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Lobotomy and Dominate

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  • Lobotomy and Dominate

    I was recently thinking about the idea of using Dominate on lobotomy victims, such as a Ventrue conditioning lobotomized mortals to the point of completely controlling their bodies as he would a puppet. No will of their own, no chance of the victim struggling or failure on the vampire's part. Even though they would be brainless zombies, they could make excellent minions or shock troops (especially if the vampire in question is a neurosurgeon who can conduct a lobotomy to create more puppets).

    Would this work in game terms?

    Edit: I'm asking because this is going to be the idea behind the antagonist of my next Chronicle
    Last edited by Shawarbaaz; 03-07-2017, 12:46 AM.

  • #2
    Depends on how the lobotomy manifests. I'm no expert on this, but doesn't lobotomy not have a singular symptom? Like, do they all become docile or something? I don't think so, at least at the top of my head.

    I suppose they might as well be persistently Mesmerized if we're going for the "without will" presentation, although I don't remember how that Condition exactly worked.

    If all fails, Devotions. Legitimate way to make Disciplines do things you want them to do, not things they can do. Even better since its practitioner will be a major player to be a chronicle's antagonist.

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    • #3
      If we're talking mechanics and the vampire has a refined-enough method of lobotomy, you could easily refer to the Conditioning Devotion for inspiration; maybe the surgery (tinged with a little Vitae either during the operation or as a painkiller of sorts?) is a "shortcut" to the whole "repeated application of Dominate" method of application? But regardless... yeah, if they have the method down well enough and they're that calloused such that they're perfectly fine doing such a thing, then I can't see a whole lot stopping you from blurring the lines of neuroscience and blood magic like that.

      Incidentally, this sort of "method" wouldn't be out of place in an Ordo member's or Carthian Night Doctor's playbook...


      Have a bit of a bad habit of extensively editing posts after, well, posting them. Bear with me...

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      • #4
        Well lobotomies would be used to calm those with violent psychoses and largely fell out of favor with the advent of anti psychotic drugs. That doesn't translate to "susceptible to suggestion". The problem with physically lobotomizing a prospective Conditioning (as per the game) candidate is that subjects of the procedure would frequently end up with additional side effects like catatonia, seizures, loss of fine motor control, suicidal, and lacking any ability to understand higher intellectual or emotional concepts. This makes them functionally useless for doing anything beyond simple tasks.
        If you're asking about doing a variant of the procedure (say, altering the section of their brain dealing with impulse control instead of damaging or removing it) making relatively calm people flip into berserk killer mode with heightened reflexes that doesn't think twice about the morality or danger of an act. Yes, it's certainly feasible. Hypnosis, though, would probably be a better route in terms of medical viability to make someone susceptible to Dominate.

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        • #5
          I agree with Tsusasi. If you actually lobotomize someone they would lose a lot of higher functioning. You might dominate them, give them a command and they might not be able to understand it whatsoever because of the damage dome to their brain.

          If your goal is conditioned puppets with no free will. Use conditioning and Blood bond then these people will let you do whatever you want to them. You even get a bonus to use disciplines on Blood bonded people. Which would make them more susceptible to your commands and they would be more likely to protect you and go out of their way to please you without having to be commanded to do so.

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          • #6
            Actually... if you refocus the question on "what is my antagonist doing in this space" then things may click better. Whether or not lobotomy is a straightforward way of accomplishing docile servants is irrelevant if the OD "doctor" thinks it could work and is willing to experiment. Imagine his repeated investigations: snipping this, poking that, applying various voltages to here and there. Searing that bit--cutting the other thing out. There's a lot of practical brain understanding in that immortal, immoral head after a while.

            Some... alterations... might come close to docility. Others... wouldn't. But might be equally useful as weaponized mortals in various forms. Most attempts will damage the subject's willpower, mostly by creating confusion, but some might actually strengthen it during "episodes"--possibly triggered more easily via dominate.

            Keep in mind that extensive domination is apparent to other users of dominate, at least, and an alternative path to creating useful servants/tools/weapons would be right up an OD's alley.

