Showing posts with label Vampyres. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vampyres. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Vampyres: Chill 3rd Edition

Back in the earliest days of this blog I did a week-long deep dive into the characters of Fran and Miriam from the 1974 version of Vampyres.  I worked them for a number of games, including Chill 1st Edition.

Well 2015 gave us not only a new edition of Chill but a new version of the Vampyres.  I thought it might be fun to update them.

For starters, we see some more "classic" vampire abilities from both women.  No fangs, but they can't be photographed. Fran also shows that she is very strong, stronger than humans, and can jump or fall from very high distances.  Both women are also really fast.  We see them avoiding sunlight and mirrors, but not sure if these cause them harm or not.
These vampires also do not seem to have a supernatural form, but one could argue that they can shift into a black mist.  Also, there is a sequence at the end where Miriam's eyes glow and Fran looks like she has wings, but this could also be part of a dream that Harriet has.

Fran


EWS: 105 (Deadly)
REF: 70
STA: 80
Injury: Superficial, Minor –10, Serious –20, Major –30, Critical –50, Lethal
Disciplines: Change Form (fog), Confuse, Dreamsend, Influence, Time Stop (Unique - Chill Core)
Aspects: Bane (mirrors), Parasitic, Special Weakness (sunlight, wood), Supernatural Speed, Sustenance, Unkillable, Unliving

Fran must rest eight hours to regain Stamina. Fran prefers to be underground when resting. She appears to be dead when resting; she does not breathe, has not heartbeat and her body is cold.

Fran needs to feed on least 2 quarts of fresh blood a week. She does not have to kill to get this blood, but she often does.

In combat, Fran uses a straight knife. She can attack once per round.


Miriam



EWS: 100 (Deadly)
REF: 75
STA: 80
Injury: Superficial, Minor –10, Serious –20, Major –30, Critical –50, Lethal
Disciplines: Change Form (fog), Confuse, Influence, Time Stop (Unique - Chill Core)
Aspects: Bane (mirrors), Parasitic, Special Weakness (sunlight, wood), Supernatural Speed, Sustenance, Unkillable, Unliving

Miriam must rest eight hours to regain Stamina. Like Fran, she prefers to be underground when resting. She appears to be dead when resting; she does not breathe, has not heartbeat and her body is cold. Miriam is a light sleeper and can wake herself at the slightest noise.

Miriam needs to feed on least 2 quarts of fresh blood a week. She does not have to kill to get this blood, but she prefers to do so.

In combat, Miriam uses a straight knife. She can attack once per round.


Figuring out their stats is difficult since they don't do much to separate themselves into proper characters.  As the nominal "leader" I gave Fran the Dreamsend EWD since she is more often the lure for their victims. Both get the unique (uhh...ok) power of Time Stop, but I am going to rule that they can only use it together.

They avoid sunlight and sleep in a wine cellar, but I am unsure if sunlight harms them. I will say they can not use any of their of EWD while in sunlight.  They are still fast and strong, but can't use any other disciplines.

Given the upped level of violence in the new film I am not sure if my "Mayfairs" concept would work for them.  BTW a lot of people online are saying the newer movie has "upped the eroticism" over the 1974 version. I disagree. I think those people have only seen the edited version of the 1974 film.  

In the 1974 version, Fran and Miriam are more than just two women with a shared goal, they very much were partners.  In the 2015 version, I am not getting that vibe at all.

I am certain we will get more Evil Way Disciplines in the upcoming Chill Monster book.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

October Horror Challenge: Vampyres (2015)

It is not often I get to watch a horror movie when they first come out. Let alone on the day they are released.  But this is my day today (tonight).  The remake of the notorious 1974  José Ramón Larraz cult classic Vampyres was released on video today.  To my knowledge, this never was released in the US in the theaters, just in Spain.  The movie was also filmed in Spain, though it is supposed to be set in England.

Marta Flich and Almudena León take on the roles of Fran and Miriam respectively. Now maybe it is just my nostalgia speaking, but I find the original actresses, Marianne Morris and Anulka Dziubinska, more attractive.

The movie starts out in a similar fashion to the original.  Our heroes (Fran and Miriam are the heroes right?)  Our new Harriet is a photographer and not a painter as in the original.

Also at nearly 70 Caroline Munro still looks good and having her in movie gives it an air of authenticity, it is too bad that her talents are wasted here.  She is a better actor than most of this cast.  Though to be 100% fair I am pretty sure that English is not their first language save for Munro.

The movie doesn't really get going in terms of our Vampyres till about 20 minutes in.  The dialog is very similar to the original as well. Sadly though many of the plot problems have also been retained. Not to say it is a scene by scene remake, there are some differences and some improvement.  The shower scene from the first movie has been replaced with a bath-tub and a Bathory-esque shower.

This Fran and Miriam are much crueler than in the original.  In the original film you got the feeling that two innocent women had been killed and cursed to come back as vampires.  These two new ones are just killers.  Plus Marianne Morris and Anulka Dziubinska had more on-screen chemistry than these two actresses.

One could almost, almost, see this as a sequel of sorts to the first.  The fact that history is repeating itself some 40 years later is just one of those things that happen when you have a lot of vampires around.

In the end, I didn't like it as much as the original, but again it is more to do I think with nostalgia for me and maybe giving the edge out to the 1974 version only because I first saw it at a very impressionable age.

On it's own merits the movie is still fun.  Plus when was the last time we had a good female vampire movie?  Feels like forever.  If you are a fan of the original then see this one too.

