Just in time for the Halloween season comes the Lord of Vampires, Kanchelsis! He is a dual-natured deity, both a sophisticated, high-society bon vivant and a wild creature of brutal hunts and violence. This duality is the same as that held by vampires within mortal, living society.
Kanchelsis (PDF Version)
(Lord of Vampires, the Eternal Elder Vampire, the Rake, the Beast)
Intermediate Power of the Abyss, CE
Portfolio: Blood, debauch, magic, vampirism
Domain Name: 487th Layer/Lair of the Beast & Mansion of the Rake
Allies: Eshebala, Keptolo, Lolth, Loviatar, Shar
Foes: Corellon Larethian, Daragor, Demogorgon, Hanali Celanil, Ilxendren, Kiaransalee, Lathander, Lliira, Malar, Pelor, Pholtus, Sharess, the Seldarine
Symbol: Bat with glowing red eyes
Wor. Align.: LE, NE, CE
The duality of Kanchelsis (kan-CHELL-sis) well reflects the role his undead followers play within mortal society. He is both a high-society sophisticate, fitting in well with the upper echelons of a large community, and a voracious predator who feasts on the blood of that same community. The Lord of Vampires relishes the pleasures of a life he does not have, while rapaciously taking life and freedom from those who have it.
How Kanchelsis came to exist is a deep secret, so dark that those powers who know the truth refuse to speak of the matter. All that is known is that a great, divine ritual of creation powered by blood went horribly wrong, spawning a horrible ravening god-beast. Theories abound regarding those responsible, but many sages point to the half-elven aspect the Lord of Vampires frequently takes, as well as his favored elven and half-elven companions, as evidence that the Seldarine were somehow involved, along with a human creator-god. However, beyond this lies only speculation. Some sages hold that an ill-advised attempt to create a new race using the mingled blood of human and elven powers resulted in an unexpected and terrible result, while others say a human power stole leftover blood spilled by Corellon Larethian in his battle with Gruumsh One-Eye. Still others claim an evil power secretly interfered in the ritual, while another theory holds that Lolth, before her fall, tricked a human creator-deity into creating Kanchelsis. Whatever the case, the magic infused in the blood took on physical form as an unliving beast and fled to the lower planes, leaving a trail of death in its wake.
Since his creation, the Lord of Vampires has led a dual existence as the Rake, a cultured corrupter and lover of high society’s vices, and the basal Beast who enjoys brutal slaughter and the fear it instills. The Rake is a lover of finery and the accoutrements of high station, while indulging in all of the unsavory entertainments civilization has to offer. In this form, Kanchelsis enjoys seducing young men and women of the noble and monied classes, leading them further and further from what their societies deem acceptable. He portrays himself as a bon vivant, but is in fact a master debauch, and one who enjoys blood as others enjoy wine. His greatest pleasure is leading his marks to their doom, savoring the richness of their young blood, and making them his everlasting slaves. Whereas the Rake is his dominant persona when he feels well with his ways and is infused with sadist triumphalism and cold hates, the Beast comes to the fore when he is filled with hot rage and driven to direct, violent action. This wild man-thing is truly what it is named; the Beast rends flesh with its bare hands, tears out throats, and gulps blood from his victims as fast as it can. The Lord of Vampires has no strategy or long-term goals when the Beast is dominant, it is simply a ravening creature seeking to slake its insatiable thirst for blood.
This duality in Kanchelsis has raised an interesting but not widely held theory among some sages in Sigil. These sages have noted that some wights worship the Lord of Vampires in his Beastly form, and that some worlds know the power in his entirety by the completely different name Mastraacht, and suppose that there were once two powers known by these different names, one embodying a vampiric elvish form of the Rake, and another embodying a human wight-like form of the Beast, who battled over their similar portfolios, and ended up each supping on the other’s tainted blood. This created a bond of blood and death between the two, merging them into one. Most other sages dismiss this as a crackpot theory, citing the lack of any evidence of two separate powers, and the historical duality throughout the known history of Kanchelsis and his alias Mastraacht. Still, the sages supporting this theory point out that there is no concrete evidence they are wrong.
