Showing posts with label Bathory. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bathory. Show all posts

Friday, October 18, 2019

October Horror Movie Challenge: Daughters of Darkness (1971)


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

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

Delphine Seyrig really helped form the idea of vampire Bathory as a timeless aristocrat so convinced that what she was doing was right that there is no sign of psychosis at all. She was a royal and therefore all others exist to serve her.  Now I will contend, just based on the reports as we know them, that Bathory was not a lesbian but rather a sexual sadist that happened to have targeted young girls.

That all being said, she is most often represented in movies, like she was here, as a lesbian and one that does not care much at all for men.  Of course, credit goes to Delphine Seyrig and her portrayal of the immortal Countess.  This movie presents Elizabeth along with her companion Ilona (Andrea Rau).  Elizabeth begins to prey on new bride Valerie while sending Ilona out to tempt her new husband Stephan.



There is nothing really subtle here.  Stephan is portrayed as a useless thing that later can only consummate his marriage by beating Valerie.  When he kills Ilona in an accident in the shower he is portrayed as incompetent and something to be discarded.  All the while Elizabeth holds court and seduces Valerie away.  The ending is jarring,  more "Celluloid Closet" style vengeance maybe? Valerie, with Elizabeth's voice, is now off picking up a new couple to continue her immortality with.

There are traces of we will later see in The Hunger here.  The cool, sophisticated, European, woman. She might have some royal blood in her somewhere (pardon the bad metaphor) and she is certainly worldly.  She has companions, maybe male and female, but it is in her female companions she lavishes the most attention on even if I dare say it, the most love.    This is not the rampaging monster of Dracula or even Orlock. Carmilla, Bathory and later Miriam Blaylock are exotic creatures almost unique to themselves.

This is still one of my favorite movies.

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

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



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


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

Watched: 23
New: 16




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


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, October 30, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Feast of Flesh (2007)

October Movie Challenge: Feast of Flesh (2007)

In my defense I want to say up front that I thought this was going to be better.
The title is fine and my research said it was a bit like Bordello of Blood only featuring Elizabeth Bathory AND Carmilla.  I mean really. How can I say no?

I was so horribly wrong.

I think I am prepared to say that this was the WORST vampire movie I have seen this entire challenge.  Though Mama Dracula might give it a run for it's money.

The story focuses on a "high class" brothel known as Bathory House.  A couple gets a ticket to go from a poker game.  Of course they are looking for a little threesome fun and instead they get eaten (and not in the way they wanted). Anyway I guess there is a prohibition against the vampires from hunting townfolk so the local vampire hunters come in and beat the vampire-hookers up a little.
Both sides fight.  There is also a plot about a woman that is a local, but leaving town, getting brought into the brothel.  The vampires thought she was coming to town, not leaving it.  Her boyfriend wants her back...you know the drill.

I will give the movie one credit. The ending is not what I expected it to be.  Bathory is killed and the townie girl becomes the new Madame.  The boyfriend and all the hunters are killed.

The acting is terrible, including and especially Director, Writer and head Vampire Killer Sheridan, aka Mike Watt.  What was up with that accent? He was supposed to be Dutch, but it sounded like Irish that learned from a book on tape.  Anyway.  It's not good.

I toyed with the idea of a vampire brothel in my games before.  Mayfairs is a brothel in my games run by two vampire lovers, Miriam and Fran and founded by a Street Fae, Dirty Nellie.  I now have a list of things NOT to do with it.

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Tally so far:  36 Total Watched / 24 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Báthory: Countess of Blood (2008)

October Movie Challenge: Báthory: Countess of Blood (2008)

I am a sucker for a good Bathory movie.  Or even a bad one.  This is not a bad one, but it is an odd one.  There are some genuine horrific scenes, but nor really enough to really be called horror.

Much like the Julie Delpy movie The Countess, this is a retelling of the Bathory tale to put the countess in a better light.  I think The Countess is a better overall movie, but Anna Friel from Báthory: Countess of Blood is a better Bathory.

I think if both movies and casts had pooled their resources together one really great movie could have been made.

There are few things about the movie I didn't care for.  The monks with the "roller skates" (no. really) annoyed me.  The whole absinthe bit was way over done.  In fact I pretty have never seen an absinthe scene in a vampire movie and wasn't pretty crappy.  I blame the Bram Stoker's Dracula movie.

Not an unenjoyable movie, but at 2 hours and 21 minutes it is a bit too long.


Tally so far:  32 Total Watched / 21 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.


Friday, October 3, 2014

October Movie Challenge: Fright Night 2 New Blood (2013)

Fright Night 2: New Blood (2013)

Fright Night 2 is described as a sequel to the 2011 remake, but really it is the exact same story as the 2011 and 1985 versions.  It is also listed as a horror/comedy, but there is really little of either.  Sure there is some gore and killing of victims, but nothing really compared to other ones I have seen.  Lots of fake blood splatters.

The differences are this one takes place in Romania and Jerry Dandridge is now Gerri Dandridge and is actuality Elizabeth Bathory.

All the same characters but they lack any of the charm of the earlier movies.

There is a neat scene where Gerri/Bathory uses a bat-like sonar to find some kids in a sewer.   The vampire creature she turns into in the end of the movie is kind of cool too, but that is about all the movie has going for it.

Too bad really, I was hoping for more.


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Tally so far:  4 Total Watched / 3 New

What do you find scary?
October Horror Movie Challenge hosted by Krell Laboratories.


Monday, October 28, 2013

October Movie Challenge: Weekend round up

Bunch of movies under my belt this weekend.  Though all disappointed me or fell short.

