Greater Malediction - Help needed

hello all

I'm constructing a character themed upon the old vampire themes. Essentially he is either going to be a dark fae descendant or a magical experiment gone wrong.

Either way, for flaws, along with:
dark secret (has to drink human blood to survive)
prohibition - must retreat from a strongly presented holy symbol
susceptibility to divine power

I'm going to gather a few of the traditional vampire weaknesses into a greater malediction. But i am unsure about how powerful to make it.
Would a requirement to drink blood and an inability to eat normal food and drink be sufficient or would it be better to throw in a few other weaknesses
If so i've got:
Anything silver burns at +5 fire damage (not blocked by magic resistance)
Sunlight is uncomfortable, like standing too close to a bonfire, or even better like being out in the snow without warm clothes

Would adding both of those to the feeding requirement be too much, too little? I want the malediction to be a greater one as i see it as a major downside.

Upside of the character will be increased abilities, slow aging and maybe an innate power. Haven't got that far yet.

The dietary restriction alone would be OK, I think. Except for the fact that you have given him a Dark Secret Flaw related to his diet. This seems to be double-dipping; you end up with two Major Flaws written on the character sheet for only one effective 'problem' in play (blood drinker).

I'd make this considerably more brutal, and hang some game mechanics on it. Something like: "Exposure to sunlight causes a Deprivation check every Diameter".

That added to the dietary restriction seems good to me as a Greater Malediction.

Speaking of double dipping, having both nocturnal AND the detrimental effects of sunlight is again too close to taking the same flaw twice. I would instead make nocturnal a free flaw bundled with the sunlight part.

The thing is, being a vampire, seen as a bundle, is rather more that a Major Flaw, so for rules reasons it has to be broken up.

Here's what I suggest:
Major Story Flaw Dark Secret: must drink blood to survive
This belongs as a major story flaw, since this is the part that will make the vampire hunted by others, and because having to drink blood is only a flaw because most people object very strongly.
Greater Malediction: Vampire

  • Silver burns the vampire in the same way as a Wood Fire (+5 per round if a small part of the character is in contact, more if the contact is greater)
  • Sunlight forces a deprivation roll every round (I like Richard Love's idea of using a Deprivation check for that, it gives the vampire some time to get out of the light before dying, but is severe enough to make the Vampire avoid it).
  • Nocturnal (bundled for free into the Malediction, since the sunlight part makes the night the best time to act anyway and the nocturnal flaw actually helps with that).
  • Must retreat from a strongly presented holy symbol, or make a deprivation roll for each round the vampire deliberately remains in its presence (a prohibition like mechanism)
  • Susceptibility to divine power
  • Unaging

You'll notice that the Greater Malediction bundles five minor flaws, or roughly equivalent, and one minor virtue. But as I explained, I think at this point Nocturnal is no longer a minor flaw and more of a free virtue. And while some of the flaws are severe for minor flaws, they are mostly about weaknesses, and your enemies can only exploit so many of them at the same time.

To me, having a malediction that sunlight (very common!) forces deprivation checks at an alarmingly fast rate (diameter) would be Greater...

For the rest of them (silver, dietary, etc) the real cincher is what happens if the vampire doesn't follow the rules. If, for instance, the vampire has to drink blood to survive (not doing so for a day counts as deprivation re: starvation) but can eat or drink other foods for no benefit or penalty, that'd be minor. The Dark Secret flaw in association with this would depend on the character and circumstances - if the character was actively trying to hide their vampiric nature then sure. If everyone knows then obviously no dark secret.

The rest of the flaws / virtues you need to build the vampire (problems with presented holy symbols, susceptability to divine, can't cross running water, unaging, etc) I'd say you buy as seperate flaws/virtues. It'd be very easy to go completely overboard with major flaws for a vampire - which is one of the reason that 'traditional' vampires don't make great PCs.

The 'strong faerie blood' virtue actually gives you all the aging-resistance you'd need for a 'vampire descendant' character, as well as covering seeing in the dark. You can also pick and choose the flaws you want from the full range of vampire weaknesses. If, for instance, you want a more 'Bram Stoker's Dracula' flavor, you might opt not to have any sunlight maledictions and instead have a restriction on any supernautral abilities or magic - 'the vampyr loses its power in daylight'.

Its a question of degree.

