|Hit Dice:||8+3 (46 hit points)|
|No. of Attacks:||3|
|Size:||M (6’ tall)|
Nature takes great care to insure that there is always a balance of predators and prey. In the oceans, there is the ever-present shark, constantly seeking to satisfy its hunger. In the jungles, the great cats are always lurking in the shadows, ready to strike down the unwary. Even humankind cannot escape this inevitable fact, for nature has seen fit to create the vampyres, a deadly race of predators who move among humankind and strike down the careless.
Vladimir Ludzig lives within the walled city of Lekar. Here, his cunning and unmatched bloodlust has made him the master of that city’s vampyre population. In appearance he is very much like a normal human, although he looks as if he might have a touch of elvish blood somewhere in his past. His dark hair, seemingly bottomless eyes, and perfect physique make him one of the most physically attractive people any group of adventurers is ever likely to meet.
Ludzig is fond of wearing harsh clothing fashioned from supple black leather. He often adorns his outfits with chains made of silver or platinum and a sash of crimson worn as a belt. He never carries a weapon, needing none beyond his own teeth and claws.
As a native of Falkovnia, Ludzig speaks the common language of that domain. He has picked up fragments of the dialects spoken in Mordent, Darkon, and Lamordia, although his command of these languages is adequate only for the most basic of conversations. When he speaks, Ludzig always adopts a snobbish tone.
Combat: Ludzig’s bloodlust sets him apart from even the most horrible of his kin. When he enters combat, he does so with a zest and glee that is almost impossible to describe. He delights both in ripping enemies apart quickly and in leaving them to linger in painful agony for long periods of time.
In melee combat, Vladimir Ludzig strikes with his long, sharp fingernails. These terrible claws are unnaturally keen and hard, ripping through flesh as if they were razors. He is able to make two such attacks each round, inflicting 1-4 (1d4) points of damage with each successful hit. In addition, he is able to deliver a savage bite. His fangs, every bit as long and sharp as those of the most savage nosferatu, inflict 1-6 (1d6) points of damage with each successful attack.
Anyone bitten by Ludzig must deal with the foul chemicals in his saliva. These enter the bloodstream and quickly attack the brain of the victim. If a Saving Throw vs. Poison is not successful, the person bitten is charmed by the vampyre. The more damage inflicted by the vampyre’s bite, the more toxin is injected, and the harder it is for the body to resist. Thus, every 2 points of damage inflicted by the bite imposes a -1 penality on the victim’s saving throw. Once a victim is charmed, he or she will no longer resist Ludzig’s attacks, eliminating the need for the vampire to make additional attack rolls. If other vampyres are present, the victim will still resist their attacks until such time as he or she fails a saving throw for each attacker.
Habitat/Society: Unlike the majority of Ravenloft’s vampyre population, Vladimir Ludzig is not a native of the Demiplane of Dread. He was born and raised in an all-but-unknown world where the race of vampyres long ago brought down humankind. Here, Ludzig was a great warlord who, like any vampyre of importance, kept a large stock of human slaves to for himself and his followers.
Ludzig’s treatment of his captives was far from humane, but probably not much worse that was the norm for that world. If he was slightly more evil and cruel than his peers, the corruption of that world was such that only his unfortunate slaves noticed.
Then one night, as the crimson moon stood high above his palace, Ludzig’s human slaves revolted. He mercilessly crushed the uprising and captured its leaders. To his surprise, the architects of the failed coup proved to be outlanders. They were human, but not native of his world. He found them far more aggressive and dangerous than the cowed race of humans his kind kept as slaves.
Before he had them killed, Ludzig tortured them to learn all that he could about their past. He discovered that they were whole worlds where the existence of his race was undreamt of. Looking upon these as hidden gems, object for future conquest, he ordered his wisest followers to begin studying the ways in which access to such lands might be had. It was clear the captured outlanders had employed some manner of magical ship to reach his world, but no sign of their vessel was ever found.
After years of research, Ludzig’s scholars claimed to have created a means by which a magical gate could be opened to another world. They sent for their master and arranged for a demonstration of their new magic. Ludzig watched with glee as they drew mystical symbols on the floor, set magical candles alight, and chanted mysterious spells. When the sages completed their work, a shimmering portal appeared in the air.
Beyond the magical opening, Ludzig saw a great city that looked very much like his own, but populated by humans. As he watched its folk pass before his eyes, his mouth watered, and he thought of a whole new world of unsuspecting prey waiting for him and his kind to feast upon. Then, without warning the spell went disastrously wrong. The portal suddenly reached out like the jaws of a great gaping mouth and swallowed Ludzig and the sages whole. Ludzig found himself falling in seemingly endless clouds of fog. A surge of energy swept through his body and he lost consciousness. When he awoke, Ludzig found himself in the city of his vision. Two of his sages lay nearby, but they had not survived the journey. He quickly disposed of their bodies and set about learning as much as he could about the world he was now trapped in.
Within a year, he found that his initial conceptions about this world were wrong. Other vampyres did exist here, but they were far fewer than on his world and were forced to hide their activities for fear of retaliation from the humans, who vastly outnumbered them. Ludzig made contact with the vampyres in Lekar and, before long, was the head of that sinister band.
Resigned to the fact that he will never again see his homeland, Ludzig envisions a day when his kind will overwhelm the humans first in Lekar and then in all of Falkovnia. He is still coming to grips with the unusual nature of Ravenloft and dœsn’t fully understand that it is a demiplane and not a true world.
Ecology: Vampyres are an ancient race of predators that have fed upon humankind since before the dawn of recorded history. Ludzig takes great pride in his heritage and looks upon humanity as nothing but cattle upon which he can feed. He sees himself as the deliverer of his people, who will raise them back to their rightful position as masters of these human cattle. His followers believe as he do, making the band a pack of savage hunters with no regard for human life or the suffering they cause.
Ludzig’s plans are grand indeed, but they may not be as far-fetched as they sound. In the decade or so since he came to Falkovnia, the vampyre population of Lekar has trebled. While this has resulted in an increase in the number of killings that his folk must make to support themselves, careful management of “the herd” has kept it from becoming an overwhelming concern of the city officials and the domain’s master, Drakov.
One way in which Ludzig has kept the body count low is through the use of horrific feeding houses. Here, captured humans are kept alive so that the vampyres may feed upon them day after day. To be certain, this brutal existence soon drives the captives utterly mad, but that means little to the vampyres. These disgusting places are so vile and repulsive that anyone entering one for the first time must make a horror check immediately.
◆ 1917 ◆