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Old 03-18-2017, 03:13 PM   #1
Apollonian
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Vampire Templates for Cabal

I'm putting together a (Victorian London) Cabal campaign framework, and as part of that I'm building quite a few monsters-as-PCs templates. The intent is that PCs will take mandatory Nature template (vampire, mage, werewolf, etc.) and an optional Role template (infiltrator, negotiator, enforcer...) and then have a few points left out of 150 points (or 200, I haven't settled on the cap) to tweak characters to their satisfaction.

The campaign is TL5, 1850s London, using Ritual Path Magic. Characters are Outer Circle Cabalists concerned with conspiratorial occult doings in the Material Realm, with the occasional jaunt into the Astral.

All that said, I'd like some feedback on the vampire templates I'm designing. They're meant to be for lower-powered vamps, so quite a bit less oomph than the vampires from Monster Hunters, for example. Let's start with the Nosferatu.

Nosferatu
The Nosferatu are vampirism as contagion. They are hideous, strong, and stealthy. Often dominated by bestial appetites, they must control those appetites to maintain the secret of their existence. When they feed, they spread disease among their prey, including their own condition. They have a bond with certain vermin, and affiliation with the decans of disease and decay.

Newly Infected Nosferatu [75]

Attributes (70): ST +5 [50]; IQ-1 [-20]; DX +1 [20] HT +2 [20]
Secondary Characteristics: HP +5 [10]

Advantages [142]: Acute Taste & Smell 3 [6]; Can burn HP for extra effort [1]; Doesn't Breath [20]; Immunity to Metabolic Hazards [30]; Injury Tolerance (Unliving) [20]; Night Vision 5 [5]; Unaging [15]; Vampiric Bite [30]; and 15 points from Optional advantages.
Optional: Acute Hearing [2/lvl]; Acute Taste & Smell [2/lvl]; Claws (Sharp Claws) [High Pain Threshold [10]; Silence [5/lvl]; Speak With Animals (Vermin and graveyard animals only, -50%) [13]

Disadvantages [-162]: Appearance (Hideous) [-16]; Draining (blood) [-5]; Dependency (Graveyard or plague ground earth; common, daily) [-30]; Infectious Attack [-5]; Secret (Vampire; possible death) [-30]; Supernatural Features (No Body Heat*, Pallor*) [-6]; Trademark (traces of disease and death) [5]*; Unhealing (Partial) [-20]; Weakness (Sunlight, 1d per 5 minutes) [-30]; and 15 points from Optional Disadvantages.
Optional: Bad Smell [-10]; Disturbing Voice [-10]; Odious Personal Habit [-5 to -15]; Uncontrollable Appetite (human blood; mitigator, not if at full HP, -60%) [6]**

Features: Affected by Path of Undead (instead of Body/Mind) magic; Neither has nor uses FP.

Skills [15]: Brawling (E) DX [1]; Observation (A) IQ+1 [4]; Stealth (A) DX+1 [4]; Survival OR Urban Survival (A) Per+1 [4]; Wrestling (A) DX [2]

* This represents the nosferatu leaving the smell of decay, various diseases and parasites, and particles of grave dirt or what have you wherever it goes and on its victims. It takes no time at all to apply, but it is completely involuntary and automatic. It could be mitigated by someone else's Housekeeping skills, I suppose...
** A little unsure about the mitigator on this one. As long as the Nosferatu is at full HP, i.e. fully fed, it ignores Uncontrollable appetite, BUT Draining means that it's hungry at the beginning of every night. Does it seem legitimately costed?

I'm trying to build a creature that is physically formidable but socially badly hampered, has good reason to stay underground and in the dark, and has the skills to physically hunt down and subdue prey. As a PC, it'd be a good choice for someone who wants to work up a bruiser or a stalker, or wants to play up the angst of being forced out of mortal society and into the shadows. Any ideas on how I can improve the template? Missed traits or skills? Stuff that looks unnecessary or conflicts with the concept?
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Old 03-18-2017, 04:45 PM   #2
johndallman
 
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Default Re: Vampire Templates for Cabal

If you can find a copy of Pagan Publishing's Call of Cthulhu supplement The Golden Dawn at a sane price, I think you'll find it very useful for this campaign. It has a lot on English occultism, although it's set a bit later than your game.
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Old 03-19-2017, 10:58 AM   #3
Kelly Pedersen
 
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Default Re: Vampire Templates for Cabal

The template should probably have Social Stigma (Monster), as well as the other disads, or Secret (Monstrous Vampire) if they've somehow managed to act in human society without their vampiric nature being revealed so far. The social stigma means that humans who don't even see the creature directly will still have reactions along the lines of "I will not work with or for such a foul monster!"

