Creatures of the Night

This article originally appeared in Pyramid #5

Creatures of the Night

by Scott Paul Maykrantz


ST: n/a Move/Dodge: n/a Size: <1
DX: n/a PD/DR: 5/8 Weight: by weapon
IQ: 1d+7 Damage: by weapon Habitat: any
HT: 1d Reach: by weapon Other Names: Hellblades

A tyne is a sharp instrument that is intelligent and aware. Tynes come in many forms: needles, arrows, knives, bayonets, scythes, etc. The instrument must be able to do impaling damage to be a tyne. Many can do cutting damage, as well. Tynes do not have to be made of metal.

Each tyne will try to find an owner to take care of it. In return for safekeeping and sustenance, the tyne offers the owner special abilities (see below). Tynes care only for themselves; they manipulate humans to serve their needs.

Needs and Powers

Tynes are vampiric -- they need blood to survive, one ounce per week. The blood must come from an injury caused by the owner stabbing a living creature with the tyne. The blood does not have to come from a human. The tyne will lose 1 point of IQ per week without this amount. This loss is regained instantly when the tyne drinks again. If it reaches IQ 0, it dies; the tyne becomes a normal, nonsentient blade.

The tyne can make the owner more focused and sharp-minded. When he touches the tyne, he cannot be stunned, his Will increases by 4, and any spell or drug that causes confusion or distraction only works on a critical success. The tyne can bestow this effect only once a month. It lasts for a number of minutes equal to twice the owner's HT.

The effect can be reversed. If the tyne wants to leave its owner, it can bestow the Absent-Mindedness disadvantage for HTx2 minutes. During this time, the tyne may be discarded and forgotten, allowing it to be discovered by a new owner.

Visions of the Dream-Form

Anyone who carries a tyne for 12 consecutive hours becomes its owner. Following this period, the person will have a dream the next time he sleeps. The dream will seem very real. In it, the dreamer meets a person of some kind. This is the tyne's dream-form. The dream-form can have any appearance and shape the Game Master desires, from that of a nondescript little girl to a huge, misshapen freak. The appearance is consistent in later dreams (if it is an old man in the first dream, it always appears as an old man), but not identical (the old man could have different clothes in each dream). The dream-form will always be carrying a nonsentient replica of the tyne. The dream appearances are irregular; it will invade only one or two dreams a month.

In the dream-form, the tyne communicates with its owner. To generate a bond between them, the blade can inform the owner of a future event. When the owner wakes and the event occurs as described, the bond deepens -- the owner should be impressed enough to keep and care for the tyne.

The predicted event will occur within a week of the dream-vision. The owner can try to stop it, or simply watch it happen. The level of detail in the description of the event is up to the Game Master. Initial visions should be specific; once the owner is dedicated to the tyne, however, they can become more vague. The tyne does not have to foretell the future in every dream appearance; it could appear and simply talk to or watch the owner in the dream.

If a future event that a tyne warns of is a negative one, the dream-form will also suggest a solution that involves using the tyne. If the owner uses the tyne, he receives a +10 on any applicable skill roll to prevent the event. For example, a scalpel tyne could tell the owner about a tumor in his mother that is about to become malignant. If the owner uses the tyne to perform the surgery, his Surgery roll is at +10. Or a switchblade tyne could warn its street thug owner of an impending double cross from a fellow criminal; if the thug used the switchblade to take out the double-crosser first, the attacks would be at +10. (Of course, the tyne could be lying, just to get a taste of much-needed blood . . . )

Creating a Tyne

Tynes are created when an innocent person is impaled and left to die slowly. If the impaling instrument lies in blood as the victim writhes in agony, the instrument may come alive. If the victim was killed in a ritualistic manner under the light of a full moon, the tyne's birth is guaranteed.

Tyne Adventure Seed

Field Rites. The player characters come upon a farming community which uses scythes to cut their crops. This may seem strange, but it's nothing compared to the field rite: sometime in the months before the harvest, the head of each household takes a relative out to the field to be murdered with the family scythe. The farmers are convinced that these ritual killings improve the harvest.

When the strangers arrive, they can investigate the situation. There is no evidence that the field rites help the harvest. But their is evidence that the farmers are acting under the influence of tynes. Each "family scythe" is a tyne. The first one told its owner how to make more, killing innocent people in the light of the moon. Now the whole community is in thralldom to these intelligent blades. The head of each household makes sure their tynes are well-fed on animal blood during the other seasons. They also use their precognitive dreams to solve minor community problems (like the intrusion of meddling outsiders).