            --Khanwulf

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            • #7
              Originally posted by tsusasi View Post
              Well lobotomies would be used to calm those with violent psychoses and largely fell out of favor with the advent of anti psychotic drugs. That doesn't translate to "susceptible to suggestion". The problem with physically lobotomizing a prospective Conditioning (as per the game) candidate is that subjects of the procedure would frequently end up with additional side effects like catatonia, seizures, loss of fine motor control, suicidal, and lacking any ability to understand higher intellectual or emotional concepts. This makes them functionally useless for doing anything beyond simple tasks.
              If you're asking about doing a variant of the procedure (say, altering the section of their brain dealing with impulse control instead of damaging or removing it) making relatively calm people flip into berserk killer mode with heightened reflexes that doesn't think twice about the morality or danger of an act. Yes, it's certainly feasible. Hypnosis, though, would probably be a better route in terms of medical viability to make someone susceptible to Dominate.
              What I wanted exactly is remote controlled "drones" who would have no qualms about wearing an explosive belt and going after a "target". It's suppose to be an untraceable method for the antagonist to get rid of certain Kindred. I thought lobotomizing the subject would circumvent one of the few limitations of Dominate because the dominated victim has no self-preservation instinct in the first place.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Shawarbaaz View Post

                What I wanted exactly is remote controlled "drones" who would have no qualms about wearing an explosive belt and going after a "target". It's suppose to be an untraceable method for the antagonist to get rid of certain Kindred. I thought lobotomizing the subject would circumvent one of the few limitations of Dominate because the dominated victim has no self-preservation instinct in the first place.

                I still think Conditioning and Blood Bonding would all for that. There are humans today who are so devoted to their god or their beliefs who suicide bomb. I don't think it's out of the scope of conditioning with blood to make your antagonist the "god" in this scenario.

                Though, honestly. You can make your bad guy do whatever you need to have him do to make the story flow. Sometimes bad guys don't exactly fit in the RAW.

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                • #9
                  From a medical standpoint, lobotomizing someone would at best, make them less violent. But in most cases their physical, social or mental usefulness would be limited. Honestly lobotomizing someone to be a suicide bomber may result in creating someone who decides to play with the bomb or gets frightened by the car blaring their radio as they drive down the street, or get distracted by the woman walking the dog and forget where they need to go.

                  I actually kind of like the idea of a (Sanctified) character who brain damages or lobotomizes people to experiment with the concept of free will and sin or as a way of giving "deserving" humans a free pass into Heaven by removing personal responsibility but there is no self preservation against self destruction or individualized morality limits via breaking points/degeneration overriding Dominate anymore. The morality limits give xp as a consolation prize for breaking them if you're under the effects of Majesty. You don't remember what you did while acting out Dominate instructions, so in most cases there's no breaking points to check. The self destruction factor is usually limited by the fact that Mesmerize breaks when the victim sustains even a single point of Bashing damage, so most applications of Dominate to kill yourself aren't going to hold unless you can kill yourself in one hit. But you can already command someone to "carry this backpack inside and wait." Inside the backpack is a remote or timer activated explosive. And they'll do it. Of course IED experts can trace who made it by the explosive signature but that would involve multiple incidents of bombing people or places to establish a pattern or hiring someone who already made a pattern. And depending on how deus ex machina you allow Auspex to be, simply walking into the room and asking "why did this person kill themself here?" Would reveal it. There wouldn't necessarily be any physical evidence or testimonial proof, but Auspex would unerringly tell who, what, when, where, why, how, and where to find any existing evidence with the right questions.

                  If you want untraceable... you might be able to use lobotomies to render the subject effectively immune to Auspex by saying their personality was destroyed (no fears or vices to sniff out) and their long term memories are destroyed (no memories to dig up to exploit the minion or memory alteration to undo.) both of which have been documented as (usually) unintended side effects of undergoing a lobotomy. You'd likely need to stick to very specific and simpler instructions though.

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                  • #10
                    While an evil brain surgeon is always creepy, in vampire, I gotta ask myself if it would be worth it. Basically, what would lobotomy accomplish that a blood bond wouldn't ? Blood bound victims are mental slaves and (in stage 3) would consider betrayal the worst thing they could do, so they're easily manipulated, but the advantage is that they're only loyal to you, while altering the brain to make someone more susceptible to suggestion (and as it's been said, lobotomy probably isn't that simple). The other advantage is that they're still functional individuals that can take care of themselves and so probably much easier to have around and more useful.

                    Of course, you could say that blood bonds demand blood and that might be a pain to get enough to bind many people, but at the same time, capturing enough people to perform brain surgery on them doesn't sound easy either, and keeping them healthy (enough to be of use) with whatever damage the operation did on their mind, while making sure the police doesn't get too deep isn't something anyone could do, so if they can do that, I'd imagine they can procure enough blood to bind that many people in the first place.

                    So the question is why would that vampire choose to go through what sounds to me like a more difficult route to get something they probably could obtain by simply exploiting their basic capabilities without some of the liabilities the brain surgery plot would bring.


