[Lets Read] Monstrous compendium Ravenloft Appendix, Volumes I-III

Leonaru

Taxidermic Owlbear
Validated User
Hey, how about you hang him first and the bury him improperly? That gets you a valpurgeist-coffer corpse.
 

Crinos

Next to me you're all number two!
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I think he is referring to the Vampire Kender. But we'll get to that in due time. These Vampire entries are pretty long and involved, so I'll probably only do one a night.

So, no time like the present:


Vampire, General info

Before we get to the first of the Vampire demihumans, we have a page long entry on vampires in general. It starts by talking about Vampires in Ravenloft, in particular Strahd and how he's super awesome and tied to the land itself and such.

Next up we talk about how Vampires are created. We have three methods: The first are people who actually want to become vampires, and do so by sacrificing themselves to become the undead (Personally I blame the Twilight). The second is through a curse, often a family curse, or due to a magic artifact like a ring that turns them into a vampire over time. The third method is, of course, being a victim of a vampire.

Next talk about vampire slaves. In order for a Vampire to make someone their minion, they need to kill them in a specific way (IE: Drinking their blood), the new vampires are weaker than their masters and can't challenge their authority because they are enslaved to the master. This is more potent than charm because the vampire can order his slaves to kill loved ones or even act against their own best interests.

Finally, we talk about vampire companions. This part gets a little rapey so trigger warning. Basically when a Vampire gets bored and lonely, they seek out a victim of the opposite sex of their own to become their mate (Because apparently there are no Gay people in Ravenloft, and No one at TSR ever read Camilla. Of course this was still the Patricia Pulling era, so maybe they were just to scared to bring it up), and basically visits the victim multiple times, slowly draining them of life over time until they are ready to infuse them with their own energies. This is described as being "Both passionate and Traumatic", and is "More intimate than physical love."

So The vampire basically soul rapes them. That's basically what is happening here lets not beat around the bush. The Vampire is basically murdering and raping their victim in the soul to make them their love slave.

Anyways, both vampires are utterly loyal to each other, and willing to give up their lives for one another, and are magically bonded and can share their senses at certain times. If the master vampire is slain, their mate can even command their vampire slaves.

Overall: Okay, I admit that the book has been, thus far, pretty hit or miss, a lot of these previous monster have either been overpowered, unnecessary, or just didn't fit. But this is the real meat and potatoes of this book. The next five entries are basically the centerpiece of the entire book. Like the Genies were in Al Qadim. Vampires are pretty much synonymous with Ravenloft, so we're gonna see some top shelf work here.

Anyways, up next, we start off with Vampire Dwarves (Kind of topical considering the current arc of Order of the Stick).
 

Armchair Gamer

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Finally, we talk about vampire companions. This part gets a little rapey so trigger warning. Basically when a Vampire gets bored and lonely, they seek out a victim of the opposite sex of their own to become their mate (Because apparently there are no Gay people in Ravenloft, and No one at TSR ever read Camilla. Of course this was still the Patricia Pulling era, so maybe they were just to scared to bring it up), and basically visits the victim multiple times, slowly draining them of life over time until they are ready to infuse them with their own energies. This is described as being "Both passionate and Traumatic", and is "More intimate than physical love."

So The vampire basically soul rapes them. That's basically what is happening here lets not beat around the bush. The Vampire is basically murdering and raping their victim in the soul to make them their love slave.

Anyways, both vampires are utterly loyal to each other, and willing to give up their lives for one another, and are magically bonded and can share their senses at certain times. If the master vampire is slain, their mate can even command their vampire slaves.
RR3 Van Richten's Guide to Vampires (released at the end of the same year as this MCA) will expand on this in several ways. The emotional consequences are highlighted, the relationship is retconned as "often stormy enough to make a civil war seem like a garden party in comparison" and usually ending in conflict and treachery, and the statement that "traditionally, a female vampire creates a male groom, while a male vampire creates a female bride. This is not always the case, hwoever. There have been cases reported where male vampires have created male grooms, while female vampires have created female companions There are no restrictions whatsoever concerning this, apart from the vampire's own tastes and proclivities. (It horrifies me to dwell on it, but I believe to this day that my son Erasmus was not transformed into a vampire in the traditional way. I suspect that Baron Metus--may his soul rot forever in the deepest pits of the Nine Hells--turned my only son into a vampire's groom ... )"
 

Crinos

Next to me you're all number two!
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Vampire Dwarf

And here we start with the Vampire Dwarf. Dwarves apprently hate undead, since they see it as cheating a warrior of an honorable death, so Vampire Dwarves are super assholes.

