Part 1: Characters & Monsters
As an infant he was found abandoned at the door of one of the brotherhood of light convents. It is not known who his original parents were. Some suspects that he was the unwanted bastard of a local wealthy landowner, most likely from the Cronqvist family, though this has never been proved. The order named the boy after the archangel Gabriel and raised him as one its own. A precocious child, he quickly proved to be extremely talented, developing an unprecedented mastery over the fighting arts. Gabriel took the surname of Belmont from his love of the mountains and the high places of the world.
Prone to dark moods and occasional ambivalence, Gabriel was deeply affected by the death of his childhood sweetheart, Marie. He has embarked on this quest at the request of the elders of the brotherhood, and has a burning desire for revenge.
Light; curious and lively, she often escaped her duties at home in order to help the monks, baking and cleaning for them. During one of her visits, she became acquainted with the boy that would later become her husband, an orphan by the name of Gabriel.
The two youngsters were made for each other: the grew up together and made promise for the future. These promises were kept when, on one idyllic morning, with the blessing of her family and the brotherhood the coupled was married. Marie provided a good counterpoint to Gabriel's dark moods, and often just her laughter was enough to blow away the gathering storm within him. Now Marie had been tragically murdered and Gabriel seeks revenge.
Classic folklore tells of a mystical spirit that inhabits untamed woodlands, protecting them from harm. Legends tell of different forms to this spirit, often an eagle, a deer, a boar or even a horse, as well as many others. Some portray Pan as an evil satyr, while others tell a story of a benevolent and powerful demi-god, servant of Mother Nature herself. But Mankind, in its arrogance, pollutes and destroys the world, and the old spirits depart... and soon Pan must choose his own fate.
If the chronicles of the Brotherhood are to be believed, Zobek is one of their longest serving warriors. The list of heroic deeds attributed to him is as impressive as his vast knowledge of the art of war. Despite his age, he can deploy mighty fighting skills. His weapon of choice is a simple long sword which he handles with great skill. Unusually, he likes to wear the old-fashioned uniform of the Brotherhood of Light that, according to him, was inherited from one of his ancestors, one of the founding members of the Order.
The abbey at Wygol had always been a place of peace and meditation. The monks that inhabited it were considered great scribes, and their wonderfully crafted manuscripts made the abbey a place of holy pilgrimage. The current abbot, Father Dorin, was an erudite scholar, devoted to the study of the old texts retained in the abbey's vast library. Shutting himself away, he studied these ancient texts and prophetic scrolls for years, turning half blind and quite mad in the process. When the Vampires came, he discovered a holy relic hidden deep in the library that kept the evil creatures at bay. In order to preserve the holy books and himself, he banished everyone from the abbey and disassociated himself from his people, leaving them to their fate without the protection of the ancient relic.
The child-like appearance of Laura has led many to their deaths, for she is a deceptive, ruthless killer who has murdered hundreds of innocents over many centuries to satiate her blood craving. Although she has the body of a child, she has the cunning and intellect of someone far older. She can be particularly cruel, often treating the killing of her victims as a game. However, when at rest and alone, she remembers a time long past, a time of warmth and comfort and a woman's beautiful voice singing to her as she sleeps, comforting her in the darkness... a life lost long ago.
This old hag is the subject of many a myth in popular folklore, mostly appearing as an evil Witch who eats children and lives in a cabin that stands on a pair of chicken legs. While parts of these legends are true, her house does not stand on chicken legs, though as for the rest... who knows? Baba Yaga likes to brew a special tea made from extremely rare blue rose petals, which temporarily transforms this hideous old hag into a beautiful young woman. Although she will sometimes help people, it's usually very dangerous to ask her for a favor, unless you are very polite and can offer her something in return.
The Dark Lord of the Necromancers
Zobek was once a brave fighter and a sage wizard, wise above all others. He was a good man, much loved and respected. Along with Cornell and Carmilla, Zobek founded the order to which Gabriel belongs: The Brotherhood of Light. Yet pride drove him to seek even more power, to fight against the evil and injustices he saw all around him. He was corrupted by the very desire to do good and, in the end, was punished for it. When his spirit ascended to Heaven that fateful night, the empty corpse that he left behind became the Necromancer; an evil reflection of everything that he represented. Lord of all the Dead, he is death personified and with his knowledge of the dark arts none may stand against him, living or dead.