The Lord of Vampires opposes few powers and keeps even fewer allies. The reverse is not the case, however, as many powers see him as an abomination or an obstacle. For the most part, Kanchelsis would prefer to be left alone to enjoy his pleasures without interference, but the very nature of the activities he enjoys is what causes many other deities to oppose him. In particular, his sadistic desires cause him to run afoul of those pleasure-seeking powers who draw the line at inflicting harm or selfish pleasures at the expense of others. By contrast, those deities who inflict pain for their own pleasure see him as a kindred spirit of sorts. Such deities enjoy seeing what inventive experiences he can craft, but still keep a distance between themselves and the Lord of Vampires, lest he turn on them and seek their divine blood. Some tales connect Kanchelsis to the Vixen Queen Eshebala in a fitful, tempestuous relationship marked with wild orgies of sadistic violence separated by periods of near-hatred over subtle differences in their respective desires. Speculation abounds that the two powers are connected by more than shared interests; both deities seem to share a secret connection to the Seldarine, which may in fact tie them together for eternity, perhaps as two dark mirrors of the male and female aspects of elven nature corrupted by evil magic. Whatever the connection, the pair are known share each other’s company on many occasions.
Kanchelsis is a frequent visitor to the Prime Material Plane, especially as the Rake. He seeks to acquire all the finery wealth can buy, from silks and furs to rare, exquisite wines and gems, as well as opiates and alkaloids with which to corrupt and enslave those he wishes to debase. His tastes bring him to the seedy recesses of civilization, from human cities in the world above to great drow caverns in the world below, where he can engage in voyeuristic and sadistic depravities. The Lord of Vampires is particularly fond of stalking and corrupting paladins and priests of excellent virtue; those who resist often become prey for the Beast. The Rake is also known to visit with ancient vampires of great power to trade stories and magic, as well as establish his clear dominance over them. When he visits the Prime without a companion, it is often to find a new one to bring back to his home in the Abyss. In all cases, especially in the form of the Beast, Kanchelsis’s hunger for blood is his overarching goal.
Kanchelsis’ Avatar (Necromancer varies, Thief 25, Fighter 18)
The Rake appears as a pale, elegant human or half-elf of slim build with dark eyes and a charming smile. His face is finely chiseled and he has slender, long fingers, and Kanchelsis is always dressed in perfect garments of expensive cut and style.
The Beast is a male human with thick, rippling muscles and tousled hair and wild, dark eyes. Kanchelsis’s body is extremely hirsute and his arms end in long, sharp talons. Changing form from the Rake to the Beast takes one round, while changing from the Beast to the Rake takes one full turn, during which the Vampire Lord must be undisturbed. Each transformation can only take place once per day. In either form he can use spells from any school.
The Rake (Necromancer 31)
AC −2; MV 12, Fl 60 (bat); HP 182; THAC0 3; #AT 1
Dmg 1d6+7 (claws)
MR 40%; SZ M (6½ feet tall)
Str 19, Dex 18, Con 18, Int 19, Wis 19, Cha 20
Spells W: 8/8/8/8/8/8/8/8/8*
Saves PPDM 3; RSW 3; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 4
* Numbers assume one extra necromancy spell per spell level.
The Beast (Necromancer 14)
AC −2; MV 12 or 18 (wolf); HP 182; THAC0 3; #AT 1
Dmg 1d6+9 (claws)
MR 20%; SZ M (6½ feet tall)
Str 21, Dex 16, Con 19, Int 14, Wis 9, Cha 13
Spells W: 6/6/6/5/5/3*
Saves PPDM 3; RSW 3; PP 4; BW 4; Sp 5
* Numbers assume one extra necromancy spell per spell level.
