Vampires in fiction and many modern game settings often make mortals into allies or servants. Shadowgate is no exception. Sometimes this might be the result of intimidation or mental influence. Other times it’s through the power and control granted through the gift of blood. And sometimes, such servants or allies are not mortals.
Undead blood holds a powerful mystical hold over those who taste it, even other supernatural creatures. When sipped by a mortal, it can have a number of results depending on the desire of the vampire master. Supernatural beings can become addicts, even blood slaves. They cannot be made into The Broken or Servants, but they might be Bound if your game allows it.
Characters given blood of any vampire can quickly become addicted to the rush. It’s like a drug. The first taste of blood places the situation aspect, Sweet Lure of Vitae on the drinker. It can be invoked by drinker to gain a bonus to rolls involving perception and physical feats. It can also be compelled when the character is offered vampire blood. The aspect remains for 24 hours.
The effects can be maintained if the character drinks blood again before the aspect wears off, but there is a danger to the character in doing so! Such lack of restraint results in the character permanently changing their High Concept aspect to reflect that they are now a Blood Slave after the third consecutive night. When characters with this aspect are in the presence of a vampire or vampire blood they will do whatever is necessary to obtain more vampire blood. The character is a junky. The one up side is that when the blood slave gets a “hit”, a taste of vampire blood, she gains a free invocation of her Blood Slave aspect to benefit a physical action any time in the next 24 hours.
It takes little enough to maintain blood slaves. A vampire might keep them somewhat like pets. It is a cruel thing to do, and certainly evil. A mere taste of blood is given perhaps from an eyedropper or a sip from a cup. Wise vampires do not allow blood addicts to feed directly.
A group of blood slaves is not difficult to maintain. Vampires who may wish to use blood slaves as an ally group should use an aspect to describe the group.
Some vampires might like the look of a particular slave. In these cases, the vampire might get them addicted to vampire blood, but upon the third feeding, the vampire chooses to take a physical consequence, “Drained”. This is usually a Mild consequence and so recovers when the vampire has a chance to Feed. The victim becomes hopelessly emotionally dependent on his new master, changing their High Concept aspect to reflect that they are Emotionally Broken. This is instead of Blood Slave described above. Vampire masters can tire of such slaves quickly, but there is a benefit in that the new slave can be imbued with a lesser form of one of the vampire’s own supernatural abilities. The vampire does so by using a skill related to the power to place the aspect. Later, the slave can use that power by invoking the aspect. The first invoke is usually free, but the slave will need to spend a Fate point for subsequent uses of that power (if they have one). A drink of vampire blood while the aspect still exists grants a new, free invoke. The lent power cannot exceed what an aspect can do, and so sometimes the power will not be as great as what a vampire is capable.
A vampire can maintain the broken status of his slave by allowing the slave to feed directly from him once per month. This entails the slave automatically inflicting 2 physical stress per exchange that cannot be soaked by armor or special ability. After the first exchange, if the slave doesn’t stop, the vampire can use whatever means necessary to make the slave stop. Obviously, keeping many broken slaves like this can be dangerous for a vampire to maintain.
The Broken are usually not long-term servants.
Servants are also addicts. They are granted more free will, however. After an individual has sipped enough vampire blood from a single source over three nights to addict them, the vampire takes a mental consequence, “Sapped Will”, as she exerts herself to shoring up her new servant’s mind against the strain his new supernatural status puts on him. In addition, the vampire must take an aspect or modify an aspect to reflect his new sidekick. The new servant changes her High Concept aspect to reflect she is now, Servant of [Vampire’s Name]. After this, the new servant is able to serve out of loyalty and even maintain a normal life. A taste or drink of her master’s blood grants a free invocation of his Servant aspect. She is considered a supernatural being from this point on. Her aging is slowed to one third that of a normal human. The servant can also learn vampire powers her master chooses to teach her as if she was a vampire, with the exception of Vampire Witchcraft.
Maintaining a servant is the same as maintaining one of the Broken, above.
These characters are made much like servants are, above, except that the vampire is much more invested in the servant. This investment is reflected in the aspects the vampire and mortal take. The vampire should take or change an aspect to something similar to Bound to [Servant’s Name] and the servant should change her High Concept to something like Bound to [Vampire’s Name]. The bond is permanent. A drink of vampire blood by the servant allows a free invocation of her Bound aspect. The Bound retain their independence because the nature of the bond has changed from that of servant or slave to that of a true companion.
The Bound are able to share feelings with the vampire and the vampires can share theirs with their bound servant as well. At first, these feelings are difficult to control, but in time each member of the Bond will learn to control this psychic link better.
Advantages of the bond include the fact that the Bound ceases to age at all and is regarded as a supernatural character, if they weren't already. They can be taught vampire abilities like Servants, above. Feeding the Bound is safer than feeding the Broken or even Servants because they are much more in control of themselves.
No vampire may be bound to more than one being. If that being dies, the vampire must accept an Extreme consequence or die, himself. If the vampire dies, a mortal will not survive. Bound supernaturals must accept an Extreme consequence or die if their vampire liege perishes.
- See the section on Feeding from Other Vampires for an example of what can happen when a vampire feeds on another vampire.