This power allows the character to assume the image of whomever the subject most expects to see under the circumstances in which they meet. The character has no say in whom he “becomes.” In fact, he is not even immediately aware of what aspect he is perceived to have, unless the target gives the identity away through verbal or behavioral clues. For this reason, The Familiar Stranger is best used under circumstances when contact between the character and the subject is likely to be brief. Otherwise, the character runs a substantial risk of giving the deception away through improper behavior.
Note that this power does not actually change the vampire’s true appearance. It merely convinces an onlooker that the Kindred is someone other than who he truly is by clouding the subject’s mind.
Dice Pool: Wits + Subterfuge + Obfuscate versus subject’s Resolve + Blood Potency
Action: Contested; resistance is reflexive
Dramatic Failure: The character believes she is accepted differently, when in fact she is recognized as herself. Failure: The vampire loses or ties the contested action. The character’s recognition does not change, and the vampire is aware of the failed attempt. Onlookers see the vampire for who she is.
Success: The vampire wins the contested action and is recognized as someone else for the duration of the scene. Exceptional Success: Five or more successes are rolled for the Discipline user. The vampire wins the contested action and is accepted as someone else for as long as she wishes, rather than for the scene.
If faced with more than one observer, the character must choose one and hope the others expect to see the same person. Success in the contested action indicates that the character assumes the aspect of whomever the chosen subject most expects to see, and the others see that person as well, even if they have no knowledge of him or her. The character himself does not gain any knowledge of the individual, and might prove unable to maintain the deception for long. A character with Auspex can potentially see through this disguise, as per the normal rules for Auspex versus Obfuscate (see p. 119). Note also that it’s entirely possible that the next person the subject thought she would see is the vampire himself….
Example: Scratch uses The Familiar Stranger to appear before a child at home, who is attended by a babysitter. Three successes are rolled for him and none are rolled for the child. The child sees Scratch and shrieks, “Daddy!” which alerts the babysitter — who sees a person who she assumes is the child’s father.
+2 Character knows for a fact who the subject expects to see.
+2 Power is turned on a vampire with whom the user has a blood tie (see p. 162).
— Character has no idea who the subject expects.
-1 Character displays an emotion or undertakes an action not entirely appropriate to the circumstances.
-2 Character displays an emotion or undertakes action clearly out of place under the circumstances, or one largely foreign to the person whose appearance he mimics.