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How underpowered or overpowered do you think Obfuscate is? [Revised/V20]

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  • How underpowered or overpowered do you think Obfuscate is? [Revised/V20]

    We know the Discipline.

    It's foiled by electronic media. It's foiled by Auspex. The Level 3 and 4 powers need multiple successes at a potentially high difficulty to be as useful as the description says. The Elder levels can be lackluster.

    But [flawed and easily foiled] Invisibility is still Invisibility, whether it be for information gathering or getting that first strike off.

    What say you? Is it a worth while out of clan investment? A worth while in clan investment?

    Me personally, I think investing to Level 2 is worth while to add it to the toolkit, but unless it's in clan, xp could be better spent elsewhere.

  • #2
    Overpowered in the short-term. Underpowered in the long-term. Obfuscate actively makes people ignore you, making all stealth effectively automatically successful in most cases. Technology foils this as long as the observer isn't in the same room as the vampire. Using your phone camera to find invisible vampires won't work until much later, as your mind is scrubbing the memory away. After the scene however, all recordings and photographs could show the vampire was there and ruin everything.

    This is why even with Obfuscate, wear a hoodie.


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    • #3
      Obfuscate works by exploiting the willfull ignorance of people; You will happily pretend there's NOT a Nosferatu in your bed because that'll make life more convenient, but you're NOT going to ignore a gun to your head. Relying on Obfuscate for a first strike is a dubious prospect.

      Folks with Awareness but not necessarily the Auspex to try "seeing the unseen" can still get hints that something is wrong and thus get launched into paranoid mode. However, it needs to be said regarding seeing the unseen: Perception+awareness pools are usually much, much worse than the Manipulation+subterfuge pools of Obfuscate users.

      Obfuscate has range and you can definitely design your living space around beating obfuscate use.


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      • #4
        I agree that the mechanical powers of Obfuscate beyond level two are situational and underwhelming, but it is worth remembering that part of the benefit of raising Obfuscate ranks is its interaction with Auspex. The fact that you need an equal or higher Auspex just to get the roll possibility means that further investment isn't entirely without merit.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Thoth View Post
          I agree that the mechanical powers of Obfuscate beyond level two are situational and underwhelming, but it is worth remembering that part of the benefit of raising Obfuscate ranks is its interaction with Auspex. The fact that you need an equal or higher Auspex just to get the roll possibility means that further investment isn't entirely without merit.
          Yeah, it bears merit, but is it worth the xp cost?

          I would readily buy Obfuscate 3 and 4 out of clan if their description required two or three successes to function properly (and in the case of 4, at a standard difficulty), and 5 is seriously situational.

          So is the Auspex vs Obfuscate Arms Race really worth it, when Auspex is getting Telepathy at 4 and arguably the best information gathering tool at 5?

          For a character set up to take advantage of Obfuscate (in clan, heavy investments in relevant dice pools, etc) it's well worth it. For a character with out of clan Obfuscate who isn't a social character (3 relies on Manipulation and 4 relies on Charisma) I might second guess it.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Hades View Post

            Yeah, it bears merit, but is it worth the xp cost?

            I would readily buy Obfuscate 3 and 4 out of clan if their description required two or three successes to function properly (and in the case of 4, at a standard difficulty), and 5 is seriously situational.

            So is the Auspex vs Obfuscate Arms Race really worth it, when Auspex is getting Telepathy at 4 and arguably the best information gathering tool at 5?

            For a character set up to take advantage of Obfuscate (in clan, heavy investments in relevant dice pools, etc) it's well worth it. For a character with out of clan Obfuscate who isn't a social character (3 relies on Manipulation and 4 relies on Charisma) I might second guess it.

            Alternative, if morality isn't your thing just diablerize a victim with obfuscate. This will effectively get you the discipline level up for free, and potentially lower your generation. Downsides include, losing humanity and requiring you to have obfuscate in the first place before doing this.

            WARNING! Do not actually commit diablerie, it is usually not worth the risk socially to a character.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Hades View Post

              Yeah, it bears merit, but is it worth the xp cost?

              I would readily buy Obfuscate 3 and 4 out of clan if their description required two or three successes to function properly (and in the case of 4, at a standard difficulty), and 5 is seriously situational.

              So is the Auspex vs Obfuscate Arms Race really worth it, when Auspex is getting Telepathy at 4 and arguably the best information gathering tool at 5?

              For a character set up to take advantage of Obfuscate (in clan, heavy investments in relevant dice pools, etc) it's well worth it. For a character with out of clan Obfuscate who isn't a social character (3 relies on Manipulation and 4 relies on Charisma) I might second guess it.
              Sadly, the answer is that it depends on the game.

              I have run assamite games where investing heavily into Obfuscate was the only way to get close to a target, like wise assamite characters could demand higher contract prices based off of the fact they needed special skills for the job. Trying to hunt a Nosferatu or Malkavian more or less requires Auspex investment of equal or higher value to the target.

              On the other hand, I have run games where the PCs used non-localized means of conflict to fight their battles. As such things like the standard combat builds were worthless investments. Fortitude is great for soaking agg damage, but is much less useful when your enemy keeps foreclosing on your haven or helping you hunt when mass donations to the city means your favorite hunting grounds are cleaned up and well lit.

              Lots of people like to use "white room" debates about relative values of mechanics, but all to often the in game context is what makes something over powered or a waste of xp.

