The 'Law' of the Great Houses of Evernight – The Vampires

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  • #460

    Dave
    Keymaster

    Hi everyone,

    Before I start delving into writing the Vampire’s Codex, I want to run some of their proposed basic law or fluff past you guys first.

    Law is important, as it will dictate what the Vampires are all about, what units they can field and how they will play on the battlefield.

    The Vampires’ Origins

    All Vampires inherited their condition from the Blood King, who has long since perished… Well kind of… as you will see as you read on.

    The Blood King was once a simple Farmer who rose up to defeat a Tyrannical King, after seeing his men butcher his children for not paying his taxes.

    The problem was the Farmer’s desire to seek out his revenge was far greater than his abilities to fight and coordinate an effective campaign against the Tyrannical King. This is where a mysterious ‘Trader’ turns up, who offers to exchange pieces of his humanity for ever greater powers to help him defeat the Tyrannical King.

    The Trader starts by offering the Farmer quite substantial powers for suffering some new, but seemingly harmless, small, and even odd infliction. For instance, for the mere price of becoming perilously allergic to garlic, the Farmer gains the ability to summon and control beasts. However, by the end of these exchanges, the Farmer completely trades away his humanity, turning into the Blood King, or the Blood Monster as his enemies would call him. This also explains how the Blood King or Vampires gains their powers and their rather odd weaknesses too, like ‘crossing running water’…

    Furthermore, with each new power he gains, one of his teeth would grow out and become razor sharp, wildly protruding out of his mouth, disfiguring this once good looking man.

    With his new found powers the Blood King overthrew the Tyrannical King, who would rather ironically call ‘him’ the Monster before his bloody end.

    With the Tyrannical King gone, the Blood King takes power and rules in his stead.

    The Tyrannical King was a cruel leader, but his cruelty paled in comparison to the Blood King’s heinous crimes he would commit against his people. So bad was his rain, that his people and all the other high borne houses rose up against him.

    To cut a long story short, the Blood King was defeated whilst he slept. As he died, his body burnt to ash, only leaving his teeth behind him, which was the source of his true power.

    Amongst the heroes who helped slay the Blood King was a Wise Old Mage, who watch the heroes slowly become corrupted by the teeth calling out to them to take their power for themselves. Eventually all the heroes killed each other fighting over the teeth, until only the Mage and one of the Hero remained.

    They fought to the death, where the Mage was forced to kill his companion.

    The Mage could resist the calls of the teeth, but not for long… He soon found out they could not be destroyed. Furthermore, he knew if he hid them away, their calls would find weaker men and corrupt them, which would eventually allow the Blood King to return once more.

    The solution was to divide up the teeth, which would weaken their seductive powers over men. The Mage planned to give each one to a great house of the realm.

    Being great leaders in their own right, the Mage believed the Heads of each household should have the mental strength needed to resist their calls… They and they alone would bear the responsibility for safe guarding their tooth. And in doing so, they would ensure that the Blood King could not return, as that would mean their end. In return, they would gain immortality and other great powers. Furthermore, each tooth would grant its house a set of unique abilities. However, the curse of the Trader would not be diluted so easily… as the Heads of each Household would soon discover. They would need to drink human blood once a week to sustain themselves, could not cross running water or enter a household without being invited, burn up in direct sunlight, became sterile, and as you can imagine, garlic soon became outlawed throughout Evernight.

    This is where the Blood King story ends, and the Vigilant Houses of Evernight begins.

    Evernight?

    Put simply, Evernight is the home of all the Great Vampire Houses.

    The Blood King ruled for many high moons before his own people rose up against him and killed him, and during this time, he furthered his powers by becoming a great necromancer. As you can imagine he feared no living or dead thing, but he was frightful of the twin suns above, as their life giving rays would burn away his undead body in just a few seconds.

    So the Blood King cast his greatest spell, ‘Eternal Gloom’, which created an overcast cover of clouds, which would never depart his realm. Since that day forth, his vast realm became known as Evernight.

