Storytelling, Tabletop and Pop Culture
This week we are diving into "The Beast-Kin Vampires," a lovely little vampiric bestiary from Jack Kellum of "Of Gods and Gamemasters." It clocks in at 11 pages and 5 creatures but this is definitely a document that is hitting harder than its weight class. The 5 creatures each represent a new form of vampire, one derived from a specific beast (tiger, wolf, mosquito, snake and spider) .
And wow, these are fantastic beasts (...). It's easy to imagine someone just slapping a template over existing creatures and calling it a day, but OG&G has clearly put some real thought into amplifying the mechanics of each creature to give it an original vampiric vibe. The Snakeskin's paralyzing gaze -> constrict -> bite combo is a great example, creating a powerful, aesthetically appropriate and fun chain of abilities that make it distinctive to run in combat. In the same way, the vampires mosquitoes of the Midgekin have perfect abilities to terrorize PCs, enveloping them in a lifedraining swarm and even exploding on death.
Not only are each of these monsters mechanically distinctive but Jack has brought his trademark narrative flair to each of them. Each vampiric beast has a short blurb on their origins, attitudes and behaviors and the document ends with a whole additional page about how you could potentially run them.
And that's the real impact here. Any one of these could make a cunning and challenging boss encounter for an appropriate level party, perhaps even the crux of a whole mystery or frightening exploration sequence. Just drop them into a village or forest map and you are ready to roll. And if you stack them together they can easily give you a regional boss, with hierarchies of vampires in service to a powerful and domineering Tigerheart ruling over a corrupted natural landscape, perhaps even a whole new Domain of Dread formed from corrupted nature.
Jack has done a masterful job of expanding the underdeveloped vampiric corner of the D&D world. And with the great flavor here, you could even repurpose these monsters for other games, making them the center of a Monster of the Week adventure.
Be sure to pick up your copy and leave a review! And go check out the other awesome stuff on Of Gods and Gamemasters. This is barely scratching the surface! There is so much cool content, a lot of it free and available for a wide variety of systems.
Finally, go say hi to OG&G on Twitter! Jack isn't just a fun creator with great storytelling chops but also a wonderful supporter of the TTRPG community. If you're not following him, you're missing out!
Hi! I'm Colby. DM, Nerd, IRL Cleric and Writer.