Many people look at Obtenebration as a purely combat discipline, though there are many other more subtle uses for it. For the lovers of Obtenebration, here is a list of secondary uses for it. These are all based off LARP rules, though they can be easily modified for tabletop I imagine.
For every social trait expended beyond the first, one of the tentacles created by "Arms of the Abyss" can be extended by six feet. By expending 12 social traits for example, a Lasombra in need of a quick escape may create two 36-foot tentacles from the shadows of their closed hands. Now you have two long cables from which to swing a la Spiderman from rooftop to rooftop. Alternatively, one might create one 72-foot tentacle to lower themselves comfortably and safely from a high ledge, cliff, elevator shaft, etc. Obviously it's a good idea to have some level of Obfuscate before attempting these feats lest you risk breaching the masquerade.
Both levels one and three are really good for keeping unwanted visitors out from places you don't wish them to be. In combat, the first level of Obtenebration (Shadow Play) will ensnare a victim, causing them to bid an extra trait due to being clumsy from the ensnarement. Try wrapping it around a locked drawer, cabinet or door. During the regular physical challenge to break open the lock, the person attempting to do so must make a physical challenge against a static number of traits and bid a physical trait of their own. Now with the shadow ensnaring the door, they must risk an additional trait on the challenge.
'Arms of the Abyss' is just frightening for this use. Wrap 12 tentacles around a door and watch someone try to beat all twelve of them in a single round to force their way through. That's a physical challenge in which they must risk 12 traits, and if you are evil enough to combine it with Shadow Play or Shroud of Night, they are going to have to double that number to 24 due to being clumsy in the darkness. If they haven't brought along a lot of friends with high levels of Potence, there's a fairly good chance your door will remain sealed.
Does that condescending Toreador you wish to rain a hail of blows upon have more celerity than you? Easily solved with this little trick. Create a tentacle long enough to cover the distance between you and your adversary by spending the required number of social traits. On your action, lance the tentacle towards them and either impale them with it or wrap it around them. Then on the following turn, reel them in and commence ye merry mayhem.
Create from the shadows within their mouth, a blob of darkness from Shadow play. Now they must make a static physical challenge while bidding two traits every time they wish to speak. Or cause a tentacle to appear from within their throat, blocking their entire mouth. Not only will he be silenced for the next hour, but they will also look silly as a writhing black tongue protrudes from their mouth.
The next few uses are a little debatable. Check with your storyteller to see whether they would be allowed in your game or not. Check all of the above for that matter. :)
It has been argued that if the first level of Obtenebration (Shadow Play) is strong enough to pull at a victim and cause them to be clumsy, it must also be strong enough to walk upon and support solid objects. That being the case, one should be able to create a solid mass of shadow that completely envelopes one crippled limb, adding stability and support. Using it this fashion will remove one level of Lame from a crippled limb for the remainder of a scene or one hour. Handy if you have to start running for a fast retreat. It puts you back to the full three steps per turn and you can't have the lame trait bid against you.
While in Tenebrous Form (Level 5 Obtenebration) a character may seep up walls and ceilings, fit through small cracks or under doors. Generally, that means a character with enough time on his hands will be able to get into almost anywhere. However both light and shadow can pass through glass, so I have heard the argument made that a character in Tenebrous Form could do the same, passing through glass windows as if through water. Think of the effect this could have on the game before allowing it though. It could mean you will have armies of Lasombra traveling the world through fiber-optic cables. Might be a little excessive, though not much more so than a few paths of Thaumaturgy.
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