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Nosferatu, Mystaran

by TSR Staff

FREQUENCY: Rare (Glantri, Karameikos), else Very Rare
DIET: Blood
INTELLIGENCE: Average to Genius (10-18)
MOVEMENT: 12, Fl 18 (C)
THAC0: As per equivalent class & level
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-4 (bite) or by weapon/spell type
SPECIAL DEFENCES: +1 or better to hit, regenerates
SIZE: M (5.5'-6.5')
MORALE: Champion (16)
XP VALUE: 8,000

Nosferatu is a powerful and fearsome undead creature strongly resembling the vampire. Contrary to its dark cousin, Nosferatu neither drains levels nor fears sunlight. Common people often fear Nosferatu, although some of its kin aren't evil. Nosferatu is the victim of a dark fate, torn between pain, thirst, and disgust. Just like its cousin, Nosferatu hungers for blood, but it does occasionally show compassion.

One must be very observant to recognise Nosferatu for what it truly is. It can easily pass among mortals since it does not show any obvious clues to its true nature. It appears monstrous only when it attacks. As quiet as a vampire, it also retains all the abilities of its former class and level, in addition to its undead powers which helps further disguising Nosferatu. Like its cousin, however, Nosferatu fails to cast either a shadow or a reflection in a mirror.

Combat: Nosferatu is generally strong due to its undead nature. At worst, Nosferatu has a Strength of 16. Its Strength may otherwise remain that of the former living character, up to 18/00 (a warrior for example). Nosferatu often relies on weapons or spells for combat. Nosferatu does not possess the ability to drain levels.

Nosferatu can charm anyone foolish enough to stare it in the eyes, as per the charm person spell. Victims may roll a saving throw with a -2 penalty. This often allows Nosferatu to get past guards without being detected.

Weapons of less than +1 enchantment remain harmless to Nosferatu. If wounded, Nosferatu regenerates 1 hit point per round. If reduced to zero hit points, Nosferatu then adopts a gaseous form and flees. After eight hours in its coffin, Nosferatu regains its corporeal form. Nosferatu will meet its end if it fails to regain its coffin within 12 turns after being defeated in combat.

Sleep, charm, and hold spells, along with poisons and paralysis do not affect Nosferatu. Spells based upon cold or electricity only cause half damage.

Nosferatu can assume a gaseous form at will, which makes it immune to physical attacks. In addition Nosferatu can also shape change into a large bat at night or into a raven during daylight hours, thus the flying movement rate given in the statistics. Spider climb is another ability Nosferatu shares with its vampire kin. Nosferatu can also summon animals, more commonly 1-100 rats or bats in a subterranean environment, or 3-18 wolves in the wilderness. Summoned animals arrive in 2-12 rounds.

A strong garlic smell will keep Nosferatu at bay. The undead casts neither a reflection in a mirror or a shadow under the sun. The latter explains why Nosferatu finds mirrors offending and bright lights distasteful. Nosferatu remains, however, immune from the sight of clerical symbols, and only clerics of the opposite alignment or those specialised in hunting undead can turn Nosferatu. The undead suffers no ill effect from contact with clerical symbols or holy water.

Nosferatu generally avoids running water. Just like its vampire kin, it will be destroyed after remaining three consecutive rounds immersed in running water. A wooden stake through its heart will accomplish the same result, although if the stake is removed, Nosferatu can begin regenerating hit points. One must behead the undead and stuff its mouth with dirt taken from hallowed burial grounds to seal Nosferatu's fate forever. The definition of "hallowed burial grounds" varies with Nosferatu's own alignment. Burial grounds must be for a kind of people or creature whose alignment is as far removed from Nosferatu's as possible. For a neutral undead, any non-neutral alignment will do.

Nosferatu cannot enter a personal residence without a resident first inviting it in. Once invited, Nosferatu may freely come and go. Magical charm, disguise, or any other trickery used to obtain the invitation is enough to allow Nosferatu entrance to someone's home.

Human or humanoid may later become a Nosferatu only if the original undead wishes it. If so, the victim rises from the dead three days later, unless its body was burned or totally destroyed. The victim remains under its killer's control. If the latter is killed, all the victims becomes self-willed.

Nosferatu always retains all the memories, abilities, skills, and restrictions of its former character class for the level attained at the time of death, or the level equivalent to the undead's Hit Dice. For example, a 12th-level wizard would return as a 9 Hit Dice Nosferatu with spells appropriate to a 9th-level wizard; likewise, a 5th-level cleric would rise to a 7 Hit Dice undead with clerical spells equivalent to a 5th-level cleric. Clerical spells no longer come from the original Immortal patron unless Nosferatu has the same alignment. Ability scores remain the same (Intelligence, wisdom, dexterity, and charisma). A constitution score is no longer required and the strength score should remain at a minimum of 16. Clerical and warrior Nosferatu may wear armour, although it will not improve armour class. Weapons used in combat must remain appropriate to the former character class.

Habitat/Society: Nosferatu can dwell anywhere. Most often, it is a character of some importance in the region (a dashing nobleman, a reclusive wizard, the laird of a domain, etc). Nosferatu doesn't necessarily feel the morbid need of its vampire kin to dwell in cemeteries and other sinister places of death. Nosferatu seeks the living whose blood it thirsts.

Being somewhat closer to the world of the living compared to level-draining undead, Nosferatu feels at ease with unsuspecting mortals. Nosferatu also tends to think less and act more compared to the vampire ("think less" is said here in relative terms). Where a vampire would spend a century brooding and scheming, Nosferatu might spend "only" a decade. Nosferatu often needs to change identities, as the living pass on and Nosferatu maintains its activity among the new comers. Clever disguises to modify Nosferatu's apparent age or to impersonate progeny remain common tactics. If everything fails, disappearing for a decade also remains a valid option.

Nosferatu enjoys the company of others of its kind, but most often will mingle with the living. Evil or neutral Nosferatu and its lesser followers enjoy playing games with the living even more. The rare Nosferatu of good alignment, however, will remain aloof, only occasionally interfering with the affairs of the living as may be necessary to preserve its existence or to save loved ones.

Ecology: Nosferatu has made itself a secret place among the living. It stands as a transitory form of the vampire, between to totally twisted undead and the living. Evil Nosferatu acts more like the vampire kin, while the good-aligned Nosferatu exists more as an unfortunate victim. Good-aligned Nosferatu will only allow another to rise if the victim consents (i.e. a loved one), in which case, the victim's original alignment is preserved. Evil Nosferatu often choose to twist a victim's alignment to reflect Nosferatu's own, but not always. Evil Nosferatu could decide to preserve a victim's alignment as a way to torment the victim. Invariably, a good-aligned victim seeks to destroy itself or cause the doom of its evil master. The living always fear Nosferatu, regardless of its alignment.

Nosferatu craves the blood of the living. It can go no more than a week without blood before pain begins to twist its body. The pain causes all of Nosferatu's ability scores (ignore constitution) to drop 1 point per day after the first week of fasting, down to a minimum of 9. Nosferatu requires enough blood for 9 points of damage per week to avoid the pain. To recover each lost point of ability score due to the pain, Nosferatu requires another 1-4 hit-points-worth of fresh blood. Non-human or non-humanoid blood only serves to numb the pain for a day. It cannot restore lessened ability scores.