Sunday, October 30, 2016

Character Building: Blending In (Blog or Treat)

You gotta draw freckles or it isn't a
So, Halloween is a holiday where people wear costumes and makeup and masks to go to parties or get candy, or hide from ghosts and stuff. What mechanics make blending in easier or harder? Let's take a look.


Starting with the Basic Set, the following have an impact on deceiving others.
  • IQ (p.15) - Technically, not an advantage, but for the deceptive character, this is the king attribute for which almost all skills and advantages work off of.
  • Cultural Familiarity (p.23) - Without this, you stick out in foreign countries. Cultural Adaptability is a stronger version.
  • Alternate Identity (p.39) - This is having an actual identity. You can somewhat hide in plain sight as long as no one has enough information to link the multiple identities together.
  • Chameleon (p.41) - This lets you blend in, but not look like someone.
  • Cultural Adaptability (p.46) - You can act as a native of any culture.
  • Elastic Skin (p.51) - This lets you look like someone of your race, and gives a nigh perfect disguise.
  • Hermaphromorph (p.59) - This is a hotly debated advantage, but among other accepted interpretations, you can functionally appear as someone who would be mistaken for your sister or brother, depending on your native sex.
  • Invisibility (p.63) - Instead of hiding, make yourself impossible to see even in plain sight. Similar abilities
    • Insubstantiality (p.62) - Nothing can touch you
    • Silence (p.85) - Nothing can hear you
    • Obscure (p.72) - with the right limitations, you can block out other senses making you smell proof or radar proof.
  • Mimicry - (p.68) You can sound like anything or anyone, if you get a chance to listen to them.
  • Possession (p.75) - Your body is simply a flesh prison, you can move from body to body, and with the right enhancements, convincingly take on the original personality.
  • Shapeshifting (p.83) This is two separate abilities.
    • Alternate Forms - You can look like one specific being or species.
    • Morph - Provided you have the points, you can turn into lots of different things.
  • Social Chameleon (p.86) - You know what to say to fit into any social strata without suspicion. Combined with Cultural Adaptability, and you can be supernaturally good at breaching social circles.
  • Voice (p.97) - Good pitch control and the like makes disguising your voice easier.
  • Zeroed (p.100) - This makes it difficult for enemies (or friends) to perform background checks on you if they have reason to be suspicious.


The following can also make disguise more difficult.
  • The build disadvantages (p.18-20) - all of these penalize your ability to wear a disguise passingly. These include
    • Skinny
    • Overweight
    • Fat
    • Very Fat
    • Dwarfism
    • Gigantism
  • Unnatural Features (p.22) - having distinguishing physical characteristics, again, messes with your ability to come up with a convincing disguise.
  • Language (p.23, 24) - Low levels of spoken or written language make it harder to convince a subject native to that language.
  • Disturbing Voice (p.132) and Stuttering(p.157) - These make it difficult to get acted out speech to "pass."
  • Easy to Read (p.134) - This makes it easy for enemies to figure you out.
  • Hunchback (p.139) - The obvious posture makes it easy to spot you out.
  • Shyness (p.154) - Has several penalties for the skills needed to pass in disguise.
  • Truthfulness (p.159) - Makes out and out deception difficult.


Finally, important skills for blending in.

  • Acting (p.174) - This is deceiving people by "counterfeiting" emotions.
  • Camouflage (p.183) - Best for not being seen instead of "passing."
  • Disguise (p.187) - This makes you "pass" as someone besides yourself.
  • Fast-Talk (p.195) - This is for getting a deception to fly quickly, with a good chance of repercussions in the future when the deceived realizes they have been tricked. Other social skills might be needed to massage those problems away, but you might be able to do that in more convenient circumstances.
  • Forgery (p.196) - Copy people's signatures or provide documentation saying things that aren't actually true.
  • Housekeeping (p.200) - Helps cover up after clandestine activities that might need to be performed in secret.
  • Makeup (p.206) - A good complement to a good disguise or camouflage.
  • Mimicry (p.210) - Copy other people's voices.
  • Performance (p.212) - Similar to, but subtly different from Acting. Both have pros and cons.
  • Savoir-Faire (p.218) - Know how to fit in with a given crowd.
  • Shadowing (p.219) - Follow people without being suspicious.

Other Thoughts and Conclusion

So, there are a lot of helpful mechanics for deceiving others in the basic set alone. Not all of it is needed all the time, and obviously anyone creative enough can find ways to make other abilities useful for passing in a different group. For example, the right social skills can help a lot. Intimidation to impress people with your toughness, or sex appeal to get people to be a bit forgiving because you look nice.


  1. Dude, you're killing me here! Every time I log in to check, you've posted another cool Halloween post - and I have to go back and update my summary of all the Blog or Treat posts....

    Your entry there is getting really long...

    Keep up the great work!

    1. Well, today's was the last! No more updates, friend.


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