Here we have a request for a +1 ECL Vampire template, so that people can play vampires in lower-level games. To do that, I’ll start off with a look at what a vampire is – and vampires are a bit hard to categorize. Looking at the stories…
- A swamp dweller entangles it’s victim in animated reeds, and feeds on their flesh and blood.
- A tree-dweller has hooks for feet, and pulls unwary hunters up into the branches before draining their blood through the injuries it inflicts.
- An intangible spirit possesses people and animals and drains the life energy from nearby children and from the land itself.
- A ghoulish creature takes quasi-canine form to devour the flesh and souls of the dead who have not had proper funerals.
- A shapeshifter takes a wide variety of forms to rip out human throats and drink the blood.
- A specter rests on the chests of sleepers, giving them horrible dreams and devouring their rest; they waken weakened instead of refreshed.
- A village guardian occasionally takes its price – the life-essence of a village child.
- A maiden dances with lonely travelers, inflicting unfelt wounds with her nails to drink from.
- A mortal occultist fuels magic with blood, gaining strength, youth, and power from it.
- A wraith spreads disease among children and the elderly and feeds off their dying breaths.
- A dark spirit disrupts families, feeding both on their blood and on the misery and pain that comes of blighted lives, discord, and childish fear.
- A bestial wanderer sucks both blood and internal organs from it’s victims – or, in yet another variant, it devours children yet in the womb.
- A cursed man steals body fat, using it to sustain himself and to work evil magic.
- A dead man fathers children, but the drained mothers invariably die in childbirth, leaving a half-vampire child for a grieving family to care for.
- A spirit of death seeks to undermine and drain the life of the entire world, focusing on individuals only if it is discovered at its terrible tasks.
That makes creating a basic vampire a bit awkward; it’s pretty much impossible to say just what a “vampire” is in the first place. Still, MOST of them are spirits of the dead with physical bodies, have to feed on human blood or vitality to maintain their powers, are unnaturally strong and fast (especially for a corpse), are a bit tougher than a normal human (since many wounds won’t really hinder them much), have clawlike fingernails capable of inflicting nasty wounds, and they often have minor mystical powers – most commonly of illusion and mental influence.
OK: this is Eclipse after all. I can work with that.
The Basic Vampire (+1 ECL Template).
- No Constitution Score. This is optional – there are living vampires after all – but it’s also (0 CP), so you can take it or not (to be a Dhampir, or evil occultist) without changing the cost.
- Damage Reduction 3/-, Specialized/not versus energy (3 CP). Basic vampires are fairly tough, but a determined man with a sword or axe can still chop one up.
- Immunity to Cold (Common, Major, Trivial, 5 points of resistance, 3 CP).
- Immunity to Electricity (Common, Major, Trivial, 5 points of resistance, 3 CP).
- Martial Arts/Natural Weapons (1d4 clawlike fingernails, fangs, 3 CP).
- A +2 bonus to Spot (2 CP).
- Inherent Spell, Specialized for Double Effect (L6 spell, Create Undead)/only works on someone who’s been repeatedly drained over several days, only makes another minor vampire (6 CP).
- Witchcraft II, Corrupted/will not work in direct sunlight or on holy ground (8 CP), +6d6 power, Specialized/can only be recharged by vampirism, Corrupted/will not work in direct sunlight or on holy ground (4 CP), with the Vampirism (of course!), Susceptibility, and Taboos pacts – albeit in slightly specialized versions:
- Vampirism: While a vampire’s Power will not naturally recover, and the user must actually eat some portion of the victim (blood is usual) to make it work, when the user does so it will inflict 2d4 damage on the victim and restore the same amount of power to the vampire. Vampires tend to suffer terrible, compulsive, hunger when their power gets low as well as the usual penalties (-6 CP).
- Susceptibility: A vampire is harmed by holy objects and sunlight (-12 CP).
- Taboos: A vampire select at least three weaknesses – “flees from strongly-presented holy symbols”, “repulsed by garlic”, “must count each grain of spilled rice or wheat”, “cannot enter a home uninvited”, “prefers to go after relatives”, “only attacks children”, and so on. As a rule, the selection should include something that repels the vampire, something that can divert, delay, or occupy the vampire, and some other restriction (-6 CP).
- Basic Witchcraft Abilities: Glamour and Advanced Glamour (4 CP), Shadowweave, and Witchsight.
- Advanced Witchcraft Abilities: Flesh like Mist with Gaseous Form (8 CP), Wrath of the Sea (4 CP), Leaping Fire (4 CP), and Bones of Iron (4 CP).
At a net cost of 32 CP, that’s a +1 ECL acquired template. The user gains quite a few of the most common “vampire powers” – but suffers from a seriously limited power reserve. Still, he or she IS gaining access to a good many advanced witchcraft abilities very early on.