The Living Dead: A Guide to Vampires

Halloween is over, but the chills never end!

Hail to thee of might and valor,

Dare you dive into the darkness and face an evil as ancient as the land?  The curse of vampirism persists throughout much of the multiverse, turning the innocent into blood-sucking monsters.  Explore this new tome and discover various kinds of vampires, as well as their unholy progeny.  From the fallen vampire to various clans from various worlds and beyond, their reach sprawls ever far.  Should this be of interest to any of you, please respond to the Burgomaster with haste.

– <name illegible>

Good evening, children of the night!  To celebrate Halloween, I have something special for everyone!  This time around, it’s a collection of vampiric horrors as a follow-up to last year’s werebeasts.  Here’s what you will find inside this terrifying tome.

  • Vampires in the realms of D&D: A look at the vampire and its place in various known (and unknown) realities.
  • Bestiary: A wide variety of vampiric evils to horrify your parties with.  Based on vampires from all over the world and more.
  • Vampires in your Campaign
  • Vampiric NPCs: Some sample NPCs in the vein of the monsters from the Zoanthropes book.
  • The Dhampir: The unfortunate spawns of a vampire and a mortal.  Seemingly impossible, but actually improbably; these offspring are stuck between the worlds of the living and the worlds of the dead.

 

A follow up to last year, this time I’m tackling vampires. Check out more here!

Included are new types of vampires, NPCs and Vampire adventurers, as well as the new racial option; the dhampir.

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No Rest for the Wicked – Corrupted Villains

Even great evils can fall from grace or power.  However, that isn’t to say they aren’t inherently powerful beings.  In many cases, diving too deep into their tainted powers may make them stronger.  In many cases, these pitiful creatures are proof that depravities and wicked ways rarely turn out for the better.  All the same, these wretched terrors find their own boons in further exploring the path of evil.

Author’s Note:  I was tossing an idea in my head for a little bit and figured, sure why not?  By the way, the degenerated vampire might make an appearance in something else relatively soon.  Let’s just say a successor to a previous book project of mine is in the works.

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The Ground is Sour – Resurrection gone Wrong

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“Sometimes, dead is better.”

In particularly cursed places, the very ground itself rebukes death and damns the souls of whoever is buried there.  This could be from the sight of a great war, a disturbed burial grounds or more.  No matter the case, the land is tainted.  And for those who dare to gamble against the forces of life and death within these corrupted lands?  They may become something equally as wicked.

In other cases, the world may just have stacked odds against the heroes.  The world may be kept in the clutches of dark forces that conspire to corrode and twist all in their path.  Malevolent entities are challenged by heroes of horror, those who take a stand against the darkness at all costs.  They too may face trauma when losing an ally… and having them come back wrong.

Author’s Note:  This RPG Blog Carnival post came out of a few things.  In a game I was part of, the DM wanted to make resurrection a risk.  In that world, that sort of art is lost and things tend to not work always right when this is tried.  The idea was also going to be used in a Gothic Earth one-off I wanted to do at some point too…  Plus, I watched the original Pet Sematary recently.  So, here’s my revised take on risky resurrection! 

Learn more about the October RPG Blog Carnival theme here!

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Werebeasts Update

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Pardon the delay, I meant to release this update alongside A Planar Grimoire, but a few things got in the way.  Anyway, here’s four new werebeasts, as well as four new NPC creatures to torture your heroes with, all outside of the norm for the curse of lycanthropy.  On top of that, the NPCs all have a roguish-assassin type of theme.

  • Seawolf (Swashbuckler) – A seafaring terror that can stalk both on deck and in the murky depths.  Its NPC counterpart is a cruel sailor who mingles with crews before viciously slaying as many as possible, usually amidst a deadly storm or allied seawolves.
  • Weremantis (Shadowdancer) – A were-insectoid capable of long reach and deadly bite.  Its NPC counterpart is a master of stealth and dark sorceries.
  • Wereserpent (Stygian Cultist) – Cursed with the blood of snakes, this creature can not only doom others to such a life, but can choose to kill undesirables through deadly venom instead.  The NPC counterpart is dedicated to a dark cabal of death, assassination, dark gods and the lower planes.
  • Werewasp (Toxic Assassin) – This were-insectoid takes to the skies to shock and terrify its prey.  While it lacks a potent bite, its curse can be transferred through a venomous sting.  Similar to the wereserpent in terms of tactics, the werewasp also has the boon of flight.  Due to its natural poisoning ability, its NPC counterpart can unleash a barrage of alchemically augmented toxins, poisons and more.