Those creatures are humans that have been poisoned with an infectious disease known as the "werewolf influenza", which is transmitted, in most cases, by the bite of another lycanthrope. There is an old saying that goes like this "If you are bitten by a lycan, better let it gnaw", and like most of the proverbs, it is probably true. Once infected with the disease, the transformation process can be completed in only a few minutes, after which the victim's mind will have been replaced with the savage instincts of a ruthless predator.
Wargs are the principal strength of large lycan raiding parties. Some of them are "blessed" by the Dark Lord himself which gives them new powers, such as improved strength and wound regeneration. Due to the nature of the "blessing", these powers are heightened by a full moon.
Little is known about those fierce, wolf-like beasts, except that they appear soon after the coming of the Lycan Dark Lord. Despite their wild looks, Wargs are fairly intelligent creatures, capable of being tamed by lesser lycanthropes, who ride them in battle. Wargs are ferocious creatures that attack opponents with razor-shrarp claws and sharp, deadly teeth.
These diminutive, mischievous and crabby creatures usually avoid contact with humans. Goblins make their homes around tree roots and mossy damp areas, and like to hunt in packs. Although they can be aggressive when threatened, Goblins usually prefer to keep far from men and their dwellings. Goblins are a species on the verge of extinction, and before too long will pass into history and then myth.
A large part of the danger in the swamps lies in the hands of creatures known as Naiads. These living things are usually passive, lying inconspicuously on riverbeds and in muddy, damp places, waiting until someone stumbles within range. When they attack, their unfortunate victims usually mistake their limbs for branches and are soon drowned... and eaten. In days gone by, these once beautiful creatures were worshipped and sacrifices were made to them, but they are now forgotten by humans and have become evil predators, plaguing both wandering man and beast alike.
Swamp Trolls are a rare subspecies of the larger Cave Troll. Although similar in appearance to their dry land cousins, the thick fur has been replaced with a slimy coating, similar to wet mould, which better suits the damper weather of their habitat. Swamp Trolls are ferocious in battle and display a cunning that belies their outward appearance.
Buried deep below the surface of an ancient lake, waiting to be found, are the remnants of a once great European civilization, among them, a Titan of war! Before Rome, before ancient Greece, this great empire possessed technology that surpassed all others, and this Titan marks the pinnacle of their achievements. A great conflict known as 'The Necromantic Wars' obliterated this once thriving civilization and this great feat of engineering was lost. When the dark spell that isolated the heavens from our earthly plane was cast, the souls of the dead were drawn to this place and somehow gave new energy to the magic runes, reanimating the Titan one final time...
These monsters are the largest type of known arachnids, and they are much more aggressive than any of the normal-sized varieties of Spider. Giant Spiders can be found in almost any environment, but they usually prefer dark, soggy places, such as old forests or grottos. Like their smaller counterparts, Giant Spiders can weave webs of sticky silk that they use to trap their prey before eating them. In fact, Spider silk is extremely strong and can even be used to make rope of incredible durability. The Giant Spider population has shrunk in recent years due to mankind's encroachment on their natural habitat.
The genealogy of these monstrous boars has been kept secret among Goblin tribes for centuries. It is a process that involves special breeding and feeding and large helpings of shamanistic magic. Warthogs are so scarce that having more than one of these mounts is something only a few Goblin tribes can aspire to. Goblins not only use them for riding into battle but also to consume all the rubbish and leftover scraps of food, thus helping to maintain a clean environment.
Greater or 'pureblood' Lycanthropes are those spawned from the Dark Lord himself. In these cases, their condition is not considered a disease, as the transformation process has been deliberately chosen. The endowment of lycanthropy, however, is not given to just anyone by the werewolf Dark Lord, and only a handful of his more loyal acolytes have received such a gift. The Dark Lord keeps these elite guards for special missions, and they are not only fearsome but incredibly intelligent and formidable foes in combat.
Biologically speaking, small and great Trolls are more or less equal. However, their behavior couldn't be more different; the large subspecies is fairly aggressive, whereas Small Trolls are cowardly and will quickly flee when outnumbered, often seeking the protection behind their bigger, more violent cousins, from where they will throw rocks at adversaries.
Trolls are a dying species living mostly in mountainous areas. They are aggressive and territorial. This can sometimes result in attacks on humans who are foolish enough to encroach on the Troll's natural habitat. However, Cave Trolls are usually passive around their own kind and rarely attack each other, though they will often kill to protect their kindred. Men say that when Trolls die of old age they turn to stone and this can be clearly seen in certain rock formations if one looks closely enough.
