This is the Discipline of supernatural attraction. Kindred who develop Presence can inspire zealous fervor, devoted passion or unspeakable terror in mortal and immortal alike. This subtle power is one of the most useful Disciplines a vampire can have.
Presence is notable since, unlike virtually all other Disciplines, some of its powers can be used on entire crowds at a time. The vampire may bring large groups under her sway, so long as her face is visible to those she wishes to affect - Presence doesn't even require eye contact. Further, this Discipline transcends race, religion, gender, class and (most importantly) supernatural nature. In theory, the powers have the same chance of affecting a Methuselah as they do a cab driver. In practice, while Presence can sway virtually any immortal, older and more canny Kindred are much more likely to notice the influence and resist with preternatural will.
Quite aside from its deliberate uses, Presence conveys upon the vampire an indescribable mystique. She stands out in any crowd, drawing the interest (and often desire) of those around her even when she's merely standing still. The higher the vampire's Presence, the greater this allure and the more powerful its impact on others.
Anyone can resist Presence for one turn by spending a Willpower point and succeeding on a Willpower roll (difficulty 8), but the affected individual must keep spending points until he can no longer see the vampire (or, in the case of Summon, until the effect wears off). The simplest way to deal with this is to turn around and stop looking. Those who don't understand that they're dealing with supernatural influences (as is the case with most mortals) seldom think of this tactic, but it's a simple assumption for clever vampires.
Vampires three or more generations lower than the wielder need only spend a single Willpower to ignore the Presence for an entire scene and need not roll Willpower to do so.
The major drawback of Presence is that it controls only the emotions. It causes others to feel a certain way toward the vampire, but does not give her outright control over them. While people weigh strongly the orders that the vampire declares, their minds are still their own. Suicidal or ridiculous directives don't sound any more sensible just because the person giving them is unusually fascinating. Still, inspired eloquence or significant wealth used in combination with this Discipline can enable the vampire to urge others along a desired course.
The Brujah, Followers of Set, Toreador and Ventrue clans are all adept in this Discipline. The Ventrue are arguably the most skilled with its application, however, due to their ability to use Presence and Dominate in efficient combination.
Awe amplifies the sublime magnetism this Discipline gives the vampire. Those near the vampire suddenly desire to be closer to her and are very receptive to her point of view. Awe is extremely useful for mass communication. It matters little what is said - the hearts of those affected lean toward the vampire's opinion. The weak want to agree with her; even if the strong-willed resist, they soon find themselves outnumbered. Awe can turn a chancy deliberation into a certain resolution in the vampire's favor almost before her opponents know that the tide has turned.
Despite the intensity of this attraction, those so smitten do not lose their sense of self-preservation. Danger breaks the spell of fascination, as does leaving the area. Those subject to Awe will remember how they felt in the vampire's presence, however. This will influence their reactions should they ever encounter her again.
- The player rolls Charisma + Performance (difficulty 7). The number of successes rolled determines how many people are affected, as noted on the chart below. If there are more people present than the character can influence, Awe affects those with lower Willpower scores first. The power stays in effect for the remainder of the scene or until the character chooses to drop it.
|1 Success||One person|
|2 Successes||Two people|
|3 Successes||Six people|
|4 Successes||20 People|
|5 Successes||Everyone in the vampire's immediate vicinity (an entire auditorium, a mob)|
Those affected can use Willpower points to overcome the effect, but must continue spending Willpower every turn for as long as they remain in the same area as the vampire. As soon as an individual spends a number of Willpower points equal to the successes rolled, he shakes off the Awe completely and remains unaffected for the rest of the scene.
Dread Gaze Edit
While all Kindred can frighten others by physically revealing their true vampiric natures - baring claws and fangs, glaring with malevolence, hissing loudly with malice - this power focuses these elements to insanely terrifying levels. Dread Gaze engenders unbearable terror in its victims, stupefying them into madness, immobility or reckless flight. Even the most stalwart individual will fall back from the vampire's horrific visage.
- The player rolls Charisma + Intimidation (difficulty of the victim's Wits + Courage). Success indicates the victim is cowed, while failure means the target is startled but not terrified by the sight. Three or more successes means he runs away in abject fear; victims who have nowhere to mn claw at the walls, hoping to dig a way out rather than face the vampire. Moreover, each success subtracts one from the target's action dice pools next turn.
