Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-07-2018, 12:55 PM   #1
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Mesopotamian Vampire

In a fantasy setting where the local culture is inspired by Babylonian/Mesopotamian culture, a PC has made the acquintance of a vampire.

I'm looking to define the powers, curses and weaknesses of such a vampire. So far, I've more or less assumed that it had typical D&D-esque vampire powers, because the setting is the Forgotten Realms, but given that several different parts of the setting have different undead types that still get called 'vampires' despite somewhat different statistics, I'll change anything I like to make 'Untheri' (the Mesopotamian-esque culture) vampires different.

The concept is that it is the physical body of a dead person* brought to life in a symbiosis with an evil spirit which inhabits the blood that courses through its veins. This blood, obviously, is not naturally produced by living processes by the dead body, but must be consumed from other creatures, ideally intelligent human beings.

The spirit might be called utukku, edimmu or rabisu, depending. They are generally not very bright, but extremely powerful. Their motivations appear to be fairly animalistic, enjoying a physical existence through the 'dead' host, whom they can enable to mimic the functioning of a living person using the power in their blood.

The spirits are entirely noctural, being dormant while the sun is above the horizon. This is the Nocturnal Disadvantage and during the hours of daylight, the vampire will therefore turn back into a corpse (though a recent one and won't actually rot).

I haven't decided what would happen to the comatose corpse if it were brought into actual sunlight, but wouldn't be opposed, in theory, to having this destroy the spirit completely and therefore end the magical effect keeping the dead body from decomposition, usually resulting the older ones rapidly turning to dust. That would be Weakness.

Sea salt frightens, repels and even harms the spirits, which implies it ought to affect the symbiote creature somehow. The spirits are also afraid of holy objects and cannot enter sacred ground. I'm thinking that an inability to enter homes without invitation sounds good and am going to retain that traditional vampire weakness.

In play, I've established that these vampires are not visible in mirrors and that they can appear human-like enough to require supernatural means or specialised knowledge to identify if they expend enough magical energy.**

I'd like them to possibly retain aspects of their former personalities, but to have all but impossible to control impulses from their blood spirit symbiote. That might be Uncontrollable Appetite, but would also be likely to be some of Addiction, Compulsive Carousing, Gluttony, Lecherousness, Sadism or other Disadvantages having to do with the spirit's excessive appetite for various physical pleasures.

The actual drinking of blood would indulge Euphoria and even Ecstasy, so many of them would be Addicted to doing it, even beyond what they actually needed.

I'm thinking that consuming the blood of one of these ought to have some health benefits, feel amazing and, obviously, be risky for exactly the reason that you'd imagine, i.e. that introducing parts of an evil spirit into your body is not a good idea and that it was designed to get you to be subjugated to the will of the one whose blood you drank and furthermore, to make you think that drinking more was a good idea.

It's been established that it can heal HP and FP that were lost to Bleeding, on a 1:1 rate, i.e. it costs the vampire 1 HP and 1 FP to heal the same for someone who consumes her blood. Should this be Healing, in GURPS terms, an Enhancement to Leech or some other Advantage?

What other traits ought a vampire inspired by Mesopotamian myths and legends have?

What are logical consequences of an undead being that is a symbiote of the former person and an evil, semi-sentient blood-drinking spirit?

What are interesting Mental Disadvantages that might suit a hungry blood spirit, which would be the things that made such beings 'evil', to most normal people?

Yeah, drinking blood is often considered pretty nasty, but I'm thinking that they should probably not be nice as nice can be outside of that. On the other hand, I do want them to be NPCs who can sometimes be reasoned with, albeit ones who have a terrible curse and tend toward terrifying, destructive behaviour.

Does anyone know what weaknesses vampires inspired by Mesopotamian myth might have instead of garlic, stakes or decapitation?

And should they mess around with something to do with their graves or should they perhaps all be people who were not properly interrred, so that they never had a grave? I'm thinking the latter sounds better....

*Perhaps one that was cursed in life, broke some taboo or was incorrectly interred. Perhaps one that somehow attracted the attention of a spirit or made a compact with one. Or perhaps the victim of a more powerful vampire.
**That is, if they spend ER or FP that they need to use Leech to recover.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2018, 01:58 PM   #2
Bruno
 
Bruno's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Canada
Default Re: Mesopotamian Vampire

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Does anyone know what weaknesses vampires inspired by Mesopotamian myth might have instead of garlic, stakes or decapitation?
The wood the sacred cedar - as an aromatic, distilled as perfume, burned as incense, or as a direct weapon (even flat out beating them with it; A stake would be fine too of course). Cedar wood repels insects and resists rot, making it a symbol of purity, and naturally gets used to repel infesting spirits in the same way.

Asafoetida/asafedity - again a pungent aromatic but in this case more offensive in smell but good in taste (like garlic). It also has similar antiseptic properties to garlic, and is used to repel evil spirits.
__________________
All about Size Modifier; Unified Hit Location Table
A Wiki for my F2F Group
A GURPS blog
Bruno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2018, 02:43 PM   #3
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: Mesopotamian Vampire

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
The wood the sacred cedar - as an aromatic, distilled as perfume, burned as incense, or as a direct weapon (even flat out beating them with it; A stake would be fine too of course). Cedar wood repels insects and resists rot, making it a symbol of purity, and naturally gets used to repel infesting spirits in the same way.
Sounds good. Cedar wood it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
Asafoetida/asafedity - again a pungent aromatic but in this case more offensive in smell but good in taste (like garlic). It also has similar antiseptic properties to garlic, and is used to repel evil spirits.
Nice.

Do you happen to know where the idea of garlic repelling evil spirits comes from?

