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[Whiteleaf Discussion] Race: the Vrolakym

Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2015 10:09 pm
by willpell
True vampires are as rare as they are devastatingly dangerous; relentless opposition by the forces of Good has culled them almost into nonexistence. But in order to adapt and preserve their unnatural essence, these undead performed blasphemous acts, experimenting with the living in order to learn how to blend their power with the vitality of those who had been both their victims and their persecutors. The result was the creation of a dire new race, part living and part undead, possessing many of the vampires' strengths and few of their weaknesses: the Vrolakym of Ostrovanis.

Vrolakym possess the following traits:

* +4 Strength, +4 Charisma. All Vrolakym are horribly strong, and they range from repellently fascinating to mesmerizingly beautiful. In both cases, the word "unearthly" seems fitting.

* As undead creatures, Vrolakym have no Constitution score, but the vitalistic experiments of their forebears have infused their bodies with a modicum of life energy. As a result, a Vrolak receives bonus hit points for each hit die equal to its Strength bonus. (If an effect reduces the Vrolak's Strength modifier to less than 0, it does not lose hit points below the amount it would have without this ability.)

* All Vrolakym receive Alertness and Track as bonus feats. They also have the Scent special quality, although many consider it undignified and refuse to use it. Treat all Vrolakym as having the Persuasive feat unless they have visibly used Scent in the current scene. Using Scent in a manner that is not visible imposes a -4 penalty on all rolls.

* At midnight each night, a Vrolak who has not fed upon blood since the previous midnight suffers 1 point of damage to each of its attributes, which cannot be restored until the Vrolak has fed. The blood must be drawn from a humanoid, monstrous humanoid, or giant, who must be alive when the feeding begins. Feeding restores 1 point of any lost attribute for every 5 hit points of damage inflicted.

* A Vrolak who drops to 0 Strength or 0 Dexterity as a result of failing to feed enters a paralysis known as torpor. One whose Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma is reduced to 0 becomes a mindless predator, and remains in a berserk state until it has fully restored one of these attributes. Whenever the frenzied Vrolak feeds, the first point of ability restoration is devoted to the lowest mental attribute (referred to as the "critical" attribute; if two or more mental attributes are tied, choose any one to be "critical"), but another point cannot be restored to that attribute until each other one has been restored by 1, unless the Vrolak's player succeeds at a Will save with a DC equal to the number of lost attribute points, once for each point to be restored to the "critical" attribute while any others remain more damaged.
Example: A vrolak with 12 Intelligence, 8 Wisdom and 14 Charisma goes a week and a night without feeding, so it takes 8 damage to each attribute; Wisdom falls to 0 and becomes "critical", and the vrolak goes berserk. When it feeds later and drinks 15 HP of blood, it may restore 1 point of Wisdom, but must then Will save at DC 39 - that's 7 for the remaining 2 points of lost Wisdom, and 8 each for the other four attributes - in order to restore another point of Wisdom. Failing the roll, it heals its Strength and Dexterity instead, then attacks another victim and drains 20 HP. It uses this to restore Intelligence and Charisma by 1 each, Wisdom by 1 again, and then Will saves at DC 34. Miraculously managing to succeed, it restores Wisdom by 1, leaving it at 3. When it manages to devote 5 more points of restoration to Wisdom, its frenzy finally ends.

* Ossified Mind: Though a vrolak doesn't physically age, his thought patterns become increasingly one-dimensional as he passes into senescence. This is true even if the vrolak takes a template which prevents aging, such as lich. A vrolak who reaches 11th level or a postmortem age of 50 years treats all skills without at least 5 ranks as being cross-class thereafter, and can no longer use any skill untrained unless they have a feat which grants bonuses to it (counting Persuasive, which they have conditionally).
At level 20 or age 200, a vrolak becomes completely set in their ways, and further education is impossible; they receive no further skill points for any future levels.

* Alignment: Any lawful or evil. Vrolakym are inherently selfish and destructive creatures by nature; they can intellectually appreciate the reasons for virtue, but are capable of acting on such beliefs only so long as they retain ironclad self-discipline to deny their unnatural hungers. A vampire who somehow becomes chaotic good or chaotic neutral instantly goes mad with bloodlust; treat him as having a Wisdom of 0 for all purposes other than Spot and Listen rolls and Will saves. One who becomes true neutral or neutral good is usually overwhelmed with guilt at his unnatural and victimizing existence, and destroys himself (this generally should not apply to a player character; DM's discretion).

EDIT - removed the second "R" from the name, as it doesn't conform to Slavic pluralization conventions. Don't know why I ever thought it should be in. I also suspect that the system for attribute damage is overcomplected to the point of unplayability, and should probably be fixed somehow.

