A Deadlands: Weird Wars Character Type
|by T. Jordan "Greywolf" Peacock|
Edge: Dhampir (Cost 3 points)
There are many kinds of vampires within the world of Deadlands. By and large it's considered a given that vampires are undead creatures, and can't spawn progeny. However, to just about every rule, there's an exception. Maybe an elixir or spell allowed a vampire to temporarily become human, or to otherwise "break the rules". This seems to largely be a phenomenon of Eastern Europe (the Balkans, to be slightly more precise), and may reflect the slightly different nature of vampires found there. Whatever the case, through some extraordinary circumstance, a Dhampir - half vampire, half mortal - was born, and whether or not the father was temporarily human to make this possible, nature hasn't forgotten the Dhampir's true origins.
It's almost certain that the father was a vampire, and the mother was mortal. It's also just as certain that the mother did not survive childbirth. Dhampir are by their nature born under tragic circumstances. From birth, they walk a strange line between the living and the undead, possessing certain powers (and weaknesses) of vampires, and a remarkable longevity, but ultimately being mortal.
The following special rules apply to Dhampir characters. It is possible for a Dhampir to have another Arcane Background, but some are more likely than others - Keep in mind that Dhampir hail from the Balkans.
Mark of Evil
Dhampir are mortal, living beings who eat, drink, breathe and sleep just like normal humans, but they have the mark of evil and the supernatural upon them. Magical effects and artifacts that have inherent special properties against the undead will work against Dhampir just as well as they would against any vampire or other creature of the night. Senses that would detect the presence of supernatural horrors will detect the Dhampir, even if his motives are just.
Dhampir are subject to the rules that apply to the Sanctify and Protection miracles, as if they were themselves creatures of supernatural evil. Each round that a Dhampir spends on Sanctified holy ground, he must make an Incredible (11) Spirit check. If the Dhampir happens to have faith, he may roll that instead (player's choice). Failure means that he starts smoking and steaming, and takes the difference in Wind. An important note, however, is that a Dhampir can't die from this Wind loss - He will be merely rendered unconscious. The downside is that he can't regain Wind while he's still sitting and smoking on holy ground - Someone is going to have to drag him out.
Furthermore, this Mark of Evil carries over when dealing with mundane people and creatures, for the Dhampir tends to radiate an intangible aura of "badness". The Dhampir is at -2 to rolls on animal wranglin', since creatures tend to get skittish around him. The Dhampir is also at -2 to rolls of persuasion, since he gives people the creeps. On the plus side, this translates into a +2 to rolls to overawe.
The Dhampir automatically starts with 1 point of Grit. The nature of his birth and life are such that he's not as easily scared by the horrors of the supernatural as your average "starting hero". However, it also means that he's that much closer down the road to attracting the attention of the Reckoners and other nasties.
Dhampir tend to stay around a while, and age at approximately a third the rate of normal people once they reach adulthood. This isn't likely to have a direct effect on gameplay - It just means that the character has an excuse to have been around longer than the average hero. If a Dhampir purchases the Omega Man Edge (from the Wasted West sourcebook) upon character creation, it only costs him 2 points instead of the usual 3.
Dhampir have Strain ratings, and may expend Strain to regenerate or regain strength, well beyond human ability. A Dhampir may attempt to recover lost Wind or healing a wound in one hit location by spending the appropriate amount of time resting (doing nothing else), and then rolling Vigor against the TN indicated on the following chart. (Please note that your wound penalties apply! This may sound like double jeopardy, but that's how it goes, unless you're one of the lucky few who can ignore wound penalties...)
If the Dhampir wishes, he can sink additional Strain points into improving his chance of success, at a rate of +2 to his roll for every point put into the roll. However, any extra points spent this way are gone, even if he still doesn't make the required roll.
Failure means that there is no healing, but if enough time has been spent, normal Wind recovery applies. Going Bust means that not only is there no healing, but the Strain is expended and wasted. Success means that the Dhampir pays the appropriate Strain cost, and is healed one wound level in one hit location.
A Dhampir may attempt to recover lost Wind or Wounds by rolling on the appropriate chart and spending the appropriate Strain. Strain is regained at a rate of 1 point per hour of rest, or (at the Marshal's discretion) regained totally after a good night's (or day's) sleep.
|Wound Level||TN||Strain Cost||Time Required|
|Maimed (Limb)||11||6||1 day|
By some quirk of fate, Dhampir seem to have a natural affinity toward the business of fighting vampires. Some have surmised that it is Nature's way of avenging itself against the violation of the living by the dead. In any case, it translates into a +2 bonus to all combat rolls (fightin', shootin', throwin', and even artillery) and defensive rolls (dodge, guts, Spirit checks, etc.) when attacking or defending against vampires.
Furthermore, Dhampir have a natural ability to sense the presence of the undead. Add +2 to any Perception checks to detect undead creatures, and +4 when detecting vampires.
