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

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Vampire Ecstasy (1973-4)

Ok. So I have been working my way through the world of European horror and focusing on the era right before The Exorcist, in particular, 1969 to 1973 with 1972 as my sweet spot.  Any search in this time period for "Occult", "Vampire", "Witch", or "Coven" is going to pull up some questionable material.  It is also going to pull up the same few titles over and over.  This one classifies as "all the above."

I have seen this one before. But the copy I saw then was so edited and cut that it didn't make any sense.  I am half-tempted to consider this a "New" showing.

Vampire Ecstasy (1973-4)

I started my research on this one back in September. It is called, in various versions, languages and edits: Vampire Ecstasy, Der Fluch der Schwarzen Schwestern (the curse of the black sisters), the Devil's Playthings,  the Veil of Blood, Le château des messes noires, Schloss der schwarzen Hexen (Castle of the Black Witches), Sexorgien der schwarzen Hexen (Sex orgy of the Black Witches) and more. It was written and directed by Joseph W. Sarno, who was somewhat notorious back then. 

The movie comes in a wide variety of edits and run times. The edits range from a PG-13/R version to NC-17 (or would be NC-17 these days) to a soft X. The version on most Internet channels (like Tubi) seem to be the NC-17 version.  The BluRay is impossible to find, but I did pick it up on DVD with another Sarno movie.  It was worth it just for the audio commentary. 

It was a joint German-Swedish production with most of the actresses coming from Germany. Notable though was Marie Forså, who was Swedish. All the actors and actresses had to be able to speak English though. There also seems to be a bit of controversy about when it was filmed.  Many dates say 1974, others say 1973.  The issue might be due to the fact that new star Marie Forså was either 17 or 18 at the time of filming. Some commentary I have read even puts her as young as 16.  True the age of consent in Germany is 14 and 15 in Sweden. But still, it seems a bit, squicky.  But I digress.

The plot of this one is razor-thin.  A 17th century Countess, Danielle Vaga, was burned at the stake accused of vampirism and witchcraft. She was sort of a Countess Bathory rip-off/homage.  Her spirit lives on in her followers who still reside in her castle. The offspring of the Countess shows up at the castle, dark-haired Monica (Ulrike Butz) and blonde Helga (Marie Forså). With Monica is their cousin Iris played by Flavia Keyt and these two are obviously having sex, but it is not the only incest happening here.

Also arriving later are Dr. Julia Malenkow (Anke Syring) and her brother Peter (Nico Wolf). They are the descendants of the witch hunter that killed Countess Vaga.  Dr. Malenkow is an expert on local superstitions (so she is Julia Malenkow, Ph.D. thank you very much) and she wants fuck her brother.

Nadia Henkowa plays Wanda, the leader of the cult. She brought an air of authenticity to the role with her severe look and actually a rather great accent.  she has invited Monica and Helga to the reading of their grandmother's will.  If they can stay in the castle they get it and all the wealth.  But of course the "Black Sisters" are going to use their magic to tempt them into acts of lust.  Not just for the fun of it though, they need a living host for the soul of Countess Vaga. 

So we get an hour or so of people having sex with each other. And according to the DVD commentary that was also happening behind the scenes as well.  At one point the producer tells us they could find Forså because she was always in someone else's room.  It was the 70s. 

Eventually, the spirit of Vaga takes over the body of Monica and Helga is turned into a mindless sex toy. Vaga tries to get Julia to become the willing sacrifice on the stake, or she will make Helga do it instead.  Julia agrees, but stakes Vaga/Monica instead.  Everyone comes out of their trances now that the Vampire Countess is truly dead.

So. It would be easy to dismiss this as just another in a long, long line of European sexploitation movies with a vampire fetish.  But damn if Sarno doesn't actually have an eye for talent (the actresses, especially Forså can actually act) and he has a good eye for cinematography.  The castle they use in Bavaria is an authentic 17th-century one and they paid rent to the Baron to use it. The dungeon scenes were shot in the actual dungeon.  

The filming was also a bit tragic. Anke Syring had to leave the set for a bit because her mother and father had been killed. The producer was driving back on the last day of shooting and was in a terrible accident, but he survived.  One of the coven sisters played by Claudia Fielers would later commit suicide. 

