Creatures of the Night

Chinese Vampires (Xixiegui)

Creature for use with GURPS China and/or GURPS Horror
By Darrell E. Hayhurst III

The legends of the highlands of northern China are filled with different kinds of evil dead. The vampires below are the least powerful and most common form of Chinese vampire, called Xixiegui (pronounced: shee-shie-gey) in Mandarin.

When the Dead Wake

Chinese vampires are walking corpses with no soul. They retain memories attached to the body's lifetime, but not the emotions attached to them. Any corpse can waken and walk among the living, but most corpses have no reason to do so. If a corpse feels stifled or is improperly buried, it may wake and begin to walk. Periodic offerings from the family usually keep the body satisfied, but sometimes the body is too restless or passionate to remain still. Once a corpse wakes it becomes a creature of pure evil.

When the corpse first awakens it is stiff and decomposed. Its movements are clumsy (maximum skill or DX level of 8) and it must use all its strength in quick bursts to move at all. The effect is that newly awakened bodies can only hop along the ground at half their usual Move. The bodies are always pale and bluish, cold to the touch and without heartbeat. Walking corpses do breathe; wanting air is what makes many bodies decide to wake in the first place.

As the corpse becomes more active, it slowly becomes more flexible. Each day the corpse adds one to its maximum skill roll, until all skills return to normal. After 1d6 days the corpse regains enough flexibility to walk normally. If an older corpse, each day the vampire regenerates one year's worth of decomposition until it takes on the appearance of a newly dead body.

Bodies Without Souls

The vampire is not the person who died, but rather the person's body acting on its own. The body will retain all physical skills, but no mental skills. Xixiegui are primarily creatures of instinct, and that instinct is to feed. The corpse craves blood. Only human blood will satisfy a vampire, and the blood of a relative is the sweetest variety. Chinese vampires require the blood to survive, and lose one Fatigue point each day that they do not drink blood. Any lost fatigue points are recovered when the vampire drinks blood (see below).

Initially, the body will not be able to talk. It will make a constant, low moaning sound. As months and years pass the body's mind will grow stronger. Some mental skills will return and the corpse will be able to talk. Talking corpses will never befriend living creatures, but they will form alliances and Tongs with other talking dead.

All Chinese vampires have certain special powers. They all have superhuman strength (+ST 10 from living stats). Vampires can magically float from a prone position to a standing position at the beginning of their turn without taking a turn to stand up. They are totally immune to any attack that strikes them with metal. They will never be knocked down or moved by such an attack, and the metal weapon must roll to avoid breaking. Enchanted metal weapons work normally. Xixiegui have a DR of 3.

Most newly awakened bodies do not have eyesight. Instead, they can detect the breathing of the living. Any character, even if magically invisible, can be attacked normally if he is breathing. A sightless vampire is unable to attack a character holding his or her breath. After 1d6 days the creature's full eyesight is restored.

When Vampires Attack

Vampires may have fangs or tusks, but they do not inflict small puncture wounds. They bite with the full mouth and tear off large sections of flesh, then suck the blood from the wound. A vampire will only bite a victim that is unconscious or grabbed. The full bite does 2d6 damage, but is not impaling. After the bite the vampire drains 1d6 fatigue points from the victim each turn. When all the victim's fatigue is gone, further damage destroys HT. The victim dies at HT 0.

A victim's fatigue and HT damage cannot be recovered normally, only by magic or after the vampire is destroyed.

Xixiegui also have long talons. These are used to kill victims that are resisting too strongly to grab and bite. Talon damage is equal to the vampire's thrust damage and is impaling. Any human damaged by the talons will automatically become a vampire when they die. The victim loses one hit every day until he dies. When the victim dies, his body immediately begins to walk (and attack the living), and does not suffer the stiffness of most newly wakened corpses. A survivor of a talon attack can not heal normally, but can be healed by magic. Sticky rice or other herbs with poison-absorbing powers can be used to draw the vampire's evil out of the victim's body.

Destroying Chinese Vampires

A wooden stake through the heart will not necessarily destroy a Xixiegui. Wooden weapons bypass their immunity to metal but do no special damage. Vampires take damage normally in regards to stunning, etc. If knocked out or "killed," the corpse cannot move for one full day. Beheading a Xixiegui or completely destroying the body will kill it permanently. Proper burials and Taoist containment spells also can stop vampiric rampages. Vampires can not re-grow lost limbs, except for eyes, which always grow back one at a time after 1d6 days.

Fire is by far the most effective weapon for disposing of corpses. If fire touches a walking dead it takes 1d6 damage every turn until it dies. When a burning vampire dies it explodes like a fragment grenade, rolling a number of damage dice equal to its HT.

Chinese vampires have some unusual vulnerabilities. Like all vampires they take damage in direct sunlight (treat them as if they were on fire). Contact with indirect sunlight, sticky rice or wards of any kind does one hit every turn. Characters with very strong stomachs can attempt to suck the vampiric essence - considered a sort of poison - out of a Xixiegui! The character must grab the vampire, make a Will-5 roll establish mouth-to-mouth contact with the corpse. Sucking a vampire's poison does 1d6 damage to it per turn. The sucked-out poison can be stored, but all it is good for is making things into vampires. A character sucking poison from a vampire must never swallow it! All the above attacks bypass the vampire's DR.

Vampires would most commonly be found in the small villages of China's northern highlands, but they could spring up in any Chinese community around the world.

Typical Chinese vampire

ST 20
DX 11
IQ 8
HT 13

DR 3
Base Speed 6.0, Move 6, Hop 3
Dodge 6-, Parry (Karate) 10-
Bite (11-) 2d, Talons (16-) 2d-1 Imp

Skills: Jumping 14-, Karate 16-

Disadvantages: Ugly, Odious Personal Habit: Eats humans

Adventure Hooks

A party of adventurers stays the night in a small village being terrorized by a band of brigands. The natives claim the brigands have supernatural powers and are unkillable. If the party decides to help the unfortunate villagers they will soon find that the brigands are a marauding group of talking dead. The brigands call themselves the "Red Travelers," and they are very, very vengeful.

While driving through Chinatown the party is greeted with the surreal sight of a decomposing man in Mandarin garb bounding down the street across car roofs and occasionally tearing people apart. Afterward, no one will talk to the adventurers about what happened or even admit anything happened at all. Everyone the party talks to will discourage them or try to stop their inquiries. The trail leads to a dark secret the most powerful merchant family in Chinatown does not want revealed.

A Chinese member of the party finds out that his great-grandfather was buried standing. When his father found out he immediately exhumed the corpse to give it a respectful burial, but the body woke and is now killing the family out of revenge. The adventurers must protect the family until a solution can be found.

The party finds a deserted village. Sticky rice with blackened footprints in it is strewn across the ground. Shredded wards blow limply in the wind. Burnt funeral pyres have been built in the street. The Taoist minister's house and Town God's temple have been destroyed. That night a moaning sound wafts down with the wind out of the mountains, and soon after it come the dead.

A talking dead has been hired to assassinate the party. This prompts several important questions. How will the party survive? Who would use such a creature to kill the group? And finally, who could use such a creature to kill the group?

Article publication date: May 8, 1998

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