Base Cost: 22.5 points *
While there are many different kinds of undead monstrosities that can result from the use of vampiric abilities, the world is intimately familiar with the traditional, blood-sucking fiend. Something of a highly specialized biological vampire, these classic undead creatures are infamous for not only their source of seeming immortality, but for the host of additional supernatural abilities they tend to possess.
Known Powers (standard abilities):
Agelessness: as undead creatures, conventional vampires are close to immortal. As long as they continue to prey upon the living for their blood, and aren't slain by direct violence perpetrated against their person, classic vampires may persist in their existence indefinitely. These creatures will typically, if at full Health, retain the appearance they possessed upon their demise.
Biological Vampirism: the classic, blood-sucking vampire has a strongly limited form of this power, which allows them to derive sustenance solely from the living blood of animal creatures. On contact with a potential target, a traditional vampire may begin to feed upon him or her if they cannot pass a Willpower ACT roll against this rank value 20 capability, an ACT allowed on each turn of feeding.
This assumes that the vampire has managed to access their bloodstream, of course, which involves either opening the target's skin (most often with fangs) or by clamping his or her mouth onto an already open wound. In a single turn, a conventional vampire may draw out up to twenty ounces of blood, which is enough to render a normal human dizzy - but won't actually inflict lethal harm in and of itself.
Unless such a singular attack would remove all the victim's Health, that is. A classical vampire may continue to drain blood from their victim after this initial attack, though this furthers the risk of killing the victim (thus creating more vampires), as well as the possibility of the victim shrugging off the attack and gaining immunity to that vampire's draining ability (thus becoming a potential nemesis).
At any rate, a vampire may use the drained blood to replace their own, lost Health points. If at full Health when drinking their power rank value in ounces of blood, a traditional vampire will experience a +1 RS to their Brawn, Fortitude and Willpower traits, as well as all their power rank values save for this one, for 1d100 turns. An additional boost of like power requires another infusion of fresh blood.
On the other hand, a conventional vampire will suffer a -1 RS penalty to the aforementioned trait scores and power values for each day they abstain from feeding (whether voluntarily or otherwise). If a vampire's traits and power rank values slip to rank value 0 from an extended lack of blood, they will not die so much as slip into stasis - at least, until someone is foolish enough to wander into melee distance of them...!
As an undead creature, a traditional vampire cannot defeat their dependence on blood - they literally need it to survive.
Note: this power may be further limited if desired for 'flavor' purposes, increasing its effectiveness while at the same time constraining the source of a vampire's food supply considerably. Limiting biological vampirism to functioning on only one species of animal life forms counts as a very strong limitation, while constraining it to the vampire's own species is an extreme limitation on the power.
Damage Reduction: classical vampires are notable for their considerable resistance to conventional injury. While not quite immune to such, they seem to easily shrug off attacks that would readily kill a normal human, their applied force being reduced by -2 RS. This damage reduction applies to both physical and vampiric attacks used against a traditional vampire.
Environmental Independence: as anti-life monstrosities, vampires only need to satisfy the limitations of their vampiric power in order to subsist. In other words, while a conventional vampire must feed upon the blood of others to live, they no longer need - nor can they derive sustenance from - ordinary food or water, and no longer need to breathe to maintain their bodily functions. They generally still sleep during the day, however.
Fangs: vampires are equipped with retractable fangs, which generally come in the form of abnormal canines (on both the top and bottom of their mouths), though sometimes all of a vampire's teeth can grow into proper fangs. These physical weapons can be used to inflict their Brawn value in Slashing damage. Mind you, a vampire often causes just enough harm with their fangs to access their target's bloodstream.
Inherited Powers: some vampires, if their creator wields special non-vampiric capabilities, may also have them to some extent. This is especially the case if a progenitor vampire possessed mutant powers, psionic skills, or some sort of altered physique before his or her transformation. Powers like this must be determined on a case-per-case basis, but may well come in the form of the variant powers described below.
Regeneration: finally, traditional vampires have the ability to rapidly repair damage inflicted upon their bodies - assuming they have recently fed. As long as a classical vampire is not suffering any negative Row Shifts due to a lack of blood, he or she receives the benefit of rank value 10 regeneration. This allows them to heal ten lost Health points each minute (or 1 Health point per turn).