The movie has very little blood and no gore in it.  There is a solid 70s occult vibe to it.

I think Sarno had ideas and vision, I don't know if he didn't know how to pull them off, or was happy with what he was doing.  I know, thanks to the DVD commentary, that the Producer, Chris D. Nebe was pleased. 


Watched: 36
New: 24



NIGHT SHIFT and Old-School Content
It might have been stated before, but really powerful vampires can come back from the death beyond undeath. While guys like Dracula seem to come back in their own bodies, female vampires seem to need a willing, or semi-willing, host.  Not sure why they should be, but it is also something we see in the "Daughters of Darkness" and Hammer's Karnstein Trilogy. 

What I am going to do then is this.  After I run my War of the Witch Queens campaign I will run a Night Shift game. During the War, the players are likely to meet up with Darlessa the Vampire Queen, and hopefully, defeat her.   Later I will run a Night Shift game where her direct descendant will be cursed with the spirit of Darlessa.  Hopefully, it would be the same players.   

The trick here is how to stat her. In the War of the Witch Queens she is a 13th level witch. But here she should be weaker (a nod, no matter how silly, to the movies).  I am thinking of making the NPC human a vampire spawn under control of the spirit of Darlessa; she is also Darlessa.  Confused? Well it's basically a Scooby-Doo plot. 

If I get this worked up I will certainly need my mini of Darlessa. 

Vampire Queen Darlessa


Thursday, October 15, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Night of the Devils (1972) and Vamps (2017)

I swear with all the Italian horror Giallo movies from the 70s I have seen I should be able to speak Italian. 

Night of the Devils (1972)
A man stumbles and faints in the countryside.
Next, see him hooked up to a bunch of machines in a hospital setting. We assume the images we see of torture and murder are all going on in his mind.  The doctor working on him makes the claim that the patient has no memory of his previous days and no ID.

A woman claiming to know him shows up, but this only sends him into a panic. We later see in flashback what happened.  

Nicola (the man) crashes his car while avoiding hitting a woman (Sdenka, from above) but when he looks she is nowhere to be seen.  We see some locals burying a body (later we learn it was the old man's brother). They are acting like the person needed to be killed. Nicola finds the home of the locals along with Sdenka (played by the lovely Agostina Belli) and they reluctantly take him in for the night. The locals are very rustic, Sdenka even mentions she has never seen a television. 

We soon discover that the family is under a witch's curse. They will become undead after they die.  Said witch is later seen running in the dark and digs up the idol from the dead brother's grave. 

The movie is actually fairly good. Tension is built, there is a lot of mystery with this creepy family. The vampire decay is also pretty cool for 1972.  

Like "Black Sabbath" this movie is based on the Tolstoy novella, The Family of the Vourdalak. Doing a little reading led me to my next film.

Vamps (2017)
Also, known as "Ghouls," but more importantly, "Vurdalaki"

The copy I had access too (Amazon Prime) was originally in Russian and then dubbed and subtitled.  It looked slick but I kept feeling that the voice actors were not doing their characters justice really.

This one deals with the Moyori, or a race of half-human/half-vampires and the six clans of vampires. So a little of Dracula meets Vampire the Masquerade or Vampire Dark Ages. 

Like the original, this one has vampires coming back from the dead to haunt their own families and draw them out for feeding.

Our story focuses around Milena (played by Aglaya Shilovskaya) she is target of affection by both our hero Andrey (Konstantin Kryukov who looks like a young Lindsey Buckingham) and our Vampire Lord who needs her Moyori blood to become a day walking vampire. 

The movie's biggest issue though is the pacing. It is just so slow in places. But it is a good looking movie all the same. 

Watched: 27
New: 17

NIGHT SHIFT content
I did the Vourdalak, or rather, Wurdalak a while back as a vampire that is formed under a witch's curse. I made stats for both OSR games and Ghosts of Albion.  So one for NIGHT SHIFT is certainly in order.

Vourdalak
The Vourdalak or Wurdalak is created by a family curse.  Typically one laid down by a powerful witch on an entire line. When a member dies they will return as a vourdalak to feed on members of their own family.  Sometimes a vourdalak will also spontaneously arise when a member of the family disgraces their family name or when a member (typically a daughter) goes against the wishes of a recently deceased member (such as her father or uncle).

