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In the old vampire (up to V20), the abiltiies of Auspex,... are a bit limited. I've got a few players that try to hide their clan. What options are there for others to find out what clan they truly belong to (thus abilities and actions)?

Others is mostly npc's. And its about vampires, but also other creatures, what options they have to find out the clan of a vampire.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ "find out what clan they truly belong to (thus abilities and actions)?" that's a bit of an XY problem to solve. Finding the clan of a vampire tends to leave you with very little idea of their abilities or what actions they would likely make (e.g., due to allegiance or anything similar). A Gangrel might not have picked up any Protean. But might have learned Celerity and/or Potence. A Toreador might have learned Animalism. The older the vampire, the more likely they are to have picked up other Disciplines. And allegiances can shift easily, as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – VLAZ
    Aug 17, 2022 at 8:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ As an example: I had once played a high-age Nosferatu. While they had reached obfuscate 5, they also had access to about 8 other disciplines, 6 of them non-clan disciplines, and several of them at 3. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Aug 17, 2022 at 12:08

1 Answer 1

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Auspex

Auspex can be used to pre-sort beings you meet at rank 2: Aura Perception 1. The visible Auras tell quite clearly into what category the target belongs:

  • Vampire - Aura colors are pale
  • Ghoul - Pale blotches in the aura
  • Magic - Use Myriad sparkles in aura
  • Werebeast - Bright, vibrant aura
  • Ghost - Weak, intermittent aura
  • Faerie - Rainbow highlights in aura 1

However, Auspex 2 does not offer a magical lie detector, and the use as one is explicitly disclaimed by the rules:

Note that it is nearly impossible to determine with certainty if a particular character is lying or not with this power – vampires are inherently deceitful by nature, but even mortals might react with anxiety to questions while still being truthful. 1

It might however rarely help to identify Malkavians and Diablerists on its own: the former because they occasionally show up as Psychotic, the latter because of the black stripes. Not all Malkavians will show psychotic at all times, and there are other psychotic vampires, but it can be an aid.

Auspex 3, The Spirit’s Touch, can be used perversely to gain information too: if they roll 5 or more successes they know literally everything they want to know about the person that handled the object. This includes the clan of a vampire.

Blood Sorcery

The Path of Blood 2 starts with "A Taste of Blood", which allows asking questions about a person in question the user has a single drop of blood from. Generation, current blood pool, if they are a vampire... and even the Clan of a vampire are things that can be asked for as information.

This is pretty much the most basic blood sorcery, most Tremere chantries have at least several apprentices that can do this and even the Assamite Vizirs know this trick, old Tzimisce can use it, Kiasyd might know of the trick... pretty much any vampire with Thaumaturgy has access to the Path of Blood.

Dominate

The basic trick of Dominate - Command 3 - is to force a one-word command. This can be done by first posing a question, and if the answer does not come, the command is Answer! - they have to give an answer now, though not necessarily the one the asker wants.

Dominate 4 - Conditioning 4 - is able to erode someone's personality away and make them a servile person. Once a master Dominator had the neonate in their claws for a couple of weeks, they have spilled everything, and come out as a totally different person - broken and enslaved if used by a particularly cruel master.

Presence

Dominate 4 is crude, but Presence 3 - Entrancement 5 - makes the target by itself willing to spill the beans just to be allowed to serve them. They'd even willingly take on a blood bond to the entrancing vampire, so telling who they are and such is the least.

Rituals

There's a Rank 4 Rite called Bone of Lies 6. It enchants an item and whoever holds it can't lie: no power can stop them from blurting out the truth if they thought of telling a lie.

The Traditions and Lex Talionis

Besides those tricks, there is simply the danger of law of retribution (sometimes lex talonis - law of claws) being called upon an unrepentant vampire that lies to a prince once to many. Lex Talionis allows a prince or other domain holder to declare someone an outcast and send them packing - or even put them to death if they don't comply with the other demands of the Camarilla. Wait, you don't know that term? Maybe The sixth Tradition: Destruction is better known to you:

The Sixth Tradition: Destruction

The Blood Hunt — the Lextalionis — is the Princely decree that declares another vampire persona non grata. The right of Princes (or “elders,” depending upon the interpretation of the Tradition) to call the Blood Hunt effectively forfeits the hunted Kindred’s unlife [...] 7

Lying about your clan or trying to hide it is a violation of the 2nd Tradition (Domain), as it shows absolutely no respect to the holder of the domain. The allowance to stay in a town under the 5th Tradition (Hospitality) hinges on the vampire presenting themselves with their proper clan and all.

And violating both of these can be used to cast them out of town - or in extreme cases call for Lex Talionis and the final death of the vampire.

Other Creatures?

  • Garou and the Bête don't care for the clan of the vampire. If Sense Wyrm triggers on them, then they are to be shredded. If they tell the Werewolf, that they are Vampires, they are cut up. Sense Truth/Truth of Gaia is very proliferated among them. Lying to those is really hard.

  • Mages don't care for the clan of the Vampire most of the time. They are the raw material for lawn furniture. Otherwise: Mind 1 is enough to detect lies, Mind 2 allows to read the mind to a low degree, and starting at Mind 3, he can outright start to claw the truth from the head of any being. With time, they can read who was your sire. With Prime/Matter, they might spy vampire clan and abilities.

  • Changelings/Kithain can often notice the mere presence of a Vampire that's no longer a Neonate because Vampires have typically moderate to very high Banality stats. Further, it's a simple roll on Wits+Kenning for them to detect a Vampire as what they are.


1 - V20 p.135/136
2 - V20 p.213
3 - V20 p.152
4 - V20 p.154
5 - V20 p.195
6 - V20 p.237
7 - V20 p.22-24

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    \$\begingroup\$ "It does however help to identify Malkavians [...] because they are showing up as Psychotic" non-Malkavians can also have derangements. Moreover, Dementation would often push others into madness. So, the presence of a derangement is not a definite indicator that a vampire is a Malkavian \$\endgroup\$
    – VLAZ
    Aug 17, 2022 at 7:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Dominate 4 - Conditioning 4 - is able to erode someone's personality away and make them a servile person." I'm pretty sure it doesn't work on Kindred \$\endgroup\$
    – VLAZ
    Aug 17, 2022 at 7:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ "It does however help to identify Malkavians [...] because they are showing up as Psychotic" also relevant - not all Malkavians are psychotic. Derangements can vary wildly and the "loud loony Malk" is not an accurate stereotype to apply to the entire clan. For example, Dr. Netchurch from fluff will not show up as psychotic but calm and collected. Maybe a bit cold and detached. \$\endgroup\$
    – VLAZ
    Aug 17, 2022 at 8:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @VLAZ It may help, but does not guarantee to identify Malkavians. Its main relevancy is an intrusion free "is a vamp or not". As for Dominate 4: nothing in the text excludes vampires like it is done for many other powers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Aug 17, 2022 at 8:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @From Sparkles also exist with Assamite Sorcerers, Kholdunic Tzimisce, Kiasysd, some Samedi... Thaumaturgy is far more widespread than you think. As PCs generally are kept at lower than 5 in disciplines, I did not discuss the 6+ "hyperpowers*, which are generally "ST, do what you want" anyway. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Sep 6, 2022 at 6:38

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