Wednesday, 26 December 2018

On Vampirism

Well, it finally happened.

Carrion is rife with vampires. They're crawling out of the woodwork.

One of my players finally got turned.

Here are my rules for vampirism. Since energy drain in my game drains experience directly instead of reducing level, and if you're reduced below 0 xp, you die, it made sense for me to think of becoming a vampire as a sort of 'prestige class'. You retain the abilities you had up till you died and were turned, but you know have to go about growing your power as a vampire: normal modes of gaining experience and classes are no longer available to you.

Of course, you start out as a vampire thrall. When you're initially turned, a Wisdom Save (or equivalent) is allowed. If you pass, you have autonomy, though your master may not be aware of this. If you fail, you're in thrall to the vampire that killed you and you're going to have to find some way to break out of that.

When you do, you're free to feast and grow in power.

Archetype: The Vampire

Vlad Dracula Iconography in the Byzantine style painting.Unknown artist.
Just cause I love his brother Radu and obsessed with byzantine thing~

Attack Damage - As per mortal Archetype, except now do 1d6 unarmed/biting.








1. You are a vampire, and thus, you are undead. You retain the Archetype abilities you had at the time of your death. You are physically immortal and can not die through aging. You do not need to eat food, drink water, or sleep, though you must sate your hunger with blood every day or else lose the ability to use your Boons until you feed again. You can not be magically charmed, put to sleep, or held, and are immune to paralysis and poisons. Damage based on cold or electrocution only deals half damage to you. Any spell, magic item, or ability that affects undead also affects you. You can no longer heal through resting, or be resurrected as a mortal.

2. You are no longer bound by the realms of the mortal. You grow not in Renown (my version of levels) but in Power. For the purposes of recognition, add your Renown at the time of death and current Power. 

You can only gain experience through feeding upon a creature until it dies. Each creature is worth 100 experience per HD/Renown. People who are near and dear to you are worth more experience: 500 XP per HD/Renown for close friends, 1000 XP per HD/Renown for loved ones, and 2000 XP/HD for a soul mate. Creatures whose HD/Renown is less than your Power provide no experience. Feeding upon a creature also restores hit points to you equal to the damage dealt by your bite.

You start at 0 experience and your experience requirements are based upon the amount of experience you would have needed to increase your Renown when you died (e.g. if you died at Renown 1, you would need 2500 XP to grow to Power 2. If you died at Renown 2, you would need 5000 XP to grow to Power 2.)

3. You have Banes, vampiric weaknessess. At Power 1, you start with the Sunlight Bane. At Power 2, you gain the Staked Bane, and gain an additional Bane every Power thereafter until you have 10 Banes, after which you do not gain any more. If damage from contact with a Bane is needed, assume 2d10 as the default. Contact with a Bane disables the use of any Boons.


Sunlight - If you are exposed to direct sunlight for longer than an Initiative Rounds, you turn to ash and die.

Staked - If you are staked in the heart, you are paralysed and unable to use any Boons so long as the stake remains embedded in your chest. If you are decapitated after being staked, you disintegrate.

Running Water - If you are immersed in running water for longer than two Initiative Rounds, you disintegrate.

Wards - Traditionally apotropaic wards; garlic, hawthorn, aspen, mustard seed, holy water, religious symbols of good deities held aloft with conviction, a mirror or reflective surface, etc. will become very unpleasant to you. Any actions done in their presence are done with Disadvantage.

Metal & Fire - Silver, cold iron, and fire do double damage against you.

Arithmomania - You are compelled to pick up, tidy, and count small disorderly things, like grains of seed or millet. This Bane does not disable your Boons.

Invitation - You can not enter into any place you have not been invited to, nor any consecrated ground. Once you have been invited into a place, you may come and go freely. Businesses and other public places are considered to extend an invitation to all.

Random - Roll on the following table. The presence of the Bane causes all actions to be done with Disadvantage. Furthermore, contact with the Bane (or being within 5 feet of the source of a sound or smell) does 2d10 damage. (List taken/adapted from from blog of holding)

1-2: Copper
3-4: Gold
5-6: Horseshoes
7-8: Needles
9-10: Cutlery
11-12: Clocks
13-14: Stained glass
15-16: Dolls
17-18: Feathers
19-20: Combs
21-22: Pearls
23-24: Oak wood
25-26: Bread
27-28: Ginger
29-30: Salt
31-32: Pepper
33-34: Blankets and bedsheets
35-36: The scent of flowers
37-38: Tobacco smoke
39-40: Green flame
41-42: Cooked meat
43-44: Wine
45-46: Milk
47-48: Alcohol
49-50: Water
51-52: Fey creatures
53-54: Mummies and mummified things
55-56: Old people
57-58: Dirty people
59-60: White clothes
61-62: A children’s rhyme
63-64: Music from a specific musical instrument
65-66: Being mocked for a particular feature
67-68: An ancient language
69-70: Its own name, or the name of someone from its past
71-72: The face of its victims
73-74: Cats
75-76: Children
77-78: Bare feet
79-80: Songbirds
81-82: Roosters
83-84: Skulls
85-86: The queen of hearts, the red dragon, or another playing card
87-88: True love
89-90: Extracted teeth
91-100: Roll twice more on this table. If you roll the same result multiple times, the vampire is even more obsessed with this item, and contact damage increases by 2d10.