Dr. Chilton Kovach

ST: 7 [-20] IQ: 15 [60] Speed: 4.75
DX: 7 [-20] HT: 12 [20] Move: 4


Charisma +3 [15]
Night Vision [10]
Strong Will +5 [20]


Fanaticism (to pursue his studies) [-15]
Minor Delusion (the occult and science are equally significant) [-5]
Major Delusion (the dead love me) [-10]
Odious Personal Habit: eats ferociously [-10]
Odious Personal Habit: necrophile [-15]
Paranoid [-10]


Asocial temperament [-1]


Alchemy-13 [2]; Architecture (cemeteries and mausoleums)-15 [2]; Area Knowledge (France, Belgium, Austria-Hungary, Germany)-15 [1]; Botany-12 [1/2]; Chemistry-18 [10]; Diagnosis-14 [2]; Engineering-12 [1/2]; Forensics-13 [1]; Geology-13 [1]; History-14 [2]; Occultism (funerals & burial rites, zombies, re-animation)-15 [2]; Physician-14 [2]; Physiology-16 [12]; Poisons-12 [1/2]; Professional Skill: Exhumation-18 [8]; Research-16 [4]; Scrounging-14 [1/2]; Stealth-11 [24]; Surgery-14 [4]; Veterinary-12 [1/2]; Writing-13 [1/2].

All TL skills are at the campaign TL. Chilton Kovach uses some scientific skills (Genetics, Metallurgy, etc.) by default.


English-15 [0]; French-13 [1/2]; German-15 [2]; Hungarian-15 [2]

Chilton Kovach was the ultimate grave robber, a self-taught and driven scientist who explored the secrets of death at the expense of his reputation and sanity. He was an expert at examining graveyards, exhuming graves, dissecting corpses, and studying the decay of human and animal bodies. By night, he would secretly violate coffins and mausoleums, transporting the contents to a hidden laboratory before the sun rose. During daylight hours, he pored over his prizes, using his own scientific methods to draw the secrets of death from them.

He was born on January 1, 1800, and died at the stroke of midnight on the last day of 1899. His views on exhumation and corpses ranged from legitimate scientific facts to demented, pseudo-scientific ramblings. He believed many 19th-century legends about death and burial and passionately refuted others, seemingly at random. In his own words, he thought medical science and witchcraft were "entwined as spiteful lovers, both dependent and threatened by one another."

His best-known theory, that corpses could be revived with the right combination of chemical injections and electric charges, was much discussed by Europe's aristocracy. It is considered by some to be the inspiration for Mary Shelley's famous novel Frankenstein. Kovach corresponded -- and is believed to have worked with -- David Euchor, who is known as the first necroid (see Creatures of the Night, p. 84). Certainly Dr. Kovach understands as much about the creation of necroids as any man alive (or undead). He may even possess the lost "Euchorian Notes," or know where they are.

People who meet Chilton Kovach will be both repelled and attracted to him. He is very intelligent, often humorous, and always focused on his current situation. He will freely describe the majesty and necessity of understanding all aspects of his work. He is fascinated by undeath.

He also has a number of strange mannerisms. He eats quickly, like an animal, and picks his teeth for hours after. He is paranoid, obsessive, and altogether too happy when someone dies.

The Kovach Journals

Notable occultists agree that there are at least 16 Chilton Kovach journals. All of the volumes remain hidden from the public eye to this day. They serve as an intimate examination of their author and a priceless resource for grave robbers. Even a single volume would be the find of a lifetime for any serious occult scholar.

Each volume is dedicated to a segment of his life; he began new journals after such major events as escaping from prison or pursuing a new avenue in his studies. Although most of the journals consist of essays on exhumation and corpses, they also contain wild rants about social and political subjects.

Thirty years after his death, the occult community was rife with rumors of the discovery of a new Kovach journal. Experts insist it is authentic, although the book chronicles his activities in the first decade of the 20th century -- ten years after his death. The journal's first page begins:

Success! My work has reached the ultimate goal. Even after death, I am alive.

Chilton Kovach in the Campaign

Chilton Kovach can take the roles of deranged but brilliant scientist, delusional madman, undead wanderer, or misunderstood old man. He can be placed in a leadership role (perhaps surrounded by a dozen technicians and bodyguards), or he could be a loner. He might also work with a few other scientists -- he could serve a greater power who has recruited several weird geniuses and funds their studies.

The GM must decide how evil Kovach is before introducing him into the campaign. His entire background could be a hoax or rumor. And, of course, Kovachs may be undead himself -- a necroid, or some other sort of revenant. It is also possible that his studies were successful, and that he is genuinely alive now -- either because he never really died, or becuase he was returned to full life in some way.

Kovach might actually be a very kind but eccentric man who needs the player characters' help to clear his name. At the opposite extreme, he might be a murderer with megalomaniacal goals. He might use torture for research, experiment on himself, and manipulate others for his own ends.

Either way, Chilton Kovach should be enigmatic. Let each person decide who and what Kovach is. Let them use Kovach journals (some real, some fake) to determine how they should deal with this man.

Article publication date: February 1, 1994

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