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Combination Discipline Strategies

by: Druthulhu A Legacy Article from Sanguinus Curae

The use of supernatural disciplines can make a vampire a deadly hunter, fearsome foe, or dreadful prankster. The combined use of these powers can make one even more puissant, particularly when used simultaneously, through splitting of the dice pool or through use of Celerity. Here I offer some strategies and systems for combination discipline use.

The following discipline combinations do not need to be purchased with experience points, as they are simply strategies that combine the use of existing powers.

I. Emotional Manipulation
Requirements: Auspex 2: Aura Reading, Charisma + Empathy vs. Humanity
Dementation 1: Passion, Perception + Empathy vs. 8
Normally, when using the power of Passion to enflame to emotions of a target, the user is unable to determine which emotion will be affected, or to discern what effects have been produced, short of observing them in the target's behaviour. By preceding the use of Passion with the use of Aura Reading, however, the user can target a particular 'colour' in the target's aura, and thus choose which emotion will be affected. The emotion has to be noticeably present in the target's aura, however, thus making it impossible to produce an emotion that is against the target's nature to feel.
The user of this combination must first gain at least two successes in their Aura Reading roll, enough to discern the colours in the target's aura. If they are using these powers simultaneously the difficulty of their Passion roll is reduced by 1 per success over one on their Aura Reading roll, and the result will be to enflame the emotion of the user's choice. The user can then continue to concentrate on reading the target's aura and thereby determine the effects of the power.
If the Storyteller allows, Passion can be used immediately after Aura Reading, by focusing on the colour of the desired emotion as the concentration on the Aura Reading fades. A secret roll of Wits + Empathy vs. 7 with a target number of one success must be made in order to affect the desired emotion, and there will be no way of knowing if it has worked as desired, short of observing the target's behaviour. There is no bonus to the Passion roll for successes on the Aura Reading roll if they are not used simultaneously.

II. Emotional Domination
Requirements: Auspex 2: Aura Reading, Charisma + Empathy vs. Humanity
Dementation 1: Passion, Perception + Empathy vs. 8
Dominate: any variable
By using Emotional Manipulation, described above, in conjunction with any of the various powers of Dominate, the user can render the target particularly susceptible to their manipulations and commands. Enflaming the target's anger can make them more susceptible to a command to attack. Arousing feelings of love, or lust, can make them more pliable to intimacies, perhaps leading to the Kiss. Enhancing their fear can make them more liable to forget seeing traumatic things such as vampires. Increasing a tendency to submissiveness can aid in any of the powers of Dominate, particularly the power of Conditioning.
If Dominate is used simultaneously with Passion, every two successes on the Passion roll add one success, rounded down, to the Dominate roll, except when a tendency to submissiveness is amplified, in which case successes are gained one for one. If Dominate is used subsequent to Passion, yet during its duration, only the amplification of submissiveness adds Dominate successes, adding one success for every two on the Passion roll. When using Conditioning on a target whose submissiveness has been amplified, every two successes count as three towards the target number.
Whether Dominate is used simultaneously with or subsequently to the use of Passion, every two successes on the Passion roll reduce the difficulty of the Dominate roll by 1, rounded up.

III. Advanced Memory Manipulation
Requirements: Auspex 4: Telepathy, Intelligence + Subterfuge vs. Willpower
Dominate 3: The Forgetful Mind, Wits + Subterfuge vs. Willpower
Using the powers of Dominate to manipulate a target's memories can be far more effective if the user has a direct view of the memories being manipulated. Using Telepathy in conjunction with The Forgetful Mind allows the user a much greater likelihood of success in the alteration of memories.
In the system for Telepathy, each success allows either one item of information to be gleaned or one layer of consciousness to be pierced. I recommend that for one success, one item may be perceived from the target's surface thoughts, with extra successes being required to pierce further layers. The layers of consciousness are listed in this chart:
Additional Successes Needed/Level of Consciousness and Memory Description
0: surface thoughts; short term memories, within the current scene
1: the preconscious; short term memories, within the current day
2: the subconscious; long term memories, within recent weeks
3: the unconscious; long term memories, within recent months
4: the deep unconscious; memories from years past
5: the deepest levels of the psyche; intense formative life memories
When using Telepathy in conjunction with The Forgetful Mind, each success past the target number to pierce the appropriate level of the target's mind reduces the difficulty of the Forgetful Mind roll by 1. When the powers are used simultaneously, each such success also adds one success to the Forgetful Mind roll. Thus, even a straightforward failure on the Forgetful Mind roll will allow a fresh memory to be suppressed for at least one day, assuming the Telepathy roll had at least one success, and the powers are being used simultaneously.

