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  • Nyrufa
    started a topic Obfuscate Retcon?

    Obfuscate Retcon?

    So I've been recently hearing cases in which Obfuscate apparently does not work on monitoring devices, such as security cameras and the like. This has me very confused as to how in the holy hell the Nosferatu have managed to remain hidden from the world for so long, if that were the case. I remember playing Bloodlines, and using Obfuscate during the Museum level to walk right past the cameras. But if I dropped the illusion, and they saw me, the alarms instantly went off. So if Obfuscate doesn't affect security devices in the current setting of the game, there seems to be a point in its history where it did.

    Can anybody with more knowledge about this subject clarify the situation for me?

  • Cifer
    replied
    Oh, absolutely - that and "vampire culture" in general. Twilight may have irked some stuck-up Ventrue and curmudgeon Toreador, but it was a godsend for any vampire looking to create herds of young people who were perfectly fine with deeply unhealthy relationships.

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  • Morangias
    replied
    You know, I never thought about it, but it feels like the Camarilla should be interested in supporting and animating nerd culture in their cities - the more people are accustomed to seeing cosplayers and larpers and such, the less they are likely to notice small slip ups of the Masquerade.

    So... watch out, your FLGS may actually be sponsored by ancient bloodsuckers - and I don't mean Games Workshop.

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  • Bluecho
    replied
    Originally posted by Cifer View Post
    Funnily enough, as long as no SI operatives show up, illegal activities may even protect the Masquerade when getting filmed: "We've got the suspect on camera, but the footage is useless because they obviously wore some kind of ugly mask."
    Indeed, I can imagine Clan Nosferatu doing the best to promote Ugly Masks as a meme or artificial Stand Alone Complex. Just as groups like the Giovanni and Samedi benefit from the prevalence of "zombie walks" and other cosplay.

    Heck, it's not like the criminal elements of society are unfamiliar with wearing Halloween masks when they do crimes.

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  • Cifer
    replied
    Funnily enough, as long as no SI operatives show up, illegal activities may even protect the Masquerade when getting filmed: "We've got the suspect on camera, but the footage is useless because they obviously wore some kind of ugly mask."

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  • Bluecho
    replied
    First, though we've had ubiquitous security cameras for a while now, the quality of the footage left something to be desired for most of that history. Your average gas station would record footage as grainy and low resolution during the 90s, because high def cameras were expensive during those days. Even in modern times - especially in the World of Darkness, where things are meant to be crummier than our world - there will be parts of the urban landscape where security cameras aren't as good as they could be, simply because of tech adoption lag. Not everyone springs for the best equipment or gadgets the second they go on sale. As such, a Nosferatu getting caught on a security camera won't necessarily reveal as much as you'd imagine. Less so, if they do even basic work to obscure their appearance using hats or hoodies.


    Second, just because a Nosferatu gets caught on camera doesn't mean people will notice. Cameras, under this thread's assumption, are "everywhere", meaning there's a Brobdingnagian quantity of footage being recorded every second of every day. Finding a single Nosferatu in all those terabytes of data is akin to finding a needle in a haystack, if we're relying only on humans to find it, when they think to look. As the saying goes, ain't nobody got time for that. For decades, a Nosferatu would only have a problem if something happened that prompted people to look at the specific footage they appeared in. Such Nosferatu, of course, tend to not only take steps to counteract being picked up (disguises, avoiding camera line of sight, etc) when they know they'll be doing something to give mortals such cause.

    Indeed, what makes Facial Recognition Software such a threat to the Masquerade is that it lets machines do the work of trawling through data. Certainly, that makes it a problem NOW, but not necessarily back in the 90s and even 00s.

    Even cell phone cameras are only usually a problem if people are actively recording with them. People who use their phones have many tasks they might be doing, not necessarily having those cameras record. A person hunched over their phone sending messages can be safely ignored. In other cases, Nosferatu in the modern age know to avert their faces or pull their hoods close around them when folks are snapping selfies or recording video, tasks which tend to be fairly obvious to passers-by.


    Third, Appearance 0 only matters when someone can get a look at the Nos. As stated above, Sewer Rats benefit from wearing clothes and accessories to hide their horrid visages. It's not a matter of Appearance when that Appearance is kept hidden.


    Fourth, Animalism can work wonders. Not just for circumventing cameras entirely - no one will see the rat spy crossing a security camera's field of view, let alone make note of it - but in attacking those cameras. Rats can chew through wires or, if pressed, park their butts in front of the lens, if the Nosferatu REALLY needs to cross the observed space. Birds can be made to defecate on cameras as well. Any number of animals can be sent to distract nosy humans and their bothersome phone cameras. Who can resist taking pictures of cats if they come around looking cute? No one, that's who. I can imagine some Nosferatu keeping ghouled cats on hand at all times, just to run this kind of interference.

