This article originally appeared in Pyramid #3
Hampire: The Masked Ace RaidWritten by Jeff Koke and Derek Pearcy
Art by Kyle Miller
I woke from the dream, Jungian symbolism pulling at my scarcely conscious mind. I struggled to make sense of the images still jumbled in my brain like so many Harper's Index numbers - the boy and his school pens, my lovely wife and her new fondness for stamp pads, our baby, sucking an ink dropper... so many clues.Deep within the cities of It's a Dark World After All®, lives a race of cartoon characters whose very existence is a threat to the livelihood of well-drawn characters everywhere. They are the dreaded Hampires. They walk the shadows of the endless night, stealthily hunting their prey with the diabolical intent to suck the ink from their forms, reducing them to colorless 1930s-style animations. In fact, if they suck too much ink from a victim, he could become a stick figure, ostracized by the other full-color characters... or perhaps even become a Hampire himself.
Shaking my head, the visions coalesced around me, and there I was, proud husband and father, surrounded by caring family members.
Things had been strange and strained lately, but here I was, with the people I care about most. I pulled my wife's hand close to my chest.
"Things have been strange, lately," I said, "but here I am, with the people I care about most."
"Oh, honey... things'll be just fine. You'll be well, soon." When she opened her mouth, thought, it struck me as being odd that she had teeth. I mean, she always had teeth, but these were big, just like a... you know, like those animals, those... things with the big teeth.
"Take him, dude," said the boy. The baby sucked her ink dropper.
Then she bit me.
The ink rolled down my neck and onto the floor. I put my finger in some and tasted it. It tasted like chocolate. Mmmm. Chocolate.
You are one of these evil Hampires, piglet of the damned, destined to feed your thirst for ink for all eternity, forever encompassed by a black (and white) world. Within this really, really dark world, though, one can find some measure of goodness, as all Hampires wish for one thing -- to retain some measure of their former color, their "hue-manity," if you will. Alas, they are destined never to dye.
BackgroundThe true origin of Hampires is shrouded in the mystery of the ages. But, there is one myth that most Hampires accept in one form or another.
The Childer of the Ink believe that the first Hampire was Fred, the sacrificial swine that Abel brought before God in humility. It was Fred who drew forth Caine's terrible wrath, causing him to smite his brother. Because of Fred's impetuosity, he was cursed to be a Hampire. All of his color was removed, and he was forced to walk in a black-and-white world for eternity, with a terrible hunger for the ink of other cartoon characters.
Fred wandered the Countryside for a thousand years, until he founded the first Sty. Of the many hogs in the Sty, he made a few more Hampires through a process known as the Hug. Thus was the Second Litter created.
Those of the Second Litter in turn created many other Hampires, or Freddites as they are sometimes known. Passed along with the ink of the elders was a great tradition -- the Masked Ace Raid.
The Masked Ace Raid
Hampires do not function solely on tusks and snouts. They must have fake plastic teeth and blood packs with which to drain the ink of the full-colored. As all are aware, the only places these items are created and kept are the Ace Warehouses which are very common throughout It's a Dark World After All®. It is even rumored that the original Library at Alexandria was in fact an Ace Warehouse before it was burned to the ground and its contents replaced with books. Nowadays, every City has at least one Ace Warehouse, and perhaps several.
Thus, at least once a year, every Hampire must participate in a Masked Ace Raid, stealing plastic fangs and blood packs to keep their clans well-stocked. Should a Hampire refuse to participate, he will not be given his needed supply and will be unable to suck ink by himself. Such a pig will lose ink every day, until all of his ink is gone and he falls into a terrible state known as Stupor (see below).
The Masked Ace Raid is an integral part of every Hampire's existence, and without it, the Freddites would cease to be.
New Rules and ShticksThe Hug
The Hug is the process by which Hampires create piglets, or new Hampires. The process is simple. The Hampire must first drain all the ink from another character. Each character has an Ink Pool equal to his Hit Points. It takes only a few seconds for all the ink to be drained. If the Hampire does nothing at this point, the victim will Fall Down (after which, he regains Ink at 1 point per minute, until he is back to normal). Otherwise, the Hampire can use an ink dropper to drop a bit of ink onto the victim, at which time he becomes a Hampire.
