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Lasombra Weakness and Cast no Reflection and video recordings

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
    For me, it's just not fair or thematically consistent for a weakness to change depending on how inconvenient it is for the vampire. It should be based on a rule that can be understood. Anything else, and you risk screwing over the players in a way that isn't fun or fair.
    For (nearly) every other clan, I would agree with you. However, if an individual ST wants a less predictable version of the Lasombra weakness it could be justified.

    It's a well established part of the Lasombra fluff that there is an alien intelligence which lies behind (within? suffused throughout?) the shadows the Keepers don't so much create as call forth. If an ST wanted to have the weakness activate when least convenient for the PC, but not when it would be helpful, it could be justified as that alien intelligence sabotaging the Lasombra.

    So, the Lasombra weakness, however, may, in some sense, be sentient, spiteful, and, capricious. This would only add to the horror elements of the game. "I have an incomprehensible alien god inside of me. I can force it to give me amazing shadow powers, but it actively hates me, so I need to maintain total control at all times. Or at the very least manipulate it into helping me by misleading it about my intentions." is more thematic than, "I can't do my own hair and make-up, because I don't show up in mirrors."

    (This reading of the weakness, btw, makes me wonder whether the Keepers are called that because of the Biblical quote, or whether they are "keeping" back the tides of some alien force from intruding on our reality. A Void Engineer could write a whole career's worth of academic papers on the Lasombra and their Abyss.)

    All that said, however, personally, at my table, I think it would still be easier to establish a predictable set of parameters and let close-calls be adjudicated as they arise. Stopping the game for a few minutes to ponder what the alien intelligence will do every time the PCs pass through the view of a CCTV camera could bog things down.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Quatar View Post
      How do you handle this? Do Lasombra and vampires with the Cast no Reflection flaw show up on video? Would you treat them differently or the same?

      On the one hand, "I use a webcam and a big screen to simulate a mirror" seems like an easy way around the whole "you don't see yourself" problem.
      On the other hand, it feels like it could turn the whole flaw into a massive boost for sneaky vampires. Of course now, anyone watching live might notice the "invisible" vampire on the feed.

      I'm just not sure how to handle it
      I don't really see this as a problem. I feel like "oh noes, Lasombra can't be caught on surveilance tapes!" is more of a forum white room problem than a real game problem. The point of Lasombra weakness is to have a Dracula moment where Lasombra comes to a party and mid-way people notice the lack of reflection. It's a dramatic masquerade breach that you can't avoid or plan against (I don't believe that anyone can be OCD enough to keep track of all the reflective surfaces at all times 24/7 for eternity). "You've been caught on a surveilance tape doing vampire stuff" is a gotcha plot, not an obstacle to work around as part of another plot. In case of Lasombra you just don't do such plot and everything is fine.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
        "oh noes, Lasombra can't be caught on surveilance tapes!" is more of a forum white room problem than a real game problem.
        Whether Lasombra are visible to mechanical and electronic sensors, though, can greatly change the intensity of the weakness.

        If they are not visible to electronic devices they will likely have difficulty with automatic doors, finding themselves unable to easily enter big box stores, hospitals, and many office buildings. They may have difficulty using phones and ATMs dependent on touch screen technology... almost certainly FTRI touchscreens, and possibly capacitative touch screens. Even if the touchscreens work, the face recognition security on iPhones may not. Their ability to simply use a telephone, whether electronic or old-timey analog, may be in doubt. Expect long delays and confused security personnel working airport security scanners. Lasombra may soon find themselves in extreme danger as pedestrians when self-driving cars finally come online. It's also not uncommon for certain service desks with very low foot traffic, like motel check-in desks in the middle of the night, to use cameras to alert an attendant that a customer needs assistance.

        Of all vampires, Lasombra, if they don't show up on cameras and other electronic sensors, would have the most reason to be frustrated with the advancement of human technology.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
          Of all vampires, Lasombra, if they don't show up on cameras and other electronic sensors, would have the most reason to be frustrated with the advancement of human technology.
          That might be true if Nosferatu didn't exist. The ubiquity of cameras and recording devices, with an infallible ability to penetrate the one thing that lets them move around and interact with the living world, is infinitely worse on Nosferatu than Lasombra.

          Aside from that, tho, your objections are trivial. Anyone with a working right arm who's encountered an automatic door that's not working, tries to close when you approach, or reset for service knows how easy they are to just pry open. Besides, last time I went to the hospital they had disability buttons next to the automatic doors to trigger a 1-minute open cycle, and that was NEXT to the manual doors.

          If the Lasombra simply MUST have access to his smart phone, they make touch-screen capacitor gloves. They were designed for cold weather in which the touch interface would be blocked by wool or cotton gloves, but there's no reason they can't be a part of a Lasombra's repertoire if they can't subcontract their smart phone usage to a ghoul or Dominated henchman. All of your other examples are kind of trivial.


          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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          • #20
            BenjCano

            You are absolutely right about the Nosferatu! I had not even thought of them. In their case, at least they can shop online now. Small consolation, but when you're a Nosferatu you have to take the tiny wins where you can.

