Saturday, September 14, 2013

The King is Dead: I Never Drink… Wine


Vampires can only survive on blood alone, but that does not mean they do not crave some variety in their diet.  While only fresh human blood sates their hunger, the practicalities of constant predation on mortals and the tedium of drinking the same thing night in and night out have led to a profusion of blood-related foods and beverages.  Human and animal blood is an ingredient in black soup, blood pudding, blutwurst, pancakes, schwarzsauer, and other dishes while fresh blood is mixed with beer, honey, milk, tea, and whiskey for extra flavor.

It is never mixed with wine.

The taste of wine is nauseating to the unliving.  It is not poisonous, but it is foul.  For that reason, wine in Malleus and Incus is a peasant’s drink.  The grape is not cultivated on the grand estates of nobles or monasteries; vintages are not collected and stored in grand cellars.  That is not to say it is not made – wine was the drink of choice in the ancient Remulan Empire – but in modern times it is a crafted by unrefined villagers for local consumption.

Except…

The art of winemaking was carried into the deserts by the survivors of Tzion, and now the vast and hostile Ostermann Empire treats the grape as a sacred fruit.  In the Colonies, the untitled, rebellious landowners have begun to grow the grape in quantity; they turn to the surviving works of Remula and Akhaia for secrets of the winemaker’s art.  And in Malleus itself, even the upper-crust members of the Baelfire Club and the Illuminated toast each other with wine before settling down to secret business.

Savage Worlds Rules

A vampire or moroi (living blood-drinking vampire servant – like a ghoul from Vampire: The Masquerade except with a different name for copyright issues) who drinks even a sip of wine must make a Vigor roll to avoid retching.  Because moroi are still alive, they receive a +2 bonus to the roll.  A roll of 1 on the Vigor die means the blood-drinker is Shaken, a failure means the vampire spits it up, a success means the unliving is able to swallow the drink without ill effect.  This roll must be made for every drink the blood-drinker attempts. 

Better quality wines can impose a penalty on the roll; these penalties equal -1 to the Vigor roll per $100 spent on the bottle.  Because wine-making was suppressed in Malleus and western Incus, the best vintages come from the Ostermann Empire’s holdings in Akhaia and the Haemus Mountains (roughly equivalent to Greece and the Balkans). 

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