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Presence: The Emperor's New Clothes

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by: Don Lara for Sanguinus Curae

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Presence 6 Variant

The social politics of Kindred existence can sometimes be more powerful than any military action; more effective than any physical battle. As such, shrewd Kindred know that a simple misuse of a word, or a misplaced gesture, can bring alliances crashing down, or form solid unions. A small slip-up in how others perceive someone can have a disastrous effect upon a Kindred's reputation and could, indeed, scar them socially for the rest of their unlife.

Those who have mastered the art of Presence have an innate understanding of how that power of supernatural charisma operates and, with enough practice, can learn to negate its effects as used by another Kindred of lesser ability. This effectively turns the tides of emotion back upon the target, reversing the desired effect and potentially endangering their unlives, as well as their social standing.



Essentially, this power has the potential to reverse the effects of the first five levels of the Presence discipline, resulting in a negative backlash against a target that the character knows is using a Presence power. How or if the character is actually aware that Presence is being used is completely up to the Storyteller, but one who has reached this level of mastery should be at least allowed to make an educated guess.

Once it has been determined that a target is employing Presence, the player rolls Manipulation + Subterfuge (difficulty 7). In regards to the fist four levels of the Presence discipline, the player need only gain more successes on this roll than the target did on his initial Presence roll. For example:
Ann uses Awe on a mortal, and gains 3 successes on her roll for Awe. Tom, employing Emperor's New Clothes, needs to roll at least 4 successes for his power to take effect on Ann, and thus upon Ann's target mortal.

Storytellers should consider a successful use of this power as equating to the target having botched his Presence roll, and all the wonderfully evil consequences that follow from such an event.

In the case of Presence 5: Majesty, however, things get a bit more complicated. First of all, the character herself must resist the target's use of Majesty to even begin trying to use "Clothes" on him. If the character resists, and is then able to take an action against the target using Majesty, the player must spend a Willpower point and make at least 3 successes on a Manipulation + Subterfuge roll, the difficulty being the target's permanent Willpower score.

The most likely result of a successful use of this power on someone employing Majesty is all out hatred for that person by anyone who was affected by Majesty. Or, in the extreme, an innate desire to do that person harm. The end result is up to the Storyteller, but a reversal of such a high level discipline should have consequences befitting its strength.


How or if the character can tell that another player is using Presence is completely up to the Storyteller, but concessions should be made to one who's achieved this level of power.

Concerning the first four levels of Presence, the player initiates the target in a Static Social Challenge against the target's Social traits. The target may attempt to retest a success using her Leadership ability or Willpower as usual. If successful, the character(s) affected by the target's use of Presence should be told that their feelings towards the target have now been reversed, but only to as great a degree as the power used on them.

In the case of Presence 5, the player must first resist the target's use of Majesty, spend a Willpower point, and then engage the target in a Static Social Challenge, bidding three Social traits against the target's one Social trait.

The resulting effects of reversed Majesty, as described above, are left to the Storyteller to determine.


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