Monsters & Madmen
Although Bloodlines & Black Magic doesn’t use a traditional XP (experience point) system, it includes Challenge Ratings to help GMs export and balance those monsters or foes in other games. Players expecting a lot of typical monsters from fantasy games offered up in Bloodlines & Black Magic are in for a very big, very fun surprise – we treat monsters, madmen, haunts, and traps a little differently. Players will certainly see a lot of old favorites but designed within the constraints of the world we’ve built, and alongside a lot more detail.
GMs and players alike should note – not all monsters in episodes of Bloodlines & Black Magic look the part. Although some certainly do (and players will have ample opportunities to justifiably destroy monsters in-game), just as many might come disguised as completely normal people.
Moreover, the monsters and foes presented in Bloodlines & Black Magic come with a lot more detail, including details about the creature’s ecology, its tactics, its lore (offering players insight into its biology and its relative weaknesses), and what special steps – if any – player characters need to take when harvesting dosh from that foe.
Bloodlines & Black Magic defines its environments (and the encounters that take place therein) using the following categories:
Haunts – These supernatural events are plainly visible in the Invisible World, manifesting into the Mundane World slowly and insidiously. In many cases, they are curated by powerful Sovereigns or Entities in the Invisible World, although in some cases they are simple affairs, easily dispatched by hunters and spiritualists alike. Regardless of their power, haunts always have a seed that must be destroyed before the spirit attached to the haunt can be dispatched.
Loci – Similar to haunts in a number of ways, Loci are often invisible in the Mundane World and concealed or hidden in the Invisible World, their appearances controlled by the powerful spirits capable of birthing them. Like haunts, Loci can manifest in the Mundane World. When they do, they often bestow strange boons, oddities, or other supernatural benefits upon their lucky targets. When it comes to Loci, both occultists and psychics find value in making connections with these powerful spiritual locations.
Madmen – Madmen occupy a special place in Bloodlines & Black Magic, serving as an example of what happens when a hero fails on their quests to become a Sovereign. While many of these terrible creatures are thankfully put down by local law enforcement (or the PCs, acting as their supernatural counterparts), some embrace the full scope of their inner darkness and step deep into the Invisible, disappearing from everyone; when these beings return from those dark places, they truly are monsters. Brawlers, hunters, and operatives all hunt down madmen.
Monsters – Many monsters are plainly visible in the Invisible World, taking strange or odd variations of natural creatures in the Mundane World, at least when they are corporeal creatures. In a lot of cases, powerful spirits will possess and mutate natural creatures or beings, creating broken and twisted forms of their former selves. Many monsters are further defined by their additional features, regions, and cultural ties. Groups of hunters populate the world, working from the shadows and, with the aid of their psychic and occultist allies, make short order of these terrible things.
Traps – Traps, in Bloodlines & Black Magic, commonly accompany human foes lying in wait; they are often used as part of an ambush or as a temporary defensive measure for an occupied (guarded) location, where the response is sure to be swift. In some instances, Sovereigns will use traps to guard or defend their Domains in the Invisible World, as well. Although anyone might disable a trap, operatives are trained to handle them, as well as to detect the ambushes that often accompany them.
Bloodlines & Black Magic embraces the weird, the wondrous, and the unknown with equal vigor. You're not going to find a lot of heartwarming, seasonal stories here. On the contrary, you'll find urban legends, local myths, and rich, modern mythology that takes place just beneath the surface.
Characters who Pierce the Veil see this world with increasing clarity and in greater detail, sometimes gaining oddities in the process.