If the person cannot eat normal food at all, then it become really difficult to hide. That's worth at least a Minor Flaw: Social Handicap.

If the person must drink blood daily, then that's a double Major, no sweat.

If its something like once a Moon, then its a single Major.

The question is how much will people be prying. When the Dark Secret is "I am a member of Diedne," there are no hints in a countryside that Diedne are present. People can only find this out if they dig into one's life, unprompted.

But when folks start disappearing in a region at an alarming rate, folks are going to start looking for what's responsible. At that point, being the guy who's never outside during sunlight and never eats is going to be a bit of a bigger problem than "I'm secretly part of a deeply-secret cabal of ancient political linneage, who make no immediate impact on my surroundings."

I'd actually do it as if the someone had been deeply initiated into a Mystery. The Merinita Arcadian Mystery of Becoming comes strongly to mind. Keep in mind, if the person is not FULLY Vampire, than the flaws can be moderated.

For example:

Strong Faerie Blood = must drink live blood once/year.
Unaging = silver allergy.
Superpowers of certain degree = Sunlight aversion (this is a Mega-Flaw, so I'd insist on a serious virtue package... Skinchanger, Entrancement, Rapid Convalescence, positive circumstances (night), for example.

Or, alternatively, the normal Beckoming package of not needing sleep, but cannot be active outside of lair in the day, without the disadvantage of being unable to learn new skills.)

I just really feel like the Sunlight kills thing is way more onerous than a standard +3 flaw, and should be considered at least a +6 because it has seperate disadvantages as a Social Flaw, compounding itself by making the Dark Secret harder to keep, as well as a restraint on action and serious hazard to survival in its own right.

Only if you go outside during the day. It's trivial to avoid. Stay indoors during the day, or own a parasol.

This gives the player a strong motivation to play her vampire character like an actual vampire.

And if it causes Deprivation checks only every diameter, the character can still run around briefly between buildings and so forth. It'll just cost him some Fatigue; if he has low Stamina and spends too long doing it.

Still a major natural hazard. Certainly more so than, say, iron or cats.

It combines a major natural hazard with a major social barrier/burden which compounds itself by making the Dark Secret that much harder to keep.

Its like forcing all characters with Diedne Magic paint themselves blue, publicly worship banned gods and throw a mad tantrum every time someone says "Guernicus" "Bonisagus" or "Jesus."

I've no problem with the story angle, don't get me wrong, I just think it should buy more by way of Virtues than "Strong Faerie Blood" is all.

Are you sure you meant every ROUND??? If so i would probably say this is enough for a Major Flaw all by itself.

Also, the vampires of myth, vulnerability to sunlight ranges from not at all to as severe as you suggest so i think the version Richard Love suggest is far preferable. Even a check every diameter is quite severe.

Silver? Werewolves are vulnerable to silver, vampires not so much.

Fire and water however, are more common vampire vulnerabilities. Some vampire types would only ever take lasting damage from fire, and some also took damage from water as if it was fire(this became the "holy water" thing).

Those two are also a bit of the "take your pick" kind. You can either base it on being weak against divine power, but you could also use it as being weak against symbols of power(ANY kind of power that is), or it can even be dropped completely as this is a part of the "infernal creature" side of the myths and thus not a must use. Especially if it´s not meant to be an infernal character.

Oh yes, that´s a very good variation if you want a "daylight restriction" but not have it be outright dangerous.

Pretty much agree with you Vulcano, except that the need to drink blood doesnt have to mean having to kill the people on the menu.

Anyways, i know i once did a Vampire template "many" years ago, i think the thread has already included most of the bad stuff so ill just add something of what i added to make vamps "impressive"(and yeah, i like my vampires to be seriously powerful, so adjustments needed for most games).

Regeneration, every round 1 wound improves 1 degree unless its caused by fire, then it takes a Diameter for it to improve.

+10 Bonus to all recovery rolls.

Can force a recovery roll each Diameter OR once each day with an additional +5 Bonus OR once weekly with an additional +10.

For a truly powerful vampire, add that it can only die under specific circumstances, otherwise it just keeps healing until no longer incapacitated regardless how badly injured.

