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  • Herr Meister
    replied
    There's actually two things that hid Vitel's identity. His 6th level of Obfuscate "hides" his actual lineage from anyone who attempts to learn it, whether by mundane or mystical means. The second thing is a magical pin clasp that allows him to cast reflections. From a meta perspective, these are the kind of things that make me groan as it seems very over the top and done SIMPLY to allow this character to masquerade as a Ventrue. DCbN's writer, Harry Heckel, clearly loved this character and the plot behind him.
    I didn't mention the pin because, if I'm not mistaken, he would only be able to do it after getting rid of Marissa. In any case, as mentioned, any cainite from any clan can have the "cast no reflection" flaw. Also, Marcus Vitel besides being cool, is also very powerful and even more than that he has the backing of a even more powerful being behind him. So, for someone to discover he is a Lasombra, the best bet would probably need a Tremere to get his blood, etc. I really don't see a prince of his caliber to be asked by a clan hated by most to "provide a sample of his blood". I don't see any need for "plot armor" in his case. Plot armor is to make John Kent kill Petaniqua or Theo Bells kill Hardestadt "the perhaps younger" with a shotgun shot and killing Karsh(someone that by his traits, should be able to kill about 39 "Theo Bells" in a fight while brushing his teeth with one hand and kicking Xaviar's ass at the same time), THESE THINGS are basically UNBELIEVABLE to anyone "actually playing the game and rolling dice". So, no, I don't think Marcus Vitel really needed plot armor...
    Last edited by Herr Meister; 06-22-2022, 02:09 PM.

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  • Black Fox
    replied
    A lot really depends on how common are vampires without reflections outside of the Lasombra. Cast No Reflection is just a 1 point flaw. And an ST might determine that given the trope's ubiquity in vampire lore, that it might mean lots of NPCs have it. This is probably not the case in canon or in most ST's personal chronicles, but there still has to be a certain amount of vampires out there with it. And one thing I do as ST is often have certain lineages of vampires pass on "traits" (in the form of Merits and Flaws), down the line. So at least in my games, if I have a Toreador Methusaleh who had that Flaw, all of her descendants could have it as well, creating a distinct lineage of Toreador who all don't cast reflections.

    So in a setting where that Flaw is more ubiquitous, simply having it mean there is less suspicion and easier for Lasombra to infiltrate (though not completely eliminating potential suspicion). In more typical games where the Flaw is known, but only very rarely seen, there's at least some merit to the argument, "Hey, this doesn't mean I am Lasombra", but clearly that would still generate some suspicions and inquiry.

    Originally posted by Herr Meister View Post
    If somene doesn't understand or "believe" in Vitel's case, I suggest reading DC by Night with attention, he does that because he uses a very powerful discipline power to hide his clan, it's not like "nobody could find out! Hah! Plot Armor!" lol...I at least find it way more believable than Federico di Padua's text stating he is one of the "deadliest warriors of the Camarilla" as from his character sheet half a rank 0 werewolf on a bad Monday with hangover could kill him with half an action lol. At least Vitel has charm and has power to back up his "plot armor", that is well explained btw...
    There's actually two things that hid Vitel's identity. His 6th level of Obfuscate "hides" his actual lineage from anyone who attempts to learn it, whether by mundane or mystical means. The second thing is a magical pin clasp that allows him to cast reflections. From a meta perspective, these are the kind of things that make me groan as it seems very over the top and done SIMPLY to allow this character to masquerade as a Ventrue. DCbN's writer, Harry Heckel, clearly loved this character and the plot behind him.

