The King is Dead

Friday, September 25, 2015

The King is Dead: Thinking Out Loud

The reason there's magic and weird science in The King is Dead is because you're really going to need it to kill the king.
Bear with me while I think something through by writing it down.
 
Sometimes the low granularity of Savage Worlds drives me nuts (especially now that D&D 5e has taught me how hit points should work). The King is Dead is basically based around fighting one kind of monster – vampires – almost all the time. This is self-obviously boring (even if every vampire-slaying mission is effectively a spy movie and spy movies are awesome) so I’m trying to balance that with a variety of different types of blood-drinkers, ranging from Renfield-like human thralls to Hellsing-style insane anime monsters. The problem is that there’s only this narrow, two or three dice (plus modifiers) range to express levels of capability.
 
As Savage Worlds players know, the attributes and skills of SW characters are rated in terms of what size die is rolled to score a success. The game uses the d4 through d12 for this scale, with scores above d12 adding a static modifier (i.e. d12+1, d12+4, d12+9, etc.). A d6 is the human average, but even d12+2 is attainable for exceptional human characters.
 
So let’s think about that for a moment. A d4 is sub-average, a d6 is average, and a d8 is above average. If drinking vampire blood makes you stronger and more durable than a normal human, then we pretty much have to assume thralls have a Strength score of d10. 
 
Right now, I’ve got the blood-drinkers of Malleus broken out into the following categories:
  • Thralls – human vampire servants bound to their masters and enhanced by drinking vampire blood.
  • Moroi – super-thralls who have been mutated by drinking vampire blood.
  • Dhampir – half-human children of vampires, born with superhuman abilities.
  • Vampires – true undead gifted with exceptional regenerative properties and inhuman speed.
  • Vampire sorcerers – vampiric students of black magic, capable of strange feats.   
  • Vampire lords – ancient vampire sorcerers and warriors.
  • The vampire king – the final boss and a true monster.
We know the thralls have Stengths of d10. It makes sense to me that the vampire king should be as strong as, say, a dragon (Dragon = Dracula, LOL – and also he’s basically Alucard from Hellsing, who is Lovecraftian in his monstrousness), so that means d12+9.
 
Ok, I think I’m getting somewhere now.
 
The stat maximum (mainly in terms of Strength and Vigor) for thralls is d10. It’s d12 for moroi, d12+2 for dhampirs, d12+4 for vampires (and probably vampire sorcerers, who are more of a threat for their magic than their physical abilities), and d12+6 or higher for King Wilhelm and his kids. So, I have to throw out the vampire stats in the core rules, but I was going to do that anyway so no loss there.
 
Skills will be slightly less. Thralls are deadly because of their insane strength and resistance to damage, not necessarily because they’re kung-fu experts. They can have a d8 skill maximum, giving moroi and dhampir d10s, vampires and vamp sorcerers d12, and the royal family d12+2. And rotten quisling human collaborators would be at best d8 and d8.
 
Hmm… Ok, I feel much better about this. I’ve really overcome a hurdle. Awesome!
 
 

2 comments:

  1. You can also vary your blood-drinkers horizontally, not just vertically, in terms of power. By that I mean you could assign unique powers and Edges to certain vampiric "lineages". Who turned who, and which vampire's blood a moroi is drinking would become a thing if you did this.

    Do you have the DLR Player's Guide? How about Stone and a Hard Place? You could look at the variety of Harrowed powers in Deadlands for inspiration toward your own vampire special abilities.

    Just my thought. It might complicate things more than you want to.

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    1. Believe me, I'm trying to figure out ways to distinguish lineages without getting too mechanically complicated. :)

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