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Lore from the People Part 1 – Classic Mythologies of the Americas

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“You call it wendigo, I call it target pract-AAAAAAAAAAAA!”

The settlements and towns of the west have always been weird.  The supposedly more natural things out there?  They are far weirder.  While the natives are not overly inclined to disclose much about the local wildlife and mythic beings, any information that can be gathered will save your life.  You’ve already heard about a fair bit of some of the strange critters in prior lessons and briefings, but there’s a fair bit more to behold. 
– a snippet from The Cactus Sting Rangers’ Handbook

There is tons of fascinating mysteries and legends that are indigenous to these regions, much like the people who have long since lived here.  Some of the natives know these secrets quite well and most prefer to keep them hidden from outsiders.  Whether out of a mutual sense of racism or a fear of what might be done with such knowledge, it remains as strange as the creatures that dwell just beyond one’s vision.

Author’s Note: While a lot of classic monsters are punted around all willy-nilly, a lot of awesome creatures from various native nations often got left in the wayside.  While not exact adaptations, I wanted to highlight a few creatures that might appear in a Weird Western type game (or regions a little outside of that, which I started to do with some creatures that have origins in Mexico, the Appalachian mountains, the northern states/Canada and then some).  And what better creatures to show up than the folklore and stories of the Americas?  For the time being, this will close out the “Weird Western” theme I’ve been doing, at least in terms of monsters.  I might be up for crafting magic items or doing something else, but we’ll see.  See the previous post for the Wendigo.

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Weird Western Monsters – Part 4 (The Brood, The Damned and the Undead)

Pale Bill by SpineBender

“Howdy, friend.  You also crawl out of Hell?”

“Lemme tell you ’bout this really freaky gent, just lingered outside of town for a bit.  He got this big ol’ rictus grin, like someone who died clenching their teeth.  He asked me about my evening.  ‘Course, it was lovely.  One of the men of the inn helped me relax real well upstairs a bit, hehehe.  Anyway, the mad smilin’ man vanished after I told him off.  Damn ghosts.  I need some rest, so I don’t cleave off someone’s face…” – Booker L. Wyatt, Human Barber, owner of Wispy Cliffs Barbershop

Dark spirits gather in these parts.  Maybe they love the sorrow and struggle that comes with developing frontiers; the lawlessness, the adverse environment, the lonesome people.  All sorts of negative traits and qualities seem to lure all sorts of vicious monsters to prey on the miserable locals.  Many of the monsters themselves were once the very same miserable locals, in some cases brought back from the grave to terrorize anyone who dares to live life well.  Some are just manifestations of pure evil, formed upon this world to destroy.

Author’s Note: You can’t have most weird west tales without a degree of horror.  So, let’s dive into some particularly nasty creatures.  Some of them are homages and conversions of beloved and infamous monsters from various games; such as Darkwatch: Curse of the West and Deadlands: The Weird West.  You could say, I like both… a lot.  Also, good lord, are the Hangin’ Judges SOOOOOO 1990’s!  I love them, but they are a trope of their era.

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Return to a Realm of the Strange and Gothic

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I love gothic fiction, gaslamp fantasy and weird westerns, as has been known through various posts throughout the blog.  Plus, pages like Tales of the Grotesque and Dungeonesque remain both awesome to visit and truly inspiring!

So, for the next month or so at least, I’m going to try to keep a wide variety of gaslamp, pulpy and gothic flair.  This can be anything from more expansion of Tomb of Annihilation or Curse of Strahd to more content inspired by Eberron to more Victorian and Wild West inspired fantasy and horror content.  And while I’m at it?  Good old Ravenloft, as in the Demiplane of Dread (instead of the module)!  I’ve been pondering making a small adventure in one of the domains… possibly Dementlieu, Richemulot, Nosos or Lamordia.  I might put it up on DM’s Guild while I’m at it!  Of course, this is all pondering based on whether or not I’ll get around to it.

 

IMAGE SOURCE: Vampire Victorian Age: London by Night – White Wolf Games