The Shadowed Galaxy – First Stage Vampires

Mere tales are born, grow – and die. Without a core of truth to build around, they gain but little hold on humanity. Even the most inventive and imaginative stories will eventually be spread too thin, be heard in too many variations, become widely known – and will fade into generic elements to be swept up into newer, still focused, tales.

A great Myth, on the other hand, is born from a great truth – a piece of information so terrible, wonderful, or simply disconcerting that the human mind wraps it in layers of analogy and legend to make it more acceptable. A great Myth… is the mental equivalent of an oysters pearl. Lovely to contemplate, but a defense mechanism nonetheless.

A Shadowed Galaxy Vampire is a (usually) sapient creature that’s hosting a “Type V” (in a rather arbitrary classification system) Subspace Spacefield Construct-Weapon. Subspace, of course, is a massive energy sink, has a very high time rate, is a bit inconsistent about distance, and allows the easy transference of energy from point to point.

First Stage Vampire (32 CP / +1 ECL Template):

  • Returning, Corrupted (EVERYBODY knows about vampire weaknesses, 4 CP). Vampires can recover from almost any physical injury given time. They can even build up a power reserve over time from the steady flow of thermal and other energies into subspace through them – provided that they have months or years of time and are totally inactive. About all they need is for most of their body parts to be in one place, for there to be at least a little air and water about, and for there to be nothing in the way of reforming any vital organ. Of course, if their parts are – say – burned and widely scattered, or have been hit by something capable of severely damaging them on the spacefield level, or something similar… it won’t work.
  • +3 CP in Martial Arts/Natural Weapons (3 CP). Sapient races are rarely big on natural weaponry, but being a vampire seems to exaggerate whatever they do have. Human vampires still aren’t all that effective unarmed (gaining 1d4 fangs and claws), but it’s much better than nothing.
  • Witchcraft III (18 CP).

Vampire Powers aren’t actually psychically based for the most part, although the pool of vitality that they drain from other creatures does amplify whatever natural potential they have (even as it channels it into a few specific abilities) – but most of the active power templates in the Shadowed Galaxy setting are built using Witchcraft, the Equipment skills, and a few modifiers. The various power sources are roughly equivalent, Witchcraft is very versatile, and it keeps everyone neatly on the same general power level.

Basic Witchcraft Abilities:

  • Base Power (“Vitality”) = (Sum of Physical Attributes/3), Save DC = (13 + Cha Mod). The normal range of a Vampires active abilities is quite short – usually no more than 30 to 40 feet before it starts calling for extra power. That’s rarely much of a hindrance however.
    • Glamour: Thanks to the attractive effect of their heightened vitality, and a bit of psychic-level communications, a Vampire can readily influence weak minds.
    • Healing/Specialized in personal-only effects for Increased Effect (The first seven points worth of effects generated each day do not actually cost Power). A Vampires reserve of life energy allows them to readily regenerate themselves – although the more they have to do so, the more it will cost.
    • Hyloka/Specialized in personal effects only for Increased Effect (The first seven points worth of effects generated each day do not actually cost Power). A vampire can readily transfer his or her personal energies around internally and turn them to various purposes – but eventually will start to lose energy to subspace, rapidly depleting their vitality reserve.
    • Shadowweave, Specialized/will not work in brightly-lit conditions and is unreliable against non-sapient creatures and in reflections, Increased Effect; the user may cover up his or her visual symptoms and gain the (+6) bonuses to Stealth and Disguise without cost.
    • The Hand of Shadows/Specialized in personal effects only for increased effect (The first seven points worth of effects generated each day do not actually cost Power). This allows the user to approximate the effects of first-level movement-enhancing spells such as Accelerated Movement, Expeditious Retreat, Jump, Updraft, and Wings of the Sea, for one power per hour of activity.
    • Witchfire/Specialized as a no-cost adjutant to Shadowweave; illusions include small sounds, limited tactile sensations, and can exert slight pressures and stir the air.
    • Witchsight/Specialized, provides Low-Light Vision and Scent at no cost but leaves the user with a -3 penalty against being blinded by bright lights or nauseated by odors and cannot produce other effects.

Witchcraft Advanced Abilities:

  • 2d6 Mana taken as 6d6 Power (Vitality), Corrupted/Only usable for Vampire Abilities, (8 CP).
  • Spirits of the Deep (Specialized and Corrupted for double effect and 2/3’rds cost/ requires extensive contact, sharing bodily energies, and a massive risk of death, madness, or other serious complications, but permanently infuses the victim with the seeds of the Vampire template, 4 CP).
  • Longevity (6 CP). Vampires can potentially live a very long time, but certainly not forever. Still, an extra three to four hundred active years is common – and thanks to the Sleep of Stone, below, a vampire can potentially spend indefinite amounts of time in ageless hibernation.
  • Sleep of Stone (6 CP). A Vampire in a death-trance is pretty much dead to all normal checks, and is immune to toxins and such. Even being chopped to bits won’t kill them as long as all the pieces get tossed into the same heap eventually.

