The Mage Wars. Seven thousand years past, mankind waged epic war against himself and the other denizens of Ryngard. The origins of the conflict, like almost everything else about it, are completely lost to human memory, retained only in the oldest of texts, buried far beneath the earth in decaying cities of ancient heritage. However, while the names, places, and events are shrouded in mystery, the leftovers of that terrible conflict are still around to cause problems.
Anaszt was a child born and raised in the midst of the Mage Wars. Like many in the city-states of that time, he was conscripted into a military unit and forced to fight for his very survival; the fact that he was mage-trained simply made him more efficient than the average individual. Unlike most of his peers, however, he utterly loathed the constant warfare and the destruction it heralded. Eventually he broke away from the military unit he was attached to and went into hiding, trying to find a solution to the unending conflict.
Decades passed, and the Mage Wars raged on with no end in sight. Anaszt eventually emerged from his exile, but he was no longer himself. Corrupted by the experiments and research he had done, lost in the depths of madness, Anaszt's goal of ending the Mage Wars was utterly stillborn. It had been supplanted by another goal, another plan, and it was to this end that he twisted himself into an unholy monster.
The Day of Ascension had arrived.
Birth of the Hands
Magic then was not as magic is now. Untold quantities of knowledge were lost, and entire schools of magic were erased from understanding. Through means unknown, Anaszt transformed himself into what most would understand as a Vampire. Consumed by bloodlust and armed with superhuman power, he became an unholy terror raging across the countryside, as did those who arose in his likeness from the legion of corpses left in his wake. Labeling themselves the Anaszti, they eventually hid in the shadows to survive the backlash from the post-War population, taking care not to attract too much attention.
Occasionally though one hears of a town whose inhabitants have gone missing...
The Anaszti are those of Anaszt's brood, those who arise as a vampire after being fed upon. Their powers include superhuman physical abilities such as strength, speed, and endurance, as well as enhanced senses. This is sometimes to their detriment, as garlic and other pungent herbs cause them active discomfort; however, mere garlic won't stop a determined Anaszti. They also possess amazing regenerative capabilities, able to actively heal wounds that would be lethal to a normal human. This regeneration also makes them effectively immortal.
Their physical abilities, especially regeneration, are fed by the blood they consume from their victims; too long without blood will cause them to lose control to their bloodlust and go on a feeding frenzy rampage. Most Anaszti consider this to be the height of foolishness, as it risks drawing the attention of the normal populace, who are likely to decide to rid themselves of the vampire menace if they gain awareness of it.
Those Anaszti who are magi can also tap into their blood reserves to enhance their normal spellcasting, a potent surprise for unsuspecting vampire hunters.
Notably, and directly contrary to common lore about vampires, the Anaszti have no intrinsic weakness to holy water or holy ground. This myth arose from a foolish young vampire who tried to feed on an especially pious priest of some deity or another while inside said priest's church. Suffice to say, the deity decided to take personal offense and the youngling was engulfed in flame. A second myth is that they possess mind-warping powers, able to mesmerize victims and hold them under thrall; said story arose from the machinations of a particularly devious vampire whose minor magical talent for influencing others was supercharged into a mind-snaring psychic assault.
However, nothing is without it's drawbacks; the manipulative twisting of form and function that creates such dangerous beings as the Anaszti also produces a terrible cellular weakness to sunlight, forcing exposed flesh to spontaneously combust. Even their amazing regenerative capabilities cannot withstand the cell destruction that light engenders, which makes sunlight and daytime a true safe haven against an Anaszti onslaught.
The true genius of Anaszt's scheme is something only older vampires know, though as they age most tend to figure it out on their own: a fraction of the power taken from every victim's blood is siphoned off and passed from progeny to sire. This continues all the way to Anaszt, who after seven millenia could rightly be called a Blood God. Younglings are kept in the dark to prevent them from going on a spawning frenzy and attracting too much attention. The last time such an event happened, the backlash from normal humans was enough to convince the Anaszti to police their own, purely for the sake of survival.