Known Powers (variant abilities):
Animal Control: vampires have the ability to control creatures commonly considered vermin, such as bats, rats, roaches, and wolves, at their Willpower value +2 RS (in a standard vampire's case, rank value 20). These creatures act as if they were an extension of the vampire's existence, and will gladly do whatever it commands, even if they die in the process. (1 point)
Animal Hybridization / Self: some vampires have the ability to change their very form into that of a few, specific animals. A vampire will generally only possess the knack for becoming but one form of animal, but others have evinced the power to become either, at their leisure. The details of such transformations, whether becoming a bat or a wolf, are as follows:
* Bat: as a bat, vampires can utilize rank value 2 claw and bite attacks, fly at rank value 2 speeds (27.27 miles per hour), and make use of a sonar sense that works at their Awareness score, as it replaces a bat's typically rotten visual sense for the duration of the transformation. This version of the power incorporates Shrinking / Self, to assume the guise of a bat of the proper size. (1 point)
* Wolf: though this form doesn't allow flight, it does offer improved attack and sensory capabilities over those of a bat. For one thing, a vampire can utilize a wolf's sense of smell at their Awareness score +1 RS, as well as rank value 6 bite attacks (which can be used concurrently with their biological vampirism power). They can also run at rank value 4 ground speeds (27.27 miles per hour). (1 point)
Claws: in addition to their already deadly and rather notorious fangs, a large number of vampires also possess claws as well. These implements allow a vampire to inflict Slashing damage in melee without necessarily transforming their enemies into vampires themselves - or tempting themselves to do so, since they won't taste their foe(s) quite so easily...! (1 point)
Clinging: some, but not all of the blood-drinking undead have demonstrated the supernatural power to walk on walls and ceilings like an insect. This power normally functions at rank value 30, which allows a vampire to cling to most standard surfaces, as long as such things aren't lubricated with oil, water, or ice. Such surfaces are much more difficult for a vampire to cling to! (1 point)
Flight: an appreciable amount of vampires have shown the capability of flight, without the benefit of any sort of wings or other mechanism to allow its functionality. Sure, a rare few actually wield batlike wings at all times (a discussion for another time, perhaps), but those with this power can utilize it at rank value 4, allowing them to fly at approximately 54.55 miles per hour. (1 point)
Mesmerism: by achieving eye contact with a would-be victim within Very Near distance, a vampire can influence their mind with rank value 10 ability. This often makes it extremely easy for them to dine for the evening. Furthermore, if a vampire has created 'children', or has bitten a body who he or she let live, they can utilize this power against them at +2 RS, as their vampiric ichor binds their will to him somewhat. (1 point)
Shape Change: a curious number of traditional vampires have demonstrated the power to change into a cloud of bats! This rank value 20 power is enhanced with the Detachable Parts ability, which allows a vampire to divide his or her mass into a large number of these creatures. This ability usually, but not always, appears along with a vampire's ability to transform into a singular bat. (2 points)
Transformation / Self: many classical vampires can transform their bodies into an eerie mist. A gaseous form provides a vampire an additional 2 RS of damage reduction against physical attacks, as well as rank value 2 flight (27.27 miles per hour). In this form a vampire may force themselves into a foe's lungs, gaining control over their body per the mesmerism power (Fortitude ACT to resist). (1 point)
Weather Control: a rare few conventional vampires may manipulate the weather itself - enough to discuss it here, at least. Vampires possessing this power will typically wield it at rank value 20, allowing them to create and modify weather patterns within Near distance, with a buffer space reaching out to Middle distance. Vampires begin with no power stunts, however, and must develop them normally. (2 points)
Limitations / Enhancements (constant):
Vampiric Weaknesses: while immortals are permanently slain only by total body disintegration, destruction on their home plane, or being killed by a fellow immortal, traditional vampires are instead beholden to a completely different set of weaknesses. These undead monstrosities always suffer from the direct sunlight and wooden stake susceptibilities, regardless of any other character limitations they may have.
* Originator's Onus: while many vampires lack the power of mesmerism in a general sense, all vampires possess this ability, or are subject to it, in regards to their progenitors or descendants. In other words, a vampire can use this power at their Willpower value to command vampires they are responsible for creating, but at the same time resist commands from their creators at their Willpower -2 RS.
