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

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!

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




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.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Daughters of Darkness: Lilith and the Mara Witch Tradition

This year marks my 40th year of playing D&D.  I started with Holmes Basic and quickly moved to Moldvay Basic when it was released.  It is also the 20th anniversary of my "Netbook of Witches & Warlocks".  So fairly auspicious anniversaries.

Since this year has been about "Back to Basics" for me I have some books ready to celebrate.

I am pleased to announce the first of three new Witch books for Basic Era Gameplay.

Daughters of Darkness: Lilith and the Mara Witch Tradition



Of Adam’s first wife, Lilith, it is told
(The witch he loved before the gift of Eve,)
That, ere the snake’s, her sweet tongue could deceive,
And her enchanted hair was the first gold.
And still she sits, young while the earth is old,
And, subtly of herself contemplative,
Draws men to watch the bright web she can weave,
Till heart and body and life are in its hold.
 - Dante Gabriel Rossetti, “Lady Lilith” 1873

"The world has forgotten their dark mother.  
WE will remind them why they should fear the dark."
- Traditional Mara oath.

Presented here are:

The Mara Witchcraft Tradition, an evil tradition for Basic Witches.


To be released next week on Walpurgis Night or Beltane Eve, or April 30th.  Print version to follow.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Vampire Willow & Vampire Tara: Ubiquity / Leagues of Gothic Horror

I love Ubiquity.  It's a great system that has the cinematic feel of Unisystem and the grit of Savage Worlds.

Leagues of AdventureLeagues of Gothic Horror and Leagues of Cthulhu are Ubiquity powered games from Triple Ace Games.  The Hollow Earth Expedition RPG is a Ubiquity powered adventure game from Exile Game Studios.  All these games are compatible and together give us a world full of adventure and horror.

There is a new Kickstarter for Leagues of Gothic Horror RPG Expansions from Triple Ace Games.  It looks like a bunch of fun (as all the LoGH books are).

So today though I wanted to come back to some characters near and dear to my heart.
The Vampire versions of Willow & Tara.  In of particular use to us here is Leagues of Gothic Horror: Guide to Vampires and Guide to Black Magic.

Of course, everyone knows who Vampire Willow is. Vampire Tara appeared in the video game Chaos Bleeds and the related stories, all by Christopher Golden.  They also appear in the Wish-verse comic One Soul.

I have also used Vampire Willow and Tara in my adventure Through a Glass Darkly. I stated up Vampire Tara for both Cortex and Unisystem.  I always meant to do Vampire Willow, but never got around to it.  Well, in truth Vamp Willow for Unisystem appears in one of the books (forget which one, I remember writing the stats) and I don't play Cortex anymore.


Here they are for Leagues of Gothic Horror, though for a modern age game.

Vampire Willow
Vampire Willow
Willow Danielle Rosenberg
Female Vampire Witch

Patron 3
Archetype: Vampire
Motivation: Mayhem, Protect Tara

Style: 5
Health 11*

Primary Attributes
Body 5, Dexterity 6, Strength 5, Charisma 6, Intelligence 6, Willpower 5

Secondary Attributes
Size 0, Move 11, Perception 11, Initiative 12, Defense 11, Stun 5*

Skills
Academics: Computers 7, Religion 3, Athletics 6, Brawl 6, Con 5, Diplomacy 4, Intimidation 7, Linguistics 5, Science 4, Survival 3

Talents
Attractive +3, Fearsome, Fearsome Attack, Magical Aptitude, Tough, Unarmed Parry (can block melee weapons), Well Educated

Resources
Contacts 2

Rituals
Empower, Fear, Greater Hex, Harm,

Flaw
Thirst for Blood (+1 Style point when her unholy appetite reveals its true nature), Lustful

Weapons
Bite 9L**, Punch 9N

Vampire Willow has less experience as a witch than her human counterpart.  This is not a problem as Willow prefers to use her vampire powers to scare and intimidate.



