There are a couple threads on level drain on two different forums right now. There’s also a blogpost somewhere about diseases. And I think I recall seeing something about training to improves Strength, Intelligence, etc. How are these all related? They all mention lowering or raising ability scores.
Ability drain is the most popular suggestion as a replacement for level drain, or at the very least for the vampire’s blood drinking to distinguish it from a spectre’s chill touch. It’s modeled after the shadow’s Strength drain. Problem for me is: I don’t like it. It creates another thing to track from session to session, like hit points, and ability scores are even harder to restore than levels. And I just don’t like changing the ability score that much; I want it to stay mostly static except after a wish or something similarly extreme.
What I’ve been thinking, however, is that it might not be too bad if you didn’t track it. When a shadow successfully hits a victim, roll 1d6 per shadow’s hit die. If the total is greater than the target’s Strength, the character feels weaker and is treated as overburdened/fatigued (Move 3, must rest twice as long every hour.) On a second failed roll, the character is paralyzed, and on the third, completely drained. All that needs to be tracked is the current condition, which has a chance of going away after a full hour’s rest (5+ on 1d6) and disappears completely after a full night’s rest.
A vampire’s blood drain, or a tick’s blood drain, could be modeled the same way, but based on Con. The vampire would only bite as part of a coup de gras after grappling an opponent, charming, or waiting until the opponent is asleep. Unlike shadows, vampires would space their attacks on sleeping victims over multiple evenings, making only one roll per night: first failure leaves the victim feeling anemic and fatigued, second leaves the victim visibly pallid and only able to move for brief spans, and the third causes death.
And for diseases… well, maybe I’ll cover that in a future post, although you can probably guess what I’m going to say. Ability improvement, too.
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