Hampires do not start out as pigs (unless they are already). The process takes several days to complete, during which time they develop porcine features -- snout, tusks, curly tail -- and lose any color that they might have had. Their acquantances must make a Smarts roll to figure out what is happening, and thus, really dumb characters will not know until it is too late.
When a Hampire is fully transformed, he develops an incredible thirst for Ink, and will lose one point of Ink every day. He must replenish this lost ink with the ink of other cartoon characters (or ink-bearing objects; see below). They can drink as much ink as they want, but victims who lose half of their total Ink Pool are Boggled, and if all of their ink is drained, they Fall Down.
If a Freddite loses all of his ink, he starts to fade away. This fading process takes several hours, and starts from the legs and works upward. If the Hampire doesn't find ink before his head disappears, he will fall into a state known as Stupor, during which he must act really dumb until he finds a source of ink. Think of all the great things you could do if you were invisible... now don't do them! You're dumb! Go hide in a dark corner.
Note that Hampires do not have to drink the ink of other characters. Certain Hampires have achieved a certain moral quietude and only drink ink from pens, inkwells, stamp pads and other inanimate objects. However, most Freddites feel the pull of the Hunt and cannot resist the ink of their four-color counterparts.
Hampires do not like the sun. If they go out in the daytime, they must wear very dark sunglasses, and they move very slowly -- as if they were in slow-motion. In fact, every other character gets three actions for every one action of a Hampire during the day.
I walked through the night, with a gun in one hand and a steak in the other. The moon shone cool and clear across the still lake; my heart was calm, for I am a hunter.
With little trepidation I stalked the dark creature who so recently plundered our village. My lips parted silently as I called into the night. "Hewwo," I spoke, the commanding timbre of my voice pouring through the surrounding forests, probing for the evil that hid within. "Hewwo, wabbit," I said.
A tree branch caught my hunter's hat; it fell to the ground behind me. I rubbed my head and cursed the lack of hair there. When I turned to retrieve my hat, there he was, surprisingly fast; with great agility he was upon me. He must have buried himself in the dank earth, away from my beckoning, as is the tendency amongst his kind.
His enormous buck teeth shone in the moonlight. I raised my gun, and I raised my steak. My heart was calm, for I am a hunter.
Injury and Falling Down
There are only a few things that can actually hurt a Hampire and make him Fall Down. Fire is one, but it must be from a torch wielded by a peasant with a pitchfork... or at least someone dressed as a peasant with a pitchfork!
A Hampire can also be made to Fall Down with a steak through the heart -- that's right, a steak. A T-bone works best, since it also incorporates a cross shape. Most Hampires will flee in terror if confronted by a hunter wielding a T-bone.
Finally, Hampires are very susceptible to the hooves of the Moopines, the dreaded werecows who are the dire enemies of all Freddites (see p. 49).
One of the most disturbing aspects of the curse of Hampiredom is the tendency of Freddites to lose their evil natures and twisted ways, falling into a state that can only be described as... nice!
The Hampires call this state Friendly, and every one of them is susceptible. At any time during the game, the Animator can call for a Smarts roll from one of the players. If the roll is failed, the character has forgotten that he's an evil menacing creature of the night, and will start being sickeningly nice to everyone he meets. This state lasts for 2d minutes, and during that time, the affected character will be courteous and kind to NPCs and to other Hampires.
It is uncertain what exactly provokes Friendly, though it usually follows a particularly nice gesture by someone toward the afflicted Hampire -- a gentle handshake, a compliment or a good deed might all be severe enough to provoke Friendly. In fact, when one Hampire falls into Friendly among a group of the dread creatures, it can cause a chain reaction as he starts being nice to all of his cohorts, and they in turn fall prey to the ravages of Friendly.
All Hampires can choose a selection of supernatural Shticks, which they call Recipes. To use these powers, they must keep each one on a 4x5 index card which lists the various components and incantations for the Shtick. To use a Recipe, the Hampire must make a Zip roll (to simulate finding the correct card). If the roll fails, the character has dropped his stack of index cards, and casts whichever one happens to land on top of the pile (Animator's choice). This can lead to funny situations when a Freddite wanted to cast Claws of the Wildebeest on himself, and instead strickens himself with a Veil of Ignorance by mistake. The following listing only scratches the surface of the Hampire Recipes available. The Animator should make up some of his own to complement these. Of course, many of the existing Toon Shticks work well in this setting, including Change Shape, Cosmic Shift, Hypnosis, Incredible Speed, Incredible Strength, Invisibility, Quick Change/Disguise and Teleport. If these normal Shticks are used, the Animator should come up with cool names for them, and require that they be used as Recipes (instead of regular Shticks).