Vampire Tara
Vampire Tara
Tara Ann Maclay
Female Vampire Witch

Patron 2
Archetype: Vampire
Motivation: Stay with Willow

Style: 5
Health 11*

Primary Attributes
Body 6, Dexterity 5, Strength 5, Charisma 6, Intelligence 4, Willpower 6

Secondary Attributes
Size 0, Move 10, Perception 10, Initiative 9, Defense 11, Stun 6*

Skills
Academics: Art 4, Religion 1, Animal Handling: Horses 4, Athletics 3, Brawl 5, Diplomacy 5, Empathy 4, Intimidation 7, Linguistics 4, Performance 3, Survival 3

Talents
Animal Affinity, Attractive +2, Danger Sense, Fearsome Attack, Magical Aptitude, Tough, Unarmed Parry (can block melee weapons),

Resources
Contacts 2

Rituals
Empower, Fear, Greater Hex, Harm, Lesser Hexr, Spirit Binding, Summon Animal

Flaw
Thirst for Blood (+1 Style point when her unholy appetite reveals its true nature), Danger Magnet

Weapons
Bite 9L**, Punch 9N

Tara was essentially the same witch she was in Season 4 prior to becoming a vampire.

* Vampires are immune to lethal and nonlethal damage except fire or holy objects.
** If Vampire Willow or Tara scores 3+ successes on her bite attack, she has latched onto her victim’s neck. Until she ceases feeding voluntarily or is forcibly removed (as per ending a grapple), the victim takes automatic damage equal to her Strength rating each round.

Decapitation/Piercing the Heart: This requires a Called Shot against a vital area. If the damage exceeds the Vampire’s Body rating, she is instantly killed, otherwise, the attack has no effect.

All in all good builds I think.
Make sure you check out the Kickstarter for Leagues of Gothic Horror Expansions.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Kickstart Your Weekend: Queen of the Damned: Velrath's Vampires

The weekend is on the way so you know what that means! Time to Kickstart Your Weekend.  And do I have something special today!

You know my fascination obsession with the Queen of Vampires?  Well, Cass Suwinski gets me.
Here is his new Kickstarter and I hope you will find it as much fun as I do.

Queen of the Damned: Velrath's Vampires



https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tombguardians/queen-of-the-damned-velraths-vampires?ref=theotherside

Here are the Queen and some of her court.









Of course, they come unpainted, but that is expected.
I also got a chance to talk to Cass a bit.

For the benefit of the audience, could you please introduce yourself?  
My name is Cass and I'm the owner of Tomb Guardians, Inc.

How did you end up starting Tomb Guardians Miniatures?  
Tomb Guardians was started in June 2018.  After my son and I went to Origins as we do every year, my son came home and told his mom how popular our game we run every year and how many people wanted to join.  My wife the next day told me I should write the rule to our Dungeon crawl and adventure module.  I thought about it and agreed to do just that.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize how much work it takes and the depth of writing the rules.  As the rules proceeded, my wife again asked me if we had miniatures to match the characters in the game and I said no.  She then said why don't you create your own miniatures and I thought about it and thought it was a great idea.  I then reached out to some of the people I knew in the field and that lead us too Jason Wiebe, Bobby Jackson, and Patrick Keith.  Of which we hired all three to create miniatures for our company.  The first miniatures created was a set of 13 Dwarven heroes and 17 monsters.  They were released in December of 2018 to a very positive action.

Could you tell us more about the Kickstarter for Queen of the Damned - Velrath's Vampires, and your involvement with the project?  
The Vampires heroes is one of the 8 factions within our world.  Queen Velrath's was created and sculpted after my wife.  We used her wedding dress as the dress she wears. That was my thank you to my wife for her support and encouragement.  The back story too Queen Velrath was she was the wife of Telamir, the original leader of the Templars, and left the Kingdom of Rasa with him when he was expelled.  She very much desired to learn the ways of attunement with the moon’s power, but she was forbidden from learning it because she was a woman.  Angry at the snub, she started secretly exploring this herself, but instead of attuning with Wecarus, she found it much more beneficial to bask in the eerie darkened glow of Delaura.  When Telamir discovered what she was up to, she was burned as a heretic, and dumped in a nearby swamp.  But fortunately for her, Delaura was full on that evening, and with her strong attunement with it, she was reborn as the pinnacle of all undead beings, the vampire.  Since that day, she has been enlarging her undead ranks, while punishing any Templars or male citizens of Rasa by enslaving them to do her bidding.  Today her followers have strongholds in nearly every swamp in Elkarim, and they all hold a special hatred for the Templars. There are 10 Vampire heroes, Queen, Mage, Cleric, Anti-Paladin, 2 Grave Spirits and 4 male slaves.

