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Umbracuro

by: Dare A Legacy Article from Sanguinus Curae

In essence, 'Umbracuro' is a form of telepathy with unique and potentially both wondrous and devastating side effects. It is not to be undertaken lightly however, as failures in its use carry heavy consequences. The principle drawback to this powerful telepathic ability is the requirement of physical contact between the user and subject.
This is best done skin to skin, but will still work through most fabrics (difficulty +1) and even leather and heavier substances (difficulty +2). Umbracuro also works with the disembodied to an extent, although it is extremely difficult. It will work on aspects of Protean such as the Earth-melded or Mist-formed (difficulty +3), on astral forms, spirits, ghosts, or Wraiths (difficulty +4).

Exordium ( The Opening )
This first aspect of the discipline is the key to all that follow, and the most devastating to endure the learning of. This aspect dismantles in the learner the protective walls that each mind possesses, opening their awareness to the mind of whomever they touch without barrier or defense. While this allows an intimate and open view of the mind of another, it can overwhelm in the completeness and depth of the revelation. Any and all touch will bring the thoughts, memories, and feelings of another to a level between whispers and shouts in the mind of the user. It becomes then not a question of listening to the thoughts of the subject… but of choosing what to hear, or to not hear at all.
System: As 'Exordium' is a permanent change and is always functioning, no success roll is required to initiate it. Any time the character touches another, this discipline may take effect. The player must make an 'Empathy + Will' roll at a difficulty equal to the Will of the person touched in order to close their mind to the thoughts of the other person - this is the 'resistance roll' mentioned later. If they fail, the contact is made and a second roll must be made to determine the effect of this accidental contact. Botch - the personality, memories, and disposition of the person touched will override the character's own, perhaps permanently - without direct intervention by another telepath of exceptional ability.
1 success - the character takes on all mental aspects of the person touched. Memory, mood, disposition, intent and desire will override those of the character. This effect can only be negated afterward by a success made on the character's Will at a difficulty equal to the Will of whomever they touched, but it will leave a permanent impression of the other person in the character's subconscious. In times of stress or weakness the character may revert to this other personality… too much of this can cause acute 'Multiple Personality Disorder' in the character. Other derangements are also possible due to this.
2 successes - Exactly the same as with one success, except that the overriding effect is temporary, lasting a number of days equal to the Will of the person touched. All other aspects of the effect apply, including the lasting impression and risks associated to it.
3 successes - Exactly the same as with one success, except that the overriding effect is temporary, lasting a number of hours equal to the Will of the person touched. All other aspects of the effect apply, including the lasting impression and risks associated to it.
4 successes - Exactly the same as with one success, except that the overriding effect is temporary, lasting only a number of minutes equal to the Will of the person touched. All other aspects of the effect apply, including the lasting impression and risks associated to it.
5 successes or more - the character can resist the overriding influence of the other mind, but is forced to endure the full impact of another's mind within their own until the touch is broken.

*JewelKiss' Diary: 'There are times when I'm afraid to touch people, even those I'm close to… there is simply too much to know… and sometimes knowing too much feels like I'm going to crumble away under the weight of it all… knowing the secret thoughts of your friends and lovers is not a blessing… and finding yourself swimming in the mixed minds of others, all fighting for control over your personality and thoughts… is a curse…'

