Thursday, September 26, 2013

Fianyarr Vampires

Whatever you do with vampires, make them dramatic....
(Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2)
While I could give you statistics for each of these creatures that would take up a lot of room and anyone using these creatures could easily come up with attributes and skills themselves.  So instead of doing that I'm going to give you a couple of interpretations / myths and the rules used to create them for Fianyarr and you can take it from there and customise it to your heart's content.  That way I can fit in more content without making this article ridonculously long (that's a word now).

Charismatic Vampires

There are those who feared the penalty of aging and grew terrified of wrinkles, weakness and infirmity.  So desperate were they to keep their young looks that they made pacts with terrible unseen things and dabbled with blood magic to find the secret to eternal youth.  While many people may have done the same, those who would become vampires did it with a purity and dedication that surpassed any other.  For their efforts they gained eternal youth but at a terrible price ... their bodies are locked in a stasis that only the sun can unlock and the sun gives nothing without a price of its own.

Creation: Charismatic vampires can infect another with their curse by biting them over three successive nights but their victim must either love the vampire or be enthralled with a need for eternal youth.  If either condition isn't met they will simply waste away and die.

Signs: Pallor due to a lack of sunlight, clear pale eyes, fangs in place of incisors, cold skin, faded aura.

Powers: 10 dots (elder), 7 dots (ancillae) and 5 dots (neonate) worth of Majesty, Nightmare, Animalism, Vigor, and Dominate from Vampire: the Requiem.

Attributes and skills: 10 / 7 / 5 attributes and 16 / 11 / 7 skills for elder vampires.  7 / 5 / 3 attributes and 13 / 9 / 5 skills for ancillae.  Neonates share the same character creation dots as regular characters.

Power Level: Epic (elders), Overwhelming (Ancillae) and Powerful (Neonates).

Useful Bloodlines

Some bloodlines are more useful than others to a fantasy world so I thought I should include them here.  Unless you're planning on a more expanded and intellectual society of vampires I would recommend using each bloodline as a separate and distinct group of bloodsucker rather than throwing them all in together.  You could also go through all of the bloodline weaknesses and swap out existing vampire weaknesses for a new bloodone one.  Thus you could remove vitae's addictiveness, binding nature, fire's damage, sunlight's damage, risk of frenzy, ability to be staked, bashing damage from arrows or ability to enter into torpor.  You could add additional powers (only take one point of damage from each source of damage); change the fluff (must feed from the liver rather than a vein); or make it more difficult to kill them (ash stake, dead man's blood, or beheading).

The Carnival

If you want a darker form of circus with some more interesting relics, potions and fruit to sell you can look no further than including a few denizens from The Carnival among their ranks.  With all of the benefits of Clan Daeva, Nosferatu flaw on top of the Daeva one due to some freakish aspect of their appearance, as well as a custom discipline these guys can provide you with a lot of interest.

Children of Judas

Some vampires spontaneously arise from those who died unclean and miserable deaths.  Those who died from suicide sometimes have a sudden moment of clarity before their death where they realise the solution to their problems.  Despite their desperation to suddenly live, most still pass on to the other side.  Some come back.  These vampires feel a need to explore other people's pain but it's recommended that the Zelani weakness of requiring an invitation to enter a home and sunlight simply making the vampire sleepy (halving all dice rolls) would give them sufficient distinction.  Perhaps also they can only be killed through a recreation of their method of suicide - though the latter would work better for a darker game.

Spina / Toreador / Zelani / Kallisti / Taifa

These vampires work well for a nobleman turned vampire - perhaps due to a curse or some terrible tinkering with alchemy using the deaths of others to extend their lives.  If you want to have a society of similar (or slightly different) vampire families then these five would do well for it without allowing knowledgeable players to make assumptions.  In fact, if they hear that there are five families most players will leap to the conclusion that they will be the five core clans and will be in for a rude surprise.


In a world with Nixies there is a need for underwater kindred and what better than a race of vampires that need to feed while utterly submerged?  If you would like to provide a more confusing title, the characters might confuse a Mara with a Rusalka.  It is recommended that you remove a vampire's issues with fire an replace it with similar fears of salt for freshwater Mara and an avoidance of certain symbols for saltwater ones.

Vedma / Dragolescu

These  vampires could theoretically make a decent guide or advisor, providing a less evil or sociopathic vampire type if you have a need, with individuals visiting them to learn secrets much as one might a strange witch.  Vedma should have the Zelani weakness toward entering homes uninvited though they should be able to sustain themselves on animals.  Vedma might also retain their clan blessings though they may not cross a line of seeds thrown in their path nor may they approach a religious symbol nor tread the floor of a religious institution.  Dragolescu work well for monasteries run by the undead and might lack a reflection, fear direct (though not indirect) sunlight but be repelled by certain herbal concoctions and be unable to face their own reflections.


Those infected by disease can develop a tenacious will to live and if they have a little knowledge of the darker arts then possible they can transcend the effects of illness - while remaining a carrier themselves.  Such a figure shouldn't be allergic to sunlight (too easy to spot) but should retain the pallor and vague appearance of death.  Perhaps replace the sun allergy with a lack of a reflection.  Issues with fire remain useful with this type of vampire.


These flesh eating vampires make for good foes for adventurers as they lurk in crypts and devour the dead.  If you liked, however, such a vampire might not be evil and might even be performing an important function as corpses provide nourishment for the vampire and can breed diseases for everyone else.  Of course, people tend not to like creatures defiling their dead which could create an interesting moral dilemma for those so disposed.


A vampire that buzzes with bees that live within their corpse?  A vampire that obsessively tries to maintain order over a good little group of obedient humans?  You can imagine the story potential when the players arrive at a hamlet that belongs to one such vampire or deal with a set of caravans that are, in truth, the procession of a new Queen in search of a hive of her own.


And, of course, there are many more bloodlines that could each be pulled forth and turned into a type of vampire all of their own.  Which bloodline do you think you would use and what story would you put behind them?

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