The Witching (1993)
This one gets my vote as the worst movie I have seen this entire challenge.  And I was on a Jean Rollin kick.
Awful.  Going after the acting in this one is a cheap shot...but I am doing it anyway. The actors where not just terrible I have seen better work from High School plays.
The plot such as it is concerns a 300 year old witch locked away in Limbo with demons and her pet demon dog-rat "Scully".  The gate to Limbo opens up in this guy's refrigerator.   Some one really liked Ghostbusters.  It is listed as Comedy/Horror. It's neither.



R.I.P.D. (2013)
Another gate opening and dead things coming back.  This time it's sorta-cooked, but all dead cop played by Ryan Reynolds and even more dead "law man" played by Jeff Bridges.  Cliches all over the place. Kevin Bacon (who should know better).   The only performance I liked was from Mary Louise Parker.
If you have seen Men in Black then you have seen this one.



The Countess (2009)
This on the other hand was a very good film. Julie Delpy wrote, directed, starred and produced this bio-drama about Countess Erzsébet Báthory.  Everything about this movie was good, save for my expectations of it.  There was little to no blood, and no horror save for the psychological kind. The film even makes a credible case that all the stories of the "Blood Countess" were nothing more than rumor and political power plays.  Which could be true.  Or not.  The film still retains the infamous scene where a maid pulls Erzsébet's hair and the Countess strikes her so hard that she is covered in blood.  The countess proceeds to bleed her for her precious virgin blood.
There is no vampirism. No allusions to Dracula. This is a historical piece and frankly a nice change of pace.

Interestingly enough Julie Delpy was 39 when she made this movie.  Delphine Seyrig was also 39 when she played Báthory in Daughters of Darkness (Ingrid Pitt was 34 when she was in Countess Dracula).

I kind of hoped to finish up this weekend, but I feel I need to see a few more, just to make sure I saw enough real horror.



Tally: Watched 32,  New 28

What are you watching?


hosted by Krell Laboratories

Friday, November 16, 2012

Bathory for M&M3

As many of you all know I am huge fan of the Erzsébet Báthory story/mthyos.  Well, fan is an od word for a woman that mostly likely killed hundreds of young girls.  But you know what I mean.

Anyway there is a new product out now adding her to the Mutants & Masterminds 3rd Edition game and you all also know what a fan I am of that!

Bathory - AoV Solo (M&M3e) from Xion Studios is now out.

Here is my review:
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Vampires have an odd role to play in a supers game, something this book recognizes.
This takes one of the most iconic vampires in myth and one of the most notorious real-life killer and adds her to the Mutants & Masterminds 3.0 game.
The author gives us an  interesting back story that should be familiar to most anyone with an interest in vampires.  There is a new, more up-to-date backstory of her activities from 2001 and on.

The crunch part, her stats and powers are good and they look "right" to me.
There is also a template for a Bathory-lineage vampire, which is a good one to use in a game.  Her PL is only 9, which makes her a good threat against normal humans or PL5 young supers.

Her PL is 12. That puts her at the same level I would expect.

I am not 100% sold on her being in a Goth Metal Band myself, but it certainly looks like it works here.

6 pages: cover art, condensed OGL statement and a lot of stuff to use in your game.  You are getting a lot for your buck here.
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So yeah I am going to give this one a go.   I have stated up Elizabeth many times including Mutants & Masterminds 2nd ed, so if I use her again I might stick with my own backstory.  I DO like the idea of a vampire fronted goth band.  Maybe I will save that for another vampire.

For your enjoyment here are the stats for Erzsébet Báthory other games.  Mine are a little higher, but that is ok.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Elizabeth Bathory: Spellcraft & Swordplay

A while back I posted a bunch of character write-ups on Elizabeth Bathory.
I thought, given the season and to celebrate Spellcraft & Swordplay in physical print copies I'd bring them both together.  Based on my Dracula stats from early today, Bathory also has the advantage of being a coven witch.
This build is based on my earlier ones, as well as the material from Eldritch Witchery, which is coming out soon.

Elizabeth Bathory
Vampire / Witch (Demonic Tradition)

AL: E
SZ: M
AC: 5
Move: 90'
HD: 15 (48 hp)
Attacks: 2 claws (short sword), 1 bite OR Spells as a 6th level coven Witch
Special: Climb 40', Blood Drain, Animal Empathy (Improved; Rats, bats, wolves), Dominate, Spawn (Blood or Energy drain), Energy Drain (bite), Alternate Form (wolf, incorporeal gas, improved), Resist electricity, Immune mundane weapons, Vulnerable sun, fire, holy water (treat as 2d6 acid), witch abilities
Treasure: 8
XP: 2100
S: 21 D: 16 C: 18 I: 14 W: 16 Ch: 19

Bathory can not change into a bat as other vampires.  She can also only summon wolves. Unlike Dracula, Elizabeth is damaged by the sun.
In addition to being a vampire, Elizabeth Bathory is also a coven witch of the 6th level.  She is not the highest level witch, but she is the coven leader.
Her familiar is demonic black coated wolf with red eyes.  When she is done draining her victims she feeds the remains to this monster.

She may cast the following spells
First level: Charm, Ghostly Slashing, Increase Sex Appeal
Second level: Ecstasy, Rite of Remote Seeing, Virgin Innocence
Third level: Dance Macabre, Toad Mind
Fourth level: Masque

These spells, the Demonic tradition, and what a coven witch is will all be detailed in Eldritch Witchery.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Lesbian Vampire: Villain or Victim? Part 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of course there is still the issue of sex.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

October Movie Reviews: Countess Dracula

Stuck in the 70's with another one of the Hammer Films.
This time we are getting into what would be fertile ground for Hammer, beautiful young women killing other beautiful young women.


