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Shadow Vampire by Zak (Elminster ZK -- click on illustration for his artist's page, used with permission. Check mark links to the full sized illustration).  Free registration required, lots of great art on the site (tens of thousands of illustrations).  Used with express permission.

For more about Shadow Vampires, start at Shadows on the doorstep or Beastiaries or see the material below.

This is a map of reality in my campaign (compared to the way I initially designed it for D&D and suggested it to Gary Gygax for his use).  Since I do not use the same sort of law/chaos axis he did, and decided to use an elemental node approach rather than one based on platonic ideals, I end up with a much different look.

Reality draws from the soup of chaos through the filter of shadow into the material world or the universe you and I see and the one the characters are set in.  That has a few material planes, a number of branes and partials, with mass and energy coming into them from Shadow and leaving through the dream realms (which replace the Astral real completely).  

Upper dream or near dream is the realm of elves, deep dream is where the characters are right now in this story line, and things in deep dream either sink back into shadow to be either reformed or passed back to chaos or ascend up towards the final state, which is what the entire process is about.

The platonic ideals and such form a layer between reality and the final state which is what the entire process is intent on creating.

I use gods, heroes and entelechies in this system much like Catholic or Orthodox Saints are used.  Shadow is the foreshadowing and the pre-existent state.  Dream is the realm that follows after.

-- The story continues.

Lightning fell from the sky in sheets, shredding the clouds.  You could feel the rage in Tinda's call and the Judas Goat was the target of his anger and of all the lightning.  The call caught me by surprise, but I kept my wits and grabbed my head, covering my ears.  The flash was so bright that spots danced before my closed eyes.

There was an explosion of light as the fire fell from the heavens, shattered and then blasted out from the Judas Goat to those about him.  Thunder and smoke and burning was everywhere, like the wrath of God.  I could feel little but pain as my ear drums shattered and then reformed as my body healed and knit back together. The shock tore a howl from me.  There would be no more chance to prepare for combat or to gain surprise. As Tindalasse pulled more lightening, we charged.  It was chaos and disorder, screams and magic, burning and blood.

Just as the Moonbeasts started to focus on me, the second blast of lighting struck, turning the burning goat to ash and breaking the building spells the Moonbeasts thought they were weaving. Then the hand-to-hand combat was joined, Michael and I and Indigo against the surviving men of Leng as Tinda shook himself free of his rage and our magic caught the Moonbeasts.

One of them seized an obsidian knife and made the ground quake. It had called a Dhole. In these wastes, where the underworld was so close, one responded immediately to the call, breaching the earth. The stench was incredible.  I still had spots before my eyes, my ears were still bleeding and with this creature it was if I had inhaled an entire rotting sewer.  I could see it, as big as the spires of the Elf King's Castle.

I had heard of Dholes, but the reality of the size was almost as stunning as the smell.  It was huge, half a football field wide and it towered up into the tattered skies until we could not see the end of it.  Then it doubled over and struck down and down and down.  It struck down like a score of loaded freight trains, striking and swallowing the high ground where the Moonbeast was, breaking back into the earth, and was gone in a cloud of sand and stench and stains.

We slew the survivors, who attacked us berserkly, almost mindlessly.  Then we approached the tower.  There were no moonbeasts left, the others we took prisoners. As we searched and cleared, I caught the scent of the one we were searching for, and found a cell where that one had been held.  I spotted a small journal, hidden behind a loose stone, masked by tatters of formed dream.

Jan had purchased the anchor in the market, along with a map to a treasure in the dreamlands.  The map promised that the anchor was a key that would see him/her safe to the treasure.  He/she had followed the map and its hints, deeper into dream, and had rejoiced to find a guide who would get them both by the king's guards and into the waste.

The last entry reflected despair and betrayal.  Jan and others, each with their Judas Goat, had been taken by the Men of Leng for their Moonbeast masters.  The key had not protected Jan, and he/she had watched some of his/her cell mates eaten alive.  The last entry was cryptic.

We locked all of those we took in to the common cell below ground.  Then we sat down to discuss what we knew.  Jan/Jon was not here, nor was the anchor.  We needed to track both or either.  Michael could only say that the path was not one necessarily clear of death.

As we read the last entry, Ariel suddenly made sense of it.  Jan had been told he/she was being delivered to the Man in the Moon. Most of those lured into this waste by the maps were taken as slaves by the Moonbeasts.  We knew the use the Moonbeasts and Wenelians had for slaves.  Our Goat was not the only treacherous guide.  Had the guide survived the conflict, Tinda would have certainly slain him again as he realized what the Goats did.  Just as Tinda started to mutter we heard a tumult and dropped below ground to investigate.

