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Do your vamps routinely wear masks when going about their business?

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  • Do your vamps routinely wear masks when going about their business?

    Do vampires (PC and NPC) in your campaigns routinely conceal their faces when hunting or committing other acts of skulduggery?

    It always seemed cool and obvious to me that they would, but I've gotten the impression most storytellers and players don't bother. A lot of "breach stories" and related drama can be traced back to someone's face getting recognized at an awkward moment, something a mask might have prevented.

    Because a vamp really wants to keep their mouth exposed, I've personally grown fond of a standard-issue black gauze face hood that fits tight and hides everything else (including the eyes since the gauze can be seen through up close). It's not as cool as a highly personalized (dare I say supervillain) mask, but it's got a good creepy inhuman vibe and focuses the victim's eyes on the business end of the monster.

    EDIT: On further consideration, this sounds more judgmental than I intended, sorry. I'm open to the idea that what seems obvious to me is not in fact so cut and dry.
    Last edited by MatterofTact; 10-12-2018, 12:48 PM.

  • MatterofTact
    replied
    Originally posted by Dogstar View Post
    Personally I'd say that this is mainly a matter of campaign style and thus something to be handled around the table and that can easily be justified by 'rule of cool' - there's plenty of stuff in Vampire that is already there because it's cool rather than practical so what's one more element.
    I would personally argue vampire and most other settings built on a 'hidden supernatural world that interacts with ours' are utterly dependent on Rule of Cool because the central premise is too absurd to survive any detailed scrutiny.

    Remember in the video game Bloodlines how they make a big deal out of one serial killer running around in Santa Monica in the early game, causing a few deaths, possibly endangering the masquerade, then later in the Sabbat-controlled hotel in downtown LA you're literally wading through lakes of blood coming from the hundreds of victims that festoon the place? Yeah, in my experience that's typical WoD whiplash.

    I'm not complaining by the way, just saying I always keep Rule of Cool firmly in mind.
    Last edited by MatterofTact; 10-17-2018, 06:48 AM.

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  • MatterofTact
    replied
    Originally posted by Lian View Post
    I Mean my statement was abit tongue and cheek but I know my players.. the second someone puts on a mask its... going at Least Daredevil. I don't intrinsically assume this is an issue for your game.
    It's ok, I was just clarifying because that's a perfectly normal assumption many people might make. This is a very "super hero/villain" moment in our culture after all, enough to eclipse regular criminal / masked killer, and Masquerade has been run as dark superheroics by many groups.

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  • Lian
    replied
    Originally posted by MatterofTact View Post




    I realize now this has been a subtext assumption throughout the thread that I should have anticipated. No, as I've just stated above, I don't have vampire Green Goblins running around my setting.
    I Mean my statement was abit tongue and cheek but I know my players.. the second someone puts on a mask its... going at Least Daredevil. I don't intrinsically assume this is an issue for your game.

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  • Illithid
    replied
    I had a character that always wore a mask and body suit to prevent even skin cells or hair being left behind. Not that most people noticed, because that was under Mask of a Thousand Faces.
    It was also there to confuse the heck out of cops when they compare witness reports to the security footage.

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  • Theodrim
    replied
    I'd just like to point out the disciplines already mentioned, and those that haven't, that would aid one in not needing a mask by obscuring memories of their appearance or making witnesses disinclined to snitch, are better put to use getting others to do shady shit for you.

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  • Dogstar
    replied
    Personally I'd say that this is mainly a matter of campaign style and thus something to be handled around the table and that can easily be justified by 'rule of cool' - there's plenty of stuff in Vampire that is already there because it's cool rather than practical so what's one more element.

    However as a counterpoint to what other people have said I think that many metropolitan crowds would mostly turn a blind eye to someone in a mask (this may be a cultural difference between England and America however) especially if that someone were wearing or doing something to validate the mask - cosplay/entertainment/costume/outlandish subculture. Even the police will ignore someone in a mask if they appear to be a performer of some sort - although they'd ask the person to remove that mask asap if they found some other reason to stop them. In England the police are not meant to stop you simply for wearing 'different' clothing - you also need to be acting suspiciously.

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  • MatterofTact
    replied
    Originally posted by Monalfie View Post
    I think it related to your wording of 'scattered reports across the nation' about masked individuals. That starts to become a profile. One from which a person might build a conspiracy.
    Ah, a fair observation. I get around issues like that by having the Camarilla bankroll the spread of obviously inane conspiracy theories that have nothing to do with them, that way the culture at large is dismissive of anyone trying to tie anything together into a neat little story.

    "It's just regular random criminals wearing cheap disposable masks, man, like wild west bandits. There's nothing special going on."

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  • Monalfie
    replied
    Personally, not typically for my characters. Though, I did have a Nosferatu that always wore a mask, that was kind of fun. Just depends how likely wearing a mask will make you stick out. Going around a nightclub in a mask, for example, can be a negative.
    Originally posted by MatterofTact View Post
    I don't see how. The Camarilla wants no vamp getting spotted or caught doing anything, ever.
    I think it related to your wording of 'scattered reports across the nation' about masked individuals. That starts to become a profile. One from which a person might build a conspiracy.

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  • MatterofTact
    replied
    Originally posted by Spencer from The Hills View Post

    That sounds like something that's going to piss off the Camarilla sooner or later.
    I don't see how. The Camarilla wants no vamp getting spotted or caught doing anything, ever. The mask is not your first line of defense. Your first line of defense is being so careful, so stealthy, so deceptive that no mortal realizes a sketchy person was involved, especially not a specific sketchy person.

    The mask is so that if you fuck up, which you will in time, then witnesses will start blabbering about a faceless boogieman instead of providing a description that traces back to you, which in turn leads to an investigation of the specific details of your identity that threaten the masquerade (and thus your continued existence).