Countess Dracula (1970/1971)
This one is a bit mis-titled, and a bit of different one for Hammer.  It is the story of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, but the twist is here the blood she drains and bathes actually does make her young again in the form of Scream Queen Ingrid Pitt.

The story is not a bad one, but not memorable.  Bathory kills girls, dupes dumb men into being her pawns, finally gets caught in the end.  We are missing some of the characters from Bathory's history, but that is fine really.

The one ups the blood and gore (too be expected) and the sex and nudity (also to be expected).
It is not quite as good as Daughters of Darkness that came out a year later. But it has more of supernatural feel to it and more of a Hammer feel to it if that makes any sense.   Ingrid Pitt also stared as another famous vampire, Carmilla, in the Vampire Lovers.  Female vampires became very lucrative for Hammer in the end, but not enough to save them it seems.

I had forgotten I had seen this one till I got into it.  So I watched it with the audio comentary on instead.  Very interesting insights to Hamer in the 70's to be sure.  Makes me want to go back and listen to the audio comentary tracks on the all the other Hammer films I have watched.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Dracula: The Books

Despite my reviews, Dracula had a life before cinema.

The book "Dracula" is one of the most influential in the English language.  While the book itself is long, and often slow in places, one cannot deny the effect it has had.  There were vampire tales before it, Varney the Vampire and The Vampyre come to mind, and there were even better vampire stories before it, Carmilla is prime example.  But none had the effect of Dracula, both the book and the character.

If you have never the book then you owe it to yourself to do so. You can get the book nearly anywhere, including for free at Project Guttenberg.   I am fond of the Leonard Wolf annotated version myself, but I would read the book without the annotations first.









Dracula in print, like his movie counterpart, has also had a number of sequels published over the years.  Some were good, most though were not.  Here is a round-up of a few.

WARNING, there are spoilers here if you have not read these books.

The Holmes-Dracula File by Fred Saberhagen
I read this so many years ago that my recollection of it is fuzzy at best.  I remember not liking it that much at the time, which I think had more to do with how Saberhagen choose to portray Dracula as a misunderstood hero. And the wood thing. And the amnesia thing too.  I should re-read it to be sure.
Funny though, I am watching "Count Dracula" from the BBC now, and the cover art on this book reminds me of Louis Jourdan. The timing is right for it too.

Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
These books are just goofy fun.  There is a good story here, one about Jack the Ripper and the changes happening to England now that Dracula sits on the throne next to Queen Victoria.  All sorts of name dropping in this one (oh look there's Lestat, hey that's Prince Mamuwalde!) and nods to old vampire movies and books.  I have not read all of his books, but the first one was quite fun.  I remember at the time thinking that if Vampire the Masqurade was as fun as this book then I'd play it more.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Oh I LIKED this one. A secret book bearing the symbol from the Order of the Dragon shows up ever so often to historians throughout the 20th century.  Each of them begins a quest that leads them to...what? Dracula? That is too insane, but as each one investigates further and further that is the conclusion they reach.  The Historian spans three generations of historians as they search for the burial place of the infamous Prince only to find he is not there.  Sweeping in scope and attention paid to the smallest detail you can almost smell the old books and taste the blood as you read this one.
It is a sequel in the loose sense.  All the characters have read the Stoker novel and use it as a basis.  It is never made clear whether or not Stoker was one of their kind as well or just happened to be lucky.
This one is long and you should have a love of history, old books or libraries to get the full satisfaction of reading it.
The narrator of the tale, who is 17 in the book, but in her 50s as she is retelling it, is a descendant of Vlad Dracula and would make for a great Van Helsing like character in a modern game.

Fangland by John Marks 
This is a modern re-telling of Dracula rather than an out-right sequel. The main character Evangeline Harker fills the John Harker role, while Ion Torgu is our vampire (of sorts). It starts off really good and I like the gender reversal and the modern setting. Plus I could always imagine that Evangeline was the decedent of Johnathan and Mina Harker.
But the book fell apart on me for a lot of reasons.  First, Ion has none of Dracula's charm or grace.  I also found I didn't care much for the characters in the book and the author kept giving me more.  Telling it from the point of view of Trotter, a character I didn't like, also didn't help.
What bugged me the most was the part where Evangeline meets up with this other woman Clementine Spence after she (Harker) had been tortured at "Dracula's" home. Harker and Spence have a brief physical relationship while in Romania and Harker describes herself as "changing" which we learn means becoming a killer. One night she rapes and kills Spence and then drinks her blood.
Unlike the book (or movies) Harker does not "get better" but has become a vampire. The book makes it clear that Harker only had sex with Spence in order to close enough to kill her.  This is another case of the Dead/Evil Lesbian Cliché and frankly it is getting quite old.  The rest of the book was really just mush after that.
If I kept Evangeline Harker it would only be as a name drop and saying she had been killed under strange circumstances in Romania.  Dracula getting his revenge.

Dracula the Un-dead by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt
I am of mixed feelings about this one.  On one hand we have an interesting story about the events of our heroes 25 years after Dracula.  We have the great, grand-nephew of Bram Stoker penning the tale.  We have a cool mystery involving Elizabeth Bathory.
Then is all goes bad.
The stories never quite jell, the book makes claims that "Dracula" by Stoker got it all wrong and even makes mistakes.  In truth it is like the authors never actually read the book and instead wrote a sequel to the 1990's "Bram Stoker's Dracula" movie.  Of course there are more cliches here as well.  Tying Bathory to the Jack the Ripper murders (which also got some details wrong about that, and didn't do it a well as in Anno Dracula), more evil/dead lesbians in the form of Bathory (God would not allow her to be a lesbian so she rebelled against God and men, but kills women), Mina still pinning over her "Prince" and using a katana to fight of one of Bathory's brides. I could go and on, but I won't.
I liked the more explicit tie-in with Dracula and Bathory.  I like that Dracula, even though is back up and running, is still not 100%, I like Mina not aging (shades of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and the way her and Johnathan's relationship turned sour. I like Seward's morphine addicted vampire hunter.  So like I said a lot of good ideas strung together rather poorly.  In the end the book just made me mad because how bad the ending was.  This book was so derivative of other ideas that it is wonder it got published.
From this I use most of the background and chuck the narrative.