* Susceptibility / Direct Sunlight: if exposed to direct sunlight (not mere daylight conditions but actual rays of light from the sun, whether directly or via a reflected surface), vampires lose half of their total Health score in damage each turn. This is usually enough to turn most of these undead to dust in short order - which is why they must act through intermediaries during the day (extreme limitation).
* Susceptibility / Wooden Stakes: when a vampire is pierced in the heart (with a Killing blow) via some wooden object, it will instantly lose all of its remaining Health. Unless it can pass a yellow Fortitude ACT roll immediately afterwards, the vampire will crumble to dust in rapid order, the anti-life which sustains its monstrous existence fleeing its now-uninhabitable corpse all at once (strong limitation).
Limitations / Enhancements (variable):
Vampiric Weaknesses: in addition to their three required character limitations, above, vampires all have at least two additional character constraints to contend with. These may be determined either by the elder vampire which 'turned' the new vampire in question, or simply by player fiat. Though only two are required, a vampiric character can definitely 'benefit' from three or more of these character limitations, if desired:
* Aversion and Susceptibility / Running Water: many vampires have an aversion to crossing running water, such as a river. Such vampires must pass a yellow Willpower ACT roll in order to do so. Furthermore, if these beings are submerged in running water, they'll lose one fourth of their maximum Health total each turn, which isn't countered by their regeneration any, until they either get out of the water or dissolve within it (weak limitation).
* Requirement / Home Soil: some vampires need a touch (several pounds) of their native soil with them for some unknown reason. If such soil isn't adjacent to them while sleeping during the day, such vampires cannot heal damage inflicted to their bodies - whether thanks to their regeneration power or by dint of the consumed blood of their many victims (weak limitation).
* Requirement / Permission to Enter: while many vampires of the traditional variety do not possess this psychological barrier, enough do to note it here. Those undead who suffer under this constraint may not, under any circumstances, enter a private space without explicit permission. Doing so will cause them to lose one quarter of their total Health score for each turn during which they trespass (weak limitation).
* Susceptibility and Weakness / Garlic: many classical vampires have showcased an inability to function in the face of garlic. When encountering (adjacent to) the substance, a vampire will be reduced to rank value 2 in all traits, and cannot use their supernatural powers. If forced to ingest garlic somehow, a vampire will immediately lose one quarter of their total Health score (strong limitation).
* Susceptibility / Silver: the mere touch of silver causes some vampires harm, reducing their Health by one fourth of its normal maximum. Furthermore, attacks made against such a vampire with silver weapons or projectiles bypass their damage reduction as if it didn't exist, and such damage cannot be regenerated; it will merely heal at the normal rate for a character of similar Fortitude (strong limitation).
This susceptibility is one typically associated with therianthropes, and will subsequently appear quite often in vampires who can transform into a wolf - possibly creating confusion about the vampire's true nature. Regardless, with the Gamemaster's permission, this susceptibility may replace a vampire's vulnerability to being staked by wood - though the same effects occur when staked with a silvery object, as well.
* Weakness / Holy Symbols: many vampires are susceptible to the will of a truly faithful person, focused through a symbol holy to their religion. When such an individual brandishes this symbol at them, vampires will see all of their traits reduced to rank value 2, and their supernatural powers will no longer function. This lasts as long as the vampire remains within Very Near distance of the symbol (strong limitation).
This weakness will often manifest in vampires who were faithful in life - or were 'turned' by an elder vampire who was itself faithful. Such vampires may only be susceptible to holy symbols matching their former (or even current) faiths, and may well suffer permanent scars if such symbols are applied to their bodies. These marks don't permanently reduce a vampire's Health any, but never fully vanish from his or her body.
Abnormal Appearance: while many vampires appear normal (more or less), others have unmistakable 'tells' revealing their undead nature. Perhaps they are unnaturally pale, or maybe they don't have a reflection when viewed in mirrors. Alternately, something else might give their vampiric status away constantly; maybe the vampire's features resemble an animal they can transform into, for instance. (1 point)
Mania / Arithmomania: some classical vampires have demonstrated a mental illness corresponding to arithmomania. This leads to a compulsion whereby the traditional vampire has a compulsion to count things, and is indeed forced to do so when a random number of objects presents itself suddenly. This manic compulsion can be resisted for a time by passing a Willpower ACT roll at a -2 RS). (1 point)
There are no specific skills that vampires 'typically' possess. Most of their skills come from whatever they managed to learn while living. However, some of these darker folks manage to overcome the horror of their existence and learn some new skills after their transformation. These are the truly deadly ones, those who readily manage to have a deleterious affect on the society around them...!
