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I'm finally getting around to reading Night's Black Agents and I love it. But in the section on building the vampires (NBA features modular, customizable vampires), I'm stuck on the base values for:

  • Aberrance
  • Health
  • Hand-to-Hand

I see lots of text that says, essentially, apply this modifier if this condition is true. For example:

If he had long talons instead of claws, his swipe would do +1 damage...

(which I know is about Damage, not any of the Basic Abilities)

But...where do the assumed starting values come from?

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Basic damage modifiers for vampires are listed on page 125. Remember that damage in GUMSHOE is always d6+a modifier, so in the case of mr longtaloned vampire, he'd be hitting for 1d6 (a +0 modifier, as per the table).

Base Aberrance and Health are really up to the Director. Aberrance less than 8 indicate a comparatively non-supernatural threat; 12+ opens up serious weirdness. It may help to think of Health in 5-point chunks (I know I do), with each 5-point chunk giving the creature enough Health to last one round of combat against committed foes (modulo supernatural defences). So, if I want my bruiser-type monstrosity to definitely last three rounds, give it 15 health. (That assumes that the monster's defeated at 0 Health, which is true for most bad guys but may not be true for vampires.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ It is the Aberrance, Health, and Hand-to-Hand values I am looking for. Your Health and Abberance advice is very welcome! Do you have similar guidance for Hand-to-Hand? Thanks for answering, and welcome to RPG.SE! \$\endgroup\$ – gomad Sep 18 '14 at 14:13
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If you skip ahead to some of the sample vampires, there is a quick calculator for these abilities based on the length of unlife (page 143; the writeup of a Linea Dracula leech). It looks like most vampires begin with about 10 Aberrance, and Health & combat abilities comparable to a PC.

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