    Of course, it is not just Vitel who was hiding his clan. So is his childe Monica Black and her childe Cynthia Black. At least Vitel's Obfuscate would conceal his true lineage once anyone investigating their's got to him. But neither is protected by the magical pin clasp. Both try to avoid mirrors and reflective surfaces, but given their ubiquity in the modern world, it is hard to see how this can keep being successful. Mirrors aren't just found in bathrooms. They can be a major part of decor in bars, restaurants, hotels, elevators, and so on. (Plus security cameras and other things that once made up the flaw.) Especially since both Monica and Cynthia are quite active as Harpies and should be out and about a lot. It would be so easy to screw up. That this hadn't already happened from 1970 to 1995 (the time of Monica's embrace to the published year of DCbN) is kind of surprising. That it could keep being done for another 30 years would be remarkably so. I think this is definitely a case of plot armor (perhaps intended by design to self-destruct at the hands of the local ST so the PCs could discover the mystery, though this was not made explicit).

    A better solution, in my mind, would have been that the original Marcus Vitel was an indeed a known Ventrue that Marcus once met (and probably killed) who actually had the Cast No Reflections flaw. So when 2000 years later Sejanus resurfaced from torpor and claimed he was Marcus, it was partially believable. Someone among the Ventrue could have remembered that there was such a Ventrue who did not cast reflections, and accepted that that "Vitel" and his progeny all had the same Flaw. The cover story would be believable, and we wouldn't need ridiculous powers to justify it. But there would be some suspicion in the open with the other vampire power brokers in the city not fully trusting him to be Ventrue (which some don't anyway in the book).

    =
    So in general, if you want a Lasombra to pretend he is a member of another clan, you can either go down the right of ridiculous (IMO, maybe your taste is different) magical powers to hide it, or just have the character own it that they cast no reflections.

    In the SHORT term, you may be able to hide it from other vampires. Try to minimize the risks. Accomplish your mission, and then get the hell out of there.

    In the LONG term, you are not going to be able to do it, and if you caught in a lie, it'll be far worse. Everyone will "know" you are an infiltrator, assume the worse, and kill you. Then having done that, you need a pick clan that does not have an easy way to verify a Kindred's lineage. Nosferatu are obviously out. Tremere are out. Ventrue should be out. Malkavians are likely out. But Gangrel, Brujah, Toreador, and Caitiff? Very plausible they have too many members not known to them, and can't trace people back, and therefore are more willing to accept someone who can't provide the name of their sire's sire and the like.

    However, if you are Sabbat and wanting to send a spy ahead and infiltrate the Camarilla, any Lasombra is probably the least likely candidate they'd send. It's more likely the Lasombra in question has their own motivations to infiltrate, and accept any personal risks to do so. An ambitious Sabbat who thinks he can create his own powerbase among the Anarchs in the Free States, but doing so without the approval of the sect? An elder Lasombra who has decided he does not like the Sabbat and thinks the Camarilla is a better forum for his ambitions? Maybe it's worth the risk to them.

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  • Thoth
    replied
    Originally posted by Microcuchon View Post
    Hi
    I would like to know how different ST's deal with the Lasombra who pretend to be a member of another Clan.
    To be fair vampires tend to prefer dimly lit and somewhat private venues, so being away from shiny surfaces with enough light to have functional reflections is not exactly uncommon.

    Follow this up with a bit of costume adjustment and careful choice of locations and people tend to just assume you are what you appear to be.

    If some one is wearing biker leathers and is a bit unkept, you won't be suspicious if they ask to meet you behind a biker bar and introduce themselves as a Brujah. Likewise if you meet some one in a private office of fortune 500 company, they are wearing a $12,000 suit and have specific tastes in office decoration (lacking reflective surfaces) would you really doubt them if they introduced themselves as a Ventrue or Giovanni?

    As long as default look & setting is right, and at least one clan discipline is correct, few people ask questions.

    Spending some time playing as a Lasombra Antitribu often means you get some mileage out of the Alternate Identity sort of set up where everyone just knows you as a completely different clan. Of course if you really want to confuse people, you then have a coterie member from a different clan with the No Reflection flaw, just so you can point to them and say I'm like them.