I could not help but notice that one of the production companies for this film is "The Other Side Films".
http://theothersidefilms.com/portfolio-items/vampyres




2016 Movie tally
Watched: 18
New: 13


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Lesbian Vampire: Villain or Victim? Part 2

I am participating in the Queer Film Blogathon over at Garbo Laughs.

Today I want to continue the topic of the lesbian vampire trope in film.  Why this trope and say not the homosexual vampire in general?  Well the easiest answer is of course I am most familiar with this one.  While there are examples of male homosexual vampires in film, using the same sub-text as the lesbian vampires, and both sub-genres do have a history of literature behind it, the lesbian vampire seems more prevalent.

The obvious reason is that male film makers tended to see women more as victims and a vampire has a sexual element to their predation.  Also the vampire is the ultimate other, someone so far outside that they are nolonger alive, no longer a person.  This the same history that many gays and lesbians (and African-Americans and Jews and Hispanics and....just pick an era) have also felt.  Naturally the two have become related.

The male homosexual vampire though can also be summed up in one name; Lestat.  Watch the movies, read the books and then come back.   That is all great and everything, but Lestat does not have the presence in film history as Dracula or Carmilla.  Though as the 70's wore on and Hammer was feeling the pressure to do more and more we got a new set of lesbian vampires.

Daughters of Darkness (1971)
I spent a week back in 2009 talking about Elizabeth Bathory. Now I will contend, just based on the reports as we know them, that Bathory was not a lesbian but rather a sexual sadist that happened to have targeted young girls.

That all being said, she is most often represented in movies, like she was here, as a lesbian and one that does not care much at all for men.  Of course credit goes to Delphine Seyrig and her portrayal of the immortal Countess.  This movie presents Elizabeth along with her companion Ilona (Andrea Rau).  Elizabeth begins to prey on new bride Valerie while sending Ilona out to tempt her new husband Stephan.
There is nothing really subtle here.  Stephan is portrayed as a useless thing that later can only consumate his marriage by beating Valerie.  When he kills Ilona in an accident in the shower he is portrayed as incompetent and something to be discarded.  All the while Elizabeth holds court and seduces Valerie away.  The ending is jarring,  more "Celluloid Closet" style vengeance maybe? Valerie, with Elizabeth's voice is now off picking up a new couple to continue her immortality with.  
There are traces of we will later see in The Hunger here.  The cool, sophisticated, European, woman. She might have some royal blood in her somewhere (pardon the bad metaphor) and she is certainly worldly.  She has companions, maybe male and female, but it is in her female companions she lavishes the most attention on even if I dare say it, the most love.    This is not the rampaging monster of Dracula or even Orlock. Carmilla, Bathory and later Miriam Blaylock are exotic creatures almost unique to themselves.

Of course there is still the issue of sex.

Vampyres (1975)
I also spent a week with this movie last year.  Vampyres is everything I have been talking about turned up to 11.  There are two beautiful women who spend most of the movie in some state of undress or in bed with each other or someone else.   They are obviously lovers and were killed in the midst of their lovemaking to come back as vampires.  They kill men, mostly, till another woman discovers them.  They then run off together in the end rather than get killed.

This movie could very well be prime example of this troupe and cliché in action. Innocent women are killed by an unknown gunman to come back from the dead to kill others.  It is almost textbook Dead/Evil Lesbian Cliché. Almost. While it certainly falls into cliché it also subverts it just a little. From the movie you get the feeling that Fran would rather not kill these men. Miriam of course only cares for Fran.  The novelization of this film makes this clearer, but we should go by what we have on screen.
Despite my enjoyment of this film and the material it has given me for my various games it is not a great film and as a film about lesbian vampires it is no Carmilla to be sure.   While I felt sorry for these women and felt they were trapped in an existence they never chose for themselves, I am not sure that is the intent of the film maker. I see two tragic figures.  José Larraz saw two pretty girls that he got to film naked. Now to be fair there is some good in this movie.  The actresses, while not great, certainly have enthusiasm for their roles and they can pull of the tortured vampires well.  It is a cult classic for a good reason and I still enjoy watching it.

The Hunger (1983)
Ah the Hunger. I swear this movie is just as responsible for the whole "Vampire sub-culture" as Vampire:TM and Lestat.   Bauhaus, David Bowie, Catherine Denueve. No wonder Poppy Z. Brite once described this as "the mandated first date movie of lesbian goths".   Based on the book by Whitney Strieber (when he wasn't writing about aliens) this is a very interesting tale.  First. The word vampire is never said (that I recall) in the movie.  It is also never said in the book, but I could be wrong on both counts.

Instead of a full review let's look into what is going on here.  Miriam Blaylock (Deneuve looking FANTASTIC) is a millennias old vampire that needs a companion to stay alive.  They feed on blood together (the scene in the beginning of the film where they pick up the couple while Peter Murphy sings is almost iconic) to stay alive, but only Miriam has eternal youth.  Her companion John (David Bowie) is showing the first signs of his aging process. Miriam soon has her eyes on lovely Dr. Sarah (Susan Sarandon) as his replacement.
David's years catch up to him and Miriam sets about to turn Sarah.  The scene where Miriam plays Sous le dôme épais might very well be one of the best seduction scenes in any movie, let alone a horror movie and never mind that is also between two women.  Sarah is introduced into a new world after her sexual encounter with Miriam.  Death later follows, Sarah's boyfriend Tom is the first to feed Sarah's new hunger and then Sarah herself.   The ending of the movie is not the same as the book and frankly I never quite "got it".  So let focus on Miriam and Sarah.
It is easy to feel Miriam's loneliness here. A scene in flashback of Miriam in Egyptian dress feeding in what must be the first time, gives us an idea of the passage of years and the number of former lovers she keeps in her attic.  The Hunger's lesbian overtones have been talked about at length by Susan Sarandon in the DVD commentary and in the movie The Celluloid Closet.  The Hunger does owe a lot to both Carmilla and Vampyros Lesbos in terms of visual style and how they wished to portray the characters. The question is now is Miriam sympathetic enough to avoid falling into a cliche where she needs to kill, however slowly, her lovers?  The novel handles this better by making Miriam a seperate species. She is looking for a cure that might help her and her future lovers and thinks Sarah is the one that will discover it.  It is not particularly a feminist movie or statement, but more about loneliness felt by one person that happens to also be female and bisexual and able to kill anyone she needs.