This Golem was created using similar techniques to those involved in the construction of the Titans. However, a human body was needed to imbue the armor with great power, so Claudia's father used the corpse of a mute killer and weaved his soul within the armor to forge this magical being. The Black Knight requires souls in order to function, so Claudia lures evil creatures so that he may devour them. Despite this, the Black Knight is not evil; the soul of the killer inside the armor hopes for redemption by protecting his ward, and sees a kindred spirit in the mute daughter of his creator, whom he has eventually grown to love.
The three founding members of the Brotherhood of Light were brave warriors who sacrificed their physical bodies in order to become spiritual beings, able to fight God's wars against evil. They performed a mystical ritual to transform themselves into angelic creatures. Their intentions were honorable, but they were deceived and their spirits were fractured; their good sides were transported to heaven as angelic beings, while their dark sides were left behind. Cornell was the youngest of the three, but he was also the strongest. Unlike his companions, he rarely used his magic powers, preferring to fight using a great sledgehammer that none but he could wield.
The Dark Lord of the Lycans
On that fateful night, the spirit of Cornell left his body, and all the strength and anger left behind gave birth to the Lycanthrope Dark Lord.
The Dark Lord of the Lycanthropes is the personification of hate and violence. In his werewolf form he has superhuman strength and speed, far greater than even his mighty lieutenants. In addition to his natural abilities, he can also use the power of the Cyclone Boots, magical relics worn by his human counterpart. With them, he is able to jump great distances and perform powerful charge movements that can tear down most obstacles.
Often portrayed as evil, blood-sucking monsters, the Chupacabras' only real obsession are magical relics. When in the presence of such artifacts, they will do anything to get them. However, the Chupacabras are not inherently evil creatures, and most of the time, after a short game of hide and seek, they will return anything they have stolen.
The Anubian Giants are an ancient species, as old as the Earth itself. This particular Ogre is one of the last of his race left in the world. He lives amongst the walls of this deserted mountain fortress, waiting for misguided travellers to stumble in, so that he can grind their bones to make his bread. However, this particular Ogre hasn't had much man flesh for quite some time, having to settle for the odd Cave Troll. Ogres have an extremely keen sense of smell and can sniff a man from half a mile away, making them very successful trackers. Fortunately their size and clumsy nature means that their prey can often see them coming!
'The spirit of a brave fighter never dies,' according to a popular saying and, in some places filled with foul magic energy, the souls of slain warriors don't leave the material plane and remain trapped, their sole mission to torment living beings. These restless souls usually cover themselves in ragged clothes, maybe as a remnant of their living past. Apart from their fighting skills, they have lost all vestiges of humanity.
It is said that this monster was once a beautiful woman, a Witch who inhabited the mountains that surround the fortress. She was treated with respect and admiration, with many people travelling from distant regions for her sage advice. During this time she fell in love with a Prince who lived in the Keep. Besotted with him, she used her powers to concoct potions of love and enchantment so that she could have him for herself. Alas, another Witch entrapped him and he met a most gruesome end. Mad with grief, Malphas threw herself from the top of the tower and landed on the rocks below. Incredibly, she survived the fall, though her body was horribly broken. The crows fed on her and she on them and over many centuries her powers grew until she transformed into the twisted, bird-like creature she is now, intent on feeding on corpses for food. Her cries of maddened rage fill the long, dark valleys below the fortress and echo around the tower that was once a place of love and hope.
These half human, half bird-like creatures are the progeny of the Crow Witch, Malphas. The Witch-children are able to breathe fire and are extremely volatile, oftentimes dying in a blazing explosion. However, like most magically-summoned entities, their existence is short-lived and they tend to die naturally a few days after their 'birth.'
Despite most people believing otherwise, Ghouls are not undead creatures. In fact, their ancestors were human, but a diet of corpses and rotten flesh transformed them into horrible monsters that dwell in burial grounds and cemeteries. Ghouls usually live underground, but sometimes venture outside in small groups to scavenge for carrion. The vomit of the Ghoul is highly poisonous, but can be dispelled using Light Magic.
