This Discipline bestows uncanny sensory abilities upon the vampire. While Auspex initially heightens all of the Kindred's senses significantly, that is merely the beginning. As she grows in power, the vampire can perceive the psychic auras that flow around her and even project her mind into another being's thoughts. Furthermore, Auspex can pierce the disguises that Obfuscate creates; see "Seeing the Unseen.
Such sensory command gives the vampire a distinct advantage over mortals and even many supernaturals. Whether these talents let her view a distant haven, sense the prince's mood or pluck secrets from a rival Kindred's ghoul, Auspex is a powerful tool.
Still, the vampire must be careful lest this heightened sensitivity cause her to be distracted by beautiful things, startled by loud noises or overwhelmed by foul smells. Sudden or dynamic events can disorient an Auspex-using character unless she makes a Willpower roll (difficulty 4) to block them out. The more potent the source of distraction, the higher the difficulty. Failure overwhelms the character's senses, making her oblivious to her surroundings for a turn or two.
Malkavians and Toreador are most susceptible to such distractions. Kindred from the Tremere and Tzimisce clans seem better able to regulate their sensory input, but they are not immune to the occasional distraction.
A high Perception Trait is a great boon to using Auspex powers. The better the roll, the greater the degree of sensory information the character gains.
Seeing the Unseen
Auspex enables Kindred to perceive many things beyond mortal ken. Among its many uses, Auspex can detect the presence of a supernatural being who is hidden from normal sight (a vampire using Obfuscate, a mage cloaked with invisibility, a wraith) or pierce illusions created by the Discipline of Chimerstry.
Obfuscate: When a vampire tries to use her heightened perceptions to notice a Kindred hidden with Obfuscate, she detects the subject's presence if her Auspex rating is higher than his Obfuscate. Conversely, if the target's Obfuscate outranks her Auspex, he remains undiscovered. If the two scores are equal, both characters make a resisted roll of Perception + Subterfuge (Auspex user) against Manipulation + Subterfuge (Obfuscate user). The difficulty for both rolls is 7, and the character with the most successes wins.
Chimerstry: Likewise, vampires with Auspex may seek to penetrate illusions created with Chimerstry. The Auspex-wielder must actively seek to pierce the illusion (i.e., the player must tell the Storyteller that his character is trying to detect an illusion). Auspex-wielder and Chimerstry-wielder then compare relative scores, per Obfuscate, above. The process is otherwise identical to piercing Obfuscate.
Other Powers: Since the powers of beings like mages and wraiths function differently from vampiric Disciplines, a simple comparison of relative ratings isn't applicable. To keep things simple, both characters make a resisted roll. The vampire rolls Perception + Subterfuge, while the subject rolls Manipulation + Subterfuge. Again, the difficulty is 7, and the character with the most successes wins.
This power sharpens all of the vampire’s senses, effectively doubling the clarity and range of sight, hearing and smell. While the senses of taste and touch extend no further than normal, they likewise become far more acute; the vampire could taste the hint of liquor in a victims blood, or feel the give of the board concealing a hollow space in the floor. The kindred may magnify her senses at will, sustaining this heightened focus for as long as she desires. At the storyteller’s option, this may make hunting easier. Occasionally, this talent provides extrasensory or even precognitive insights. These brief, unfocussed glimpses may be odd premonitions, flashes of empathy or eerie feelings of foreboding. The vampire has no control over these perceptions, but with practice can learn to interpret them with a fair degree of accuracy. Expanded senses come at a price however. Bright lights, loud noises and strong smells present a hazard while the vampire uses this power. In addition to the possibility of distraction mentioned above, an especially sudden stimulus – like the glare of a spotlight or a clap of thunder – can blind or deafen the kindred for an hour or more.
System: This power doesn’t normally require the use of dice, instead being defined through the storyteller’s description and the player’s imagination. In certain circumstances, use of this power requires a dice roll: for a normal perception roll (The storyteller may reduce the Diff by the characters Auspex rating), to notice a subject using Obfuscate, or to perceive a threat (the storyteller privately rolls the characters unmodified Auspex rating, applying whatever Diff she feels best suits the circumstances). E.g., in the last instance, sensing that a pistol is pointed at the back of a characters head may require a 5, while the sudden realisation that a rival for primogen is planning her assassination may require a 9. This power does not let characters see in the pitch darkness, as does Eyes of the beast, but it does reduce difficulty penalties to act in pitch darkness from +2 to +1, and the character may make ranged attacks in pitch darkness if she can hear, smell or otherwise detect her foe.
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 colours 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 or swirls. The colours 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 colour and brilliance in the aura’s flow.
System: The player rolls Perception + Empathy (Diff 8); each success indicates how much of the subject’s aura the character sees and understands. A botch indicates a false or erroneous interpretation. The storyteller may wish to make this roll, thus keeping the player in the dark as to just how good (or bad) the characters interpretation is.