The Clichés
One thing we need to look at seriously is the potential of clichés in these movies.
In nearly every case the story is this.  "A female vampire seduces a younger, more innocent female victim in order to bring her into a life of vampirism like herself." Now replace the word vampire with lesbian and read it again.  Are we seeing a subversion of an ugly stereotype or a reaffirmation of one?  Can be both.

The Female Vampire as The Other
The female lesbian vampire is the ultimate Other.  Outside of life, outside of "male normality" and outside of conformity.  Zalenska, Carmilla, Bathory and Miriam Blaylock are all European royalty,  they do not have to conform to society.  Their victims are more common place women, each with (largely ineffectual) men in their lives, but are seduced away.  Away into what?  Well that is what we should ask ourselves. Is this a subconscious reaction to the fear of The Other?  Or from my point of view are the film-makers purposefully making us feel for these character because they have no choices?  Is that just as bad? I don't hate you because you are a monster, I feel bad for you.   Frankly I'd rather be hated than pitied.
Jumping across the race and gender divide let's look (breifly) at Blacula. I have mentioned before that Prince Mamuwalde is a sympathetic character. He was destroyed by Dracula only share in his curse.  Here despite being a Prince himself, he is reduced in status by Dracula because of his skin color.  Plus Blacula is such a sympathetic character probably in no small part due the acting ability of William Marshal who got this role from playing Othello.

Which leads us to the oddest conclusion.  Vampyres, from José Larraz (who admits all he wanted to do was make a vampire film with pretty girls in it) might be the most "feminist" movie in the lot.  The girls, Fran and Miriam are already together and in love then they are killed to come back a enact some vengeance.  There is no seducer and victim between them they began and ended as equals to each other.

The Dead/Evil Lesbian Cliché
Are these movies part of the dead/evil lesbian cliché?  By definition any vampire is dead. And if they have to kill to live on for themselves then they are also by definition evil.
Details of this cliché are listed here: http://thekittenboard.com/board/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2539

At some level they are all guilty of this.  Again, Vampyres takes a different route by showing yes the women were murdered because they were together, but they came back to get revenge on their murderer.  This puts it closer to The Crow and other revenge movies.  Dracula's Daughter and in some cases Carmilla and The Hunger show that our vampire is conflicted, even feeling she has no choice or is trapped in this life/unlife.  The lines start getting a bit blurry.  In the end I give them a barest of passes only because of the times in which they were made and the fact that most of these are B movies.  I would naturally expect better from any movie coming out now.

For a good example of what we can get now, even though it is not a vampire, we have Madame Vastra (a Silurian) and Jenny (her human lover) from Doctor Who.

Come back later as I wrap this up and bring it back around to RPGs.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Vampyres: Witch Girls Adventures

Witch Girls Adventures

This one is a bit harder, not so much due to the system, but rather the subject matter. One doesn’t typically merge “Magic School Girls” with “Lesbian Vampire kill fest” unless this is Cinemax late night. But it be can made to work especially if the Director needs up the ante on a particular plot.

Using Mayfair’s, tone down the “strip club” aspect of it and make it more openly a nightclub for supernaturals, a very dangerous one at that. The stars have to go to Mayfair’s because they believe they will get information they need. Maybe some of the other students have gone missing and this was the last place they were seen. Suspicion can obviously fall on Fran and Miriam, but I think it is more interesting if the they are not involved directly but do know of someone who is. WGA has vampires and in their magical world vampires and witches can make for good adversaries or allies. Fran and Miriam can be reoccurring “guest stars” that have information that the stars will need every so often. Of course the teachers and headmistress of the star’s school has complete forbidden them from ever going to Mayfair’s, we all know how well that one works out.

I am not saying here to make Fran and Miriam into “sparkly vampires” or even into “good guys”, but certainly they should have their own agendas and killing the stars and drinking their blood might not be one of them. That’s what I wrote Elizabeth Bathory up for. Fran and Miriam are dangerous yes, but their role is more of the information broker, the devil that can give you information but at an unsure price. I am sure Fran would love to hire a couple of the stars, once they are older and have “grown-up” a bit and she would not be too amiss to mentioning this. Miriam might take this the wrong way of course and that can lead to all sorts of other problems.