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              • #8
                Obfuscate 3 and 4 are God Tier, Don't know what you lot are talking about. (and by "God Teir" I just mean that they're good and fun powers that compete well with similarly leveled abilities, they're not OP)
                5 (CTG) would be extremely good, but Donning the Mask of Shadows is a level 2 ritual and does a lot better in most scenarios, only being beaten by the obfuscate 5 power in that CtG isn't a five minute long ritual but rather something that can be done on the fly, and also in that CTG is much less of a masquerade risk. CTG does better against folks with Auspex ratings higher than 3. However DMS doesn't require you to be in contact with the party and thus grants you a lot of room to manouver as a group, it's also better against tech and for wide open areas since it's real invisibility. Were they both the same level power, it'd be a competition, but they're not.

                To a creative user, Obfuscate 3 is incredible, an essential tool in any Malkavian or Nosferatu arsenal. You can be anywhere and be anyone. You can impersonate your enemies or become their friends. M1kF lets you be someone's friend, enemy, lover, confidante and stranger at the drop of a hat. It lets you interact with the world anonymously, with dozens of personas.

                4 is just... a really good way to get outa dodge. Even the best Nosferatu make mistakes, and Malkavians are typically squishy and useless in a fight.


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                • #9
                  Isn't ofuscate useless against children and animals too? Like if you're sneaking into a place that has children, or guard dogs, obfuscate probably isn't the best choice. And while we are on this subject, shouldn't most vampires have like a good couple guard dogs, or maybe attack falcons. Sure animals hate vampires, but surely they can be trained to ignore your presence, and attack other unfamiliar individuals.
                  Last edited by Hello; 03-18-2022, 08:28 AM.


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                  • #10
                    Hello early levels are useless against really small children, and at low levels it doesn't work for animals. I think for higher levels, it does work, but these statements seem more an afterthought idea than a hard and well defined rule.


                    However, If you have Animalism, Guard dogs and the likes are going to leave you alone. It passively gives you an aura that causes animals to give you respect, and you can use Feral whispers like Dominate if need be. I don't think dogs would be a problem unless they've been Animalism'd by a better user or blood bound or some other magical effect. Essentially, Combining Obfuscate and Animalism should get you through places with people and Dogs/Tigers/Crocs/Snakes.


                    Throw me/White wolf some money with Quietus: Drug Lord, Poison King
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                    • #11
                      Overall you can count children and animals as such a circumstantial weakness as to be a fluke. When does it really matters?

                      So people in the streets can see through your disguise if they're under 3yo. What all those toddlers are going to do about it? And while training dogs to attack vampires is feasible, it isn't in any way a small or reliable feat. The same instinct that pierces your power (and shouldn't, because the notion that animals don't know deception is ludicrous) also tells the animal that a vampire is a freaking abomination against normalcy, not simply dangerous. It is like teaching a dog to attach feral tigers in the jungle by itself.

                      And it would also have the same efficiency as teaching a dog to attack feral tigers in the jungle by itself. If the dog is just a dog, no matter how big and strong, any vampire will be able to make short work of it even without any Animalism. So it is the very definition of too much work for too little payoff.

                      Ghouling a dog would work better, but obviously with the same long term costs of any ghoul, for an animal that is hardly as useful as regular human ghouls.


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                      • #12
                        monteparnas
                        I think with animals the idea isn't that they don't know deception, but rather that vampires without sufficient animal ken don't know how to trick animals, because they don't understand them and I think there's a mystical component to that aswell. (remember: animals will go balistic around a vampire with neither animal ken nor animalism, or the inoffensive merit if you want to be cheap)

                        On a related note, I let folks use Obfuscate against technology when they've got some dots in the skill and actually understand how it works. Obfuscate is usually paired with subterfuge, which is a talent for tricking humans specifically. Animal ken is a skill, technology a knowledge... You can see where I'm going with this.


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                        • #13
                          MyWifeIsScary I cited the deception thing because it is literally what's on the book. Your assumptions are better and I use them too as a means to justify it (I see no need to just let it fool animals, there's no fun in it and it is mostly irrelevant).

                          I personally don't change Obfuscate rules themselves, but a PC with those traits would be able to achieve the same effect by their own rules.


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                          • #14
                            Children and animals being able to see through Obfuscate is barely a limitation, in practice.

                            The actual mechanics state that such creatures have an effective Auspex 1, for the purposes of combating Obfuscate. And the way the two compare (see "Seeing the Unseen", V20 p. 142) states that a target only has a chance of piercing Obfuscate if their Auspex is equal to it. Requiring a contested roll to see who comes out on top.

                            (For that matter, even if their Auspex was superior, they still need to roll Perception + Awareness for it to actually work. It's not a guaranteed thing, even for them. A moot point in this case, because at effective Auspex 1, a child/animal is only going to outrank a vampire who doesn't have Obfuscate in the first place.)

                            Meanwhile, a character with inferior levels of Auspex has NO chance of piercing a superior Obfuscate. Period.

                            So while in theory children and animals could pose issues for an Obfuscate user, in practice only Obfuscate 1 newbies would suffer from this. The moment they hit Obfuscate 2 (which, let's be clear, most vampires would want to upgrade to anyway), that quirk of the rules might as well not exist for them.


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                            • #15
                              I basically just use VTR2e Obfuscate now. It's much better. But then, I use a lot of VTR Disciplines now.


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