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Adventure! RPG - Creature templates


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Hey. Since I might be running a form of modern horror game in the near future, I've been pondering how to create supernatural character templates. This is not only because I want to have the basic rules to simulate NPCs, I could wing that. I've been thinking because the possibility of one PC or more turning into a monster is a possibility. So far, I've decided to keep it as barebones as possible, not adding in all the bat-form, mist or other such "typical" conventions, instead leaving those out as options that might be purchased later. All for a distinctive style of each monster.

Since I'm planning to run with vampires as the main antagonists, I've been considering how to build them the most.

Bear in mind, in this game world, the supernatural is quite possibly hazardous to anyone meddling in it. Beings older than time hang around the periphery, barely noticing the humans if at all, their own motives not understood by normal mortals. Becoming to deeply involved in what lies beyond the waking world could easily get you crushed. As per this game world, vampires originate from some form of ancient mechanism of a tomb belonging to some pre-human civilization being activated, turning unfortunate victims into the vessels to destroy whatever beings threaten the slumber of the Elder God quickly and efficiently. The mechanism turns the one who activates it into a bloodthirsty being who requires constant sustenance from its own species in order to continue functioning, while raising the capabilities of the one so infected as to make it more effective. It shuts down higher-level thinking. Fortunately, for humans, well, it was an old mechanism, and the ones constructing it hadn't quite considered beings of such low(and alien to them) intelligence to meddle with the tomb. Hence, vampires.

The Vampire package, as I've considered it, goes something like this:

Knacks: Stealing Another's Life(3), Optimized Metabolism(2), Man for All Seasons(1)

"Anti-knacks"/Drawbacks: Creature of the Night(2), Inefficient Inspiration(3), Bloodlust(1).

Anti-knacks are, basically, bad stuff, but it gives extra points for a character to use when inspired. (Anti-knacks isn't a particular good name, but I'm not planning on sticking with it.) To put it simple, I wanted to make a +-0 balance. The knacks not in the book are detailed below.

New knack: Stealing Another's Life(level 3 psychic or dynamic): The character in question can drain health levels from another character, restrained or otherwise unstruggling. Every turn spent draining inflicts one health level of lethal damage upon the victim, and every health level inflicted gives the one draining one temporary inspiration to his pool. This is extremely painful for the victim, and puts the one draining in a potentially dangerous position, as he is not allowed to split actions while so doing. The actual method of draining varies, depending on description, from holding ones hand to the victim's chest, to having fangs and draining the blood of a victim. This knack does not cause permanent damage to the victim as long as it is not killed.

New drawbacks:

Anti-knack: Creature of the Night: The character can not stand the sun, or sunlight equivalent. It may be due to hypersensitive eyesight, no skin pigmentation, or just that the character is a dried up corpse, but either way, the character is not able to be in the sun for any longer period of time.

Rules: Being in the sun first causes dice penalties. Each minute in-game inflicts a cumulative -1 penalty, the first of which takes place the first round, on all dice rolls due to severe physical pain. When this causes dexterity+athletics to reach 0, the character can only crawl, and every single move is agony. If stamina+endurance reaches 0, the character is unable to move. For every 30 minutes in-game (rounded up) the character is directly hit by sunlight, she suffers one unsoakable bashing health level of damage. There are ways to mitigate these effects. Wearing heavy clothing or otherwise blocking the rays of the sun from hitting sensitive bodyparts or organs directly prevents penalties from lowering any dice-pool below (normal attribute-2). The character can not, however, cease blocking sunrays at any time without once again becoming subject to the effect as per normal. The lesser version of this knack(level 1) only requires smaller parts of the body to be covered, but the drawback always requires some bodypart not usually hidden to be so.

Anti-knack: Inefficient Inspiration: The character does not have an effective way to retain his powers, and can either only use his knacks for short amounts of time, or requires constant sustenance, one way or another.

Rules: Every 30 minutes of in-game time, the character loses 1 temporary inspiration point. When inspiration reaches 0, every 30 minutes in-game thereafter, the character loses access to one knack, player choice. As soon as the character regains even one inspiration point, the knacks again become available. The usual ways of regaining inspiration apply, the character is just simply inefficient at retaining inspiration for any longer period of time.