            I'm not saying expanding the Lasombra weakness to include electronic devices makes it a debilitating weakness. It just changes it from a trivial flaw to a minor one, but it is a change. And it's a change that carries all sorts of weird complications an ST will need to take into account.

            The Lasombra have always had one of the more weaksauce weaknesses, and still would with or without including mechanical devices.

            You must admit, though, when pedestrians must rely on cameras in self-driving cars to recognize them and stop, it will be more dangerous to be a Lasombra than it is now.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post

              Whether Lasombra are visible to mechanical and electronic sensors, though, can greatly change the intensity of the weakness.

              If they are not visible to electronic devices they will likely have difficulty with automatic doors, finding themselves unable to easily enter big box stores, hospitals, and many office buildings. They may have difficulty using phones and ATMs dependent on touch screen technology... almost certainly FTRI touchscreens, and possibly capacitative touch screens. Even if the touchscreens work, the face recognition security on iPhones may not. Their ability to simply use a telephone, whether electronic or old-timey analog, may be in doubt. Expect long delays and confused security personnel working airport security scanners. Lasombra may soon find themselves in extreme danger as pedestrians when self-driving cars finally come online. It's also not uncommon for certain service desks with very low foot traffic, like motel check-in desks in the middle of the night, to use cameras to alert an attendant that a customer needs assistance.

              Of all vampires, Lasombra, if they don't show up on cameras and other electronic sensors, would have the most reason to be frustrated with the advancement of human technology.
              If Lasombra have problems with doors then your game is "Dracula, Dead and Loving It" slapstick comedy rather a game of personal horror or a game of bitchin' vampires or whatever. If that's your cup of tea - go with it.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post

                Is it possible you're thinking of the Xi Dundu? Part of their weakness is that they cast no shadow.

                (Which is a nearly impossible to run weakness, if you maintain any level of consistency.)

                Yeah I messed up. Still doesn't invalidate the the rest of that theory fortunately.


                Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                We don't need a scientific explanation. The World of Darkness is a magical world. The Lasombra weakness represents the old idea that vampires in general don't cast reflections, and that is because vampires are not suppose to have a soul, and folklore holds that mirrors reflect one's soul. That is why breaking a mirror is supposed to bring bad luck. And it is also why some cultures had a fear of cameras "stealing" their soul if their picture was taken.

                Because of that, I would normally hold that a Lasombra's image does not show up. However, there is a valid concern that the clan weakness now becomes a benefit, and I understand why some ST's will not allow that. I think a compromise could be reached that says, "Lasombra cannot see their own image EVER. If a camera or video recorder take a picture, they can't see it. However, the curse works in a way that is always to the detriment of the Lasombra. OTHER people when reviewing security footage can see just enough of a distorted image to make out the Lasombra, but sometimes they also notice that a Lasombra does not appear. Whatever the worse situation is (or even scenarios both over time), that is what happens to the Lasombra."
                For me scientific-like explanation helps to find consistency in the settings , While the folklore about vampires casting no reflection is well known, in the way you described it, it is not specific to Lasombra and doesn't really connect to their theme.

                The Weakness is a hindrance when you bring into account two things : The Masquerade and The Sabbat... Cast no reflection makes it easy for anyone to find out if a Lasombra is indeed a Lasombra on top of what was already mentioned regarding electronic scanners etc.

                Mortals can make a perception check to notice the vampire casts no reflection in a mirror , Camarilla Vampires can make a similar check to find out that the character is a suspected Sabbat , so this weakness can potentially cripple the Lasombra's manipulative cloak and dagger play. All this depends on if and how the Storyteller decide to challenge this weakness.
                Last edited by RadX; 11-13-2017, 07:44 PM.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
                  (This reading of the weakness, btw, makes me wonder whether the Keepers are called that because of the Biblical quote, or whether they are "keeping" back the tides of some alien force from intruding on our reality. A Void Engineer could write a whole career's worth of academic papers on the Lasombra and their Abyss.)
                  Well, the manual is pretty clear in stating that's about the biblical quote though =p

                  Originally posted by Nosimplehiway View Post
                  Whether Lasombra are visible to mechanical and electronic sensors, though, can greatly change the intensity of the weakness.
                  I don't know if I'd go that far though.
                  They might still activate motion sensors and touchscreens and trigger any alarm they stride in while the Curse simply doesn't allow their image to be replicated in any way. It's supposed to be a divine curse after all, not a Technocratic spell.

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                  • #24
                    I would still argue that it only effects mirror. If it is an infrared sensor no problem. It all goes back to if the device is using a mirror to capture the image. Since a lot of devices don't have mirrors as a part of the mechanism, I think it reduces the effect of the weakness. Now they would be able to hang a flatscreen with a mirrorless camera attached and see themselves as well as do their own makeup and what not. It would be difficult to walk through some electronic stores if they pass the wall of cameras though, since you would have a mix of the different type of cameras.

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