Special Att/Def: The Rake favors using his magic and special powers to eliminate threats or prevent attacks on himself. His nails are sharp and painful if he is forced to engage in melee, however, and he has no compunction against using them if necessary. He can charm person by gaze at will, and three times per day each his gaze can dominate a creature or cause a creature of up to 16 HD or levels to sleep for 2d10 turns; in all cases a saving throw at a −6 penalty negates the effect. The Rake can assume gaseous form at will and does so automatically when reduced to 0 hit points. He always regenerates 4 hit points per round and he can breathe a cloud of obscurement once per turn; further he can shapechange into a giant bat form at will. Finally, he can cast hypnotism, pyrotechnics, and rainbow pattern three times per day each and all of his spells and abilities reduce elven and half-elven sleep and charm resistance by half.
The Beast enjoys engaging in melee with his sharp talons. If he chooses to, however, he can charm person or mammal by gaze at will, with a −6 penalty to negate. While standing on earth, he regenerates 6 hp per round, and assumes gaseous form if reduced to 0 hp. The Beast can summon 3d6 wolves or worgs if they are within a mile three times per day; they serve for 12 turns, and he can cast animal growth on wolves that he has summoned at will. Further he can shapechange into a wolf or worg at will and in any for, he can pass without trace at will; he can be detected by a Moon Dog or an intelligent paladin’s mount within 60 feet. Finally, he can breathe out a fog cloud 3 times per day or a death cloud once per day.
As either the Beast or the Rake, the Vampire Lord can hurl one pint of his blood up to 40 feet; this can burn in a 5-foot radius as a 10-die fireball, dispel magic as a 20th-level wizard, or blind victims for 2d6 rounds (with a saving throw vs. poison at a −4 penalty to negate). At will he can summon 10d10 giant rats or bats if they are within one mile of him.
In any form, Kanchelsis is immune to sleep, charm, and hold spells, as well as paralyzation and poison. He can be struck only by +3 or better weapons, and he suffers half damage from cold and electric attacks. The Vampire Lord is unaffected by holy symbols and is not repelled by garlic or mirrors. He can be turned as a Special undead, but the turning priest is treated as if they were 4 levels lower. He is unaffected by running water but suffers double damage from holy water. He can withstand 90 minutes of exposure to sunlight without adverse effect.
Kanchelsis only rarely manifests his power to aid his followers for he is stingy with his power and sees little use in followers who cannot defend themselves or extricate themselves from dangerous situations. On those occasions when he has aided a follower, it most often takes the form of a thick fog bank (as a fog cloud) that envelopes the whole area; this can be just as dangerous to a fleeing follower as those who are pursuing them, however. More rarely he has summoned wolves or giant bats to aid a follower, either through a distraction or as a defense against foes in battle.
The Lord of Vampires is served primarily by bats, wolves, and rats of all sorts, as well as alu-fiends, blood elementals, bloodroses, bloodthorns, crimson deaths, grave elementals, incarnates of anger and lust, penanggalans, quasits, shadow hounds, vampire moss, vampire roses, vampiric mist, vampiric wolves, vampyres, and vorlogs. Kanchelsis expresses his favor through the discovery of bloodstones, garnets, onyxes, rubies, and sardonyxes, as well as roses in shades of deep red, black, and pure white. He expresses his displeasure through the discovery of naturally sharp broken wooden implements and handles, died blood, and desiccated animal corpses.
Clergy: Clerics, specialty priests, fighters, wizards
Clergy’s Align.: LE, NE, CE
Turn Undead: C: No, SP: No, F: No, W: No
Cmnd. Undead: C: Yes, SP: Yes, F: No, W: No
All clerics and specialty priests of Kanchelsis receive religion (Kanchelsis) as a bonus nonweapon proficiency.
The priesthood of Kanchelsis is small, for the Lord of Vampires gains much of his divine power from the creation of vampires and the slaking of his bloodthirst. However, those who are drawn to worship him typically do so in hopes of becoming vampires themselves or with the hope of flattering him in order to gain his favor. By necessity they are secretive, remaining hidden in cities throughout civilized lands, but are often tied in deeply to the criminal and seedy underworlds in their localities. They have very pragmatic relationships with other faiths that survive in the shadows and thrive in the underworld of society. They prefer to coexist without conflict with these faiths, although they do not hesitate to act against those that interfere with their activities. Secrecy is the byword of Kanchelsis’s faith, and clandestine tactics are often used to discredit or destroy those faiths and organizations that are ideologically opposed to undeath or sadistic pleasures.
