of failing... which means a Masquerade breach.

          The big problem today is the prevalence of video recording. It is extremely difficult to go a full night without showing up on camera somewhere. If you are a vampire who cares about the Masquerade, this is a serious problem. Now, not every minute of footage is examined, so it may take a while to catch up with you, but especially with automated face recognition software it eventually will lead to a breach.

          I think Moa1000F basically just changes the Nosferatu weakness from a debilitating, life destroying curse into a significant impediment similar in onerousness to, say, the Tzimisce. They basically don't have a terrible flaw, as long as they plan well, until the plan fails... then it gets really bad, really fast.

          Comment


          • #6
            How would I, as an ST, rule on a Lasombra using MoaTF to create an illusory visage, and thereby create a reflection?

            I would allow it to work in the short term... sort of... but not if the viewer specifically searches for it, or if they know the person viewed is suspected of being a Lasombra. Oh, and there is a big, big possible reason to not allow it at all.

            Obfuscate meddles with the mind of the viewer in such a way that the viewer's mind itself fills in the details for the illusion created.

            So, if a Nosferatu were standing in front of a vase, blocking it from view, then turned on Obfuscate, the viewer's mind would fill in the scene, making the vase once again "visible". Except, it isn't really... it's simply a sort of afterimage created in the mind of the viewer by the viewer. For as long as the Nosferatu is blocking the line of sight, the vase (and surrounding sensory input) is only the fulfillment of expectation on the part of the viewer. As such, it is unreliable and possibly wavers slightly or has odd sensory artifacts, like the shadow cast by the vase not shifting properly when someone turns on another light source, the vase not having clear details because the viewer didn't really register them last time they saw it, or maybe the vase's location doesn't shift due to parallax when the viewer shifts their stance.

            Teeny, tiny differences, which is what Auspex latches onto to break through Obfuscate. That, and the fact that people with Auspex don't tend to let weird, little details slip by them through inattention.

            In fact, though, given how lazy human minds are... ummm, I mean highly efficient, not wasting energy on pointless tasks... most viewers wouldn't bother to fill in the details, they would just create a vague memory that a ceramic something-or-other was there and move on with their lives. Obfuscate isn't invisibility, it's more like a Somebody Else's Problem Field. (Which is, btw, grounded in a real psychological effect.)

            In the same way, if a Lasombra uses Obfuscate 3 to look like a cop, no one would think to look in the mirror to see if he reflected, if they did look (like to watch him via the rear-view mirror in his cop cruiser to guess if he was writing a ticket or a warning) and he didn't show, the mind would be pushed by Obfuscate into passively, and without examination, assuming that he was in their blindspot or the mirror must be mis-aligned. The viewer might even create a reflection of the cop in the mirror if of low willpower, because that's what the viewer expects to see... again with the weird, inattentive lack of detail common to an SEP field, though.

            However, if a viewer has reason to specifically look for a reflection in nearby mirrors... let's say they are expecting to be ambushed by a rival, all-Laombra pack... then Obfuscate would have difficulty patching over that, requiring more successes on the Obfuscate activation roll.

            If someone is very clearly and consciously examining a mirror to see if someone is a Lasombra... say, if a newly arrived vampire were presenting himself to the Prince for recognition, and the Sheriff consciously presents a large mirror to test for Lasombra-ness... then Obfuscate would likely fail to produce a reflection for high willpower viewers, viewers with Auspex, and any vampire who succeeded on an Awareness, or maybe Occult, roll. Meanwhile, low willpower viewers would "happen to glance away" when the mirror was held up, or even see a reflection. Possibly with little hiccups in the image, like seeing the exact image of the Lasombra in the mirror, rather than what should be a different angle, for example.

            And, if the viewer knows the user is a Lasombra, and therefore they would be more surprised to see a reflection than not, then their mind won't likely produce a reflection.

