The Defence itself
The Defence of the masquerade can be broken into four parts.
· Investigation and Discovery
· Supernatural Tools
· Mortal Tools
· Punishment and Deterrent
We have already spoken of Punishment and Deterrent so I will not elaborate further. Suffice to say this constitutes a major part of the masquerades Defence. Without it a Defender will find him or herself having to cover increasing numbers of threats. Any Defender incapable of utilising punishment so that it becomes a deterrent may as well give up and hand the position to one who can.
The other three however require varying degrees of skill in order to use correctly, and it is my intention to give a brief account here.
Investigation and Discovery
This should be the primary part of any Defence. Obviously a Defender needs to be aware of what is going on in the fief as a whole, as regards the masquerade. Contacts should be sought in the police and media arenas, in order to get advance notice of any potential problems. Arranging such reports can itself be problematic, as said contacts should be unaware of the nature of the Defenders interests. Utilisation of Ghouls is a simplistic solution, but is down to the individual how best to proceed.
Furthermore a Defender should pay close attention to all media sources. At this point in history, information is readily available in a variety of Formats, which can cause difficulties here. The internet for example, is difficult to police but other media sources are simply time consuming. I would recommend at least a couple of hours at the beginning of the evening checking through all local newspapers, and local news reports. Here a Defender may find the use of a Video recorder to be of value. The purpose of this should be obvious, by doing so a Defender may notice Breeches that may otherwise go unnoticed.
It may also be helpful to have other ghouls or contacts in other arenas to assist in this type of investigation, simply keeping an ear to the ground in order to tip off the Defender about issues that may interest him or her. The Kindred rumour network can also be of use; often unguarded comments may reach the ears of a Defender who may then take steps to ascertain their validity.
Although this situation is time consuming to maintain, I would hold that it is vital for a Defender. However as I have previously mentioned, in a strong Directorate the Ventrue Clan as a whole should be assisting the Defender which may make the task a little easier.
The secondary part of an investigation is to gain evidence of guilt. This is the part, which I have called Discovery for the purposes of this report. Once a breech has been discovered and covered, it is necessary to discover the Kindred responsible, and if possible also gather enough evidence so that his or her guilt is unquestioned.
Again, this can be problematic. In many cases it may not be, some Kindred are capable of such stupidity that once a breech has been committed they make no attempt to hide their guilt, often existing in ignorance of their crime. In such cases evidence may be gathered from security cameras or witness statements. It is permissible for a Defender to have recorded statements from any mortals who witnessed the breech, taken obviously before any defence is effected.
Other Kindred, primarily those we are calling masquerade terrorists will take steps to hide their crimes. This is the point where a good investigative team is vital, as what occurs is simple spadework. Few Kindred have the skills to properly hide their crimes, and although the investigation may be lengthy, results should be conclusive.
A question that should be addressed however, is whether it is permissible to fabricate evidence, Such behaviour should be used sparingly, because although it is useful to do so, when used incorrectly can weaken the Defenders reputation. I would suggest that it be used only when the defender is certain of guilt, but is unable to gain sufficient evidence of such. Obviously wrongful accusation will be noticed by one person, the guilty party themselves. lt is liable that having got away with it once, they will do it again.
As for an entirely fake breech simply to remove political rivals or their allies, such behaviour whilst beneath us, may sometimes be justified. Use with caution if at all. Remember that the masquerade is of primary importance, not political gain.
Whilst undoubtedly important to the masquerades Defence, care should be taken that they are not overused. Misuse of this resource could create more problems for the Defender, including loss of reputation and damage to the masquerade.
Presence - As previously mentioned this is of most use during the investigation and discovery phase. Entrancement can be used to loosen tongues, and gain access to places otherwise barred to the Defender. Obviously mortals so affected may become suspicious later, but will usually rationalise this away. That said a Defender should take care not to become over reliant on this resource, and I personally consider it to be a bit sloppy.
Dominate - This resource is often vital to the maintenance of the masquerade. In the investigation stage, a conditioned mortal can be created to inform the Defender of events, before forgetting that they have done so. Again caution must be exercised; false memories should be well thought out and planned as not to evoke suspicion in the target. In the discovery stage, false memory implantation can be used to remove memories of statement given to the defender, which are used as evidence. In the maintenance of the masquerade false memories can be used to remove any memories of witnessing a breech, but obviously the mortal(s) concerned must first be found.
False Memory implantation - Care should be taken to avoid being rushed here. If time were pressing I would suggest using mesmerism to get the subject to come and see you at a more convenient time or place. Be careful however not to use too much detail, as this may create conflict in the targets mind which may lead to a gradual unravelling of your work. In many cases the memories implanted may he as simple as the man was wearing a bullet proof vest or similar.