Fran, Vampire
Rank: 4
Body: d8 Mind: d6 Senses: d8
Will: d10 Social: d10 Magic: d6
Life Points: 16 Reflex: 11
Resist Magic: 9 Zap Points: 12

Skills: Acting +2, Athletics +3, Basics +2, Dancing +2, Fighting +1, Gossip +3, Hear +1, Leader +3, Look +2, Magic Etiquette +2, Mundane Etiquette +4, Mysticism +2, Mythology +4, Streetwise +5

Abilities: Beautiful, Mysterious
Heritage: Vampire
Common Vampire Abilities


Miriam, Vampire
Rank: 4
Body: d10 Mind: d6 Senses: d10
Will: d10 Social: d10 Magic: d6
Life Points: 20 Reflex: 13
Resist Magic: 9 Zap Points: 12

Skills: Acting +3, Athletics +3, Basics +2, Dancing +3, Fighting +2, Gossip +1, Hear +1, Leader +1, Look +2, Magic Etiquette +1, Mundane Etiquette +4, Mysticism +2, Mythology +4, Streetwise +5

Abilities: Beautiful, Jaded
Heritage: Vampire
Common Vampire Abilities

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Vampyres: Big Eyes, Small Mouth 3.0

Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM 3)

Vampyres in BESM
The girls work best in a modern horror setting. So Imago is a good choice, but so is good old Earth. Given how much English flavor the movie has, keeping it on Earth is the best idea. That is not to say Mayfair's is not in downtown Tokyo.
Use Mayfairs as above, but instead of filling full vampires and demons, use Sex Ninjas, Anime Porn Stars and/or Modified Battle Maids. Or have them there in addition to the vamps and demons.

Like in Mutants & Masterminds, Fran and Miriam are not big threats to the characters.  They are on the weaker end of the vampire scale.  Their importance to characters and the game come from their knowledge and their situation as information brokers.



Fran
Template(s): Vampire
Genre: Modern day occult horror



BODY        10                HP: 110                ACV: 10
MIND        8                EP: 95                        DCV: 10     
SOUL        11                SSV: 22                Dam: 5

Attributes                                Level        Cost        Notes
Attack Combat Mastery +1 (        +10)
Combat technique (brutal) +1 (+2)
Defense Combat Mastery +1 (+10)
Features: Appearance +2 (+2)
Heightened Awareness +1 (+2)
Heightened Senses (hear, smell) +2 (+4)
Illusion (limited body only) +2 (+3)
Mind Control (humans, depletes) +2 (+13)
Regeneration +1 (+10)
Special Defense +11 (+22)
(ageing 2, disease 2, freezing water 2, freezing cold 2, lack of air 2, poison 1)
Special Movement +2 (+4)
Tough +1 (+2)
     
Skills Level (Cost) (Modern-day Occult setting)
Acrobatics +2 (+4)
Area Knowledge +2 (+2)
Climbing +1 (+2)
Cultural Arts +3 (+9)
Disguise +1 (+2)
Etiquette +3 (+3)
Foreign Culture +3 (+3)
Languages +2        (+4) English, French, Spanish
Occult +2 (+6)
Performing Arts +4 (+4)
Seduction +5 (+10)
Sleight of Hand +1 (+2)
Social Sciences +3 (+6)
Stealth        +3 (+6)
Street sense +3 (+6)
Urban Tracking +2 (+4)
Wilderness Survival +1 (+1)
Writing +1 (+1)

Defects (Cost)Notes
Bane Sunlight (-3)
Bane Mirrors (-2)

Notes: Can move about in the daylight, but is very weakened. When sleeping or in her crypt she appears to be dead.

Miriam
Template(s): Vampire
Genre: Modern day occult horror




BODY        11                HP: 115                ACV: 11
MIND        8                EP: 95                        DCV: 11     
SOUL        11                SSV: 23                Dam: 5


Attributes Level (Cost)
Attack Combat Mastery +1 (+10)
Combat technique (brutal, lighting) +2 (+4)
Defense Combat Mastery +1 (+10)
Features: Appearance +3 (+3)
Heightened Awareness +1 (+2)
Heightened Senses (hear, smell) +2 (+4)
Illusion (limited body only) +2 (+3)
Mind Control (humans, depletes) +2 (+13)
Regeneration +1 (+10)
Special Defense +11 (+22)
(ageing 2, disease 2, freezing water 2, freezing cold 2, lack of air 2, poison 1)
Special Movement +2 (+4)
Tough +1 (+2)

Skills Level (Cost) (Modern-day Occult setting)
Acrobatics +2 (+4)
Administration +2 (+2)
Area Knowledge +1 (+1)
Artisan +2 (+2)
Cultural Arts +3 (+9)
Disguise +1 (+2)
Etiquette +2 (+2)
Foreign Culture +2 (+2)
Gaming +1 (+1)
Languages +2 (+4) English, French, Spanish
Law +1 (+1)
Occult +2 (+6)
Performing Arts +2 (+2)
Seduction +4 (+8)
Stealth +3 (+6)
Street sense +3 (+6)
Urban Tracking +4 (+8)
Wilderness Survival +1 (+1)
Writing +2 +2

Defects (Cost)
Bane Sunlight (-2)
Bane Mirrors (-2)

Note: Miriam can move about in the daylight better than Fran and she waken from her torpor easier (her lesser sunlight defect).


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Vampyres: Mutants and Masterminds

Mutants and Masterminds

Vampyres in Freedom City
As an option, use the Mayfair's scenario I posted. As vampires go, they are not very powerful, so they are less likely to pose a serious threat to a group of superheroes. Even at PL 10 they are better suited to starting characters (but not really a Claremont-based adventure). They are not masterminds, don't really have any criminal intent outside of murder for food, and really are not interested in joining a team. Now they could be uneasy allies in an adventure against Dracula.

As vamps running a local night club or strip joint they would have certainly heard of Dracula's return to Freedom City. Maybe they go to the Heroes in hopes of securing passage out in exchange for knowledge about Dracula and his plans.

What keeps the heroes of Freedom City from shutting them down? Simple, Mayfair's is on the books a legit legal enterprise. Fran and Miriam pay the city thousands in tax revenues not to mention their charitable contributions to homeless shelters (where they can also look for new recruits) and to homes for battered women (nothing nefarious here, Fran feels the need to help). So even city leaders that are not customers see Mayfair's as positive thing. Their underground business has never been proven, so any crimes that happen are hearsay or rumor only.



Fran
PL: 10 (150 pp)

Str: 14 (+2) Dex: 16 (+3) Con: NA Int: 13 (+1) Wis: 20 (+5) Chr: 26 (+8)

SKILLS: Acrobatics 4 (+7), Bluff 10 (+18), Climb 4 (+6), Concentration 4 (+9), Diplomacy 6 (+14), Disguise 4 (+12), Drive 2 (+5), Escape Artist 4 (+7), Gather Info 4 (+12), Handle Animal (+8), Intimidate 8 (+16), Investigate 4 (+5), Arcane Lore 2 (+3), History 4 (+5), Tactics 2 (+3), Theology and Philosophy 2 (+3), Streetwise 4 (+5), Notice 8 (+13), Dance 2 (+10), Acting 4 (+12), Ride (+3), Search 4 (+5), Sense Motive 8 (+13), Sleight of Hand (+3), Stealth 6 (+9), Survival 8 (+13), Swim (+2)

FEATS: Accurate Attack, Assessment, Attractive (1), Blind-Fight, Critical Strike, Elusive Target, Fascinate (1), Fearless, Improved Critical (1), Improved Grapple, Uncanny Dodge      

If using the Mayfair's scenario above Fran also has the following Feats
Connected, Contacts and Well-Informed     

POWERS:
4        Mind Control (visual dependent)
1        Drain Constitution (blood Drain)
30      Immunity (Fortitude Effects)     
5        Protection
5        Regeneration (blood drain based)
2        Supersenses
1        Time Control*
     
COMBAT: Melee 5 [Unarmed +2 (Bruise)] Ranged 5 [Unarmed +2 (Bruise)] Defense 15 (15 flatfooted) Init +3             
     
SAVES: Toughness 5 (5 flat-footed) Fortitude 0 Reflex 8 Will 13     

DRAWBACKS:      
Weakness -Mirrors [Freq DC 5] [Sev DC 5] -2
Weakness -Blood Dependence [Freq DC 10] [Sev DC 5] - 3
Weakness -Sunlight [Freq DC 5] [Sev DC 10] -4
     
Breakdown: Abilities 29 + Skills 28 (110 ranks) + Feats 11 + Powers 57 + Combat 20 + Saves 13 Drawbacks -8 = 150     

Notes: Can move about in the daylight, but is very weakened. When sleeping or in her crypt she appears to be dead.


Miriam
PL: 10 (150 pp)     
Str: 16 (+3) Dex: 16 (+3) Con: NA Int: 14 (+2) Wis: 20 (+5) Chr: 22 (+6)             

SKILLS: Acrobatics 4 (+7), Bluff 8 (+14), Climb 4 (+7), Concentration 1 (+6), Diplomacy 6 (+12), Disguise 4 (+10), Drive 1 (+4), Escape Artist 4 (+7), Gather Info 4 (+10), Handle Animal (+6), Intimidate 4 (+10), Investigate 4 (+6), Arcane Lore 2 (+4), History 8 (+10), Tactics 1 (+3), Theology and Philosophy 1 (+3), Streetwise 4 (+6), Medicine 2 (+7), Notice 6 (+11), Dance 2 (+8), Acting 4 (+10), Ride (+3), Search 4 (+6), Sense Motive 8 (+13), Sleight of Hand (+3), Stealth 4 (+7), Survival 8 (+13), Swim (+3)      

FEATS: Accurate Attack, Assessment, Attractive (2), Blind-Fight, Critical Strike, Elusive Target, Fascinate (1), Improved Critical (1), Improved Grapple, Uncanny Dodge              

If using the Mayfair's scenario above Miriam also has the following Feats
Connected, Contacts and Well-Informed             

POWERS:     
1        Drain Constitution (blood Drain)
30      Immunity (Fortitude Effects)     
5        Mind Control (visual dependent)
7        Protection
5        Regeneration (blood drain based)
2        Supersenses
1        Time Control*
     
COMBAT: Melee 5 [Unarmed +3 (Bruise)] Ranged 5 [Unarmed +3 (Bruise)] Defense 15 (15 flatfooted) Init +3             
     
SAVES: Toughness 7 (7 flat-footed) Fortitude 0 Reflex 8 Will 13     

Weakness -Mirrors [Freq DC 5] [Sev DC 5] -2
Weakness -Blood Dependence [Freq DC 10] [Sev DC 5] -3
Weakness -Sunlight [Freq DC 5] [Sev DC 5] -3
     
Breakdown: Abilities 28 + Skills 25 (100 ranks) + Feats 11 + Powers 61 + Combat 20 + Saves 13 Drawbacks -8 = 150

Note: Miriam can move about in the daylight better than Fran and she waken from her torpor easier (her lesser Daylight drawback).

ETA: Also at the Atomic Think Tank. http://www.atomicthinktank.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=23130

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Vampyres: WitchCraft RPG

Vampyres for the WitchCraft RPG
I am going against my own self-imposed rules here and converting a movie to WitchCraft (as opposed to Buffy or Ghosts of Albion). I justify it by that the vampyres of the movie are more along the lines of WitchCraft’s vampyres, and not just in spelling. For example, neither are show with fangs, “game faces” or anything like that. Fran and Miriam do seem to be more like essence vampyres with blood thirst than the vampires of the cinematic games. They are not portrayed as being super strong, or turning into mist, dust, or even bats. Larraz himself in the commentary mention he was more interested in telling stories about interesting characters and humans than about monsters.
Plus there is also a book out of this, published almost 30 years later by Tim Greaves, a “Vampyres” expert, and his descriptions of the girls’ powers match the game power of WitchCraft a little better.

