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  1. #1
    Site Moderator Magian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Thief River Falls, MN

    The Vampire / Strahd

    I guess I missed the discussion on this topic when you guys worked on it for the wiki. I searched the posts for "The Vampire" and "Vampire" and didn't find much. I just wanted to share my thoughts on this awnsheghlien.

    The original entry from the Blood Enemies of the Vampire I never really liked. To me it was a problem to solve. I was always more liking the classical Strahd-type vampire. I like what has been added to the wiki for the changed version as it was very similar to my personal goal to resolve the problem. However, I was of the mind to make the change happen in my campaign.

    Admittedly my vision of a campaign does vary from other visions along the line of scope of PC and NPC power and balances. Even what my NPCs do probably varies as I don't like static things while my players are developing, so I develop my pets along side the visible campaign.

    One of my hidden campaign actions as DM was to have the Magian and his riders go on an adventure. I like having the Magian delve into minor awnsheghlien as he is a student of these phenomena. Seeking them out and messing with them. Even creating new ones and releasing them upon Cerilia in various places to cause havoc, watch them grow, and create opportunities for his future heroics of saving the populous from these monstrosities is a favored pursuit of this particular DM pet of mine.

    This adventure took him to the stomping grounds of the Vampire where I decided to have the party encounter this chaotic creature who couldn't be restrained. Therefore the encounter was quick and decisive through a few rounds of combat and bloodtheft by one of the riders. This in turn changed the rider into the more classical type of vampire with which we are more familiar.

    I didn't flesh out him being lord over the realm like its done in the wiki, but its a possibility for the Magian to have a new landed vassal closer to Anuire for any new campaign twists. Also, I had an idea that maybe the vampire could create his own brood of vampires and what this would do other than be very interesting to the Magian's studies.
    One law, One court, One allied people, One coin, and one tax, is what I shall bring to Cerilia.

  2. #2
    Site Moderator AndrewTall's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    London, England
    One thing I liked about the vampire was the ability to create lesser vampires that could be either lesser monsters or adventure hooks (can a vampire be redeemed? Is sheltering a vampire acceptable if it was your child?)

    I often find that making a villain more 'genteel' makes them far more usable in play - a vampire who is 'a gentleman' and abides rigidly by a code of honour (except in a handful of ways known to a keen scholar) is far more available for diplomatic inter-action and therefore more interesting than a brooding monster waiting for the heroes to slay them.

    One change I thought of doing as an option on the wiki was adding shadow world provinces to the Vampire's domain to reflect that fact that the vampire dominates an area of both lands - with both enemies and allies in both worlds. By fleshing these provinces out a little we could expand the Shadow world a little, give the Vampire some more muscle if need be, but also add some possible allies/information brokers, or foes who might cross over in times of strife.

    Another thing I thought about adding was some 'native superstitions' that allow the locals to live with an illusion of safety - if 'the Vampire never enters a home without permission' then a night time curfew is immediately created without the need for a single guard (what fool would venture out?) - similarly if 'wearing the sign of Azrai' wards him away then the local church is guaranteed a steady stream of worshipers eager to buy their safety with prayer and coin. These sort of things not only make life endurable for the natives, but could also be used by visiting PC's to avoid the vampire to a degree - he'd ignore his habit if it seemed important to do so but while the PC's seemed unimportant they'd be able to move/hide in his lands.

    If the Magian is played with intelligence (as he always should be) replacing existing 'monsters' with guileful servitors or even simply more deadly brutes makes a lot of sense as one of his tactics. A servant gives him information and influence in the new area, both of which he would utilise to the fullest, and as it has resources that might be very different to the norm for its type/etc it could be a far more challenging foe than its predecessor.

    A new brute while less useful could weaken an opposing realm into requiring his aid - or preventing opposition to him. Or its removal could be the price of peace - the Magian likely ensuring that any monster that he created had some key weakness that his minions could exploit.

    Any awnie that the PCs find boring/annoying could be replaced with the Magian as the obvious excuse, similarly though he could introduce ambitious nobles to the 'real path to power' - Pipyret makes clear that he isn't interested in the obvious trappings of power instead content to rule from the shadows, and for a 'beaten foe' victory as a catspaw could well be better than simple loss...

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