Monday, April 26, 2010

No Wonder Vampires Are So Lonely

...reviewing all the monsters, you'll notice there's only one decent monster that starts with V. Unless you count the Vargouille, which is a type of vampire.


The usual problem with vampires in D&D is squaring the typical (and very interesting) conception of a vampire as a spooky Machiavellian subtle horror movie monster with the fact that the easiest thing for a vampire to be in D&D is a guy just like you who hits you with things and can turn into a wolf or a bat and is really hard to kill. Basically a sort shape changing Goth-themed super villain

I'll just record a few rules you might be able to use to make a spookier vampire:

A vampire can never (and knows it can never) touch the same victim twice--so if it goes after you, it's going all the way.

A vampire can never appear to the same person in the same form twice--so you never know if you're fighting the vampire or just one of its minions.

A vampire can never change shape in front of anyone else and if reduced to 0 hp it will have to be rescued.


My best shot at the vargouille was this.


mordicai said...

My fondest memories of a DnD vampire are:

As a monk chasing the retreating fog-ed vampire across tree tops trying to finish it off & on my last edge-of-the-forest jump kick, getting caught by the druid who had shifted into a dire bat (the vampire got away)

& in the 3e Ravenloft-- an adventure that killed dozens of PCs but not my quirky Dwarf Ninja/Paladin. There is a random encounter with is just the same Barbarian Vampire who rages & fights to the death...only to come back to life & look for more opportunities to rage & fight to the death. He is like, living his own personal Valhalla!

Adam Dickstein said...

D&D vampire as supervillain...Sign Me Up!

One of the best Superhero RPG adventures I ever ran was using the original Ravenloft module with Villains & Vigilantes. Strahd Von Zarovich was a mutant turned into a vampire and survives to become a villain in the WW II/Golden Age era as well as modern times.

The PCs went through the module's Ravenloft Castle believing it to be his NYC townhouse disquised secret lair.

Good times, good times.

Unknown said...

I'm pretty sure that vargouilles are actually demons, not vampires although they have some similar characteristics. Then again, that may just be 3.5 talking. If you're still thinking about creepy/interesting alternate methods of dealing with vamps (twins plowing a furrow around the house / old ladies sticking knives into the grave) I thought you might want to have a look at this. The Rat King ( an old German omen usually denoting a plague, but I bet you could work it in with vamps as well. Anyway, great blog. It's always fun to read.

Dan said...

James: Ah yes, the Rat King is a great bit of folklore and I'm surprised it doesn't make it into more monster manuals.

As for Vampires, I've decided that in future I am going to use more Strigoi-inspired vampires (having grown bored with modern vampire tropes in the current proliferation). That is, my vampires will be a kind of 'solid ghost'. The corpse remains in the grave, the image of the person goes wandering about seducing folks and drinking blood and so on. Having vampires be literal creatures of darkness is scarier to me than the jumped-up-zombies they have become of late. Also I'm dropping the viral model proliferation (same with lycanthropy - even besides the logic problems I can think of lots of better ways to turn people into vampires and lycanthropes).

Obviously, I prefer the 'Vampire As Ghost Story' option.

Possible V monster: Valkyrie. I like what 4E has done with angels, taking the fearsome beings of fire and light approach and I can see Valyries being adapted as a Norse-themed type of these. Divine but not benevolent. My favourite angels in fiction: those in Hyung Min-woo's Priest manwa.

Eric M said...

I think I'd have to do the opposite of your first rule - a vampire can only have one victim at a time. Then they become relentless and obsessed in pursuit of that victim if it escapes. Kind of like Dracula or Count Orloff, it will go to any ends to make their chosen victim theirs. They would be exceedingly particular about who they chose to feed on or convert, and some vampires would openly court their prey. For best results, make the vampire a recurring villain in the campaign who is actively and openly pursuing a female party member (or in the case of a female vampire, a male party member) - even better if he can make the party member willingly, without the aid of magic, serve him/her.

I have never been one opposed to internal TPK.