Dhampirs

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Overview

Many paths can lead one to power, and all living things tend to seek such a path, whatever its form. Courting darkness, while not always the easiest path, is a well-tended one. Dhampirs, enigmatic creatures who embody a portion of humanity and a distillation of vampiric essence, walk this shrouded road. The history of these creatures is shrouded in mystery, misinformation, and rumor. If any know the truth of their creation, they have kept it locked well away from the populace. However they originated or spread, most believe that they can be made, as records exist of individuals who once had bright, human lives, who were changed into twisted creatures of half-life. Many who court this darkness start out with the best of intentions, perhaps hoping to bring about good or the means to protect and provide for their family, their lords, or their country. Unfortunately, the lessons a dhampir must learn place high demands on their pupils, and the gifts they receive are ultimately costly to them. As the Dhampir grows stronger in this path, they must engage in increasingly dark and twisted rites to fortify themselves, and they battle a gnawing hunger and emptiness that mutton and ale won’t satisfy.
Most Dhampirs hail from Seravia for the obvious reason that it is the seat of power and protection for vampires, and it’s there that their distinction can be felt most keenly. The human occupants of Seravia can never trust a Dhampir, for they are well believed to be the eyes and ears for their vampire overlords, and some fail to see any distinction at all between dhampirs and the Malefic creatures that hunt humans as prey in the night. However, they cannot be truly rejected either, for the same reasons. The differences between the lesser and greater vampires is not well known or understood by those who are not of the vampire courts, so dhampirs are often treated with fear and respect, but hardly ever acceptance and welcome. And among the vampire lords of Seravia, acceptance is a laughable concept. For they will always view dhampirs as inferior creatures – certainly a step up from the livestock of humanity – but obviously inferiors nonetheless. At best, they fall somewhere between gilded servants and powerful pawns, and at worst they are the definition of abominations against the vampiric order to the more traditionally minded. This rejection may turn the Dhampir cruel, sycophantic, or arrogant – especially over time as their sense of isolation grows, further widening the divide between them and the two parts of their heritage.
Certainly, being a Dhampir can have its positives. They do have access to the undying blood of vampires, which infuses their being and gives them ever greater powers beyond the grasp of merely mortal men. They also are more able to travel than their more powerful cousins. Thus, Dhampirs have indeed spread across the world and are not only located in Seravia. How the locals treat such creatures is largely a matter of how well they understand what these aberrations are. It is wise, therefore, for Dhampir wishing to exist for longer than a few years, to keep humans at an arm’s length, and to never reveal their secrets to them. Humans, after all, are a vestigial part of their makeup, but also a crucial source of vitality and power. Forever, the Dhampir must live on the edge of human settlements, preying on the fools who travel alone, trading with those few willing to make deals with such strangers, or slowly sinking into starvation or insanity. Even a chance meeting with another vampire or Dhampir is fraught with danger, especially outside of Seravia. If the populace was tolerant of one Dhampir, that can quickly evaporate with the presence of two or more.

Like most skills in Gothic: Age of Ashes, the Dhampir have a single beginning ability that branches into ever-more potent expressions of specialized vampiric power.

However, unlike most other skill trees, the powers of the Dhampir are linked to the stolen blood within their bodies. Unless otherwise noted, no Dhampir power will work if you do not possess at least one liter of stolen blood within you. This blood is held until used, and can be carried between events with relative ease. Blood is acquired through the Dhampir bite, which is is painful and traumatic, damaging the tissue of wherever the wound is inflicted upon.

Dhampirs may take blood from any sentient target that is willing, helpless, or incapacitated by making a Bite call. If the target is not willing or incapacitated, then a Dhampir may make a Grab call, followed by the call Bite, and then feed. Feeding takes the space of a rest and Downs the Target.  This feeding grants the Dhampir one liter of blood. A second feeding will grant a second liter, but will drain the victim completely and kill them. If a vampire feeds on someone who is Downed or Battered, then the target is also killed. Any target that has been drained to the point of death cannot be harvested for any other essences or body parts. Feeding on a human by a dhampir in this way does not qualify as Deadly Greed. 

