For today's blog, I'm going to be fully embracing #BlackMagicMonday and sharing some of the content I've been working on for Bloodlines & Black Magic, our next campaign setting.
So, who are the bloodbound? The bloodbound are a group of folks who are addicted to the magical blood that most PCs possess, making them ideal villains or antagonists for GMs to use in their stories. Originally inspired by Bram Stoker's Renfield character in Dracula (as well as the ghouls in seasons one and three of Penny Dreadful), the bloodbound are living, breathing, human monsters, the sorts of folks GMs can use to harass the PCs as they seek to understand the occult world that is Bloodlines & Black Magic.
Design Note: This template is still in its "alpha state," which means we're still developing (and play testing) it. In short, it could change prior to publication. Also note that some of the mechanics refer to bloodline powers that have not been published yet, so you'll have a little more trouble using specifics from the campaign setting. That said, anyone with access to Paizo's Advanced Race Guide can use the racial traits listed therein (and their associated RP costs) to play around with the noble bloodbound's bloodpool ability.
With that said, have fun!
Ours is a hellish existence, one that is torn between our euphoric understanding of the secret bloodlines who rule the hidden realms and the harsh knowledge that is only by consuming their blood that we might attain true power in this world. Some of us, caught like a fly in the spider’s web, understand only our most savage nature as a result. We become cannibals, madmen, or worse – true monsters. Others of us have embraced the blood, learning to measure our response to its power, tempering our lives in pursuit of the magic in the blood. We dine as true nobles, able to see beyond life’s trivialities and social programming, attaining a wisdom that only this secret blood can unlock. But even we must be careful. The addiction is ever at the edge of our vision, a temptation to take a little more.
One of my occultist friends reminded me of Deuteronomy 12:23. I read it and laughed. He can stay in his armchair and pontificate about Crowley and Regardie. I know the truth. The blood is the life.
From Liber de Sanguine
Bloodbound are humanoids that have been repeatedly exposed to, and later addicted to, the magical properties of one the secret bloodlines. Although this exposure is often accidental and frequently a singular (and temporary) experience, the euphoric and often unforgettable event often inspires these humans to seek out additional experiences – turning these men and women into junkies of the worst sort. While most sane humans actively fight against the tide of ‘losing themselves to the blood,’ those who willingly give in or otherwise embrace this addiction become bloodbound.
History is filled with stories of the bloodbound, many of who are mistaken for other supernatural creatures, including witches, vampires, ghouls, maddened cannibals, and similar supernatural monsters. Most of this confusion is born based on their appearance, as well as their savage acts, with most onlookers outright disregarding their other human needs, focusing solely on their inhuman appetite.
Nearly all bloodbound appear to be normal humans, although most, over time, grow pale and anemic, the flesh around their eyes darkening as they grow increasingly more dependent on the blood that has given them a whole new life.
Creating a Bloodbound
“Bloodbound” is an acquired template that can be added to any living, non-bloodline humanoid (referred to hereafter as the base creature). A bloodbound uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities, except as noted below.
Challenge Rating Same as base creature +1
Type Same as the base creature
Alignment Any evil
Senses Bloodbound gain the scent universal monster ability, but can only use it to detect those from one of the seven bloodlines.
Attacks Bloodbound gains a bite attack that deals 1d4 points of damage (1d6 points of damage for large creatures).
Special Attacks The bloodbound retains all of the base creature’s special attacks and gains those described below:
Blood Frenzy (Ex) When exposed to blood from one of the bloodlines, the bloodbound risks flying into a frenzy. Bloodbound who succeed on a Will save (DC equal to 10 + their Hit Dice) overcome this urge. When it does succumb, it gains +2 Constitution and +2 Strength, but takes a –2 penalty to its AC. The frenzy lasts until the bloodbound has consumed at least its daily consumption requirement (see below) or 1 minute, whichever is shorter. If the bloodbound did not consume enough blood to end its frenzy, it immediately gains the fatigued condition for 1d4 minutes.
Abilities A bloodbound gains a +2 to their Strength score.
Skills A bloodbound gains a +2 racial bonus to their Perception skill checks.
Daily Consumption Bloodbound are addicted to the blood of the seven bloodlines and must feed on it daily. Each day, a bloodbound must consume a number of ounces of blood equal to its Hit Dice or suffer severe withdrawals, which last until the bloodbound feeds again. While suffering from these withdrawals, the bloodbound suffers a -2 penalty to its Constitution score and suffers a -4 penalty to Will saves to resist going into a blood frenzy.
Noble bloodbound are exceptional humans that have learned to harness the magical properties of one the secret bloodlines, focusing on a singular bloodline exclusively. Having fully embraced the secret nature of the blood, these wicked humans now prey upon that bloodline alone, seeking it out above all others and consuming it to maintain powers that few mortals outside of the hidden worlds truly understand. Unlike normal bloodbound, noble bloodbound humans have adapted to the magic in the blood, and gain magical abilities as a result.
Although people occasionally confuse noble bloodbound with their lesser cousins, this confusion is often short lived, especially when these human monsters turn the full weight of their savage power against those living with such simple assumptions. Like bloodbound, noble bloodbound appear to be normal humans, although without the anemic appearance or the dark circles that commonly identify their weaker cousins.
Creating a Noble Bloodbound
“Noble Bloodbound” is an acquired template that can be added to any living, non-bloodline humanoid (referred to hereafter as the base creature). A noble bloodbound uses all the base creature’s statistics and special abilities, except as noted below.
Challenge Rating Same as base creature +2
Type Same as the base creature
Armor Class The base creature's natural armor class increases by +1
Alignment Any evil
Senses Noble bloodbound gain the scent universal monster ability, but can only use it to detect those from the particular bloodline it hunts. Additionally, the range of their scent ability is doubled against this bloodline.
Attacks The noble bloodbound s gains a bite attack that deals 1d4 points of damage (1d6 points of damage for large creatures).
Special Attacks The noble bloodbound retains all of the base creature’s special attacks and gains those described below: