Showing posts with label vampire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vampire. Show all posts

Monday, May 25, 2020

Monstrous Mondays: Blood Goblin (Hæmogoblin)

Here is a nasty little beastie from WAY back in my past.  I used these guys in AD&D 2nd Ed and then again for Ghosts of Albion where they were a big part of my Obsession adventure.

Blood Goblin (Hæmogoblin)

Undead faerie
Frequency: Very Rare
No. Enc.: 1-4 (1-6)
Alignment: Chaotic (Chaotic Evil)
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: 6 [13]
Hit Dice: 4d8+4** (22 hp)
Attacks: 2 claws/1 bite (blood drain)
Damage: 1d4+1, 1d4+1, 1d6 + blood drain
Special: Acidic blood, 1d4 on touch, only harmed by silver, track by scent
Size: Small
Save: Monster 5
Morale: 7
Treasure Hoard Class:
XP: 225

Blood Goblins are nasty little beasties. Nominally part of the faerie, their essences have been corrupted by a vampiric or demonic power. The ritual to turn a faerie into a blood goblin is unknown to most mortals, but what is known is it is dark and evil and requires the vampire or demon to bind the potential blood goblin to feed it some of its own foul blood.

Once complete the faerie undergoes a horrible transformation. Their form becomes a twisted parody of what it once was. Wings (if they had them) wither and fall off. Teeth grow long and sharp. Their skin takes on the unhealthy look of a bruise or rotting flesh and thick acidic blood weeps from their pores. Arms grow long and their now taloned hands drag the ground. Their eyes turn completely milky white with no pupils visible.

They can speak, but it is difficult to understand them.

Blood goblins are bound to their master and will do his bidding. The trouble is most are far too dimwitted to be anything other than a nasty little killer. They enjoy hiding in alleys or darkened paths and ambush their targets. They have a keen sense of smell so often they need something that smells like the intended victim in order to attack them.  But they can and will attack anything warm-blooded.

Like all undead blood goblins are affected by holy water, taking 2-8 hp of damage per vial. blood goblins also take damage from sunlight. Blood goblins take 10 hit points of damage for every round they are exposed to bright, full sunlight. A “Continual Light” spell will also cause 1d4 hp of damage. Also they are unaffected by any mind spells (“Charm”, “Hold”, “ESP”) or “Sleep”.
Blood goblins have infravision to 90’.

Blood Goblins turn as Ghasts.

Here are my original AD&D 2nd Ed stats for them.


Hæmogoblin

CLIMATE/TERRAIN: Any
FREQUENCY: Very Rare
ORGANIZATION: Solitary
ACTIVITY CYCLE: Night
DIET : Living beings
INTELLIGENCE: Low (5)
TREASURE: Nil
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Evil
NO. APPEARING: 1 (1-4)
ARMOR CLASS: 6
MOVEMENT: 12”
HIT DICE: 4+4
THAC0: 16
NO. OF ATTACKS: 3 (claw/claw/bite)
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-8/1-8/1-10
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Blood Drain
SPECIAL DEFENSES: Can only be hit by silver or magic.
MAGIC RESISTANCE: Nil
SIZE: S (3’ to 4’)
MORALE: Steady (11 - 12)
XP VALUE: 800
PSIONICS: Nil

The highest level of undead a human may obtain is arguably the Vampire. It’s ability to blend in with human or demi-human society is as much as an asset to it as it’s great strength and magic. However, many sub-human races are not suitable for vampiric conversion. Some sages claim it could be their force of will or life is relatively low. Others claim it is the gods that control the sprits (and not souls) of these humanoids that do not allow them to become vampires. It could be that vampires find these sub-humans distasteful. However some sub-humans have become undead. Undead gnolls (q.v. Shoovusa) and trolls (q.v. Spectral and Spirit Trolls) have been recorded. The Hæmogoblin is also such a creature.
Hæmogoblin’s, are created by vampires in need of a specialized servant. Creating a hæmogoblin is similar to creating any other type of vampire; blood is exchanged between the vampire and the victim. However to create the hæmogoblin the vampire needs to do something slightly different. The vampire uses any humanoid creature, (orcs, kobolds, goblins, hobgoblins, norkers, etc…) usually goblins are chosen, due to their size and manageability.
It should be noted that creatures as large as an ogre might be used, but none have ever been reported, also goblyns (from Feast of Goblyns) can not be used, they have already been converted using powerful magics.
The vampire master takes the humanoid victim and first drains it of most of its blood. The vampire then will regurgitate the purloined blood back into the humanoids mouth. The victim will swallow the blood and it’s transformation to undeath has begun. Usually by the next nightfall the victim will reawaken to full hæmogoblin status. The vampire lord can create a number of these creatures that is equal to its own hit dice, e.g. a 12 hit die vampire can create 3 (3*4 hit die=12) of these creatures. From this point the hæmogoblin will act as a servant somewhere between a homunculus/familiar and a vampiric slave.