    Reports of masked individuals up to no good are examples of that first line of defense occasionally failing around the nation, not idiot showboat vampires assuming a mask is all they need to act with impunity.

    Originally posted by Lian View Post
    No, because once it starts we go full superhero.
    I realize now this has been a subtext assumption throughout the thread that I should have anticipated. No, as I've just stated above, I don't have vampire Green Goblins running around my setting.

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  • Lian
    replied
    No, because once it starts we go full superhero.

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  • Spencer from The Hills
    replied
    Originally posted by MatterofTact View Post
    Note that in my campaigns a lot of kindred use very similar masks too, leading to scattered reports across the nation of different masked individuals of many different builds being involved in many mutually exclusive incidents, so knowing a masked individual is involved doesn't advance you that much.
    That sounds like something that's going to piss off the Camarilla sooner or later.

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  • Bluecho
    replied
    I'm with MatterofTact on this one. There is a time and a place for a face-concealing mask, but the utility to be found when one is appropriate is inarguable. Especially since most flexible mask material - like that of a balaclava or ski mask - allows the wearer transition between worn and unworn in seconds. You can hide a ski mask in a pocket, and throw it away if need be. The user who "dares" to use a mask isn't locked into their choice. Nor is a mask's utility somehow negated by there existing ways of getting by without it. Saying "you can just use X" is not a mark against wearing a mask. If the vampire uses the mask in the right circumstances, it has the potential to make her job considerably easier. At that point, NOT having a mask is effectively handicapping herself.

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  • MatterofTact
    replied
    Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post

    Let's assume that instead of walking out of the warehouse, you crawl up a ventilation duct onto the roof, slink across several more rooftops, and then surreptitiously jump into the trunk of a waiting car driven by your ghoul.

    If no one spots you doing any of this, the mask doesn't help.
    But if they do, it does. If it's a choice between a masked individual being connected to some crimes and an approximation of my face appearing in rumors and police sketches, I'll take the former easily.

    Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
    If someone does spot you... well, it's odd that you're up there, but getting a good look at your face is probably a tall order in a lot of situations (as let's remember you're only getting spotted at night). It's a lot easier to say "he was wearing a mask" than it is to identify your face in a photo lineup, and the mask broadcasts that you're up to no good. Wearing the mask might be better if you're only spotted once, as it's that much harder to identify you, but if you're spotted enough times it's better for witnesses to say "I didn't get a good look at their face" than "it was a masked figure, every time."
    I'm not sure where you're going with this. See my answer above. Masks are disposable and optional on an encounter-to-encounter basis. They're not like a suit of armor that takes minutes to don or doff. When they're useful they're really useful, and when they're a liability they don't come out, or they get burned and you switch tactics for a while.

    Note that in my campaigns a lot of kindred use very similar masks too, leading to scattered reports across the nation of different masked individuals of many different builds being involved in many mutually exclusive incidents, so knowing a masked individual is involved doesn't advance you that much.

    Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
    Batman wears his mask to conceal his identity as Bruce Wayne. Everyone recognizes him on sight, which is also what he wants--to be a symbol criminals fear and Gotham's good citizens can trust and be inspired by. He specifically wants to stand out. Kindred generally don't want this.
    I only brought up Batman as an example of how the moment and act of putting on or taking off a mask isn't that fraught with liability.

    Originally posted by False Epiphany View Post
    As others point out, vampiric healing means you can effectively wear a different face every day even without Vicissitude. A mask is superior if you want to specifically conceal your face and make it hard for people to identify you--but given how much easier it is to notice you, it's hard to think of many situations where a mask is the better option.
    It is a good idea and I'll investigate it more, but there are certainly situations where having no face is better than having your face plus some bruises or scars or whatever. People understand makeup is a thing, and it's not like there's no precedent for criminals or terrorists wearing masks in real life. Google image "bank robber wearing mask" brings up a huge variety of incidents.

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  • False Epiphany
    replied
    Originally posted by MatterofTact View Post
    The sort of players I usually deal with don't simply walk out of warehouses, across parking lots, or through neighborhoods when they're in the 'mode' where a mask is useful. They sneak everywhere. They slink across rooftops, through back alleys and in sewers. Cars are for ghouls to drive, after you've surreptitiously jumped into the trunk.
    Let's assume that instead of walking out of the warehouse, you crawl up a ventilation duct onto the roof, slink across several more rooftops, and then surreptitiously jump into the trunk of a waiting car driven by your ghoul.

    If no one spots you doing any of this, the mask doesn't help.

    If someone does spot you... well, it's odd that you're up there, but getting a good look at your face is probably a tall order in a lot of situations (as let's remember you're only getting spotted at night). It's a lot easier to say "he was wearing a mask" than it is to identify your face in a photo lineup, and the mask broadcasts that you're up to no good. Wearing the mask might be better if you're only spotted once, as it's that much harder to identify you, but if you're spotted enough times it's better for witnesses to say "I didn't get a good look at their face" than "it was a masked figure, every time."

    Originally posted by MatterofTact View Post
    Basically, none of the above are points against the use of masks for the same reasons they are not usually points against Batman doing most of his work in a mask.
    Batman wears his mask to conceal his identity as Bruce Wayne. Everyone recognizes him on sight, which is also what he wants--to be a symbol criminals fear and Gotham's good citizens can trust and be inspired by. He specifically wants to stand out. Kindred generally don't want this.

    As others point out, vampiric healing means you can effectively wear a different face every day even without Vicissitude. A mask is superior if you want to specifically conceal your face and make it hard for people to identify you--but given how much easier it is to notice you, it's hard to think of many situations where a mask is the better option.

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