Communis ( The Sharing ) ●●
This second aspect of the discipline turns the contact of 'Exordium' into a conscious form of communication, allowing the passing of thoughts, memories, and emotions to and from persons touched. Again this is not a blessing for weaker minds, as in its weakest form this is a complete and total sharing of all that the mind holds. Stronger users of this aspect can control and manipulate the sharing to reveal or read only what they wish, and even compress memories and long communications into short, powerful bursts that leave lasting impressions in the receiving mind.
System:
**A success in an 'Exordium' resistance roll must be made before this aspect can be attempted.** The player must make an 'Empathy + Will' roll, the difficulty being modified by their own Will. For a Will of 4, the difficulty is 10. For each point of Will over five, the difficulty is reduced by one (to a minimum difficulty of 4 for a Will of 10)
*Note: Only very practiced users of Umbracuro can prevent the subject from sensing a disembodied 'presence' in or near their own mind when this is used. (level 4 discipline required)
Botch - the personality, memories, and disposition of the character and of the person touched will merge and blend - becoming confusing and cacophonous for both without order or direction, perhaps permanently without direct intervention by another telepath of exceptional ability. The person touched may resist this effect to some degree with a 'Will' roll with a difficulty equal to the Will of the character… but the character has no such grace.
1 success - the character is able to control the communication enough that it is not a devastating or lasting effect. It remains a complete and total sharing of both minds, however, with secrets difficult or impossible to keep (a Will roll at difficulty 9 to even try for either party).
2 successes - the character is able to communicate real-time conscious thoughts to the person touched in the fashion of silent 'speech'. The character must carefully think out each phrase of the communication. At this level they are also able to gain impressions of the surface thoughts and emotions of the subject. If the subject is made aware of the contact, they may actively communicate with the character in the same manner of thought-out 'speech'.
3 successes - the character is able to voluntarily communicate limited concepts and emotions to the person touched without needing to 'talk it out'. The contact takes on the ability to communicate mood and also gains a visual aspect that can communicate images and concepts as static pictures - mental 'photographs' drawn from the memory of the character. The character is still only able to gain surface impressions of the subject's mind, however.
4 successes - the character is able to voluntarily communicate extended concepts and memories of events in the form of real-time 'movie clips' from their own memory as they desire. Touch contact must be maintained for the entire duration of the original event to allow this to occur. At this level the character is able to probe deeper thoughts, emotions, and motivations of the subject, though extended or buried memory is still not open to them.
5 successes - the character is able to voluntarily 'create' conceptual imagery to relay thoughts, concepts and moods through application of both memory and imagination. These communications will play out as real-time experiences and require touch to be maintained for the entire duration of the experience. At this level the character is able to probe deeper thoughts, emotions, and motivations of the subject, though extended or buried memory is still not open to them.
6 successes - the character is able to voluntarily communicate in any of the previous forms, but at a 'compressed' rate that can communicate long or complex thoughts or memories in very short 'bursts' of information that then unfold within the mind of the receiver to their full extent. With mastery of this aspect, hours can be compressed to seconds, and a year can become a few hours. They are also able to fully probe memories and buried thoughts, subconscious or otherwise.

*JewelKiss' Diary: '…it seems to be getting better lately… with a lot of practice I've gotten to the point where I can go in and find what I want… kind of like looking for a book in a library. I can even find things they think they've forgotten… I still have to be careful, though… one slip and the library becomes a whirlwind and then it's either get out or get lost in it… I'm still working on getting people to hear me when I want them to, I've found that just 'thinking' as though I'm talking to them seems to work best… the weird thing is, though… I really don't feel like I'm in my own head anymore when I do this…'

Viafacio ( The Bridge ) ●●●
With this aspect it becomes possible for the user to form a mind-touch link with two (or more) individuals at once, acting as a conduit between them all for the sharing of thoughts, experiences, memories and communication. The level of mental control required to achieve this aspect is high enough that some of the potentially disastrous effects of the lesser aspects are lessened as threat. This still, however, is not an endeavor to be undertaken lightly as there can still be unwelcome side effects.
System:
**This aspect cannot be achieved by any character with a Will less than 6.**
**A success in an 'Exordium' resistance roll must be made before this aspect can be attempted.**
The player must make an 'Empathy + Will' roll (-1 die from their pool for each additional person past one that is involved), the difficulty being modified by their own Will. For a Will of 4, the difficulty is 10. For each point of Will over five, the difficulty is reduced by one (to a minimum difficulty of 4 for a Will of 10) The effects of success are exactly the same as Level 2: 'Communis'.

*JewelKiss' Diary: 'I finally did it! Tonight I managed to link two people… and boy, were Sirren and Trask surprised… I could hear them talking to each other, and I wasn't doing anything more than just providing the link. I can't wait to practice some more with this one…'