Combat: Hæmogoblins attack with a claw/claw/bite routine. On any natural “20” rolled to hit with the bite attack the hæmogoblin will begin to drain the victim's blood at the rate of 1 CON point per round. The hæmogoblin can only be removed with a successful “Bend bars/Lift Gates” roll. The victim may not attack during the rounds an attempt to remove the hæmogoblin takes place. If the hæmogoblins are S size or smaller then up to two may be draining one victim at the same time. If the victim reaches 0 CON points then they die. Unless a “Bless” or “Remove Curse” spell is cast on the corpse it will rise the next night as a Ghast.

Hæmogoblins turn as Ghasts. Hæmogoblins cannot pass on their curse of undeath like the vampire to create other hæmogoblins, however, there is a 50% chance that any sub-human killed by a hæmogoblin will become a ghoul, with 5% of those becoming ghasts. These victims are free-willed, but they are at a disadvantage when encountering the vampire that created the hæmogoblin. They make their saves at –5 and are 25% more likely to fall under that vampire’s control.
Like all undead hæmogoblins are affected by holy water, taking 2-8 hp of damage per vial. Hæmogoblins also take damage from sunlight. Hæmogoblins take 10 hit points of damage for every round they are exposed to bright, full sunlight. A “Continual Light” spell will also cause 1d4 hp of damage. Also they are unaffected by any mind spells (“Charm”, “Hold”, “ESP”), or “Sleep”.
Hæmogoblins have infravision to 90’.

Habitat/Society: Hæmogoblin’s are created undead, none will occur “naturally”. They can be most often found in or near the lairs of vampires. Crypts are very commonplace for hæmogoblins. They have been known to associate with ghouls for increased protection and hunting. Hæmogoblin’s prefer to eat living humans and humanoids. Often however they are forced to eat the scraps left to them by their vampire masters. If hard-pressed hæmogoblins will eat corpses.
Most hæmogoblins encountered will be in the service of a vampire lord/lady. They are often used as spies for the vampire. In one recorded incident a vampire set up one his own Hæmogoblins as a scapegoat to cover his own tracks. While any angry mob was dealing with the hæmogoblin, the vampire left the area.
Unlike a true familiar, the vampire suffers no ill effects if his hæmogoblin is destroyed.

Ecology: Hæmogoblins are undead and produce nothing. While the corpses of hæmogoblins may be useful to necromancers or sages, they have nothing else of value.

Friday, May 8, 2020

No Way for You to Hide: Carmilla and Laura for Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition

It's been a while since I did one of these, but I just discovered that the entire seasons of Carmilla have now been collected into single videos, so I thought it might be a good time to revisit some old friends.

Outfits based on this picture.
Characters created with ePic Character Generator

I think for these versions I am going to set it a little after the Carmilla movie and long after the end of Season 3. So I guess three years now.  Wow.

In a Mutants & Masterminds game, Laura is now a world-renown reporter in the Lois Lane mold, with a knack of uncovering supernatural goings-on.  Carm is still living on a fortune that has also collected 340+ years of compound interest. And of course, helping Laura, because she knows that in true Lois Lane fashion, Laura is going to get herself into trouble.

Given the number of adaptations of Carmilla over the years I might even riff on that with one of her less than savory relatives show up.  Maybe an older brother. Someone who is evil, threatens her fortune and whom Carmilla would hesitate to kill outright at first.  That is till he puts the moves on Laura.

For these builds, I am going to rely heavily on the Mutants & Masterminds Deluxe Hero's Handbook,
Power Profiles, and of course the Supernatural Handbook.

I figure that Laura is a bit higher in PL than your average reporter.  She has saved the world and she knows Krav Maga.   Carmilla is a very, very old vampire (340 years old!) and she has seen a lot in her years.  She was alive for a while thanks to a "gift" from Inanna and is a vampire again.

