This is the penultimate preview of the Vampire Bestiary before release (almost assuredly sometime in March). In the previous preview we took a look at some of the classic vampires in the book (I should point out that elements of those entries in the book have since changed (going to show how my deranged mind works). This time I thought it might be fun to showcase some non-vampires in the book. So lets take a look at a few cannibals.
Okay, why cannibals, its a book about vampires, can’t you do anything right Krusty!? One of the ideas that seperates this bestiary from typical monster books is that its sort of homogenised in that it seemingly mixes disparate elements but blends or links them together to form a cohesive entity. If thats too cryptic an answer then the short answer is that each entry is linked to another entry with ultimately all links leading back to the core element of the book, vampires.
Secondly, although I am playing down the four adventure portions of this book (which are pretty brief; about 2 pages each) they do link together to form an adventure path of sorts. Thus again, tying all the elements of the book together. So you could start questing for a fabled artifact, braving cannibal infested jungles at the Mountain of the Cannibal God…only to have the artifact snatched away by assassins. Giving chase through a gauntlet of traps and monsters the heroes arrive at a town under the thrall of a deadly sect. But can they survive the Night of the Thuggee and trace this murderous evil back to its source. Only to find that the artifact was simply a wedding gift for an unholy union between Castle Dracula with the ‘devil bride of Dracula’ none other than the goddess Kali (or rather her Aspect Bhowanee), the marriage of misfortune to be performed at the Temple of Death.
As noted previously, all the pieces can be used seperately, but I had fun putting together a bit of a mini-adventure. An expansion of my old ‘Adventure Ideas’ section in the Epic Bestiary.
But anyway, back to cannibals. How do we get from vampire to cannibal. Well there are several links.
- I knew I wanted Kali in the book, partly because she is a blood-drinking goddess, but also because she created the Dakini, dancing vampire witches (who themselves will feature in a later volume). Kali naturally linked to the Thuggee Cult. But also (for those who have seen the classic Golden Voyage of Sinbad movie), Kali is worshipped by primitive cannibals.
- Many of the exotic vampires in the book (Jenglot, Chon-Chon, Impundulu among numerous others) are always mentioned in mythology in tandem with witchdoctors and shamen. Acting as pets, servants, spies, guardians and so forth. So I liked the idea of the idea using these two together.
- Most vampires are relatively powerful creatures, but I wanted the book to run the full spectrum of levels. There was no real dominant type of vampire below the classic vampire (although as you will see in later volumes plenty above the classic vampire in power like the Nosferatu, Varcolac and Strigoi to name but a few). Certainly not enough to build a decent sized entry around. So the cannibals and cultist entries perfectly filled the gap, since both have associations with various vampires.
- When I think of cannibals, I think of King Kong. So it would have been remiss of me not to have a type of Kong in the book, to give the cannibals another god to worship in case Kali wasn’t to your taste. So I went searching for a type of vampire Kong and found two. One of which being the Wendigo, the other I’ll have here in the final preview of the Vampire Bestiary in a week or so.
So about this preview. Basically just wanted to show some fantastic Peter Szmer interior art, the newer layout, the fact that even the entry for the cannibal has its own bag of surprises in that its not just cannibals. I’d estimate these are 99% complete pages. I may tweak a few more things like the tactics block for the Cannibal Impaler and I am still getting a little ‘noise’ on the Cannibal Witchdoctor illustration even after I had tidied it up (looks perfect in photoshop, but I’m getting some background noise when I place the jpeg file in the document and convert to pdf. As before, you can click on the page for a bigger version.
Feel free to let me know what you think, where I’m going wrong or what I’m doing right and I’ll be sure to take any feedback on board.