Fran and Miriam as ESP Succubi
Eden Studios Presents (ESP) #2 details an alternate type of vampire commonly referred to as a “succubus” by Peter Trueman. While I don’t really care to use “succubus” in this context (I like my succubi to be demons), I can’t ignore that Fran and Miriam could use some of the ideas Peter puts forth. They certainly like to give their victims pleasure, but they seem to enjoy the brutal kill as well. Miriam has the Wake by Day Quality and both use Manipulations of the Flesh to appear more attractive and to subtly change their appearances. They keep fangs hidden till feeding, and even then Fran still prefers to use a sharp knife.


Fran
Played by Marianne Morris
Vampyre Survivor


Strength 5 Dexterity 4 Constitution 4
Intelligence 3 Perception 4 Willpower 7

Life Points 55
Endurance 0 Speed 16 Essence 62

Qualities and Drawbacks
Attractiveness 2, Charisma 2, Covetous - Lecherous 1, Cruel 2, Hard to Kill 3, Increased Essence Pool 3, Nerves of Steel 1, Resources Quality 2, Vampyre

Skills
Acrobatics 3, Acting 4, Beautician 2, Brawling 2, Dancing (Disco) 1, Fine Arts (Painting) 2, First Aid 2, Intimidation 2, Language (French) 1, Language (Spanish) 1, Lock Picking (Mechanical) 1, Pick Pocket 1, Seduction 5, Smooth Talking 3, Streetwise 2, Survival (Forest) 2, Trance

Metaphysics/Powers
Bloodthirst 1, Manipulate Emotions 1, Manipulations of the Flesh, Mirage 1 (alter time perception), Nightmare 1, Wake by Day 1

Small Knife, Damage D4(2)x(Strength-1). Damage Type Slashing/Stabbing.

Notes: Can move about in the daylight, but is very weakened. When sleeping or in her crypt she appears to be dead. Uses her Mirage power to alter the perception of time and space to confuse her victims.



Miriam
Played by Anulka Dziubinska
Vampyre Survivor


Strength 6 Dexterity 6 Constitution 5
Intelligence 3 Perception 5 Willpower 6

Life Points 60
Endurance 0 Speed 22 Essence 66

Qualities and Drawbacks
Attractiveness 3, Charisma 1, Covetous - Lecherous 1, Cruel 1, Hard to Kill 2, Increased Essence Pool 3, Minority 0 (Lesbian)*, Resources 2, Vampyre

Skills
Acrobatics 3, Acting 4, Beautician 2, Brawling 3, Dancing (Disco) 1, Fine Arts (Painting) 2, First Aid 1, Intimidation 1, Language (French) 1, Language (Spanish) 1, Magic Bolt 1, Seduction 4, Smooth Talking 3, Streetwise 2, Survival (Forest) 2, Trance

Metaphysics/Powers
Bloodthirst, Manipulate Emotions, Manipulations of the Flesh, Mirage, Nightmare, Semblance of Life, Wake by Day 2 Kick, Damage D4(2)x(Strength+1).

Small Knife, Damage D4(2)x(Strength-1). Damage Type Slashing/Stabbing.

Note: Miriam can move about in the daylight better than Fran and she waken from her torpor easier (Wake by Day from ESP 2).

*Lesbian in this case is a zero point drawback. In the book Miriam openly flaunts her preference for girls. When she was alive she was seen with a different beautiful young woman every week. It did however get her killed.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Vampyres: Chill

CHILL (1st Edition)

The very first time Fran and Miriam made an appearance in one of my games was in Chill…sort of. I had planned to use them, and Mayfair’s was only a brief idea at this point, but never had the chance.

At this point Fran and Miriam had just left their home in the movie and were headed towards Barcelona. It was here that they are first spotted by S.A.V.E. agents.

In Chill, the supernatural and the mundane do not play as nice with each other as they do in other games. So Mayfair’s as a place for the PCs to find information is suddenly a much more dangerous place. Vampires in Chill are not social creatures, so it is not likely that this is a “vampire” hang out. It certainly will have a few, but almost all are one created by Fran and Miriam.

Vampires in the Chill “Vampires” book were all separated by type such as “Common Carpathian” or “Alpine”. These types typically described where they were from and what powers they had in common. Fran and Miriam could best be described as “English Vampires”.



Fran

STR 80 DEX 64 AGL 70
PER 110 WPR 122 PCN 64
STA 64 EWS 125 FEAR 5
ATT 1/75%

Movement: Can sprint without STA loss 75’ per round.

Evil Way Disciplines: Change Weather, Influence, Steal Memory, Time Stop

Skills: Acting/Drama (M) 123; Disguise (T) 102; History (M) 118; Legend Lore (M) 118; Modeling (M) 141;

IPs: 1000

Special Characteristics

1. Unlike other vampire Fran can cast a reflection and reproduces an image on film and video.

2. Fran can move around during daylight hours, but must avoid direct sunlight. She cannot use her Time Stop powers during the light of day.

3. Fran must rest eight hours to regain Stamina and Willpower. Fran prefers to be underground when resting. She appears to be dead when resting; she does not breathe, has not heartbeat and her body is cold.

4. Fran can be held at bay by any religious symbol.

5. Fran needs to feed on least 2 quarts of fresh blood a week. She does not have to kill to get this blood, but she often does.