Laura Hollis
Creampuff

Strength 1, Stamina 2, Agility 2, Dexterity 1, Fighting 1, Intellect 3, Awareness 1, Presence 1

Advantages
Krav Maga (Accurate Attack, Agile Feint, All-out Attack,  Close Attack, Contacts, Defensive Attack, Improved Disarm, Inspire,  Power Attack, Precise Attack (Close, Concealment), Prone Fighting)
Attractive, Languages 2, Skill Mastery: Expertise: Journalism

Skills
Acrobatics 1 (+3), Athletics 5 (+6), Close Combat: Unarmed 6 (+7), Deception 1 (+2), Expertise: Journalism 5 (+8), Insight 5 (+6), Investigation 5 (+8), Perception 5 (+6), Persuasion 1 (+2), Stealth 1 (+3)

Offense
Initiative +2
Grab, +2 (DC Spec 11)
Throw, +1 (DC 16)
Unarmed, +7 (DC 16)

Complications
Obsession: Find the truth!
Relationship: Carmilla

Languages
English, French, German

Defense
Dodge 3, Parry 2, Fortitude 3, Toughness 2, Will 1

Power Points
Abilities 24 + Powers 0 + Advantages 15 + Skills 18 (35 ranks) + Defenses 3 = 60

Validation: Unarmed: Attack Bonus exceeds Power Level limit by 1

Height: 5'2"
Weight: 119 lbs
Hair Color: Brown/Blonde
Eye Color: Brown
Age: 25

Carmilla, aka Mircalla, Countess Karnstein
Useless Vampire

Abilities
Strength 5, Stamina -, Agility 2, Dexterity 3, Fighting 5, Intellect 2, Awareness 2, Presence 4

Advantages
All-out Attack, Animal Empathy, Attractive, Fascinate (Deception), Improved Critical 3: Vampire Bite: Weaken 9, Improved Hold, Improved Initiative 3, Languages 4, Power Attack

Skills
Acrobatics 2 (+4), Athletics 2 (+7), Close Combat: Unarmed 3 (+8), Deception 5 (+9), Expertise: Languages 6 (+8), Insight 6 (+8), Intimidation 4 (+8), Investigation 1 (+3), Perception 8 (+10), Persuasion 2 (+6), Ranged Combat: ???? 3 (+6), Stealth 10 (+12)

Powers
Alternate Form (Moonlight) (Activation: Move Action)
   Flight: Flight 1 (Speed: 4 miles/hour, 60 feet/round)
   Immunity: Immunity 0
   Insubstantial: Insubstantial 2 (light, Gaseous; Absent Strength)
Cat form: Variable Attack 2 (animal, DC 12, Advantages: All-out Attack; Action: move, Attack: Dodge)
Spider-Climb: Movement 1 (Wall-crawling 1: -1 speed rank)
Undead Invulnerability
   Immortality: Immortality 5 (Return after 1 day; Limited: Not when staked or beheaded [0 ranks only])
   Immunity: Immunity 30 (undead, Fortitude Effects)
   Regeneration: Regeneration 8 (undead, Every 1.25 rounds)
   Vampiric Protection: Protection 9 (+9 Toughness; Limited 2: Not against Holy or Magic)
Vampire Bite: Weaken 9 (undead, Affects: Weaken Stamina, Resisted by: Will, DC 19)
Vampiric Senses: Senses 3 (Acute (Type): smell, Detect: smell (blood) 1)

Offense
Initiative +14
Grab, +5 (DC Spec 15)
Throw, +3 (DC 20)
Unarmed, +8 (DC 20)
Vampire Bite: Weaken 9, +5 (DC Will 19)

Complications
Blood Dependence: Needs blood to live
Relationship: Laura
Weakness: Can't use vampire powers in sunlight.

Languages
Ancient Sumerian, English, French, Hungarian, Latin, Romanian

Defense
Dodge 2, Parry 5, Fortitude None, Toughness 0, Will 2

Power Points
Abilities 36 + Powers 74 + Advantages 15 + Skills 26 (52 ranks) + Defenses 0 = 151

Height: 5'3"
Weight: 121 lbs
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Brown (red when enraged or feeding)
Age: 340

Links


Thursday, January 23, 2020

Classic Adventures Revisited: Palace of the Vampire Queen

In this new series of posts, I want to look back at some of my favorite classic adventures both from TSR and others.  I'll give a review, though most everyone knows what is in these adventures by now, I'll also talk about how I have used them in the past and I'll also talk about what other games I have used them with or would like too.  So there is a little bit of Plays Well With Others in this too.

Why do classic adventures? Easy, I love these adventures.  I have written hundreds of my own adventures, some I have even published, but these are the adventures that everyone knows and we all have a history with them.

So to start off this series, what better adventure than the one that started it all?


