“Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.”
— Bram Stoker, Dracula (1897)
The Leech advantage (GURPS Powers, p. 96) is the more generalized version of the Vampiric Bite advantage (p. B96) that appeared in the Basic Set. (Buckle your seatbelts up kiddies because this is a long post. Note I’m intentionally ignore the Vampiric Bite advantage for this post. It’s breakdown for what it is is explained in GURPS Powers, p. 86.)
Leech as Pieces Parts:
So what does Leech do and how does it do it?
- To use it you must maintain ongoing contact with your target. In combat this is a grapple or pin. Out of combat this could be a long handshake, a hug, sex, etc.
- Every second you maintain contact the victim loses 1 HP per level of Leech and you heal 1 HP per full 3 HP you steal. This ends if you break contact or the victim dies this stops. If your target survives he can regain this lost HP normally. You cannot heal above your HP, but can continue to drain HP normally.
- You can convert levels using Modifying Dice + Adds (p. B269); e.g., Leech 14 is 4d.
- It only affects living beings with IQ 1+. (Note: it doesn’t say that in Powers, but this was how the designer intended it to work.) A variation for machines is offered as well for the same point cost and affecting only machines.
Rules as Written Leech Special Modifiers
A short list of modifiers for Leech appear below, but Ranged (GURPS Basic Set, p. 107) and Malediction (GURPS Basic Set, p. 106) allows you to leech at a distance. This requires a Quick Contest every second. A few others:
- Accelerated Healing (Enhancement: GURPS Powers, p. 96): Lets you heal 1 HP per HP stolen.
- Addictive Bite (Enhancement: GURPS Horror, p. 21): If you steal enough of your subject’s HP they can become addicted to your bite.
- Area Effect (Enhancement: GURPS Basic Set, p. 102): Allows you to drain everyone in your area of effect, but you must also add Malediction 1 (+100%) to your ability. Since you steal from everyone in the area you make your Will roll at -1 per person beyond the first. Add Independent (+70%) if you want to avoid this penalty. This means if you have Leech 3 with Area Effect (4 yards) you would make a Will roll (at -1 per person after the first) and gain 1 HP per 3 HP your steal per person. (See this forum post for PK’s reasoning.)
- Aura (Enhancement: GURPS Basic Set, p. 102): Your ability drains those who touch you or those you touch. This requires adding Malediction. optionally, add Area Effect.
- Blood Agent (Limitation: GURPS Basic Set, p. 110): Requires that you touch a mucous membrane or an open wound. DR always stops you from draining your target. Classic bloodsuckers have this!
- Contact Agent (Limitation: GURPS Basic Set, p. 111): Requires that you touch bare skin or clothing. DR always stop you from draining your target. Common for “psychic vampires.”
- Cyclic (Enhancement: GURPS Basic Set, p. 104): This requires Cosmic at the +100% level to add this trait in the first place as well as Ranged and Malediction. After the first attack, your ability continues to work draining your target at the interval your purchased. Cyclic on Leech is automatically resistible, if it’s not double the final price of this modifier. For example, if you drained 1 HP every 10 seconds for the next 60 seconds this modifier would be +400%. 6 intervals x 10 seconds (+50%) = +300% plus +100% for the Cosmic modifier. If your target cannot resist your draining him this would be worth +700% instead!
- Doleovore (Enhancement: GURPS Horror, p. 21): You get more HP from those in pain.
- Emanation (Limitation: GURPS Basic Set, p. 111): Like Aura, but requires you have Area Effect. Add Always On if you constantly drain life from those around you.
- Hazard (Enhancement: GURPS Basic Set, p. 104): Let’s you inflict a hazard when you steal FP (e.g., Hazard, Missed Sleep will let you “steal dreams” and heal FP lost to not sleeping). Any FP or HP stolen in this way can heal you of such losses as well.
- Heals FP (Enhancement: GURPS Powers, p. 96): Lets you heal HP or FP. It costs more if you can choose to heal HP or FP, less if you can’t.
- Metueovore (Enhancement: GURPS Horror, p. 21): You get more HP from those who are afraid.
- Obligate Doleovore (Limitation: GURPS Horror, p. 21): You can only drain those in pain.
- Obligate Metueovore (Limitation: GURPS Horror, p. 21): You can only drain those who are afraid.
