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"Vampires" In AGE/Thedas. Blood Apostle Cardinal Playtest

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  • "Vampires" In AGE/Thedas. Blood Apostle Cardinal Playtest

    I will be putting this up on Oracle, but because it is a live file, I can amend and tweak it as I go. Let me know your thoughts on this powerful tier 3 foe, created when I needed to run Warlock of Firetop Mountain in AGE, and include a "vampire" somehow. Give it a test on your strongest groups and see how it runs...or flies...
    It's that classic strategy of how to make a weird thing work - Fade + Magic. Done.

    A Vampire in Dragon Age I hear you gasp? Well, why not? You are the GM, with the fiat God like powers to make things true. In this case, I will take you through my thought process:

    Vampires drink blood. Hmmm blood...Blood mages! Blood magic...but not mages...hmmm, so, this is a person who gives himself to Blood Magicís teachings without having any magic to back it up, you know, cutting self and drinking it. Kinda like Emo Hanger Onís, groupies to the actual blood mages...They can undertake a very deadly ceremony of blood drinking/spirit fusion with a powerful enough mage of their order (who is sacrificed in the process) to create a type of abomination. He must have his own wrists and leg arteries exposed by a runic silver blade, while ingesting all 8 pints of the blood mage.
    If the cultist survives the ordeal (less would survive than do with a Grey Warden Joining!) then you have - essentially, a vampire. Their long life is then due to the trapped spirit of the blood mage inside them. I have called this a Blood Apostle Cardinal.
    Because they are in touch with the other side of life, with a spirit inside them who feels the pull of the fade upon it at each and every moment, it has access to every focus, from the echoes of knowledge of life after death. This foe is very deadly, consider it only for high levels, or those who are overly foolish or brave.

    You can choose to have armour on yours or not.

  • #2
    Re: "Vampires" In AGE/Thedas. Blood Apostle Cardinal Playtest

    I'm convinced that my luck is running good! I just received in the mail yesterday, the original Ravonloft I6 module in hopes that someday I may be able to work it into Dragon Age and today I receive a "how-to-guide"? RJF comes through again!


    • #3
      Re: "Vampires" In AGE/Thedas. Blood Apostle Cardinal Playtest

      I would be very cautious of including vampires in Thedas. And the more strange "vampiric" traits you impose on the creature - the less convincing it is in the setting.
      Especially since the DA setting DOES have its own kind of vampires. Just not the kind WoD enthusiasts would like. The setting's resident blood-drinking undead is just that: a blood-drinking undead. Fanged Skeleton, to be precise.
      And turning into bat and/or wolf (and walking on ceilings, for that matter) makes absolutely no sense with the lore you suggested. Just as not reflecting in mirrors. These are just "oh, wait, I heard the vampires do that, let's throw it in" - no. It's a very bad idea to mess your monster creation like that. Inspiration by vampires is one thing, but just blindly pushing traits on the creation with no lore basis... definitely a bad idea.

      Still, as much as I don't buy the whole vampiric-order/enthralling/inflicting-pleasure-on-bite (where does it even come from) in this particular setting, I'd like to point out a couple more practical problems you would probably like to address in final version of the creature:
      1. Drink deeply. Try to imagine how it works - when used on heavily armored (and still alive and kicking) enemy. It just doesn't work out if we consider a creature with roughly human-sized mouth, with or without fangs. Even if they were somehow armor-piercing by their very nature. You don't give your creature a bite attack - and that's good, it just doesn't seem to have "equipment" for that. But that's exactly why it shouldn't have something like "drink deeply" as possible combat stunt. Especially one usable against an enemy wearing any reasonably forged/crafted armor (or subject to Rock Armor spell effect - no real armor coverage issues there). Also, about the results of TN 18 to resist the pleasure of having your blood sucked out:
      "If failed, the target rolls a number of D6 equal to the highest die number from the attempt. If passed, the target uses their stunt die to reduce extra D6s rolled by that amount." - stunt die? Did you mean Dragon Die? Roll a number of d6 - and what, just roll them for the sake of rolling? "Reduce extra d6s rolled by that amount" - what?
      I can try to figure out what you meant. That the d6s rolled on failed test are additional damage die, that stunt die is the Dragon Die number from the test... And that you roll the extra damage even on passed test, but only (highest die number - Dragon Die) of them (possibly 0d6 if the Dragon Die IS the highest die). I can guess all that (and I think I'm right) - but I shouldn't need to guess.
      2. Thrall To The Order - what does "being left for long enough" mean? Does sitting in a cell next door count? "Living" next to each other? Is "long" a week, a month or a coouple hours the heroes have left to mount a rescue mission? Also, what is a thrall? Another creature or just what it was - just permanently mind-controlled/brainwashed? Basically, it all sounds more like background information (and vague at that) than an item of the stat-block.
      3. Where does the Blade of Ancestors (item) come from? It's a vampire-specific item that every vampire seems to have, but it's not referenced in lore, not a word about it in vampire-creating ritual. It seems important enough to be mentioned - why is it made? Why vampires have them? This shouldn't be hand-waved.