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  • Thoth
    replied
    Originally posted by Lysander View Post
    Wasn't there also a Lasombra merit that gave you a reflection? But it showed you as a decaying corpse depending on the age?
    There are two different ones that mess with the Lasombra clan weakness.

    Death's Reflection: 3 pt Flaw
    This is the one that makes your look dead/rotting skeleton/skeletal.

    Pale Reflection: 2 pt Merit
    You have a normal reflection, except you are a bit ghostly and see through.

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  • Herr Meister
    replied
    If somene doesn't understand or "believe" in Vitel's case, I suggest reading DC by Night with attention, he does that because he uses a very powerful discipline power to hide his clan, it's not like "nobody could find out! Hah! Plot Armor!" lol...I at least find it way more believable than Federico di Padua's text stating he is one of the "deadliest warriors of the Camarilla" as from his character sheet half a rank 0 werewolf on a bad Monday with hangover could kill him with half an action lol. At least Vitel has charm and has power to back up his "plot armor", that is well explained btw...
    Last edited by Herr Meister; 06-21-2022, 03:12 PM.

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  • Lysander
    replied
    Wasn't there also a Lasombra merit that gave you a reflection? But it showed you as a decaying corpse depending on the age?

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  • SetiteFriend
    replied
    Originally posted by Microcuchon View Post

    It's a pre V5 Metaplot, so being a Lasombra is a issue.
    Vitel is the hardest one for me to believe. There must be a million chances for people to notice not only his lack of reflection, but also his Children's ! As you said, it's hard to prove but it should be provoking a storm of rumours. The only way I see it working is as a the new emperor's clothes kind of seem, when people is afraid to say anything.
    But at least Vitel is an Antitribu. If the secret came out he would be embarrassed and would probably have to leave the throne. But lying about your Clan is not s crime.
    OTOH the character I am considering introducing is Mohammed Al-Muthlim from LA by Night, who is actually a Sabbat infiltrator. I can't stop thinking how it would have been much easier for the Sabbat to actually send a Brujah Antitribu to fulfill his role. But I also want to make it work as written, because of the cool factor. So I am trying to think of specific strategies such a character may use to keep their secret.
    Didn't Vitel have some Unobtanium Plot DeviceTM that gave him a reflection? Think I read it it on the wiki once.

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  • Shadeprowler
    replied
    Actually, the lack of mirrors in an Elysium is not something... well... noticable.
    The silvered-glass mirrors found throughout the world today first got their start in Germany almost 200 years ago. In 1835, German chemist Justus von Liebig developed a process for applying a thin layer of metallic silver to one side of a pane of clear glass.
    During the Middle Ages, mirrors were not seen as commonplace items. Instead, they were an indication of status. Early on, mirror cases were seen as works of art-- not just a mean of seeing one's reflection.
    Sure, the first mirrors goes bact to some 8000 years, but as decorations? In a gathering, like an Elyisum?
    Even among Humans, decorations tend to be paintings, and such and so on
    Paintings, statues, curtains, flowers and so on, more than not, I think a mirrorr in an Elysium would be unusal... or outright dangerous!
    Just immagine
    You don't even have to be a Nosferatu who is "forced" to see what he became, even for a regular vampire, seeing himself could be traumatic...
    A mirror in good political/intrical hands could be more dangerous tool than a sword...

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  • adambeyoncelowe
    replied
    Another thing to bear in mind: many powerful vamps are highly paranoid and don't go out in 'public'. Princes also choose their Elysia and can have a lot of say in what's there or not.

    Dominate your Keeper of Elysium and get them to remove all the mirrors (if there are any), or choose somewhere that doesn't have mirrors anyway. A nice concrete box somewhere.

    You could ban all glass and metal, ostensibly in case it is used as a weapon, and water, in case of bombs. Or you could confine yourself to a dark backroom where Kindred are searched before they can enter and speak to you.