Rather than Trademark for the "traces of disease and death", I'd suggest adding it to Supernatural Features. I'd call "constantly leaves bits of rotting flesh, grave dirt, signs of disease, etc." a -10 Supernatural Feature, giving -2 to reactions to anyone who spends any time in areas you've spent any significant time in, +2 to rolls to determine your supernatural nature, and +2 to rolls for skills like Tracking to trace your passage. Trademark is less appropriate because it has a self-control number by default, so the vampire would technically get a roll to resist leaving signs of death and decay, which would be weird. Also, Trademark is usually supposed to be a unique way of tracking the specific character, which leads to odd things like the super-detective character saying "Ah, of course Count Orlock was here - I recognize his unique traces of grave earth and soiled bandages".

To cover the "spreads disease among those they feed on" element, I'd add Social Disease to the base disadvantages of the template. Biting someone should definitely count as "close, unprotected physical contact".

In general, I'm not really in love with the way the template gives optional advantages and disadvantages. Those sorts of things are really more appropriate for an occupational template, not a racial template. Racial templates in general are a bit more "fixed". Giving options isn't unreasonable, of course! But the format would be better, I think, if it more closely followed other GURPS templates. What I'd suggest is to keep the base template as it is, and then create a few "packages" of advantages and disadvantages that go together to create "subraces". For example, you could offer "Predatory", a package that contained Acute Hearing 2 [4], Acute Taste and Smell 2 [4], Combat Reflexes [15], and Bestial [-15]. Build all your packages on the same point value, and you can just say in your advantage list "pick an 8-point (or whatever point cost you go for) package from the options below".

Another option for adding choices to your racial template is the "Racial Gifts" perk. This allows someone to spend points on additional features that their race permits, but doesn't make required. For example, in Monster Hunters, the Demon template has "Demonic Gifts", so a character with it could spend points on things like horns, bat wings, claws, fiery auras, and so forth.
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Old 03-19-2017, 11:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: Vampire Templates for Cabal

Why does it have Unhealing: Partial? Does it naturally heal in graveyards?
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Old 03-19-2017, 12:59 PM   #5
Apollonian
 
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Default Re: Vampire Templates for Cabal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
The template should probably have Social Stigma (Monster), as well as the other disads, or Secret (Monstrous Vampire) if they've somehow managed to act in human society without their vampiric nature being revealed so far. The social stigma means that humans who don't even see the creature directly will still have reactions along the lines of "I will not work with or for such a foul monster!"
The template already has Secret (Vampire; possible death), which I think covers that. Given that it's meant for play among Cabalists, who are pretty monstrous in themselves, I don't think Social Stigma applies for them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
Rather than Trademark for the "traces of disease and death", I'd suggest adding it to Supernatural Features. I'd call "constantly leaves bits of rotting flesh, grave dirt, signs of disease, etc." a -10 Supernatural Feature, giving -2 to reactions to anyone who spends any time in areas you've spent any significant time in, +2 to rolls to determine your supernatural nature, and +2 to rolls for skills like Tracking to trace your passage. Trademark is less appropriate because it has a self-control number by default, so the vampire would technically get a roll to resist leaving signs of death and decay, which would be weird. Also, Trademark is usually supposed to be a unique way of tracking the specific character, which leads to odd things like the super-detective character saying "Ah, of course Count Orlock was here - I recognize his unique traces of grave earth and soiled bandages".

To cover the "spreads disease among those they feed on" element, I'd add Social Disease to the base disadvantages of the template. Biting someone should definitely count as "close, unprotected physical contact".
Good point on the Trademark thing; I'll use Unnatural Feature instead. (And possibly recommend Trademark as an individual flaw, since I love that each nosferatu might have its own particular flavor of filth that it spreads...) As for the spreads disease bit, I found the perfect trait: the Perk Pestilent from GURPS Horror.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
In general, I'm not really in love with the way the template gives optional advantages and disadvantages. Those sorts of things are really more appropriate for an occupational template, not a racial template. Racial templates in general are a bit more "fixed". Giving options isn't unreasonable, of course! But the format would be better, I think, if it more closely followed other GURPS templates. What I'd suggest is to keep the base template as it is, and then create a few "packages" of advantages and disadvantages that go together to create "subraces". For example, you could offer "Predatory", a package that contained Acute Hearing 2 [4], Acute Taste and Smell 2 [4], Combat Reflexes [15], and Bestial [-15]. Build all your packages on the same point value, and you can just say in your advantage list "pick an 8-point (or whatever point cost you go for) package from the options below".

Another option for adding choices to your racial template is the "Racial Gifts" perk. This allows someone to spend points on additional features that their race permits, but doesn't make required. For example, in Monster Hunters, the Demon template has "Demonic Gifts", so a character with it could spend points on things like horns, bat wings, claws, fiery auras, and so forth.
Hrm. These are a combination of racial and dramatic templates, not just pure racial templates like "Minotaur" or "Vulcan". I want to represent that, in the Cabal setting, supernatural critters tend to be more individualistic than in a lot of fantasy settings. I could do bloodlines, but I'd rather avoid sub-splats...