Command the Moronic Mind (3 points)
With this Shtick, a Hampire can control the actions of any character with a Smarts of less than 6. The controller can make the victim do anything, as long as the action does not put him in direct danger of Falling Down. Mostly Hampires use this Recipe at parties to impress their friends. The victim will not remember anything that happened while he was under control.
Dread Glaze (4 points)
This Recipe allows a Hampire to immobilize his victims before draining their ink. The Hampire takes a pastry knife and spreads a thin sugary glaze over the intended victim. If the victim fails a Strength roll, he'll be helpless as the Freddite begins to suck his ink. The Hampire must, however, get close enough to the victim to use the glaze. The glaze wears off after 30 seconds.
Mud Meld (3 points)
Although Hampires can go out during the day, they prefer not to because of the obvious penalties (see Sunlight, above). Instead, Piglets of the Ink like to wallow in deep mud during the day, keeping themselves cool and well-hidden. A successful Shtick roll creates a convenient patch of mud nearby, which allows the Hampire to stay hidden all day. As soon as the Hampire leaves the mud, however, it disappears.
A Taste for Ink (3 points)
When this recipe is read, a Hampire can use it to gain knowledge about the state of other Freddites. The Recipe give the caster the subject's current Ink Pool, how long he has been a Hampire, his birthday, his weight and his favorite color. If cast on a normal character, it will tell the subject's Ink Pool, but will not give any of the other information.
Tusks of the Wildebeest (3 points)
When this Shtick is activated, thick, sharp tusks grow from the Freddite's snout. These tusks are very frightening, and can be used to attack other characters, doing 1d Disgusting Hampire Tusk damage. The tusks last as long as the Animator thinks they are funny, and tend to disappear when they are most needed.
Veil of Ignorance (5 points)
This Shtick is often used in conjunction with Command the Moronic Mind. When this Recipe is cast on a non-Hampire character, his Smarts is reduced by 1d. This effect lasts for 1d minutes. If cast on another Hampire (or on oneself), this power instantly sends the Freddite into Stupor (see above).
Not to be confused with the Hampire Clams -- the dreaded ink-sucking mollusks of the deep -- the seven Hampire Clans form the body and soul of Hampire Society. Combined, these clans make up the Sowmanilla, a loose organization that guides and plans the regular Masked Ace Raids that are essential to Hampire survival.
Besides the seven clans in the Sowmanilla, Hampires can also belong to another loose organization -- the Subplot. The Subplot (also known as the Black Ham) is a group of more-evil-than-usual Hampires, who oppose the Masked Ace Raid. The Black Ham believes that the true way to power is not through the traditional burlesque of fake fangs and blood packs, but through sarcasm and black comedy. They feel the proper application of dark humor can cause cartoon characters to willingly part with their ink, out of sheer depression (or annoyance, nobody is sure which). Members of the Sowmanilla despise Freddites who belong the Subplot, and vice versa. The antics of the Subplot often give subtle twists to Hampire adventures, and Animators are encouraged to use the organization in this manner.
The members of this clan are so devious and manaically evil that they can't even say their own clan name without breaking into diabolical laughter. They constantly shout threats and pick fights with the four-colored and Hampires alike. Nobody likes them much.
Quote: "You picked the wrong day to mess with a member of the Brujahahahahahaha, haha, haa haa, ahh..."
Members of the Hamgrel clan are farm pigs, who live in the country with the other livestock. They are the only Hampires who can freely associate with the Moopines (see p. 49). Hamgrels have little respect for city pork, and if they venture to the cities, they tend to stay in rural areas, like parks and the yards of large estates.
Quote: "You city pork might learn something about real life if you came out to the farm."
Nickname: Christmas Dinners.
Pigs we are, lest pigs we be-be-a be-be-a . . . turn into.
-- P. P.
Porkavians are stutterers one and all. Stricken with a terrible speech impediment, these dreaded Hampires take out their frustration on all other cartoon characters. It is said that, if only they could be understood behind their stutter, the Porkavians would be the most wise of all the Hampires.