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? Responses (10)
I'd like to know two things:
a) as Anaszt's descent into vampirism would make a fascinating tale for heroes to discover, how exactly did the switch from peacemaker to bloodsucker come about? (We all know how a poor description of a hero's fall can ruin the whole experience, see Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith)
b) what sets the Anaszti apart from normal vampires, beside the pyramid scheme of blood?
A) Definitely a job for an NPC post, especially considering the timescales involved. Since that was already being planned, however, it works out.
B) Not that much. They're not especially vulnerable to holy water and/or weaponry, because they aren't classical servants of darkness. Likewise with garlic; it's a nuisance, but it's not going to stop a truly determined Anaszti. No requirement to sleep in coffins, or on homeland dirt. No danger from sunlight, though like garlic it assaults their preternatural senses, so most avoid it.
The main issue is that, while you can make some changes, the core concept of the vampire can't really be changed without becoming something else entirely. I ran into this problem while brainstorming for submission ideas. Any changes made have to be either in backstory (not children of Lilith, something else instead), in culture (no VtM clans), or in basic abilities. That last is restricted, because they have to be bloodsucking creatures (that's the point of a vampire), and they have to be able to survive despite thoroughly pissing off the general populace who know about their existence.
Not too original then, no?
(Also, you managed to strip them of all their vulnerabilities in the process - no mystical vulnerability, no folk remedy, and no death from the sun... I can imagine munchkins everywhere creaming their pants).
I don't mean to sound hostile, but this needs work.
I could probably be snarky about the originality comment, since it doesn't seem to make much sense, but there doesn't seem to be much point. Your feedback was honest and, while I disagree with bits of it, I accept that one might think the Anaszti were a bit too dangerous and without some weaknesses. I've modified the submission accordingly.
I gave it some more thought.
You know, the concept of the vampire was very different across cultures, times and legends. Why, I read about a kind of vampire that comes into being when a woman's head detaches and floats around with the organs and spine dangling behind, sucking blood of course. People put thorny branches into the windows so that vampires would get caught by their guts in them, and not be able to enter.
That's an actual legend, from planet Earth.
You have vampires that are little more than corpses, driven by eternal hunger. You have baroque socialites and weeping emo metrosexuals.
The sole common theme is blood. So. We Strolenites pride ourselves on being original. Proceed accordingly.
Update: Taking Echo's feedback in mind, a few changes were made to the powers and weaknesses section.
I feel like this post is sort of aimed wrong. The most interesting parts of the submission are the backstory and the "pyramid scheme of blood," to quote EchoMirage. But I feel like both of those are sort of neglected in order to focus on the less important business of describing a vampire's powers. Since these guys aren't too different from normal vampires with regards to their abilities, I would have preferred a short bit on abilities, with more detail on the rest. You say that an NPC post is coming for Anaszt; I think that this might have been better suited to being a small part of that post.
As relates to this, though, I am curious as to the extent of their regeneration. You say that they can regenerate even lethal wounds. How lethal are we talking about? Stabbed in the lung lethal? Decapitated lethal? Burned to ashes lethal? Because if it's either of the latter, I don't see much good luck for any vampire hunters, even without a magical surprise.
Re: Powers -- I can see that. I had wanted to make clear the definite differences from the classic vampire, but perhaps I went overboard.
As for regeneration, I'm thinking massive flesh wounds. The latter two are definitely out, but a sword through the gut isn't going to kill them. Incineration is always a valid method for killing bloodsucking monsters, imo.
I think that instead of seeing this as a new take on vampires, I would prefer to consider it an alternative origin story. I'm a fan of the blood pyramid scheme, which ties in with a lot of modern tales of the intrinsic bond between spawn and creator. The actual concept could be used for other things too, like a vicious, soul-rending spell, for which one must sacrifice his humanity, and every spell used feeds one's own creator or mentor. It would also explain why older vampires feed less and less as they age. I doubt I would be using the vampire origin as such (I'm not a big fan of vampires) but the power pyramid is something that could work really well with a cabal of evil mages.
I agree with DD on this one. They are in a similar vein to the ideas of non-undead zombies which are all the rage as well.
I like this treatment of the vampire and could see using them nearly as-is in a campaign.