6. In combat Fran uses a curved knife. She can attack once per round.

7. Those who wish to destroy Fran must bury her along with Miriam with proper rights.




Miriam

STR 90 DEX 75 AGL 80
PER 110 WPR 110 PCN 81
STA 64 EWS 125 FEAR 5
ATT 1/75%

Movement: Can sprint without STA loss 75’ per round.

Evil Way Disciplines: Influence, Steal Memory, Time Stop

Skills: Acting/Drama (M) 125; Dance (M) 125; Disguise (M) 117; History (T) 110; Legend Lore (T) 110; Modeling (M) 135;

IPs: 1000

Special Characteristics

1. Unlike other vampire Miriam can cast a reflection and reproduces an image on film and video.

2. Miriam can move around during daylight hours, but must avoid direct sunlight. She cannot use her Time Stop powers during the light of day.

3. Miriam must rest eight hours to regain Stamina and Willpower. Fran prefers to be underground when resting. She appears to be dead when resting; she does not breathe, has not heartbeat and her body is cold. Miriam is a light sleeper and can waken herself at the slightest noise.

4. Miriam can be held at bay by any religious symbol.

5. Miriam needs to feed on least 2 quarts of fresh blood a week. She does not have to kill to get this blood, but she often does.

6. In combat Miriam uses a curved knife. She can attack once per round.

7. Those who wish to destroy Miriam must bury her along with Fran with the proper rights.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Vampyres Week

This week I am going to spend some time with one of my favorite B-rate horror films, Vampyres.


“Vampyres”, also known as “The Daughters of Darkness”, may in fact be one of the most notorious “cult films” of 70’s horror. Equal parts suspense, gore and softcore (almost hardcore) content, it was also a surprisingly good (if somewhat cliché story by today standards) and somewhat surreal film. There is no denying that the two leads, Marianne Morris as “Fran” and Anulka Dziubinska as “Miriam”, are positively fantastic to look at, but they also move in such a fluid way that you can easily believe they are supernatural creatures. This film is also the keystone of the Lesbian-Vampire trope in cinema, a sub-subject that began with Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla and has expanded to “Dracula’s Daughter” to “The Hunger”. There has been almost as much analysis of the lesbian vampire as the vampire itself. So much so that there are anthologies of lesbian-themed vampire short stories called “Daughters of Darkness” after this and and another notorious movie.

Vampyres was filmed on the location of many of the same “haunts” as the Hammer films, it also has that 70’s British Horror film feel that was a staple in my steady diet of horror films through out my youth. It even bares some similarity to an actual Hammer film, “The Vampire Lovers” (based on Carmilla) and even another "Daughters of Darkness" (based on Bathory this time).

This is not “Citizen Kane”, but nor was it meant to be.

Cliché or Trope?
Vampyres is not meant to be a thought provoking tale, it was a thin excuse to feature as much female nudity as they could get away with and tell a vampire story. As I mentioned, lesbian vampires are well established in fiction (though I don’t believe that José Ramón Larraz himself was aware of those) it features another overused, clichéd plot device, killing a woman after she has lesbian sex or causing her to go on a murderous spree. “Vampyres” features both. This was old even in 1974 and inexcusable today. Though vampires need to rise from the dead, so they need to be dead. The implication is that is Ted (the man they slowly torture with sex and feedings) is the same man that killed them, in that sense a killing has to happen sometime and we want to establish that Ted is in fact deserving of his fate (even though he gets away). Trouble with this is we have to try to explain why and how Ted doesn’t recognize Fran and Miriam (I am going to use their vampiric shape changing abilities) or the house. The deal I guess is Larraz never claimed to be a great writer (even less of a wunderkind and really just a filmmaker working on a movie with naked girls in it). In the end “Vampyres” is not the most original work, but I don’t watch porn for the plots either.
Is it cliché? Yeah it is. But even though it is a thin movie it manages to avoid most of the 70’s Horror movie clichés (still get the young couple having sex in the woods one and the old creepy house). I’ll cut the filmmakers some slack since it was 1974.

The Story
(based on the director commentary, the essay and novel by Tim Greaves, and some embellishments)

This story begins a few “years ago” (as the film implies, three for the book) with Francesca “Fran” Morris and Miriam Trent. Fran and Miriam were two young lovers. The trouble was that Fran’s boyfriend, Ted, was a jealous, hateful man and he did not approve of his girlfriend having an affair, let alone with another woman. So one night after drinking he caught Fran and Miriam in a lover’s embrace so he shot and killed them both. He took the bodies and dumped them in the crypts of the castle they were staying at. Some time after he drove off into the night Fran and Miriam rose from the dead as vampyres. Confined to their crypts by day, they haunted the castle at night, and thus spawning the local rumor that they were ghosts.
During the middle part of the 70’s (1974) they spent their time posing as hitchhikers. They would find a man, either alone, or together, and ask for a ride back to their home. There they would seduce him (not a difficult task when you are two extremely attractive bi-sexual women and have a cellar full of vintage wines), use their powers to alter the perception of time, and kill and drain his blood. They then would take the body and stage it to look like it was a horrible car crash.
Tragedy struck when one man they seduced, Ted, turns out to be Fran’s old boyfriend. Instead of killing him outright, Fran toys with him. He manags to escape and the two vampyres fled to the English countryside. During the entire time they manage to kill half-dozen other people including a young couple camping in the woods outside their manor.

