Chimerstry

The Ravnos are known as masters of illusion, although the reason why is lost to history. Rumors abound of Ravnos ghûls, rakshasas, and shapeshifters, but whatever its origins, Chimerstry remains a potent and powerful weapon for the Deceivers. The Discipline is, fundamentally, an art of conjuration that converts the vampire’s will into phantoms that confound the senses and technology alike. Even vampires fall under the sway of the Ravnos’ illusory world, unless they have a strong enough grasp of Auspex (see p. 142). The Ravnos often use this power to swindle and seduce their victims into acts that work out badly for the victim (but great for the Ravnos).

Illusions created by Chimerstry can be seen for what they are by a victim who “proves” the illusion’s falsehood (e.g., a person who walks up to an illusory wall, expresses his disbelief in it, and puts his hand through it effectively banishes the illusion), and explicitly incredible illusions are seen as false immediately (e.g., dragons breathing fire or gravity working in reverse). Sometimes, frequent targets of Chimerstry end up attempting to disbelieve everything around them, leading to derangements (and, quite often, to the amusement of the Ravnos).

• Ignis Fatuus

The vampire may conjure a minor, static mirage that confounds one sense. For instance, he may evoke a sulfurous stench, the appearance of stigmata, or the shatter of broken glass. Note that though tactile illusions can be felt, they have no real substance; an invisible but tactile wall cannot confine anyone, and invisible razor-wire causes no real damage. Similarly, the vampire must know the characteristics of what he’s creating. While it’s easy enough to estimate what a knife wound might look like, falsifying a person’s voice or a photograph of a childhood home requires knowledge of the details.

System

The player spends a point of Willpower for the vampire to create this illusion. The volume of smells, ambient lighting, smoke clouds, and the like are limited to roughly 20 cubic feet (half a cubic meter) per dot the vampire has in Chimerstry. The illusion lasts until the vampire leaves its vicinity (such as stepping out of the room) or until another person sees through it somehow. The Cainite may also end the illusion at any time with no effort.

•• Fata Morgana

The Cainite can now create illusions that appeal to all the senses, though they remain static. For example, the vampire could make a filthy cellar appear as an opulent ballroom, though she could not create a glittering chandelier or a score of graceful dancers. Again, the illusion has no solid presence, though it’s easy enough to fool an enraptured visitor with suggestions of what she might expect. A bucket of brackish water is as cool as chilled champagne, after all.

System

The player spends a Willpower point and a blood point to create the illusion. These static images remain until dispelled, in much the same way that an Ignis Fatuus illusion does.

••• Apparition

Not really a power unto itself, Apparition allows a vampire to give motion to an illusion created with Ignis Fatuus or Fata Morgana. Thus, the Cainite could create the illusion of a living being, running water, fluttering drapes, or a roaring fire

System

The creator spends one blood point to make the illusion move in one significant way, or in any number of subtle ways. For example, the vampire could create the illusion of a lurking mugger lurching at her victim, or she could create the illusion of a desolate street, down which a chill wind blows trash while a streetlamp flickers and hums. Taking complicated actions besides maintaining the illusion — that is, anything that would require a dice roll — first requires success on a Willpower roll, resulting in the dissolution of the false construct if the roll fails.

Once the creator stops concentrating on the illusion, it can continue in simple, repetitive motions – roughly speaking, anything that can be described in a simple sentence, such as a guard walking back and forth in front of a steel door. After that, the vampire cannot regain control over the illusion – she can either allow it to continue moving as ordered, or let it fade as described under Ignis Fatuus.

•••• Permanency

This power, also used in conjunction with Ignis Fatuus or Fata Morgana, allows a mirage to persist even when the vampire cannot see it. In this way, Ravnos often cloak their temporary havens in false trappings of luxury, or ward off trespassers with illusory guard dogs.

System

The vampire need only spend a blood point, and the illusion becomes permanent until dissolved (including “programmed” illusions like those created by Apparition).

••••• Horrid Reality

Rather than create simple illusions, the vampire can now project hallucinations directly into a victim’s mind. The target of these illusions believes completely that the images are real; a hallucinatory fire can burn him, an imaginary noose can strangle him, and an illusory wall can block him. This power affects only one person at a time; though others can see the illusion, it doesn’t impact them in the same way. Other people can try to convince the victim that his terrors are not real, but he won’t believe them. Note that targets with enough dots in Auspex can still attempt to roll for Seeing the Unseen.

System

A Horrid Realty illusion costs two Willpower points to set in motion and lasts for an entire scene (though its effects may last longer; see below). If the vampire is trying to injure his victim, his player must roll Manipulation + Subterfuge (difficulty of the victim’s Perception + Self-Control/Instinct). Each success inflicts one health level of lethal damage on the victim that cannot be soaked — the Cainite assaults the victim’s mind and perceptions, not his body. If the player wishes to inflict less damage or change it to bashing, he may announce a maximum amount of damage before rolling the dice. Secondary effects (such as frenzy rolls for illusory fire) may also occur.

The victim heals all his damage instantaneously if he can be convinced that the damage he took was illusory, but convincing him may take some doing, such as with at least two successes on a Charisma + Empathy roll (difficulty equal to the Manipulation + Subterfuge of the Cainite using Horrid Reality). The target must be convinced of the attack’s illusory nature within 24 hours of its taking place, or it becomes too well established in his memory, and he will have to heal the damage using blood (if a vampire) or over time (if mortal)

This power cannot actually kill its victims (though a target with a heart condition may well die from fright). A victim “killed” by an illusory attack loses consciousness or enters torpor.

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