A Dhampir may choose instead to consume the sanguine essences of a sentient creature rather than drinking it directly, with a liter of blood being approximately equal to two sentient sanguine essences.  In addition, a dhampir may drain another dhampir of its store of blood, after succesffully draining the victim of their first two liters of blood as normal. 

As a further difference to normal skills, each Dhampir power is unlocked by a ritual act or sacrifice in addition to the typical XP costs. This rite leaves its mark, however, for each level power that a Dhampir has unlocked, they gain a flaw as well. This is typically a compulsion or a minor costuming requirement.  It is not necessary to spend XP to obtain Dhampir powers immediately after completing the unlocking ritual, much like how Paladins obtain their powers. The exception to this is Night’s Noblesse- while a dhampir may bank one resolution of a night malefic to unlock the power they cannot bank multiple resolutions in order to create multiple dhampirs at once. Regardless, one act may only apply to one unlock.

The Dhampir

Sanguine Thirst

Grants the Dhampir the ability to consume and hold the blood of sentient creatures. They are able to hold within them one liter per highest level of a Dhampir power that they possess. They must drink enough to Down the sentient creature (Two limb wounds, or one to the torso) to gain one liter.
They may heal a wounded or battered limb or torso by using up a liter of stolen blood.

Unlock: This power is gained automatically upon being turned into a Dhampir.
Flaw: They must costume sallow skin and fangs, and gain the Mild Compulsion to kill.

Unhallowed

The Dhampir is able to slow the natural functions of their body and allow the circulation of their blood to slow to a crawl.

Spending a liter of blood allows the Dhampir to call Immune to Bleed, Poison and Disease.

Unlock: This power is gained by draining a sentient human unto death (they must be downed, and then three more wounds inflicted from feeding).
Flaw: Afterwards they are forever sensitive to daylight; all Physical Attributes are Weakened in daylight without extensive costuming to prevent exposure.

Imperium Branch

Grim Visage

By displaying their fangs and growling or hissing, the Dhampir reveals themself as the fearsome opponent that they are, and awakens the prey instincts in others.

Once per rest, they may call Fear on an opponent through this display.

Unlock: This power is gained by killing someone in single combat after they have attempted to affect the Dhampir with the Fear call.
Flaw: They gain the Mild Compulsion to enact violence upon anyone that attempts to inflict Fear upon them.

Forsaken Charisma

By calling upon the dark and arresting charm of their vampiric blood, the Dhampir may force a single opponent to fight them directly.

The Dhampir gains the call ‘Malefic Divine Obey: Fight Me!’; there is no natural resistance to this call.

Unlock: This power is gained by killing a priest or person of authority in a particularly gruesome fashion, and making a spectacle of it, at minimum ensuring the body is discovered before it turns to ash.
Flaw: The Dhampir must wear large or batlike ears as part of their costume.

Level 5 Skills

 

Dark Summons

Further enhancement of a Dhampir’s hypnotic charms allows them to call into their presence anyone who they have physically touched within the last 24 hour period. This effect is so subtle, the target will come willingly without alerting their allies to its use. If the victim is physically restrained, the effect ends at dawn. Enacting the Dark Summons exhausts four liters of stolen blood.

Unlock: This power is gained by devouring the still beating heart of a Night Malefic that the Dhampir has personally downed; note that this requires the Malefic in question to have a heart that beat.
Flaw: The Dhampir must either costume black veins along their neck and arms, or wear a bald cap.

Hellish Rebuke

The other aspect of the Dhampir’s charm is that of a terrible and fearsome predator. With this specialization, the Dhampir may, with only a look, silence and chill the blood of those that would otherwise speak against them or offer insult.

At the expense of one liter of stolen blood, the Dhampir may call ‘Fear, Malefic Obey: Silence While I Speak’ and may call ‘Malefic Push’ against their victim for as long as they are affected. This power lasts the length of the conversation.

Unlock: This power is gained by the Dhampir washing and anointing their face in the blood of a Night Malefic and not washing it off until the following sunrise.
Flaw: Gain the Vendetta Flaw; if the Dhampir already had this flaw their existing compulsion to kill is increased to a Severe Compulsion.

