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Author Topic: The Riddle of Blood  (Read 10715 times)
Judd
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« on: August 01, 2004, 02:04:09 PM »

The Starless Crown worn on the brow of a powerful lich rallied the undead hordes to war with the living.  The power of the crown forced even our own Grand Duke to bend his knee.  Beasts from every crypt and crag flocked to the banners held by the Order of Dracula’s Grand Duke and his lich lord’s Starless Crown.  We shook the foundations of the world.  During the War of the Dead cities burned, oceans frothed with blood and the sky wept angel’s tears.

On the Danubian Plains our armies met with the combined might of humanity, gathered to defeat the dead.  The Starless Crown shattered when the Lord Inquisitor beheaded the lich.  Although we have kept it a closely guarded secret, our lord’s heart was taken from his body during the battle of Danubian Plains.

Now while we tend to our wounded and search for the heart of our Lord other beasts gather in the shadows.  Greedy dragons want the wealth we have accrued over the centuries.  Lady Medusa demands that her marriage to our Grand Duke go forward as was promised before his heart was torn from his chest on the Danubian Plains.  The Twilight Kingdom, long holding our folk in contempt, is circling our kingdom like a murder of crows after a delightful slaughter.

And of course the humans continue their hunt, bolstered by their recent victory over our combined might.  They put on a brave face behind their holy symbols, drag us into the sunlight, put stakes in our hearts.  
Our enemies are all around us, hateful and self-righteous.  Before they take our blood, they will feel the dark touch of our sorcery and die at the end of our steel.

How much blood would you spill to live forever?
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Judd
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Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2004, 02:05:47 PM »

Priority Write-Ups
   The write-ups for each priority are suggestions; they are ways the character might have such power.  The description does not have to be precisely what the character is about or how they gained this temporal or arcane power, as long as they have similar power through their choices of priorities.

Blood & Sorcery Priority

A – Vampire and More
   Your Blood is mingled with some other mythical beast or devil that makes you even more powerful.
   All Nine Vagaries available.
   While in sunlight you cannot use any vagaries and can be killed as a human.

B – Trueborn
   You were born from a Vampire’s womb.
   All Nine Vagaries are available.
   While in sunlight you cannot use any vagaries, can be killed as a human and take a -1 to all pools.

C – Turned Servant
   You were a faithful servant and were rewarded with the ultimate gift, bitten in an extravagant ritual.
   Six vagaries are available.
   While in sunlight you cannot use any vagaries, can be killed as a human and take -2 to all pools.

D – Bitten
   You were bitten without ceremony or glory, perhaps even an accident.
   Three vagaries are available.
   While in sunlight you cannot use any vagaries, can be killed as a human and take -3 to all pools.

E – Weak Draught
   You were bitten by a weak vampire and turned without ceremony.
   Three vagaries are available but only Spells of One are available to you.
   While in sunlight you cannot use any vagaries, can be killed as a human, take -3 to all pools and must move at half of your normal movement.

F – Thinblood
   You were bitten by a weak vampire or perhaps only stole a true vampire’s blood and gained immortality through human ritual.
   One vagary is open to you.
   While in sunlight you cannot use any vagaries, can be killed as a human, take -5 or half (whichever is more) to all pools and must move at half of your normal movement.


Class Priority

A – Vampire Lord
   You are the lord of a keep.  In the war you commanded undead legions and razed cities so you could bathe in your enemies’ blood.
 Your holdings grant you 3d10•10 Gold Suns monthly income.  You have 10 immediate servants who can be trusted within your lair, a small garrison of warriors and several hundred serfs who live in mortal terror of your name but usually do your bidding without question.
   You have lived for over a century.
   You have hunting rights wherever you please.  Only the most powerful and ancient of vampires disputes your claims.
   As long as your vampiric sate is not made public, you can walk among mortal nobility for a time but eventually someone will uncover your heritage.