Constantia ( The Strength ) ●●●●
At this level, Umbracuro steps beyond communication into something far more. The user is able to disembody their consciousness and move it into the mind of another through touch, becoming a 'passenger' in the other person's body and consciousness. This can be done actively in a cooperative fashion, or passively and secretly. It is even possible for the skills, knowledge, and mental strengths of the user to compliment and bolster those of the host, and in a fully cooperative effort the host can even relinquish control of their body to the user for short periods. The presence of the user within the host does alter the host's aura under the Auspex discipline - creating a blended version of the two. The user's body becomes passive and dormant in a fashion similar to torpor, and remains so until the 'host' returns and touches it. Note: Should the 'host' be killed, the user will also die.
System:
**This aspect cannot be achieved by any character with a Will less than 6.**
**A success in an 'Exordium' resistance roll must be made before this aspect can be attempted.**
The player must make an 'Empathy + Will' roll , the difficulty being modified by their own Will. For a Will of 4, the difficulty is 10. For each point of Will over five, the difficulty is reduced by one (to a minimum difficulty of 4 for a Will of 10).
Botch - the personality, memories, and disposition of the character and of the person touched will merge and blend - becoming confusing and cacophonous for both without order or direction, perhaps permanently without direct intervention by another telepath of exceptional ability. The person touched may resist this effect to some degree with a 'Will' roll with a difficulty equal to the Will of the character… but the character has no such grace.
1 success - The character successfully enters the mind of the subject as a discrete presence. They are utterly passive, only being able to share in the experiences of the host, and the host is fully aware of their presence. The character is unable to take any action of any kind beyond 'talking' to the host. No other disciplines of the character will work in this state
2 successes - Exactly as the first level success - except that the character may conceal their presence from the host, becoming a silent partner in all subsequent experiences. Concealment in this fashion will also conceal the presence of the character from all but the strongest forms of other types of telepathic communication.
3 successes - At this level, it is possible for the host to relinquish control of their body to the character - though the character cannot force this to occur. Further - if the host falls asleep or is otherwise rendered unconscious, the character can take over at will while the host remains out of it. The character is limited to only using what special abilities or disciplines that the host may have, but they may apply their own skills, knowledges, and talents.
4 successes - Exactly as level 3, but further extended to the use of disciplines as well.
5 successes - When this level of success is reached, the character is able to 'strengthen' the host, by adding their own knowledges, skills, talents, and disciplines to the array possessed by the host. The host is then able to use the disciplines of the character, and draw on the character's experience as though it was their own. If control over the body is traded, this operates as a level 4 success. (in game terms, the controlling player uses whichever character's skill score that is highest in all success attempts)

*JewelKiss' Diary: 'Tonight… something really bizarre happened… I think I possessed Cassidy for a minute or two… I was trying so hard to fight the fog in her head and find the memories of Paris… I was suddenly 'in' there all the way!! I don't think she even realized, she was so zenned out … but I know at one point 'I' blinked… and looked at myself sitting there across from 'me'… My teachers are having a field day with this one…'

Transigo ( The Exchange ) ●●●●●
The next step beyond 'Constantia'. The user is able to disembody their consciousness and move it into the mind of another through touch - and cause the mind of the other person to be forced back into the user's body. This can be done actively in a cooperative fashion, or passively and secretly. The user can simply 'trade bodies' with the host, or through an effort of will they can 'imprison' the host's mind within their own dormant body. This does go a step beyond a simple trade of physical forms, however. While in the host, the user may employ any skills, knowledges, special abilities, or talents that the host normally possesses. The presence of the user within the host does alter the host's aura under the Auspex discipline - creating a blended version of the two. Note: Should the 'host' be killed, the user will also die
System: **This aspect cannot be achieved by any character with a Will less than 6.**
**A success in an 'Exordium' resistance roll must be made before this aspect can be attempted.**
The player must make an 'Empathy + Will' roll , the difficulty being modified by their own Will. For a Will of 4, the difficulty is 10. For each point of Will over five, the difficulty is reduced by one (to a minimum difficulty of 4 for a Will of 10).
Botch - the personality, memories, and disposition of the character and of the person touched will merge and blend - becoming confusing and cacophonous for both without order or direction, perhaps permanently without direct intervention by another telepath of exceptional ability. The person touched may resist this effect to some degree with a 'Will' roll with a difficulty equal to the Will of the character… but the character has no such grace.
To 'imprison' the host within the character's dormant body, the character must make a straight Will roll at a difficulty equal to the host's Will. After the transfer occurs, the host's mind can attempt to 'break free' and take control of the character's body, but they must make a Will success at a difficulty equal to the character's Will. The host's mind is still at a disadvantage however, as they can neither use their own special abilities or disciplines nor those of the character, though they can still use their own knowledges, talents, and skills..