Special Mention

Grave Peril: The Dresden Files, Book 3
I picked this up after a long pause with the series and I have to say this was the best book in series (so far).  I mention here because after nearly throwing Fangland out the window after reading Dracula the Un-Dead this was so good it restored my faith in the vampire story.  Grave Peril is a vampire story and how Chicago's very own Harry Dresden manages to single handedly piss off 2/3rds of all the world vampires.
Dracula is mentioned in the book and Harry also states that Stoker penned the "big guide on how to destroy vampires".  So I'd rather go that direction in my games.  Sure I'll take the idea from DtU-D and say one of the vampire hunters told Stoker their tale and 10 years after that he publishes the book in hopes of building a stage career out of it, but in reality the effect was that vampire hunters all over the world now know how to kill vampires better.
In any case this book was very good and the best one I have read this month.  I am on book 4 now and it is so far just as good.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Elizabeth Bathory, Witch Girls Adventures

Now here is something to get us through Gen Con. The Witch Girls Adventures version of Elizabeth Bathory. I can see a mini-series of adventures featuring Bathory here at the Willow-Mistt school. First with her take-over and the cast slow finding out she is not just named after the sadistic vampire, but is in fact her all the way to the final battle.

I like her numbers here, but would need to playtest them to be sure.

Elizabeth Bathory
Witch Girls Adventures
Vampire
Rank: 5 (or 6 depending on how the cast finds her)
Age: 449 (looks either in her late 20s or 449)
Motivation: To stay young and beautiful forever.

Body: d10
Mind: d12
Senses: d8
Will: d10
Social: d8 +1
Magic: d12

Life Points: 20
Reflex: 13
Resist Magic: 15
Zap Points: 24

Skills (Rank)
Acting d8 +7
Athletics d10
Art d12
Basics d12
Casting d12 +4
Focus d10 +6
Fib d8 + 11
Fighting d10 +2
Hear d8 +1
Instrument d8 +6
Leader d8 +9
Look d8 +4
Magical Etiquette
Mundane Etiquette d8 +7
Mysticism d12 + 4
Mythology d12 + 4
Potions d12 +2
Scare d8 +6

Traits
Beautiful* (only when fed. If not then Hags Syndrome)
Rich
Wicked
Imperial

Magic
Alteration 1
Divination 2
Illusion 3
Mentalism 2
Necromancy 2
Offense 1
Protection 2

Signature Spell: Glamour

Abilities
Common Vampire abilities
Magic Immunity: Bathory is immune to Mentalism and Necromancy type magic.
Shape Shift: Bathory can become a paragon raven or paragon wolf at will.
Special Immortality: Bathory can only die if she is forced to see herself in her “hag” state.

AttacksBite: 10 damage and drains a person of all Life and Zap points. Bathory only feeds on young witches.
Claws: 6

Plot HookElizabeth manages to get on the Board of Directors of the Willow-Mistt School. Through manipulation, magic and outright threats she manages to get Amora Mistt removed as Headmistress and herself put in her place.
Bathory then starts recruiting the best and brightest senior girls to her side, to help ease the transition, to have lackeys in the school and of course when her plans comes, to have these girls nearby so she can drain them of their life-force. She will have also vamped one of the teachers to her side, some she will be grooming as her Scion (I am thinking Connie Li, but certainly NOT Ursula Scratch, too cliché).

Once the big dance comes on Walpurgis Night, Bathory will have worked out a ritual to drain every girl in the School of their magic, blood and life.

That is of course, unless the Stars can do something about it.

The teachers can’t help since going after Elizabeth violates some magical contract they have all signed and she has manipulated to her advantage (something like teacher cannot threaten the school and since she is Headmistress and on the Board and maybe tapped into the energies of the school, she *is* the school). The senior class are all her thralls now (they will willing drain their dates for their mistress at the dance). I would have to say she had Tandy arrested for something, she looks like she is too clever to fall for Bathory’s magic. Ebony would have to be magicked somehow. Leaving Ursula and the Krofts left to help the kids. I like the idea of Ursula having to team up with Susan and Derrick.
Or just do what I did when I originally ran this, make is a inter-term like J-Term (a term in the Winter during break where students can take an extra class for more credit) or Summer Term. I like Summer better, then the dance becomes the Mid-Summer's Ball (figure a 4 week term May 21 to June 22/July 1). Most of the faculty will be away; of course only to show up at the final battle against Bathory’s vampire minions with a very pissed of Amora in the lead. Of course the Stars will need to stop (the rapidly aging) Bathory themselves.
In the grand tradition of horror movies, anime and TV shows, I might need a few red shirt teachers and students to go down in the battle. I am not one to kill characters randomly or even to make a point, but in this case it might be needed.