Dhampir have a hard time repressing the vampire half, especially when in the sight of blood ... or when they are weak. At the Marshal's discretion, a Dhampir who is presented with the temptation of taking blood has to make a Spirit check against a TN of 3 in order to resist. This roll is penalized by the number of Strain points he has spent from his maximum, as spending Strain on self-healing puts him in a spiritually weakened (and hungry) state.
When a Dhampir is succumbing to blood hunger, his facial proportions contort (completely negating the Purty Edge, if he has it) and prominent fangs extrude, giving him a bestial appearance and making him a 5-pointer Ugly as Sin. By making a successful Brawlin' attack with two raises, he can latch on to the neck or shoulder (provided that there's no armor or other obstruction in the way) and proceed to drain blood from the victim. Whether he hits the neck or not, the fangs inflict STR + 1d4 damage.
The Dhampir then latches on, and drains blood each round. The victim suffers 2d6 Wind from blood loss, which cannot be regained except by miraculous means. This restores 1 Strain to the Dhampir. If the victim loses a total number of Wind in this manner equal to his normal maximum of Wind, then he is dead, even though the Dhampir may continue to suck blood until the victim is dry (which is, until the cumulated Wind loss is enough to bring the victim's head down to a Maimed wound level).
It is possible to wrench the Dhampir off of a victim by making an opposed Strength test, and getting a raise over the Dhampir's roll. This, however, results in another wound of STR + 1d4 hit against the victim in the appropriate hit location. The Dhampir, while succumbing to blood hunger and draining a victim, can perform no other actions, so absorbed is he in this process.
The Dhampir may attempt once per round to make a Spirit roll against a TN of 7, penalized as before by the number of Strain he is down from his maximum. Success on this roll means that he regains his senses.
If a Dhampir ever willfully chooses to succumb to blood hunger, or if he willfully chooses at any point not to try to break off, then he has crossed a terrible line. The base TN to resist the urge to succumb to blood hunger now rises to 7.
Dhampir feel Blood Hunger, a driving force and a reminder of their half-vampiric nature. A wise Dhampir will not give into this hunger, for to do so willingly is to invite the urge to become even stronger ... and that tends to lead to all sorts of nastiness.
If a Dhampir does give in to Blood Hunger (either willingly or by failing a Spirit check to resist), he is only attracted to blood from a living, sapient creature - or one who has been very recently slain (i.e., hasn't yet reached room temperature). He can't fulfil this blood lust by sucking on donor packets from a blood bank, or draining a few rats - The Blood Hunger urges him to prey on humankind. Good or evil, it doesn't really matter, so long as the hunger is satiated.
One thing to note about "feeding" is that the Dhampir can raise his Strain above the normal maximum, up to twice his usual maximum. A Dhampir who has never willingly succumbed to blood hunger will never be compelled to do this - It will always be a conscious choice. Additional Strain gained in this way will fade at a rate of 1 per hour until the Dhampir drops back to his normal maximum (unless, of course, those Strain points are spent first).
Harrowed Powers and Coup
A Dhampir, living on that fine line between the quick and the undead, may purchase Harrowed powers in the same way as any Harrowed character. That also means that (unless the Marshal says otherwise) he has to have at least one of the listed Dispositions for any given Harrowed power in order to purchase it. A Dhampir is also able to count Coup in the same way as a Harrowed.
At the point of character creation, a Dhampir may have one Harrowed power at a discount: 5 points for a power at level 1, and 1 point for each level beyond that, up to a maximum of level 5. Supernatural Trait may only be purchased at level 1 at this "discount rate" for a beginning Dhampir.
Additional Harrowed powers may be purchased beyond this, but they will be at the full cost (that is, 10 points for level 1, plus 4 points to go to level 2, then another 6 for level 3, and so forth).
Enemies for (Un)-Life
The existence of Dhampir tends to really annoy vampires. They seem to have an uncanny ability to tell when there's a Dhampir around, and to converge upon his position. This is up to the Marshal's discretion, but if there's a Dhampir in the group, and there is any conceivable way that vampires can seek him out (whether those vampires be Nosferatu, Bloodwolves, or any other variety), they are going to tend to pop up, with the sole goal of killing the Dhampir character (and anyone else who gets in the way).
The following are special Edges available just to Dhampir.
You do not age at all. You are an "immortal" in this sense, though you can still be killed by normal means.
|Spirit Nudge||Cost: 2|
Sometimes, Dhampir become powerful sorcerers. A Dhampir with this Edge can use his closer ties to the spirit world to better get the attention of the manitous (for better or for worse). This is of use only to a Huckster. When Hexslinging, a Dhampir may choose to put Strain points into the casting for hopefully a better result. For each point of Strain he expends, he gets to draw an extra card to add to his hand. This applies even if he fails to meet the required TN of 5, or even if he goes Bust. In that case, he just gets to draw whatever card or cards he would be entitled to for spending those Strain points. If he went Bust, he still has to deal with the unpleasant consequences once he fires off his spell.