1 Success Can distinguish only the shade (Pale or bright).
2 Successes Can distinguish the main colour.
3 Successes Can recognise the colour patterns.
4 Successes Can detect subtle shifts.
5 Successes Can identify mixtures of colour and pattern.
The Aura colours chart offers examples of some common colours and emotions they reflect. The character may view a particular subject’s aura only once with any degree of clarity. Any subsequent attempts that result in failure should be considered botches. It is very easy for the character to imagine seeing what she wants to see when judging someone’s intentions. After a full month, the character may try again at no penalty. It is possible, yet difficult, to sense the aura of a being who is otherwise invisible to normal sight. Refer Seeing the Unseen.
|Afraid||Orange||Excited||Violet||Confused||Mottled Shifting Colours|
|Aggressive||Purple||Generous||Rose||Diablerist||Black veins in aura|
|Angry||Red||Happy||Vermillion||Day Dreaming||Sharp flickering colours|
|Bitter||Brown||Hateful||Black||Frenzied||Rapidly rippling colours|
|Calm||Light Blue||Idealistic||Yellow||Psychotic||Hypnotic swirling colours|
|Compassionate||Pink||Innocent||White||Vampire||Appropriate colour is pale|
|Conservative||Lavender||Love Struck||Blue||Magic Use||Myriad sparkles in aura|
|Depressed||Grey||Obsessed||Green||Were beast||Bright vibrant Aura|
|Desirous/Lustful||Deep Red||Sad||Silver||Ghost||Weak intermittent Aura|
|Distrustful||Light Green||Spiritual||Gold||Faerie||Rainbow highlights in aura|
|Envious||Dark Green||Suspicious||Dark Blue|
***The Spirits Touch
When someone handles an object for any length of time, he leaves a psychic impression on the item. A vampire with this level of Auspex can read these sensations, learning who handled the object, when he last held it and what was done with it recently. These visions are seldom clear and detailed, registering more like a kind of psychic snapshot. Still, the kindred can learn much even from a single glimpse. Although most visions concern the last person to handle the item, a long time owner leaves a stronger impression than someone who held the object briefly. Gleaning information from the spiritual residue requires the vampire to hold the object and enter a shallow trance. She is only marginally aware of her surroundings while using The Spirits Touch, but a loud noise or jarring physical sensation breaks the trance instantly.
System: The player rolls Perception + Empathy. The difficulty is determined by the age of the impressions and the mental and spiritual strength of the person or event that left them. Sensing information from a pistol used for a murder hours ago may require a 5, while learning who owned a set of keys found days ago might be a 9. The greater the individual’s emotional connection to the object, the stronger the impression he leaves on it – and the more information the Kindred can glean from it. Also, events involving strong emotions (a gift-giving, a torture, a long family history.) likewise leave stronger impressions than does a short or casual contact. Assume that each success offers one piece of information.
The vampire projects a portion of his consciousness into a nearby mortals mind, creating a mental link through which he can communicate wordlessly or even read the targets deepest thoughts. The Kindred hears in his own mind the thoughts plucked from a subject as if they were spoken to him. This is one of the most potent vampire abilities, since, given time, a kindred can learn virtually anything from a subject without him ever knowing.
System: The player rolls Intelligence + Subterfuge (Diff = subjects willpower). Projecting thoughts into the targets mind requires 1 success. The subject recognises that the thoughts come from somewhere other than his own consciousness, although he cannot discern their actual origin. To read minds 1 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 5 or more successes to access. 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.
The kindred with this awesome ability project his senses out of his physical shell, stepping from his body as an entity of pure thought. The vampire’s astral form is immune to physical damage or fatigue, and can fly with blinding speed anywhere across the earth – or even underground – so long as he remains below the moons orbit. The kindred’s material form lies in a torpid state while his astral self is active, and the vampire isn’t aware of anything that befalls his body until he returns to it. An ephemeral silver cord connects the kindred’s psyche to his body. If the cord is severed, his consciousness becomes stranded in the astral plane, the realm of ghosts, spirits and shades. Attempting to return to the vampires physical shell is a long and terrifying ordeal, especially since there is no guarantee that he will accomplish the journey successfully. This significant danger keeps many kindred from leaving their bodies for long, but those who dare can learn much.
System: Journeying in astral form requires the player to expend a point of willpower and make a Perception + Occult roll. Difficulty varies depending on the difficulty and complexity of the intended trip; 7 are average, with 10 reflecting a trip far from familiar territory. The greater the number of successes rolled, the more focussed the character’s astral presence is and the easier it is for him to reach his desired destination. Failure means the character is unable to separate his consciousness from his body, while a botch can have nasty consequences – flinging his astral form to a random destination on earth or in the spirit realm, or heading for the desired destination so forcefully that the silver cord snaps. Changing course or continuing to another destination requires another point of willpower and a new roll. Failure indicates that the vampire has lost his way and must retrace the path of his silver cord. A botch at this stage means the cord snaps, stranding the characters psychic form in the mysterious astral plane. An astral form may travel at great speeds (Approx 1000 mph) and carries no clothing or material objects of any kind. Some artefacts are said to exist in the spirit world, and the character can try to use one of these tools if he finds one. The character cannot bring such relics to the physical world when he returns to his body, however.