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  • Morangias
    replied
    Originally posted by No One of Consequence View Post
    That is so brilliant that I wish I had thought it first. I'm also now disappointed that the revised clanbook didn't include The Gimp as a character template.
    That was a VtM: Bloodlines reference

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  • Imthestein
    replied
    Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
    As for the subject of using disguises to look human, I'm given to understand that 5th edition of the Nosferatu Bane also imposes a penalty to attempts at doing exactly that. But I'm not entirely sure about the specifics on that.
    They do, but the severity of it is based on your Blood Purity which goes up the older you are. So a young Nosferatu isn't really going to have as much of a problem with it as an Elder will. This seems perfectly reasonable to me and I hope they do something similar with the Hecata

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  • Cifer
    replied
    Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
    As for the subject of using disguises to look human, I'm given to understand that 5th edition of the Nosferatu Bane also imposes a penalty to attempts at doing exactly that. But I'm not entirely sure about the specifics on that.
    Most player characters will lose a die or, if they're pretty powerful, two. Methusalehs lose five (and gain four or five if they're using disciplines to do the disguising, plus another five for a Blood Surge if it's important enough to them).

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  • Nyrufa
    replied
    As for the subject of using disguises to look human, I'm given to understand that 5th edition of the Nosferatu Bane also imposes a penalty to attempts at doing exactly that. But I'm not entirely sure about the specifics on that.

    Leave a comment:


  • Imthestein
    replied
    I've been playing since the 90s and I always knew Obfuscate to not work on technology, that's why the Revised Clanbook had that merit added. But we've also seen sections written on Nosferatu using makeup, heavy clothes, and alternate routes to account for this drawback. Obfuscate will still work on an observer even through technology if they are watching a live feed, it's just if someone was to go back and watch a recording of that footage and the Nosferatu wasn't covering themselves up then someone would see what they were. But if we're talking about security footage that generally only gets checked after the fact if they have cause anyway, like someone broke in and they knew it or something like that, so it doesn't usually come up anyway.

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  • No One of Consequence
    replied
    Originally posted by Cynic01 View Post

    Much of how the Nosferatu remained hidden for so long comes down to a mix of careful practices, a lack of cameras until the modern era, the Camarilla infrastructure enforcing and cleaning up the Masquerade, and the effects mentioned above. Smart Nosferatu are going to use methods in addition to Obfuscate to hide their visages things like wearing hoods, glasses, wigs, makeup, and other things. Even the Rugged Bad Looks Merit from V20 Lore of the Clans mentions covering up to avoid possible Masquerade complications.

    IIRC, the entire fashion trend of hoodies allegedly originated in London as a direct response by young people to the presence of security cameras. Also, I think the tv adaptation of The Strain did some interesting things with make up as a way to hide inhuman appearance. One wonders if Nosfeatu sometimes deliberately seek out cosmetologists or makeup effects artists for ghouldom or the embrace for that very reason.



    Originally posted by Morangias View Post
    Nah, real Nosferatu wear bondage gear exclusively
    That is so brilliant that I wish I had thought it first. I'm also now disappointed that the revised clanbook didn't include The Gimp as a character template.

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  • Possessed
    replied
    Also one shouldn’t forget that the Nosferatu have other Clan Disciplines aswell, like Animalism which allows one to possess animals to which makes it possible to go to places you can’t get with Obfuscate. Also animal spies despite their limited intellect are useful as hell.

    But yes Nosferatu in the modern world need to use mundane disguises like covering clothing, hats, hoods Etc in addition to Obfuscate to remain unseen and unregognizable. Motorcycle clothes, thick leather clothes and a helmet that covers ones head entirely works wonders and makes you indistinguishable from normal human bikers for example.

    And that is all in addition to what has already been said.
    Last edited by Possessed; 05-15-2019, 03:00 PM. Reason: Typo due to auto”correct”

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  • Morangias
    replied
    In all seriousness, this isn't such an insurmountable problem as you make it out to be. A Nosferatu in a face-covering mask and perhaps heavy, posture-concealing clothes will be indistinguishable from a normal dude in the same outfit on surveillance footage. If you're infiltrating a particular place and know there's gonna be heavy surveillance, you can take a detour through their security room and delete/destroy any recordings from the time of your infiltration. And I suppose in places with heavy city surveillance the Nosferatu will be vitally interested in infiltrating the surveillance network.

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  • Nyrufa
    replied
    Originally posted by Cifer View Post
    First of all: Yeah, one might almost think the monstrous appearance of the Nosferatu might actually be... a clan weakness!
    I understand that's their weakness. But there's a difference between having greater difficulty going out in public, and being rendered completely incapable of doing so.

    If the Tremere's curse is borderline harmless, it seems like the Nosferatu curse is borderline excessive. I understand 5th edition takes place nominally in current year, and we monitor everything in this day and age.

    With the Second Inquisition being active now, I'm under the impression that Nosferatu are forced to heavily rely on Ghouls and Animalism to operate in the modern world now. Which begs the question as to why anybody would ever want to play one, if all your character is allowed to do is sit in the darkness all night, stewing in a puddle of somebody else's filth?

    Originally posted by Morangias View Post
    Nah, real Nosferatu wear bondage gear exclusively
    I imagine that latex is much easier to clean, as well.
    Last edited by Nyrufa; 05-14-2019, 09:22 AM.

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