There was a man about to be lynched.  On of the "captives" was a galley captain, who had tried to hide with the others.  he could take us beyond the walls of the world to the castle of the Man in the Moon or other places that the galleys roam.  But, before we did more, we needed to sort out our captives, deal justice, and end things.  With the White Raven and truth, we were able to find truth.

The captain was a human contractor with the Moonbeasts.  More than willing to avoid betraying us as long as we watched him and our backs. A few men of Leng were born slaves, more than willing to abandon life in the galleys and strike out on their own rather than continue in a life that would end as a menu item for the moonbeasts.

There had been some Judas Goats, but they had all perished in the fighting.  If not, the other prisoners would have finished them for certain.  Finally, we had those who had been captives of the moonbeasts.  Some wanted to join us, others to band together and strike back toward the city, and a few wanted to remain here to "welcome" Goats as they led their prey into this trap.

Those wanted to end this masquerade and perhaps acquire another Da Vinci machine to use to take back more of the loot below with them than they could carry with them otherwise.  They had already found parts of one in storage, the wreck of another was outside the tower, and they had plans and a determination to go forward with construction, exploration and revenge.

We had no choice.  We would sail for the moon, there to recapture Jan or journey onwards.  But, it did not bode well.  With the anchor within dream so long and deep, it might no longer need to be in Jan's presence or possession to still work as an anchor.  Not only would the invasion continue if we did not seize the anchor, but Jan was at risk as well, with every passing day.

More creatures for those who are interested.
Creatures found in dream
Shadow Vampire Twisted Shadow Vampire Demented Shadow Vampire
Rare in Shadow: 1d3 Very Rare in Shadow: 1d6+2 Rare in Shadow 1d2
Armor Class 8 shadow, silver or +1 to hit Armor Class 5 silver or +1 to hit Armor Class 7, silver or +2 to hit
Move  16" Move 14" Move 24"
Hit dice  2d10+2 Hit Dice 4d8+4 Hit Dice 9d6+9
%lair 10 %lair 35 %lair as wraiths
Treasure Type varies Treasure Type: k Treasure Type as wraiths
Attack d3 hit points, d3+1 con/str Attack one level, d6+1 hit points Attack  2d20 bite and drain 1d2 levels
Intelligence: medium  to high  Intelligence: low to medium   Intelligence: low to medium  
Alignment :  neutral Alignment: neutral evil Alignment:  chaotic evil 
Size: humanoid Size: humanoid to large Size: large and larger
120+d20 Psionic points: All attacks and defenses
They drain d3+1 from both con and str each.
attack, regain 1 pt per movement turn.
90 psionic points, ego whip and mind bar
Also radiate fear 2" (but save +4)
May be turned as wights.
Invisible until they attack, surprise on 1-5 on d6
Immune psionic attacks, charm/hold, suggestion
Sense invisible, turned as specters, fear 4".

Shadow Vampires are natives to the plane of shadow.  They can consume native shadow stuff (they absorb 2 levels/hit dice per melee round of shadow stuff if they are fighting with shadow creatures or shadow constructs).  Native shadow vampires are not evil and can not drain levels.  If they chose to  turn or "twist" they immediately become evil, lose psionic energy and become level drainers.  In that state they can also be turned.  Any shadow vampire can become a twisted shadow vampire by an act of will.  Once they become twisted they can not change back absent divine intervention.

All shadow vampires are repulsed by light spells, destroyed by light 10' radius or stronger (if they are caught in it or press into it).  Anyone who fails a saving throw against fear may not turn shadow vampires or use light against them.  When within the fear radius, must save each melee round.  Good characters gain +3 to saves, lawful characters gain +1 to saves against fear.  No saves against draining.

Twisted shadow vampires eventually grow into demented shadow vampires.  In that state they lose all of their psionic modes and powers and their intelligence continues to drop. All shadow vampires are capable of moving without leaving tracks, of being absolutely quiet and of hiding in shadows as a thief of level = 2x hit dice (e.g. base hides as a 4th level thief, twisted as 8th level thief demented as 16th level thief).  

In Runequest treat them as shades, small, medium and large, with the twisted and demented doing permanent tap damage, the base doing temporary drains, in addition to cold/fear shock damage.


Great Essay on What Killed Wargames



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