There are some super gothic vampires in town, want to know more?
Of course you do!
Carnevale is seeing some reinforcements arriving on the shores of Venice this week, as the Vampiric Aristocracy rolls into town. But who are they and why should you care? Let’s find out!
By now you should know all about Vlad Dracula. Vampire overlord, master of undeath and the First Gifted. Vlad was touched by a power from beyond the veil hundreds of years before the Rent in the Sky opened. He peeked over that mystical threshold and came back… different. With near-immortality (or maybe actual immortality – he’s still around after all), and an unquenshible thirst for blood. Dracula drinks the life force of his victims and through that gains a fraction of their powers, memories, mannerisms, and potentially even more besides. He can also pass on his gift to others, by administering the Blood Kiss.
The Strigoi he creates can also create their own Strigoi children, passing on the curse through generations. These lesser beings aren’t nearly as powerful as those created by the Impaler himself, often given the moniker of “Common Strigoi”. Still though, it’s a good way to spread the “gift” around.
Well, a little while back, Vlad was killed. He got better, but it took the almighty magical energy of the Rent in the Sky to do so. In the time between, his Strigoi spread throughout the world, living in the shadows, killing and turning others to their cause.
The Undead Underworld
Within these varied groups of Strigoi exist just as many different sub-factions. While all owe allegiance to Vlad himself, most of the Strigoi in the world have never met their primogenitor. Their connections range from fanatical to aloof. All Strigoi change behaviour when faced with their Master, but most feel little but a scratching at the back of their heads when hundreds or thousands of miles away from Dracula.
However, all still feel in inexorable pull towards the First Gifted, and many small groups have made the pilgrimage to Venice. Thus there are now as many smaller groups of Strigoi as there are broader factions within the city.
One of the strangest groups is the Aristocracy. Broadly named, this title applies to a great many Strigoi. Referring to their wealth and positions of power as well as their ties to the more mystical aspects of their existence. They are some of the oldest Strigoi around, many even able to trace their descendancy in a few steps from Dracula himself. Over their time alive they have made their lives very comfortable, recruiting servants from only the richest classes around. These Highborn Servants bankroll the Aristocracy’s existence in the hope that one will give these brain-washed nobles the chance at everlasting life.
The Aristocracy fancies themselves some of Vlad’s favourite disciples (joke’s on them, Vlad sees all Strigoi like cattle and all other creatures as vermin), mainly due to the seeming free-reign they have over their own bodies. Dracula experiments on his Strigoi, forcing them to feed on certain diets or live in particular conditions, just to see how the maliable form of undeath changes. In this way he can regulate his own existence, becoming the most powerful being on the planet. The Aristocracy gets very little oversight on their living habits though, in part because they do it themselves!
All Blood Diet
The Aristocracy partakes on a strict diet of blood from magic users. Carnevale super-fans are now screaming “but mage blood kills Strigoi – check your rulebooks people!” and they’re quite right. It’s… well it’s potent stuff. Easy to overdose on, even Vlad struggled in a year-long coma after giving the Blood Kiss to his magical Brides. But the Strigoi of the Aristocracy are very particular about rationing; a single drop of magically infused blood will carry them for many moons. Through rigorous experimentation over hundreds of years, they have figured out ways to use magical blood to its best abilities.
Drinking the occasional drop of blood gifts the Strigoi with rare powers. Possibly due to their shadowy nature, they are able to manifest the magic into the ability to slip away into nothing – a power reportedly taken from Vlad himself. Of course, drinking so little isn’t good sustenance, which means these Nosferatu wither away to almost nothing, pale skin and bones, looking more horrific than most other Strigoi.
Starving themselves is an act of beauty, but also of punishment. Those deemed unworthy of control are locked away and starved for months, sometimes years. These Dhampir become shallow husks, but the hunger serves as a delectable treat to the Aristocracy, and when finally let out to feed again, the power courses through them, briefly heightening their powers beyond those seen in even most Strigoi.
Very rarely the Aristocracy will make use of the Moroi. A terrible curse and punishment in a way unfitting of those high class vampires. Usually this punishment is saved for those that cannot sake their thirst, either overindulging in magical blood, or killing with wild abandon, threatening to expose the group. A secretive concoction is made, offering more magical blood than is usually safe, and the Strigoi is forced to drink. Their body contorts and grows rapidly, muscles tearing themselves as they stretch. What’s left is a hulking figure whose mind is all but wrecked in the agony. With a thirst for carnage unlike any seen, the Hulking Moroi is unleashed. This massive creature often provides enough to distract the populace from the Aristocracy. If not brought down by man, the Moroi has as time limit on its life. The tainted blood rushes through its veins until the body can take no more, and its unlife ends in a particularly grisly fashion.
And that’s the Vampiric Aristocracy! I told you they were pretty gothic.
The new box is up for pre-order on Friday, and we’ll be taking a long look at what they bring to your gang as well, so make sure to stop back for all the details!