Vampire, Strigori

Chris Van Deelen

Chris Van Deelen is the author of the Skirmisher Publishing LLC sourcebook Creatures of the Tropical Wastes sourcebook, co-author of its Wisdom from the Wastelands game supplement and contributor to the 'Sword of Kos: Hekaton' Anthology.

No. Enc: 1d8
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')
AC: 6
HD: 7
Attacks: 3 (2 punches, 1 tongue and special, see below)
Damage: 1d4 / 1d4 / 2d6 and infection (see below)
Save: L9
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: None

Thankfully rare in the wastes, but rumour has it how these creatures almost started the apocalypse all on their own still abound. Scholars are unsure if these creatures are the results of the Ancients delving into genetic engineering for bio-weapons or if they are something that have existed, lurking in the shadows for millennia.

The actual creature, the driving force behind the Vampire itself is a tiny, 1 inch long albino worm that needs blood to survive. It cannot survive on its own for very long as UV radiation kills it instantly, and it does need a host to live in. If outside a host, it can survive for a few days, if hidden away from direct sunlight or any sort of UV radiation.

The worm uses its host like a literal vehicle and colony all at once. It initially infects the host by entering the body via an open wound, the mouth, or any other orifice. Once inside the host, it rapidly begins to multiply, feeding on the host’s blood and then literally splitting in two smaller versions of itself, where it rapidly grows while feeding once again.

All it takes is one of the vampire worms to infect a host and within days, the host is literally taken over. Not through any sort of mind control, but the worms waste begins to re-write the hosts genetic code, turning it into the prefect vehicle and colony for the worm. Once the worm has invaded a host, the host is allowed a save versus death in order to fight off the worm. If it succeeds, the host's immune system kills the worm and the host doesn't need to make any more rolls.

If however, the host fails the roll, the worm becomes adapted to the hosts immune system and, as stated already, it begins to feed and reproduce. Over a period of three days the host becomes sicker and sicker, feeling lethargic, and appears to develop infection in the throat.

During this period, the eyes turn pure black, and sink into the head, and the skin becomes a deathly white pallor, with what appears to be bruising around the eyes, and many veins on the body become black and pronounced.  On top of these changes, the host also begins to lose all of its body hair and other portions of the anatomy begin to wither and eventually drop off (ears, reproductive organs etc.).  If cut, the host’s blood noticeably changes as well, thickening and gradually whitening as more and more of the worms take up residence in the body.  Note that if anyone foolish enough to ingest the host’s blood has to immediately save or become infected as well.

Any physical mutations the host once had weaken and eventually disappear altogether. The worms can even change a non-human creature (although these worms prefer humanoids over any other host) into a humanoid, but in drastic changes (such as an animal), the metamorphosis takes about three times as long to complete.

During the physical changes, the host grows more and more thirsty, and its throat burns terribly, as if on fire, and nothing can seem to slack the thirst, or the pain in its throat. If, during this period, the host is exposed to any blood, it must make a will power check (roll under its will power on a d20) or be forced to drink the blood. Instantly the thirst will slacken and the pain in its throat will disappear.  Each day the host will suffer a cumulative +4 to its roll against will power.

All actions taken by the host until it feeds will be at a -3. This includes to hit, saving throws, skill checks (if the Mutant Lord uses any skill system), all physical damage will be reduced by 25% and its AC will be reduced by 2 points.

Once the three days are up the new prehensile tongue has fully developed and the throat appears to be swollen, and the jaws can become unhinged to allow the tongue to shoot out from the host. The reach of the tongue is ten feet.

Even if the host hasn't finished the physical transformation, the worms take over the mind of the host, effectively killing it. Once this happens, the host will only seek out to feed and protect itself from sunlight (or any manner of UV radiation). The worms can access the memory of the host and use it to bring them to more fertile feeding grounds, and the worms take a perverse pleasure in going after the hosts original family (if any).

Once the host reaches this state, it will only use its hands to try and bring down a victim (beating on them), or it will use its new prehensile tongue like a ranged weapon to attempt to feed off (and in the process, infect) a new victim. The initial hit from the tongue causes 2d6 damage and once it has latched onto a target, will continue to drain 1d6 hit points of blood pure round. Any damage the creature has taken is healed by the blood that it drains from the victim.

The tongue, once it has latched onto the victim, can only be removed by making a successful strength check (d20, rolling under the strength score), or by cutting it off. The Tongue has an AC of 4 and requires 10 points to sever.

If the creature has its tongue severed, it will immediately attempt to escape from its original victim. The tongue will regenerate within 3-5 days. These creatures, if exposed to sunlight or any sort of UV radiation (UV lasers included) will suffer 5d6 per round of exposure (or in the case of UV based weapons, double damage).

Although conventional weapons will kill them, the worms will attempt to escape the host, and have a movement rate of 9' (3') and can climb on any surface. They will attempt to clamour over any nearby creature in an attempt to infect them (through open wounds or orifices). They can also burrow into the ground in an attempt to escape sunlight. A host killed will release 3d20 of these worms and are really only dangerous to the un-aware (stepping on them will kill them).

It is said that once the host has been controlled by the worms for 30 days, the last changes have taken place and the worms develop into a hive mind, which replaces the hosts mind entirely (but they retain the hosts memories).

Mutations: Aberrant form (natural weapon - prehensile tongue), albino, bizarre appearance (no ears, no reproductive organs, eye color change), dietary requirement change (blood), epidermal susceptibility (UV radiation), genetic replication, regeneration.

Source: The Strain Trilogy by Guillermo Del Toro (2009)