            If an ST wants a rationale to disallow this illusory reflection, though, there is a very good one. Disciplines have difficulty over-riding a clan weakness. eg: Vicissitude and Nosferatu

            If you believe Caine cursed Lasombra with no reflection, then perhaps a paltry level three power shouldn't negate Caine's own uber-magic.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
              [U]

              If an ST wants a rationale to disallow this illusory reflection, though, there is a very good one. Disciplines have difficulty over-riding a clan weakness. eg: Vicissitude and Nosferatu

              If you believe Caine cursed Lasombra with no reflection, then perhaps a paltry level three power shouldn't negate Caine's own uber-magic.
              I agree with this bit. However, the idea of using Obfuscate 3 to look like a cop does bring up a very good point: smart use of powers does compensate for a lot of dangerous situations. If a Lasombra uses MoaTF to appear as a cop, that's something very attention-grabbing. Only the most perceptive human would bother with rearview mirrors and whatnot and put two and two together. Messing with people's subconscious instincts is a great idea: it's much more difficult for 'the cop is a vampire' to occur to somebody than 'the guy in the suit with the funny accent is a vampire'. This ties in with the laziness of the human mind, as you've said.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
                If an ST wants a rationale to disallow this illusory reflection, though, there is a very good one. Disciplines have difficulty over-riding a clan weakness. eg: Vicissitude and Nosferatu

                If you believe Caine cursed Lasombra with no reflection, then perhaps a paltry level three power shouldn't negate Caine's own uber-magic.
                Um. Are we still talking about Mask of the Thousand Faces? The discipline that overrides the Nosferatu clan weakness with absolutely no difficulty? Hell, even Vicissitude doesn't have difficulty with Nosferatu. It can't fix them permanently, sure, but it can make them pretty for a while. Why can't MotTF temporarily fix Lasombra weakness? If anything, your evidence proves the opposite of your point.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I guess it's mainly because of how it contributes to atmosphere. A Cleopatra-type Nosferatu with Obfuscate 3, desperately clinging to faked human looks, makes for a pretty intense story. The eventual discovery and Masquerade breach is all the more intense. When a Lasombra says that he hasn't seen himself in a mirror in a thousand years, that's pretty dramatic. Lasombra can end up with derangements about whether they're even real or not. Take away those two things and what do you get?

                  The Nosferatu clan curse admits temporary cover-ups, but those only make things worse for them in the long run - an ironic punishment. The Lasombra clan curse makes Lasombra feel as if they're not even there, and pushes them to affirm their existence through heavy-handed dealings with others. I'd just say these particular curses are designed this way.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by WilyQuixote View Post
                    1) Is the Mask of a Thousand Faces power reflected by a mirror? What I mean to say is if a vampire is using MoaTF to present an visage illusion other than his own does that image reflect back from a mirror if one is presented? Or would it be that anyone looking at the vampire sees the image the vampire wants to be seen but anyone looking at a mirror would see the vampire's true visage?
                    It doesn't specify. I'd probably say it does change in the reflection, if only because a mirror would be a pretty easy way to break through it. As well, seeing the Kindred allows the victim's perceptions be influenced.

                    2) Is MoaTF bugged? It says that when using this power to imitate an appearance higher than one's own appearance score that it costs one blood point for each dot higher than your own that you are trying to mimic. Now I realize that there are a few clans for which obfuscate is an In-Clan Discipline but Obfuscate was clearly created with the Nosferatu in mind, Since they don't even have an appearance score that means MoaTF costs them at least one BP per use if not more, dependent upon what they're trying to accomplish. Just seems kind of wonky to me to make the clan that relies on it the most has to pay for each use of it but for most anyone else using it it is very likely free to use.
                    Seems fine to me. Just helps ensure a Nosferatu isn't so easily circumventing their curse. They can appear normal without too much issue, but walking around like a model is still going to be a draining issue.