A Vampire can be born from many different creatures; the ceremony itself involves the exchange of blood between the 'host' and the soon-to-be Vampire. However, vampirism has to be accepted by the recipient, so it remains exclusive to intelligent creatures. The lowest ranked Vampires usually take the form of a creature with a bat-like appearance. Over the centuries, as they become more powerful, Vampires appear more human-like and are able to transform at will from hideous creatures into human form. One can usually ascertain the power of a Vampire by its appearance and any Vampires that appear totally human are usually incredibly powerful and extremely dangerous. These particular Vampire warriors show the signs of being recently turned and cannot hide the fact that they are low level creatures bent to the will of the Vampire Lord.
These empty suits of armor have been given a temporary 'life' due to possession by a poltergeist. They serve the Vampire Dark Lord by patrolling and protecting the Castle's halls and corridors. The spirit of this poltergeist can move from armor to armor if it so wishes, though it can take many days for the spirit to recover when doing so. Once established within a suit of armor, the poltergeist can travel between dimensions at will, causing a huge electrical outage that signals an opening between our world and the spirit world. You can tell when armor is possessed because a strange unearthly, reddish glow emanates from within the suit, indicating that its ghostly inhabitant is awake.
This Vampire is a powerful demon, turned by the Dark Lord long ago. It is well known that young Vampires are bestial in appearance, but as they become stronger, they are able to regain human form. Indeed, many of the oldest Vampires are mistaken for high-born aristocracy. However, this creature was never human and thus cannot take that form. Rather, he is a spawn of Hell, possessing vampiric powers, which make him a formidable foe.
The human inhabitants of the Vampire Castle suffered a cruel fate once the Dark Lord set up her lair inside. While most of them changed into Vampire Warriors, a few, mainly those who were the Dark Lord's most loyal retainers when she was human, were made into Skeleton Warriors by the spell of the Puppeteer. Unlike other beings animated by this magic, the vestiges of a once human soul make Skeleton Warriors difficult to command and they are therefore rarely found in groups greater than two or three.
Common ingredients in the creation of magic potions, mandrake roots are an important resource for alchemists and mages the world over. However, the harvesting of mandrake roots is a dangerous activity; when the root is dug up, the plant will scream loudly, killing anyone near it. When they are fully grown, mandrakes become Mandragora, sentient beings who survive by draining the life force of nearby creatures.
The Evil Butcher
This monster of unknown origin has somehow become the 'official cook' for the Vampires. The Dark Lord uses the Evil Butcher to feed the Ghouls, Wargs and other creatures that live within the castle grounds. He carries a huge iron cleaver as his main weapon. He is not really a fighter but is dangerous and skilled with the tools found in his kitchen. However, due to his size, he needs constant 'refuelling' in order to maintain his stamina.
The Vampires were not the first tenants of the castle; the previous owner was a scientist known as Friedrich Von Frankenstein. He used the castle to conceal his horrific experiments into artificial life. The Mechanical Monstrosity was one such foray. Frankenstein created this giant scorpion-like machine using the brain of a malformed medical experiment gone wrong. However, his creature proved difficult to control and now rampages through the castle killing anything it can get its claws into.
Laura, the 'daughter' of the Vampire Lord, has brought these puppets into existence using a dark spell of her own making. She is able to control these toys and transfer the temporary life force from toy to toy, thus making them very difficult to defeat. However, so long as the 'spirit' within is defeated, they cannot return. Inside the crude stitching is the source of the spell and, by opening up the deadly toys, one can destroy the spell. This, in turn, will destroy the spirit forever, rendering the toy useless.
Another demon-spawned Vampire, he and his younger sibling were both inhuman before the Dark Lord found them and turned them. In fact, they didn't belong to this earthly plane at all, being lesser nether demons begat in the deepest corners of Hell. How they came into our world is still a mystery but what is known is that the Vampire Dark Lord found them and used her influence upon them.
The three founding members of the Brotherhood of Light were brave warriors who sacrificed their physical bodies in order to become spiritual beings, able to fight God's wars against evil. They performed a mystical ritual to transform themselves into angelic creatures. Their intentions were honorable, but they were deceived and their spirits were fractured; their good sides were transported to heaven as angelic beings, while their dark sides were left behind. The second of the founders, Carmilla, was a highly skilled healer, and her talents knew no equal. Pure of soul and chaste in mind and body, she was renowned for her love of all living creatures. When the spirit left her body on that fateful night, her love for life and her purity were corrupted, giving birth to the Vampire Dark Lord.