    Then don't get seen outside of Elysium. Send your minions to do your bidding instead. People would buy that for an elder.

    I could also imagine a Presence and Obfuscate combination Discipline that makes others overlook your lack of a reflection. That's probably the easiest way around it.

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  • Microcuchon
    replied
    Originally posted by Shadeprowler View Post
    Don't forget, Kindred politics are equally part rumormongering in the Camarilla and equaly the web of favors and boons and reputation! Enemies vs friends, allies and influence.
    If you are not a harpy and starts a vicious rumor about someone who is a Lasombra, the Haripes eat you alive, simply because Elysium gossips ands such are their palyground! How dare you try to ruin their reputation? Especially if you can't really prove your accusition!
    If you are a well established member of the court whos word have weight? You risk your reputation and status with a false accusition! More than a nobody, whos words are worthless... but the problem ,who cares what Joe the Brujah say from the local Pub? Nobody improtant thats for sure!
    A Lasombra, with a proper ground work, building a little influence, collectiong some boons and favors, establsihing contacts and allies are totally capable to do this!
    The misterious stranger, new boy in town or a long time residance? Not really matter.

    Annabelle, the Toreador: Well this dog is a Lasombra!
    Lasombra infiltrator: How dare you?! Duel at dawn sir!

    Or Annabalee simply made a few fatal mistakes suddenly and died.
    The Infiltrator game is hard, thats true, but it is hard to prove you are one too!
    I mean how would you prove - especially if on such an accusition ,your unlife depends - that guy is a Lasombra?
    You can start rumors and such, but thats hard, and very dangerous... simply because you can't back it up, and your reputiation plumets to the ground - boy crying wolf style
    I fully agree, and loved how you expanded my the emperor's clothes idea.
    To spice things up in my game I will use some rumours and will be up to the players if they want to try to look for proof. There is even a Tremere who can cast Blood Walk, but I guess getting the Anarchs to believe a Tremere over a well established baron is even harder than getting a sample of his blood

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  • Shadeprowler
    replied
    Don't forget, Kindred politics are equally part rumormongering in the Camarilla and equaly the web of favors and boons and reputation! Enemies vs friends, allies and influence.
    If you are not a harpy and starts a vicious rumor about someone who is a Lasombra, the Haripes eat you alive, simply because Elysium gossips ands such are their palyground! How dare you try to ruin their reputation? Especially if you can't really prove your accusition!
    If you are a well established member of the court whos word have weight? You risk your reputation and status with a false accusition! More than a nobody, whos words are worthless... but the problem ,who cares what Joe the Brujah say from the local Pub? Nobody improtant thats for sure!
    A Lasombra, with a proper ground work, building a little influence, collectiong some boons and favors, establsihing contacts and allies are totally capable to do this!
    The misterious stranger, new boy in town or a long time residance? Not really matter.

    Annabelle, the Toreador: Well this dog is a Lasombra!
    Lasombra infiltrator: How dare you?! Duel at dawn sir!

    Or Annabalee simply made a few fatal mistakes suddenly and died.
    The Infiltrator game is hard, thats true, but it is hard to prove you are one too!
    I mean how would you prove - especially if on such an accusition ,your unlife depends - that guy is a Lasombra?
    You can start rumors and such, but thats hard, and very dangerous... simply because you can't back it up, and your reputiation plumets to the ground - boy crying wolf style

