Author Topic: Variant vampirism concept brainstorming.  (Read 987 times)

Richter

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Variant vampirism concept brainstorming.
« on: December 01, 2011, 02:54:50 am »

Vampires?  in MY RPG?  Too many min-maxed prettyboys, borderline necrophilia, and emo bullshit.  I'm tossing around ideas to put the "Curse" back into things.  Old Testament style curse.  Not a race or a long term condition, a disease that you REALLY don't want.  Here's what I cooked up at work.  Feedback would be awesome.  If the thoughts come together I'll cook up a Pathfinder template.
 

The vampiric condition is not necessarily supernatural in the sense of a magical force inhabiting the afflicted, but rather a damaging force which affects a normal human, and leaves them more a “Vampire”.  Whether it is bacterial, viral, parasitical, or magical in its nature is not important except for plot and flavor.   Beyond everything else, the condition involves light sensitivity, a few specific fears, severer insomnia, and digestive issues.  These conditions aggravate and stack on each other, resulting in an experience of psychosis, violence, and even more fear for whoever it affects.

"Vampires" so affected do not lose consciousness.  Knockout, shock, sleep, etc, are impossible.  The ones that don't loose their shit are able to lull themselves into a quiet relaxation over several hours to recover energy and allow wear and tear on their bodies to heal, whether wounds or just normal fatigue.  Needless to say, this has a profound impact on their mental health.

They are not immune to pain, but many develop, to an extent, a tolerance for it.  Discomfort still takes its toll in stress, however.

Although not necessarily stronger than a normal human, the condition has given them a sort of lunatic’s vigor and strength.  They are able to do things with normal muscle and bone that would outright kill a regular human from the pain.

Vampires have highly exothermic bodies, which results in more than modest motion inducing a fever – like state.

Vampires will not burst into flames any more readily than any other body.  They will react badly to sunlight, both due to sensitivity of their eyes, and tendency to sunburn VERY quickly.  (As one can imagine, this leads them to fear it)  Combine with the extra heat they generate and lactic acid build up, they can actually work their muscles to the point of denaturing the proteins and cells needed to move at all.  Even if a vampire can survive beyond its immobilization, the healing from it is likely to drain them beyond the point of being able to feed themselves enough to return to mobility. 

Those who are able to rest often choose well covered cool locations.  Partly buried, enclosed in a box, basements, tombs, etc, are natural choices.

Obligate carnivores, but left with a highly temperamental digestive tract, blood is the only thing they can reliably consume without painful distress.  As a result to the low nutritional contents of blood, they are left in a state of near constant hunger.

Aging is significantly slowed in vampires, though they are not truly immortal.  While a properly fed and self controlled one could, in theory, live unnaturally long, this is highly unlikely.  The toll of constant pain and hunger from their condition makes prolonged rest all but impossible too.  If a vampire were able to block all this out and rest for a prolonged time, they would eventually find themselves starved to the point of immobility, but still fully aware, and linger in the state until the lack of nutrients finally removes all capacity for reason.  Those who attempt to abstain from feeding often partly enter this state until neurological damage removes their faculties for cognition to the point where they are driven only by hunger.  Some approach this state, and if they manage to force themselves back into motion to feed, will not allow themselves to slip that far again.
T
If enough rest time and blood can be consumed, a vampire will heal almost any injury.  Since the curse renders much of their body useless, this is not significantly faster than normal healing, jsut greater in scope.

Along with the curse come innate pathological fears similar to rabies.  Running water is one common phobia.  Organized religion and the iconography of such as well.  In fact, any sufficiently organized hierarchical group will invoke the same fear if the vampire comprehends it as such.

Ex: A vampire may fear a church or social fraternity it has belonged to.  While being hounded by a small group such as a police force or town guard may not invoke this, a society of hunters, Inquisition, etc, will certainly get the same treatment if the vampire learns of them while still possessing sufficient cognition.

Further, this fear only applies to organized groups.  Individual representatives or small groups will be viewed with reduced fear and violent aggression by the vampire.  An individual who carries themselves with absolute confidence of their power and station, or a small group doing the same will be able to invoke the same fear,  but only as long as they keep up the act.

