Tarchaniotes, Nyssa

female_vampire
A picture of Nyssa Tarchaniotes as she appears nowadays

Many years before the birth of Christ, Nyssa Tarchaniotes the High Priestess of Apollo’s Oracle at Delphi. Although the god withdrew his gift of prophecy after a vampire raped and killed her, the witch-goddess Hecate replaced it. Nyssa’s diary, ‘The Chronicles Of Antioch‘, became a standard reference for supernatural events from the third century through the First Crusade.

Nyssa still has a high reputation as a seer. She dwells in Istanbul, her house concealed by mystic wards only the most powerful mages can penetrate. For her services, Tarchaniotes charges each client a pint of his or her blood. She uses a bit of it to seal a contract binding the client never to harm her and to defend her from harm if necessary. Nyssa sees her visions in the rest of the blood, which she drinks at the end of the session. Many potent mystics are said to owe Nyssa favors and bear her geas.

Tarchaniotes avoids killing the mortals she feeds upon so heroic mystics will not decide she is too evil to consult. However, she does not discriminate in her clients: good, evil, or neutral mystics may all seek her help freely. The vampire-seer never issues false advice though at times she cannot answer a question to her client’s satisfaction – and her prophecies are sometimes ambiguous.

Tarchaniotes differs significantly from most of the known types of vampires perhaps due to her relationship with the goddess Hecate. She casts a reflection in mirrors, pools of water and highly-polished surfaces. She is not weakened by religious symbols nor is she adversely affected by garlic. However, she is dormant during the day as sunlight is lethal to her. It is speculated that if one were to decapitate her or drive a wooden stake through her heart, she would die but there has been no attempts to end her life on record.

Adapted from material originally published in The Mystic World by Dean Shomshak. ™ and © Hero Games, Inc., 2004.

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