    Even now after the Blood King has long since gone, his overcast world still remains. This huge dark feudal kingdom is a place of perpetual gloom and starless nights.

    However, do not be fooled by the tales of Evernight you might hear in your local tavern…They would have you believe rather ignorantly that it is a place of total darkness or a never ending night, where undead monsters roam around unchecked and savage any living thing they can find.

    The truth is that as all well travelled merchants will tell you Evernight is very much alive, with living cities, towns and villages, forests and lakes. They may be filled with odd folk, just find with being ruled by the dead, and with strange and monstrous creatures running wild in their woods, but they are all still very much alive. This is because Vampires still need living people to feed off. Furthermore, they are all still thinking, feeling (and some are) moral beings. So if they were surrounded by the dead, they would have all turned insane and given into the Blood King’s calls long ago…

    From what the travelling merchants tell us, yes it is a dark, gloomy and miserable place, but the peasants seem largely content with their lot in life… Their undead over lords do in fact take care of them and some even seem to actually care for them, as they protect and fight their wars. However, it is generally accepted amongst the masses, that if one or two of them disappear every so often, that is a fair price to pay for their protection and half decent life.

    The Great Families of Evernight

    I believe the Blood King’s backs story will make some of the Vampire Families quite noble, as they keep a vigilant watch on his teeth to protect their people from the Blood King’s return. However, the Families still need to feed upon their people, and some of the houses will in the past have succumb to their blood lust, and even given in to the Blood King’s calls for gaining more power leading to civil wars between the Families. Also, other strong willed heads of families may not have succumb to the Blood King’s calls, but they still actively seek to extend their influence outside of Evernight into the rest of Many.

    With all these factors at play, I believe it will generate a rich mix of stories and characters for each of the Great Houses of Evernight.

    The Families

    Here is a brief description of the Families of Vampires that live in Evernight. Please note that these family names may be change in the future.

    Each one of the Blood King’s teeth represents a part of his powers when he was in the land of the living. Therefore, each house has a different aspect of his powers and will naturally focus on that trait.

    House Fray’s special enhancement thanks to their Blood King’s Tooth is combat prowess, physical strength, agility and speed.

    Note: all vampires have increased physical abilities, but it is House Fray that truly dominates in these areas.

    The family of Frey is known to be a very noble house, and firm but fare with their people. Furthermore, they tend to feed off their dying citizens. This is seen as a great honour and a blessing for that individual to serve his or her lord and people one last time.

    House Frey prefers to use professional living soldiers rather than the dead, beasts or monsters in battle. In fact, they see it as a good testing ground for their people to earn the blood kiss.

    The House of Luking all have some innate abilities in Magic and excel in this area. They are masters of Necromancy and prefer to use the dead to fight their battles, rather than depending on the weak willed living.

    They tend to treat their people with a bit of disdain and quite poorly in comparison to the other houses. They simply see them as live stock to be managed.

    As the other Houses often say, “Well… someone has to bear those teeth…”

    House Vilemall are a looked upon rather poorly by the others, as they are a wicked, cruel, sadistic family, and are obsessed by the pleasures of the flesh.

    They rule their realm with an iron fist, and regularly mean out cruel and sadistic punishments upon their people for the smallest and meaningless crimes. But if you can believe it or not, they are the most religious realm in Evernight. It is through the Vilemall’s ‘Red Church’ that gives them the perfect excuse of serving out their ‘Holy Justice’ upon their own people.

    In front of their citizens they act like virtuous saints, who are constantly ‘cleansing’ them of sins, for their own good of course… The other Houses are not fooled by their charade, and know of their true depravity behind closed doors.

    As an outsider, it’s easy to judge House Vilemall, but they hold the Blood King’s Evil within their Hearts, and their realm is (for all its wickedness) stable and ‘peaceful’…

    In battle they can work themselves into a religious frenzy and tear their enemies apart, or as they call them, the Sinners. They deploy their ‘Lost Souls’ into battle. These monsters are really their Skeleton Warriors, Gouls and Zombies they say have been given another chance by the Red Church to redeem themselves.