How did you assemble sculptors and other artists for Queen of the Damned?  
I try and use the best sculptors in the world, Jason Wiebe, Bobby Jackson, and Patrick Keith along with painter Mary Profitt.  They do amazing work and keep my vision for the miniatures on key.  I couldn't ask for anything better.

Would you say Queen of the Damned - Velrath's Vampires is open to newcomers? Or is it for people with prior knowledge of Tomb Guardians' work?: 
Queen of the Damned - Velrath's Vampires is a collection of 21 28mm miniatures, of which there are 10 Vampires and 11 monster miniatures and accessory pieces.  The miniatures are cast in metal and come with a 5 year guarantee.  If someone breaks the miniature all they have to do is mail it too us and we will replace it no questions asked.   Queen of the Damned is not a game.

What has it been like working with Jason Wiebe, Bobby Jackson, Patrick Keith, and Mary Profitt?: 
All our sculptures and painters are amazing and very easy to work with.  I'm very happy to have them part of our team.

Could you describe your history with Kickstarter?:  
Tomb Guardians had one other Kickstarter last year and that was our first.  We learned a lot from that Kickstarter, unfortunately, we canceled the Kickstarter prior to its completion on December 5th, 2018.  However, even though we canceled the Kickstarter we did get an investor which allowed us to take pre-orders starting on December 7th, 2018.  This was with the understanding that the miniatures would ship in late February/early March.  We started shipping these orders 2 weeks ago and will finish those orders by the middle of March.  Offering Pre-Orders was a huge success and surpassed my expectations.

Do you plan to attend Origins this year? If so, will this be your first time at Origins after starting Tomb Guardians, and do you plan to promote your company as an exhibitor there?  
Yes, we will be at Origins, demoing our game that we are releasing in the fall.  This game is a RPG/dungeon crawl with an adventure module.  A group of players selects a party of heroes and has to accomplish certain objectives within each level of the dungeon.  We will be demoing this game all week.  More details later on the game itself, but all the miniatures we are creating will be used in our game!

AND I just got this announcement this morning.
Tomb Guardians is excited to announce that we are doubling your stretch goal awards. That means you will get 2 sets of all our stretch goals hit in our campaign! Anyone that pledges the “All In” pledge or upgrades will get not just 1 set but we will double that stretch goal set and you get 2 sets! That means if we hit all our goals you would get 22 free miniatures!!! The total set goes from 41 miniatures to a possible 63 miniatures. That works out to be $5.87 per miniature! This is an outstanding offer, you would get our Black Dragon that retails for $89.95 for $5.87!!! This offer applies to everyone, including those that have already pledged or if you upgrade your pledge. Don’t miss out on this incredible offer. We would like to thank everyone again for there support and trust in us.
Pretty cool if you ask me.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tombguardians/queen-of-the-damned-velraths-vampires?ref=theotherside

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Darlessa the Vampire Queen

I have had a long and sorted history with the "Vampire Queen" in my games.

One of the first adventures I worked on for OSR publication was called "The Tomb of the Vampire Princess" or "Vampire Queen" or "Palace" depending on my mood at the time.

I essentially saw it as a sequel of sorts to the original Wee Warriors / Pacesetter Games "Palace of the Vampire Queen".  But a few things happened. First Mark Taormino published his own "Hanging Coffins of the Vampire Queen" which was AWESOME.  Then Bill Barsh of Pacesetter Games produced some sequels of his own with Castle Blood and Crypts of the Living.
So the need for my own sequel dwindled.

