Hey there everybody! Cody here, to talk about monsters and monster Lifepaths! We’ve talked a lot about how we’re gonna have customization for our “exceptional” monsters but we haven’t really given that many details! So, I figured I would take a few minutes to just outline roughly what I’ve been working on. Keep in mind, this is all pre-final material and any of it could change.
With that in mind, let’s jump in!
When I first started really laying out monster customization it was going to be a series of choices that would discern the monsters personality, their abilities, and that sort of thing. It was good, but lacked a bit of flavor. But one day, while the crew of R Talsorian Games were deep in the throes of the GAMA Trade Show, J Gray suggested I take the customization tables I had been working on and transfer them into a Lifepath! People enjoy the character Lifepaths in RTG products so much that he thought it would be a great idea to make customization for True Dragons and Higher Vampires work in a similar way!
Of course, I immediately started work! What better way to let you flesh out a unique creature than to roll (or pick from) a Lifepath that tells you not only what your exceptional monster is like and what it can do but what it has experienced as well!
Here’s how it works!
When you start, you have a base set of statistics (similar to the statistics for any other monster). But then, in the next few pages, are a number of Lifepath tables which help to customize that base. Each roll tells you something about the monster or gives them some bonus/ability/benefit. True Dragons and Higher Vampires share some tables but the majority are specific to the type of monster.
As an example, the Lifepath flow for Higher Vampires looks a bit like this:
- The Vampire’s Raising:Each vampire may have experienced a number of different upbringings. Everything from being raised in a sheltered vampire society to being outcast at a young age. The Vampire’s raising gives them bonuses to skills and affects their personality and how they interact with other Vampires.
- Age:Higher Vampires are insanely long-lived creatures and the Vampire you create could be relatively young for their race or perhaps one of the elders who remembers crossing over from their home realm. The age of the Vampire grants more skill points and more sway in Vampire society.
- Special Ability:Every Higher Vampire is possessed of a special ability that is unique to them. When you create a Higher Vampire, you’ll roll on a table with 28 unique abilities that may range from devastating combat techniques to utility talents that allow them to work their way through society.
- Life Events: Your Vampire’s age will determine how many key life events they have had. These are poignant moments in the Vampire’s life that stand out so profoundly that they often reflect on them. After all, while creature with as long a life as a Higher Vampire has no doubt had thousands of interesting experiences some will definitely stand out. Each of these abilities will give the Vampire extra skills, items, and resources, as well as better inform you about their personality and the life they’ve lived.
- Interests: You may throw your players into a fight with the Higher Vampire you create immediately (I don’t suggest it though) but this creature has a life outside of that combat. The Interest table tells you the Vampire’s favorite hobby. The thing they do when not involved in the plotline. This can range from brewing wine to creating fine art to… “farming”. The Vampire’s interest grants them bonuses to skills, and a special resource.
- Combat Style:Since both Higher Vampires are consummate fighters and we know many people will want to explore their deadly combat prowess, you can roll on the Combat Style table to determine how your Vampire fights. This style describes how the vampire will act in combat and covers a variety of styles from blood starved violence to subtle, calculated assassination.
- Blood Consumption:Since Higher Vampires don’t need blood to survive, they tend to drink it more like other races drink alcohol (and it has a similar effect on them). Some Vampires revel in drinking blood but others have actively chosen to abstain from drinking blood for one reason or another.
- Pride:This tells you what a Vampire is most proud of in their life. It can be anything from their accumulated knowledge to their winning personality to being “sober” for 2 straight centuries.
- Hatred:This table tells you what the Vampire hates more than anything. This can be anything from unchallenging prey to specific races to the tenants of Vampire society.
- Personality: This is just a basic roll to determine the core personality of your Vampire. They might be contemplative, stern, arrogant, or even friendly and optimistic.
- Lair: The final roll for a Higher Vampire is their Lair. This is their personal home. When they aren’t involved in the plotline, hunting, or perhaps fighting your players this is where the Campire can probably be found. A Vampire’s lair can be anything from a palatial manor to an abandoned ruin and each choice not only discerns where the Vampire will likely be encountered but gives the Vampire a benefit based on location.
With these 11 rolls, plus the basic statistics of the Higher Vampire you can create a unique vampire to use in your game! Of course, everything is still in “beta” but, so far, we’ve been happy with this Lifepath and it’s really allowed us to create some fascinating Vampire NPCs!
Now I have to get back to working on monsters! The scriptorium awaits! Have a good day everybody and remember: Keep your swords sharp!