Halloween draws near! And with it moving towards the high-time for all things horror, I felt now would be an appropriate time for some homebrew for another of my favourite games that I hadn’t yet touched: Darkest Dungeon. Specifically, the Crimson Court. It just so happens that I started running a campaign with the Curse of Strahd module a few months before the Crimson Court DLC was released, which makes me wish I had waited! Replacing bats with mosquitoes as a base for vampires has quickly become my favourite take on the gothic, bloodsucking creatures, so I’ve designed D&D rules for a few horrors of the Crimson Court so that you can use them in your own games!
I prototyped the designs that would serve as a base for the other bloodsuckers with the Manservant, which took inspiration from the rules of lycanthropes and stirges (D&D’s classic little bloodsucker), which I worked on while comparing with the wiki for Darkest Dungeon, so that I could best mirror its stats in D&D.
With the esquire, one of the first larger vampires characters come across in the Crimson Court, I wanted to put it at an appropriate CR, and 3 seemed the one to go with. To put it at the right hit points and damage output, I created it in a way that it could use different tactical options in combat, such as the duelling weapons (rapier and pistol) in thirsty form, then a more violent close combat selection in bloodlust form.
I felt that to best represent their role in the court, and to mirror the theme of in-game abilities, I wanted the courtesan in thirsty form to have access to some bard spells.
For the crocodilian, infamous for its sudden rise in power compared to other monsters of the Crimson Court, I naturally used the stats for the giant crocodile as a base. Apex Predator was inspired by the rogue’s sneak attack ability, which I then modified so as to better suit a lurking predator. Swarming Corruption was designed to provide an opportunity for the crocodilian to benefit from its Apex Predator ability, and took mechanical inspiration from the spell Insect Plague, from which I changed light obscuration to very short-term blindness effect to allow an opportunity for the additional damage from Apex Predator.
Although this is my first Darkest Dungeon D&D homebrew, expect more to come in the future. When I’ve posted more, you’ll be able to find it in my Darkest Dungeon tag. In the meantime, look out for more sinister stuff that I’ll be posting throughout the rest of October!