Vourdalak, Master
No. Appearing: 1
AC: 2
Move: 40ft.
Hit Dice: 9
Special: 4 attacks (claw, bite, 2 weapon), vampire abilities (Feed on Blood, Immune to Normal Damage, Mind Control, Regenerate, Repulsed by Holy Items, Spawn, Strong and Fast), Vampire Vulnerabilities (Stake Throw the Heart, Holy Water, Cannot Polymorph)
XP VALUE: 1,400

This is usually the one cursed by the witch and the one that will turn all the other family members.

Vourdalak, Spawn
No. Appearing: 1-6
AC: 6
Move: 30ft.
Hit Dice: 5
Special: 2 attacks (claws, bite), Cannot mind control. Cannot Polymorph. Cannot create new vampires.
XP VALUE: 200 

These are the other family members. Unlike the Vampire Spawn, these creatures are Strong and Fast.

No Vourdalak can polymorph into animals.

 


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Space Vampires of 1980

Bit of a cheat tonight. But I always want to do a Doctor Who episode.

Doctor Who, State of Decay (1980)

I picked up the Tom Baker Doctor Who, Season 18 Blu-Ray a while back and I wanted to re-watch the episode State of Decay.   It has been a few years since I had seen it, but it was and still is one of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who.

The idea of the race of great Vampires as the ancient enemies of the Time Lords is, in my mind a great addition to the vampire lore.  Something that I even added to my games at the time, though obviously from a more fantasy and horror elements.

The episode is 100% Hammer Horror.  I would not have been surprised to hear that the crew stole items from sets of the various BBC horror films and TV shows, in particular, the late 70s Dracula.  We get everything though here. The "Hammer Hamlet" with the scared villagers, the castle with the evil Lords (and Lady), even the warnings "not to go to the castle".

Of course, watching the special effects 40 years later have not aged well, but it is Doctor Who and you can't expect a lot. 

The great vampire reminds me a bit of the Beast from the 10th Doctor's "The Satan Pit" so that is nice bit of continuity.  The Great Vampires come from the "early times" from "even when Rassilon was young."  Easy to see a connection.

The horror elements are light, but still good for Doctor Who episode.

The behind the scenes features of the Blu-Ray are also great.  I guess at the time it caused quite a stir.

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Space Vampire (1980)

The year is 2491 and Capt. William "Buck" Rogers is back at Earth from 1987, battling a...well...space vampire.  Ok, so I watched this one when it was new and enjoyed it. But I was 10.  BTW did you know all the episodes of Buck Rogers are free to watch?  The plot is thin really. Buck and Col. Dearing are going on vacation and they stop off at a space station to get Twiki repaired. I do like the idea of a vampire on a space station sadly the vampire here leaves a little to be desired. 
The story borrows heavily from Dracula, with the ship crashing into the station named "Demeter" and one of the passengers is named "Helson" as opposed to "Helsing".
One of the things that bugged about BR:25C is how Col. Dearing went from being a strong character in the pilot movie to such a weak one in later episodes. 
The vampire going after Wilma makes a lot of sense really, even if it is also a little clichéd.  Though it did give Erin Gray a chance to stretch her acting muscles a bit, which is good.

Watching both of these from the same time period is interesting.  BR:25C had better effects, but the story in Doctor Who was better.  I will even go on a limb here and say the acting was better in Who as well.

The real question is not who did the better vampires (Doctor Who) but which sidekick was more annoying, Adric or Twiki?

Watched: 25
New: 15

NIGHT SHIFT and BlackStar Content.
Ever since Doctor Who, Buck Rogers, and Lifeforce I have wanted to do a "Space Vampire."
Even in a later Doctor Who novel they had a vampire couple leave the earth by hitching a ride on a satellite bound for deep space. So I guess it is possible to have any half-crazed idea work.
Not 100% sure how I would do a Space Vampire in NIGHT SHIFT, but I think I owe it to my 10-year-old self to give it a try in BlackStar.