The character may attempt Dread Gaze once per turn, though she may also perform it as an extended action, adding her successes in order to subjugate the target completely. Once the target loses enough dice that he cannot perform any action, he's so shaken and terrified that he curls up on the ground and weeps. Failure during the extended action means the attempt falters. The character loses all her collected successes and can start over next turn, while the victim may act normally again.
A botch at any time indicates the target is not at all impressed - perhaps even finding the vampire's antics comical - and remains immune to any further uses of Presence by the character for the rest of the story.
This power bends others' emotions, making them the vampire's willing servants. Due to what these individuals see as true and enduring devotion, they heed the vampire's every desire. Since this is done willingly out of love (albeit a perversion of it) instead of through sapping the subjects' wills, these servants retain their creativity and individuality.
While these obedient minions are more pleasant and spirited than the mind-slaves created by Dominate, they're also somewhat unpredictable. Further, since Entrancement is of a temporary duration, dealing with a lapsed servant can be troublesome. A wise Kindred either disposes of those she entrances after they serve their usefulness, or binds them more securely by a blood bond (made much easier by the minion's willingness to serve).
- The player rolls Appearance + Empathy (difficulty of the target's permanent Willpower); the number of successes determines how long the subject is entranced (see the chart below). The Storyteller may wish to make the roll instead, since the character is never certain of the strength of her hold on the victim. The vampire may try to keep the subject under her thrall, but can do so only after the initial Entrancement wears off. Attempting this power while Entrancement is already in operation has no effect.
|1 Success||One hour|
|2 Successes||One day|
|3 Successes||One week|
|4 Successes||One month|
|5 Successes||One year|
This impressive power enables the vampire to call to herself any person whom she has ever met. This call can go to anyone, mortal or supernatural, across any distance within the physical world. The subject of the summons comes as fast as he is able, possibly without even knowing why. He knows intuitively how to find his summoner - even if the vampire moves to a new location, the subject redirects his own course as soon as he can. After all, he's coming to the vampire herself, not to some predetermined site.
Although this power allows the vampire to call someone across a staggering distance, it is most useful when used locally. Even if the desired person books the next available flight, getting to Kyoto from Milwaukee can still take far longer than the vampire needs. Obviously, the individual's financial resources are a factor; if he doesn't have the money to travel quickly, it will take him a far greater time to get there.
The subject thinks mainly of reaching the vampire, but does not neglect his own well-being. This is less of a consideration if he only has to cross a room, unless he must get through a gang of gun-wielding punks to do so. The individual retains his survival instincts, and while he won't shirk physical violence to reach the vampire's side, he won't subject himself to suicidal situations.
The summoning dissipates at dawn. Unless the subject is trained to continue toward the vampire after the first call, the immortal must summon each night until the target arrives. Still, as long as the vampire is willing and able, she is assured to greet her desired subject some night - as long as nothing happens to him along the way, of course.
- The player rolls Charisma + Subterfuge. The base difficulty is 5; this increases to difficulty 7 if the subject is virtually a stranger. If the character used Presence successfully on the target in the past, this difficulty drops to 4 - however, if the attempt was unsuccessful, then the difficulty is 8.
The number of successes indicates the subject's speed and attitude in responding:
|1 Success||Subject approaches slowly and hesitantly.|
|2 Successes||Subject approaches reluctantly and is easily thwarted by obstacles.|
|3 Successes||Subject approaches with reasonable speed.|
|4 Successes||Subject comes with haste, overcoming any obstacles in his way.|
|5 Successes||Subject rushes to the vampire, doing anything to get to her.|
At this stage, the vampire can augment her supernatural mien a thousandfold. The attractive become paralyzingly beautiful; the homely become hideously demonic. Majesty inspires universal respect, devotion, fear - or all those emotions at once - in those around the vampire. The weak scramble to obey her every whim, and even the most dauntless find it almost impossible to deny her.
People affected find the vampire so formidable that they dare not risk her displeasure. Raising their voices to her is difficult; raising a hand against her is unthinkable. Those few who shake off the vampire's potent mystique enough to oppose her are shouted down by the many under her thrall, before the immortal need even respond.
Under Majesty's influence, hearts break, power trembles, and the bold shake. Wise Kindred use this power with caution against mortal and immortal alike. While Majesty can cow influential politicians and venerable primogen, the vampire must be careful that doing so doesn't come back to haunt her later. After all, a dignitary brought low before others loses his usefulness quickly, while a humiliated Kindred has centuries to plan revenge.