Bonuses to Characteristics(straight addons): Str+4, Sta+4, Dex+2, Qik+4, Pre+4, if not drinking blood at least every 3 days, bonuses halved, if not at least every week, bonuses become 1/4 round down, if not at least monthly then bonuses are lost, each month after that it becomes a penalty increasing like the opposite of the reduction in bonus up to a straight inverse of the numbers. Drinking blood instantly resets to full bonus. Presence isnt affected by the bonus reduction

Sharp Ears and a +6 bonus to sense of smell and being able to use it far beyond human ability.

Ages at a 1/5 rate(ie age/5 before getting the roll modifier from age) and with a -5 Bonus to rolls.

An Ability Score in controlling minor animals ( bats preferred :mrgreen: ).
One of either Shapeshifter, Entrancement or the above Control Animals Ability(adds some nice personalisation).
And either Enchanting Music(with "music" not exactly being the medium in use), Skinchanger or Second Sight.

But if you want to create a character that has a good rationale for doing that stuff, then it works.

Having sunlight actually damage the character is a good way to make sure that the character has a good reason for acting like a vampire. That's the point of the Flaw. If you don't want a character that acts like a vampire, then make up a different sort of character.

This is all very much a YSMV sort of thing, but personally if I was trying to create a character that was a vampire then I would pick:

Greater Malediction: Sunlight Vulnerability. Exposure to sunlight causes a Deprivation check every Diameter.
Lesser Malediction: Drinks Blood. The only sustenance that the vampire character needs, and the only acceptable sustenance, is human blood. The character does not suffer Deprivation due to a lack of conventional food or water. However, he must drink at least a full human body worth of blood every Season (which, to be non-fatal, can be split amongst several victims). Failure to do so requires a Deprivation check every Season.
Minor Personality Flaw: Fear of Christian symbols and consecrated ground.

For me, this seems to be a playable set of vampire problems. The advantage of this build, I think, is that it only uses up five Flaw slots, and doesn't use up the Story Flaw slot. Which means that you can give the character interesting Personality Flaws, a Story Flaw, a Hermetic Flaw (if he's a magus), and thus make a character that is interesting to play. A character that is more than just a hokey-old vampire.

And, of course, you can add Virtues representing whatever vampire powers might be.

I agree with Direwolf75, that for a player character, a Deprivation check due to Sunlight every round seems a bit too harsh to be playable. It would be good for an NPC though.

Make him/her a Mythic Companion. 1 point in Flaws is worth 2 points in Virtues. 20 Virtue/ 10 flaw.


Or a MM20 creature: 30 Virtues / 10 Flaws. :mrgreen:

Same to you , Mr Constructive. :stuck_out_tongue:
A perfectly legitimate and non House-Ruled character slot.
Considering the severe restrictions that will apply to the character.

I guess so.

It does mean that you are ruling out using him as a normal companion character, or a magus.

I don't really see that as a problem. For me, the issue is to make a character that is actually interesting as well as being a vampire. Making him a Mythic Companion doesn't really help with that.

Giving him a whole pile more Virtues (which is all a Mythic Companion is) just means that the character can do more stuff. But what the character needs is reasons to do stuff.

Reasons to do stuff are usually Flaws of various sorts. Which is why, I think, you want to minimise the number of Flaws spent on the vampirism bits. The vampirism Flaws give him reasons to act like a vampire, but just by itself that's boring. I think you need to save some Flaws to make an interesting character. A Mythic Companion still only has 10 Flaws.

His vampiric flaws already give a good reason to play with magi. Those are not especially afraid by his strange behaviour (at least the sunlight part).

And, a story flaw can be so large that with a little background work by the player, you get a very playable character, companion, mythic or not, or magus.

The vampire can be defined in so many ways, it can give 100 different "vampires", all of them appealing.
Be it a faerie, a human with faerie/infernal/Magical/divine curses... all are good cases. And who says vampires would be only one group of people with this or that virtues and flaws?

For that reason, let your imagination go wild, all of your ideas are perfect NPCs for use by any SG :smiley:

With the restriciton that its the "only acceptable sustenance" that means lots of potential trouble with not being able to eat or drink anything else, because of that i would totally want to make it a Greater Malediction.
Allow eating and drinking normally and i can easily agree on it as a Lesser.

Nah, i like it better to make up a template of Virtues and Flaws and add that on top of the usual V/F.
It makes for a more playable character(usually at least) and it doesnt interfere if you´re trying to create something specific, that you need "enough" V/F for aside from "Vampire".

Ah yes indeed...