Ex: A nervous administrative bishop or backwoods monk will be only a target.  A stalwart cleric used to confronting such things, seasoned Inquisitor, Secret Police officer, etc, will b able to carry the attitude needed.  Even a tax collector with sufficient righteousness in his purpose, adorned with proper badges of authority or announcing his station, will be able to pull it off.

 

Most contracting this state would be hunted down and killed very quickly.  If isolated, the fear of approaching them would keep both potential meals and threats at bay, but also chock the vampire’s food source to a trickle.  The stress of constant hunting to make up for this would likely lead to a short lifespan.  The legend of a vampire killer loose in the woods could persist for years beyond the actual death, however.

As far as actual combating of those afflicted, one pragmatic approach is time and isolation from food source.   Well secured livestock and limited exposure of nighttime guards, vigilantes, etc, will starve out or drive off a vampire within a week,  as their hunger and paranoia will drive them to easier hunting.

Most often though, the fear of such a creature, and lack of reliable information of their nature will result in drastic methods that just put more food in its way.  Strong smelling herbs can be effective in some cases.  To many vampires even the suggestion of food is repulsive enough to drive them off.  Garlic, rosemary, fennel, pepper, or others, hung fresh cut, or as extracts or tinctures, are workable, but not universal repellents.

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Re: Variant vampirism concept brainstorming.
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2011, 05:00:25 am »
That's pretty good.  Well thought out.   :)
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Re: Variant vampirism concept brainstorming.
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2011, 06:30:31 am »
I know nothing about RPG and shouldn't be anywhere near this subforum, but I gotta say WOOT.

Beyond everything else, the condition involves light sensitivity, a few specific fears, severer insomnia, and digestive issues.  These conditions aggravate and stack on each other, resulting in an experience of psychosis, violence, and even more fear for whoever it affects.

Everything from there on out is awesome.  Ditto-ing Freeky: Really well thought out...

I love how mundane some of it seems.  Especially how you've thought to explain fear of recognizable hierarchy.

(btw - Make book - Make $$$.  The time is nao.)
It feels unreal because it's trickling up.

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Re: Variant vampirism concept brainstorming.
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2011, 08:09:30 am »
I don't RPG, but this is well-developed enough to be the basis of a gooood fucking story.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
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Re: Variant vampirism concept brainstorming.
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2011, 10:50:29 am »
I think it says something about the state of modern fiction when someone can say, "thank GOD someone made Vampirism suck again!" :lol:


This is pretty cool. It sort of merges vampirism with zombie plague.

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Re: Variant vampirism concept brainstorming.
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2011, 01:50:03 pm »
If you ever played cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, or any of the million "let's pretend" games, you have role-played.  Heck, if you've played french maid dress-up, you've role played.  RPG's just give a framework to pay around, and dice help put an end to "bang, you're dead," "no, you missed!" arguments.

This is great stuff, something to shift things from, "I got bit?  Cool!" to, "oh, SHIT, how long doi have to find a cure?"
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Re: Variant vampirism concept brainstorming.
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2011, 07:12:24 pm »
I love it. It felt like something that would fit well in a classic personal horror kind of genre. I'm not a huge fan of Savage Worlds, but it would work well with this and you can publish. ;-)
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Re: Variant vampirism concept brainstorming.
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2011, 07:23:50 pm »
If you ever played cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, or any of the million "let's pretend" games, you have role-played.  Heck, if you've played french maid dress-up, you've role played.  RPG's just give a framework to pay around, and dice help put an end to "bang, you're dead," "no, you missed!" arguments.

This is great stuff, something to shift things from, "I got bit?  Cool!" to, "oh, SHIT, how long doi have to find a cure?"

I know what role-playing is. I haven't done it since I was a kid. Like I said, I don't RPG. Do not test.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku

Richter

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Re: Variant vampirism concept brainstorming.
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2011, 03:47:38 am »
Thanks all.  working it into a Compedium Maleficarum esque format.

