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Detecting Obfuscate without Auspex

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  • Argonot
    started a topic Detecting Obfuscate without Auspex

    Detecting Obfuscate without Auspex

    So, in V20...could it be possible for a Tremere to detect someone who used Vanish (Obfuscate 4), by rising dust, water or any other substance around her with Movement of the Mind to see disruptions, in case the obfuscated kindred comes close?

    A player asked me that and I dont know what to answer. I dont know if the obfuscate illusion would cover those patterns someone invisible would form because of proximity.

  • Nosimplehiway
    replied
    Argonot

    Think of it this way... wherever you are right now, do not look at the time on your laptop/phone/interweb machine. Now close your eyes and say the time.

    Could you remember the time? It was right there in your visual field. If, instead of the time, there had been, say, a small burst of flame or a scorpion crawling over your device you would have noticed it right? You could see it.

    Problem is, it didn't register. On some level, you didn't want to see the time because it didn't matter until I asked you to say the time. Your optic nerve detected the light waves from the time, sent a notification to your brain just like the light waves from the letters you're reading, but your brain -with no conscious choice on your part- decided the letters you were reading were relevant, and the numbers on the clock irrelevant. Your mind filed the time under "somebody else's problem" and ignored it.

    Obfuscate isn't physical invisibility. It's a Somebody Else's Problem Field.

    So, if someone threw flour on the floor, or dust into the air, it wouldn't help. There are always going to be small variations in the density of such dispersed powders, and the viewer's mind sets a threshold for what is suspicious. A mind under the influence of Obfuscate will set that threshold very, very high and fail to notice the person-shaped variation in the dust cloud.

    Now, there are some workarounds.
    • Videotape the scene and review the footage later, after the effect has worn off.
    • Set up a live video feed to an AI system that identifies humanoid shapes and notifies you each time the number of people in the room changes.
    • Set up a live video feed to an off-site observer who monitors the site and notifies you of intruders.
    • Obfuscate does not influence those more than a short distance away. (1 meter per dot of wits+stealth) Even with above-average scores (3 dots) in both, Obfuscate doesn't work past the first six meters. This rule might explain why Elysium is often held in incongruously large spaces, like theaters and ballrooms.
    • V20 Obfuscate sometimes fails against children and animals. (V20, p184) Keep some of these around and train them to describe every person who enters the room. This is, btw, a fun secondary application for Animalism.
    • Certain Thaumaturgy powers which allow the user to talk to objects or plants (Elemental Mastery 2, Green Path 1) might be of use here. Repeatedly asking your philodendron or desk chair to describe the people they see might help. Whether Obfuscate works against these things are ST calls, so ymmv, but since Obfuscate is a mind power, it should.
    • Hold your meetings in a space with floors that can just, just barely bear the weight of you and the person you're meeting with. At the very least, a rickety old building with squeaky floors and unstable furniture should raise an Obfuscated person's difficulties.
    • For some supervillain panache, place some deadly traps around your meeting space.
    • Make liberal use of area effect powers, like Presence, Lure of Flames, or Chimerstry, even when you think it is not necessary. Any Obfuscated individuals will be "caught in the blast".

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  • Draconis
    replied
    And similarly, the fact that a bit of flour on the floor doesn't negate Obfuscate implies that nobody notices suspicious gaps (since it means that footprints don't give you away until after you drop the effect).

    Leave a comment:


  • Cifer
    replied
    Originally posted by Argonot View Post
    That being said, if its dust or something more spread than a carpet, it could defeat Unseen Passage, but not Vanish?
    I would say neither. At best, dust or flour might force a Wits+Stealth roll against 5 or so, but that is... not exactly a challenge to most Nosferatu. A vampire covered in dust isn't much harder to ignore than a vampire not covered in dust.

    Leave a comment:


  • Argonot
    replied
    Originally posted by Cifer View Post
    While Draconis' answer is mostly correct, note that the power of Obfuscate is not endless. The description of Obfuscate 4 references that of Obfuscate 2, which has two relevant effects: People unconsciously try to ignore and avoid the vampire unless the vampire does something sufficiently obtrusive. That means to break Obfuscate, the observer would have to move something so large that they can't just unconsciously avoid the obfuscated one, preferably in a small room. At the same time, the disturbance the obfuscated one creates by their presence would have to be so great that it can't just be ignored. For example, if the Tremere were to mind-move a massive carpet vertically through a corridor and the Nosferatu was stupid enough to just stand in the middle, the carpet would by physical necessity wrap around the Nosferatu, making it impossible to ignore them and thus breaking the Obfuscate power. Of course, if the Nosferatu has the presence of mind to either drop to the floor or hug the walls, the carpet might slip past them with only a Wits+Stealth roll.
    That being said, if its dust or something more spread than a carpet, it could defeat Unseen Passage, but not Vanish?

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  • Cifer
    replied
    While Draconis' answer is mostly correct, note that the power of Obfuscate is not endless. The description of Obfuscate 4 references that of Obfuscate 2, which has two relevant effects: People unconsciously try to ignore and avoid the vampire unless the vampire does something sufficiently obtrusive. That means to break Obfuscate, the observer would have to move something so large that they can't just unconsciously avoid the obfuscated one, preferably in a small room. At the same time, the disturbance the obfuscated one creates by their presence would have to be so great that it can't just be ignored. For example, if the Tremere were to mind-move a massive carpet vertically through a corridor and the Nosferatu was stupid enough to just stand in the middle, the carpet would by physical necessity wrap around the Nosferatu, making it impossible to ignore them and thus breaking the Obfuscate power. Of course, if the Nosferatu has the presence of mind to either drop to the floor or hug the walls, the carpet might slip past them with only a Wits+Stealth roll.

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  • pang4
    replied
    A fun scenario in a game I played in was this:

    A Brujah had a secret arms deal where he was buying automatic weapons. After the meeting, he decided to test his new guns by shooting in circles around himself, attempting to detect any spies. He blasted, reloaded, blasted again until the walls were covered in lead.

    Later on, when he returned to use that meeting spot for another deal, did he realize he missed a part of the wall, about the size of a person. Musta been when he reloaded....

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  • Argonot
    replied
    Thats what I needed. Thanks.

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  • Draconis
    replied
    Not any more than someone with a spray bottle could break Obfuscate by spraying it everywhere and looking for disruptions.

    Obfuscate isn't invisibility, it's making people ignore your presence, and that generally includes things like water droplets hitting you as well as your physical form.

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