Monday, October 22, 2012

Nosferatus (Lesser)

Nosferatus (Lesser)
"Gnawing Shadows and Pestilent Remnants"
No. Enc.: 1 (2d12)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 80' (requires a surface)
Armor Class: 7 (Take double damage for fire, triple from Actinic/Galvanic attacks)
Hit Dice: 1 to 12
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d4+disease
Save: MU1+HD
Morale: 3
Hoard Class: Shadowy Fragments, Unreal Echoes, Oneiric/Dream Things

Special: Hide in Shadows (90%), Move Silently (80%), Slink Away (70%). Those struck by their talons are forced to Save (at +2) or contract a random Plague or Pox. They can only drain blood by gnawing upon the recently dead.

Their masters are gone now, driven into oblivion by Actinic, Galvanic and Alchemical weapons of mass destruction. There are few true vampires left any more. Those few who do persist tend to be distorted parodies of what once was, cruel caricatures of their once fearsome and terrible natures, Ignoble reminders of an archaic and blotted-out past no one talks about any more.

But there are those few, pitiful, pestilent remnants who linger on in the fetid depths of forgotten alleys and collapsed buildings of the Burned Over District. Reduced to preying upon vermin, withered and emaciated freaks of unnature, they who were once servants and slaves to the mighty ones, the fallen ones, the lost ones sulk and skulk in the darkness sharpening their talons and waiting patiently for something, anything to happen that might change it all once again.

As much victims as monsters, the Lesser Nosferatus grow weaker and more misshapen, more grotesque with each passing Winter. Cowardly cast-offs, they huddle in their damp, stinking warrens and mutter to themselves of how things used to be. Vectors of plague and poxes, they have fed upon each other so long now that they suffer from weird maladies even the abdead need fear. Filthy things, detestable, execrable, starving and mad and pitiful...they worship and serve the vermin whom they once commanded and controlled. They have become increasingly frail and can no longer sustain themselves as fully physical beings. They are reduced to a hollow, shadowy existence at the very fringes of life and death, not quite either, but also not truly abdead or undead, any more, but rather something quite a bit less than any of those states of existence.

Mirrors hurt them. Their blighted, gloom-saturated flesh, what there is of it, is brittle, highly flammable and flakes away painfully with their every movement. They can only move about across the surfaces of walls, ceilings or floors now--they've lost all ability to stand apart from their surroundings. Confusion spells cause them to collapse into so much shuddersome dust. Silver (especially colloidal forms of it) dissolves them in a hideous sputtering reaction that leaves a bitter stench and a foul stain as the only indication that they ever even existed.

They are very vulnerable things, these few, these wretched, these last of their sad, sick kind. Huddled in the dark, overlooked places beneath piles of rubble they entertain feverish fantasies and unreal notions of what they fervently wish things had been like way back when. Wretched beings, they wallow in cess-pits of warped nostalgia and phantasm that seep into the soil and grow toxic, sour and perverse. It is dangerous to dream near these sorts of places. It is even worse to run afoul of such things within one's dreams...

But even at the very nadir of their careers the Lesser Nosferatus cling to what secrets they've carried down into the rat's nests and hive-pits and there are those who would bargain for such dubious, noxious lore. There are always those who would deal with the downtrodden and despicable to gain some perceived advantage or to attain some shred of noisome, noxious lore no one else could or would grant them...and it is due to fools such as these ambitious idiots that the Lesser Nosferatus linger on in their misery and curdled hatred of all living things...

A Few Spells of the Pestilent & Verminesque

Vile Residue
Level: 1
Duration: 6 turns
Range: Touch
The caster causes their own shadow to curdle into a fetid, toxic mass of filth that causes (1d4) damage to anyone who touches it. Those coming into contact with the Residue must Save or contract a minor disease.

Mark of the Ungezeifer
Level: 1
Duration: 1d100 days
Range: Touch
This spell creates a reeking, disgusting mess that attracts Ungezeifers. It extends its area of effect over the course of 1d100 days and then dissipates, leaving a nasty, urine-like stain upon whatever surface was so marked. The stain can only be removed by use of a solution containing colloidal silver, otherwise the mark will persist, even though the stench is gone. Anyone bearing this mark upon their person will be automatically and preferentially attacked by any Ungezeifer encountered.


Rat's Teeth
Level: 1
Duration: 6 turns
Range: Touch
The Caster's teeth grow into long, rat-like fangs, granting them a bite attack (does 1d4+STR Bonus, if any) and lowering their CHAR by 1 point. There is a base 30% chance of the spell becoming permanent.


Encrusted Filthiness
Level: 1
Duration: 6 turns
Range: Touch
Caster becomes covered with filth, gaining +2 to Armor Class and all hand-to-hand attacks now have a 30% chance to inflict some minor disease upon those failing a Save. Each time the user of this spell is wounded, they must Save or contract disease.

Idiot Gibbering
Level: 1
Duration: 6 turns
Range: 30'
Caster begins to titter and giggle in a disturbing manner that echoes through underground passages in a weird, unsettling manner. Anyone confronted by this spell must make a Morale check or find themselves so revolted as to be driven away for the next 1d6 minutes.

Ratification
Level: 3
Duration: Instant
Range: Self
The caster cascades to the floor as a swarm of small rats that then scurries away in every direction. The rats need to gather back together, or else the caster is permanently lost. If more than half the rats are killed or destroyed, the caster cannot reform until a suitable number of rats are brought into the swarm...which can take a very long time indeed.

There are more such spells available, but these are the spells most commonly traded by the Lesser Nosferatus. Each time one of these spells is used, the caster must make a Save or experience increasingly morbid and vile dreams during which they lose 1 hit point. Anyone losing a cumulative total of 10 hit points over the course of a year is forced to make an additional Save or lose 1 point of WIS. Persistent use of the spells taught by the Lesser Nosferatus can lead to a steady degradation of one's self esteem, willpower and vitality. But it is a slow, gradual process. Most go insane before experiencing any of the truly deleterious physical after-effects...

2 comments:

  1. Another dark facet. There's a sense of a real nature in the write-up and the potential for interaction with it, and the spells are a colourful bonus.

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    Replies
    1. Somethings just can't let go. Other people will sometimes go hunting after the last vestiges and scraps of things that have fallen into decay or might be fading away in the festering darkness. There are always meddlers and opportunists looking for some shred of advantage in the nigh-lost and nearly-forgotten lore or legacy of discredited leaders, those who have been vanquished, the losers and the lost. And it is among such as these that one might indeed gain access to questionable doctrines, tainted half-truths and spells no one else was twisted enough to formulate quite that way...and that in itself is a reason for some apprentices and the like to go rooting around in the rotting places seeking out such nastiness...

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