Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Blood Hunter: Prelude

My girlfriend +Annette had been interested in the idea of roleplaying games for some time, but hadn't been able to find a group willing to teach a newbie, so I gladly stepped up to the challenge. I asked some questions about genre and character, and we custom-built a world together for her first gaming experience. Since we live at opposite ends of the state, we started out playing via Facebook Messenger text chat, but have largely switched over to video chat via Google Hangout as of late 2012.

We decided on a world of Gothic horror. Her character, Kieara, is a half-vampire vampire hunter. She was attacked by the vampire lord Count Theodoric von Stieglitz, who attempted to turn her into a vampire. However, she managed to throw something through a window, exposing the Count to the dawning sunlight and forcing him to flee. As he had not managed to complete the transformation by filling her with his vampiric blood, she was stuck half-way - not a fully-fledged vampire, but not entirely human either. Her hatred for the Count and her desire for revenge are her major motivations. She loathes the dormant beast that lies within her, and desperately wishes to be clean of its taint.

Since we were playing remotely by text chat, I decided to use a modified version of my PowerFrame system. Normally that uses opposed rolls of an Ability (-5 to 5) plus an exploding d6. To make it a bit faster, I changed it so the acting character rolls 2d6 + Ability, and tries to beat the defending character's Ability + 6. I also simplified the Ability list, concentrating on a short-list of those used for monster hunting.

PowerFrame characters normally have a pool of 6 Health points. I decided to shift the baseline a little; humans would only have 3 Health, and supernatural creatures such as vampires and werewolves would get 6. This would underscore the helplessness of mortals in the face of horrifying creatures. Also, all but the most skilled humans would only have Abilities between 0 and 2, with 3 and above reserved for the very skilled or supernatural.

I decided that vampires would have a Blood pool of 6 points, which they could spend to use their supernatural powers. They regain points by drinking blood. Because Kieara was not a fully-fledged vampire, she effecively had 2 points from her Blood pool that could only be used for Vampiric powers, and the other four points were blank, and unfulfilled. Effectively, this means that if she drinks the blood of another type of supernatural creature, she can gain and use some of its powers. For example, drinking the blood of a werewolf gives her a point of Were blood, which she can spend to regenerate 1d6 Health. The main blood types are Vampiric (which she also gains by drinking the blood of humans), Were, Faerie, and Demon. The powers she gains access to are random depending on the type of creature bitten.

There is, of course, the possibility that Kieara will eventually become a full vampire. If she drinks any Vampiric blood, it will add to the points of her Blood Pool that can *only* be used for Vampiric powers. Each point gained in this manner will also automatically unlock a new vampire power, and a new drawback. Once she has all six points of her Blood Pool dedicated to Vampiric blood, she'll become a true vampire.

Human blood also fuels her vampiric powers, but doesn't automatically make her closer to becoming a full vampire. If she drinks from a human she needs to make a Willpower roll; if it fails, she'll keep drinking until she's full or they die. If she kills a human in this manner, she will gain another dedicated point of Vampire blood.

Kieara's equipped with a natty outfit, and a silvered longsword which prevents regeneration. With a brace of stakes, she's travelled from her homeland of Worthingare to the realm of Alhast, said to be the domain of Count von Stieglitz. As she clears the ridgeline and gazes down into a valley choked with dark pine forests, her journey is just beginning...