Whilst I was extremely happy to find there were two vampire Broken already written up on this forum that I could use, the overall troop lists didn’t quite vibe with me. I wanted more body horror from my troop roster to keep it in line with the other Broken, as well as a thematically consistent way for the Broken to spread their specific form of undeath, such as Render using Cinderblood, and Blighter using Alchemy.
I won’t be including a Broken write-up for this, as the existing two already written up are great and thematic for either a subtle or more predatory Broken, and are the two obvious canon Broken to use for a vampire. I am personally running this character as Shadowbinder and will refer to the Broken as such in this. I used both of these as starting points for abilities and troops for this Broken. Go check their work out if you haven’t, those two Broken are great, and thanks to you both for inspiring me to write this up.
That preamble being said, inspired by the Host blight in the corruption mechanics I eventually decided parasitism was a great theme to build around. This is the result:
Parasites, worms and corruption body horror. Literal bloodthirst. Unseen enemies and traitors. Decadence and sadism among nobility, and the bloodlust of mob justice. Paranoia. Being eaten alive from without or within.
Binder’s forces seek to supplant local power structures from within until the opposition is destroyed or impotent. His forces are not physically potent, but spread corruption through parasites found in all of his troops. This is spread by contact with infected blood or through bites. Those who are infected, including the undead, manifest thin, maggot-sized Moroii Worms in their veins that drive the host to drink blood to compensate for the parasites feeding on theirs. When made to engage on the field of battle Binder’s army favours shock troops supported by expendable Blighted meat-shields.
- The Gift: Shadowbinder’s blood grants undeath. Strigoii can appear in any mission.
Blood Vats: Binder’s servants cultivate parasitic worms from their dead. Moroii Swarms can appear in any mission.
Price of Failure: Binder shows the Strigoii their place. Varkolak can appear in any mission.
Blood Money: The nobility serves Binder and grants his army wealth and equipment. Strigoii and Blighted use fine arms and armor.
Agents Everywhere: Reaching a location before Binder is next to impossible. Recon mission engagement rolls take -1d.
Infectious Bite: Binder’s troops can spread corruption through bites, and inflict +1 corruption when they wound someone this way.
Extinction: The infection causes the ecosystem to fall apart as all creatures become predators and devour one another. All acquire asset rolls for horses and food stores are at -1d.
Blighted Legion: The Legion loses up to 3 points of Supply, Black Shot, Food Stores, Religious Supplies, or Horses, as well as the loss of one Rookie or Non-Legion Personnel, who was secretly Blighted and betrays the Legion. If a Rookie is lost, treat this as a death incurring Morale loss as well.
6-12 Blighted supporting a Strigoii with 3-4 Consumed to detect enemies or prey. When performing reconnaissance Blighted and Consumed numbers are usually inverted and Blighted and Strigoii handlers will be mounted on corrupted steeds to maximise speed.
Consumed: Binder impales his victims alive on corrupted pikes treated with infected blood. Once dead, they reanimate at dusk and pull themselves off the spears. Those made this way bear impalement wounds that writhe with masses of worms. Consumed are pale, desiccated corpses, with blood-red or yellow eyes, mouths full of needle-sharp teeth and twisted claws. They can smell spilled blood at a considerable distance but are sensitive to light and hibernate during the day, becoming active only at night. They continually desiccate until they are eventually completely immobile. Drinking blood only slows this process for the Consumed.
Blighted: When the living are corrupted fully they become Blighted. They remain aware of their past but usually experience massive personality changes. The Blights manifested by Binder’s corruption can vary, but they universally develop a thirst for blood and maggot-like worms in their bloodstream. While not undead Reliquaries burn Binder’s Blighted. Once their infection reaches a critical point the parasites will kill their host through overfeeding and reanimate them as a Consumed.
Strigoii: Corrupted and killed by being force-fed Shadowbinder’s boiling blood, when they reanimate after this ordeal, Strigoii have pale skin, blood-red or yellow eyes, sharp nails and elongated canines. They exist in a state of symbiosis with the infection and retain their memory and will. A Strigoii can regenerate harm with a fresh supply of blood. Moroii worms will not kill a Strigoii host if starved but will turn them feral. Strigoii can pass for human at night, but their eyes and light sensitivity make it difficult for them to pass during the day.