Palace of the Vampire Queen

In the beginning, there was a belief that all DMs would naturally create all their own adventures and there was no market for pre-written ones.  The only printed adventure out at this time was "Temple of the Frog" in Blackmoor.  Seeing a need, the Palace of the Vampire Queen was written by Pete and Judy Kerestan. Yes, the very first adventure was co-written by a woman.
The first edition was self-published, followed by a second and third edition by Wee Warriors (1976 and 1977) and distributed exclusively by TSR.

The "Dungeon Master's Kit" (module was not being used yet) presented a simple adventure with a singular goal; defeat the Vampire Queen.  The plot, such as it is, is very thin even by the standards of what would later be the norm.  The maps are fantastic, but the descriptions are little more than that; what's in the room in terms of monster and treasure.  We get a background, the missing princess of the Dwarf King Arman of Baylor. Vampire Queen herself remains nameless.


The adventure itself is fairly straight forward.  Go to the Palace, defeat the monsters and the Vampire Queen and save the Dwarven Princess.

Despite, or maybe because of, this limited background this adventure can be used anywhere with nearly every version of the game.   I became aware of this adventure many years ago and it immediately went on to my "must find" list. Around 10 years ago I was able to get a copy and I ran it for a group using Moldvay Basic/ Cook Expert (BX) D&D.  It was a lot of fun.  There was no indication on how many characters were needed or what levels.

The adventure reminds me a bit of the Dungeon! board game.  You walk the halls, kick in the door, kill the monster, take the treasure, repeat.  Of course, this adventure is the first of such adventures so it gets a huge pass on this.  There is a lot though here to keep any DM and party busy.

Since 1976 the adventure has had a few reprints.  The first ones were by Wee Warriors.  These prints regularly go for over $1,000.00 on eBay.   There were two such covers, the "black" cover with a castle in the background and the "queen" cover, featuring the vampire queen herself.


The covers were folders with a pocket for notes or other sheets.  I nice idea and one I have used myself. Many of the early prints were 8.5" x 11", some later prints were digest-sized, 5.5" x 8.5" same as the OD&D books.

The next major set of reprints was made by North Texas RPG Con and Pacesetter Games and Simulations who printed a fairly accurate representation of the original back cover in digest format and then later a letter-sized one with images from all the covers.


While they are not the originals, but the content is all there and these were much cheaper.

Now today, Precis Intermedia has a new cleaned up reprint of the adventure.



Daughters of Darkness: Sequels to the Vampire Queen
As can be imagined such a classic adventure has had a number of sequels and homages.

North Texas RPG Con
This is the reprint of the original.  It is a fairly faithful reproduction of the 1977 version of the black cover version.  The first digest-sized version was a fairly faithful reproduction save for the NTRPG Con watermark on every page.  The digest size makes it perfect for use with OD&D, S&W, OSE or other OSR games.


To my knowledge there are no more of this print available save for on eBay and other game auctions.

Pacesetter Games

The first round of reprints and sequels after Wee Warriors came from Pacesetter Games & Simulations.



V2 Palace of the Vampire Queen

This printing was more properly letter-sized, the same as the original and features many of the cover variations on the cover of this edition.
This edition also includes introductions from the author Peter Kerestan and Pacesetter's Bill Barsh. Here we learned that the very first edition was printed by Peter himself with a printing press!
Here we also get a fair reproduction of the original.  After the introductions and the adventure background, we get to the levels proper.  On the two pages are the original maps and descriptions and on the following pages are "updated" AD&D 1st ed stats. These new pages usually cover 3-4 more pages till the next map. This repeats for all five levels.  On the new pages, a little more explanation is given and there is new art.  This makes for a fuller product and detracts none of the original charms.

Print at Pacesetter.

V5 Palace of the Vampire Queen: Castle Blood
The first sequel to PotVQ is Castle Blood.  Now here we get more modern adventure designs and maps. There is more background here too to hook the players in,
The adventure is brief, but it is supposed to be, at just 16 pages. It can be run in an afternoon.  I actually felt this worked better as a prequel to the PotVQ.  You learn more about her history here. The eponymous castle is all detailed and above ground.  You can meet the Vampire Queen here, but killing her is not the goal of this adventure, but rather finding out what is going on.
PDF at DriveThruRPG and Print at Pacesetter.

V6 Palace of the Vampire Queen: Crypts of the Living
Crypts of the Living was written as an explicit sequel to the Palace of the Vampire Queen and makes more overt references to the first adventure.  The booklet, 16 pages worth, says it is designed for 5th Edition, but all the stats are for OSRIC/1st Edition.  No worries. Converting is easy.
There are references to both the Palace of the Vampire Queen and Castle Blood.  The other adventures are not 100% required to play this one, but it does help.
The adventure is a fairly straight forward exploration affair.  There are new monsters and new magic items so that is a nice bonus. Can be played in an afternoon or combined with the others for a longer campaign.
PDF at DriveThruRPG and Print at Pacesetter.

