Sunday, January 9, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Quincey P. Morris

Quincey Morris is the odd man out here in the Dracula tale. He is a rich American, friends with Holmwood and Seward, and like Van Helsing he has had dealings with blood-suckers, in this case, vampire bats, before.  He is also the character that gets left out of most other media more times than not.

It is Quincey, or rather his Bowie knife, that is instrumental in bringing down Dracula so Harker and Holmwood can kill him.

Had he survived the attack by Dracula he would have been a great character to become a vampire hunter.  Other authors have picked up this challenge and have told stories of a survived Quincey, a vampire Quincey and even Quincey's younger brother (called "Cole" in at least one story).  Quincey lives on in John and Mina's son, Quincy Harker.

Again, one of the best portrayals was Billy Campbell in Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) which was also one of the most book accurate portrayals.  Another good one is Ethan Chandler in Penny Dreadful

Here he is for Night Shift. NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Ethan Chandler as Quincey P. Morris
Quincey P. Morris
4th level Veteran
Archetype: Rich Texan

Strength: 13 (+1) S
Dexterity: 17 (+2) P
Constitution: 16 (+2) S
Intelligence: 11 (0) 
Wisdom: 13 (0) 
Charisma: 15 (+2)

HP: 24
Alignment: Chaotic Good
AC: 8
Attack: +2 

Fate Points: 1d6

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+0
Melee bonus: +1 Ranged bonus: +2
Saves:  +2 to all saves. 

Powers:  Combat Expertise, Improved damage, improved defense, Supernatural Attack, tracking

Skills:** 
Beast Whisperer, Steady Hands, Notice, Wilderness Survival

** Skills are optional in NIGHT SHIFT, but for Seward, Holmwood, and Morris I feel they are what set the characters apart and above and beyond their class abilities. 

--

You can see why Arthur and Quincey are often combined in movies where they work better in a book. Here their stats are not very different, they are both even 4th level Veterans.  I did that on purpose to show that with the optional skills rules you can provide more customization with the characters.  They are also played quite differently. 

Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog and the #CharacterCreationChallenge on Twitter for more! 

Character Creation Challenge

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Arthur Holmwood Lord Godalming

In the book Arthur Holmwood, later the Lord Godalming, is the other suitor for the hand of Lucy and the one she ultimately chooses.  One of the plot threads in the books and made more clear in the 1992 movie, was that Holmwood, Seward, and Morris were all friends and even had a few adventures together.

I recall at the time of the 1992 movie that there were rumors of a possible prequel involving the "Victorian Young Guns" and their fights with the supernatural before Dracula.  Neat idea, but all three were fairly incredulous at the idea of the supernatural when Van Helsing brings up the topic.

Still, Holmwood is pretty important to the tale because not only is he Lucy's suitor, he provides the money and the title to get the heroes all the things they need.  Holmwood is also the one that drives the stake into Dracula's heart in the novel.

Cary Elwes provides one of the best performances, but I am also rather partial to Michael Gough in Hammer's 1958 Dracula and Simon Ward in 1973's Dracula which questionably featured Jack Palance as Dracula.

Here he is for Night Shift. NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Simon Ward as Arthur Holmwood Dracula (1973)
Arthur Holmwood

4th level Veteran
Archetype: Victorian Lord

Strength: 12 (0) 
Dexterity: 15 (+1) P
Constitution: 13 (+1) S
Intelligence: 12 (0) 
Wisdom: 11 (0) 
Charisma: 16 (+3) S 

HP: 22
Alignment: Neutral Good
AC: 8
Attack: +2 

Fate Points: 1d6

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+0
Melee bonus: 0 Ranged bonus: +1
Saves:  +2 to all saves. 

Powers:  Combat Expertise, Improved damage, improved defense, Supernatural Attack, tracking

Skills:** 
History, Convince, Literature, Wilderness Survival

** Skills are optional in NIGHT SHIFT, but for Seward, Holmwood, and Morris I feel they are what set the characters apart and above and beyond their class abilities. 

--

Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog and the #CharacterCreationChallenge on Twitter for more! 

Character Creation Challenge


Friday, January 7, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Dr. John "Jack" Seward

My next three characters are the ones that get forgotten the most.  While Mina and Lucy will have their names changed/swapped, the next three are either reduced to one or two characters or forgotten about altogether.

Today I want to do one close to my heart, Dr. Jack Seward.  Seward was a psychiatrist and I spent a number of years as a psychologist.  Plus my one and only time on stage was playing Seward in my High School version of Dracula.  Yeah, I am not going to dump my academic career for a life in the limelight, but it was fun.

My favorite performance of Seward was from Bram Stoker's Dracula from 1992 played by Richard E. Grant, though Donald Pleasence also gave a great performance in 1979's Dracula.

Seward's role in the novel is to first be a suitor to Lucy, but he also brings in Van Helsing. His friends Arthur Holmwood and Quincy Morris are also instrumental in the battle against Dracula.