Temples built to the Vampire Lord are typically in underground, crypt-like complexes. These complexes are lavishly decorated with expensive furnishings, fixtures, and artwork, although they often still feel cold and unwelcoming. They favor soaring ceilings, vaulted corridors, pillars, and other architectural features of baroque and gothic design, although the predominant architecture of a region typically supersedes these conventions. Converted and defiled temples formerly dedicated to gods of life and light are also favored temples. Altars in temples dedicated to Kanchelsis are draped in vibrant red cloth like fresh blood and illuminated by candelabras. Shrines dedicated to the Vampire Lord typically feature this same aesthetic, and often include a golden goblet as well.
Novices in the service of Kanchelsis are called Unblooded, while full priests are called Cloaked Sisters/Brothers. The titles used by the priesthood vary but are typically based on an individual member’s age; this is especially true where the priesthood is partially or fully composed of undead. Specialty priests of the Vampire Lord are called fangs. Humans (46%), vampires of all races (40%), half-elves (8%), ixitxachitl and ixzan (1%), and individuals of other races with designs on achieving vampirism (5%) are found within Kanchelsis’s clergy; in addition, wights, werewolves, wolfweres, and a smattering of other intelligent undead worship the Vampire Lord in his Beast form exclusively but they are not considered part of his clergy. Kanchelsis’s priesthood is dominated by specialty priests (60%), with clerics (25%), wizards (12%), and fighters (3%) comprising the remainder.
Dogma: Blood is the very essence of life and magic. Savor it like fine wine, guzzle it like the cheapest beer. Take pleasure in the blood-hunt and enjoy your well-earned trophies. Bend the wills of the weak minded to your own, and corrupt others with the pleasures that are forbidden to them. Enjoy the fall of the powerful by your hand as they become mere puppets on your string, then take from them the one thing most inimical: Their lifeblood.
Day-to-Day Activities: Mortal followers of the Vampire Lord are ever seeking to gain his gift of vampirism, be it through ritual or bargain with an existing vampire. They seek to emulate what they perceive as the lifestyles of vampires, while gathering others to the promise of everlasting life and youth, as well as power. Those already undead seek simply to gain power and bring more new vampires under their sway, while avoiding those who seek their demise.
Important Ceremonies/Holy Days: Full lunar eclipses, when moons are tinted red, are considered sacred to vampiric followers of the Vampire Lord. They perform no special services in honor of Kanchelsis, but they gorge themselves on blood in celebration of the unlife they have gained. Mortal followers mimic these celebrations with great feasts in which they gorge themselves on expensive food, wine, opiates, and other stimulating substances and experiences. While not a formal ceremony, these days are known as the Blood Moon of Kanchelsis (or Mastraacht).
The first full moon after the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox (before or after) is known as the Blood Hunt’s Night. On this night, vampiric followers of the Vampire Lord go hunting for blood, whether it be as a ravening wolf in a dark forest or a sophisticated murderer in an urban center. They choose their prey and spend all night stalking them, aiming to heighten their fear before finally closing in for the kill in the hour or so before dawn. Mortal followers also observe Blood Hunt’s Night by trying to emulate the activities of a vampire. They also hold that any rituals concerning blood is more potent on these nights, and often conduct initiations in light of the full moon.
Major Centers of Worship: No holy sites dedicated to Kanchelsis are known, nor is the faith prone to pilgrimages. Young mortal members of the clergy who learn of Ravenloft (an incredibly rare event) often idealize the Demiplane of Dread, however. This feeling rarely lasts should those members manage to find their way to that demiplane, however.
Affiliated Orders: Kanchelsis’s cults sponsor no martial or monastic orders. Groups of werewolves, wights, or wolfweres sometimes dedicate themselves to the Beast, but these groups are looked down upon by other members of the clergy, and not considered true followers of the Vampire Lord.