Anti-knack: Bloodlust: The character longs for human blood. Roughly, for each four hours of waking in-game time, roll willpower to resist the lust of devouring blood. If the character has not fed on blood the last time the check was made, the difficulty increases with 1 (cumulative), to a maximum of +5. Spending a temporary willpower works as normal on this roll, that is, the roll automatically succeeds.

This is just the basic package. In general, even new vampires will usually have enhanced senses, be stronger than your average person, be faster and maybe have one or two tricks "inherited" from their predecessors or evolved on their own.

Feel free to add your own templates for "supernatural" creatures.

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In my Adventure! game I did the ol' vampire transformation bit via the Medical SuperScience rules.

That version was a blood-based parasitic infection that had led, over the years, to the legends of vampires. It came on in stages (each represented by a dot of the 'Gadget' Background) - each stage granting bonuses & penalties as the victim slowly transformed into a more bestial creature (eventually, at 6 dots, become a man-bat form).

Transformations included internal stuff (like organ redundency - leading to extra Health Levels & an appearance of supernatural tougness / undead nature, but the heart & brain didn't get 'backups' - so those were 'weak points'; bones & skin strengthening; the digestive system changing to only gain sustanence from blood; etc.), & external features (pale, light sensitive, skin; claws; fangs; red eyes; etc.). I've got the whole transformation sequence writen up somewhere.

There was also a group of families who had the 'infection' for so many generations that it'd caused mutations in them - they couldn't live without the parasites in their blood (as our resident Medical genius discovered after trying to 'cure' one), but could control (slow) the rate of transformation. They'd also developed a tendency for Psychic powers (since that's how the parasites were influenced) - leading to more of the legends of 'vampiric powers'.

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That works, too. I suppose it really depends on your point of view. I consider getting infected by a vampire as a form of inspiration. It's not a matter of just being bitten in my setting, though, like it is in some, but that's beside the point. Anyway, I want to keep away from using medical enhancements for now. But, it's a cool idea. Mind if I steal a bit of the idea and have organisation-created "freaks" that are low-level knock-offs of the true vampires in my world? ::wink

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Hey, feel free to 'steal' anything you like - it's flattering, really. ::thumbsup

One of the reasons I was attracted to using the Gadget rules for things like vampric transformations is because the effects can be applied to both 'normal' people & Inspired with equal ease. If a normal Joe is transformed, & later cured, then all that's happened (in game mechanics terms) is that a few Background points have shifted around. It'd be a little more complex if the process had Inspired him. Not that I'm saying it wouldn't be a valid way to become Inspired, just that I prefer to do such things in a way that doesn't involve being Inspired as a pre-requisite.

In fact, I've a fondness for using the Gadget rules to create a 'better-quality thug' - rather than giving a bad guy an army of Inspired henchmen (which, I feel, tends to cheapen the uniqueness that being Inspired is meant to bring to the PCs & their main adversaries), I give him the usual army of Followers, enhanced just enough via the Gadget Background to pose a little more of a challenge (& be a little more interesting) to the PCs. The vampires were one example from my game, but there was also a group of 'Creature from the Black Lagoon'-style 'gill-men', the E'Tah & Nawls (from that subterrainian bit in the book), & others.

I also find that Gadgets make for more interesting Followers for PCs as well - like 'Ivan', a Cossack dwarf with a blunderbuss that causes 'Enhanced Impact'; or 'Tex', a genuine cowboy with a pair of six-shooters that provide 'Trick Shot'; or 'Kato', a Chinese tailor (& master of the martial arts) who sports mystic dragon tattoos which grant him 'One Man Army'. None of these cause the NPCs in question to rival a PC in ability or overall effectiveness, but they do help add that 'Doc Savage'-style where the PC's buddies are 'experts at what they do'.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hey Max! You might check out this webpage: A Curse in the Dark.

It presents Vampires as being the victims of a virus engineered by the ancient Atlanteans to create a race of warriors. It was a good springboard for my chronicle which seems like a strange fusion of The League of Extrordinary Gentleman and the upcoming Hugh Jackman movie Van Helsing.

Hope it helps, and if the page's author reads the boards, thank you very much for the Inspiration. ::wink ::biggrin

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Im not going to get into any backgrounds or anything...but for vampire stats...why not just let them be 15 point Novas? It would give them a wide range of "supernatural" powers as well as the ability to take different disadvantages along with the standard ones (Sunlight, silver, wood pinning them to the ground)

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