    They even have a unique unit call the Lost, men turned into Vilemall Vampires, but lost their minds in the process and have become wild blood crazed and savage things.

    Using religion, House Vilemall can just about justify any vile practice it seems…

    It should be noted that House Vilemall has nearly been wiped out many times in its past, with its Vampire Lords threading the other realms within Evernight. House Fray has even come to aid of its people a few times to save them from being completely wiped out by its own crazed Vilemall Lords. However, since the creation of the Red Church a balance of power has been struck and the realm has become fairly stable…

    The House of Maboro are Intelligent, Manipulative and masters of Illusion.

    The House of Maboro rule over the Dream Land, which the natives believe is so called because it is a pretty good place to call your home. However, it is not…

    When the people starve, House Maboro simply fills their bellies with imaginary bread and wine, but they will still drop dead of starvation… When a Maboro Vampire takes one of its people to feed from, they will simply wipe out the memories of their existence from those love ones they leave behind.

    Most of the citizens of Dreamland don’t even know who rules over them, they simply call them the Shadow Lords. It’s best just to mind your own business and not to ask too many questions most of the Dreamlanders believe… or you might be paid a visit from one of these Shadow Lords…

    On the battlefield House Maboro always use the week willed living to fight their battles, and will use their powers to take away their fears, making their warriors nearly unbreakable. Furthermore, they have no problem with manipulating lowly common wild beasts to fight alongside them.

    This Great Family of Evernight are the masters of Shape Shifting. They have been known to turn into wolves to scour ahead of their main force to gather intelligence on their enemies. Or transform into wild savage bears, to tear down city gates. Also, rather impressively, their kin are the only vampires who can fly, by turning themselves in to bats.

    House Gorren is a family of Vampires who have the power to ‘Summon’ wild Beasts to aid them in battle.

    This family is a little rough around the edges, which makes some of the others turn their noses up at them…

    Gorren Vampires turn away from stately homes or castles, and instead prefer to live wild in the woods and forests of their lands.

    House Fray have a respect for this wild family, as they value all living things, and only take life during the Hunt and in their defence.

    This House increases their numbers by hunting their own people, and if they survive, they will gain their Lords respect, and could even be turned into a Vampire themselves as a reward for outfoxing their masters.

    On the battlefield House Gorren prefer to fight alongside wild beasts and monsters they have summoned to war. However, creatures of light and divinity will shy away from their calls to battle. On the other hand, beasts of shadow and vermin will always answer their calls for help.

    Army Set-up and Style

    OK… I understand the proposed Vampire Law for Three Plains raises some interesting and maybe even controversial points as an ‘undead’ army. In fact, I was wrong when I said that the Vampires army format would be very similar to the Necromancers, with them being focus on magic more, when really, the two factions couldn’t be more different…

    As the Vampire’s stand at the moment, it looks like they could be a mix of both living and undead units for the reasons outlined above. In fact when I think about all the movies, books and games I have played, its only Warhammer Fantasy where they are totally surrounded by the undead. When in fact they would just have an association with them, and largely work with the living in some capacity.

    So, depending on the Vampire House, I can see them using peasant militia, human infantry and light cavalry. For their heavier infantry and cavalry they would use Vampire Thralls. Being undead themselves and again, depending on the Vampire House, they would not have too many hang ups hiring Necromancers to rise up the dead to fight for them. That said… I cannot see the peasants being too happy about seeing their dead reanimated alongside them in battle… Anyway, moving on… They would have access to some pretty wild monsters. Such as, Bears, Dire Wolves, Werewolves and so on, and again, they too would all still be alive.

    I’m stating the obvious here, but we should look at giving the Vampire Houses different Gaming Pieces Allowances. So for instance, House Gorren who are the masters of summoning wild beasts, could have fighting units largely made up of monsters. Or House Luking being a magical faction of Vampires, could just use Necromancy magic and fill out their ranks solely with the undead.

