What I need
I need to build one or more NPC character sheets, or cards, for the monk/ninjas in a fortified mountain monastery whose order was (and still is) founded by an ancient vampire lord, who is not necessarily a monk himself. This order is experienced in fighting the locals: wildlife, wild-men, dag-nasty evil druids, a rival vampire lord's spawn, and combinations of the above. They know nothing of the outside world.
Starting as a child and as they get older, or advance in the village hierarchy, villagers are ritually given more tattoos of greater complexity. Unbeknownst to the players, these are not decoration. The tattoos are dormant ritual spells binding the villagers to their vampire lord in various symbiotic ways. In particular, one of the greater tattoos uses the wearer's imminent death as a "spark;" the tattoos glow, consume the last of his/her life and create a fully functional undead. I can't wait for the players to encounter that one!
The players are still level 1, but these NPCs do not need to be something they can fight just yet.
I've got some borrowed 4e books to help: DM's Guide, Player Handbooks 1-3, Heroes of Adjective Noun, and the Monster Vault to help. I've attempted modelling adapting stuff in these books, but holy cow did I give myself a tall order here. I am lost and confused. How do I build these guys? Any help is appreciated.
Everyone in my group is fairly new to DnD (or at least how it's actually played). This is my first campaign and third session as DM, and I basically pulled a huge campaign out of my bu-... bundt cake. That part isn't a problem. Neither is adapting to sudden changes in story. It's the mechanics: what stats, skills, powers, etc?
We play this, as opposed to an MMORPG, for the roleplaying, puzzles, and storytelling - what combat we have is just a venue for those three things. The rule of cool supersedes all. That being said, one of the women in our group is an enthusiast when it comes to numbers and mechanics, and certainly none of us fear them (I mean, we're Computer Science people for crying out loud).
Well, maybe except for me. Because I'm the DM, and I need to pull it all together.
I don't know what will or will not help you guys in giving me advice, so here's a data dump on what's going on in the campaign:
There are three main entities in this campaign: two ancient vampire lords, each millenniae old, who by virtue of only having each other as equals are something in the way of best frenemies. They wile away the centuries by playing elaborate games of one-upmanship against each other using mortals as pawns. "Haha looks like you got beheaded this time!" Although they have the usual vulnerabilities, their age and power is such that they can almost always reconstitute themselves in a couple decades. Maybe if you burnt them and scattered the ashes in a sacred river... or sealed them in a vat of holy water.
The third entity is The Trust. This isn't Eberron, but I'm lifting The Trust straight out of there. They've long been tracking the two vampires, and are employing the players in this adventure.
After the conclusion of their last round, the winning vampire lord (here called Elder), journeying far into the untamed wilds, and found a clan of half-feral humans and druids whom he's made his new power base. To them he is almost a god of the forest - the ultimate predator. Since then he and they have preyed upon the people of a mountain village in all sorts of terrible ways.
After reconstituting himself and tracking down his rival, the other vampire lord (here called the Ancient) made said mountain village into his own power base. He provides knowledge, stability, safety. They provide manpower, protection, sustenance. They don't have a word for vampire out here, and they wouldn't care anyway. Since then, he has directed the village's development into a fortified monastery. The villagers are now all essentially monks and ninja completely loyal to the Ancient. This trope is intended to mask the vampire trope.
In the centuries since then, the clan and village have constantly feuded. The players are members of a mercenary company that has been contracted by the Trust to "resolve a long-standing dispute between two villages." Of course, that's not what the Trust is really after, but telling them more would reveal too much about the Trust, wouldn't it? :)
I've got plans beyond that but these monk and ninja NPCs will be long gone.