                    I could see a few reasons for that. The simple one is they're pretty much an insane doctor that trusts their way better than magic means, but that's a bit easy. Another thing is, especially if they're Ordo Dracul, that this is simply part of their studies. They could blood bind everyone, but simple control isn't what they're going for. The lobotomy scheme is part of a bigger goal and so far, they're just using it to study it as well as procure the means to continue their research. Another twist is the mystery that deals with stealing paranormal skills from humans. That surgery thing could be an attempt at creating people like that by awakening some part of their brain (to create squads of superpowered agents to obey them).

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by S. Brechen View Post
                      While an evil brain surgeon is always creepy, in vampire, I gotta ask myself if it would be worth it. Basically, what would lobotomy accomplish that a blood bond wouldn't ? Blood bound victims are mental slaves and (in stage 3) would consider betrayal the worst thing they could do, so they're easily manipulated, but the advantage is that they're only loyal to you, while altering the brain to make someone more susceptible to suggestion (and as it's been said, lobotomy probably isn't that simple). The other advantage is that they're still functional individuals that can take care of themselves and so probably much easier to have around and more useful.

                      Of course, you could say that blood bonds demand blood and that might be a pain to get enough to bind many people, but at the same time, capturing enough people to perform brain surgery on them doesn't sound easy either, and keeping them healthy (enough to be of use) with whatever damage the operation did on their mind, while making sure the police doesn't get too deep isn't something anyone could do, so if they can do that, I'd imagine they can procure enough blood to bind that many people in the first place.
                      If you had tons of blood bound individuals, you would by default have a herd to feed from. You would have that many blood dolls willing and eager to feed you. If you were a Daeva with the Kiss of the Succubus, it would be even more of a reason that they would listen to you and feed you. They would need you like the air they breathe

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                      • #12
                        Yes, once you've got enough, but we have to consider getting there as well. I'll consider it takes three days and three VP to get blood bond at level 3, so if you start with nobody and quickly want to have 10 minions, you'll have to get 30 VP. You can take them from them, but that's 10 people who'll need a break for a bit before you can use them. It is pretty manageable in terms of quantity of blood, though. But from what I understand, the idea would be for them to serve as more or less disposable henchmen, so the size of said herd would vary depending on how many of them were sent on suicide missions. The easy way to circumvent that is to keep a group of them exclusively for feeding, but that means expanding your business a little. Not to mention it doesn't sound like agreat idea for a Daeva given their weakness. But yes, you are right in terms of pure numbers.


                        That said, there can be sort of a problem with blood bond if we're trying to find a weak spot that could make other means of control more appealing. This obviously depends on the GM, but blood bound individuals are pretty much obsessed by their vampire. While it's manageable to handle 2 or 3 such people, when you start having a lot, that's as many groupies you have to deal with. Sure, they'll never go against a direct order, but in the end, it's about what they perceive as what's good for you. What if you start neglecting one of them because you don't need them for a while ? Even if you told them to stay put and wait for your orders, they'll want to see you, they might even get worried, what if something happened to you because they didn't do anything ? And what about conflict between blood bound people ? What if some of them start thinking they want to be the favourite one ? Would they just work harder or would they start going after the other ones, spoiling their work or even killing them ? Having many blood bound servants means having to take care of each carefully so that what they think is good for you aligns with what you actually need them for and so they don't start getting jealous of each other. They're not brainwashed, they just obsessively care about you. A sloppily managed group of blood slaves could turn into a squad of creepy stalkers.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by S. Brechen View Post
                          Yes, once you've got enough, but we have to consider getting there as well. I'll consider it takes three days and three VP to get blood bond at level 3, so if you start with nobody and quickly want to have 10 minions, you'll have to get 30 VP. You can take them from them, but that's 10 people who'll need a break for a bit before you can use them. It is pretty manageable in terms of quantity of blood, though. But from what I understand, the idea would be for them to serve as more or less disposable henchmen, so the size of said herd would vary depending on how many of them were sent on suicide missions. The easy way to circumvent that is to keep a group of them exclusively for feeding, but that means expanding your business a little. Not to mention it doesn't sound like agreat idea for a Daeva given their weakness. But yes, you are right in terms of pure numbers.