Elizabeth Bathory in Witch GirlsElizabeth began her life as a young woman as an apprentice witch. She enjoys the power she gains from magic, but has never had the frame of mind to complete her studies much beyond the beginning phases.
She hates the formal training witches receive (part of her reasons to attack the school) but loves that some many potential victims are under one roof.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Elizabeth Bathory, Chill

Going back to my roots here for a bit. Elizabeth Bathory was one of my favorite evil characters in the old Mayfair Chill game. This was the game that convinced me (long before we ever saw Ravenloft for AD&D) that vampires need to played as characters and not monsters. Of course this is the defacto way of doing things now, but back then this was a new and powerful insight. Despite the fact that in the book Bathroy looked like Susan Lucci (and still not a bad choice), 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. After all, she had been locked away and cheated death. Of course the memory of her imprisonment still haunted her, so she became more cautious and more selective. And that is how she was formed for me in Chill. These stats differ from her published ones but they fit better with the Unisystem ones from before. Elizabeth Bathory, Chill (these are my combined 1st and 2nd Ed version of Chill stats) BASIC ABILITIES Strength 90 Perception 100 Dexterity 80 Willpower 110 Agility 90 Luck/EWS 150 Personality 120 Stamina 120 Attack 2/90% Movement 75’ (225' as Raven or Wolf) EDGES & DRAWBACKS (2nd Ed) Name /CIPs/ Notes Attractive /4/ Psychological flaw /1/ Obsessions (stay young, stay beautiful) SKILLS Name (Rank) Score Dagger/Knife (M) 145 Acting/Drama (M) 165 Anthropology/ Archaeology (M) 160 Antiques (M) 130 Art Criticism (M) 160 History (M) 160 Hypnotism (M) 165 Investigation (M) 142 Language, Contemporary [all European languages] (M) 160 Language, Ancient (M) 150 Legend Lore (M) 160 Modeling (M) 142 Disguise(M) 155 Filching(M) 145 Graphology/Forgery (M) 145 Occult Lore (M) 116 Ritual Magic (M) 116 Movement: Varies according to form: in human form, can sprint without Stamina loss; can move 75' per round as mist or fog, 225' as raven or wolf. Disciplines: Animation of the Dead, Appear Dead (Self), Change Self (to large raven, large wolf, woman of any race, cloud of fog), Create a Feast, Darken, Dreamsend, Evil Eye, Flight*, Gnarl, Halt, Haywire, Influence, Purified Shell, Quiet, Slam, Sleep, Steal Memory, Summon, Swarm, Telekinesis, Teleport, Total Illusion, Wave of Fog, White Heat. *Bathory can use Flight any time, day or night, except for one hour after sunrise and one hour after sunset. To fly, she assumes the form of a cloud of sparkling lights that dance in the air, then materializes when the flight ends. She cannot be destroyed while in this dancing light form. IPs: 7200 Characteristics 1. Like other vampires from this region Bathory casts no reflection. Nor does her image appear on film or video tape. All paintings of Bathory have mysteriously disappeared. The quickest way to anger her is to take her photograph. 2. Daylight does not harm or affect Bathory; however, she cannot use the Evil Way for one hour immediately following sunrise, and one hour immediately following sunset. She is still not comfortable however moving about during the day. 3. Bathory can control people who are reduced to 5 or fewer Stamina points by her bite. The extent of this control equals a "C" result under the discipline Influence. 4. Bathory must rest once her Stamina or Willpower goes below 10. When she rests she appears dead. This rest need not take place inside a coffin: a crypt, the inside of a mausoleum, or any place of the dead will do. Twelve hours of uninterrupted rest restore all lost Willpower and stamina. If Bathory is disturbed before the 12 hours have passed, her Stamina and Willpower remain where they were when she began resting; she must start allover again and rest for an entire 12 hours in order to recuperate Willpower and Stamina. 5. The following items offer protection against Bathory: -A Patriarchal Cross (but no other type of cross or crucifix). This item is the holy symbol of the Greek Orthodox Church. Upon seeing this item, Bathory cowers and leaves the room or area in any manner available. Bathory cannot approach within 2-1/2' of the Patriarchal cross. A Patriarchal cross hung above the doorway to a room prevents her from entering or leaving by that doorway. -Garlic. The odor of a bulb of garlic within 2-1/2 feet causes Bathory to leave the room or immediate area. She will use the Evil Way (particularly the discipline Influence ) or her Hypnosis skill to make a subject remove the garlic. -Salt. Bathory cannot touch table salt nor cross directly over a line of table salt. However, as with garlic, she uses skills and Evil Way disciplines in order to make a subject remove the salt. Direct contact with table salt causes an automatic critical wound to Bathory with full damage results (including Stamina loss). -A Wild Rose. This flower has the same effect as garlic. It also immobilizes the Countess when placed upon her. If so immobilized, she can still use the Evil Way, except for any discipline that moves the rose or her own body. -Mountain Ash. When placed upon the Countess, this leaf has the same effect as a wild rose. 6. Bathory must drink the blood of three young (younger than 25 years old) female victims per the New Moon, or her Personality score drops by 50 points for one week. She will appear to have aged 10 years from her usual appearance (that of a beautiful 25 year old woman). For one entire week, she will appear to be a 35 year old woman. If for some reason, she cannot claim three victims from the time she appears as a 35 year old woman, she ages another 10 years and loses another 50 points from her Personality score. If she fails to claim three victims on the fourth successive week, she is destroyed forever. The victims of Elizabeth Bathory do not become vampires when they die, but remain dead after their Stamina falls to zero. The blood of a man does not fulfill Bathory's needs, so rather than perform her vampire attack on male victims, she attacks them with her skills and Evil Way disciplines. Often, she has been known to turn one male against another. 7. When draining blood from the body of her victim, Bathory drains 1d10 points of Stamina per minute. The blood drain lasts for 1d10 minutes. 8. There are several ways to destroy Bathory .If she sustains enough wound damage from table salt, she eventually dies. A wooden stake driven through her heart leaves her completely helpless for one minute. Then, she uses her Evil Way disciplines to change into sparkling lights and escape. Once the stake is driven through Bathory , her body should be set on fire immediately. Bathory's body is highly flammable in this state, catching fire and burning completely in 3 rounds, leaving no trace of its existence. 9. Bathory does not suffer wounds or Stamina loss from normal weapons. I did not see "Countess Dracula" till much later on. While it is a fun little flick in it's own right, I did gain anything new gaming-wise from it. Though a back to back Bathory film-fest might work out well one Halloween eve. Or maybe the weekend of August 21, when the Countess dashed off her mortal coil. Each of these three builds gives me something different. The Unisystem one is best at representing the fiendish side, the bloodthirsty sadist. The Mutants & Masterminds works better for me in terms of the power hungry vampire. And this Chill version is the best at figuring out how to convert a real life psychopath into an calm, cool, undead psychopath. Next up. Something that all three versions have contributed to, Elizabeth Bathory, Headmistress.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Elizabeth Bathory, Mutants & Masterminds

