Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Blood: Building a Vampiric Conspiracy in NBA

A first exercise in thinking about a different Vampiric Conspiracy for Night's Black Agent's.

In 1987 a team of researchers were called by church authorities to investigate a decrepit Catholic Church in an undisclosed northern European city. The facility itself had effectively fallen off the map until the death of the final priest operating there. When local authorities contacted church bureaucrats about the dispensation of the church, a mid-level auditor was dispatched. He investigated the location and quietly called in a team of scientists to examine what he'd found. The details of what transpired there have never been made public: the church auditor went mad, at least a dozen graduate students assisting in on-location research died, along with three professors. Only two beings made it out of there, and one of them wasn't human.

That creature vanished into the night. It had been for the moment, stopped from its plan to call forth the Anti-God and bring about the destruction of the world. It had been reduced, cut off from its power- the sad, cast-off trappings of a force of once incalculable power- essentially Satan's Blood possessing one of the survivors of that incident. In the almost twenty-five years since it's escape, the Blood has been working to secure a power base for itself and to set in motion the devices necessary to rip open the gates between worlds and allow the greater darkness into this one.

The Blood
The primary vampire and head of the pyramid, it essentially is Satan's Blood in a human body. The Blood is powerful, but can only exist in a single physical being at a time. It moves between bodies through the transfer of its essential fluid. It doesn't do this that often, mostly because of the difficulty of making arrangements and maintaining cover. The Blood doesn't interact as a human, in fact it doesn't really speak- instead it gives mental commands to the Infected in its service. The few non-Infected who interact with it have the impression of having had a conversation with someone, but without specific details recalled. The more they think upon it, the more dread they feel.

The Blood keeps dwells isolated on an far northern European estate (picture the household from Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). From there it works and pulls strings trying to generate the capital it needs to carry out its eventual plan, the alignment of various electronic devices to open a gate and allow its father back through to devour the earth. In the meantime, it prepares the earth, creating places where the mindless and the chattel can be managed for the culling.

The Blood has a number of visible effects, causing by its own nature as a being which bends space-time. Mirrors and reflective surfaces ripple when it approaches, like the surface of a lake. As well, those who hunt the Blood, and who have come into contact with the Infected will eventually begin to be haunted, but this is not The Blood's doing. Instead, they will begin to suffer future visions- bad and grainy transmissions and warnings from a future where the Blood has won. This may test the stability of the agents- but may serve as a source of clues or information. They may be able to use this to find others who have fought against them, probably in sanitariums.

Free Powers: Darkvision, Dominance (limited to Infected, Touched and Mindless), Infection (creating Infected), Regeneration, Vampiric Speed, Strength, Temporal Distortion, Acidic Blood (for the fluid outside the body)
Other Powers: Body Jumping, Mental Attack (Confusion, Loss of Identity)
Banes: The Blood should be significantly tougher than normal. It cannot be killed by normal means- but it can be trapped. In particular, the fluid which makes up its essence can be contained in a ritual constructed mirror vessel.
Signs: Distortion of mirrored surfaces, visual distortion in recording devices, the greenish fluid which contains itself when it transfers.
Requirements: The destruction and eating of souls on a monthly basis. Eventually bodies the Blood possesses will burn out and collapse, but this can take years. It has time to make proper preparations.

The Infected

The Blood can only imperfectly reproduce- can only imperfectly create senior level agents for itself. For all intents and purposes, these agents are the Blood, but a lesser version. They have little in the way of independent will or thought, a factor which makes them somewhat uncreative. The Infected have been created by direct fluid transfer from the Blood. This destroys the host body's mind within a matter of moments. They can mental communicate with other infected or the Blood within line of sight, but otherwise must use other methods to receive orders and exchange plans. The Infected can be detected by birthmark like bruising appearing somewhere on the body. Usually these take the form of an occult symbol.

The Infected have access to several different powers, however they have a major drawback. When they spend Aberrance to power an ability, they gain a permanent blemish, deformity or mark. This might be boils, it might be bloating, it might be a pulsating wound. The most basic of these can be concealed, but over time, they destroy their own effectiveness if they exert themselves too much. At this point, they must take on a new body, by direct exchange of fluids with a target. The previous body will then fall away and suffer a series of grotesque transformations before boiling down into a ichorous stew. To sustain themselves in a body, even without using powers, the Infected must feed every two weeks or so, absorbing energy through the fear and terror given off by murder. An Infected create new Infected, usually to replace itself. Otherwise this is an involved process, requiring the Infected make itself vulnerable They can however create lesser copies of themselves, the Touched.

Free Powers: Darkvision, Dominance (limited to Touched and Mindless)
Other Powers: Infection (creating other Infected takes time, energy and ritual); Infection (creating the Touched is a Plague-like attack, requiring fluid transfer); Vampiric Speed, Regeneration (through Aberrance Spend), Strength
Banes: while tougher than normal, the infected can be killed through normal mean if enough damage is done quickly- and their fluid is kept from splashing
Compulsions: Infected can be distracted by mirrors, objects which fascinate them. Depending on the size this may hold them in place for a time. They're reminded of the Other Side where the Anti-God dwells.
Signs: The most potent of the Infected may also cause a slight ripple to mirrors when they come close to them.
Requirements: feed on the stark emotional energy of a death, usually a murder they've committed close up.

The Touched

The Touched are essentially husks who can carry out the simple mental commands of Infected within range. These commands are non-verbal. The Touched have little in the way or skills or powers, but suffer no pain and effectively serve as fast meat shields for their master. Any Infected can only have a number of Touched operating for them at one time. The GM can base this on the Infected's relative importance or longevity, but shouldn't be more than the number of agents. While the Infected can pass as human, at least until then begin to show marks, the Touched begin to decay shortly after being turned.

The Mindless
Large groups or swarms, such as rats, flocks of birds, or insects can be commanded by The Blood or the Infected. This is s free power, but the Infected can only do this for a short time (a few minutes) or until some significant distraction or noise shakes the swarm into consciousness. This can also be used to command groups of human beings- crowds, gatherings, people working in a mindless state, those with mental problems or compromised self-identity.

First, apologies to John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness. This is a rough first attempt, trying to come up with a fairly narrow vampiric group with a single master at the top level. I'll have to think about the various links in the chain moving up- but the conspiracy clearly needs money and victims. The Big Plan, the construction of a massive reflector or mirror for the Anti-God to come through should be something appears in pieces through the campaign. Research institutions or universities ought to appear scattered throughout the chain- perhaps crazed mathematicians. I imagine this as a game with a fairly limited and set arc with a final confrontation on the frozen tundra. The GM has a couple of tools for linking the PCs- the story and any survivors from the original release of the blood and the broadcast from the future.