Finally! Caught up to "Z" with only a few minutes left before the end of April!
Z is for Zemiros, Lord Baron of Sulescu. And a secret nosferatu...but the people of Sulescu know the truth ("deep in their hearts," per the GAZ1 text).
|"Velcome to my castle."|
I suppose that even the farmer is protective of the livestock he will (eventually) slaughter, sell, and eat. This is the lie that Allston (writing for GAZ1) would have us believe: that "Zemiros Sulescu isn't really a villain - he is a neutral with great power." No, Aaron. With all due respect, he is an inhuman monster that sees humans as property and a food supply. And since we're playing a human-centric game, we should instead remember that being food for inhuman monsters isn't really the "proper station" for our particular species.
Zemiros should be a boogie man of sorts, perhaps semi-legendary, but probably a Big Bad Evil to be stomped out. I can think of several ways to revamp this character: installing a Rifts-like Vampire Kingdom in southwestern Karameikos (that would be pretty sick and wrong) of which Zemiros is just the outward manifestation of a huge alien intelligence. Replacing Zemiros with Strahd (i.e. the Dracula knock-off from adventure module I6: Ravenloft) and his castle, if not the silly, imprisoning mist (and probably axing the whole random-Gypsy-prophecy adventure...for notes on re-skinning Ravenloft, check this entry by GusL). Heck, I'd even considering making him a normal, mortal man who his people just think is a nosferatu (Zemiros might even think so himself...he's an ancient, eccentric human, prone to fits of murder and blood-drinking simply as a matter of sport)!
|The REAL Zemiros|
So unless we're going to say nosferatu are immune to the turning power of clerics (and why would we?) I'm going to take a page from the "extended playbook" of B/X...specifically, my own B/X Companion...and make Zemiros a Greater Vampire, one of the many monsters I wrote to challenge high level adventurers (Tim Brannan blogged a bit about this here and here; his Dracula write-up isn't a bad jumping off point for Zemiros). Yes, yes, I realize this is tooting my own horn a bit, but it's still a good concept...and there's no reason one couldn't re-write the "Greater Vampire" as a "Greater Nosferatu" in the same way the Gazetteer rewrites the original monster.
Just remember Zemiros IS a monster, not some benevolent lord.
[just like this year's A to Z challenge was a monster...and a fiendishly challenging one...to get through! But I did it (barely) with about an hour to spare]