Thursday, July 4, 2013

Vampires of the Unknown

A little disappointed with Isle of the Unknown. It has bad-wacky monsters and lacks the aesthetic consistency of Carcosa (as icky as it was). However,  I really like vampires, and hexmaps can be easy to repurpose, so here is a table to replace IotU's polyhedral panda-snakes with undead.

from Boktai
An encountered vampire has 3d6 HD. Its saves are 13 minus half HD. They aren't necessarily hostile, especially to potentially useful adventurers, so roll on a reaction table if you've got one.

This vampire can
1. Transfix with its stare. Target must Save vs Magic or stare into vampire's eyes until eye contact is broken.
2. Murder with its song. Can sing a bloody tune that deals 1d6 damage/round to all others in earshot.
3. Freeze with its breathe. Range: Melee; target Save vs Paralyze or take -4 to hit as icy blood courses through body. Lasts until dawn.
4. Bind with its shadow. Shadow is an impassible obstruction. If someone occupies the same space as it because of a change in lightsource, they take d12 damage/round until the shadow is moved.
5. Rend with its claws. Each successful attack also reduces AC from armor by d4.
6. Warp with its touch. Can cast Polymorph Other at will on whoever it touches; lasts d6 rounds.
7. Subjugate with its words. Can cast the cleric Command spell at will.
8. Avenge with its death. Whoever lands the killing blow on this vampire becomes a vampire.

This vampire feeds on
1-90: Blood
91: Mud
92: Other vampires
93: alms, willingly given
94: hair
95: fingernails
96: roses
97: Gold
98: Marrow
99: Dreams
100: Darkness

This vampire turns into
1-30: Baaaats
31-60: a giant wolf
61-90: mist
91: a gentle breeze, holding aloft fragrant flower petals
92: a monstrous man/bat hybrid
93: a swarm of scarab beetles
94: a ghastly blue flame
95: a black cat
96: a two-headed serpent (extremely venomous)
97: a lemur
98: a mobile patch of grave mold
99: a twisting length of red silk
100: two smaller vampires

This vampire wears (among other things) a(n)
1. full suit of armor
2. silk robe
3. waist-coat
4. magnificent dress
5. jackal mask
6. thigh-high boots
7. cape
8. crown
9. makeup
10. broken shackles
12. fur coat
13. veil
14. wimple and habit
15. mohawk
16. large number of tiny bells
17. smoked lenses
18. bunch of empty scabbards
19. giant steel cestus
20. antlered headdress

This vampire's secret weakness is

(If a vampire reduced to 0 HP succeeds a Save vs Magic, it will return in d20 days, regardless the state or location of its body, unless its killers take advantage of its secret weakness. These can be determined by tricking vampires into revealing them, or finding a true sage, hierophant, or scholar who can divine the answer.)
1-30: A stake through the heart
31-60: Decapitation
61-90: Exposure to sunlight
91: recitation of its epitaph (located in a graveyard d10 hexes away in a random direction)
92. fatal wounding with a silver spear
93. submersion in a swift-moving river or stream
94. burial by a cleric in consecrated ground
95. incineration
96. repairing and reblessing its vandalized burial place
97. physically carrying its body into the underworld. The King of the Dead is known to provide generous bounties for this.
98. vertical, head-first burial
99. mouth packed with salt
100. sincere absolution from its most-wronged victim


  1. Isle of the Unknown is pretty much the worst. I own it, and will never, ever use it. I can't recall a single creature I wouldn't be embarrassed to announce at the table.
    "As the rotted hut door gives way you come face-to-face with a....... I'm sorry guys... just... yeah I'm sorry."

    Are you going to do up more undead like this? Turn it into Necrotic Isle of the Oh God Why Did We Ever Come Here?!

    1. I think having an implicit relationship between the statues, magic-users, clerics, and monsters would have ameliorated the goofy enemies (a little) and the "I am selling random table output in a hardcover book" feeling.

      I've actually been thinking about converting IotU. Have graveyards and nightmare carnivals instead of magic statues, vampires instead of whimsical chimeras, necromancers in place of magic-users, and inquisitorial monster hunters instead of vanilla clerics. This way, you have friction between factions and locations: the necromancers want to find graveyards, the vampires want to find unsuspecting villages, and the clerics want to find vampires. Lots of opportunity for a party of PCs to make trouble.