V7 Palace of the Vampire Queen: Cries of the Tormented
This one is not presently available and I don't seem to have a copy oddly enough.
Print at Pacesetter.


Precis Intermedia
Palace of the Vampire Queen
This version of the adventure also preserves much of what made the original a classic.  The PDF of this book has a "special feature" to show a reprint of the original NSFW art.  The print copy is all paper, with the cover made out of heavier weight paper (like résumé paper).
At 24 pages it might be the most faithful reproduction yet.  While the cover is new art, the interior looks like the classic.  No additions have been made to the text. The maps are cleaned up, darker ink and clearer to read.





Other Vampire Queens
Dark Wizard Games gave us the fantastic Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen. But I have talked about that adventure many places here. Most of my posts on this are captured below.

0one's Blueprints: Megadungeons - Palace of the Vampire Queen
This product is a pretty bare-bones affair, and that is exactly why you want to get it.  You get 7 pages of "Blue" maps and 7 pages of black and white maps covering over 210 rooms.  The rooms are labeled but that is all the description you get.  There are sheets for you to detail the rooms with monsters, occupants, and treasure.  This is perfect if you want to create a mega-palace for our mysterious Vampire Queen and stock it full of her undead minions.  At just under $2.00 it is a steal.

Other Games / Plays Well With Others

The strength of this adventure is how easy you can adapt it to nearly anything.  The adventure itself, regardless of which one you have, is so bare-bones it begs to be adapted and added too.  I have run this both for Basic, B/X D&D and for D&D 5th edition with no problems.  The level of characters can be adapted to easily with the challenges and the monsters you add.




Palace of the Vampire Queen and D&D5
Converting for D&D is easy. What might be more fun is to run something like Curse of Strahd, but replace the count with a Queen.


Palace of the Vampire Queen and Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
This is the easiest of all really.  AS&SH is close enough to AD&D with hints of Basic to make it possible to run this without any conversions at all.
How to run it?  Well all I can say is have you ever read the Conan stories "Red Nails" or "Hour of the Dragon".  The queen would make for a good stand-in for Akivasha.



Palace of the Vampire Queen and Blue Rose
Ah. Now this one has a bit more going on for it.  This is no simple dungeon crawl, to play this one the Vampire Queen is in a battle of wills or "chess game" with the Sovereign, Queen Jaellin. This style of adventure would play heavily on the investigation skills of the envoys/characters.   Our Vampire Queen might even be known as a vampire even, just as a new ruler of a previously unknown island (Baylor).  Of course, you have your suspicions and you are fairly sure there is a strong taint of shadow about the land.



Palace of the Vampire Queen and Buffy,  Ghosts of Albion or Leagues of Gothic Horror
Here is something fun.  A twist on the Dracula story.  The cast comes to an old palace in the mountains from their home.  Expecting an old Lord they are instead greeted by a woman, the Lady of the castle.  Here the horror begins.
Both game systems have plenty of creatures and elements to cover everything in the adventure.  What you as the game master will need to do is smooth out some "D&D" elements and add some gothic elements, but that is so easy that I can't decide which one would be more fun Unisystem or Ubiquity.
All three would be fun to try sometime.




One could get easily lost in the potential of this adventure.  I do hope that future reviews of classic adventures prove to be just as fruitful.

Links
Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palace_of_the_Vampire_Queen
The Acaeum, https://www.acaeum.com/ddindexes/modpages/dmk.html

Links to Adventures
Links to my 'Vampire Queen' posts

Friday, January 17, 2020

Marvel Movie Maddness

It is pretty well documented that I am a hardcore DC guy.
But there are few Marvel comice I really enjoy, and all of them are getting new movies!  Where to start?



Ok, let's go with what might be some of the best castings ever, Jared Leto as Dr. Michael Morbius in Morbius.



This comes from the comic Morbius the Living Vampire about a scientist who tries to cure himself with vampire blood.  Some changes will be made to this for the movie to be sure, but it looks fantastic. The cameo by Michael Keaton is also a shocker and what role is Matt Smith playing?  (Loxias Crown according to the Wikipedia).

My second favorite casting (and this is so weird to say since up till Morbius this one was my favorite) in Marvel movie gives us Anna Taylor-Joy as freaking Magick in the New Mutants.



"I killed 18 men. One. by. one." Oh Magick, you keep doing you.