B – Death Knight
   You are a minor lord, a knight without land.  In the war you commanded a battalion of ghouls and lesser vampires into battle.
   You begin play with 100 Gold Suns and receive no monthly income.  If you are sworn directly to a greater Lord, you may receive 1d10•10 in monthly income for being a knight in his household.
   You have not yet seen a hundred years.
   You may hunt where you wish but greater lords might become irate should you stumble on the wrong mortal or take blood from a village they consider theirs by right.
   Your title is not recognized by mortal society but through pomp and circumstance might convince mortals that you are in fact a knight for a time, until they see your lack of reflection.

C – Pack Alpha
   You are a soldier, a minor courtier or a leader of a pack of ghouls.  In the army you were an officer, leading human retainers and mercenaries.
   You begin play with 50 Gold Suns and if you are sworn to a lord’s banner you may take 4d10 Gold Suns per month.
   You have not yet seen 50 years.
   You must take care to get permission to hunt or bring the wrath of a higher tanked vampire down on your head.
   In mortal society you are seen as wealthy but holding no rank.

D – Lone Wolf
   You are a hunter, a scout, or a valued retainer in a lord’s household or the bloodsucking beast of a forest or mountain. In the war you were a foot soldier who followed orders and fought in the front lines.
   You begin play with 15 Gold Suns and may take a monthly wage of 1d6 Gold Suns if you are sworn to a lord or knight.
   You have not yet seen 20 years.
   Hunting rights must be procured or you will find yourself antagonized by those who consider themselves your betters.
   In mortal society you are seen as a well-to-do peasant.
   
E – Hunted Beast
   You are a lord’s servant or a monster who stalks a village cemetery. In the war you were a foot soldier who was thrown into the worst situations and guarded the camp during the day.
   You begin play with 5 Gold Suns and can bring in 1d10 Silver Moons twice a year.
   Hunting is as dangerous to you due to vampire threats as human threats and you probably feed illegally often, hoping none notice or do dirty work for a vampire lord in return for limited hunting privileges.
   
F – Outcast
   You are a creature of the sewer, a peasant among the undead.  In the war you were not asked to serve but if you did were sent to fight among the ghouls and mindless zombies.
   You begin play with no money.
   Hunting rights are routinely denied because few vampire lords want your lot in their territory.
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Judd
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« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2004, 02:07:43 PM »

Gifts

Pack Leader: (Minor) A pack of dire wolves, ghouls or specters calls you their alpha.  They follow you into battle, perhaps having followed your leadership during the War of the Dead.

Ward’s Care: (Minor/Major) You have been granted a foster-child from another mythical beast’s home.  This grants you some power over their household so long as you hold the fosterling within your power.
   The following are two lists detailing different kinds of people who care for your fosterling whose wardenship you hold.
   Minor: Mortal Lord, Vampire of equal status, mythical beast of equal power
   Major: Mortal King or Queen, Vampire of considerably more power, dragon, Lady Medusa, Mummy, Wizard, the Pope

Superstitious Nonsense:  (Minor) You only have one weakness from the List of Pain.  (Major)  You have no weaknesses from the List of Pain.  

Impaler’s Blessing: (Major) When you are struck dead, there is a seven-day period when you can still be recovered.  The only way to cut this weeklong period short and destroy you forever is to cut off your head and bury it at a crossroads, stuffing the mouth with garlic and a stake of ash wood put through your heart.

Blood Cache: (Minor) You have enough blood in storage to allow for one week without hunting.  This cache will be renewed once a year.  
   (Major) You have a retainer who will allow you to drain them from time to time, staving off the weekly hunger.  They will operate at half of all pools after being fed from until they rest for 3 days.

Claws: (Minor) You have claws for hands.  Be they fingernails, filed to razor sharp points or furry claws like a beast.  They cannot be taken from you without seriously maiming your hands.

Flaws

Far-away Fosterling: (Minor) Someone you deeply love, someone mentioned in one or more of your SA’s has been fostered to another mythical beast making them a glorified hostage.  This arrangement gives them some power over you until the fosterling is out of harm’s way.

Curse of Helios: (Major) All CP penalties listed for sunlight are doubled.  If 0 penalties add +2 to all CP penalties when in sunlight.

