|They look kinda like this except they wear armour because they're not half as stupid as they pretend to be.|
The foot-soldiers of the magician's wars were the Blood Men. Impatient for reinforcements, the sorcerer-kings soon tired of waiting for fresh armies to be raised and trained, and took to simply brewing them in great batches, in enormous cauldrons of mixed human and animal blood. With the aid of the proper ingredients and incantations, the blood knitted together to form Blood Men: lumpen, snaggle-toothed brutes with red, ape-like bodies, covered in short, coarse ruddy hair. The Blood Men - for they were all male, albeit sterile - had a love of battle, an instinctive knack for violence, huge appetites for food and drink, and very little interest in anything else. Most of them died in the wars, their bodies collapsing back into gallons of stale blood upon death; but some of them survived, and while they were incapable of sexual reproduction, many of them had been entrusted with the knowledge of how to make new Blood Men in order to allow them to reinforce themselves in the field. Today, gangs of Blood Men rove from land to land, serving as mercenary soldiers for whoever can promise them a good fight at dawn and a good meal at night; each gang keeps an enchanted cauldron in which to brew up new recruits, and when times are good they save up their wages to pay for the ingredients they need to make more of their own kind. Occasionally an ambitious ruler will try to brew up whole armies of them; but without the logistical support of the ancient empires the cost of making and maintaining such forces is prohibitively high, and they always end up splitting into roving mercenary gangs before long.
Rules information for Blood Men is as follows:
- Must have strength and constitution 13 or higher. (For NPCs, give them +1 HP per hit die and +1 to hit and damage in melee.)
- Can use any weapons and armour, but prefer big, crude ones that make a real mess of whatever they hit.
- Gain 1d8 HP per level.
- Gain a bonus to all to-hit rolls (ranged and melee) equal to their level.
- When they smell blood in combat - which will normally happen as soon as a flesh-and-blood combatant on either side is wounded nearby - they enter into a frothing battle-rage in which they inflict +1 damage with each melee attack; some Blood Men deliberately cut themselves at the start of a battle (losing 1 HP in the process) in order to trigger this effect.
- Eating the heart of a freshly-slain enemy (or comrade!) heals them for 1 HP per level or hit dice of the creature it came from. The heart must be eaten immediately, while still warm and if at all possible while still beating; a heart eaten more than an hour after its owner's death loses all power to heal. Note that cutting out and eating someone's heart takes at least a few minutes, even for a Blood Man, and thus isn't normally something than can be done in the middle of a fight.
- Have no real interest in anything other than eating, drinking, and fighting. Cheerfully ignorant, usually illiterate, always fail technology rolls. With enough patience, they can be taught to use and maintain clockwork weapons and war machines if their intelligence score permits.
- Cannot have any followers or henchmen except other Blood Men; they were made to follow, not to lead.
- When killed, Blood Men collapse into gallons and gallons of stale, sticky blood.
Starting equipment: Helm and breastplate (AC +5), two-handed sword (1d10 damage), blunderbuss (1d12 damage, point-blank range only, 3 rounds to reload), 1d3 dried human hearts (for snacking), 1d6x10 sp.