I may just build up a stack of Vampiric Powers (ala VTM's Disciplines) that any Vampire can buy as a Feature, and go from there. Unfortunately that leaves flavorful disads in limbo.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
Why does it have Unhealing: Partial? Does it naturally heal in graveyards?
It can heal via Vampiric Bite. (Though I do like the idea of it being able to heal in graveyards. Might add that in.)
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Old 03-19-2017, 01:09 PM   #6
dcarson
 
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Default Re: Vampire Templates for Cabal

I'm seeing a monograph by Holmes on the varities of grave dirt like his one on cigar ashs.
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Old 03-19-2017, 02:53 PM   #7
Flyndaran
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Default Re: Vampire Templates for Cabal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apollonian View Post
...
It can heal via Vampiric Bite. (Though I do like the idea of it being able to heal in graveyards. Might add that in.)
Vampiric Bite has its own cost and as magic, wouldn't count against the disadvantage. Unhealing is about natural healing. It doesn't preclude spell based or Leech-like powers.

Machines have Total Unhealing despite being repairable.

Healing in graveyards though, being as it's just natural healing in a specific environment, would qualify for limited Unhealing.
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Old 03-19-2017, 03:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
Vampiric Bite has its own cost and as magic, wouldn't count against the disadvantage. Unhealing is about natural healing. It doesn't preclude spell based or Leech-like powers.
Unhealing: Partial [-20] doesn't preclude Leech-like powers.

Unhealing: Total [-30] does preclude Leech-like powers.
Quote:
Partial: You can heal naturally if a rare condition is met (e.g., when you are immersed in blood or bathed in lava). You can also heal yourself by stealing HP from others using Vampiric Bite (p. 96), magic, or psionics. -20 points.


Total: You can never heal naturally, and you cannot steal HP from others. -30 points.
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Old 03-19-2017, 03:54 PM   #9
Apollonian
 
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Default Re: Vampire Templates for Cabal

Next up, we have the strix - vampirism through magic. The template below shades a bit into occupational template territory, as it represents very basic mortal magical ability plus the abilities and weaknesses gained by becoming this particular sort of vampire. I probably need to build a separate template for the actual ritual effects, but... later. First session of this theoretical campaign is coming up fairly quickly.

At any rate, the biggest problem I have with this template is that I can't find a good 5 point disadvantage to bring it down to 75 points. Any ideas for a good Vow (to represent a magical taboo), Supernatural Feature, Revulsion, Weakness, or whatever that fits a creepy child-killing vampire witch?

Aside from that I'm reasonably happy with this template; of the three, it's the one most able to function in human society without being detected, but it's still monstrous.

Strix Vampire Template & Notes
The strix have chosen and achieved their vampiric state through magic – they have willingly sacrificed their humanity for dark power and eternal unlife. As might be expected, they are willing members of the Cabal, which thrives on that sort of choice. Not all, or even most, strix match the example of their eponymous members – female witches of Rome who transformed into owls and preyed upon children. Still, all of them have the ability to change form, and prefer to prey upon weak targets such as children or infants. All are skilled in magic, but do not necessarily have the Ritual Adept advantage.

Fledgling Strix [80]

Attributes [40]: IQ +2 [40]

Advantages [113]: Alternate Form (Vampiric Owl or Vampiric Cat; at night only, -20%) [12]; Can burn HP for extra effort [1]; Doesn't Breath [20]; Immunity to Metabolic Hazards [30]; Injury Tolerance (Unliving) [20]; Magery 1 [15]; Unaging [15].

Disadvantages [-91]: Draining (blood) [-5]; Dread (one of garlic, wild roses, or hawthorn) [-10]; Secret (Vampire; possible death) [-30]; Supernatural Features (No Body Heat*, Pallor*, Witch's Mark (Horror 26) [-11]; Uncontrollable Appetite (human blood) [-15]; Unhealing (Partial) [-20].

Features: Affected by Path of Undead (instead of Body/Mind) magic; Neither has nor uses FP.

Skills [18]: Thaumaturgy (VH) IQ [8]; Path of Body (VH) IQ-2 [2]; Path of Magic (VH) IQ-1 [4]; Path of Undead (VH) IQ-1 [4]

Vampiric Owl Form [35]
Attributes: ST -7 [-70]; DX +3 (No fine manipulators, -40%) [36]
Secondary Characteristics: SM -4 [0]
Advantages: Acute Hearing 4 [8]; Claws (Sharp) [5]; Enhanced Move ½ (Air Speed 18) [10]; Flight (Winged -25%; Air Move 12) [30] Silence 2 [10]; Night Vision 7 [5]; Vampiric Bite [30].
Perks: Fur (Feathers) [1]
Disadvantages: No Fine Manipulators [-30].