Priestly Vestments: Elegant robes in black and crimson are the most common ceremonial garb used by the clergy, although local formal wear fashion sometimes supersedes this. Members of the clergy are expected to be impeccably dressed for all ceremonies, using expensive cloth of the highest quality. Most jewelry is eschewed, but moderate accessories are not out of place. The holy symbol used by the clergy is a small amulet of platinum inscribed with the symbol of a bat in flight.
Adventuring Garb: When traveling or mingling with the urban public, members of Kanchelsis’s clergy favor the fashions of high society. Sometimes these fashions are a generation out of date, but this often serves to help them stand apart from the aristocracy even as they blend in. Armor is only used if battle is expected, and the weapons favored by the priesthood are easily concealable and favored by those in high society.
Specialty Priests (Fangs)
Requirements: Strength 12, Wisdom 12, Charisma 12
Prime Req.: Strength, Wisdom
Armor: Any, no shield
Major Spheres: All, animal, chaos, charm, combat, elemental air, healing (rev), necromantic (rev), sun (rev), wards
Minor Spheres: Divination, elemental earth, guardian
Magical Items: Same as clerics
Req. Profs: Etiquette
Bonus Profs: Hunting
- While most fangs are human or half-elven, any race capable of becoming vampires are free to join the clergy of Kanchelsis.
- Fangs can multiclass as a fang/mage or a fang/bard provided that their race is allowed to multiclass as a cleric/mage or cleric/bard, respectively.
- Fangs can choose nonweapon proficiencies from the wizard group without penalty.
- Normal wolves and bats will never attack a fang unless magically compelled; in addition, a fang can charm (as charm person or mammal) such creatures at a glance, but no more than one creature may be charmed per day.
- Once per day, fangs can cast fog cloud (as the 1st-level wizard spell).
- At 3rd level, fangs can cast charm person (as the 1st-level wizard spell) or command (as the 1st-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 5th level, fangs can cast suggestion or vampiric touch (as the 3rd-level wizard spells) once per day.
- At 7th-level, fangs can cast enervation (as the 4th-level wizard spell) or gaseous form (as the 5th-level priest spell) once per day.
- At 10th level, fangs can cast animal summoning III (as the 6th-level priest spell) once per day. Only bats, rats, and wolves can be summoned with this power.
- At 14th level, fangs can cast energy drain (as the reverse of the 7th-level priest spell, restoration) once per day.
- At 16th level, fangs can summon a 16-HD blood elemental once per week. These corruptions of normal water elementals are ordinarily restricted to Ravenloft, the Demiplane of Dread, but the Vampire Lord has corrupted a handful of such elementals and makes them available to his most powerful priests.
In addition to the spells listed below, priests of the Vampire Lord can cast the 5th-level priest spell gaseous form, detailed in Powers and Pantheons in the entry for Velsharoon.
Mark of the Hunted (Pr 3; Enchantment/Charm)
Components: S, M
Casting Time: 6
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: Special
When this spell is cast, an invisible mark is left on the touched creature that the caster can sense from a great distance. Only a vague sense of the cardinal direction is known to the caster if they are beyond 200 yards from a creature bearing a mark of the hunted and no sense of distance is gained. Within 200 yards, however, precise distance and direction is known, and no form of magical or physical disguise can hide the target from the caster. In addition, should the caster cross the trail of a creature they have marked that is no more than one day old per level of the caster, they can follow it as unerringly as if they were a bloodhound; teleportation or other forma of instantaneous magical or psionic travel breaks the trail.
The target is allowed a saving throw to resist the casting of this spell, although there is no indication of anything untoward happening with a successful save. If the save is failed, the target feels a slight tingle run down their spine, and the hairs on the back of their neck stand on end. Further, any time the caster is within 200 yards, the target is allowed a saving throw versus spell; success indicates they get a feeling like goosebumps or their hairs standing on end until the caster is farther than 200 yards from the victim. Finally, any charm spells or magic (charm person, domination, a ring of human influence, etc.) used by the caster against a creature under one of their marks of the hunted are made with a −1 penalty to the saves. The caster may have no more than one mark of the hunted active; casting a second one invalidates the first.