      Also, you're binding this creature's mechanics with the stunt-banking rules that are controversial to say the least. Wouldn't it be better to create monsters that can be taken "as is" with normal rules, not requiring significant changes to the system, proposed elswhere? At the very least add a note "if you're using the stunt-banking system" to rules that make no sense for someone NOT using that houserule.
      Last edited by eliastion; 10-18-2014, 01:35 AM.


      • #4
        Re: "Vampires" In AGE/Thedas. Blood Apostle Cardinal Playtest

        I do controversial, tee-hee. Anything to throw my group off kilter.

        Thanks for the comments and I will take a thorough look at what you're saying and give it consideration.


        • #5
          Re: "Vampires" In AGE/Thedas. Blood Apostle Cardinal Playtest

          I was thinking for a long time if I should post it or not because for me it doesn't seem to have much to do with the topic. (Obviously I choose to post it)
          But in my game I made a group of Blood Mages that started to drink blood (in the believe to become stronger or to get a better connection to blood magic).

          Though I am still thinking if this should have any game mechanic value or if it just should be for the look of horror when the players think that they ran into Vampires.

          I was thinking about one of these things:
          - when converting health to mana add +1
          - reduce the TN by 1 for any blood magic spell
          - or maybe give them a new spell, like a stronger version of the drain life spell that lasts for a number of rounds equal to the mages Magic score (Tests to resist it can still be made)


          • #6
            Re: "Vampires" In AGE/Thedas. Blood Apostle Cardinal Playtest

            You could make it a talent that a Blood Mage can take once their Magic score reaches a certain level (say 6-7). At that point the magic takes on a life of its own.

            Basically their magic has begun to leech their life force due to the amount of their own blood they've used. Now they have to consume the blood of others in order to replenish their own supply.

            If they don't consume the blood of others then their own body is consumed by the ravening energies of the Fade.

            It could be the ultimate fate of a blood mage, a fate that befell the Tevinter magisters in the distant past. A fate that few people alive today even know about. It also allows for a tragic blood mage doing it for unselfish reasons discovering that they have damned themselves in exchange for power.

            The upsides are immortality, powerful body, powerful magic. Downside is continual hunger for blood, vulnerability to anti-demon magic/weapons etc.

            [url=]Esoterica from Thedas Volumes 1-4[/url]


            • #7
              Re: "Vampires" In AGE/Thedas. Blood Apostle Cardinal Playtest

              Yeah blood magic/vampirism go well together, especially if you throw in hunger demons.

              I, too, would probably skip the shape changing, as that goes more into the realm of shape changers. I don't have a problem with the wall crawling - it's creepy, it works. Heck, even if you wanted to toss in the reflection deal, it could be explained as having to do with some aspect of the Fade.


              • #8
                Re: "Vampires" In AGE/Thedas. Blood Apostle Cardinal Playtest

                I would tie the blood apostle cardinal to the sanguine ministry organization from the esoterica from Thedas volume 4.


                • #9
                  Re: "Vampires" In AGE/Thedas. Blood Apostle Cardinal Playtest

                  You know there is that one blood mage apostate in Ferelden who has moved her entire mansion and the surrounding land into the fade after draining most of the surrounding villagers of blood. The nameless Baroness of Blackmarsh wasn't she? Anyway she's somewhere up near Amaranthine. As far as I'm concerned there's already one "vampire" in Thedas with lots of little clues all dripping atmosphere. One almost feels like enough for now.

                  The Baroness seemed to be heavily inspired by the legend of Countess Bathory, draining the blood of young women to bathe in it and restore her youth. Probably not a very nice person.



                  • #10
                    Re: "Vampires" In AGE/Thedas. Blood Apostle Cardinal Playtest

                    Great stuff guys, some excellent responses here. I love your suggestions.

                    Yeah, the shape changing is kind of an aside, but I reasoned it in two ways: First, there are known mage shapeshift spells, but more importantly, because it's fade connection, shape shifting is often done there, by anyone. It's easily dropped of course.


                    • #11
                      Re: "Vampires" In AGE/Thedas. Blood Apostle Cardinal Playtest

                      True, but shape changing is rare enough by itself. I think that it would be fine if you have used shape changers a couple of times already, but should be dropped if you haven't, and like you say, it's easy enough to omit.