Thursday, October 8, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Malenka / Fangs of the Living Dead (1968, 1969)

I am sure I had seen this one.  But like SO MANY Italian, French and Spanish horror films from the late 60s and early 70s plots, scenes and even whole movies were recycled.  I mean this one even has the same music as "The Night She Rose From the Grave" which I am getting too later and is on the same DVD as this movie.  Though that could even be because of the disk.

This movie has been known as "Malenka", "Fangs of the Living Dead" and "The Vampire's Niece" with various dates between 1968 and 1969.

Anyway, this one features Anita Ekberg, so that is a good reason to check it out.

The movie starts with a nice creepy, "Dracula's Guest", feel to it.  Sylvia Morel (Ekberg) learns she has inherited a fortune, a castle, and a new title.   Julián Ugarte plays the Count, Sylvia's uncle, Count Walbrooke.  Sylvia becomes the Harker stand-in and Walbrooke is Dracula.

I think I was getting this one confused with the Thirst from 1979. But while the beginnings are similar, they become quite different movies. This movie was the obvious prototype for Satan's Slave (also known as Evil Heritage) in 1976 and many Franco movies like A Virgin Among the Living Dead (1973).

We learn that Sylvia's grandmother was burned at the stake as a witch and she was able to turn her children into vampires.

The basic story cleaves very, very close to the Dracula tale. So nothing really new here.
Until the end, and there is a neat little twist. It really saved the movie for me.

Kind of a fun little flick really.

Watched: 9
New: 9

NIGHT SHIFT Content

So many of these movies have old cursed families with a suspension of witchcraft and vampirism.  
I think what I need, both for NIGHT SHIFT and maybe even my various witch books is a family of witches, in decay, whose members become vampires after death.  Not all are powerful vampires, some are little more than ghouls really, but a few.  Take notes from the Karnsteins and movies like this.
In some ways the Montblancs in NIGHT SHIFT's "Ordinary World" can cover this. Maybe this is a direction I could take them.  The American Montblancs are an old family, but the European Montblancs are ancient and maybe a little more evil.  Combine this with my Byleth idea from last week.
Maybe that is how I separate them, the American Montblancs are featured in NIGHT SHIFT but the "European" Montblancs would be featured in my Witch books for Basic-era.   I would need to have a map for the run down, but still better than anywhere you have lived, Château Montblanc.




Friday, October 2, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Horrible Sexy Vampire (1970, 1971)

Well.  One of the words in the title is a lie, but one is spot on.

Also known as "El Vampiro De La Autopista" this is a movie that never really knows what it wants to do.  Both titles tell us this is a Vampire film, but it is often treated (right up to the end in fact) as a mundane murder mystery.   They make a big deal of the murders happening every 28 years, but the ending does nothing to explain that.

Not to spoil it, but the movie is kind of dull, the police detective pins the murders on an escaped mental patient.  One we don't even hear about till the very end.  This is despite the fact that the murders have an obvious supernatural element to them.  How obvious?  Well, the killer is invisible.

Now under other circumstances, this might be interesting, but here it is just cheesy.

Sadly some interesting ideas lost in this Spanish "Hammer-envy" movie.


Watched: 2
New: 2

Well.  The best thing to do with this one really is to have a serial killer in your games. Everyone thinks it is a vampire, but it really just a human psychopath.  This works well in Ordinary World if all the characters are supernatural and they are worried that one of their own is going to get them exposed.






Wednesday, September 30, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Getting Ready

I am getting ready for my annual October Horror Movie Challenge!


This year lacks a real theme save for "movies I have had laying around forever and I need to watch them or sell back the DVDs" and "movies I have been meaning to watch forever".

I am going to lean heavily on my preferred time of the late-60s to mid-70s.  And I have more than a few Italian horror films.


I have about 110 movies here.  Some I have already seen so won't do those. There are also more than a few overlaps.  I'll try to hit more than one per day, but often that is not really doable.  I'll also hit more over the weekends.

I am going to also try to include as much NIGHT SHIFT content as I can.

Let's see where I end up at the end of the next month!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Wynnona Earp for NIGHT SHIFT

Wynonna Earp is back for Season 4! Largely due to the efforts of the fans, "Earpers",  and so far it has been great.  

So I think giving them the NIGHT SHIFT treatment is in order.