Here is Elizabeth for Mutants & Masterminds 2nd Edition.

It was playing M&M that I got the idea for her to be the new head mistress at a school of magical/gifted/special children. She would live of of their blood to make herself immortal. She would have taken over on Mid-winters night and had until Walpurgis Night (April 30) to get all of her required souls. Of course that is the night of the big school dance.

I plan to expand it for Witch Girls Adventures. Instead of a huge (and literal) bloodbath, I might take a page from the WitchCraft RPG and have her drain Essence instead; which to a witch is more precious than blood anyway.

Erzsébet Báthory
Mutants and Masterminds d20

PL: 12 (185 pp)

Str: 22 (+6) Dex: 20 (+5) Con:NA Int: 20 (+5) Wis: 16 (+3) Chr: 16 (+3)

Skills: Acrobatics 4 (+9), Bluff 8 (+11), Climb 2 (+8) , Concentration 2 (+5), Diplomacy 10 (+13), Disguise 6 (+9), Drive 2 (+7), Escape Artist 2 (+7), Gather Info 4 (+7), Handle Animal 2 (+5), Intimidate 8 (+11), Investigate 2 (+7), Arcane Lore 4 (+9), History 7 (+12), Art 6 (+11), Theology and Philosophy 6 (+11), Streetwise 3 (+8) , Medicine 1 (+4), Notice 6 (+9), Keyboards 3 (+6), Acting 4 (+7), Ride 4 (+9), Search 6 (+11), Sense Motive 8 (+11), Sleight of Hand 1 (+6), Stealth 4 (+9), Survival 6 (+9), Swim (+6)

Feats: Animal Empathy, Assessment, Contacts, Fascinate (2), Fearless, Fearsome Presence (1) , Inspire (1), Leadership, Minions (1), Rage (1), Skill Mastery (1)

Powers: Animal Control (wolves, rats, ravens) (8) , Drain Constitution (blood Drain) (1), Immunity (Fortitude Effects) (30), Insubstantial (dancing lights) (1), Protection (7), Regeneration (source: blood drain) (5), Shapeshift (Wolf, Raven) (2), Magic [- Emotional Control (2), Mind Shield (4)] (4+1)

Combat: Melee 10 [Unarmed +6 (Bruise)] Ranged 10 [Unarmed +6 (Bruise)] Defense 19 (14 flatfooted) Init +5

Saves: Toughness 7 (7 flat-footed) Fortitude NA Reflex 8 Will 7

Drawbacks: Weakness -Blood Dependence [Freq DC 10] [Sev DC 5], Weakness -Holy Items [Freq DC 10] [Sev DC 10] , Weakness -Sunlight [Freq DC 5] [Sev DC 15], Weakness -Garlic, Salt, Wild Rose [Freq DC 5] [Sev DC 5]

Complications: Obsessions: Stay young and beautiful. Temper.
Roleplaying Complications: Erzsébet Báthory is a proud and vain woman, she will always use some form of her real name.

Breakdown: Abilities 34 + Skills 32 (128 ranks) + Feats 12 + Powers 75 + Combat 38 + Saves 7 – Drawbacks -13 = 185

Friday, August 7, 2009

Elizabeth Bathory, Unisystem

Here is my write-up for Bathory for C.J. Carella's WitchCraft RPG. This version focuses more on her sadistic need to cause pain (to release Essence) than some other versions.

I am pretty pleased with this version of her and it helped shape my Mutants and Masterminds and Witch Girls Adventures versions.
She is not a physical powerhouse, but she more than makes up for it with her metaphysics and she is no slouch. Typically she will have minions to help her out in more physical realm and she will have one or two special humans she has enthralled to help her out during the day.

Elizabeth Bathory
Unisystem (Classic)
Character type: Vampyre

Strength: 5
Dexterity: 6
Constitution: 6
Intelligence: 4
Perception: 5
Willpower: 5

Life Points: 63
Endurance Points: 0
Speed: 24
Essence Pool: 114

Qualities
Vampyre 1 15
- Sades Curse
- Bloodthirst
Age 4
Attractiveness 4
Charisma 2
Hard to Kill 3
Increased Essence Pool 7
Nerves of Steel 1
Resources 5

Drawbacks
Covetous - Lecherous 2 (despite lurid tales, Erzsbet is not a lesbian, though she does gain sexual satisfaction from torture).
Cruel 3
Mental Problems, Sadism 3
Mental Problems, Sanguinephilia 3
Obsession 3 (stay young and beautiful)