Curse of Man: (Minor) A human whose life you destroyed got away.  He could be plotting your demise or organizing a hunting party even now.  (Major) A society of vampire hunters has crossed paths and possibly swords with you.  They know your name and several of your methods and are certainly using their considerable resources to destroy you utterly.

Blood Frenzy: (Major) When you drain a human of blood you cannot stop until you have drained them completely and spend a quarter of an hour in a kind of blood haze.  If any humans were to approach you while you feed you would have to roll a WP TN 8 not to attack them too.

Picky Eater: (Major/Minor) You can only feed on the blood of certain types of people.
   Minor: blue-eyed beauties, nobles, carnivorous beasts
   Major: descendants, folk of one village, kings and queens, wizards, other mythical beasts (including vampires)

Mark of the Beast: (Minor) You are hideous and look like a monster from legends.  However this affliction is fairly easy to mask and hide.  (Major)  Even other beasts are struck by fear when they see your visage.  There is no hiding the horror that is your physical form.  Even without any other clues, some villagers will gather pitch-forks and torches to drive you into the night upon seeing you shamble through their town.
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Judd
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Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2004, 02:09:38 PM »

Undead Physiology

Vampires feel pain, shock and blood loss just as acutely as mortals.  Sunlight does not destroy vampires in a fireball of destruction, nor does it make their flesh smoke or melt.  It does make vampires distinctly uncomfortable, making their sorcery impotent and often their combat is less effective.

All vampires must declare 3 weaknesses from the List of Pain that denotes which superstitions are true for their particular breed of vampire.
   
No matter the wounds given to a vampire at night, if they are returned to their coffin with a pound of dirt from their homeland within, their wounds will be completely healed with only the lightest scars to show.  Limbs may be put back into place even if they are desiccated or only bone when they are returned.

However, if a vampire is wounded during the day, they are considered destroyed forever, immortality revoked (unless they have the Major Gift, Impaler’s Blessing).  If the vampire is wounded at night and sunlight touches their body, their wounds become mortal and they can die.

List of Pain

    • Cannot cross natural running water
    • Holy Symbol Held in the hands of the Faithful causes a TN 7 knockdown Check
    • Cannot enter a household without being invited first.
    • Garlic causes discomfort TN 7 WP check or reduced to spitting and hissing   
    • May not directly attack anyone wearing a holy symbol
    • May not enter consecrated ground
    • New entries to the List of Pain at the Seneschal’s discretion.
    • No reflection shows in mirrors, making you easy to spot by hunters[/list:u]

Blood & Hunting Rights

Vampires must devour blood equal to the volume contained in a grown man every week.  If they do not feed on this much blood every seven days, they lose half of their CP.  When their CP reaches less than one they go into a coma until they are fed the volume of blood contained in a grown man.
   
Which vampire lords have rights over which dominion is decided through complicated treaties.  Some are written in blood on vellum, or carved into basalt obelisks hidden under the city’s sewers while others are verbal agreements sealed and renewed during carnivals every year.

Plebeians of vampire society could find hunting dangerous not only because of mortal interference but because of their fellow undead’s baroque and byzantine society.  There are not enough vampires to police every part of every lord’s domain.  If a vampire keeps the hunting quiet, making it look like some other manner of death, they will often evade detection and risk.  However, should a vampire of low social standing go into an undead of higher standing’s domain and bring unwanted attention they could find themselves subjected to a duel at best and destroyed while they sleep at worst, hunted by their own kind.

Vampiric Dueling
   
When the damned have a public dispute they handle it much like mortals.  Before the War of the Dead vampires, ghouls, mummies and specters often warred upon one another. However, in the days after the undead army’s defeat at Danubian Fields solidarity has settled over the society of the dead.  In order to prolong their immortal existences, a system of dueling, modeled very much after dueling among the mortal knights has become fashionable.
   
The challenger dictates the duel’s victory conditions.  The challenged party may choose the weapons and armor.  They declare seconds, chosen from among the undead.
   