Re: [Whiteleaf] Race: the Vrolakrym

Posted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:32 pm
by willpell
I never assigned a level adjustment to these guys. But now that I'm looking at it again, +8 to attributes seems like it pretty much has to have one, even if being Undead is pretty much a severe disadvantage when you're on 1 HD. (I didn't even explicitly specify that it's a d12, as with most undead....perhaps a level one Vrolak Sorcerer legitimately has only 4 HP grand total, being easily obliviated by a single crossbow bolt.)

Vrolakym alignment

Posted: Sun May 13, 2018 10:56 pm
by willpell
Here is an analysis of the five possible alignments for Vrolak characters. The parenthesized number is the approximate percentage of the population which has that alignment, and can be used to generate a statistically-accurate random alignment.

Lawful Good (12%) - Goodness does not come naturally to the Vrolak, and that's an understatement. Their minds inherently and exclusively operate along lines of instinctual selfishness; it is only with considerable mental effort and focus that they recognize the inherent benefits of a stable civilized infrastructure. Therefore, virtue is possible for these creatures only through ironclad self-control; they fixate on honor and discipline as substitutes for mercy or compassion, taking a selfish pride in their adherence to whatever reputation they have managed to develop (usually emphasizing trustworthiness, loyalty, and above all competence), as this is consistent with the reptilian patience of which the less-than-alive are capable. Having no intuitive ability to interpret codes of Good in a flexible yet consistent fashion, the Vrolak are hypersensitive to the apparent hypocrisy of typical Good-but-not-Lawful individuals; their rigidity in interpreting the Law as the sole definition of Good makes them among the more likely candidates for the "Templar paladin" archetype which is otherwise quite rare on Whiteleaf.

Lawful Neutral (18%) - For those Vrolak who have more sense than to try to pretend they can be kind, gentle, or virtuous in any but the most hollow sense, cleaving inflexibly to a rigorous sense of order is the best way of preserving the social fabric, thereby protecting the selfish interests of all. Nobody will do business with a dealer who is known to cheat his clients, and thereby it is crucially important to preserve the trust of the public, preferably by actually being trustworthy, but at the very least by never being caught - and self-discipline helps with that as well. Not all Lawful Neutral vrolak can be left alone overnight with a full coin purse, which they know has not been and will not be counted to ensure they didn't sneak a crown or two, but more than a few of them are indeed that good at controlling their instincts...after all, they have a very long future to look forward to, and they know that their kin are very good at holding grudges.

Lawful Evil (35%) - as a species of largely-solitary predators who keep "herds" to feed themselves, the confluence of tyrannical subjugation and brutal efficiency is naturally where the vrolak are most comfortable. The state of Ostrovanis is largely arranged along the lines of a corporation or an organized-crime family, where aggressive competition behind closed doors is considered healthy, and threats to the mutual interests of the group are harshly dealt with. Though not concerned overly with public relations, save with their fellow Dead Kingdoms, the naturally conservative Vrolak take an inherent satisfaction in having an orderly regime stifle all upheavals, even those that would be to the personal benefit of the particular vrolak in question.

Neutral Evil (27%) - Though all vrolak are ruthless and self-obsessed, only some take the extra step into being actively cruel, treacherous, or Machiavellian. Most make an effort to treat their "blood dolls" with a modicum of care, the way a farmer seeks to keep his cows in good health (at least until the day comes for their slaughtering), but a significant minority consider the supply of new human victims basically inexhaustible, and refuses to tighten their belt far in the advance of any theoretical crisis. Larceny and betrayal are harshly punished by Vrolak law, but vrolak in general are smart enough to deal with their also-smart fellows, and quickly get a handle on exactly what they can and can't get away with. Many use deception to feign a Lawful alignment for as long as they can get away with it, actively scheming for the moment when they'll get a "big score" which justifies dropping the facade (the difference between these and the Lawful Neutral is mostly that these are outright pretending from the start, while the latter make a calculated choice in the moment of temptation, and may or may not regret it later, but will not automatically be emboldened to further breaches if they manage to get away with it once).

Chaotic Evil (8%) - The true monsters among the Vrolak are never merely decadent, amoral hedonists, but rather the most vicious and feral of bloodthirsty brutes, who at most manage a bare veneer of civilization to keep from being regarded as a liability by their fellows. Though vastly more than the listed percentage of Vrolak tend toward this alignment, few of them are able to survive for long, as their spiteful and petty behavior, their capacity to succumb to rage or lust at the drop of a hat, and their general lack of patience for cleaning up their own mess generally gets them put down like mad dogs by their fellows, hopefully before they can do too much damage.