Would it be regarded as a silly foreign supersitution in a Mesopotamian-inspired culture or is garlic repelling evil an ancient enough idea for it to be plausible for it to have some currency somewhere in the Ancient Near East, Mesopotamia or Egypt?
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2018, 02:57 PM   #4
Hide
 
Hide's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2016
Default Re: Mesopotamian Vampire

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
(...)
Do you happen to know where the idea of garlic repelling evil spirits comes from? (...)
Garlic has historically been employed to repel blood sucking insects in gardens (perhaps except from leeches). It also repels other plagues associated as "familiars" of the vampire.

- Hide
Hide is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2018, 03:26 PM   #5
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: Mesopotamian Vampire

The Lilitu were dark spirits of Mesopotamian origin if I remember correctly. They were sexually active, stole babies, and spread disease. They could only be repelled by magical rituals, though they were simple enough that most people could perform them without much difficulty. They could also be attracted with more sophisticated rituals, allowing their summoner to negotiate services. They could serve as Mesopotamian vampires with few weaknesses.
AlexanderHowl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2018, 04:20 PM   #6
Refplace
 
Refplace's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Yukon, OK
Default Re: Mesopotamian Vampire

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hide View Post
Garlic has historically been employed to repel blood sucking insects in gardens (perhaps except from leeches). It also repels other plagues associated as "familiars" of the vampire.

- Hide
This.
I think thats why Bram Stoker used the idea, as Garlic was used as a Mosquito repellent. Also small animals with sensitive noses like cats are not typically thrilled about it.
__________________
Looking for group in my area
My GURPS official contributions
My GURPS fan contribution and blog:
REFPLace GURPS Landing Page
My List of GURPS You Tube videos (plus a few other useful items)
Pyramid Writers Group Pt II
Refplace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2018, 04:41 PM   #7
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: Mesopotamian Vampire

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
The Lilitu were dark spirits of Mesopotamian origin if I remember correctly. They were sexually active, stole babies, and spread disease. They could only be repelled by magical rituals, though they were simple enough that most people could perform them without much difficulty. They could also be attracted with more sophisticated rituals, allowing their summoner to negotiate services. They could serve as Mesopotamian vampires with few weaknesses.
Lilu/lilitu exist in the campaign already, as the local terms for my interpretation of the classic D&D harpies, flying monstrous females with the talons of birds and a penchant for kidnapping young men travelling alone, in order to inflict upon them some unspeakable torments.

There are also demonic temptresses called 'ardat lilit' that are more or less the Mesopotamian-inspired versions of succubi.

The vampires I'm adding are related to the 'ardat lilit', but distinct because they are the bodies of dead people animated by similar evil spirits, ones that are not such powerful spirits that they can incorporate a body of their own through magic, one that was never mortal or human.

They are 'undead', not 'demonic', even if their spirit symbiotes might in essence be very similar creatures to other evil spirits.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2018, 04:49 PM   #8
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: Mesopotamian Vampire

Garlic has some history as being a cure-all, so it could really be anything.

There's an argument for an association with Lamashtu (also a blood drinker), but she's somewhat difficult to distinguish from Lilith so that won't help much. Maybe an association with the Rabisu, they're a form of demon but have some vampiric attributes, in which case you would ward them off with pure sea salt.
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2018, 05:09 PM   #9
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: Mesopotamian Vampire

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Garlic has some history as being a cure-all, so it could really be anything.
Yeah, it was already being regarded as having various supernatural and anti-evil powers about as far back into Egyptian history as it's possible to find anything, so I think I'll alllow it to be associated with repelling evil spirits pretty much anywhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
There's an argument for an association with Lamashtu (also a blood drinker), but she's somewhat difficult to distinguish from Lilith so that won't help much.
Yep, the child-killing, pregnant-lady cursing monstrous beings are all taken care of in the campaign. The vampires are, in most ways, regarded as more 'mundane' than the legendary Lamashtu/Lilith (or any other of her many, many names) or her spawn. Evil spirits are everywhere, after all, but most of them can't take physical form. Animating corpses, however, that's regarded as a less dramatic display of power than taking an entirely unnatural form.

Of course, both kinds are greatly feared by most people. The difference is that there are sorcerers, priests and necromancers who can deal with the undead with their lore, even, for some of them, control them, but even the most powerful magician or high priest would try to propiate and appease such mythical monsters rather than dream they could in any way impose their will on them.

I expect legends trace the ancestry of vampires to the Queen of the Underworld, as local legends do for most any unpleasant monster, and they might even be acccurate to some degree. The PCs might find out, as they've been annoying some people who claim to serve the 'Wise Queen', which seems to be what people living in the undercity call the Queen of the Underworld (or whoever is using her name to make everyone terrified of her cult of slavers).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Maybe an association with the Rabisu, they're a form of demon but have some vampiric attributes, in which case you would ward them off with pure sea salt.
Indeed, as noted in the first post, the evil spirits that animate the corpses and keep them 'alive' as symbiotes are known as 'edimmu' or 'rabisu' and they can indeed by repelled by pure sea salt.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2018, 05:25 PM   #10
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: Mesopotamian Vampire

Ah right. Rabisu are noted as threshold dwellers (so some form of being blocked form entering houses is appropriate), but they also do sneak into houses, so I would have it that you would need appropriate rituals or charms to keep them out, rather than it being a generic property of a threshold.

You could also consider gallu demons, perhaps giving them the traits of the ghūl (who would be anachronistic but are probably related dimly, and have traits such as hanging out in graveyards and drinking blood).
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
forcefeeding, mesopotamia, vampire, vampire blood

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:53 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.