I mean really, ATJ as Magick the only thing that would keep me from geeking out over the casting of Maisie Williams as Wolfsbane.  I read a lot of New Mutants back in college and was the last X-men/Marvel comic I kept up with.  Plus it has a solid horror vibe.

Those are the ones we have trailers for.

We are also getting Doctor Strange 2: The Multiverse of Madness.  That is like, three of my favorite things in the title alone.  Now the rumor is Scarlet Witch will be in the movie too. I like the movie Wanda much more than the comic one so this is great.

AND the hits keep coming with the Blade reboot with the amazing Mahershala Ali as the day-walking half-vampire Blade.

It's going to be great really.  And this is not even looking into the DC movies coming up.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Children of Twilight for Basic-era games and Night Shift

It's time for another Monstrous Monday!  Today I have something "special" for you all. A monster I know you will all love to fight and really something perfect for the Pumpkin Spice Witch.

They might not sparkle, but here are some VINOs for you.
The Children of Twilight for Basic-era Games!

Artist: LetzteSchatten-stock.  Model: Alice Spiegel.
Photographer: A.Gavrish
Vampire, Children of Twilight
No. Enc.: 1d2 (1d8)
Alignment: Neutral 50% Chaotic (evil) 50%
Movement: 180’ (60’)
Armor Class: 0
Hit Dice: 9
Attacks: 2 (claw, see below)
Damage: 1d6+6/1d6+6, drain constitution
Save: F9
Morale: 11
Hoard Class: XVII
XP: 8,000

The vampire is one of the most dreaded undead.  Twilight’s Children, though, are less terrifying to behold but still powerful undead creatures. Twilight’s Children share many of the same strengths that weaknesses as the common vampire. They are strong (they have strength scores of 21), undead, immune to mind-affecting spells such as sleep, hold, and charm. They are also immune to having their minds read.  Twilight Children also cannot enter personal dwellings without an invitation and are barred from holy ground.  In particular, they are prohibited from Druid’s groves and any Witch’s covenstead.

Twilight Children cannot change to bats, animals, or mist. Nor can they summon animals of any sort.  They avoid direct sunlight but are not harmed by it.  Mirrors, holy symbols, and direct sunlight will keep them at bay because when presented with them they reveal what they truly are, reanimated corpses.  A stake through the heart will kill them, but decapitation is always best.

The biggest weakness of the Twilight Children is a general malaise.  As they age, they become less and less interested in the world around them. This manifests as a flat affect; they never show emotions because they longer have them. As they continue after 100 years or so their alignments even drift to Neutrality.  Eventually, they also lose the desire to feed and waste away to nothing.  A Child of Twilight will rarely be more than 200 years old.

The Children of Twilight attack via claw, but their bite attack is reserved for when they are feeding.

They drain blood to feed, but usually only once per week.  When they feed, they must consume at least 3 points of Constitution from a victim.  This can be spread out over many victims over a feeding period.  A Child of Twilight can live among humans for years and never be suspected of anything save for being a recluse.
Children of Twilight can be turned as 9 HD undead.

Children of Twilight
(Night Shift)
No. Appearing: 1-3
AC: 2
Move: 40ft.
Hit Dice: 10
Special: 2 attacks (2 claw), constitution drain.
Weakness: Vampire strengths and weaknesses. Cannot enter hallowed ground.

DON'T FORGET: NIGHT SHIFT is in it's LAST 3 Days at Kickstarter!


Edited to add: Now available, Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars.
You can get the PDF from DriveThruRPG and both the standard and special edition hardcovers from Elf Lair Games.


Friday, October 18, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Daughters of Darkness (1971)


It's strange. All these years and I have not done one of my favorite movies, Daughters of Darkness.

Some of my earliest opinions on what Elizabeth Bathory acts like as a vampire come from the 1971 movie Les Lèvres Rouges, known here in the States as "Daughters of Darkness" (not to be confused with the movie Vampyres, which also had been called Daughters of Darkness).

Delphine Seyrig really helped form the idea of vampire Bathory as a timeless aristocrat so convinced that what she was doing was right that there is no sign of psychosis at all. She was a royal and therefore all others exist to serve her.  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 consummate 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.

This is still one of my favorite movies.

It should be no surprise then I want to bring her over to NIGHT SHIFT.

