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-   -   Dresden Files-style Red Court Half-Vampire (http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=26898)

Aeolius 05-09-2007 02:35 AM

Dresden Files-style Red Court Half-Vampire
 
I'm trying to get involved in a game set more or less in the "Dresdenverse," which is a contemporary setting fairly open to any supernatural entity one can imagine - wizards, fey, vampires, werewolves, ghosts and more. I decided that I'd like to play a "half-vampire" of the Red Court (quick reference for the distinction of Red/Black/White), but I'm finding that it's one of the most mechanically challenging things I've yet crafted.

Here's the summary of their traits: They're still more or less human, and need to eat, drink, and sleep regularly, but they possess superhuman strength, speed, and recovery (some form of mild regeneration, sans regrowth). Their saliva becomes mildly narcotic, and gives a small buzz of euphoria to those who come in contact with it. Improved senses are also mentioned.

They have the urge to feed on blood, but it's mild enough to suppress under normal circumstances. However, the more they tap into the aforementioned powers, the "thirstier" they get. The sight and smell of blood will also lower their self-control. Exposure to sunlight suppresses the hunger, but (I believe) weakens their vampiric powers, as well.

The "black at the end of the tunnel": if a Red half-vampire loses control and kills while feeding, they complete their transformation, and become a monstrous full Red Court vamp. For the purposes of this game, that'll be character death, since if it's not eliminated on the spot, it'll be NPC'd and I'll still have to make up a new character.

Options: There's a group called the Order of St. Giles which is composed of Red halves who oppose the court. They get these tribal-looking tattoos over half their bodies which are invisible most of the time, but spread into visibility as the vampiric powers are tapped (and glow slightly when they're on the verge of losing control).


I'm not sure what the best way to put all of this together could be. Is there a way to do "variable" disadvantages that have a concrete, immutable costs, to encompass the rising and falling of the Uncontrollable Appetite self-control number?

One idea I'm toying with is somehow tying the traits to FP, so that as FP falls, self-control does, too, which could perhaps be used in conjunction with an FP-based toggle for the extra points of strength or whatever. It doesn't strike me as a very elegant solution, though, since it raises a whole slew of concerns about getting tired for other reasons.

Of course, with no point limit, you could do anything without worry. Thus, the real challenge of this is making it fit within the campaign power level of 150 points, with a -75 point cap on Disadvantages (which I imagine could be almost entirely taken from the template). It's finding not just solutions, but economical ones that's giving me a bit of trouble.

I just know the answer is going to be something obvious that my school-addled mind just dropped. Still, thanks in advance for the time and consideration.

EDIT: I'm still only just reading the books myself, so if anyone knows of a trait I omitted or otherwise messed up, by all means, correct me.

Gold & Appel Inc 08-12-2007 01:28 PM

Re: Dresden Files-style Red Court Half-Vampire
 
I'm not familiar with the series, but I might rip this idea for a game later and nobody else has responded so here goes :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aeolius
they possess superhuman strength, speed, and recovery (some form of mild regeneration, sans regrowth) *snip* Improved senses are also mentioned.

Any demonstrated lower or upper limits on the above from the source material?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aeolius
Their saliva becomes mildly narcotic, and gives a small buzz of euphoria to those who come in contact with it.

Some level of Affliction: Euphoria plus Secondary Incapacitating Ecstasy if the margin of failure is 5+, with limitations of Melee: C, plus Blood Agent or Contact Agent depending on how it absorbs and possibly Onset (1 Minute) if it takes prolonged contact, and whatever duration mods would be appropriate.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aeolius
They have the urge to feed on blood, but it's mild enough to suppress under normal circumstances. However, the more they tap into the aforementioned powers, the "thirstier" they get. The sight and smell of blood will also lower their self-control. Exposure to sunlight suppresses the hunger

I wouldn't use FP for this, pretty much for the reasons you mention. I'd build this as Uncontrollable Appetite for Human Blood with the worst it gets with any power use at all as the Self Control that determines the base cost, and then add a jury-rigged stepped Trigger that reduces it to a Quirk in the presence of no stimuli, base level with mild power use, Base -2 with moderate power use, etc. The sight and smell of blood should already reduce the SC anyway, so call that one or two bumps down the scale depending on quantity of blood, intensity of the sensory contact, etc. The wiki mentions intimate contact, so maybe add feeling somebody's pulse to that list. Standing in direct sunlight moves it up two bumps on the scale while you're there, reduced to 1 until you get your full powers back. Maybe call it -40%, which I guesstimate by comparing with Variable on Weakness.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aeolius
but (I believe) weakens their vampiric powers, as well.

