Wednesday, October 27, 2021


Today on the podcast we talk about Mario Bava's Black Sabbath. But next time we plan to discuss the classic F.W. Murnau film Nosferatu. Rewatching the silent take on Dracula inspired me to make an entry for Count Orlok using the Strange Tales of Songling system. 

This entry is based on the 1922 movie Nosferatu. I limited myself as much as possible to mechanics based only on the events and interstitials of that film. Occasionally I give myself room to extrapolate, and in one instance I throw in a dash of the 1992 Dracula (because it seemed to be building on material in Nosferatu). This is meant for the Strange Tales of Songling rules system. You can bring Count Orlok into a regular Strange Tales campaign (for example perhaps he flees to China as he is pursued by vampire hunters) or you can bring the characters from your Strange Tales campaign to the Carpathian Mountains to contend with him. 

Rumored to be the offspring of Belial, this demonic vampire dwells in a castle in the Carpathian Mountains where he reigns over and feeds upon the terrified peasantry. Count Orlok appears like a man, but with ghoulish eyes, a gaunt face, and misshapen bald head. His hands end in preternaturally long fingers that curl like gnarled tree branches and his two front teeth are long and sharp like a bats. At night he feeds on blood, by day he must sleep in a coffin filled with the plague-infected earth of his burial site. He can take the form of a werewolf at will, and he is impervious to nearly all forms of attack. The only known way to kill him is if he is lured into sunlight by an innocent woman willing to sacrifice her own blood. Wherever he travels, plague follows. Orlok desires to leave the Carpathian Mountains and spread his evil in other places. 

Defenses: Hardiness 8, Evade 7, Wits 8
Key Skills: Bite: 3d10 (1d10 Damage plus drain), Claws: 3d10 (3d10 Open Damage), Speed: 3d10, Muscle: 5d10, Detect: 5d10, Athletics: 4d10, Ride: 2d10, Command: 4d10, Persade: 2d10, Survival: 3d10, History: 4d10

Max Wounds: 9


Spread Disease: Count Orlok's coffin is filled with plaque rats who spread the plaque through their bites and their flees. Roll 2d10 against the Hardiness of anyone exposed. On a Success the person suffers fever, body aches, and breaks out in large puss-filled buboes. Once this happens roll 3d10 against Hardiness. On a Success, they begin losing 1 Hardiness a day until they die from infected lungs or blood infection. One Medicine Skill roll TN 10 may be made to save the person. The roll may only be made once and whatever Hardiness they lost does not return. 

For the purposes of managing plague outbreaks, assume any place that experiences an outbreak loses 50% of its population. 

Super Strength: All of Count Orlok's melee attacks do open damage. He can also lift enormously heavy objects with ease. 

Invisibility: When he wishes, Count Orlok can become invisible to viewers. Roll Persuade against Wits. On a Success that person cannot see him. 

Drain: On a Successful bite, Count Orlok can drain the blood of his foes. Roll 1d10 Damage. On a Success he drains 2 Hardiness. 

Feed: Count Orlok must feed on human blood daily. Every day he goes without draining 4 Hardiness his Wits drop by 1. If his Wits drop to 2, they remain there and he enters a frenzied bloodlust state until his hunger is satisfied (once this is done his wits return to their full amount).

Servant: Count Orlok can make one individual that he feeds upon at a time, his loyal servant. He simply rolls Command against Wits at the time of feeding. If he succeeds this person views Count Orlok as his master until death. He can communicate his will to his servant over great distances. His Servant also has an empathic link with Count Orlok, knowing when the Count is safe, wounded, or dead. 

Immunities: Count Orlok only takes damage from blessed weapons or sacred relics. Even such attacks can only temporarily destroy his body. If reduced to 0 wounds by blessed weapons or sacred relics, his body crumples into a pile of live rats that scurry away and seek plague infested earth to reform his body over the course of a month. The only true way to kill Orlok is if he is exposed to sunlight after having drunk the blood of an innocent maiden (the blood must still be in his body and the sunlight does 3d10 Open Damage every round). 

Werewolf Form: Count Orlok can take the form of a large matted and striped wolf. In this form he gains a wolf bite attack that does 5d10 Open Damage. If his werewolf form is destroyed, his body turns into rats and reforms at the site of his coffin. 

Defenses: Hardiness 6, Evade 5, Wits 8
Key Skills: Bite: 4d10 (5d10 Open Damage), Speed: 5d10, Muscle: 5d10, Detect: 6d10

Max Wounds: 6

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