    That’s a good start I think, but remember, at the moment nothing is set in stone. So please feel free to make your suggestions, and let me know what you think.

    Cheers

     

     

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    #476

    Thomas
    Participant

    A very interesting read Dave.
    With regards to using skeletons I can definitely see the more sadistic houses using skeletons
    House Maboro would probably use skeletons and just trick their people in believing they are alive

    #477

    Dave
    Keymaster

    Thanks Tom, and yes they would, but I can see them just dumbing down their warriors to a point were they know they are fighting alongside the undead, but they just don’t care. After the battle they may even have their memories wiped of the whole thing.

    #478

    darkgunman-3
    Participant

    Hey dave,
    I like how you’re using the different teeth images to represent the different vampire houses .i also like the little backstories for each of them. Like the house of gorren and auterex the most – being able to change shape and behaving savage and animalistic of the vampire houses,also being able to summon animal beasts as an army sounds cool.

    #479

    Dave
    Keymaster

    Cheers Darkgunman-3. Even Though the law is very different for the Vampires from what I thought it would be, I’m quite happy with how its going.

    In my mind at least, Evernight is almost a mini world of its own within Many, it generates that much law.

    #482

    Love the idea behind Maboro – really, really creepy.

    If there is a large selection of “common” core units, then we could build up armies made of these core units and the characters/special elements that are unique to each House.

    I particularly like the idea of pitching these armies against each other – the way you have written it, each House’s army would have a distinctive flavour, unlike, say, fighting Black Orcs against each other (which is what I’ve been doing to learn the rules).

    #484

    Dave
    Keymaster

    Cheers, and yeah, its a funny carry on in Dreamland. Imagine dreaming of going to war, but you know you never did… or at least that’s what you think anyway… Or you’re happy, but you have no reason to be, as your life is pretty terrible, being a peasant and all. Also, you would have memories of shadowy figures, but never remember their faces or names. There would be certain things you would know never to talk about, but never know why… And the crazy person in the village would be the only one who figured it out, and then one day he just disappears and despite his antics, no one remembers him…

    Really Evernight, is a little mini world of its own, and yes, each House is going to play quite differently to each other.

    The Houses would go to war with each other, but would stop short of wiping each other out. This is so to maintain the balance of power, and to ensure that the Blood King’s Teeth are never reunited. Perhaps they would have to be a council of all the Tooth Holders that come together to discuss matters concerning all Evernight.

    #485

    Thomas
    Participant

    I can see these counsels ending in a lot of arguments 😅

    #486

    Dave
    Keymaster

    Yeah… they could call it the Family Reunion lol

    I can see House Fray leading the Council a lot, not because they are the strongest, but because they are the most honest and honorable out of them all, and the other simply wouldn’t trust any other house to be in power.

    #488

    Thomas
    Participant

    Yeah I agree with you there.
    On the other hand house Fray would probably take everything said with a pinch of salt

    #490

    Dave
    Keymaster

    I believe your right Tom.

    I have next week off, and pardon the pun, but I’m hoping to get my teeth into writing their codex more then 🙂

    #492

    Thomas
    Participant

    Fair enough.
    I look forward to hearing about it

    #493

    Dave
    Keymaster

    I think I’m going to start with the Blood King’s backstory first and also look at hammering out a basic list for them, such as, their Characters, Units, Beast and War Machines.

    #500

    Thomas
    Participant

    I was thinking about it an there structure reminds me of the orcs.
    Whereas the elves and humans are (kind of) unified the orcs and Vampires are divided groups who work together only for a common goal if necessary, otherwise they treat eachother like rivals

    #501

    Dave
    Keymaster

    I believe yes and no. The Blood King’s teeth both drives them apart and at the same time, will always bind them together for all time. The Orcs may all kill each other in a heartbeat over a scrap of meat, but at least they all think like one and other and can understand each other. Whereas, the blood king’s teeth drives all the houses to act and think differently from each other. However, they cannot risk the teeth falling into just anybody’s hands, especially house Vilemall…

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