View Full Version : [V:tM] Need help with details for an NPC!!

2010-08-26, 06:29 PM
Hey, Playgrounders! I really need some help with this one.

I was running the second session of my Vampire game (Masquerade 2nd Edition, if it matters) and I may have improvized myself into a tricky situation. Basically, one of the players picked up on something during an interaction with a powerful Toreador and was trying to see if there was a mission that she needed doing, and I made up something on the spot about a guy from the government who was protected from Presence & Dominate (since that seemed like something a Toreador would need help with). He's supposedly with the ATF, but the player was told that this is probably just a cover story.

Now here is where I need ideas: Who or what should this guy actually be? He's arriving via private jet in two nights (game time) and the players are probably going to try and take him out. He needs to be weak enough for inexperienced vampires to kill OR strong enough to survive and not slaughter the players.

My thoughts:
I don't want a werewolf or similar creatures. I have plans to introduce them more later, and I want to preserve the ominous mystery for a while.
I'm pretty sure a mage could pull off being immune to mental influence, but I really don't know enough about them to know what they're capable of.
Could this be the result of spiritual possession? A bane spirit fomori would be a better challenge, but I'm really rusty on what they can do as well.
How about extraordinary humans? Are there hunters or psychics or some other group of guys that might fit this role?
Anything else that isn't on the level of changelings/ghosts/mummies/etc.?

Alternatively, maybe the Toreador lied about what this guy can do and he's something completely different! It could be a servant of a rival vampire or something else entirely. If so, what else would make it be somebody that she couldn't (or wouldn't) deal with herself?

2010-08-26, 07:31 PM
I'm not sure, but couldn't a hunter do this?

Lost Wanderer
2010-08-26, 08:19 PM
No worries about werewolves, because they would be very unlikely to have mind control immunity. Also, the WoD does have psychics (they're written up in the Mage supplement Sorcerer), but that's probably not an element you really want to add.

An Imbued would be immune because of the Sight, but the Sight going up would also immediately reveal that 1) there's a supernatural creature afoot and 2) it tried to mess with their mind. Unless they're a Redeemer or Innocent, that's not going to end well, although a coterie vampires could take a single Imbued easily.

Immunity to mind control, or at least enough resistance to basically be immunity, is well within the purview of a mage. Mages can do literally anything if they have the right Spheres, of which Mind is one. Mages make fun adversaries because they can use magic to manipulate anything... theoretically. Any single one has their area of expertise, though, some other stuff to back it up, and a list of things they can't even touch. However, it isn't clear what any given mage can and can't do, so there's always room for surprises.

If you want to keep it simple, go with the "he was lying" approach and did so to manipulate the group into keeping an eye on this guy out of their own curiosity/paranoia, rather than having to pay them. Maybe its an FCC guy there to inspect one of the Toreador's artistic interests, and the Toreador wants to know how to deal with him if he turns up anything untoward.

If you want to go crazy, make it an FCC guy who's an unwitting pawn of the Technocracy and has been slipped a Device to protect him from mental control. Then the Toreador has reason to be freaked (not that he would show such a thing): a government agent who might be there to mess with his art that is immune to having his mind affected or even probed. Now that's scary.

Lord Vampyre
2010-08-26, 08:20 PM
There are many different types of hunters that could pull this off. Just give the guy a high willpower with the Merit: Iron Will or something.

Another option would be to make him a ghoul or kinfolk. The kinfolk would give you the opportunity to lead into the Werewolf angle later on.

The ghoul might be a servant of an Old World Tzimisce, Tremere, Malkavian, or Ventrue, who was possessing her servant for awhile. This could be a rival of the city's prince, or other such thing. Yes it is difficult to possess a ghoul servant during the day, but not impossible. The players would be able to defeat the ghoul, but then gain the enmity of its master. If it happens to be an elder Malkavian the Obfuscate would allow him to mask his servants aura while he was possessing him. Or just give the vampire the Merit: Bright Aura (similar to the ghoul/mortal Merit: Pale Aura, only in reverse.)

Now, using a Mage would simply be overkill. Besides the fact, any Mage done correctly would wipe the floor with a vampire. Although to be honest, I love Vampire, but they tend to be the weakest of all the supernatural creatures WW put out in their storytelling series.

Being the storyteller, just make up a plausible excuse as to why their immune to the ability and run with it. If the players are going to try and take him out, the only reason you need to worry about an excuse is if you want it to come up again later on.

2010-08-26, 08:33 PM
One thing I did with an old Ravnos character was a cross discipline power I created with Chimerstry and Auspex. Basically I created an illusion of myself and projected myself into it. It allowed me to scout and negotiate with powerful beings without much fear of immediate danger. You could make your NPC similar to this.