Moroii Swarm: Moroii present in the bloodstreams of the infected cannot reach maturity by feeding on one host alone. When Binder’s troops are killed he has salvagable remains tossed into great vats of blood where growth can contiunue. At maturity a Moroii resembles a finger-sized fleshy red leech. Moroii swarms are driven by a group intelligence that Strigoii can control, and they usually cling together to construct crude bipedal forms. As living creatures of corruption they are vulnerable to divine power. They also dislike fire and bright light. Moroii numbers are limited by their ravenous appetites. Keeping a single human-sized swarm alive requires several kills per day.
Varkolak: Strigoii who displease Binder are typically imprisoned and then entombed or buried until they are driven irretrievably mad and feral from hunger. This process usually takes several weeks and results in drastic mutations as the infection tries to aid its host. A Varkolak’s arms deform into clawed wings, and their faces become twisted and bat-like. They become considerably larger and more powerful than a regular Strigoii and the process usually ends when they have the strength and size to break out of their prisons through raw power. They are feral, but will only actively hunt living humans, and thus are usually only fielded in a force without Blighted or with an undead powerful enough to control them.
Silver Grasping Thorns(Infamous Blighted): Grasping Thorns was a hopeful to become the Chosen of the Horned One, but the Horned One did not Choose until Shadowbinder was Broken. Through random mutation, or through an unexplained connection to a god, he does not burn when exposed to divine power. He makes every effort to find Reliquaries or those associated with divine power, such as Mercies, and devour them, which has thus far extended his lifespan for several years by culling the vulnerable parasites periodically from his blood.
Captain Akara Lahazar(Infamous Strigoii): The captain of the Company of the Red Wolf, a Dar-based mercenary band. She and the command staff of her band were turned Strigoii, and corrupted their troops from within by poisoning their food supplies over along period of time. She is ambitious and materialistic, with no regard for human life and no loyalty to Binder, but her band now forcibly kidnaps and conscripts Blighted in raids and forms the backbone of Binder’s military. Akara must occasionally consume vast amounts of blood to offset the Dar blood-curse, which causes her to bleed profusely.
The Nosferatu: A short, almost pathetic figure wrapped in blood-stained bandages and black rags with a hooded cloak, which reveal only his twisted maw. He locates enemies by scent. The Nosferatu was created when a Consumed drank cinderblood from one of Bonerender’s dying troops, becoming something else entirely. He has regained his intelligence but not his memory, and can only subsist on the potent blood Strigoii. Despite his diminutive size he has potent strength. Binder finds him disgusting and a possible threat, and has him lead forces of Strigoii who have lost his favour on suicide missions in the hopes he’ll die in battle. He usually comes back alone when he’s done.
Karl Johann Albrekt (Strigoii Lieutenant): Johann Albrekt’s very name has become a curse amongst Aldermani, as he betrayed the city of Karlsburg and Vlaisim The Shining One, by leaving him to face the Cinder King alone by withdrawing his troops. His people were then butchered to reinforce the losses the undead sustained with no real resistance. Binder rewarded him by making him his right hand, and through consuming enough of Binder’s blood he has gained the ability to create more Strigoii. His blood, like Binder’s, is as dangerous as boiling oil.
Shifter(Consumed Lieutenant): Unusually, Shifter mutated almost immediately after being corrupted and his mutagenic abilities have only increased since his reanimation. He is able to shapeshift at will, both into weaponized war-forms with too many teeth, claws and tentacles, and into various animals, including swarms. These transformations are not magical in nature and his flesh and bones rip and twist painfully in dramatic sprays of blood every time he does so. In order to increase his overall size he requires an equivalent mass of blood. Though Shifter is only as intelligent as other Consumed, his deadliness has made him Binder’s chief assassin. He is relentless once commanded to kill.
Red Screaming Wave(Varkolak Lieutenant): Screaming Wave was once Shadowbinder’s lover, and he turned her forcibly after he was Broken. She was not pleased by Binder’s “gift” and starved herself willingly. Her will was strong and her mutations were far more prolonged than a regular Varkolak. She is now the size of a supply wagon with fangs the size of sabers and though she has wings she is far too large to fly. When driven to madness she devastated Binder’s forces until Binder himself compelled her to service. She can only be fielded when Binder is near as no other creature has the level of control over the undead required to direct her rage.