*JewelKiss' Diary: 'This one is just too weird… I don't think I will be using it too often… I really didn't like being a guy, even for a few minutes… even though I knew exactly 'how' to be a guy… it was still weird…'

Domo Curo ( Mastermind ) ●●●●●●
With mastery of this art of Umbracuro, the user becomes the master of their own mind and the minds of others. When a connection to another mind is attained, the user can command both conscious and subconscious activity within the mind of the subject. On a personal level they gain mastery over every aspect of their own mind, including control over subconscious and autonomic functions of the brain. This mastery, whether personal or extended to another subject, includes all manner of abilities, disciplines, and special gifts.
System : **This aspect cannot be achieved by any character with a Will less than 7.**
**A success in an 'Exordium' resistance roll must be made before this aspect can be attempted.**
The player must make an 'Empathy + Will' roll , the difficulty being modified by the comparison of the subject's Will to the User's. The base difficulty is a 7, increasing or decreasing by the difference between the user's Will and the subject's. (i.e.: if the user's Will is 7 and the subject's 5 - the difficulty is 2 less than 7, or 5, since the user's Will is higher by 2. If the subject's Will were a 9, then the difficulty would be 9, since the subject's Will is higher by 2.)
Botch - the personality, memories, and disposition of the character and of the person touched will merge and blend - becoming confusing and cacophonous for both without order or direction, perhaps permanently without direct intervention by another telepath of exceptional ability. The person touched may resist this effect to some degree with a 'Will' roll with a difficulty equal to the Will of the character… but the character has no such grace.
1 success - simple commands can be given to the subject such as 'sit', 'stand', 'look', 'turn', 'step away', 'stop talking', etc. These commands cannot involve higher aspects of mind or skill (i.e.: using a discipline or performing a skilled act) nor can they involve autonomic or involuntary functions of the body (i.e.: going to sleep, throwing up, etc.)
2 successes - simple commands can be given to involuntary functions of the body and mind, though autonomic functions (i.e.: heartbeat, etc.) still cannot be altered. These commands can be somewhat open-ended in terms of skill or talent use, such as 'attack them', 'move faster', 'run away', 'use 'x' discipline now', etc., and can also be of a kind such as 'go to sleep', 'don't dream', 'be calm', etc
3 successes - more complex commands can be given to the mind of the subject, and many aspects of the mind can be manipulated such as memory, will, and focus of thought. Memories can be hidden or recalled and the set of the mind can be changed, i.e.: 'forget this', 'remember this now', 'think of this now', 'don't think at all', 'react this way to this concept', etc. In most cases these affects are temporary (the subject can make a Will roll each day to recall hidden memories or change their mind on a subject - difficulty being the Will of the user.).
4 successes - an extension of a level 3 success, wherein the applied effects can be made semi-permanent, changeable only through further outside intervention by another telepath. The commands given can also be exceedingly complex and involve very complex concepts in the manner of posthypnotic suggestions, i.e.: 'when you see 'x' person, you will react with 'x' action until 'x' occurs'.
5 successes - the mastery of the mind becomes complete, extending to control over autonomic functions of the body and the deepest recesses of the subconscious. A heart can be stopped, blood-flow to a limb halted, mental activity shut down or stimulated, or a derangement, belief, or knowledge can be ferreted out and eliminated… or created.

*JewelKiss' Diary: 'I'm not sure if I should be worried about this or not… maybe just worried about the temptation to use it… with a touch I can make people fall asleep, stand up, cry, laugh, …pretty much whatever I want as long as they're not ready for it. Worse than that, it feels like I can switch memories around or hide them in their head just like I've learned to do in mine. Have I got the right to use this? Will I know when it's right or wrong to use it? Do I dare even think about it?'

Umbra Saltus Primus ●●●●●●●
(Ghost Leap I)
This extends the benefits and abilities of level 2 'Communis' ( The Sharing ) beyond the limitation of physical contact, needing only eye contact to allow the user to wield all the level 2 abilities.

Umbra Saltus Secundus ●●●●●●●●
(Ghost Leap II)
This extends the benefits and abilities of level 4 'Constantia' ( The Strength ) beyond the limitation of physical contact, needing only eye contact to allow the user to wield all the level 4 abilities.

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