2010-08-27, 11:24 AM
Let me fill you in on a little secret.

As the Storyteller, you can make it up.

You don't have to look through all the books and decide why someone is immune to something, or can do something. In the World of Darkness, there are strange things that defy explanation. In literary terms, this is known as "hanging your lantern on it" - basically, the impossible is noted in the story instead as being impossible, and yet it exists.

("But a 50-foot tall giant can't exist! It's scientificly impossible!" "Fine! You do tell him (the giant) that!")

As long as you have a "reason" "written down", you don't have to tell the players anything OOC. Part of the element of horror is that you are dealing with something unknown, something you might not know where it is, what it is, what it wants, what it can do, or how it can do what it can do. If you are walking down an alleyway and a crate just lifts up and smashes itself into you, you don't know what really happened. It could be that a ghost or a mage used their powers to pick it up and throw it at you, or maybe it was someone invisible, or maybe even the crate is alive and can fly.

So now that the playing field has opened a little, let's go back to your question - you want something that will be an appropriate challenge for a coterie of young vampires.

Given that young vampires are a little on the low-end of the power scale, even in coteries, you don't need a lot to give them a challenge. Werewolves and mages are out. A vampire-possessed "doll" is a bit excessive, as a vampire who possesses someone to act as his host is likely to have other powers that will make things uncomfortable for the coterie. Changelings could have a treasure that protects them, but changelings and vampires don't mix well thematically.

As I don't know much about ghosts and hunters, I recommend just making this guy a ghoul or highly-trained mortal. Toss in Iron Will and Blase (from the Toreador Clan Book), and you are good to go. You can even add a subplot or world detail that these Merits are part of the results of some kind of genetics research. It could be that some branch of the government or some corporation has gotten wind of the existence of vampires and is covertly trying to build agents who are able to resist their power; or, the common nature of these Merits could be a side effect of something else.

Of course, if you have the possibility of mass-producing agents with immunity to Presence and Dominate, you are going to have to consider this effect on gameplay. You don't want to make these agents so common and without weakness that those Disciplines become next to worthless, although the threat of such IS a sufficient motivator (let alone the possibilty of some organization being aware of vampires, i.e., a breach in the Masquerade). Make these agents rare, make it easy for the PCs to identify them once they know the signs, give them some kind of weakness, an "override" perhaps.

Another possibility is to just make this person a well-made robot. This would explain the immunity to Dominate and Presence, as well as open up more abilities, and some flaws, as well as providing another plot hook.

2010-08-27, 01:09 PM
As he's with the ATF I'm thinking Technocracy here. A fully fledged Mage might be too much but he could be a human minion equipped with some weird science gadget or implant that grants him an immunity to mind control.
Or maybe a Revenant.

2010-08-27, 01:29 PM
I'd go with a kinda weak cyborg. Modified human who isn't human enough anymore to be affected by dominate or presence.

The kick is that he's really designed as a remote camera for mysterious others. (plot hook for later). He flies into places where the mysterious others are afraid there might be vampires or whatever and looks around, broadcasting this back to the others.

So your kid vampires show up and kill him. he's strong enough to put up a fight, but not strong enough to win, but after they win, maybe they figure out that he's got a camera in his head, and that he broadcast their pictures back somewhere.....

I'd give him a dot or two of celerity and a dot or two of potence depending upon the strength of your coterie.

2010-08-27, 01:34 PM
do you play with Merits and Flaws?

for an odd twist it could just be an actual mortal government agent with the merits,

Iron Will

or as you've suggested it could be a Formori of some kind.

or could even be the conditioned and possed blood doll of a power Venture Elder with the denial of aphrodities favor, cross discipline.

or really a ton of other things.

my suggestion would be to find out what it's agenda is first, and decided what it IS second.

2010-08-27, 01:56 PM
Here's a good old WoD twist for you;

The agent has no immunity to Dominate or Presence, in fact it is easily swayed and weak minded... but the Toreador who let the info drop doesn't want folks to affect it's mind before they kill it.

Maybe it knows some dirty secret of the Toreador, maybe the Toreador has planted false memories or a false agenda knowing that the agent will let the doctored information slip during a fight, leaving the PCs with a "Credible" death admission. Perhaps the Toreador knows that a rival Ventrue or Lasombra favors the mortal, but doesn't want to draw that rival's attention, or risk the PC's learning of the connection via mind powers. Any of these can work with a plain old mortal, a ghoul, a hunter, or something else.