Vampiric Cat Form [40]
Attributes: ST -6 [-60]; DX +3 (No fine manipulators, -40%) [36]
Secondary Characteristics: SM -3 [0]
Advantages: Acute Hearing 2 [4]; Acute Taste and Smell 2 [4]; Catfall [10]; Claws (Sharp) [5]; Combat Reflexes [15]; Enhanced Move ½ (Ground) [10]; Night Vision 5 [5]; Perfect Balance [15]; Vampiric Bite [30].
Perks: Fur [1]
Disadvantages: Quadruped (Extra Legs (four legs) [-5]; Horizontal [-10]; No Fine Manipulators [-30]) [-35]

----------

Create Strix Ritual
Greater Transform Body + Greater Transform Undead
Alter Trait: Plus 98 points of traits for 98 energy; minus 71 points of traits for 14 energy
Weight 300 lbs +3 energy
Duration: permanent. Not allowed by RAW, so... set it for 100 years? 121 energy.
Energy cost: 1,260 energy.

This ritual turns an ordinary human into a Strix, granting the template above minus the IQ, Magery, Secret (Vampire), and skills. Those are on the template because usually, the subject of this spell already has them, and the template is meant to be a functional Strix.

This is a very rough cut of the Ritual Path Magic spell to turn a human into a strix. For starters, I want the effect to be permanent and unable to be dispelled, both of which effects aren't allowed by the rules as written. I do know that want the creation of a strix to be something that can be done by any magician who knows the rituals, even if takes a heck of a lot of energy. Usually it'd be known only to other strix, but a powerful necromancer or various spirits of undeath might also have the power. I think that rules out Infectious Attack or Dominance, but I'm at a loss for other ways to build the ritual. Any ideas?
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Old 03-19-2017, 04:02 PM   #10
Apollonian
 
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Default Re: Vampire Templates for Cabal

Finally, the classic Gothic vampire. Based on Dracula, Ruthven, and the templates in Monster Hunters and Basic set. If the nosferatu is vampirism as disease and the strix is vampirism as path to magical power, this one's vampirism as divine curse. Dramatically, it's meant to appeal to someone who wants to play Dracula or Lestat. The optional ads and disads will be moved down to the Template customization section when I write it, as will a selection of appropriate skills.

Gothic Vampire
The damned – either by their own actions, by contamination of the soul, or by sheer misfortune. The Gothic vampires are acutely aware of the presence of the infernal and the divine, and the distinction between their own state and that of the living. They have a habit of considering themselves the “true” form of vampire, of which others are imitations or base mutations.

They are charismatic, swift, and passionate, but have some gaping weaknesses – to sunlight, holy power, and certain symbols. They are made either by another vampire (Dominance or Infectious Attack), or by a mortal fulfilling certain conditions: suicide, a bargain with a demon (or certain eikones), being improperly buried in just the right way.

Neonate Vampire Template [75]

Attributes [60]: DX +2 [40]; HT +2 [20]
Secondary Attributes [20]: Basic Speed +1 [20]

Advantages [116]: Can burn HP for extra effort [1]; Doesn't Breath [20]; Immunity to Metabolic Hazards [30]; Injury Tolerance (Unliving) [20]; Unaging [15]; Vampiric Bite [30].

Optional: Appearance (Attractive or Beautiful/Handsome) [4/12]; Charisma [5/level]; Combat Reflexes [15]; Dark Vision [10]; Mind Control (Blood Agent -40%; suggestion only -40%) [10]

Disadvantages [-121]: Draining (blood) [-5]; Dread (Holy symbols and materials*) [-10]; Infectious Attack [-5]; Secret (Vampire; possible death) [-30]; Supernatural Features (No Body Heat*, No Reflection, Pallor*) [-16]; Unhealing (Partial) [-20]; Vulnerability (Fire x2) [-20]; Weakness (Sunlight, 1d per 30 minutes) [-15].

Optional: Bully [-10]; Callous [-5]; Code of Honor (Cabalist, -5, or Vampire Society, -15); Divine Curse (Cannot enter a private dwelling unless invited) [-5]; Divine Curse (Cannot cross running water of one's own volition except at high or low tide) [-5]; Hidebound [-5]; Impulsiveness [-10]; Lecherousness [-15], Lifebane [-10]; Overconfidence [-5]

* What counts as holy? It must be something that was either deliberately made or consecrated as holy symbol. A rosary counts; two sticks held up in the shape of a cross don't.

Features: Affected by Path of Undead (instead of Body/Mind) magic; Neither has nor uses FP.
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