4. You have Boons, vampiric powers. At Power 1, you choose one Boon, and gain an additional Boon each time your Power increases.


Vampiric Power - Choose an Ability. While this Boon is active, it becomes equal to 14+Power, if it is not already higher. This Ability score will change as your power does (i.e. if you select this Boon when you are Power 1, that Ability will be 15. When you increase to Power 2, it becomes 16.) This Boon does not mitigate any Ability score loss (i.e. if your Ability is decreased by 1 from a source, the Ability can be thought of as 14+Power-1.) This Boon allows your Ability score to exceed 20. This Boon can be taken multiple times.

Thrall - Any humanoid creature slain by your bite and then buried will rise the next night as a vampire in thrall to you. If you take this Boon again, you gain the ability to turn someone into a vampiric companion, which will not be a thrall but an independent vampire with autonomy. You must visit the victim, feeding on them until they are at the point of death. At the last, when all hope seems lost, you draw away the last vestiges of the companion’s life and infuse them with your own energies. The process is both traumatic and passionate, for this mingling of essences is far more intimate than any purely physical act of love. When the bonding is complete, both the vampire and its victim are exhausted and all but helpless for upwards of an hour. At the end of that time, the victim has become a vampire.The companion shares a special metaphysical link with its you. Both can experience the other’s senses. Your companion also has the ability to command your other thralls, so long as no action is ordered that would place them in direct confrontation with you. You can have a number of thralls equal to your Power, and 1 companion.

Vampiric Regeneration - You regain 1 HP per Initiative Round if you have taken damage. This Boon can be taken multiple times, increasing the HP value regenerated by 1 each time.

Spider Climb - You can walk on walls and sheer surfaces.

Summon Animals - You can summon rats, bats, and wolves, or three equivalent animals of your choosing. Roll a number of d10 equal to your Power for the amount of rats or bats you summon, and a number of d4 equal to your Power for wolves.

Vampiric Gaze - You can cast the spell Bewitch at will upon anyone who meets your gaze.

Gaseous Form - Select a coffin or other resting place. If you are reduced to 0 HP you are forced assume a gaseous form. If you are able to make it back to your coffin or resting place within the hour, you will reassume material form over the course of 8 hours. 

Vampiric Magic - Select two spells of any school apart from Apotropaism or Spiritualism. You may cast each of those spells a number of times equal to your Power per day. This Boon can be selected multiple times to learn new spells. 

Omens of Doom - Your presence, should you wish it, can cause portents of dooms to plague a surrounding area of radius equal to your Power in miles. Such portents may include paranoia, hysteria, failure of crops, stillborn or mutated births, foul weather, etc.

Vampiric Immunity - Gain immunity to the effects of the Wards Bane. If you take this Boon again, refer to the following list: 2. gain immunity to the effects of the Arithmomania Bane; 3. gain immunity to the effects of the Metal & Fire Bane. 4. gain immunity to the effects of the Running Water Bane. 5. you can survive a number of Initiative Rounds equal to half your Power in Sunlight, though you can not use any Boons while you do so, and take 2d10 damage each Initiative Round. 6. Gain immunity to the Sunlight Bane. This Boon can not be taken more than 6 times. 

Dracula - Luke Parker a.k.a. future-parker

Saturday, 8 December 2018

imaginary worlds, imaginary numbers

these are cerebral and inchoate thoughts mostly related to my thesis that are going here because they have theoretical implications about how and why we run games the way we do, and the implications thereof. It is unlikely to be of interest to any other than me and is only going here as a record of notes.


the trend towards new paperback editions of staples like lieber, moorcock, et al are to include maps even when the original editions had none. in the case of works like elric, where concepts of geography, spatiality, temporality are deliberately confused, this seems laughable at best. an  obsession with "naming, counting, listing" theory, but delany's appendix in return to neveryon, an over-running katafictional story throughout many of his works, is the "modular calculus". the osr returns to the megadungeon, or approaches fictive spaces that don't conform to the approach of reified post-enlightenment fantasy worlds (the megadungeon as psychological space, as we see in Courtney Campbell's work, or Logan Knight's Corpathium to name one example), but the underlying structure of the game is based on algebriac logic: sequential turns, 10' spaces, 6 mile hexes (A1, B2) depleting rations, dice rolls. Naming, counting, listing. Perhaps the approach of od&d: to provide stats, a numerical rationalist grounding in the world, and then devalue those in favour of the conversation exploring the fictive approach, is meant to provide the destabilising effect of coming into these altered, non-rational spaces.

How to mathematically represent a Tanelorn or Viriconium or Neveryon? Perhaps it's the roguelike or the procedural. No Man's Sky produces an infinity of spaces that all share the same essential characteristics.

But what would running a game based on the logic of calculus look like? If we were to represent imaginary worlds with imaginary numbers.