A couple years back Small Niche Games produced Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall. I had the pleasure of working on that product.  I submitted a character to be "Saint" in the game, Father Johan Werper, my very first D&D character ever.  When I got my copy I was so thrilled. Something I had wanted to happen for ages was going to happen, Johan was going to be a real saint in a "D&D" book! I opened it up and I was not disappointed at all!  Moreover the book's main author and designer Pete Spahn had added this section:
He died in a tragic tale that is recounted in the Hunt for the Dark Mistress, where he tracked down and slew Darlessa the Vampire Queen who had abducted his granddaughter.
Unfortunately, Johan was himself cursed by the taint of the vampire's blood. Rather than remain an undead abomination, he bid goodbye to his granddaughter and used the last of his strength to douse his body with oil and set himself alight.
Pete never contacted me about this and I could not have been happier!  Without knowing it he included things that happened in my game; Johan dying and leaving his granddaughter, Celene, behind (Celene was my first 2nd Ed character, and afraid of the dark.  Now I know why).  The use of holy oil in my games (does 1d8 damage to undead; more when lit) and of course giving a name to an enemy that had been lurking in the back of my mind ever since I first read about Elizabeth Bathory.

It was like throwing a deck of cards into the air and having them land in a perfect house of cards.

So modules V5 and V6 combined will cover a lot of similar territory to what I was going to do in my adventure. So I'll just drop that and keep the elements that are new.  The opening of the crypts.

I have a stack of various notes, maps, ideas and going through them all I think I have something pretty cool here.  I'll have to get it all together in time for my annual Halloween horror game.

Right now the working title is Descent into the Crypts of the Vampire Queen. It will be my homage to the great adventures of the Golden Era but also a nod to the two Vampire Queen adventures that brought me so much joy.

Here she is for Advanced Labyrinth Lord.

Darlessa, The Queen of Vampires
Female Vampire Witch, Demonic Tradition
No. Enc.: 1 (Unique)
Alignment: Chaotic (evil)
Movement: 120’ (40’)
   Fly: 180’ (60’)
Armor Class: -5 (bracers of defense, amulet of protection, ring of protection)
Hit Dice: 13
Attacks: 1 (touch, see below) or spell
Damage: 1d10, drain 2 points of Constitution, witch Spells
Save: W13
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: XXII
XP: 11,400

Str: 18 Int: 15 Wis: 14 Dex: 18 Con: (18) Cha: 22

In addition to the powers of a vampire, Darlessa has the following witch spells and Occult Powers.  She casts as a 13th level witch.

Spells by Level
Cantrip (3+5): Alarm Ward, Black Flame, Daze, Knot, Mend, Mote of Light, Object Reading, Spark
1st (4+3): Burning Hands, Cause Fear, Everlasting Candle, Hecate's Spiritual Dog, Minor Curse, Read Languages
2nd (4+3): Agony, Bewitch II, Burning Gaze, Enthrall, Ghost Touch, Produce Flame, Rite of Remote Seeing
3rd (3+2): Astral Sense, Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Danse Macabre, Toad Mind, Tongues
4th (3+2): Arcane Eye, Bewitch IV, Elemental Armor, Moonlit Way, Phantom Lacerations
5th (2): Death Curse, Greater Command
6th (2): Death Blade
7th (1): Wave of Mutilation

Occult Powers
Familiar (Undead Raven)
Evil’s Touch
Devil’s Tongue

Magic Items
Intangible Cloak of Shadows, Amulet of Protection* (also prevents cleric turning), bracers of defense, ring of protection, ring spell storing.

Links to Adventures



Links to my 'Vampire Queen' posts



Wednesday, August 15, 2018

#RPGaDAY2018 DAY 15: Describe a Tricky RPG experience you enjoyed.

Here we are, the half-way mark!



DAY 15: Describe a Tricky RPG experience you enjoyed.

Back in my later college days, my old High School DM had moved down to my own.  We were not gaming together at this point; I was working on getting into grad school and he had a new girlfriend if I remember right.
But anyway he invited me over to help him run the "Nightmares of Barovia" adventure option found in I10: Ravenloft II House on Gryphon Hill.

He introduced me to his group and we began.  I ran Ravenloft II and everytime they characters fell asleep he would pick up with the same characters in Ravenloft I6.

We had to keep track of various things that players were totally oblivious too.

We played it at a marathon session over a Halloween Weekend.  This was back when my school (SIU) through some pretty notorious Halloween parties, but the city had shut it all down the university was send everyone home.

