Nights of the Kindred
This potent Discipline grants a character superlative sensory capabilities; it sharpens a Vampire’s mundane senses. As one progresses in mastery, entirely new avenues of insight open up before the user. Ultimately, this is the Discipline of gleaning information, whether that data comes from sights and smells, from auras and patterns of energy or directly from the mind of another creature. In addition, Auspex can be used to pierce the veil of powers that cloud, dissemble and deceive. Indeed, precious little can be kept secret from a true master of Auspex.
Such potent sensitivity can have its drawbacks, however. When a vampire actively uses any level of Auspex, he runs the risk of his delicate senses being overwhelmed by excessive stimuli. Sudden or severe occurrences such as a gun report or flash bulb in the eyes can distract the character unless the player succeeds on a roll. Failure disorients the character, making him effectively unaware of his surroundings until the end of the following turn.
All of the vampire’s senses sharpen to a razor’s edge, effectively doubling both the range and clarity of all stimuli received. Heightened eyesight allows the vampire to perceive the most minute details of objects at great distances, while a heightened sense of smell might alert a character to the presence of trace amounts of alcohol on a mortal’s breath. Kindred with this power also have the option of magnifying a single sense, as opposed to all five, in order to better block out unwanted stimuli from other sources. Note, however, that the risk of sudden distraction remains, regardless of how many or how few senses are currently heightened.
Note: Vampires do not breathe. As such, the Kindred do not smell unless they actively will themselves to do so, and thus cannot be overwhelmed suddenly by smells unless they are actively smelling at the time.
Cost: 1 Vitae
Length of time: See text
For the price of a Vitae, the Vampire can discern when any mortal, who’s blood they’ve consumed within a number of years equal to their Sanguinus, is lying, telling the truth, stretching the truth, or leaving something out, to the Vampire (as such, the player is encouraged to keep a list of mortals feed upon). This lasts a night. This connection is lost if the Mortal gains a Supernatural template or dies; the Vampire can feel this disconnection when it happens, but no other information can be discerned. In addition, whenever the Vampire tastes any mortal’s blood, they know that mortal’s relative health, nutrition, physical Attributes, and any supernatural effects upon them. At two dots, this ability works on Ghouls and all lesser supernatural templates; for Ghouls, the Vampire knows to what clan the Ghoul’s master belongs to, and approximately how long it has been since they last consumed blood. At four dots, whenever the Vampire drinks at least one Vitae point from another Vampire, the Auspex user knows the other Vampire’s Sanguinus, Clan, Bloodline, and Disciplines.; this can be opposed by the other Vampire, however.
••• Aura Perception
Cost: 1 Vitae per target
Length of time: Scene
Using this power, the vampire can perceive the psychic “auras” that radiate from mortals and supernatural beings alike. These halos comprise a shifting series of colors that take practice to discern with clarity. Even the simplest individual has many shifting hues within his aura; strong emotions predominate, while momentary impressions or deep secrets flash through in streaks and swirls.
The colors change in sympathy with the subject’s emotional state, blending into new tones in a constantly dancing pattern. The stronger the emotions involved, the more intense the hues become. A skilled vampire can learn much from her subject by reading the nuances of color and brilliance in the aura’s flow.
Aside from perceiving emotional states, vampires use Aura Perception to detect supernatural beings.
System: After the character stares at the subject for at least a few seconds, the player rolls Wisdom + Humor. Each success indicates how much of the subject’s aura the character sees and understands (see the table below). A failure indicates that the play of colors and patterns yields no prevailing impression, and indicates a false or erroneous interpretation. The Storyteller may wish to make this roll, thus keeping the player in the dark as to the veracity of the character’s interpretation.
|1 success|| Can distinguish only the shade (pale or bright).
| 2 successes
|Can distinguish the main color.|
|3 successes||Can recognize the color patterns.|
|4 successes||Can detect subtle shifts.|
|5 successes||Can identify mixtures of color and pattern.|
|Desirous or Lustful||Deep Red|
|Anxious||Auras appear scrambled like static or white noise|
|Confused Mottled, shifting colors|
|Daydreaming||Sharp flickering colors|
|Frenzied||Rapidly rippling colors|
|Psychotic||Hypnotic, swirling colors|
|Vampire||Aura colors are pale|
|Ghoul or Dhampire||Pale blotches in the aura|
|Any type of Magic User||Myriad sparkles in aura|
|Werewolf||Demonic images dance in the colors|
|Feral||Bright, vibrant aura|
|Ghosts and Wraiths||Aura shutters on and off|
|Scion||The aura is bright and glowing|
|Changeling||Thorny vines crawl through the aura|
|Awakened||Aura is shapped like a candle flame|
|Fallen||Halo appears above head|
|Immortal||Aura appears as colored shapes, not flowing colors|
|Animal||Aura has the shape of the animal|
At five dots, the Auspex user can tell if the person is a Diablerist, with black veins appearing in the Diablerist’s aura.
Cost: 1 Vitae per target, and also 1 Willpower for Supernaturals.
Length of time: Scene
The vampire projects a portion of her consciousness into a nearby mortal’s mind, creating a mental link through which she can communicate wordlessly or even read the target’s deepest thoughts. The Kindred “hears” in her own mind the thoughts plucked from a subject as if they were spoken to her, in the target’s internal voice.
This is one of the most potent vampiric abilities, since, given time, a Kindred can learn virtually anything from a subject without him ever knowing.
When the Vampire reaches out to another’s mind, the subject recognizes that the thoughts come from somewhere other than his own consciousness, though he cannot discern their actual origin without some sort of successful roll.
To read minds, one success must be rolled for each item of information plucked or each layer of thought pierced. Deep secrets or buried memories are harder to obtain than surface emotions or unspoken comments, requiring five or more successes to access.
Reading thoughts with Telepathy does not commonly work upon the undead mind. A character may expend a Willpower point to make the effort, making the roll normally afterward. Likewise, it is equally difficult to read the thoughts of other supernatural creatures. However, the character may project her thoughts without expending a Willpower point. These thoughts, however, are still obviously intrusions into the target’s mind, but the character may attempt to disguise her mental “voice” with a roll so the target doesn’t recognize her as the “speaker.”
Storytellers are encouraged to describe thoughts as flowing streams of impressions and images, rather than as a sequence of prose. Such descriptions not only add to the story, but they also force the player to interpret for herself what her character gleans. After all, understanding minds — especially highly emotional or deranged minds — is a difficult and often puzzling task.