This Discipline involves influencing the very thoughts and actions of others through the vampire's own force of will. Use of Dominate requires that the Kindred capture his victim's eye; as such, it may be used against only one subject at a time. The extent of this control depends on the particular power being applied.
While truly potent, Dominate powers can be exacting to perform. Commands must be issued verbally; after all, direct mind-to-mind contact is the purview of Auspex. Still, some simple orders may be made with signs - for example, a pointed finger and forceful expression to indicate "Go!" If the subject doesn't understand the vampire (she doesn't speak the same language, the order doesn't make sense, she cannot hear his words), she won't comply with the directive, no matter how mighty the Kindred's supernatural will.
Not surprisingly, Kindred who use Dominate were often willful, controlling individuals in mortal life. Indeed, it's quite possible that this is what drew the vampires' sires to them in the first place. After all, the Giovanni, Lasombra, Tremere and Ventrue clans who specialize in this Discipline consider strong will a definite benefit. Due to this tendency toward control, characters with high Dominate scores may be unable to spend experience points to increase Abilities such as Empathy.
The vampire locks eyes with the subject and speaks a one-word command, which must be obeyed instantly. The order must be clear and straightforward – run, cough. If the command is at all confusing or ambiguous, the subject may respond slowly or perform the task poorly. The subject cannot be ordered to do something harmful to themselves, so a command like ‘die’ is ineffective. The command may be included in a sentence, thereby concealing the power’s use from others. This effort at subtlety still requires the Kindred to make eye contact at the proper moment and stress the key word slightly. An alert bystander – or even the victim – may notice the emphasis; still, unless they are conversant with super natural powers, the individual is likely to attribute the utterance and the subsequent action as bizarre coincidence.
System: The player rolls Manipulation + Intimidation (Diff targets permanent willpower) more successes force the subject to act with greater vigour or for a longer duration (Continue for a greater amount of turns)
With this power, a vampire can verbally implant a false thought or hypnotic suggestion in the subject’s subconscious mind. Both Kindred and target must be free from distraction, since mesmerize requires intense concentration and precise wording to be effective. The vampire may activate the imposed thought immediately or establish a stimulus that will trigger it later. The victim must be able to understand the vampire, although the two need to maintain eye contact only as long as it takes to implant the idea.
System: The player rolls Manipulation + leadership (Diff = targets permanent willpower) The number of successes determines how well the suggestion takes hold in the victims subconscious. If the Vampire scores 1 or 2 successes, the subject cannot be forced to do anything that is strange to them. At 3 or 4 successes, the command is effective unless following it endangers the subject. At 5 or greater successes, the vampire can implant nearly any sort of command. No matter how strong he vampires will, his command cannot force the subjects to harm themselves directly or defy their innate nature.
- The Forgetful Mind
After capturing the subject’s gaze, the vampire delves into the subject’s memories, stealing or recreating them at his whim. The forgetful mind does not allow for telepathic contact; the caster acts much like a hypnotist, as King directed questions and drawing out answers from the subject. The degree of memory alteration depends on what the vampire desires. He may alter the subjects mind only slightly or utterly undo the victim’s memories of the past. The degree of detail used has a direct bearing on how strongly the memories take hold; since the victim’s unconscious mind resists the alteration the vampire imposes.
System: The player states what sorts of alteration he wants to perform, then rolls wits + subterfuge (Diff targets willpower score). Any successes pacify the victim for the amount of time it takes the vampire to perform the verbal alteration, provided the vampire does not act aggressively toward the victim.
1 Success May remove a single memory; lasts one day.
2 Successes May remove, but not alter, memories permanently.
3 Successes May make slight changes to memory.
4 Successes May alter or remove entire scene from the subject’s memory.
5 Successes May reconstruct entire periods of a subject’s life.
To restore removed memories or sense false ones in a subject, the characters Dominate rating must be equal to or higher than that of the vampire who made the alteration. If so the player must make a wits + empathy roll (Diff equal to the original vampires permanent willpower) and score more successes than the predecessor did.
Over time, an individual can be conditioned so that she is thereafter unable to resist your domination and is also more resistant to the domination of others. Kindred often condition their servants to ensure loyal retainers. The procedure works based on the fact that mortals who have been dominated repeatedly have a harder time resisting future attempts. Conditioning is not something that is effective on the drop of a hat. It takes time to carefully cultivate the subject’s mind for the kind of control you will exercise. Fully conditioning a subject can take weeks or even months. Conditioned retainers have very little imagination, and tend to obey the orders given them quite literally. The conditioning actually destroys some of their free will, turning them into automatons.
System: The player must roll Charisma + leadership (Diff target’s willpower). Conditioning is an extended action. The storyteller will determine in secret how many successes are required, and keep track of how many are gained. Typically between 5 to 10 times the subjects’s self control is required. The player will only know if a target is successfully conditioned through roll playing. The subject becomes so completely dominated that the vampire’s presence, let alone eye contact, is no longer required to maintain absolute control. He does exactly as he is told as long as he is within earshot of his master. No command roll is necessary unless the subject cannot see the vampire at all. Even if a command roll is failed, the subject is still likely to carry out part of the orders given. Additionally, others will find the subject more difficult to dominate, as conditioning raises others’ difficulties by two (To a Max of 10)
With this power you can take complete control of another person’s mind and body. By actually entering the other persons mind, you may control her actions in a very precise manner. The subject is an automaton, completely incapable of independent action. While controlling the subjects mind, your body is as motionless as if it were in torpor. You may not posses other Kindred. Such control over other vampires is only possible through a blood bond.
System: In order to posses another individual, a character must completely strip away the targets willpower. The two square off in an opposed roll; the subject rolls willpower, while the possessor rolls Charisma + Intimidation. (Diff 7 for both). For every success the attacker obtains over the other’s successes, the target loses a point of willpower. A victory by the subject does nothing but prolong struggle, for each success provides her with that many extra dice to roll next turn. A botch by the attacker, however, makes the subject permanently immune to a character’s dominate attempts.