Elizabeth Bathory
Vampire Lady
No. Appearing: 1 (Unique)
AC: 2
Move: 50ft.
Hit Dice: 9
Special: 4 attacks (claw, bite, 2 weapon), vampire abilities
XP Value: 1,400



Ilona
Vampire Spawn
No. Appearing: 1
AC: 6
Move: 30ft.
Hit Dice: 4
Special: 2 attacks (claws, bite),
Cannot mind control. Do not gain “strong and fast” bonuses. Cannot polymorph. Cannot create new vampires.
XP Value: 900


This movie may have fueled more game ideas for me than any other.

Watched: 23
New: 16




Edited to add: Now available, Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars.
You can get the PDF from DriveThruRPG and both the standard and special edition hardcovers from Elf Lair Games.


Tuesday, October 15, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

Total "attack of opportunity" tonight.  Bram Stoker's Dracula was on BBCAmerica and I honestly could not say no.

I have seen this movie a few dozen times I am sure.  It is still a great cinematic marvel.  Gary Oldman chews up scenery like no one.  Wynona Ryder and Sadie Frost are so young in this.   Keanu Reeves is not even Keanu Reeves yet in this.  Anthony Hopkins, of course, is great.

The story stills cleaves closer to the Stoker novel than any other outing and it is still a very fun flick.
SAdly the BBCAmerica version is still bit edited and chopped up.

Looking back on it now you can see how much movies after it borrow from it much in the same way it borrowed from Nosferatu.   Pretty much every vampire TV show and movie since.




Watched: 20
New: 14



Monday, October 14, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Lina Romay Night

Female Vampire (1973/4)
A re-watch for me, but after watching Lorna last night and wanting to see something Carmilla related.  Except I couldn't find my copy.  I have it on BluRay somewhere but no idea where.  A quick search on the old smart TV and I found it and another flick.
Female Vampire is still mostly a sexploitation film but there are enough horror elements and at least name service to one of the most famous vampires in print.
I was hoping for some deep insight this time around, but while the horror elements are there, this is still just shy of porn.

Die Marquise von Sade / The Portrait of Doriana Grey (1976)
One could be excused if you were watching this movie and thought you were still watching Female Vampire.  Lina Romay plays an immortal (check) countess (check) who prefers women (check) seems to get some sort of life-sustaining essence from the act of oral sex (check) and her twin sister feels all the pleasure she herself can't feel...wait what?
Very similar in look and feel really though Romay is more animated in this movie.  Again in this Romay's character seems to need these lovers to stay young and beautiful.  The Dorian Grey part seems to come in with her twin sister keeping her young or as the receptacle of her feelings.

Combining these last three Lina Romay movies I could see a spell, curse or something in a horror game called "The Succubus' Gift".  It keeps you forever young but you have to have sex with numerous victims, their life essence powers your immortality.  Not a bad deal, but you have to do it forever and you could end up killing a lot of people.





Watched: 21
New: 15




Thursday, October 10, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Saga of the Draculas (1973)

This is quite a bizarre movie but I enjoyed it.  I remember watching it on VHS back when I was in college and it became part of my own Dracula mythology for my AD&D 2nd Ed games.  I guess this was back in the very early 90s.

I never saw any reference to it in the various books on Dracula-related movies and it seemed to have been largely forgotten.   I did see a DVD of it at a Half-Price Books a few years ago for $350.00.
I went back to check on it and someone actually had bought it.  I recently found it again on Amazon Prime Video and knew I had to watch it again.

The movie itself is odd, but not bad.  It is dated feeling and the pace is slow.  But the tale holds up nearly 50 years later.

Berta de Tepes the now pregnant granddaughter of the current Count Dracula (not his famous ancestor) has returned home to her family's ancestral castle with her new husband.  Here she expects to meet with her Grandfather and her cousins only discover graves of all her family and the household staff.  She is a little surprised when they all ask her to dinner later that night.

Dracula's new wife seduces Berta's new husband Hans (with Dracula's approval) and then his two nieces take a turn with Hans as well.   Berta suspects something but is soon rendered helpless by her imagination and pregnancy.

We get some random murders, vampires gotta eat.  And then there is Dracula's inbred heir, Valerio, a one-eyed monster boy that likes to eat gypsy girls.

The story, interestingly enough, is close to the first few chapters of Dracula with Berta in the Harker role.

Berta eventually gives birth, but the baby appears to be still-born.  Berta then goes through the castle killing everyone.  She gets back into her bed and dies herself.  The baby, now alive, feeds on the blood of his mother.

The voice-over at the end implies that the spirit of the old Dracula entered into the new baby to live again.

The movie held up rather well, to be honest.  While it was never a cinematic masterpiece it was a good a Dracula flick.   Narciso Ibáñez Menta will not be remember as one of the great Draculas, which is kind of a shame because he put in a good performance here.