Here he is for Night Shift. NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Your Humble Author in High School as Jack Seward
Yeah, me with a full beard in High School as Seward
Dr. Jack Seward
3rd level Sage
Archetype: Would-be suitor, doctor

Strength: 11 (0) 
Dexterity: 12 (0) S
Constitution: 13 (+1) 
Intelligence: 16 (+2) P
Wisdom: 12 (0) S
Charisma: 15 (+2) 

HP: 14
Alignment: Lawful Good
AC: 9
Attack: +1 

Fate Points: 1d6

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+1/+0
Melee bonus: 0 Ranged bonus: 0
Saves:  +3 to saves against spells and magical effects. 

Powers:  Mesmerize Others (used on Renfield and Mina), Suggestion, Survivor Skills (level 1), Languages (16), Arcane Dabbler

Survivor Skills
  • Open Locks: 15%
  • Bypass Traps: 10%
  • Sleight of Hand: 20%
  • Move Silently: 20%
  • Hide in Shadows: 10%
Spells*
Level One: Charm Person, Detect Evil

*In this case "Spells" will be just bits of lore and learning he is able to use. 

Skills:** 
History, Knowledge (Psychiatry), Medicine, Science

** Skills are optional in NIGHT SHIFT, but for Seward, Holmwood, and Morris I feel they are what set the characters apart and above and beyond their class abilities. 

--

Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog and the #CharacterCreationChallenge on Twitter for more! 

Character Creation Challenge


Thursday, January 6, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Lucy Westenra

Yesterday I featured Mina Murray Harker, the hero of the Dracula novel.  The archetypical victim though belongs to her friend Lucy Westenra.  I have compared Lucy and Mina a few times. Showing where Mina is the "Modern Woman," Lucy is the "Old World Woman."  She does a lot to make herself more attractive to Dracula.  She is looking for a man to define her life, she is a member of the "idle rich," she has bouts of sleep-walking, her innocence, and more.  Where Mina is proactive, Lucy is largely reactive.  

It is hard really not to feel bad for her.

After she is turned by Dracula all of that gets inverted.  The sweet, coquettish girl becomes the dangerous "bloofer lady" that preys on children. 

My favorite portrayal of her comes from Sadie Frost in 1992's Bram Stoker's Dracula, but I also rather liked how Jan Francis looked as the vampire Lucy (or rather "Mina" in this version) in 1979's Dracula, though she looks nothing like the "bloofer lady."   Though the most accurate physical portrayal was by Katie McGrath in the short run NBC series Dracula.

Here she is for Night Shift. NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Katie McGrath as Lucy Westenra
Lucy Westenra
2nd level Survivor (Supernatural, Vampire)
Archetype: Vampire Victim

Strength: 11 (0) 
Dexterity: 12 (0) 
Constitution: 8 (-1) 
Intelligence: 11 (0) S
Wisdom: 10 (0) S
Charisma: 17 (+3) P

HP: 4
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
AC: 9
Attack: +1 

Fate Points: 1d6

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +2/+1/+0
Melee bonus: 0 Ranged bonus: 0
Saves: +3 to all Wisdom saving throws, +3 to death saves. +1 to all others.

Powers:  Vampire Powers, Stealth skills, Climbing, Danger Sense (1-2), Sneak Attack x2

Katie McGrath as Lucy Westenra
Vampire Powers
  • Ability Bonuses (+2 to Strength, +2 Dexterity)
  • Damage Immunity
  • Feed on Life (Con drain)
  • Vampire Regeneration
  • Vampire Vulnerabilities

Stealth Skills

  • Open Locks: 25%
  • Bypass Traps: 20%
  • Sleight of Hand: 30%
  • Move Silently: 30%
  • Hide in Shadows: 10%
  • Perception: 45%

--

Dracula, and Lucy for that matter, drains Constitution, not "Levels," which is as it should be for "Dracula."  There was no way Lucy could survive three attacks of draining 2 levels when she is always described as frail and weak before Dracula even shows up.  Not only that the children Lucy later preys one are certainly 2nd level, they are barely 0 level.

Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog and the #CharacterCreationChallenge on Twitter for more! 

Character Creation Challenge

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Mina Murray Harker

Longtime readers here will know of my love of Mina Murray Harker, the true hero of the Dracula novel.  I have talked about her here a few times, but in short, she is the one that puts all the pieces together, she is the one that has the forethought to transcribe everyone's notes.  She is the one that really has the tools to go hunting for Dracula.  She is also the prototype of the "Final Girl" a trope that will only grow for the next 120+ years.

One thing I have never cared for though was the whole reincarnated lover of Dracula.  Mina is interesting enough without needing to add anything else to her character.  That being said, I did not mind Alan Moore making her into a vampire.  But that is not what I am going with her.  This is Mina from the book and most of the movies.