I'd buy half (or whatever) of leveled advantages like Strength and Perception and all the Regeneration with Access: Avoid Sun for the Previous (Say For Example) 24 Hours. I'd give about -20% for it, since it's easy to do but really inconvenient.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aeolius
The "black at the end of the tunnel": if a Red half-vampire loses control and kills while feeding, they complete their transformation, and become a monstrous full Red Court vamp. For the purposes of this game, that'll be character death, since if it's not eliminated on the spot, it'll be NPC'd and I'll still have to make up a new character.

Normally I'd say this would be a 0-Point Feature if it hinged on your IC decisions, but with Uncontrollable Appetite I'd allow Terminally Ill (1 Month or Less: Mitigator: Don't Kill While Feeding -80%) [-20].

Quote:

Originally Posted by Aeolius
There's a group called the Order of St. Giles which is composed of Red halves who oppose the court. They get these tribal-looking tattoos over half their bodies which are invisible most of the time, but spread into visibility as the vampiric powers are tapped (and glow slightly when they're on the verge of losing control)

If the tattoos don't enhance resistance to the hunger I'd call this a Perk (Can See Own Margin of Success on Appetite Control Rolls), plus Supernatural Feature for -5 because it reveals your nature to well-informed enemies and Easy to Read (Access: Appetite Only for -40% if the meaning of the tattoos is common knowledge, or -50% to -80% if it would take an Occultism roll depending on its difficulty).

Net Disadvantages: About 30-40 points in Disadvantages, leaving plenty of room under your campaign limit for individuals to have psychological damage, enemies from the Red Court, etc. :)

betafu 04-03-2008 10:20 AM

Re: Dresden Files-style Red Court Half-Vampire
 
Did anyone ever find a method to make this work, or better yet write it up?

I have a player in my tabletop GURPS 4th campaign that would like to play one of these and I don't have a lot of familiarity with how to put this together. Any chance someone wrote one of these up in the past?

I'd definitely owe you one!

Gold & Appel Inc 04-03-2008 02:28 PM

Re: Dresden Files-style Red Court Half-Vampire
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by betafu
Did anyone ever find a method to make this work, or better yet write it up?

Can you answer the questions in my post from last August? I still haven't read/watched the series (I know, I know, people recommend it).

Fred Brackin 04-03-2008 02:58 PM

Re: Dresden Files-style Red Court Half-Vampire
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Gold & Appel Inc
Can you answer the questions in my post from last August? I still haven't read/watched the series (I know, I know, people recommend it).

Watching the TV series won't cover this. This is one of those things that got simplified in the book to small-screen process. You'd need to go to the original books.

As to the limits of the enhanced physical abilities, no I can't really nail it down but they are probably in the same range as a full vampire for a limited period of time.

Later in the series a White Court vampire (Incubus/Sex Vampire who is fairly similar in being mostly human most of the time) killed a Black Court (think full Transylvanian Nosferatu) with his bare hands but only by using a great deal of stored energy.

I'd doubt that a half-Red had the same degree of energy reserves but they would get to act at the "basic supernatural/Slayer-like" level while they did.

Incidentally you might give the half-Red an Energy Reserve representing their vampire powers with serious side effects when tapped as one way of doing this.

betafu 04-03-2008 03:32 PM

Re: Dresden Files-style Red Court Half-Vampire
 
Basically what Fred said!

The books are a bit vague but the highlights as I understand them are:

1. The tattoos start out invisible/near invisible and turn brown/black, blue and then red as the powers are tapped (the more the powers are used, the closer the half-vampire gets to 'losing control' and the harder it is for them to resist feeding.