IV. Selective Freak-out
Requirements: Obfuscate: any variable
Presence 2: Dread Gaze, Charisma + Intimidation vs. Wits + 3
It may be possible, at the Storyteller's discretion, for a character using one of the powers of Obfuscate to selectively reveal themselves to one or more persons in a group of people, while remaining cloaked to all others. If so, this ability can be used in conjunction with the power of the Dread Gaze to cause a single target within a larger group to react with alarming terror, the source of which will be unknown to all others, making the target seem to have mysteriously become mentally unhinged. Furthermore, the sudden appearance of an invisible vampire would lower the difficulty of their Dread Gaze roll.
If the Storyteller allows, selective de-Obfuscation can be performed by making another roll for the Obfuscate power being used. Failure means the user is not visible to their chosen target, and a botch indicates that the Obfuscation has fallen completely, revealing the user to everyone nearby. The Storyteller may require that the user have a rating in Obfuscate one or even two dots higher than that required for the power being attempted. The Cloak the Shadow power does not require a roll normally, but a Wits + Stealth roll should be required for selective de-Obfuscation. Even is this works, however, bystanders' attention may well be drawn to the spot that the target is interacting with, thus revealing the user's presence.
If, due to a botch, a vampire using Dread Gaze is revealed to several people at once, mortals who are not the target may be affected as well. Any unaware mortals (mortals who do not know about the existence of vampires), as well as aware mortals with a particular (and common) fear of vampires should make a Willpower roll whenever witnessing the Dread Gaze secondhand. The target number is equal to the number of successes on the vampire's Dread Gaze roll, and for every success less than the target number the mortal suffers the effect, for one turn, of one success on a Dread Gaze directed at them, i.e.: loss of one die from all dice pools. A botch on this Willpower roll causes a bystander to be drawn into the Dread Gaze, taking the full effects of all its successes and extended successes along with the primary target. As this makes the Dread Gaze a more powerful attack, the Storyteller may rule that this effect only occurs if the vampire has suddenly appeared from the invisibility of Obfuscation. The difficulty of this Willpower roll is 4 in normal circumstances, 7 if the vampire has recently appeared from invisibility, and 9 if the Dread Gaze is simultaneous with de-Obfuscation from invisibility. For these purposes, Cloak the Shadow does not count as invisibility.
The intended target of the Dread Gaze will suffer from one extra success on its roll if it occurred just after de-Obfuscation, or one extra success per success on the de-Obfuscation roll if the powers were used simultaneously. Also, if the powers were used simultaneously, the user's difficulty on the first turn will be the target's Wits, rather than their Wits + 3.
This strategy can be particularly useful when making a speech, using Mask of the 1000 Faces to cover a selective Dread Gaze attack on a rival of the user and thereby discredit them as mentally unbalanced. Selective de-Obfuscation is not needed if the Mask can be put up just as the Dread Gaze is cast, but a failure will allow everyone to see the vampire's true face. Just one success is needed for presenting a Mask of the user's own face, and one extra success is needed for remaining visible in truth to the selected target. Selective de-Obfuscation can be done in a turn prior to the Dread Gaze, and the target will see the same thing as everyone else does until the attack is launched. This is probably the best strategy, as it requires no simultaneous actions, and as there is no particular bonus when the user is not appearing out of nowhere. However, if the user is using Mask of the 1000 Faces to appear as someone else, the difficulty of the Dread Gaze is 1 lower if the powers are used simultaneously. The difficulty can be lowered further by 1 or 2 if the differences in the user's real and Obfuscated appearances are striking enough.

V. Fear Projection
Requirements: Auspex 2: Aura Reading, Charisma + Empathy vs. Humanity
Dementation 1: Passion, Perception + Empathy vs. 8
Presence 2: Dread Gaze, Charisma + Intimidation vs. Wits + 3
By using Emotional Manipulation, described above, in conjunction with the Dread Gaze, a vampire can produce devastating effects through exacerbation of the target's fear. Mundane intimidation, used prior to the attack, can make this even more useful, and might produce fear in someone who does not already show it in their aura. Emotional Manipulation can also be used during this build-up, but it is more useful to cause the fear to flare up at the precise moment of the attack.
Use of Emotional Manipulation simultaneously with the Dread Gaze adds one success to the Dread Gaze roll per success on the Passion roll. Whether the powers are used simultaneously or consecutively, successful Emotional Manipulation of fear reduces the difficulty of the Dread Gaze roll by from 1 to 3, depending on the personality, Nature and Demeanor of the target. If the target is a Bravo or a Survivor, for example, the reduction would be 1, while if the target is a Child it would be 3.
Use of Fear Projection simultaneously with sudden appearance from Obfuscation, as in Selective Freak-out, above, can be totally devastating, possible reducing the difficulty of the Dread Gaze to 1 or lower. If the difficulty is 1, the target suffers a number of successes equal to the user's Charisma + Intimidation, automatically. If the difficulty is 0 or lower, the target is reduced to a quivering mess, and must succeed in a Courage roll or suffer a Derangement, most likely an appropriate phobia.

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