The adventures were great, individually.  Together...welll I don't think anyone at TSR actually ran the "Nightmare" option.   But it was great.  Though by hour 36-38 I was done.

Still it was hard, lots of juggling and so, so much fun as a DM.  I would do it again in the drop of a hat, but I'dd need someone that whose style would be a good match for this.  Plus we would need to meet ahead to discuss how to handle things not covered in the two adventures.

I'd also need a group of players that know of Strahd, but never played anything with him in it.  Or at least never played I6 or I10.


It would be fantastic!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Survive This! Dark Places and Demogorgons - Carmilla / Buffy Crossover

My Dark Places and Demogorgons Buffy game has been a lot of fun.  I keep reaching back into my own high school years for ideas and one that came up was the "Foreign Exchange Student", once I hit on that everything else flowed.

So a bit of background. The year is 1983 and the place is Sunny Valley, OH. Here the events of lives of Buffy, Willow, Tara, Dawn, and the others are playing out.  We just had Sam and Dean Winchester come to town so we now know there is a lot more going on.
In today's special episode we meet 13-year-old Laura Hollis played by Elise Bauman and her father Sherman played by Enrico Colantoni.  Of course, this is my big Carmilla crossover.



The problem is that I have a GREAT idea and it involves Laura at 13 in full-blown "kid investigative reporter" mode AND it would also fit nicely with the timeline in the movie Styria.
BUT it also means that I am planning on NOT using Carmilla herself.

Having Carm in the mix, even if she is a "useless vampire", is just asking Buffy to try to stake her.  Not preferred.  But I figure this can be like Pre-Flash Barry Allen visiting Oliver Queen in Arrow.

So for a week or so, Laura Hollis, Teen Reporter is in Sunny Valey, OH and she does not like it. No sir, not one bit.

Of course, this is a perfect time for all those old jokes about "having a girlfriend in Canada".  Alex should be the butt of that joke.

What Class is Laura?
That's a good question.  He dad teaches her Krav Maga.  He makes his own pepper spray that can drop a bear.  He could be a Doomsday Prepper, but he is not paranoid, just overprotective.  Laura could be a Karate Kid, but that doesn't really define her either.  In truth, there is an archetype of the horror genre that is not covered; the Kid Gumshoe or Kid Reporter.

Kid Gumshoe (new Class)
THEY are hiding the truth. What truths? Well if the adults won't get up off their butts watching "Dynasty" or "Wide Wide World of Sports" then it's up to you.  You are ready for it too. You have your notes, your tape recorder (and hope to save up for a real camcorder one day) and you have the one thing that the others don't; moxy, gumption, the desire to dig and keep digging.
While most of your fellow students have pictures of Duran Duran and Bon Jovi on their walls you have Woodward, Berstein, Cronkite, and Murrow.  Of course, those are there to hide your giant map/pin board of every weird thing going on in town.  That jewelry store that never has customers save for late at night.  Your money is on werewolves.  And really what is the deal with a Light House in middle of a landlocked county where then the nearest body of water is the YMCA Pool.

"The Truth is Out There" - X-files

PREREQUISITES: Intelligence or Wisdom 12, Survival 8
LEVEL 1: Step aside Woodward and Bernstein. You have this covered!
+2 to Courage saves,  Investigation +2, Outdoorsmanship OR Stealth at +1,  Computer, Ranged Weapons, First Aid. Because of the frequent scrapes and fights you find yourself in you add +1 to melee attacks.  Typically this something like a martial art or brawling.

LEVEL ADVANCEMENT
2 +1 to AC, +2 to Investigation and Spot checks
3 +1 to Courage saves, Gain a local contact that grants you +2 on any one Investigation Check
4 +1 to Survival, +2 Brawling
5 "I gotta a guy." Gain more local contacts, +2 on any three different Investigation checks per day.
6 +1 to Intelligence or Wisdom, +1 Investigation
7 "Are You Sure?" can reroll any one Investigation check. 

STARTING GEAR:  notebooks, pencils, lists of contacts, pocket tape recorder with extra tapes.  5d6 Dollars, fake ID.