Here she is for Night Shift. NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

Peta Wilson as Mina Harker
Mina Murray Harker

3rd level Survivor (Human)
Archetype: Survivor

Strength: 10 (0) 
Dexterity: 12 (0) 
Constitution: 15 (+1) S
Intelligence: 16 (+2) P
Wisdom: 12 (0) 
Charisma: 16 (+2) S

HP: 11
Alignment: Light
AC: 8
Attack: +1 

Fate Points: 1d8

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+1/+0
Melee bonus: 0 Ranged bonus: 0
Saves: +3 to death saves. +1 to all others.

Powers:  Stealth skills, Climbing, Danger Sense (1-3), Sneak Attack x2, Read Languages, 

Stealth Skills

  • Open Locks: 35%
  • Bypass Traps: 30%
  • Sleight of Hand: 40%
  • Move Silently: 40%
  • Hide in Shadows: 30%
  • Perception: 50%

--

Mina is a vampire attack survivor, more so that she survived an attack by Dracula.  That has to count for something. 

Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog and the #CharacterCreationChallenge on Twitter for more! 

Character Creation Challenge



Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: Jonathan Harker

Harker is the first character we meet in the novel Dracula. You would think this would make him the most important character, but that role will be discussed tomorrow.  Harker is a means to end, both to the novel Dracula and the character Dracula.  He provides the Victorian England point of view of the story.  

He is not a particularly useful character, either in the novels or many of the movies. Though he gets more limelight in the 1979 John Badham, Frank Langella staring Dracula and in the 1992 Bram Stoker's Dracula from Francis Ford Coppola.  I do remember at the time really ripping into Keanu Reeves' portrayal, but looking back over others and re-reading the book, Harker is kinda weak. 

He does get to fair a little better in the "Alternate" Dracula, Powers of Darkness, and in the RPG Rippers.

Here he is for Night Shift. NIGHT SHIFT is available from the Elf Lair Games website (hardcover) and from DriveThruRPG (PDF).

David Manners as John Harker Dracula 1931
Jonathan Harker

3rd level Survivor (Human)
Archetype: Survivor

Strength: 11 (0) 
Dexterity: 12 (0) 
Constitution: 16 (+2) S
Intelligence: 14 (+1) P
Wisdom: 12 (0) 
Charisma: 15 (+1) S

HP: 14
Alignment: Light
AC: 8
Attack: +1 

Fate Points: 1d8

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+1/+0
Melee bonus: 0 Ranged bonus: 0
Saves: +3 to death saves. +1 to all others.

Powers:  Stealth skills, Climbing, Danger Sense (1-3), Sneak Attack x2, Read Languages, 

Stealth Skills

  • Open Locks: 35%
  • Bypass Traps: 30%
  • Sleight of Hand: 40%
  • Move Silently: 40%
  • Hide in Shadows: 30%
  • Perception: 50%

--

Harker is pretty much the archetypical vampire-attack survivor.  

Want to see more of the #CharacterCreationChallenge? Stop by Tardis Captain's Blog for more! 

Character Creation Challenge


Monday, January 3, 2022

Character Creation Challenge: R. M. Renfield

One of the more interesting characters in the Dracula novel and movies is "zoophagous maniac" R. M. Renfield.  He is one of Dracula's first victims, though we never see the attack, we know that he is under Dracula's thrall. 

We first meet Renfield in Dr. Seward's sanitorium where we learn he is very excitable and very strong.  His defining features are his diet of bugs (though he hopes for a cat) and his deference to his "Master."

Given all of this, I thought with the new NIGHT SHIFT Night Companion going out to backers today, I'd give Renfield a try as a Ghoul.

Here he is for Night Shift.

Alexander Granach as Renfield/Knock in Nosferatu
R. M. Renfield

5th level Survivor (Supernatural, Ghoul)
Archetype: Thrall

Strength: 16 (+1) P
Dexterity: 16 (+1) S
Constitution: 15 (+1) S
Intelligence: 11 (0) 
Wisdom: 8 (-1) 
Charisma: 8 (-1) 

HP: 20
Alignment: Dark
AC: 8
Attack: +2

Fate Points: 1d8

Feed: Live flesh, prefers insects

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +3/+2/+1
Melee bonus: +1  Ranged bonus: +1
Saves: +3 to all Constitution-based saves and are immune to poison. +3 to death saves.

Powers
Rake attack, paralysis, Stealth skills, Climbing, Danger Sense (1-3), Sneak Attack x3

Stealth Skills

  • Open Locks: 55%
  • Bypass Traps: 50%
  • Sleight of Hand: 60%
  • Move Silently: 60%
  • Hide in Shadows: 50%
  • Perception: 60%

--

A few things here.  First I think this works great as Renfield. He works great as a Survivor, especially with his sneak attacks and his ability to escape.  He also works great as a Ghoul.  His bug-eating is covered well by his "Feed", a new rule feature in the Night Companion for Supernatural characters.  

Additionally, his alignment is listed as "Dark" another new feature of the Night Companion.  He is evil, but not irredeemable. Though in truth he never gets the chance. 

 

Character Creation Challenge