Any limbs the victor cleaves from his opponent before he gives up for passes into a coma are his to keep.  Duels with heavy swords and axes are extremely popular in hopes that the victor will gain a limb to aid in the control of their antagonist.
   
Daylight duels are reserved for only the bitterest feuds.  Elders and allies will attempt to dissuade the duelists from this course of action, in hopes of preserving their vampire brethren.  Daylight duels are always to total destruction with the victor often taking the head of the conquered.  If both parties are struck down none may touch their corpses for seven days, allowing the carrion to take their pick of the fools’ corpses.
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Judd
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Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2004, 02:11:32 PM »

Vagaries (obviously, the area I need to work on a bit more, probably will have this fleshed out this week some time)

Beasts of the Night

Iron Will

Shape Flesh

Scry

Deviltry

Necromancy

Summon

Banish

Contain
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Judd
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Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2004, 02:12:02 PM »

Opinions and thoughts appreciated.

Thanks for reading.
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Deliverator
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Posts: 19


« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2004, 05:39:50 PM »

Looks deeply awesome, though I haven't read over every last detail, what you have looks solid.  My one obvious concern regards the rewritten priority columns, and is something probably easily handled with common-sense, but I think it's worth pointing out:  no one should be able to be F in the blood column and higher than, probably D or *maybe* C in the Social Class column.  Right?

Anyway, awesome concept.

Matt
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Judd
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Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2004, 01:56:32 AM »

Thanks, Matt.  Glad ya dig the concept.

Quote from: Deliverator
no one should be able to be F in the blood column and higher than, probably D or *maybe* C in the Social Class column.  Right?


Just as there could be a Sorcerer slave in traditional TROS, there could be mixed up priorities like what you speak of.  I put lengthy descriptions of what these priorities could be in my vision of a vampire society but I also tried to say that the write-ups are just suggestions and that it is the power-levels and not how these powers are granted that are truly important.

I'd want players to find new ways to interpret what a level A priority means exactly.  I think undead society is ragged enough for many shades of gray.

Am I making sense.  I hope so.

Thanks for taking the time to read what I have so far for TRoB.
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Tywin Lannister
Member

Posts: 95


« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2004, 03:43:19 AM »

Awesome!
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The trees bend their boughs towards the earth and nighttime birds float as black faces.
Judd
Member

Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2004, 03:43:56 AM »

Let's try a few examples:

Okay, I've made a character with:

Quote
Blood & Sorcery Priority

A – Vampire and More
Your Blood is mingled with some other mythical beast or devil that makes you even more powerful.

All Nine Vagaries available.

While in sunlight you cannot use any vagaries and can be killed as a human.

Class Priority

F – Outcast

You are a creature of the sewer, a peasant among the undead. In the war you were not asked to serve but if you did were sent to fight among the ghouls and mindless zombies.

You begin play with no money.

Hunting rights are routinely denied because few vampire lords want your lot in their territory.

As long as your vampiric sate is not made public, you can walk among mortal nobility for a time but eventually someone will uncover your heritage.


This is a character who was a great general in the War of the Dead and helped broker the treaty with the liche, politically forcing the Grand Duke to bend his knee to the Starless Crown.  After Dunabian Fields, despite your powerful demonic blood you have become exiled from your kind.  Their hatred might die down in a few centuries...but perhaps not.

And on to a character with:

Quote
Blood & Sorcery Priority

F – Thinblood
You were bitten by a weak vampire or perhaps only stole a true vampire’s blood and gained immortality through human ritual.

One vagary is open to you.

While in sunlight you cannot use any vagaries, can be killed as a human, take -5 or half (whichever is more) to all pools and must move at half of your normal movement.


along with

Class Priority

A – Vampire Lord

You are the lord of a keep. In the war you commanded undead legions and razed cities so you could bathe in your enemies’ blood.

Your holdings grant you 3d10•10 Gold Suns monthly income. You have 10 immediate servants who can be trusted within your lair, a small garrison of warriors and several hundred serfs who live in mortal terror of your name but usually do your bidding without question.