- Only Heals FP (Limitation: GURPS Powers, p. 96) Lets you heal FP and restore your own, but that’s it.
- Reliable (Enhancement: GURPS Powers, p. 109) combined with Malediction allows you to win Quick Contests even without a high Will.
- Steal (Other Score) (Enhancement: GURPS Powers, p. 96): Lets you reduce an attribute instead of HP. You heal at the normal rate. Reduced attributes do not reduce derived or secondary characteristics (e.g., lowering ST doesn’t lower Basic Lift or Basic Damage).
- Steal Youth (Enhancement: GURPS Powers, p. 96) Lets you steal the victim’s years. This doesn’t heal you at all, but it does make you younger if you wish. Add -50% if you don’t grow younger when you do this.
As Powers notes, Leech only works on living beings. A variation to work on machines is available. As noted upthread, a variation that works on plants is also possible at the same cost. For living beings and plants this is pretty straightforward, but what about machines with batteries? (Note: Values are totally guesstimated, but I’ve been using them for a while and they work decently enough.) The GM could create separate “Leech (Energy)” trait or use the following:
* Assumes TL8 energy storage/power. Reduce these values by 1/10th for TL7 batteries, 1/100th for TL6 batteries, and 1/1000th for TL5 batteries. For TL9 batteries multiple the FP by 10, for TL10 batteries multiply by 100, for TL11 multiply by 1,000, and for TL12 batteries multiply by 10,000.
New Modifiers for Leech
Some new modifiers I’ve posted on the forums or use in my own game:
- Boosts Abilities: Each HP you steal gives you a character point you can use to heal yourself or temporarily boost abilities. You store these points in a “battery” with a capacity of two points per level of Leech. Once this is full, you can still drain HP but gain no points. On your turn, you can take a Ready maneuver to drain this battery to heal yourself permanently: 1 point repairs 1 point of crippled abilities, 2 points heal 1 HP, and 3 points restore 1 FP. You can also spend stored points to improve abilities (anything but skills) temporarily. You can’t reallocate points once used. Points drain away at the rate of one per second, unused ones first. You lose enhanced abilities as the points drain away. This modifier is incompatible with all other special modifiers. +100% if you can only heal or enhance one power, set at character creation; +200% if you can use the points freely. (Taken form here).
- Cosmic, No Contact Required: You can touch a target even for a brief instant and still drain them. +50%. (From this post.)
- Cosmic, Permanent Theft: Whatever you drain is permanently gone. This costs +300%. The GM should use caution when allowing this modifier.
- Create Curse Fetish: When you Leech a target, instead of immediately stealing from your target and healing yourself, your power creates a small fetish in which the the stolen HP, FP, or months of youth are suspended. Until the fetish is broken, the target is safe and you receive no benefits. The fetish may be given away or stolen. When the fetish is broken, your Leech is triggered on the original target, and the holder of the fetish receives the stolen energy. If the original target is the holder, breaking the fetish safely breaks the curse and leaves the original target unharmed. +70% (This was created by +Emily Smirle and I stole it to put here because it’s awesome.)
- Environmental Leech: You take energy from the environment you’re in. “Environment” is used very loosely: you could gain energy from being around happy people or being in an area of unspoilt wilderness. This affects everything in your hex (add Area Effect to affect a larger area) and is always on (though you can turn it off, just like an Aura). You gain 1 HP every 10 minutes you are in your chosen environment. Add +50% to the base cost, if you get 1 HP/minute, +100% if you regain 1 HP/second, +150% if you regain 10 HP/second, and +300% if you regain a full multiple of your HP every second. Modify the enhancement’s value by the triggering condition: x2 if it’s very common, x1.5 if common, x1 if occasional, and by x0.5 if rare. Base price is +300% add -50% if this harms the “environment” in some way (GM’s decision). For example, if you gain energy from being surrounded by happy people then you might drain their happiness as you gain energy. If this causes actual damage, this is -100% since eventually the thing that gives them power goes away!
- Extended: Your Leech affects another category of being. For example, you could have “Extended, Plants” to affect both IQ 1+ living beings and IQ 0 living beings. This is simply an easier way to write an alternate ability. +20%
- Follow-Up, Universal (Enhancement: GURPS Power-Ups 1: Imbuements, p. 17): Your Leech works through any melee or weapon attack you make. Add Ranged and Malediction if you can do it with ranged weapons or attacks. +50%.