Cristina Suriani, who played Dracula's granddaughter Irinia looks a lot like Abigail Cowen who plays Dorcas on Netflix's Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.




Watched: 10
New: 5



Sunday, October 6, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Thirst (1979)

Leonard Maltin liked this movie.  So let's see how it is.

The premise is an interesting one.  A woman from the late 70s is discovered to be the only living heir to the Elizabeth Bathory.  They kidnap her and take her to a human farm where "cattle" are drained of blood to feed over 70,000 modern vampires.

Out would be Bathory though is having none of it and is resiting her conditioning.

Now there are a lot of neat ideas here.
I like the idea of Elizabeth Bathory's heir. I like the secret society of "vampires" (they are not real vampires, but do have red eyes).
I even like the cattle farm idea, 20 years before Buffy would explore the same idea in "Doppelgangland".

Sadly it was combined rather poorly.  Not the plot so much, though it is slow, it is the execution of that plot.

Plus the acting, for the most part, is pretty bad.

I had higher hopes, but I suppose if it had been better I would have seen it already.

Watched: 6
New: 4



Thursday, August 29, 2019

#RPGaDAY2019: Evolve

Today's topic is Evolve.

I think most gamers would agree that their play style will evolve over the years.  How have their games evolved?


I have had the pleasure and the privilege to have run many games over many years. Decades really.

The way I played in the late 70s and early 80s is very different than what I was doing in the late 90s and early 2000s and those are both very different than today.

I think if I had to describe my growth or change (who knows if a change is better until you test it) it is not Evolution but rather Assimilation

Even in the very beginning, I was taking ideas from other games and making them part of my own game.

I have talked at length about my love of the RPG Chill.  I have also talked at great length of my love for story and character of Dracula.   I always wanted a vampire like Dracula in my games. But more than just the stats in the Monster Manual or the D&D Expert book.  A real, un-breathing, un-living character to go after the characters. Or, more to the point, the character to go after.

Enter Chill Vampires.



This book and the Vampyre mini-game from TSR gave me something D&D was not. A playable Dracula (and Elizabeth Bathory and Jackson Dela Croix and more) with Dracula's castle.  I worked it in and came up with a 13 HD version of Dracula and a brief adventure stolen from the pages of Marvel Comics version of Dracula.
Then in 1983 the Hickmans did it all several orders of magnitude better with Ravenloft.  So yeah I grabbed that and all vampires in my games became named NPCs.  There was no such thing as a random vampire, lich or spectre in my games after that.

I suppose then it is no surprise I ended up working on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG.

In a way, Ghosts of Albion is that assimilation in reverse. Starting with my then pinnacle of achievements (the Buffy line) and adding in elements from my past (Chill, D&D, and WitchCraft).

Even today I grab what I want from other games and mix as I need.  It is one of the reasons I have a Plays Well With Others feature here.  I have a new one coming up too that is a subset of that.  Can't wait to debut it.

This is also the reason I don't understand the attitude of "One True Wayism"  even if I didn't take material from other games in my playing I would still change over the years, so I know there is no one true way.  I have also worked on too many different games to believe that.

When I hear someone say "I only play D&D." or "I will never try game X." my first thought is "wow, how sad for you."  There are so many great games out there and even if I never play them all (and I couldn't possibly) that does not diminish their worth. Who knows, maybe the next love of my life is out there now sitting on someone's computer waiting to be published.  I might get to play it, but I will certainly adapt it for games.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Holy Grail Item: Vampyre Mini Game from TSR

So to recap a long and sad story, I lost a lot of my old school D&D books in one of my moves between college and grad-school.  The only thing I had from my "early days" were my core 2nd Ed AD&D books and a few modules.    Fast forward a few years and the sweet combination of a great job and an understanding wife I have been able to replace all that I had lost and then some.

But there are still a few items that have remained ever elusive.
Today I can cross one more item off that list.

Thanks to an estate sale on eBay I was able to pick up a copy of the Vampyre: Game of the Hunt for Dracula for much less than it normally goes for.



The game is, as far as I can tell, complete if already punched.  The maps are in great shape, the book less so.






The book has highlighter all over it, which sucks, but hey I can't expect a perfect copy and I am sure mine had highlighter all over it too.

As big fan of the novel Dracula, I loved this game.  I remember enjoying the wilderness portion more than the castle. 

Very nostalgic seeing the same Souvenir/Soutane font and Erol Otus art as the B/X sets. I tried many times to run a Castle Dracula like game with Basic/Expert.  Maybe now is that time!

Anyway happy to have this.  Only a couple more items on my list.
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