Combo Discipline: Doppelgänger

Interestingly, this is a technique that actually evolved organically. I developed it over time through creative combination of abilities already present in two of Scout’s disciplines, rather than creating it as a discrete ability all at once. After months and months of (secretly) using this trick, Jason agreed to let me declare it a combo discipline and write it up so people will know exactly whats been going on, as well as the limits placed on it.

And as a special note, I will point out that although I am revealing it to you, the reader, in the writeup timeline at this moment, Jim and Chris didn’t figure out what it was I was doing for another couple months of game-time at least.

Doppelgänger

•••• Obfuscate
••• Chimeristry

In use by: Scout

Any vampire with an acolyte’s level of Chimeristry can make a decent copy of themselves, and the skilled practitioner of Obfuscate can disappear in front of your very eyes, but it is the rare vampire indeed that has learned to combine these skills in dangerously unexpected ways.

Practitioners of the Doppelgänger can cast an illusion of themselves over themselves while simultaneously dropping into a deep level of Obfuscate with such skill that the observer doesn’t notice the transition. The Obfuscated vampire can then move independently of the illusion, using it to cover an escape or search a room while still conversing politely with its occupants. The most dangerous applications will let the vampire sneak up behind while still appearing to be smiling at you from five feet away.

System:

To cast the illusionary form of herself, the vampire spends blood and willpower comparable with the first three levels of Chimeristry. One point of willpower and one point of blood creates a visual copy that is able to move around, while spending a second willpower and second point of blood allows the illusion to speak with the vampire’s own voice. At the same time the Doppelgänger illusion is cast, the vampire drops into fourth-level Obfuscate. As long as the Obfuscated vampire maintains line-of-sight with her illusion, she may move independently while keeping the illusion intact and directing it to move on its own. If she has given the illusion the power of speech, she may use it to interact vocally with her surroundings without giving away her real location.

Although powerful, such a trick does have its limits. If a keen-eyed observer is watching the vampire while she makes the switch, she must roll Charisma + Stealth, the difficulty equaling the observer’s Wits + Alertness. Upon failing the roll, the observer may notice a slight jump or ghosting effect as the vampire and the illusion momentarily occupy the same space. The moment of transition is brief, however, so if observers in the room aren’t watching closely or are otherwise distracted this may obviate the need to roll, at Storyteller’s discretion. If the observer is previously aware of the Doppelgänger trick—in her or other vampires—and suspects her of attempting to use it, then the Charisma + Stealth roll comes at an additional +2 difficulty.

When it comes to cameras and remote observation, the Obfuscation used in Doppelgänger has the same limits as regular Obfuscation. That is to say, observers viewing a live video feed of the vampire may be fooled as long as the enchantment is active, but photos or footage reviewed after the fact may mysteriously show two copies of the same vampire.

The vampire is also limited in how far she can push the illusion. A moving, talking, interactive illusion requires intense focus, so the vampire must remain in line-of-sight and may not cast it into Permanency (she may, however, replace the Doppelgänger with a simple static illusion and cast that as Permanent instead). Engaging in combat will simultaneously break the Obfuscation and the illusion. The illusion may replicate the sight, sound, and even smell of the vampire, but projecting a sense of tactileness—such as to shake someone’s hand—requires Horrid Reality (Chimeristry 5) and the associated costs and limits therein. The vampire may try to cast other illusions while maintaining the Doppelgänger but they will be very limited in scope and may come at a higher willpower cost, at Storyteller’s discretion. Most importantly, the illusion will lack an aura, so an observer seeking to perceive one may rapidly reveal the Doppelgänger as a fraud.

It is important to note, however, that elder vampires have a few more options available to them, depending on their skill with Chimeristry. For example, False Resonance will provide the illusion with an aura. In addition, the willpower and blood cost negation of Fatuus Mastery applies to Doppelgänger as well.

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