Laura Hollis
Class: Kid Gumshoe  Level: 2
Alignment: Good
Languages: English, French
Age: 13

Attributes
STR: 10 +0
INT: 16 +2
WIS: 12 +0
DEX: 15 +1
CON: 14 +1
CHA: 16 +2
SUR: 16 +2

AC: 11     HP: 8   Attack Bonus +1

Courage: 4
Critical: 3
Death: 3
Mental: 3
Poison: 3

Background
Mother is dead, Father is way overprotective.
She has not admitted she is gay yet, father knows.

Class Abilities
(see above)

Skills
Investigation, Stealth, Computers, First Aid, Spot

Possessions
Notebook, pencils, pocket tape recorder

Money: $5 (Canadian)


I like it! Both the NPC and the Class.  They might need some tweaking, but all in all I am happy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Plays Wells With Others: Dark Places & Demogorgons and Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Reading over Dark Places & Demogorgons I could not help but make comparisons to another game of strange things going on with high school kids fighting monsters.   Of course, I am talking about the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG.


Both games deal with fighting the unknown, both games deal high school students and both games are steeped in 80s clichés and pop-culture.  Where Buffy attempted to subvert those clichés, Dark Places & Demogorgons embraces them.

I am just throwing this out here, I have a lot of issues with Joss Whedon.  I think he is an asshole.
But I am damn proud of the work I did on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG.

Reading through the core of DP&D and all the supplements it became very, very obvious what game I need to run.

Welcome to Sunny Valley, OH
"I am certain that whoever named this place Sunny Valley was having a joke on us. The winters are long, cold and dark. It rains in the spring and fall. I think they named the place in the three days of the summer we do get sun.  Not to mention the werewolves, the vampires and oh yeah the Hellmouth just outside of town.  Welcome to Sunny Valley Ohio California girl. Bet you can't wait to leave."
- Alexander "Alex" Harris to Elizabeth "Buffy" Summers.

I decided to take the entire "Buffy Package" and drop it wholesale to the Midwest and set it all in 1984.  There are some changes that need to be made.

In this new setting Elizabeth Anne "Buffy" Summers moved from sunny California to the ironically named Sunny Valley, Ohio.  As a nod to my friend and co-author on many of the Buffy books, Thom Marrion, who was going to do a series of Buffy books set in Cleveland, I wanted to do this in Ohio.  Cleveland is the "big city", but I never detail how far it is.

There is a Hellmouth, but is more indistinct.  No one is sure where it is, but they all know it's there.  There are two high schools, Sunny Valley Prep (the "good" school, where we start) and Sunny Valley Community High (the "bad" school).

Elizabeth Anne "Buffy" Summers
Class: Monster Hunter (vampires)  Level: 5
Alignment: Good
Languages: English, French
Age: 15

Attributes
STR: 18 +3
INT: 12 +0
WIS: 12 +0
DEX: 18 +3
CON: 18 +3
CHA: 16 +2
SUR: 18 +3

AC: 15     HP: 35    Attack Bonus +4 / +7 (vs. vampires)

Courage: 6 (additional +3 vs. vampires)
Critical: 5
Death: 6
Mental: 4
Poison: 5

Background
Mother is rarely at home.
Annoying little sister.

Class Abilities
+3 to hit, track, dmg to Vampires
+1 Toughness

Skills
Outdoorsmanship +4, Paranormal +5, Knowledge (Historical) +2, Brawling, Persuasion +2, Basic Athletics +3, Stealth +2

Possessions
Leather jacket, pants, stakes

Money: $30

This version of Buffy is actually named Elizabeth. She is a former California girl and now lives here with her mom and weird little sister. She is a Slayer, but she has no idea how or why.  There are no Watchers here in Sunny Valley, no Giles.  Elizabeth just knows she is strong, fast and she can sense vampires.
At the end of Series 1 she dies, but only for a little bit.  This gives us Faith Lehanne, a wild girl from Sunny Valley Community High.

