Presence

Description:

Presence

Presence is the Discipline of emotional manipulation.
Vampires with this power can inspire passionate
fervor or unreasoning terror in mortals and Kindred
alike. In addition, unlike most Disciplines, some of
Presence’s powers can be used on entire crowds at one
time. Presence can transcend race, religion, gender,
class, and (most importantly) supernatural nature. As
such, this subtle power is one of the most useful Disciplines
a vampire can possess.

Anyone can resist Presence for one scene by spending
a Willpower point and succeeding on a Willpower
roll (difficulty 8), but the affected individual must keep
spending points until he is no longer in the presence
of the vampire (or, in the case of Summon, until the
effect wears off). Vampires three or more Generations
lower than the wielder need only spend a single Willpower
to ignore the Presence for an entire night 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
Those near the vampire suddenly desire to be closer
to her and become 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.
System: The player spends a blood point and 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 ratings first. The
power stays in effect for the remainder of the scene or
until the character chooses to drop it.
Successes Result
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
scene 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 night.

•• Dread Gaze
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 victim, stupefying him into madness, immobility,
or reckless flight. Even the most stalwart individual
will fall back from the vampire’s horrific visage.
System: The player rolls Charisma + Intimidation
(difficulty equal to the victim’s Wits + Courage). Suc-
cess 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 run 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
against a single target, 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.

••• Entrancement
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,
instead of having their wills sapped, these servants retain
their creativity and individuality.

While these obedient minions are more personable
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).

System: The player spends a blood point and rolls
Appearance + Empathy (difficulty equal to the target’s
current Willpower points); the number of successes
determines how long the subject is Entranced, as per
the chart below. (Subjects can still spend Willpower to
temporarily resist, like any other Presence power.) 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.

Successes Result
Botch Subject cannot be entranced
for the rest of the story.
Failure Subject cannot be entranced
for the rest of the night.
1 success One hour
2 successes One day
3 successes One week
4 successes One month
5 successes One year

•••• Summon
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.
System: The player spends a blood point and rolls
Charisma + Subterfuge. The base difficulty is 5; this in-
creases to difficulty 7 if the subject was met only briefly.
If the character used Presence successfully on the target
in the past, this difficulty drops to 4, but if the attempt
was unsuccessful, the difficulty rises to 8.

The number of successes indicates the subject’s speed
and attitude in responding:

Successes Result
Botch Subject cannot be Summoned by
that vampire for the rest of the story.
Failure Subject cannot be Summoned by that
vampire for the rest of the night.
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.

••••• Majesty
At this stage, the vampire can augment her supernatural
mien a thousandfold. The attractive become
paralyzingly beautiful; the homely become hideously
twisted. 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. After all, a dignitary brought low before others loses his usefulness quickly, while a humiliated
Kindred has centuries to plan revenge.

System: No roll is required on the part of the vampire,
but she must spend a Willpower point. A subject
must make a Courage roll (difficulty equal to the vampire’s
Charisma + Intimidation, to a maximum of 10) if
he wishes to be rude or simply contrary to the vampire.
Success allows the individual to act normally for the
moment, although he feels the weight of the vampire’s
displeasure crushing down on him. A subject who fails
the roll aborts his intended action and even goes to
absurd lengths to humble himself before the vampire,
no matter who else is watching. The effects of Majesty
last for one scene.

Bio:

Presence

V20 Miami: The Next Generation Texan