The Dark Lord of the Vampires
Just like the Lycanthrope Dark Lord, the Vampire Queen was granted an animal-like manifestation of the dark parts of her spirit. It is pitifully ironic that for a healer with such a love for life, she would be transformed into a blood-sucking monster that consumes the energy of living creatures in order to survive. This ungodly bat demon uses the Seraph Shoulders to fly and can conjure up Vampire warriors at will from anywhere in the Castle to do her bidding.
These undead creatures are the decapitated remains of warriors from the Brotherhood. Necromancer magic has reanimated them and they prey on fellow warriors who bear arms for the Brotherhood. Using their heads they can attack at will, biting and tearing their victims. However, it is their bodies that are their weakspot and anyone caught in a battle with Zombie Heads would do well to remember that!
The Scarecrows are magical constructs of the Crow Witch Malphas that attack and kill anything that moves. Malphas created the Scarecrows to keep Baba Yaga under her watchful eye and, where possible, to nullify her power by restricting her movements. The Scarecrows are roused by the birds which follow the evil Crow Witch's bidding. The scarecrows are extremely fast and attack with razor-sharp scythes.
There is a strange, magical root that only grows in the land of the dead which feeds on the carcasses of dead creatures. This plant consumes all the organic material around it and, after it is satiated, evolves from the corpses it has ingested to become a living being. Once fully grown, the creeping corpse looks for living creatures to devour.
Sometimes, a creeping corpse feeds directly from a dead body still in its coffin; in such cases, the plant doesn't leave but instead uses the coffin as armor. For mobility, the creature plunges its branches through the sides of the coffin and extends them, becoming a four-legged monster that's even more dangerous than usual.
The Silver Warrior
Pan, once revered as a God, rarely changes into this form, preferring peace and to protect all living things. The magical silver armor is a remnant of ancient times, a tool used for fighting the forces of evil that hasn't been worn by him for centuries. Now, out of necessity, Pan adorns his body in this ancient armor to test Gabriel one final time. Pan puts his trust in God, for no knight that is false can survive the test of arms. The loser will provide the ultimate sacrifice, according to God's will.
Zombies are the most basic creations of a master Necromancer and form the rank and file of the Lord of the Dead's army. These reanimated corpses are an amalgam of different body parts, sewn together in a rough humanoid shape, so it is not uncommon to see Zombies with more than one head or multiple arms. Zombie carcasses are very fragile and weak, so they usually attack in large groups, using their numbers to overwhelm an enemy.
The Necromancers had to keep a constant supply of corpses in order to build their army of the undead. To sustain the immense cemeteries where all these bodies were kept, the Necromancers relied on the Gravedigger, an enslaved, nameless demon mutated and empowered with the tainted magic of these evil sorcerers. The Gravedigger uses a giant shovel to exhume the dead, and this also makes a formidable weapon in combat.
Only powerful sorcerers can summon and control these dangerous spirits. The Reapers are a corporeal manifestation of Death itself; their aspect depends on the beliefs of those who confront them, but most people perceive the Reapers as skeletal figures with long tunics, wielding large scythes.
Necromancy is the most evil of all the schools of magic and can only be performed by the followers of the Dark Lord of the Dead. Unlike vampirism and lycanthropy, the powers necessary to control the energies of the deceased are not easily acquired. The Dark Lord only shares a small part of his power with his followers, who themselves must die in order to use the abilities given to them. Once dead, they become his thralls and their master is able to control them with his own considerable power.
Necromancers are evil wizards who can control the dead with dark powers. The most common belief is that this power is limited to deceased humans but, in fact, it encompasses all dead creatures, as demonstrated by this monster, the reanimated carcass of a Dragon. This massive creature, a remnant of our pre-historic past, died long before the Necromancers came to this land and was buried under tons of rock, eventually becoming a fossil. When the Dark Lord built his fortress in this desolate land, he discovered the carcass and reconstructed it using magical runes to bind evil spirits to the ancient bones. Should the necessity arise, this monster is able to perform one last duty for its master...
The real mastermind behind these events, the fallen angel Satan was cast down to Earth as punishment for his rebellion against God. Satan has been searching for a way to re-enter Heaven and crush the Almighty once and for all. The God Mask is said to bestow a power that is supposed to be a key to God himself; a power that makes its wearer God's vassal on Earth, and Satan has manipulated Zobek and the other Lords of Shadow to acquire it for his own means.Satan has unimaginable power to wield on this Earth, and can use both Light and Shadow energy to cast destructive spells or summon demonic Reapers from other planes. However, he is not able to command his full strength while chained to the earthly plane, and thus remains weakened against Heaven's chosen.