Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Manananggal Vampire Bloodline, Part 1

The manananggals are creatures of the night. Through ancient rituals and bargains with otherworldly entities, they are able to attain immortality with the price of eternal hunger for the fluids of the living. With their nocturnal feeding habits, familial leanings, and batlike transfiguration, it is no wonder that manananggals are often associated as a type of vampire.

There are subtle differences between the two nocturnal creatures. The manananggal is more properly a demon (and more specifically an asuang) than an undead, they feed not only on blood but on other soft, internal parts of their prey as well, and they are not as vulnerable to sunlight as their more baroque counterparts (although it still gives them discomfort). Besides these differences, they are, by and large, the vampiric creatures that plague Kalupaan.

This fan article guides you through the steps of creating a manananggal, a subclass of the vampire found in Wizard of the Coast's Heroes of Shadow. You will need that book to be able to use the content here - the subclass essentially swaps out certain vampire class features for their manananggal counterparts. It otherwise functions as a normal vampire.

For more information on the manananggal as a monster as well as the mythos of this creature, check out our own Asuang: Shapechanging Horrors.

Artwork by Corpse Corpuz


Level 1: Demonbound Soul
(This class feature replaces Child of the Night)

Through a secret ritual passed down to your family for generations, you bind your soul with that of a tiktik, a tiny demon of elemental air. The process makes you immortal and grants you supernatural resistances, but makes you hunger for the entrails of the living.

Benefit: You gain the following benefits.

  • You are a demonic creature, and you can be affected by powers that affect only demons. Your origin changes to elemental.
  • You don't age and no longer need to sleep. However, you still need to enter a state of inactivity for 4 hours to gain the benefit of an extended rest. During this time, you are fully aware of your surroundings, but cannot engage in any activity other than the preparation of your tanggal ointment (see below).
  • You gain resist 5 variable. Once per encounter, when you take acid, cold, fire, thunder, or lightning damage, you can gain resist 5 to the triggering damage type as a free action. This resistance lasts until the end of the encounter, or until you use this ability again.
Level 1: Tanggal Ointment
(This class feature replaces Swarm of Shadows)

While you, like other vampires, have fangs that allow you to drink the blood of your prey, your preferred method of feeding is through the disjoining of your upper body from their waist down. With the help of a special unguent called the tanggal ointment, the upper half grows wings, your tongue elongates and turns into a proboscis, and you take flight, leaving your lower extremeties behind. Should your upper half be destroyed, your lower half regenerates a new one and you remain safe - although the process is taxing.

Benefit: You can prepare one vial of tanggal ointment during an extended rest. This item is a foul-smelling cream made from chiken dung, coconut oil, and other secret ingredients. When applied to your body during a short rest, you gain the Disjoin power, which you can use at any time before your next extended rest. 

Level 6: Unsever
(This class feature replaces Form of the Bat)

As you've learned to detach yourself from your body, so have you learned to reattach. Even when not under the effects of the tanggal ointment, you've learned to use this ability in a limited fashion to rise from grievous injuries.

Benefit: You gain the unsever power.

Level 9:Improved Tanggal Ointment
(This class feature replaces Domineering Gaze)

The ability to disjoin is both pain and pleasure, but really, it's more of the latter. Until now you've only really felt like you can transform once per day, but now you've become more powerful since the day you performed the soul binding ritual.

Benefit: You now prepare two vials of tanggal ointment during an extended rest. If you apply the ointment after you've used the disjoin power at least once per day, you gain an additional use of it.

Level 10: Cloud of Black Wings
(This class feature replaces Gaseous Form)

Within you resides the tiktik, a tiny demon that grants you your vampiric powers. You've learned to draw on its power to assume the form of a hundred such creatures. 

Benefit: You gain the cloud of black wings power.

  1. I've only just received Heroes of Shadow, so naturally none of this is playtested yet.
  2. I want to get of the night crawler class feature, but so far I can't think of anything to replace it with, yet. Maybe something related to kulam (witchcraft)?
  3. Similarly, I had to put disjoin in at 1st level, because that's the iconic manananggal trait. However, I feel bad about removing the swarm of shadows power, because it could be seen as a short-term version of her cloud of black wings.
  4. Making up the powers in InDesign, then saving them and cleaning them up as images is a lot of work. I think I'll go back to for making those power boxes and statblocks for paragon and epic.
  5. As always, comments and suggestions are always welcome!