Use in the 70’s and after
To play the Vampyres in the 70’s simply follow the movie. An adventure can begin with our heroes suspecting that a rash of murders is vampire or serial killer related find themselves at the manor, only to find it empty and cold trail. Investigation must take place!
In my games (I first worked these two up for Chill) I imagined that they headed to Spain and Barcelona; my nod to director José Ramón Larraz. Here they laid low, killing only when needing too (once every week or so). I stopped using them after that (my Chill game stopped) so I guess I figured they had been killed by some intrepid Spanish vampire hunter. But now I am thinking no, they survived and just recently (let’s say 2003, the date the Blue Underground DVD was released) began to resume their activities.

Today
So let’s say the girls survive their encounter in England what would they be doing today? What motivates them?

For starters move them away from Farnsworth Hall. The end of the movie has the place for sale and being looked at by two Americans. The book suggests the place is haunted and strange deaths occur there all the time. So they might still be there, or come back years later, but there is a time when they are not there at all.
What about the girls themselves? Personally I see it as a cop out to say they are man-hating lesbians. I say it is lazy plotting and just way too obvious. They have issues yes, getting killed in the middle of hot girl-on-girl action will do that, but do they kill out of hate or because they need to feed? Well it’s both I’d say. They kill people because they need the blood to feed. They enjoy it because they really don’t like people. I guess in the end they would rather be left alone, but they do need to feed and that is where they will run into the Cast. Fran also mentions to Miriam in the book (during the “shower” scene) that she needs to have sex with men every once in a while, whereas Miriam never has to if she can avoid it. Sex is bait to lure what they really want. Blood.
We could go the Quentin Tarantino route. Fran and Miriam are working in a strip joint where they pick out men, lure them away with the promise of sex and kill them. Come to think of it there is something like that in the WitchCraft RPG book now. I like this idea because the cast can encounter them rather easily and it helps build up the tension a bit between Miriam and Fran. How long will Miriam tolerate Fran’s dalliances with men? Will someone else come along and pull one of them away from the other? Let’s expand on that and come up with an idea that will fit all versions of Fran and Miriam.

Mayfair’s
Mafair’s is an upperclass “Gentlemen’s Club” owned by Miriam and run by Fran. It caters to upperclass business men and couples. Featuring some of the most beautiful women in the area, Mayfair’s also features fine dining and walk in humidor and smoking lounge. The only that strikes you odd about Mayfair’s is there are no clocks or mirrors to be seen anywhere.
That is on the surface. In the back halls and lower levels Mayfair’s also features special services for the supernatural underground. Live S&M shows, demonic prostitution and even vampiric feeding parlors. If there is a vice that can be bought it can be bought at Mayfair’s.
Fran and Miriam control this den of lust by maintaining complete neutrality. They have made many deals, and have blackmailed others into their position. They have manipulated those in power, terrestrial, spiritual, mundane and magical, into a position of permanent stalemate. They can continue their business, providing what they feel is a necessary service, and feed on all the released essence they can care too. Blood is never issue, they have prospective donors lined up and willing to pay them so they can have their blood sucked. Generally speaking everyone is pleased with the situation and they get exactly what they want. Every once in a while someone comes along and feels they can do a better job and tries to run them out of business, but with a client list as long as their’s help is usually only a phone call away.
The Cast/Heroes can use Mayfair’s as a place to gain information. If something is going on in supernatural underworld, the girls at Mayfair’s are usually the first to know.

Fran and Miriam


Fran (about Miriam): She is my girlfriend. We have a lot in common, we got on very well together.

Fran
Fran is the oldest and more adventurous of the two. She often is the one brining in the new victims. She is also the crueler of the two, gaining more sadistic pleasure out of torturing her victims before killing them. She toys with Ted, so long in fact she never has the chance to kill him. This could come from the fact it was her boyfriend that killed both her and Miriam. Fran wears a heavy black leather long coat. In the book Fran likes both girls and guys, but prefers Miriam to all.

Played by Marianne Morris
Age 58 (appears to be 24)
Height 5'5"
Weight 120 lbs.
Hair Auburn (Redish-brown)
Eyes Brown

Miriam
Miriam is the younger. What she lacks in Fran’s stronger personality she makes up for with a nymph-like attractiveness. Miriam uses her sex-appeal as bait, she enjoys the quick kill and the blood that comes with it. She is more cautious, warning Fran to kill Ted before he discovers who they are. Where Fran uses a dagger to draw blood, Miriam prefers the more traditional fangs to the artery. Miriam wears a heavy dark cloak lined with red. In the book Miriam owns Farnsworth Hall and has all the cash. She prefers women, having a string of young lovers before seducing Fran away from Ted. She prefers to kill the men quickly and get their blood.

Played by Anulka Dziubinska
Age 57 (appears to be 23)
Height 5'4"
Weight 105 lbs.
Hair Blonde
Eyes Blue

A Note About Multiple Versions
My purpose is to again expand on my goal of finding the best system to do a particular job and my own curiosity of how the same character can be represented in multiple systems. In every case I started with a basic concept of Fran and Miriam and attempted to re-create them within the confines of that system (not making anything new up) rather than simply converting one version to another. I did then go back a overlook the versions and may have buffed some points her or there. The results may cause me to have miscounted a point or so here or there.
Plus I also strongly feel that regardless of what game I am playing at any given time I can get something useful out of another game. So to that end I am also posting this to multiple forums so people can compare the various versions.
In the end I think I have a much clearer picture of who these characters are and what they are supposed to be.

Links

IMDB, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072354/
Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampyres_%28film%29

DVD
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000092T69/104-6339964-7477559?v=glance
From Blue Underground http://www.blue-underground.com/product.php?product=6

Tomorrow, the stats.
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