The man stands over the hulking, spiny monster – charred black in the sunlight and half buried beneath the fallen side of the building. “Damn fool, Feral” the man states to his companion, a young boy, “looks like whoever he tried to bite last nite bit back with a rocket launcher. Brought down the wall, and buried this sucker.” “Where’d their victim go?” The boy asks. “Hard to say,” the man shrugs, “tracks all confused with the rubble. Could be they high-tailed it. Could be they’re buried underneath.” “There’s a town, about a mile down the road,” a hooded newcomer offers, standing in the shadows of the ruined structure. “Come out where I can see you,” the man warns. “Okay, okay,” the hooded man nods, walking slowly – hands raised – towards the man and the boy. As the new comer steps out into the sunlight, the man pulls a pistol and charges forward. Stepping behind the newcomer, the man yanks down the hood. The new comer stands in the sun, squinting. “He’s pale,” the boy comments. “Anaemic,” the man confesses. “He didn’t burn,” the man offers, “that might be good enough. Though I heard tell of Vampires that can withstand the sun.” The newcomer simply grins, shakes his head and pulls a long blade from the back of his jacket.
Blood Stains does not use conventional Labyrinth Lord Classes. Instead, Blood Stains uses its own set of Classes and Saves to represent Vampirism. Though a Game Master – termed Overlord in Blood Stains – may certainly integrate conventional classes into their Blood Stains games, the game itself employs its own set of character archetypes: Dhampir, Feral, True Blood and Mongrel. Each of these classes reflects one of the generalist types of Vampire contained within the setting. For example:
- Dhampir: Closer to human, the resulting child from a Vampiric infection while pregnant. Most Dhampir’s appear, outwardly, to be little more than an anaemic human.
- Feral: Corrupted or mutated strain of the Vampiric virus, resulting in degeneration into a monstrous beast.
- True Blood: Direct, blood-to-blood, infection with a pure strain of the Vampire virus. Each True Bloods is a fanged Adonis
- Mongrel: The result of infection with the Vampire virus incidentally, such as through saliva or other bodily fluids or blood contact with an open wound. Mongrels appear mostly human, but with shark-like maws, talons and other features.
“Have we become so overconfident?” Hans asks Yuri, pointing towards the great hulking creature bloodily chopping on the neck of a cocktail-dressed middled aged man in the middle of the street. Yuri turned his gaze to the creature as well, observing its tough, leathered grey skin and elongated, bat-like ears. Hans elaborated, “as a species, I mean?” “Did you just paraphrase Del Toro’s The Strain to me?” Yuri asked, leaning on the nearby wall. Hans nodded in reply, but the question only perplexed Hans more with the confirmation, “you know he was writing about humans?” “Oh yes I do,” Hans confirmed, licking his lips and showing off his twin, pointed canines, “but given the current spectacle and state of things, I believe the question applies to us now.” “Oh?” Yuri questions, raising an eyebrow as he does so. “Well, take that fellow there,” Hans continued, “I remember when we merely stalked the shadows, lived incognito. Now here we are, revelling in it all like some vulgar revolutionary.” “You must remember, Hans,” Yuri counters, “that us True Bloods hid in plain sight. Others, like that brutish fellow there, never had the opportunity.”
Last month I was chatting to photographers and Legless Ballerina and from that conversation, two joint projects came about. Both projects will be new role-playing games, with settings jointly designed by Owlman and Legless Ballerina. While game design will be undertaken by Owlman, interior art will be the wonderful horror-fantasy photography of Legless Ballerina. And it is the first of these projects I am pleased to announce today: Blood Stains.
Blood Stains is a Labyrinth Lord campaign setting with a twist. As many of you know, some time ago Owlman published a World War One-themed series of rules for Labyrinth Lord as part of our Over The Top setting. With Blood Stains, we are going one step further, and producing a series of modern rules for Labyrinth Lord and Vampire classes. Thus with Blood Stains, we are leaving fantasy behind all together and engaging in modern disaster horror – with the players as the monsters!