Witchcraft Pacts:

  • Vampirism (Drains 1d4 Power/Hit Points by touch). While this is an “Of course!”, it is important to note that draining it from others is the only “natural” way outside of “napping” for months or years that a Vampire has to fill up their Power (“Vitality”) reserve. If they insist on trying to survive without draining other sapient beings they will inevitably degenerate slowly and will only be able to access a small portion (the “first seven points worth of effects generated per day do not cost power” part) of their potential powers (-6 CP).
  • Possession. Vampires are living, self-reproducing, and self-targeting weapons systems – and, as such, have built-in directives. While this is sometimes useful – they often get instinctive feelings about whether or not other weird entities are threats, targets, or irrelevant – the game master may simply give some directions (you must nuke the site from orbit! It’s the only way to be sure!) Or even simply take over a Vampire character when such directives come up – and they don’t always (or even usually) make a lot of sense by human standards (-6 CP).
  • Hunted. Vampires have enemies. There are creatures out there hunting them, and some humans are very much against them, and there are plenty of opposing weapons aimed at them (-6 CP).

Lesser Vampire Template Disadvantages:

  • Accursed (-3 CP): Vampires suffer from an enormous drain on their metabolic energies. They burn calories at a fantastic rate, yet still tend to be cold and clammy, eat enormously yet get skinny and pale, look a bit dead (and possibly seem like they’re decaying in spots), and need to drain energy from other creatures to avoid further deterioration.
  • Accursed (-3 CP): Vampires are Spacefield Template victims; they can be affected by Faith, high-energy radiation may affect the coupling between the Spacefield and their physical bodies, they respond poorly to some normally beneficial Informational or Psychic manipulations (external healing rarely helps them any), and they react very oddly to traveling through Hyperspace or Subspace.
  • Insane (-4 CP as the third Disadvantage): “Living Death” is a profoundly unnatural state, and has serious mental effects. Many vampires see bright lights “burning away” their illusions to reveal their true selves as actually burning their flesh, others are repelled by religious symbols even when Faith is not in play, they often have visions or nightmares (generally profoundly unpleasant and unsettling ones), and they often have taboos that they find it almost impossible to deal with – being unable to cross running water, or being unable to enter a dwelling without an invitation, or being repelled by garlic. Others feel compelled to stop and count things, or become obsessed easily, or decide that they are incubi or succubi. Most vampires will have several such problems.
  • Restricted (-[Level] CP): Vampires may develop a few additional Witchcraft abilities (and a few more pacts such as Susceptibility), but otherwise cannot normally develop psychic powers or acquire a second Spacefield Template.

Vampire Customization:

Presuming one point from their Restriction at level one, this gives Vampires another twelve character points to spend to hit their 32 CP total. Those points usually go into more witchcraft abilities selected from among The Dark Flame, Voice of the Dead, Venomed Touch, Breath of Puruza, Wrath of the Sea, Bones of Iron, Dance of Flames, and Darksense – although the game master may opt to allow other – usually highly specialized – abilities on a case-by-case basis (12 CP).

The vampires of the Shadowed Galaxy are fairly powerful. They’re fast and strong, and can heal a certain amount of damage, and so on – but it’s human-scaled power. They’re super-soldiers, not epic supernatural menaces. A vampire may conceal itself, launch a surprise attack, end escape – but a small tactical squad still has an excellent chance of dealing with one.

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2 Responses

  1. If I intend to gain a custom template, can I consider Spirits of the Deep (Corrupted and Specialized) as significant enough to aquire it if I don’t go outside of the realms of approximately ECL +4?

    • Well, mechanically you just take Template Levels (skipping the basic hit die and skill point allotment in favor of more Character Points). Provided that the game master agrees that you’ve come up with a reasonable template, the in-game reason is just a narrative excuse.

      Thus, classically, if your tribal Eskimo barbarian levels on a hunting trip while he is a hundred miles from anything but pack ice and wants to take a level in some complicated magical class… “The pack ice shifted in the night and carried me over a long-forgotten place of magic! In my sleep the spirits of the (whatever) taught me the way of (whatever)” is quite good enough. PC’s generally get a free choice from the available options.

      It’s a bit different when it comes to NPC’s of course; they have to have the in-came excuse and don’t get to come up with it themselves. Otherwise they’d all be as heavily optimized as the player-characters – and the player characters would mostly be out of a job.

      Thus this template has a “you catch it” power built in to help the setting make sense.

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