Faith Lehanne
Class: Monster Hunter (vampires)  Level: 5
Alignment: Neutral
Languages: English
Age: 14

Attributes
STR: 17 +2
INT: 12 +0
WIS: 10 +0
DEX: 18 +3
CON: 18 +3
CHA: 17 +2
SUR: 18 +3

AC: 15     HP: 32    Attack Bonus +3 / +6 (vs. vampires)

Courage: 5 (additional +2 vs. Vampires)
Critical: 5
Death: 4
Mental: 3
Poison: 4

Background
Parents are dead, lives with Aunt
Dirt poor

Class Abilities
+2 to hit, track, dmg to Vampires
+1 Toughness

Skills
Outdoorsmanship +4, Paranormal +4, Knowledge (local ) +1, Brawling, Intimidation +4, Street Smarts +4, Stealth +2

Possessions
Leather jacket, pants, stakes

Money: $0

Faith shows up in Series 2 from SVCHS where she makes an impression by killing two vamps right away.  She introduces us to her friend Tara, and she and Willow start to spend a lot of time together.



Both Buffy and Faith are built using the Monster Hunter class from DP&D: Player Options & GM Guide.  In truth I could build a "Slayer" class, but I didn't really want to do that.  I wanted to try them out Rules As Written.

In general the cast would be much younger than the TV show.  Anywhere from 2 to 3 years younger. This fits perfectly with DP&D but changes the dynamic a little.   For starters, I would downplay the sexual tension to almost nothing, or at least a slow burn.  A 200+-year-old vampire prey on a 17-year-old sounds bad.  Preying on a 14-15-year-old sounds worse for some reason.  I am also going to give Faith the benefit of the doubt here.   During my Buffy game Season of the Witch, I pointed out that what the show writers had done to her essentially was so contradictory that the character was broken beyond repair.  So what if I took a potential "Bad Girl" and instead gave her a friend.  Maybe someone she saved from some bullies.  Enter Tara.  In this world Faith saved Tara from being picked on because of her poor family and the open secret that she is gay; something that was still very hard to deal with in the 80s.  Both girls help each other out till they meet the cast.

Dawn Summers
Class: Telekinetic  Level: 1
Alignment: Good
Languages: English
Age: 11

Attributes
STR: 10 +0
INT: 12 +0
WIS: 16 +2
DEX: 12 +0
CON: 14 +1
CHA: 12 +0
SUR: 16 +2

AC: 10     HP: 4    Attack Bonus +0

Courage: 3
Critical: 2
Death: 3
Mental: 4
Poison: 2

Background
Mother is rarely at home.

Class Abilities
Telekinesis, Psionic Attack, Psionic Push

Skills
Paranormal +1, Investigation +1, Knowledge (local) +1, Stealth +1, Video Games +1
Psionic Attack +1

Possessions
Bike, Backpack, Journal describing how she used her powers in secret.

Money: $10

In my games, Dawn developed psychic powers.  Maybe not Jean Grey levels, but certainly Carrie ones.  I thought it would be fun if the "Annoying Kid Sister" trope was subverted by making her Powered.  She was built with the optional Psionic classes in the Core Rule book.

I also did Cordelia Chase (basically an archetype "Princess"), Alexander "Alex" Harris (a "Geek" due to his Star Trek obsession), Oz (Metalhead turned Werewolf) and Angel (Teen Heartthrob turned Vampire).

What can DP&D Players get from Buffy?
The Buffy RPG is a great game that focuses a lot on the high school experience and how fighting monsters can be a metaphor for life in High School. Personally, I think EVERY player and GM of DP&D needs to read Chapter 7: Episodes, Seasons and Drama. It is hands down the best chapter written about running anytime of modern supernatural game or a game set around High School age kids.  The mechanics on Drama Points and their use would also be useful.
And of course all the monsters, vampires and demons the book has would be helpful to any DP&D GM.

What can Buffy Players get from DP&D?
The Buffy RPG is a mature game.  Not just in content, but shelf-life.  I know people that are still playing the game 15+ years later.   For me, DP&D has given me a breath of fresh air and has re-energized my Buffy-related experiences.  Hell, this is the first honest to goodness Buffy campaign idea since Season of the Witch and that was more than 12 years ago.
The "Back to Basics" feel of DP&D cannot be ignored or understated.  It really helped me think of this game in a different way.


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