Roleplayer
Roleplayer #26, October 1991

The Stalkers

The ice age stalker is a vampire, with some differences. It must drink blood, exactly like a normal vampire, or it will weaken and die. It has three forms: human, mist and saber-toothed tiger. It may move freely between the forms.

The original stalker is very powerful. Its victims may rise as stalkers, but their abilities will be less; only after hundreds of years would a new stalker gain the powers of an original one. Of course, there may be other old stalkers hidden around the world!

Advantages: Stalkers do not age. Their human form gains no extra ST, HT or DX, but they have the ability to become a sabertooth tiger, as described below. They gain Night Vision, Immunity to Disease, and Immunity to Poison. Magic affects them normally, except that no spell can actually kill a stalker; the best that a spell can do is reduce a Stalker to HT 0 dust which will re-form in a few days, as described below. No weapon (even ray guns, etc.) will affect them at all . . . with the exception of obsidian.

Magic Powers: Stalkers have the Shapeshifting spell (to sabertooth form only) and the Body of Air form (but sunlight does not kill their mist form). Otherwise, these spells work just as they do for a normal vampire. The Steal Health ability of a Stalker works exactly as for a normal vampire. Stalkers do not have Mammal Control or Charm abilities.

Weaknesses: Stalkers have fewer weaknesses than ordinary vampires. They lose 1 HT every day at noon, but do not have to have a coffin full of their native earth. They will crumble to dust if their HT is reduced to 0, but this dust will re-form into the fully healthy Stalker in 1d days, exactly at midnight!

Stalkers are immune to injury from any physical attack except obsidian. They suffer no ill effects from sunlight, holy items, running water, garlic and other vampire weaknesses. New stalkers are not under the psychic control of their creator . . . though they will be weaker, and may obey an old stalker out of fear!

Stalkers, like normal vampires, lose 1 HT per turn in a no-mana area, crumbling to dust when their HT reaches 0. But if that dust is ever taken to an area with mana, the Stalker will live again.

One significant weakness, which led to the disappearance of the stalkers: they cannot resist a formal challenge to battle, and will hear such a challenge if it is spoken aloud within a mile of their location. The challenge must seem fair, though! A Stalker would not appear to face a challenger who was surrounded by an army of obsidian-wielding guards – but it would visit that person later . . .

Stalkers tend to be overcome by their animal nature. A Will roll is required whenever a stalker wants to avoid making a bloody feast of the humans it sees . . . an evil stalker won't try to resist temptation, and may slay many times a night. Most old stalkers have very little humanity left.

New Stalkers: A stalker's victims will become new stalkers if the original stalker wills it; they usually do. Each victim will rise the night after his death unless an obsidian blade is driven into the heart of the body. If the victim has not yet risen, the blade need stay only through the first night. But if the victim has already risen as a stalker, he can only be put down again by an obsidian blade through the heart. . . and the blade must stay there . . . even a million years is not enough to end the curse. Dr. Notting raised the original vampire by moving the protective blade from the fossilized dust of its body!

Destroying a Stalker: A stalker can only be harmed by obsidian, and can only be "killed" by an obsidian blade in the heart. But this is not true death; if the blade is ever removed, the remains of the stalker will re-animate. An old stalker will rise immediately; a new stalker would rise the following midnight. In either case, the stalker rises with all wounds healed.

True death can only come to a stalker if it is "killed" with obsidian and then exorcised. There are two forms of this exorcism. One destroys the stalker utterly. The other is usable only on a very new stalker – one which has been under the curse for less than a week. This will remove the vampire taint and restore the victim to life! Both exorcisms are known to the Anioto shaman and his brotherhood, but probably to almost no one else.

Old stalker

Tiger Form: An old stalker has the same physical stats as an adult Smilodon, but may have a much higher IQ.

ST:26-32Move/Dodge:8/6Size:2
DX:12PD/DR:1/1Wt:400-600 lbs.
IQ:4-9Damage:2d+1 impOrigin:Ice
HT:14/20-24Reach:CHabitats:any

Human Form: The old stalker encountered in Liberia was once a Neanderthal man (Dr. Notting's theories about a separate race aren't entirely correct). Its stats in human form would be ST 12, DX 11, HT 13, IQ 8. However, it is not likely to use this form.

New Stalker

Tiger Form: A new stalker's tiger form will be less powerful than that of an old one. Gradually, the tiger form will become more dangerous, but this takes decades.

ST:14-18Move/Dodge:8/6Size:2
DX:10PD/DR:1/1Wt:300-350 lbs.
IQ:4-9Damage:2d-1 impOrigin:Ice
HT:13/16-20Reach:CHabitats:any

Human Form: A new stalker in human form will have the same stats that it did while alive. It may spend a lot of time in human form, especially before it realizes that it is now an undead monster.

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