Quote: Be-da-be-duh-be-da-be-duh-bu-th, tha, that's all folks!"
The Noseferatu carry the curse of Fred upon their hideous snouts. The terrible process of the Hug causes members of this cursed clan to have large, deformed noses. The snouts of the Noseferatu are oversised, with terrible grey tusks and hair in all the wrong places. The Noseferatu tend to stay hidden and take their needed ink from the lowest class of cartoon character -- thugs, criminals and cowboy sidekicks.
Quote: "I don't go poking my nose around where is doesn't belong, pretty snout."
The Boarador all think of themselves as artists. The truth is, though, is that they all think and talk so much about art, that they never actually do any. Boareadors often try to bury their piggish nature in discussions about impressionism, expressionism and any other isms that they can think of. However, no one has actually seen a Boareador paint, act, sing or perform any other work of art. But don't tell them that.
Quote: "I think Dali covered that concept best in his painting The Mutabilitie of Time. In fact, I once did a painting that reflected a similar ideology. Sure, it wasn't as striking as Dali's, but I feel that it had an inner depth that yata yata yata..."
Nickname: Pretentious Jerks.
The C'mere is one of the most organized clans in the Sowmanilla. Its members all share a similar type of malicious nature that is very wicked indeed. All members of this clan have the Hypnotism Shtick, and they use it to lure their prey into their evil clutches. The C'mere dress in the traditional Hampire garb -- black capes, top hats and red carnations in the lapel. Doomed is the naturally-inked character who is unlucky enough to fall under the spell of the C'mere.
Quote: "Psssst! Hey you. Yeah, you. C'mere."
The Howtrue are the most genteel and intellectual of the Hampire clans. The members of this clan tend to dress very nicely, in suits and evening gowns, and go to small formal gatherings where they sit around discussing philosophy and politics. Many of them have goatees, which they rub thoughtfully when engaging in their discussions.
Quote: "You also believe that Kierkegaard was the father of modern existentialism? How true. How true."
Nickname: Effete Snobs.
"Ah, Pork Lips!"
Hampires are not the only supernatural creatures who roam It's a Dark World After All®. They are joined by their mortal enemies, the dreaded Moopines. Wandering ponderously from town to town, these horrific werecows hate the Hampires and all that they stand for. They take any chance they can to Boggle Hampires and make them Fall Down. The Moopines live by the passionate phrase, "When will you graze?"
If a Hampire is foolish enough to stray outside the Big City into the Countryside, he risks being surrounded by a herd of Moopines (who call themselves the Darie). Merely being touched by one of the Darie is enough to Boggle a Hampire (all that steak!), and the hooves of a Moopine will make any Freddite Fall Down.
Only the members of the Hamgrel clan have any association with the Moopines, and it is a tenuous one. Even Hamgrels know better than to wander unescorted into the Moopine pastures. If a Hampire were to find himself at the mercy of a Moopine herd, he would at the very least be stripped of his lips. For the lips of a Freddite are considered a rare delicacy among the Darie, and they will go to unusual lengths to obtain them. This is why this saying can always be heard after a Hampire has been captured by a werecow: "Ah, pork lips."
No one knows much about the mysterious Beige, except that they are a group of magic-wielding cartoon characters who get their powers from the sun. They are all into outdoor activities and are busiest during the summer, when their powers are at their peak. One might find a Beige among a group of surfers, volleyball players or lifeguards. They all have marvelous tans, hence their name.
The Beige are enemies of both the Hampires (who are strongest during the nighttime) and the Moopines (who get their powers from the Moon). More than once has a Beige threatened a Darie with the ominous phrase, "I'm gonna tan your hide."
Why don't we give you any more information on the Moopines and the Beige? We want more of your money, later!
Unless you write to Pyramid magazine and ask us, beg us, force us to stop it, we will continue this series in future issues of this magazine. It's a dark, dark, dark, dark world.
Article publication date: October 1, 1993
Copyright © 1993 by Steve Jackson Games. All rights reserved. Pyramid subscribers are permitted to read this article online, or download it and print out a single hardcopy for personal use. Copying this text to any other online system or BBS, or making more than one hardcopy, is strictly prohibited. So please don't. And if you encounter copies of this article elsewhere on the web, please report it to firstname.lastname@example.org.