2. The strength/speed/reaction time is much better compared to a human but the more they use their powers the more #1 above kicks in.

What I'm looking for really is (because I'm not familiar enough to know how to work this out) a writeup (or help designing one) that would handle:

1. The tattoos (easy enough to do, it seems, the linking them with the powers is the tricky part.)

2. The powers - enhanced strength, dex, stamina, hps that are somehow tied to Will rolls that revolve around the 'hunger'.

3. The narcotic saliva - easy enough to do, I think.

It's the strength/speed/dex/stamina/hps part that is somehow tied to Will rolls and so on to reflect the use of the powers.

I had almost thought about three power levels - one that would allow them to maybe go a few minutes without needing to make Will rolls. A second that gives them much less time, a third that maybe gives them a handful or two of rounds before they have to start making rolls - but I can't figure out how to do all this.



Quote:

Originally Posted by Fred Brackin
Watching the TV series won't cover this. This is one of those things that got simplified in the book to small-screen process. You'd need to go to the original books.

As to the limits of the enhanced physical abilities, no I can't really nail it down but they are probably in the same range as a full vampire for a limited period of time.

Later in the series a White Court vampire (Incubus/Sex Vampire who is fairly similar in being mostly human most of the time) killed a Black Court (think full Transylvanian Nosferatu) with his bare hands but only by using a great deal of stored energy.

I'd doubt that a half-Red had the same degree of energy reserves but they would get to act at the "basic supernatural/Slayer-like" level while they did.

Incidentally you might give the half-Red an Energy Reserve representing their vampire powers with serious side effects when tapped as one way of doing this.


betafu 04-03-2008 05:56 PM

Re: Dresden Files-style Red Court Half-Vampire
 
Also to add to it:

What the original poster said about sunlight was true as well.

Sunlight appears to dampen the 'urge'. Also sunlight (regular does) seem to make it 'manageable' to resist. There's no evidence the powers do/don't work in sunlight but I'd suggest maybe some sort of low (difficult) activation roll to make them work at a lower efficiency but a much greater chance of being able to make the Will roll?

Pain in the butt, I know. :)

Gold & Appel Inc 04-04-2008 04:11 AM

Re: Dresden Files-style Red Court Half-Vampire
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by betafu
2. The strength/speed/reaction time is much better compared to a human but the more they use their powers the more #1 above kicks in.

[snip] 2. The powers - enhanced strength, dex, stamina, hps that are somehow tied to Will rolls that revolve around the 'hunger'.

Let me clarify what I mean by demonstrated upper and lower limits: Are there any instances in the source material of a Half-Red lifting a heavy object of known mass? How about failing to lift a heavy object of known mass? What kind of human-killing injuries have they been shown to survive? How long did the recovery take? Has one been shown dying from injuries? If so, describe them...

betafu 04-04-2008 06:25 AM

Re: Dresden Files-style Red Court Half-Vampire
 
Sorry about that!

Of course the problem is that the books don't go into a lot of detail and this particular character type is only shown in one particular novel really. But let me take a stab at what I think it should be (and being GM, I guess that's best):

I'd go for a max Strength of 18-20 (pushing themselves to the limit control wise)

I would suggest some DR, but there's no indication they have special resistance to piercing injuries - but bruises/blunt trauma they seem to have a heavy resistance to (but not at the level a full vampire would have - where they can almost ignore it).

The problem of course is you never see one die from injuries or really get hurt. We'd just have to make that part up. :)

betafu 04-05-2008 03:28 PM

Re: Dresden Files-style Red Court Half-Vampire
 
I was looking at the special reserve idea, and that could work. The part that's tripping me up is the 'pushing the abilities' part.

In theory, it would allow the play to have several different levels they could operate at - their normal strength could be 10, say, and then they could activate their powers at 14, or 18, or 20 - same with the dexterity and so on. That's the part I can't figure out - how to design it to give them several different levels to operate at - the lowest level makes their roll to not give into their hunger easier, the highest level makes it much harder and the longer time that passes with them operating at that level the harder each roll gets.


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