Night’s Noblesse

While none are certain where Dhampirs came from originally, the most powerful among them have learned of one way to pass on their dark gift to another willing soul. By exhausting five liters of stolen blood (the most a dhampir can carry within them), the Dhampir may make a willing human into a Dhampir under their sway. For the next year and a day, the new Dhampir suffers from a crippling compulsion to protect their maker, and can visit no violence against them. The maker Dhampir must sacrifice one of their memories to their new progeny, who gains it as a replacement to one of their memories. (Note: the maker dhampir may refill the vacant memory slot with a new memory)

Unlock: This power is gained by the Dhampir resolving another Night Malefic. While the experience points are only spent once, this ritual must be performed each time the Dhampir wishes to invoke the Night’s Noblesse and create a new Dhampir. Perhaps the world demands balance, or perhaps this version of Dhampirism needs the resolution of Malefic to fuel it.
Flaw: Forever after the Night’s Noblesse is invoked, the Dhampir becomes barren and will never again gain any pleasure from physical contact of any kind.

 

 

Nachstrom Branch

Dread Countenance

Distant as they may be, the Dhampir are the relations of the true possessors of the night. By expending a liter of stolen blood to make a ten foot circle, they are able to declare that no Night Malefic may enter their territory without taking Terror. This circle must have a physical representation of blood around the Dhampir to mark it, and the effect will end should the Dhampir leave the circle for any reason or the sun rises, whichever comes first.

Unlock: This power is gained when the Dhampir successfully completes a module in which they exert their sole dominance over a Night Malefic in some demonstrable way while defending territory. (Note: This will be a requested module for which the normal glory cost for requesting a module will be waived. This may only be requested once per event.)
Flaw: The Dhampir gains the Minor Phobia of entering a residence without permission.

Sanguine Sight

A true Lord always knows what his subjects would hide from him. The Dhampir is no different. By invoking the Sanguine Sight, the Dhampir may call ‘Malefic Creatures Reveal!’ once per scene, and all Malefic within proximity to the call must reveal themselves.

Unlock: This power is gained when the Dhampir completely drains an innocent – a sinless soul – of their blood and then anoints their face with what remains. This blood must remain on their face until the following noon.
Flaw: The Dhampir must wear unnatural eye contacts or apply striking, unnatural eye make up as part of their costume.

Level 5 Skills

 

Sin Eater

The Dhampir assumes their rightful mantle as an apex Malefic, and may banish an unwanted creature from their sight. By exhausting four liters of stolen blood and cutting their hand, taking a wound to that limb, the Dhampir is able to deliver a touch attack with an OOC call that disperses any Night Malefic (even incorporeal ones) for at least an hour. This does, however, draw the creature’s attention to the Dhampir in the future, for good or ill.

Unlock: This power is gained when the Dhampir commits an atrocity that has a high probability of creating a Night Malefic, such as eating a baby in front of its mother, or killing a human that they have sworn an oath to protect. This act becomes one of the Dhampir’s touchstone memories and is among the last to be lost.
Flaw: Unlike other powers, there is no negative permanent consequence to the Dhampir for acquiring this power (aside from likely creating an unfriendly Malefic). However, each time this power is used, the Dhampir takes on a temporary Minor Compulsion for the duration of the event based on the targeted Malefic’s nature.

Dark Invocation

Vampires are the highest order of Malefic, and Dhampirs have inherited some of this birthright. With patience, a Dhampir of this magnitude may use a piece of a Malefic to summon it into their presence sometime that night.

Staff must be alerted that this power is being invoked, and then the Dhampir must spend ten minutes at sundown rubbing and concentrating on the object in their possession associated with the Malefic in question. Without fail, that creature will present itself to the Dhampir before the sun rises.

Unlock: The Dhampir must acquire an object associated with a particular Malefic, and then follow them for at least two hours while they go about their dark business. The Dhampir is not protected from the Malefic in any particular way during this time, and they must not interfere with it in any way, such as attacking it or protecting others from it.
Flaw: Any combat power that affects the Night Malefic, affects the Dhampir in the same way.

Shadow Hunter

A Dhampir of this potency has managed to gain a deep association with the darkness and shadows of the night, becoming one with them. When the Dhampir is standing in the shadows unseen, they may become as shadows themselves, able to walk about freely for the remainder of the scene in stealth. This effect is broken if they leave the shadows into bright light or interact with the environment in any way. They gain the ability to call ‘Malefic Stealth’, but Tracking abilities function against them normally.