- Necrovore: Your power doesn’t stop working when you kill your target. After your target dies make a Will vs. HT roll. Success means you drain your level of Leech in HP. You may continue to drain your target until you fail a Will roll or until you drain up to 10 x your target’s HP at which point they turn to dust. This is worth +100%. If you are limited to 5 x HP this is worth +50% instead.
- Obligate Necrovore: As above, but you can only feed on corpses. This is worth -10% if you are limited to 5 x HP or -0% if you are limited to 10 x HP.
- Obligate Voluptavore: You can only feed on pleasure. Your total (not bonus) HP drain is equal to half your victim’s pleasure penalty, as described for Voluptavore. (You can take both modifiers, meaning that you can only feed on those in pain, but get “extra” HP from them.) -50%.
- Power Storage: You can store points that you steal in a temporary battery to be used later on. This is similar to the FP (or Energy Reserve!) gained from Points for Energy (GURPS Power-Ups 5: Impulse Buys, pp. 12-13). If you can store a maximum number of points equal to your Leech level x 10, this costs +50%. At the GM’s option, this may be extended indefinitely. In such cases, this enhancement’s cost is increased by +50% per level and each level multiplies the capacity by a fixed number. Look up your level of this modifier minus two in the Size column of the Size and Speed/Range Table (p. B550), read across to the Linear Measurement column, and use that number as the multiplier for your battery capacity. For example, Power Storage 5 would cost +300% and would let you store 7 x 10 x Leech level. Combined with Steal Skill, the GM might allow you to permanently gain traits this way. In such a case divide your battery by 25 and round down to determine how many points you can steal from someone. You must add +400% to the final modifier to do this.
- Steal (Other Trait): You can steal a trait other than an attribute or HP. To determine the cost of this trait, first figure the cost of the ability as an inherent ability for the average character and then treat that cost times two as the modifier for the enhancement. For example, if you drain your target’s eyesight this would cost +40% (since the average Vision score in GURPS is 10 you’d use Acute Vision to figure the cost or 10 x 2 = 20 points). Thus every level of Leech lowers your target’s Vision Sense rolls by 1. These lost levels heal at the same rate as HP.
Steal Skill: You steal skills instead of HP. Drain occurs at the rate of 1 point in a skill per level of Leech. Excess drain due to having a higher level of Leech than the total number of points in a single skill do not give extra points in a skill (e.g., you cannot gain more points in a skill than your victim has). You use your attribute to determine final skill level in all cases. For example, if you have a DX of 12 and your victim has a DX of 14 and Karate at DX+2, your skill would be 14, not 16. If Leech has a Power Modifier, you can add your Power Talent as a bonus. This is instead of any other bonus granted by any other Talent you may have. Points drain away at the rate of one per second, unused ones first. You can add Extended Duration to increase this time. Cost depends on what type of skills you can steal. Add an additional +20% if you can decide what skill you take. At the GM’s option, this can be applied to non-skill traits as well, but the costs increase. For attributes or advantages multiply all values by 10.
- All skills: +100%.
- A broad group of skills: all Technological skills, all magical spells, etc. +80%.
- A medium-sized group of skills: a subset of one of of the above (e.g., all spells from one college or all skills used to operate a vehicle) or all skills of a particular type (e.g., Combat Skills Only or Social Skills Only). +60%.
- A small group of skills: a further subset of a medium-sized group (e.g., all missile spells) or all skills from a particular skill category (e.g., all Melee Combat or Ranged Combat skills). +40%.
- Voluptavore: You can drain bonus HP from people in pleasure. From a given subject, you may steal additional HP per second equal to half his current pleasure penalty – that is, an extra 1 HP/second for Tipsy, 2 HP/second for Drunk, or 3 HP/second for Euphoria – or an extra 4 HP/second from someone in Ecstasy; see p. B428. +20%.
Example Build: Succubi’s Touch
- For 8 points contact with even DR allows you to drain your subject.
- For 12 points even brief contact allows you to drain your subject
- For 39 points you can drain your target at range (with -1/yard). For a further 13 points you take normal range penalties and for 12 points you take long-distance penalties.
- For 2.5 points per +1 you get a bonus on your Will rolls to drain your target.