You have lived for over a century.

You have hunting rights wherever you please. Only the most powerful and ancient of vampires disputes your claims.


Once you were a mortal alchemist who was trying to find immortality.  You found it.  In the days since you have slowly but surely risen through the ranks.  You knew that so long as vampire society was ruled by blood you would always be a lacky.  

But then the Danubian Fields became an undead slaughter with many of the old blooded kings and princes dying by the score.  Your blood is thin but your mind is sharp and other vampires, knowing that you won't lead them into a foolhardy charnel house in an effort for more power, have crowned you and sworn to be your loyal thane.

Surely there are old-blooded fools who disdain you and your rank but you hold too much power for them to say a word.
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Kaare Berg
Member

Posts: 158


« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2004, 06:00:34 AM »

Great Idea.

Love the flavour and the story ideas that pop out from your post.

I've got to many commitments to try, but I'll watch this thread just to see where you take it.

Love the pick your pain list.

K
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-K
Valamir
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« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2004, 08:09:59 AM »

Most Excellent.

I think the blood needs are far too high, however.  That's ALOT of blood.  There's about 5 liters of blood in the body, and in an age before blood transfusion losing any notable amount of that will result in death.  So you're looking at 1 death a week or a dozen really woozy living donors per week.  If there are more than a handful of vampires per human city, its going to be noticed.  I'd make it at most per month.

Either a large amount but a longer period of time, or a smaller amount more frequently depending on which is the feel you're going for.
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Judd
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Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2004, 10:36:13 AM »

Quote from: Valamir
Most Excellent.

I think the blood needs are far too high, however.  That's ALOT of blood.  There's about 5 liters of blood in the body, and in an age before blood transfusion losing any notable amount of that will result in death.  So you're looking at 1 death a week or a dozen really woozy living donors per week.  If there are more than a handful of vampires per human city, its going to be noticed.  I'd make it at most per month.

Either a large amount but a longer period of time, or a smaller amount more frequently depending on which is the feel you're going for.


Good call.  Something to think about, for sure.
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Kaare Berg
Member

Posts: 158


« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2004, 11:45:08 PM »

Having printed and read through this I've got one question.

Why the WOD angle?

Quote from: Paka
And of course the humans continue their hunt, bolstered by their recent victory over our combined might. They put on a brave face behind their holy symbols, drag us into the sunlight, put stakes in our hearts.


At first impression, from the first part narrative I got the impression that the Vampire Lords ruled their own country, weakened and beset by enemies. But their own lands none the less.

So why hide from other humans, unless infiltrating their lands?

If your premise is how much blood will you spill to live forever, then would you not be better served by allowing the characters to revel in their power instead of hiding in the shadows?

K
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-K
Judd
Member

Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2004, 04:00:36 AM »

Quote from: Negilent
Having printed and read through this I've got one question.

Why the WOD angle?

Quote from: Paka
And of course the humans continue their hunt, bolstered by their recent victory over our combined might. They put on a brave face behind their holy symbols, drag us into the sunlight, put stakes in our hearts.


At first impression, from the first part narrative I got the impression that the Vampire Lords ruled their own country, weakened and beset by enemies. But their own lands none the less.

So why hide from other humans, unless infiltrating their lands?

If your premise is how much blood will you spill to live forever, then would you not be better served by allowing the characters to revel in their power instead of hiding in the shadows?

K


Right on.  The only times when players will have to actively hide their nature is when in certain places.  And even in their own country, there's always the fear of a daylight revolt.

There will be places where vampire characters would be able to be blatantly vampires and do their thing at will.  No doubt.  There are also dangerous kingdoms that just defeated the vampire armies at Danubian Fields who are on the lookout for the remnants of the undead hordes.

I'm not going for a gothic, tortured view on undead immortality but a bloody and vicious take.  There are places where it will be smart for the PC's to be subtle but I don't think that automatically makes this WoD.  Vampires aside, I think there's something different going on here but I knew when I wrote it that comparisons were going to be inevitable.
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