Vampire Dwarves have the same powers as living Dwarves: Bonuses against Goblins, Orcs and Giants, ability to detect slopes and sliding walls, and they have 18/76 strength. Instead of draining levels, Vampire Dwarves permanently drain 2 points of constitution per hit, with the stat changes occurring in real time. Being undead also improves their magic resistance; they get a bonus to saves against spells, and against rods, staves and wands (Yeah, this was its own category of saving throws back in the day, 2nd edition saves were weird). The downside to this is that they cannot use magic items. They are also immune to poison.

Instead of a charm gaze, Vampire Dwarves have a fear gaze, and 60 foot infravision. They can only be hit by +2 or better weapons, and they regenerate 4 hit points per round underground and 1 hit point elsewhere. If reduced to 0 hit points, they begin stone walking and have to reach their tomb in 12 turns or merge with the stone and die. Holy water has no effect, but Natural spring water can damage and destroy them (So stock up on that bottled water when you fight em). Holy symbols can keep them away, but not hurt them. They have the normal Undead Immunities (Also take two shots for demihuman undead), and take half damage from cold and electricity. Unlike most vampires they are immune to sunlight, but can't regenerate in it and avoid it when they can.

Dwarf Vampires can't become Wolves or Bats, but they can summon subterranean creatures (Which depend on the area and their personal preference. But I'm thinking Naked Mole Rats. Billions of them). They also have the ability to stonewalk, which allows them to move through solid stone. They can take other objects with them, so they can trap people in stone and the like. A dispel magic temporarily prevents them from doing this unless dropped to zero hp.

Vampire Dwarves cannot bypass a line of powdered metal, and they cannot enter a structure which isn't at least partially made of stone. They can be turned, but it becomes harder as they age (The age chart also affects their Hit die, The level of weapon to hit them, their save bonus, and the penalty to the save against their fear gaze). To permanently kill a Dwarf Vampire, you have to impale them with a natural stalactite or stalagmite, cut out their heart, soak it in oil for three days, then burn it.

Vampire Dwarves live alone and shun contact with others, possibly out of shame of what they have become. They only go to other Dwarves to feed or make minions for some evil plan they have. In order for a vampire Dwarf to convert one of their kind, they need to feed on them to death, then the body (Which must be a Dwarf) must be buried in a stone sarcophagus and buried underground, and on the third night after burial the Vampire must visit and sprinkle powdered metal on them.

Vampire Dwarves are actually reluctant to create more of their kind. And often kill their minions when they no longer need them. Its believed this is out of some last shred of humanity (Dwarfity?) left in them that makes them feel pity for their fellow Dwarves and not want them to suffer.

Overall: This is a solid start. This is a unique variation of the normal Vampire, with tricks to keep heroes on their toes and dangerous powers that make them trick to fight. Their stonewalk ability they can hit you from literally any angle. The fact they seem to be the stereotypical conflicted and reluctant vampires is also a nice touch.

Anyways, next time we get to Elven Vampires.
 

Crinos

Next to me you're all number two!
Validated User
RR3 Van Richten's Guide to Vampires (released at the end of the same year as this MCA) will expand on this in several ways. The emotional consequences are highlighted, the relationship is retconned as "often stormy enough to make a civil war seem like a garden party in comparison" and usually ending in conflict and treachery, and the statement that "traditionally, a female vampire creates a male groom, while a male vampire creates a female bride. This is not always the case, hwoever. There have been cases reported where male vampires have created male grooms, while female vampires have created female companions There are no restrictions whatsoever concerning this, apart from the vampire's own tastes and proclivities. (It horrifies me to dwell on it, but I believe to this day that my son Erasmus was not transformed into a vampire in the traditional way. I suspect that Baron Metus--may his soul rot forever in the deepest pits of the Nine Hells--turned my only son into a vampire's groom ... )"
Ah, okay then.
 

Outremer

Registered User
Validated User
Since vampires and lycanthropes are probably the two most iconic kinds of monsters in Ravenloft, does anybody know what happens when a lycanthrope is turned into a vampire ? (I don't suppose the reverse is possible.)
 
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