Auspex - Obviously not natural to us, Auspex can be used as a tool in the investigative and discovery stages. The powers of Aura sight and Sprits touch can be used to gain information and evidence that may otherwise go unnoticed. I would personally recommend using a respected or trusted Toreador to gain such information. Most Kindred consider evidence of guilt provided by aura sight to be a trustworthy measure, which is unusual because all it takes to fabricate such guilt is for one person to lie. Still, that can be used to your advantage.
The competent use of these tools will take up much of the Defenders time and effort. Obviously the most commonly used influence will be that involving the police and media, both powerful tools in maintaining the masquerade. The Defender should take steps to ensure that he or she has adequate control in both of these arenas.
The Defender should bear in mind their most powerful ability, the ability to demand that another Kindred takes steps to cover a Breech, most often involving use of influences which the Defender does not personally possess. Abuse of this most potent tool should be avoided. Kindred will soon destroy a Defender who uses other kindreds influence for personal gain. Obviously the temptation will be huge, but bear in mind that a Defender does NOT have the right to borrow influence, rather they have the abi
lity to get a Kindred to use their influence is certain ways. In many cases
the Kindred approached will simply hand over their influence. This is a misunderstanding that you would do well to allow to continue.
Obviously in many cases of masquerade breech, the police will find themselves involved. Firearm abuses, mysterious deaths, maniac with sword etc. will all fall in the domain of the police force first. Low level contacts here will pay dividends, especially if a Defender can get themselves into a position where they can become swiftly aware of relevant emergency calls.
As well as its use in investigation, more important is the ability to have cases dropped and investigations cancelled. A common mistake here is using high level contacts to accomplish this aim. Having the chief superintendent cancel an investigation will almost certainly cause comment among the rank and file. In most cases simply having evidence mislaid or lost will have the desired effect.
In more high profile cases investigations may be impossible to drop. Most murder cases for instance will need to reach a conclusion. In these cases you will find it more useful to use influence to hamper the investigation or to implicate a chosen patsy.
Care must be taken when using police resources not to create suspicion in the force. Careful use of Domination may need to be used here should problems arise.
The application of media is similar to the techniques used in the control of the police. Of course here investigations will be carried out with a view to financial gain, which makes things a little easier to manage, Finance being one of our strong points. Problems only arise when a journalist is motivated by reasons other than greed.
As with all influence, blackmail material can be easily obtained by capricious use of Dominate, or if time is pressing threats are always an alternative. Obviously it is assumed that the reader is already capable of using these techniques.
Some situations call for the use of other areas of influence than those above. For example Health and Legal are useful in cases where a Kindred hias got themselves in a difficult situation, for example Legal to expedite a Kindreds escape from police
custody, or Health to
ct an escape from a morgue.
Different situations must be judged on a case by case basis. In a recent situation where a computer in an undisclosed location was feeding information damaging to the masquerade onto the internet I was forced to use Bureaucracy contacts in order to cause a power cut over a large area in order to stop this occurring until the location could be identified and Kindred computer experts sent in to remove the problem.
Of course complete information on how to use influence effectively is well beyond the scope of this report and it is assumed that most Kindred who have risen to the position of Defender arc already more than capable of the use of such resources.
Excusing a Breech
Another area which requires a certain aniount of fast thinking and creativity on the part of a Defender. On many occasions a Reason must be given which explains the breech which was witnessed. The reason must be credible and take into account what was witnessed and the area in which it was witnessed. Furthermore on many occasions it must take into account what has gone before.
To elaborate, let us look at a few examples. If a Gangrel or a Brujah for whatever feeble reason decided to go on a rampage in full public view, the immediate problems will be that vampiric disciplines will be on display. Now if this rampage took place in New Orleans for example, it would be possible to blame this on PCP, which would not be possible if this rampage took place in Hartlepool town centre, due to the drug being relatively uncommon in this area. A more credible explanation would likely to be that of an escaped lunatic.
However, should a similar rampage take place a week later, using the same explanation may cause investigations into the local health providers, which is likely to disprove both explanations. So a new and different explanation must be sought. Rioters, mass hysteria, publicity stunts etc. etc. Thankfully such extreme cases are rare, but a Defender should attempt to have such explanations ready in case of such an emergency. A good source of such explanations can be found in most books wiitten by sceptics on the paranormal and UFO subjects.
Even when the situation is quiet a wise Defender should use time and effort in order that when a breech occurs they are in a good position to effect a defence. Influence should be almost continually used to promote stories that discredit supernatural or paranonnal sightings or stories.
Furthermore situations can be arranged that will give credit to excuses with which the Defender can use to better defend the Masquerade. Using the example given in the previous section, it could be possible to arrange matters so that an increased flow of PCP was moved into the area, and became the drug of choice among the local addicts. Fuel this with a little media Hysteria and a credible excuse is created.