Skills
Acting 5
Beautician 1
Dancing (Ballet) 2
Fine Arts (Painting) 5
Play Instrument (Piano/Keyboards) 1
Acrobatics 2
Dodge 4
Hand Weapon (Knife) 2
Unconventional Medicine (Herbal Medicine) 1
Craft (Weaver) 5
Humanities (Art History) 3
(History) 5
(Philosophy) 3
(Christian Theology) 4
Instruction 3
Myth and Legend (Slav) 4
Occult Knowledge 7
Rituals (Vampyre) 4
(Voodoo) 2
Sciences (Biology) 1
Writing (Creative) 2
Intimidation 3
Notice 5
Seduction 7
Smooth Talking 3
Riding (Horses) 5

Metaphysics
Greater Shifting 5
Manipulate Emotions 2
Bloodthirst 1
Sade's Curse 1

Alternate Forms
Raven
Strength: 2 Dexterity: 7 Constitution: 3
Intelligence: 4 Perception: 5 Willpower: 5
Life Points: 63
Endurance Points: 0
Speed: 20
Essence Pool: 129

WolfStrength: 4 Dexterity: 5 Constitution: 6
Intelligence: 4 Perception: 5 Willpower: 5
Life Points: 63
Endurance Points: 0
Speed: 22
Essence Pool: 129
Natural Attacks: Bite:1D6xStrength (12) Slashing

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Elizabeth Bathory

For the next few days I want to do something different. Given that Friday is the 449th birthday of Elizabeth Bathory the infamous Blood Countess, I figured I'd post her history as I have researched it and stats for a few of my favorite games.

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction for my role-playing games.  Please do not consider this page as anything other than that.

(and portrayed in my games by Monica Bellucci)

So Happy Birthday Elizabeth. It is too bad you had to gain your infamy in such a brutal and sadistic way, but isn't that often the case.

Erzsébet Báthory
Countess Báthory Erzsébet, Elizabeth Bathory, Alžbeta Bátoriová, also known as the Blood Countess of Hungary.

She was in life, one of the most notorious serial killers in Hungarian history, with detailed accounts in her own hand of how she killed 610 servant girls.

Birth: August 7, 1560 in Nyírbátor in present-day Hungary
Death: August 21, 1614 in Castle Čachtice (Csejte) in present-day Slovakia (54 years old)

Life
Erzsébet Báthory was descended from a long line of one of Europe's wealthiest noble families. Her family had, in the years before her birth, already began to exhibit signs of mental illness and sexual depravity. Known for their brutal acts of sadism, fiery tempers, and bizarre sexual tastes (incest, satyrism and necrophilia being the most scandalous), the Báthorys provided the young Erzsébet the perfect breeding ground for her own neuroses.
Erzsébet began her lifetime of depravity very early. Erzsébet was a Báthory from both her father and mother's side of the family. It is also claimed that Erzsébet is a descendent by blood (if one can use that term) of Vald the Impaler himself.

Even as a very young woman she was known to be cruel, manipulative and promiscuous. Early on she had been sent to live with an aunt only to be introduced to her aunt's own obsessions with bisexuality and witchcraft. While her aunt was content to being merely cruel and have sexual dalliances with the servant girls, Erzsébet had already graduated to torture. Her aunt did introduce her to the whip and flagellation of the servants. A taste she quickly grew accustomed too.

One tale of Erzsébet's early cruelty deals with her treatment of one of these servant girls. Erzsébet was only 14 but already showing the signs of her adult ways. A servant girl, a milk maid, discovered the young Erzsébet in a stable being pleasured by two young stable hands. The servant told her mistress of the deed. Erzsébet denied the whole affair of course and the girl was whipped. Erzsébet, not having satisfied her taste for revenge planned an ambush for the young girl. Once the servant girl was alone in the stable the two young men from before attacked her and ravaged her while Erzsébet watched in delight. When the milk maid later died from her trauma Erzsébet had the two men castrated and executed.

She was engaged to Count Ferncz Nádasdy at the age of 11. The count came to claim his bride when she was 15. Once married they moved into Csejte Castle situated in the Carpathians in present-day western Slovakia near Trenèín, then part of the Kingdom of Hungary. In addition to Erzsébet's illegitimate daughter (born when Erzsébet was 14, father unknown) Erzsébet had six children with the count, but only four survived to adulthood.

Erzsébet inexplicably abandoned Nádasdy to run off with a "Dark Stranger" sometime during the first years of her marriage. Erzsébet returned to Nádasdy and she was forgiven, but speculation about the identity of this dark stranger would come up much later in her life.

Nádasdy was often away at war with the Turks and Erzsébet was left as lady of the castle. She spent this time learning to read and write in four different languages, and came in contact with more horrific forms of torture. She also began to gather around her a rogues gallery of support. Her former nurse Ilona (Helen) Jó, the witches Katarína Benická, Dorota "Dorko" Sentéšová and Anna Darvulia who taught her more witchcraft, her captain of arms Thorko (with whom she was reported to having an affair) and János "Fickó" Ujváry, a twisted dwarf who also relished in the torture and murder of young girls. At times Erzsébet's "Dark Stranger" would make appearances at her torture sessions.

Her marriage did nothing to quell her sadism. She was known to severely beat any of her servants for even the most minor of infractions. Her husband would partake with her when would make his infrequent visits to their home and he introduced his young bride to even more gruesome forms of torture for their shared amusement. Soon even he was outpaced in cruelty by the young Erzsébet. Nádasdy himself came to an ignoble end, the great hero, the "Black Hungarian" feared by the Turks, was killed by a whore he had refused to pay. After his death all restraint Erzsébet had shown was now gone.

