Vampires in Hyborea

Anybody used Vampires much? I’m thinking of using one as a Nemesisi in a future adventure and was just wondering what other people’s experiences with them were. Ideally, I’d like teh adventure to be fairly scary, if that’s possible and a bigger threat than most stuff they’ve encountered so far. Memorable.
Anything I need to watch out for? What have your experiences with vampires in Hyborea been?

Vampires are a lot of fun and Doom machines!!

I ran an adventure last month that was all about vampires. I actually had not 1 but SIX nemesis level vamps! My group is very high level so scale to your group accordingly.

For me it was all about building tension and escalating the action and difficulty. There is a lot you can do with narration and set up before introducing any combat. If you can slowly build up a picture and let things slide into chaos then all the better.

I had the first half of the adventure be all about set up, narrative building, puzzle solving and exploration of the castle, no (major) enemies would appear during this. I would leave out some journal entries undated that would log someone’s stay there, they showed up unexpectedly because of a storm in the area met some other guests who also go swept up a storm and were disappearing one by one in the night, then the journal entries would stop. My players by the second or third entry started understanding what was happening and there was a degree of tension now added on.

The only encounters they had during this portion was swarms of bats. Use the Rat Swarm minion as the base for this. The many bites attack is a great harasser with Persistent 2, a full mob will take a while to hack apart and continue to bleed your players out with stacking Persistent attacks on top of normal attacks. Can really ramp up the damage!

After the players solved all my puzzles they moved into the second part of the adventure, it ramped down from puzzles and combat ramped up slowly. I introduced a new enemy Toughened Flying Vampires! These guys were great. They could fly, have small sorcery powers, and most importantly DRINK BLOOD! Their attack called Bite if landing an effect would Grapple the player, then immediately you can use their special ability to drink blood and generate THREE DOOM! I used this to stockpile a great deal of doom for the Nemesis level vampires to play with and it was a really hard challenge for my npcs.

As I mentioned I had 6 Nemesis level NPCs, spaced out through out the adventure. The first group was a group of 3, which were lower tier Nemesis enemies but I utilized a lot of the Bat Swarm mobs and Flying Vampires to harass and whittle down my players while using mental attacks from the NPCs at range to attack their low courage. Use the Interpose rule and keep mobs near your Nemesis vamps to re direct your player attacks to the mobs and not the Vamps and you will create a cycle of misery for your players. All my players walked away with wounds after this first encounter, which was my goal. Now my players had a number of treated wounds, which greatly effected their decision making going forward, added a lot of dread and stress as they didnt want to reopen these wounds, increase their difficulty or spend their Fortune points and possibly die.

The next round was only two Nemesis vamps and a handful of mobs and flying vamps. These Nemesis npcs were higher stat than the first 3, had more specials and talents attached and I started to use the Enslave spell on my players. I had the vampires on two plateaus in the middle of a lake surrounded by a circular cliff, so I would enslave a player and throw them into the water, they would have to climb out being harassed by mobs of bats (increased athletics difficultly to account) and then risk being attacked by flying vamps, more mobs or be enslaved again. This was a great combat for me as the GM as I had a lot of survivability for my NPCs and continued to ramp up the threat on my players and it was a lot of fun to watch them try to fight back.

The last Nemesis npcs they fought were The Count himself and his servant bodyguard (both who you met in human form at the start of the adventure). But there was an added threat here. The Count was getting a blood transfusion from 4 sacrifices (one of them was a Turan Prince who the group was trying to save). After each sacrifice was drained of their blood the Count would start to turn into an abomination and his stats would grow on his sheet for each time this happened. So now your players have to contend with saving the Prince, stopping the blood transfusion, and then content with the abomination PLUS all the other bat mobs, flying vampires, and other Nemesis body guard (same stat line as the first 3 vampires) at the same time. It was a lot of fun and a really tense battle for the players.

And as an unintended bonus, after the second encounter, I had an underwater cave my players had to swim through at extreme range to get to the final encounter. Two of my players, the tanks, decided to go first and check it out, but I triggered the end game as soon as they surfaced on the other side, so now they were in a hard spot, either go back and get the other two, or go forward by themselves and hope the others come fast. Added a lot of tension at the climax!

Bite (Blood Drinker), Enslave, Enter the Earth Embrace (gain Incorporeal 2) are the core of your vampires. For my Nemesis level npcs, I added a number of Talents and special abilities to make them difficult for my players. I set it up where the NPCs would scale up in abilities, stats but less in number as the adventure progressed, a balance to make up for the stronger and deadlier enemies the group faced. Flood your players with harassing mobs and flying toughened and then mental attack them from range, then rush in when they are softened up and hit them with melee. I also for an added annoyance put Knockdown, Stun on almost every Nemesis melee attack, more doom generation for me. If you can get into a flow with your Doom spending you can really add a lot of threats for your players.

Again my players are very high level and momentum battery tanks that melt a lot of what I put in front of them, so scale to your player levels.

My players didnt defeat the Count so I have an opening to reintroduce him again down the road and have more vampire fun.


As one of the aforementioned momentum battery/tanks, these vampires were a nightmare. The first encounter reduced us to one tank with 4 wounds and the other 2 characters having a few wounds. I escaped that one without wounds, but I was sufficiently depleted of all fortune and a few armor pieces.

The next room had me swimming for my life and effectively out of the combat for most of the rounds.

In the end, I would love to have defeated the Count and his skinny sidekick, but death was what was waiting for us and failure of our goal. So we did what we could to distract and run.

Vampires are indeed doom fountains, the bat mobs did not help. Players had a choice, give up the doom or face an ongoing source of damage.

In closing, vampires were deadly foes and I enjoyed every minute of it.


What an awesome response and so helpful, thanks! I will definitely take up on as much of that advice as my players can stand!


Haven’t used a vampire yet but I was did introduce one in Stygia. I am drawing a blank on her name at the moment but I think she was Amon Thoth’s daughter maybe . . . My PC’s were wise to my tricks and avoided that encounter completely. :wink:

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