I love it. It felt like something that would fit well in a classic personal horror kind of genre. I'm not a huge fan of Savage Worlds, but it would work well with this and you can publish. ;-)

Workig that angle.  Trying to get it to sound like something other than Dan Abnet meets Ruroni Kenshin.
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Re: Variant vampirism concept brainstorming.
« Reply #9 on: December 29, 2011, 01:02:44 pm »
Just read this; fucking love it.

I think the best thing is it puts the horror; both of meeting and becoming; back into vampires.
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Re: Variant vampirism concept brainstorming.
« Reply #10 on: December 29, 2011, 06:12:49 pm »
Thanks, that's really where I wanted to go with it.  It is NOTHING any sane person would ever want, and anyone afflicted would be so fucked and dehumanized by it as to warrant instant extermination.
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Re: Variant vampirism concept brainstorming.
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2011, 02:18:30 pm »
If you ever played cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, or any of the million "let's pretend" games, you have role-played.  Heck, if you've played french maid dress-up, you've role played.  RPG's just give a framework to pay around, and dice help put an end to "bang, you're dead," "no, you missed!" arguments.

This is great stuff, something to shift things from, "I got bit?  Cool!" to, "oh, SHIT, how long doi have to find a cure?"

I know what role-playing is. I haven't done it since I was a kid. Like I said, I don't RPG. Do not test.

Yes, you do.  You dress up all pretty, and smile, and make good conversation.

And then the other person's bones all come out and the screaming starts.

The first part is the role playing.
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Re: Variant vampirism concept brainstorming.
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2011, 05:55:20 pm »
Thanks, that's really where I wanted to go with it.  It is NOTHING any sane person would ever want, and anyone afflicted would be so fucked and dehumanized by it as to warrant instant extermination.

Another tack to take could be the one in the Del Toro vampire trilogy, The Stain.

While I don't recommend them as books, the way he presents vampires in the book is something of a cross between your traditional vampire and a zombie.  They're definitely dead. no doubt about it.  Rotting flesh, smell bad etc  But they're practically mindless.  They're bodies are somewhat deformed from the biological changes that takes place to allow them to subsist off of blood.  Because the changes require a lot of energy, early stage vampires have high fevers, which also speeds up the process of decomposition.  They're very hard to kill, but fire and silver edged weapons tend to do the job.

If they survive for long enough, they may gain some form of sentience again, but it wont be anything like what they had as a human.  They can form words, even complete sentences, but they're clearly not very smart, and usually repeat words and phrases, trying to lure nearby humans into striking range.  Usually they prefer to shun human contact entirely, hiding in secluded areas and striking under the cover of darkness.  I don't believe sunlight caused them to burst into flames or anything, but bright light could easily confuse them, and fire scared them because it was both bright and capable of killing them.

Del Toro does have some actually smart vampires, the Elders, who can control the above, to a degree, give them more sentience and intelligence, but they did not appear to be vampires themselves anyway, and if you left those out, you basically have something that is a couple of steps above a zombie in terms of attraction and allure.  It's a terrible disease and affliction instead, one that is best to be wiped out like any infestation.
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Re: Variant vampirism concept brainstorming.
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2011, 03:11:05 am »
If you ever played cops and robbers, cowboys and indians, or any of the million "let's pretend" games, you have role-played.  Heck, if you've played french maid dress-up, you've role played.  RPG's just give a framework to pay around, and dice help put an end to "bang, you're dead," "no, you missed!" arguments.

This is great stuff, something to shift things from, "I got bit?  Cool!" to, "oh, SHIT, how long doi have to find a cure?"

I know what role-playing is. I haven't done it since I was a kid. Like I said, I don't RPG. Do not test.

Yes, you do.  You dress up all pretty, and smile, and make good conversation.

And then the other person's bones all come out and the screaming starts.

The first part is the role playing.

 :lol: You make a good point.
“I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

“People get used to anything. The less you think about your oppression, the more your tolerance for it grows. After a while, people just think oppression is the normal state of things. But to become free, you have to be acutely aware of being a slave.”
― Assata Shaku