Spoilers up to Season 3.  Images of the characters by HeroForge.

Wynonna Earp
AKA "Nona"
5th Level Chosen One, Human
"I am the girl. With the big-ass gun."

Strength: 15 (+1)
Dexterity: 20 (+4)
Constitution: 18 (+3)
Intelligence: 12 (0)
Wisdom: 13 (+1)
Charisma: 15 (+1)

HP: 40 (4d8)
AC: 6
Fate Points: 10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +2   Ranged bonus: +6
Saves: +2 to all saves

Special Abilities/Skills
Brutal Warrior, Killing Blow, Supernatural Attack, Difficult to Surprise, Improved Defense, Ranged Combat, Survivor Skills, Stunning Blow, Melee Combat, Regeneration of HP, 2 bonus Damage Dice, the Earp Heir. 

Equipment
Peacemaker (gun form), whiskey flask.

Wynonna Earp is the great-great-granddaughter of Wyatt Earp and heir to the Earp curse.  She is the one that must rid the Ghost River Triangle of all the revenants, or "demon-adjacent" dead that return to battle with the Earp heir.

Waverly Earp
AKA "Waves", "Baby Girl", "Angel"
3rd Level Survivor / 1st Level Sage, Half-Angel
"Heroes always win."

Strength: 12 (0)
Dexterity: 14 (+1)
Constitution: 17 (+2)
Intelligence: 17 (+2)
Wisdom: 15 (+1)
Charisma: 17 (+1)

HP: 20 (3d4 + 1d6)
AC: 8
Fate Points: 15

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+0
Melee bonus: +2    Ranged bonus: +3
Saves: +3 to Death saves

Special Abilities/Skills
Stealth skills, Danger Sense, Perceptive, Sneak Attack, Read Languages, Suggestion, Lore, Half-angel abilities

Equipment
Shotgun, Earp lore.

Waverly Earp is Wynonna's younger half-sister. She only recently discovered that she is not in fact and Earp, but instead the offspring of Michelle Earp, nee Gibson, and the Angel Julian.  She knows the most about the Earp family and curse.  She is currently engaged to former Sheriff Nicole Haught.

Nicole Haught
AKA "Red", "Sheriff Hot", "Hot Sheriff" 
4th level Veteran, Human
"Did I just hit my head and wake up in patriarchal bullshit land?"

Strength: 16 (+2)
Dexterity: 17 (+2)
Constitution: 16 (+2)
Intelligence: 16 (+2)
Wisdom: 17 (+2)
Charisma: 18 (+3)

HP: 37 (4d8)
AC: 6
Fate Points: 10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+0
Melee bonus: +2  Ranged Bonus: +2
Saves: +2 to all saves

Special Abilities/Skills
Combat Expertise, Increased damage, Supernatural attack, Tracking

Equipment
Shotguns, handguns

Sheriff (formerly) Nicole Haught is the only survivor of an attack of demons lead by Bulshar, the demon responsible for all the demonic activity in the Ghost River Triangle and the town of Purgatory. She is smart and resourceful. She is in love with Waverly Earp and just said yes to Waverly's proposal.

John Henry "Doc" Holiday
AKA "Doc", "Holiday"
5th level Veteran, Vampire
"Careful, Earp. Doing what’s right, even in the face of ridiculous odds … you are beginning to sound like a hero."

Strength: 20 (+4)
Dexterity: 20 (+4)
Constitution: 18 (+3)
Intelligence: 13 (+1)
Wisdom: 15 (+1)
Charisma: 16 (+2)

HP: 42 (5d8)
AC: 6
Fate Points: 10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +2   Ranged bonus: +6
Saves: +2 to all saves

Special Abilities/Skills
Combat Expertise, Increased damage, Supernatural attack, Tracking, Vampire abilities

Equipment
Handguns

John Henry "Doc" Holiday was cursed after his friend Wyatt Earp died and had been trapped in a well for 130 years. He was released by Wynonna and they went from being colleagues to friends to lovers. Though with his aging catching up to him Doc went to his ex-wife Kate and became a vampire.

This could be a lot of fun really!

How about a sneak peek at Season 4?

Let's hear that theme song again.


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.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...