A well know, and often retold, tale of Erzsébet deals with the first servant girl Erzsébet tortured to death. While brushing her mistress' hair a servant girl pulled a little too hard and tugged out several strands of Erzsébet's hair. The Countess struck the girl so hard that blood spurted from her nose onto Erzsébet's skin. The countess rubbed the blood away and felt the skin underneath was younger, more beautiful. She quickly sent for the servant girl, had her stripped naked and drained of all her blood. Erzsébet then bathed in the blood of the dying girl. For the next few years it is claimed the Countess tortured, killed and drained the blood from her victims, all beautiful young girls and women, to fill her literal bloodbath. As many as 610 girls met their fate this way in the dungeons of Castle Čachtice.

As the inventible tide of age grew, Erzsébet went from bathing in the blood of virgins to bathing and drinking the blood of virginal girls of noble birth. It is speculated that the law of the time ignored Erzsébet when she focused on peasant girls (whom she regarded as little more than dogs or worse) and focused on noble birth girls.

Erzsébet kept a diary of every victim she killed in her sexual-sadism. She quickly went through the local crop of peasant girls and moved up through the lower gentry. She had to resort to sending out her henchmen to collect young girls from neighbouring lands. One night after an orgy of blood lust Erzsébet had the corpses of three girls tossed out the window instead of taking care to bury them. This was the last straw for the local townsfolk.

Death
On the morning of December 29, 1610 György Thurzó, the palatine of Hungary, was sent by emperor Matthias II to investigate the complaints. Thurzó and his men invaded Csejte and caught Erzsébet in the act in the Csejte country-house; she was torturing several girls - one of them had only just died. She and four collaborators were charged with sadistic torture, as well as mass murder. Despite the overwhelming evidence found by investigators, Elizabeth herself was not brought to trial.

Except for Katarína, all of Erzsébet's collaborators were executed at Bytèa on January 7, 1611. Katarína's guilt could not be proven, and according to McNally's sources from recorded testimony by all witnesses, she seems to have been dominated and bullied by Dorota Sentéšová and Anna Darvulia. Two of the women had their extremities hacked off before being thrown onto a blazing fire, while Fickó, whose guilt was deemed the lesser, had the mercy of being beheaded before being consigned to the flames. A public scaffold was erected near the castle to show the public that justice had been done.

Erzsébet herself was walled up alive in her castle, kept alive only by food poked through a slit in her door. On August 21, 1614 one of her guards took a peak to see the famed beauty of the countess saw that she was dead.

Undeath
Erzsébet was burned at the stake after her death and placed in the family crypts. It was then that her dark stranger, none other than her own distant relative, Dracula, returned. Having infused Erzsébet with his own vampiric blood during their initial tryst he called to her to join him in unlife.
Erzsébet remained with Dracula for many years, but they had a disagreement over his "harem". She demanded to be his one and only bride, an equal in his endeavours, he refused and she left. At least that is the story that Dracula scholars tell. It must have been much more than that since there exists a great animosity now between the two noble vampires.

Erzsébet has since travelled throughout Europe, often accompanied by a young woman or man. These thralls are not vampires, but under her control. Erzsébet also has numerous allies that will aid her in dozens of countries.

Every new moon Erzsébet (now using Elizabeth for the most part) must feed on the blood of three virgins or she will begin to age. She appears as a hauntingly beautiful woman in her prime (25-30). However every month she does not feed she appears to age 10 years. This is similar to the aging that Dracula does, but while the Count uses this as a way to keep people from realizing he is a vampire, the Countess is very vain and cannot stand to be anything but perfect.



In life Elizabeth had long black hair. Given the style of the time she died it blonde very often and it sometimes appears to be red. In undeath her hair is black right after feeding but changing quickly to iron grey to white as her month progresses.

Elizabeth has been searching for a permanent solution to her aging problem, one that will allow her to stay forever young. There was a time in 18th century France that she felt she had a solution, draining a virgin girl a day. But even that did not stave off her aging effects. Elizabeth was also known to be in London in the 1840's, Ireland soon after, Russia in the 1900's to 1920, and Germany in up to 1945. It was believed that she was working with the Nazis on their Gegengeistgrüppe, though she had her own motives and plans. She was seen again in her native Hungry during the late 1970's and then she vanished, believed to have been destroyed.

Erzsébet Today - Mid-Semester's Nightmare
Elizabeth was recently spotted in Boston, her first recorded American encounter. Here she worked her way into a position at BLANK* Academy. Of note in this particular class were a large number of Gifted and magic wielding girls. Elizabeth had moved not only to the "blue bloods" of America, but ones that were magical as well. Elizabeth's plan was to drain the blood and magical essence of these young girls in order to achieve her ultimate goal of everlasting immortal beauty.

Notes: I had this idea of her finding a job at a school so she could feed on all the young virgins there. I thought I might go BESM with it, but I started to play M&M and Claremont looked like it fit rather well. I would also love to try this in Witch Girls Adventures, though the tone of that game is much lighter than the plot of a depraved blood fiend feeding on all the magical girls she can get her hands on.

The game, "Mid-Semester's Nightmare", was my "crossover" mini-season where I dual (or tri-) stated most things. Chill, d20, BESM and M&M were all worked in to my normal Unisystem game.

Bathory was my big bad from Chill and I thought that she would be perfect to bring back.

Of course she was defeated at the end of "Mid-Semester's Nightmare", but that is not the first time someone has thought that.

Links
http://bathory.org/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_B%C3%A1thory
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Elizabeth-Erzsebet-Bathory/15657774961
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A593084
http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0026864/

*It was "Claremont Academy" under Mutants & Masterminds, "Eden Girls' Academy" under Unisystem, the "New School" for BESM, and "Boston Academy for Girls" in Chill.