Most vampires have few initial contacts at first, one of which will typically be the undead monster that created them in the first place. Others might include folks from the vampire's old life that either still like him or her despite their change or don't know that they've changed to begin with. Or maybe even some weirdo that, despite what's good for him or her, is enamored with the whole undead thing.
Being forced to prey upon one's former kith and kin simply to survive almost invariably has a damaging effect on the psyche of someone who previously thought such actions abhorrent. Some vampires can retain at least a semblance of their humanity in the face of such horror, but others quickly devolve into sociopathic monstrosities that care for nothing but their next meal - no matter who dies along the way.
Formerly human in mind and body, vampires will tend to reflect their biological origins despite having become anti-life creatures. Vampires may look like a perfectly normal human being when in an undamaged state, or may adopt an unhealthy pallor, the bestial traits of an animal they have the power to transform into, or might even resemble even more decrepit undead such as zombies, depending on their background!
Vampires do not produce anything of use in their environment. As anti-life parasites, they are almost by definition consumers, and voracious ones at that, of the people and cultures which which they associate. They take and they take, but vampires rarely, if ever, make useful contributions to whatever society they dwell within, for the creative urge which drives the living has fled with their mortality.
For as long as there have been humans, there have been vampires. While there are many, many varieties of vampiric creatures, these undead have slowly evolved from conventional biological vampires into the blood-drinking entities known to modern scholars. This has arguably made it much easier for these vampires to subsist in society, as they can operate with much more discretion - when they care to, at least.
The impact of vampires on human society is debatable. While some see vampiric conspiracies behind anything significant that has ever happened, the sad truth is that these somewhat immortal monstrosities can rarely keep it together long enough to influence anything besides the immediate future. Even when a vampire is particularly competent, those which hunt him or her are often single-minded in laying them low.
And thus, vampires do not rule the world from the shadows - however much they might desire to. Oh sure, a charismatic and powerful vampire might control the underworld of a certain territory for a time, but eventually his or her needs will attract the attentions of vampire hunters - or even just conventional criminal rivals - that will ultimately hold them in check.
* The base cost for the vampire template assumes he or she has none of the indicated, optional powers or quirks. If a player wishes to have any of these additional capabilities, assume the indicated point cost for each one (the extreme character limitation a vampire suffers under is already factored into their costs). As their limitation benefit is maximized, a vampire's variable character constraints offer no additional bonuses.
When an ordinary character is transformed into a vampire, the game mechanics involved are quite simple, really. All one needs to do is 'add' in the above supernatural powers and character limitations, adjust the characters statistics some to reflect the alteration in physical capability that vampirism confers, and then recalculate the character's cost to account for their new, extreme character limitation.
Of course, the simple addition of a bunch of new powers and limitations isn't all that happens. The vast majority of newly risen vampires experience a drastic personality shift upon realizing what they must now do to survive - unless they're already insane to begin with, and simply enjoy that sort of thing. Very few transformed humans can retain their pre-risen personalities.
Depending on the player and character involved, this may be a good opportunity to retire the now-undead individual. Some players don't want to play a murderous monstrosity, while others would - but the campaign itself is focused on more heroic endeavors. However, sometimes playing a vampire attempting to redeem itself can be interesting, since this would involve a tremendous and constant struggle for the beast's very humanity.
Which, admittedly, can make for one heck of a story. But if retiring a character due to a sudden case of vampirism, it might be fun to go out in a blast of glory and/or mayhem, taking all of one's enemies down with them. And can be a great excuse to move a campaign forward; both the hero's passing and whatever damage they inflict on their way out of the game can definitely make for a great turning point in the plot!
I offer my Edition 13 work under the Creative Commons Attribution license.
What this means is that if you wish, you may use this Edition 13 material in any way you see fit, whether copying, distributing, or displaying all or part of this text, as long as you credit my work, in either your own derivative texts or products.
If you would like more information about me for attribution, you can contact me via e mail (email@example.com).
If you're not seeing this content within the technohol.com domain, it's been stolen by someone who doesn't respect others' work.