                          That said, there can be sort of a problem with blood bond if we're trying to find a weak spot that could make other means of control more appealing. This obviously depends on the GM, but blood bound individuals are pretty much obsessed by their vampire. While it's manageable to handle 2 or 3 such people, when you start having a lot, that's as many groupies you have to deal with. Sure, they'll never go against a direct order, but in the end, it's about what they perceive as what's good for you. What if you start neglecting one of them because you don't need them for a while ? Even if you told them to stay put and wait for your orders, they'll want to see you, they might even get worried, what if something happened to you because they didn't do anything ? And what about conflict between blood bound people ? What if some of them start thinking they want to be the favourite one ? Would they just work harder or would they start going after the other ones, spoiling their work or even killing them ? Having many blood bound servants means having to take care of each carefully so that what they think is good for you aligns with what you actually need them for and so they don't start getting jealous of each other. They're not brainwashed, they just obsessively care about you. A sloppily managed group of blood slaves could turn into a squad of creepy stalkers.
                          I dont think it's as complicated as you are making it out to sound. You have Bob, Joe and Sally ( and whatever else 7 names if you want to quickly have 10 minions ) You remember you also have dominate. You Dominate Bob. Feed me. You drink him 1 to.. dead if you wanted. Then you give Joe Sally and Whatever7 the blood. Next night. You dominate Joe ( which you now have a bonus to do because he is bloodbonded ) "feed Me" you take 1 to whatever and give it to the rest of them. Or you can do 1 for 1 each night. Nothing gained nothing lost. You take one from every minion and give it right back to them.

                          You're right about the Daeva curse. It would not be good if you had it, though the problem would be solved if your herd was not human. Or you just bit them to make them addicted and didnt feed from them. I am not sure if the curse would still apply if you had them slit their wrists and drank it out of a cup... as it loses all of the intimacy of feeding from that mortal. ( i would be inclined to say the curse still applies, but One could argue that it wouldnt )


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                          • #14
                            Vinculum bound victims will not throw away their own lives just because their regnant asks them. Not even if their regnant is a Daeva. That is part of what the original poster was inquiring in regards to the usefulness of a lobotomy. Dominate victims, however, will. The other part pertains to whether or not a lobotomy renders medically engineered suicide attackers untraceable to the mastermind ordering. And that absolutely is a possible advantage someone who excels in mind control using surgical procedures would have over vampires relying on the crutches of disciplines and blood bonds.
                            Vitae addicts are noticeable and are easily detectable. (Just offer them a hit of vitae and watch their reaction.) And from there you just follow them back to the source. Discipline usage is often detectable by observing behavior. Auspex can detect and undo Dominate by design. But Auspex isn't going to detect or undermine supernatural influence on someone who's been rendered surgically sterile to applications of Majesty, Nightmare, Auspex or any other power predicated on provoking a mental or emotional reaction.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by tsusasi View Post
                              Vinculum bound victims will not throw away their own lives just because their regnant asks them. Not even if their regnant is a Daeva. That is part of what the original poster was inquiring in regards to the usefulness of a lobotomy. Dominate victims, however, will. The other part pertains to whether or not a lobotomy renders medically engineered suicide attackers untraceable to the mastermind ordering. And that absolutely is a possible advantage someone who excels in mind control using surgical procedures would have over vampires relying on the crutches of disciplines and blood bonds.
                              Vitae addicts are noticeable and are easily detectable. (Just offer them a hit of vitae and watch their reaction.) And from there you just follow them back to the source. Discipline usage is often detectable by observing behavior. Auspex can detect and undo Dominate by design. But Auspex isn't going to detect or undermine supernatural influence on someone who's been rendered surgically sterile to applications of Majesty, Nightmare, Auspex or any other power predicated on provoking a mental or emotional reaction.

                              Which is why I said to do it WITH CONDITIONING... you can condition people to do a lot of fucked up things. See real life suicide bombers. People get conditioned over time to do and think in certain ways. There are tons of real life stories of kidnappers conditioning their victims into loving them and doing things for them and even hurting other people for them Just to make them happy... If you convince these minions that you ( the regnant ) is in danger, which they will be conditioned to believe. They would want to do everything to keep you safe. They are insanely in love with you....

                              I assume a vitae addict could be just like any other addict. It ranges from super noticable to they have been an addict for years and no one noticed.


                              Conditioning:
                              Over a period of weeks, the vampire pushes on her victim’s
                              will, forcing him to repeat the same tasks over and over until
                              he cannot resist her voice. She slowly builds up control over
                              her victim to the point where he can barely manifest his own
                              thoughts or feelings. Instead he’s an empty shell, waiting for
                              his mistress’ next command.



                              Blood bond 3 "Have you ever thought to intervene in order to protect what you have?"

                              When taking a Social maneuver against her thrall, the
                              regnant’s impression is always considered perfect (see p. 174). As
                              well, she gains a +3 die penalty on any Social action or Discipline
                              roll against the thrall. Causing indirect or direct harm to one’s
                              regnant constitutes a breaking point at Humanity 1/Integrity
                              -5. Lastly, all of the regnant’s lingering Discipline effects gain
                              additional duration.

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