Unlock: This power is gained once the Dhampir utterly destroys a tool or weapon that is used to destroy or protect against Malefic creatures. No piece of it may be reused for any purpose.
Flaw: Forever after, the Dhampir must appear as dead, applying heavy make-up to be ashen skinned or corpse-like.

Ferox Branch

Fell Strength

The strength of vampires is legendary, and this power is part of the reason why. The Dhampir may exhaust two liters of stolen blood to call Mighty with any weapon they are currently using, including a natural weapon or fist boffer.

Unlock: This power is gained when the Dhampir successfully kills a predator with a higher Strength than themselves, and eats its heart.
Flaw: Forever after, the Dhampir suffers the ‘Push’ effect when presented with a religious symbol held by a believer baptized in that faith. (Assume any with such an object qualify unless explicitly told otherwise).

Monstrous Hide

The Dhampir has twisted their form, hardening their skin into something that is not human, making it much harder for weapons to piece them.

The Dhampir’s skin counts as Medium Armor, and can be repaired by exhausting two liters of stolen blood and being at rest. This armor is assumed to cover the entire body, but no additional armor may be worn on top to confer additional advantage.

Unlock: This power is gained after the Dhampir kills and skins a human, wearing the remains for an event. They must then repeat this process for a powerful predatory beast, and thirdly by a Night Malefic.
Flaw: The skin of the Dhampir is mottled, scarred, and horrific, requiring extensive makeup for boils, hardened skin, hair, marks, etc.

Level 5 Skills

 

Night’s Grace

Accustomed as they are to being a creature that inspires dread, and knowing intimately the dangers within the dark, the Dhampir becomes immune at night to anything that would diminish their mental attributes, or inspire Fear or Terror. The night is such a part of them that they may simply expend a liter of stolen blood and call ‘Malefic Disregard’.

Unlock: This power is gained when the Dhampir hunts, kills and consumes the brain of another character invested with a Glory concept (Rangers, Paladins, other Dhampirs, etc).
Flaw: Forever after, the Dhampir suffers from a Mild Compulsion to disrupt arcane spells and cultist rituals.

Shadowskin

Using this potent ability, the Dhampir is able to meld with the darkness and take on aspects of the Night Malefic, becoming incorporeal as they wish.

In response to any Strike or Power Strike, the Dhampir may exhaust a liter of stolen blood and call Incorporeal. Until the Dhampir rests, they remain in such a state and can only be affected by weapons and powers that can target such a creature.

Unlock: This power is gained when the Dhampir hunts and completely drains the blood of someone who is Cursed.
Flaw: Rather than gaining a permanent flaw, this power enacts a temporary flaw each time it is used. Whenever the Dhampir uses this ability, they suffer from the Cursed Flaw until the following sunrise.

Form of the Bat

Legends speak of Vampires that could shatter their bodies into hundreds of swarming bats to travel or escape from their enemies. Some Dhampirs have learned a weaker version of this by harnessing the power of blood and betrayal. The Dhampir may exhaust two liters of stolen blood to transform into a bat. They must call ‘Malefic Escape’ and hold a bat prop above their head. They then may flee the scene, and become immune to tracking and combat calls. However, they must head to a specific place in their escape. None may follow save another calling Malefic Escape as well.

Unlock: This power is gained when the Dhampir suddenly, brutally, and without warning kills a close friend, compatriot or someone they have sworn an oath of protection to. The Dhampir must then sever their head and use a method of preservation on it before it turns to ash. This head must have a prop and be hidden within the game space in a place that Staff is aware of. As long as the head exists, this power functions correctly and the Dhampir is able to retreat to that location. Should the head be destroyed, this power may not be used until the process of betrayal and beheading is repeated, though the experience points needn’t be spent again.
Flaw: Forever after, the purity of light hurts the eyes of the Dhampir. Torches, fires, even lanterns may cause this effect, to say nothing of sunlight. If bright light is shone in their unshielded eyes, they must take the Blindness Maim temporarily.

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