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Obfuscate Alternatives

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  • Obfuscate Alternatives

    For the sake of the topic, let's assume you have no means of getting Obfuscate. It's not your clan's specialty, you don't know the right people or they don't want to give it to you, or perhaps you're too paranoid to drink someone's Vitae because you've heard horror stories about the Blood Bond, or perhaps you're a Caitiff with a whole special set of disciplines and everyone hates your guts and you don't even know about such an ability. Whatever the reason, you don't have Obfuscate and you need to be stealthy. Now obviously just having a lot of stealth dots and being light on your feet helps, so does having good disguises and makeup and acting skills, but from a magic point of view, which Disciplines are the best for being a substitute? What advantages would they have over Obfuscate and what downsides would they have?

    I ask primarily because I've been wondering about the overall usefulness of Obfuscate. Is it underpowered as it's written?

  • #2
    Right off the bat, Celerity and Protean both come to mind.

    As I understand it, 5th edition Celerity now allows vampires to move fast enough to bend the laws of physics, if not break them entirely. A particularly graceful vampire might use this heightened speed to flit around the environment without anybody spotting them.

    As for the second, being able to transform into various animals opens up a whole new world of possibilities for infiltration and subterfuge.
    Last edited by Nyrufa; 07-05-2019, 12:13 AM.

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    • #3
      Yup those, especially Celerity. But Viscerikta (sp?), and even Chimeristry can be useful for making cover or distractions. Or hell if its just mortals use Dominate to say Ignore ME!


      It is a time for great deeds!

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      • #4
        There is a Tremere Ritual called "Donning the Mask of Shadows", which essentially allows you to move around as though you had Obfuscate 2. The downsides being that it has a casting time of 10min, meaning it's no "get out of jail free"-card, and once it drops (voluntatily, if you draw attention to yourself, or an hour per success), you have to cast the whole ritual again.

        As for the usefulness of Obfuscate in general, it is in my mind one of the stronger discipline. Without the specific counter (Auspex), an Obfuscate user is nigh unstoppable. Not only can you get in to, and out of, basically any situation, but lvl3 is incredibly useful for impersonations and incriminations. It has been the driving force behind my current plotline, where a Nosferatu and a Malkavian team of con artists have been causing major havoc in the city's political landscape by impersonating folks.
        Last edited by pang4; 07-05-2019, 12:34 AM.


        Furthermore, I believe Carthage should be destroyed.

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        • #5
          Since it matters:

          Pre-V5 rules, or V5 rules?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
            Since it matters:

            Pre-V5 rules, or V5 rules?
            We'll go with the most relevant, so V5.

            I actually don't know the V5 rules. What are they? To be more clear, I'm asking about Obfuscate's V5 rules specifically.
            Last edited by The Dreamweaver; 07-05-2019, 03:31 AM.

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            • #7
              It's kind of hard to just address the V5 Obfuscate rules, because V5 changed a bunch of general rules that impact all Disciplines and how to analyze them.

              To the original question posed, there's not as many alternative options in V5, because V5 reduced the number of Disciplines. So a lot of stealthy powers from rare or guarded Clan Disciplines got folded into Obfuscate (ex: Quietus 1 is now an Obfuscate 1 power). Though in V5 there's frequently more than one option per level of Discipline to choose from.

              Meanwhile you can only have one power per dot in the Discipline, including Amalgam powers (formerly Combo Disciplines). So how good Obfuscate is, depends a bit on which powers you opt to take. Obfuscate is in general pretty nice in that a lot of the powers are automatic to activate and there's no rolls and or Rouse checks (replacement for spending blood since that's not a thing now); unless someone is trying to watch you with Auspex as usual. On the other hand, it's got very few mechanics to it now, so it's very ST dependent. You don't automatically get a Stealth check or anything. If the ST decides you revealed yourself, the powers tend to just end without any chance of recovery.


              As for alternatives, Protean and Blood Sorcery are probably your best choices. Celerity isn't bad, but many of it's powers are very obvious making it unsuited to stealth as opposed to surprise (though Celerity 2 in V5 lets you add Celerity rating to non-combat Dex action which is certainly a big boost to a sneaky character that isn't obvious like running up the sides of buildings). Protean's expanded options has a power that makes you effectively weightless so you don't trigger pressure triggers, traps that you step on, or squeaky floorboards. Blood Sorcery in V5 covers a lot of the Banu Hakim powers that were in Quietus that didn't go into Obfuscate, and rituals (which don't count towards your maximum number of powers!) include insect like wall climbing, limited flight, astral projection (no longer in Auspex!), and if you're the type a nice stalking power that lets you follow someone by magically seeing where they've been instead of having to track them actively.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                astral projection (no longer in Auspex!).
                BLASPHEMY! How will our beloved Malkavians visit their distant relatives among the stars, now!?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Heavy Arms
                  Quietus 1 is now an Obfuscate 1 power
                  This change was originally made in VtDA20 not in V5. Just pointing it out for those not into V5 that it is a thing in 20th line as well.

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                  • #10
                    Just to be clear, DAV20 significantly changed how Quietus worked, essentially making it two Disciplines one for the Warrior Caste and one for the Vizier Caste. The old Quietus 1 was dropped from that, and used to replace the traditional Obfuscate 1 (which is pretty pointless when you get Obfuscate 2). In V5 the original Obfuscate 1 and what was Quietus 1 are now both options for your Obfuscate 1 pick.

                    And yes, that specific example was done in DAV20 first, but the general idea of folding Disciplines together I was pointing out far exceeds that one that happens to be most relevant to this topic.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post
                      -snip-
                      Ah, well, in that case we'll go with pre-V5 then.

                      Though I do like some of those changes, for some reason I find that Celerity should have the "weightless" ability instead of Protean. To me, Celerity was always the candidate for "fluidity, grace, movement, reflexes, balance" and not just "I'm Quicksilver". I particularly liked that house ruled Celerity where flight was granted at the fifth dot, but that's beside the point.

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                      • #12
                        Well if you want your character to be able to interact with situations and not be noticed, but lacks Obfuscation I would say the best method is a playstyle switch to a Computer specialist. You sink points into hacking, resources, and a few contacts.

                        You basically go the Watch Dogs route and use all the unsecured security cameras and mobile phones to allow you to be everywhere without being noticed. Sure a Ventrue might sweep for bugs in the car they will be taking and insist that everyone riding in the car discard their cell phones, but most luxury cars have built in blue tooth so you just hack that and listen to the business meeting. Then if things seem to need adjusting you remotely kill the cars CPU right as they are driving through the brujah section of town.

                        Admittedly the openings are a bit cringe worthy, but the following vids do get into some good examples of real life hacking compared to what can be done in a video game. Though the scary part is remembering that these vids are several years out of date at this point.
                        Game Theory - Watch Dogs part 1
                        Game Theory - Watch Dogs part 2

                        Both Player and ST will need to brush up on what hacking can actually do, but it should function pretty well. Not to mention that it doesn't require any disciplines to make work.

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