Dispel magic has no effect on the mark of the hunted. True seeing reveals the mark clearly as well as indicating it is giving off what could be described as a magical “scent,” while detect invisible will reveal that there is an invisible mark on the target, but it does not reveal its shape. Only a remove curse or more powerful magic can remove the mark, and a properly worded limited wish can cause a magical snap-back against the caster, revealing the mark was removed and temporarily eliminating their sense of smell for 2d4 days.
In order to cast this spell, the priest must touch the target in some way while also touching their holy symbol. This touch may be in the form of a handshake, a kiss, or even a punch or a bite. The holy symbol need not be brandished and can be concealed during the casting. True seeing reveals an invisible welt in the shape of the touch.
Dark Desires (Pr 5; Wiz 5; Enchantment/Charm)
Range: 1 mi./3 levels
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 day/3 levels
Casting Time: 5 rds.
Area of Effect: 1 creature
Saving Throw: Neg.
This spell opens up the dark lusts of the victim’s heart. Upon the time of casting, the subject of the spell merely feels a little warm and dizzy. The spell does not manifest until after the victim sleeps a full night. That night is fraught with fitful and disturbing nightmares. Upon awakening, the victim finds himself passionately desiring a person or object. This object is either one specified by the caster or, by default, one that the character has long desired. The desire won’t necessarily be something that the victim had ever given any serious thought to satisfying; lust and greed consume the character so much that he considers any act worth committing. In game terms, the character becomes chaotic evil. The victim won’t blindly rush off after this object, but he’ll do anything necessary in order to attain it as soon as possible, including actions that would normally be against his beliefs. If the subject of the desire is an object, the character uses it as much as possible once it’s obtained. If the subject is a person, then the victim uses any means necessary—gifts, trickery, magic—to win the other’s friendship, obedience, or love (depending on the nature of the desire).
When the spell’s duration ends, or it is broken by a dispel magic or remove curse spell, the victim’s alignment is restored and he often feels guilty about what he did. However, powers checks are not required for acts committed under this spell’s influence, although paladins, rangers, and priests are considered to have committed evil acts while under the influence of a spell. The spellcaster, though, must make a powers check for willingly turning someone to evil.
The spell’s material component is an onyx or obsidian pendant shaped like a heart and worth at least 500 gp. The pendant shatters when the spell is cast.
Blood’s Call (Pr 7; Wiz 7; Necromancy, Enchantment/Charm)
Range: 1 mi.
Components: V, S, M
Duration: 1 hr. + 1 turn/level
Casting Time: 1 turn
Area of Effect: 1 mi. radius
Saving Throw: Neg.
This spell allows the use of a living being’s blood to establish mental sway over a victim. The spell requires the caster to be holding a vial or container with the blood of one or more sentient beings. When the spell is cast, anyone whose blood is used in the spell and who is within a one-mile radius falls under the sway of the caster. The caster can give one telepathic instruction to all victims, at the time of casting; after that, all commands must be delivered verbally. The victims lose their will completely for the spell’s duration; when not ordered by the caster to act, they simply do nothing, staring blankly into space. Any commands to perform self-destructive acts (as defined under the charm person spell) allow the victim another save to break the charm. Simply commanding the individual to stand still while some blood or life energy is siphoned off, though, doesn’t allow a save until after the first draining, in which case it’s often too late. When the spell wears off, the victims retain no memory of what happened while they were charmed.
Vampire priests and mages cast this spell with greater potency than mortals. The saving throw penalty of the vampiric caster’s charm gaze applies to this spell, and the vampire can call all individuals whom he has drunk from over the past three nights.
Casting this spell, and thus tampering with life energy and mortal wills, is grounds for a powers check if it is used within Ravenloft, the Demiplane of Dread. Failure should start or continue the caster along the Track of the Vampire (Domains of Dread, p. 166). The material components are the blood of the victims and a bloodstained silver bell, which are both consumed when the spell is cast.
This is awesome!
A great and suitably spooky entry for October.
Thanks! I’m glad it worked out that way for the month. :D
Cryonax zip is included in the Kanchelsis zip file.
Whoops! Thanks for letting me know, I’ve gotten that fixed. :)