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  • Microcuchon
    replied
    Originally posted by Shadeprowler View Post
    Depends of the edition
    Pre-V5, their weaknes was simple: Lasombra vampires cast no reflections. They cannot be seen in mirrors, bodies of water, reflective windows, polished metals, photographs and security cameras, etc. This curious anomaly even extends to the clothes they wear and objects they carry
    But it is not THAT hard to dance around - Vitel done it as a Prince for example. You need to be creative. One of my players took the paranoid "flaw" and always carried a walking stick with a silver, polished knob, to check who have reflections; he had an issue with the souless Lasombra. Long story short, even with that had a hard time to prove the hiding Lasombra is guilty. Accusitions are very serious things, not to mention, tho it IS their clan weaknes, its is not uncommon other to have it "ones with weaker soul" or "touched by the Abyss" or anything really. How would you prove someone is a Lasombra? Tremere Blood test is a 100% thing, tho even they could be bribed and without a really strong political backwind, hard to force anyone to give his blood to the Warlocks....
    In V5? Distorted Image weaknes is... a bit more complicated. The broken souls of Lasombra vampires are halfway drawn into the Abyss. All reflections and recordings distort, flicker, or become transparent (though this does not conceal their identity with any certainty). Microphones have the same difficulty with the vampire's voice as cameras have with their image, touch technology becomes unresponsive at best, and their anomalous nature makes it harder to avoid electronic detection systems. With effort they may overcome this difficulty but it’s as if they exist on a slightly different frequency to other beings, flickering in and out of light. Many Lasombra have attendants to handle technology for them, but a few strange beasts manage without.
    But on the other hand,they are in the good guys club now, don't really have to pretend they are not Lasombra... they are Proud of it!
    But if some reason a Lasombra would want to hide his clan? Same as the pre-v5 situations
    It's a pre V5 Metaplot, so being a Lasombra is a issue.
    Vitel is the hardest one for me to believe. There must be a million chances for people to notice not only his lack of reflection, but also his Children's ! As you said, it's hard to prove but it should be provoking a storm of rumours. The only way I see it working is as a the new emperor's clothes kind of seem, when people is afraid to say anything.
    But at least Vitel is an Antitribu. If the secret came out he would be embarrassed and would probably have to leave the throne. But lying about your Clan is not s crime.
    OTOH the character I am considering introducing is Mohammed Al-Muthlim from LA by Night, who is actually a Sabbat infiltrator. I can't stop thinking how it would have been much easier for the Sabbat to actually send a Brujah Antitribu to fulfill his role. But I also want to make it work as written, because of the cool factor. So I am trying to think of specific strategies such a character may use to keep their secret.

    Leave a comment:


  • Shadeprowler
    replied
    Depends of the edition
    Pre-V5, their weaknes was simple: Lasombra vampires cast no reflections. They cannot be seen in mirrors, bodies of water, reflective windows, polished metals, photographs and security cameras, etc. This curious anomaly even extends to the clothes they wear and objects they carry
    But it is not THAT hard to dance around - Vitel done it as a Prince for example. You need to be creative. One of my players took the paranoid "flaw" and always carried a walking stick with a silver, polished knob, to check who have reflections; he had an issue with the souless Lasombra. Long story short, even with that had a hard time to prove the hiding Lasombra is guilty. Accusitions are very serious things, not to mention, tho it IS their clan weaknes, its is not uncommon other to have it "ones with weaker soul" or "touched by the Abyss" or anything really. How would you prove someone is a Lasombra? Tremere Blood test is a 100% thing, tho even they could be bribed and without a really strong political backwind, hard to force anyone to give his blood to the Warlocks....
    In V5? Distorted Image weaknes is... a bit more complicated. The broken souls of Lasombra vampires are halfway drawn into the Abyss. All reflections and recordings distort, flicker, or become transparent (though this does not conceal their identity with any certainty). Microphones have the same difficulty with the vampire's voice as cameras have with their image, touch technology becomes unresponsive at best, and their anomalous nature makes it harder to avoid electronic detection systems. With effort they may overcome this difficulty but it’s as if they exist on a slightly different frequency to other beings, flickering in and out of light. Many Lasombra have attendants to handle technology for them, but a few strange beasts manage without.
    But on the other hand,they are in the good guys club now, don't really have to pretend they are not Lasombra... they are Proud of it!
    But if some reason a Lasombra would want to hide his clan? Same as the pre-v5 situations

    Leave a comment:

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