                    3) If question #1 is answered with a 'yes' and a mirror does reflect the desired image back then wouldn't a Lasombra be able to use it to bypass their clan curse rather easily? Suddenly that curse is not such a big deal after all and its a lot easier to infiltrate the Camarilla or just interact with mortal society in general.
                    I would say the Lasombra weakness wouldn't be overcome. Other Cainites have reflections to be altered. I don't think this power should be creating reflections where there are none.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Monalfie View Post
                      Seems fine to me. Just helps ensure a Nosferatu isn't so easily circumventing their curse. They can appear normal without too much issue, but walking around like a model is still going to be a draining issue.

                      I would say the Lasombra weakness wouldn't be overcome. Other Cainites have reflections to be altered. I don't think this power should be creating reflections where there are none.
                      To be clear: circumventing the Nosferatu clan curse is possible with the power. Circumventing the Lasombra clan curse is not possible with the power. Just making sure I got it.


                      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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BenjCano View Post
                        To be clear: circumventing the Nosferatu clan curse is possible with the power. Circumventing the Lasombra clan curse is not possible with the power. Just making sure I got it.
                        Well, my rationale isn't that the it shouldn't work for Lasombra because the curse is too powerful to overcome. My rationale is that the power is based around altering how people perceive the person. So I think Nosferatu using it to change how people perceive them is fitting. But a Lasombra creating a reflection where there isn't one? It doesn't quite fit to me. There is nothing to alter.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Monalfie View Post
                          Well, my rationale isn't that the it shouldn't work for Lasombra because the curse is too powerful to overcome. My rationale is that the power is based around altering how people perceive the person. So I think Nosferatu using it to change how people perceive them is fitting. But a Lasombra creating a reflection where there isn't one? It doesn't quite fit to me. There is nothing to alter.
                          It's not, though. It wouldn't be creating a reflection. It would be creating the mental impression of a reflection different from what is perceived. Which is the same thing you're willing to let happen in the case of a Nosferatu.


                          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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BenjCano View Post
                            It's not, though. It wouldn't be creating a reflection. It would be creating the mental impression of a reflection different from what is perceived. Which is the same thing you're willing to let happen in the case of a Nosferatu.
                            Yet, there is nothing being perceived to change. There is no reflection to alter. I see your point, though. Given the unclear nature, it might be more consistent to just allow it with more successes.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Monalfie View Post
                              Yet, there is nothing being perceived to change. There is no reflection to alter. I see your point, though. Given the unclear nature, it might be more consistent to just allow it with more successes.
                              Say hypothetically that I'm being reflected in a mirror, and I'm using MoaTF to create the illusion that I'm shorter than I actually am. And just for this illustrative example, let's also say that I'm neither a Nosferatu nor a Lasombra, and just a garden-variety Obfuscate user. Setite, if it matters to you.

                              Now behind me in the room there's something on the opposite wall. In the TRUE REFLECTION, that thing on the wall (a clock, let's say) is obscured by my head. There's an absence of the reflection of the clock. But when I use MoaTF, now I'm too short to obstruct the reflection of the clock.

                              Would a person looking into the mirror and who has insufficient Auspex to pierce my Obfuscate see the clock? If the answer is yes, then we have established that MoaTF can create a mental impression in a reflection of something that isn't there. If the answer is no, then we run into some problems. If a Nosferatu looks like Max Shreck from the movie of the same name, he has no hair. It sounds like you'd be arguing that the reflection image from the MoaTF can't create something out of nothing, than any reflected image would have to be bald. If he used MoaTF to create an image of someone's signature piece of jewelry or a distinctive costume, then again we would have a patchwork quilt of reflected images and non-reflected images.

                              Going with the first, that MoaTF is reflected in a mirror, is consistent and easy and does have the side effect of bypassing both the Nosferatu and the Lasombra clan weakness. The second way that non-present elements of a source image won't be reflected might also be internally consistent, but it creates a nightmare of bookkeeping and positioning to keep track of. I mean, we have the possibility of a clock on the wall not being reflected because of a trivial height difference between the real person and their MoaTF reflection, and then we have to consider clothing, hair, jewelry, etc.


                              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

                              Comment

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