You know what riles me up the most? Rumour has it that a couple of FBI guys caught themselves a Pale. A young one, I’m guessing as it walked straight into their trap. Of course, the Feds didn’t know what to make of a heat sucker like a Pale, and ended up killing the damned thing in bath of boiling water. God damn it, the best chance in decades to understand what these things want with us, and these two meat heads treat it like some sort of lobster. I’m telling ya, that rumour better not be true…
The Pale, Darklings driven by their need for ambient warmth; hunters with desires that can not be satiated by blood or terror. But what are the Pale, and why are they in our dimension?
The core rulebook details the mechanics of how these creatures work (see page 226 of the 1st edition rulebook, or page 221 in Dark Conspiracy Rules), but never really examines where they originated, how they live and what motivates their actions.
The Pale pose a dynamic threat to the players when they are brought to the table, and as such deserve to be more than just another ‘throw-away’ monster to be gunned down by the Minion Hunters. Below are a number of options as to why the Pale are here, how they act and their ultimate goal in our dimension.
Just where did the Pale come from and how did they arrive on Earth? These are some of the theories Minion Hunters have raised in the past:
- The Pale hail from Ambient, a protodimension located near Earth’s own plane of existence. Here the properties of Ambient’s make-up allow the Pale to exist without taking life. In recent years a great conflict has occurred on Ambient and a small portion of the dimension’s population have fled to other habitable worlds. Some say that the Pale were once the nobles of Ambient, and appear now on Earth having been over thrown, while other postulate that they are victims of a Darkling incursion force to survive in our plane as few others provide the resources they need to live.
- These creatures are nothing more than the original Vampires of man’s myth and legend. Cursed long ago by a being of immense power, the original Pale, and their descendants have always existed at the edge of humanity, preying on the weak and innocent. As with all creatures of immense age, many of the Pale have knowledge and memories of history long lost, and it is the promise of learning such intellectual riches that draws new victims even today.
- Like so many other Darklings that threaten mankind, the Pale are in fact victims of a betrayal themselves. Drawn to our dimension by a promise of power and freedom, they found themselves trapped by the barriers that protect Earth from everyday incursions from beyond. Forced into enslavement – their captor utilising their heat absorption abilities to its own end – it is only in recent years that the Pale have escaped their bonds.
How do the Pale operate? While we know that these creatures have a specific way of feeding, this perceived weakness has yet to see them easily tracked down and destroyed. To make things more difficult, rumour has it that this race of Darklings rarely acts in the same way, with each ‘family’ grouping looking to attain its goals in the most advantageous way it can.
- With the natural sunlight of our world posing some much of a problem to the Pale, this race has found itself forced underground, appearing only at night. Utilising guerilla-like tactics, they strike when are where they can to feed, rarely leaving their victims in the same location, or disguising their injuries to look as if they’ve been killed by other means. Forget everything else you read on this page, The Pale are the true hunters of the night, working alone or in small groups to survive the only way they know how.
- The Pale are an intelligent race, and while limited by their weakness to our sun, have used their intellect and knowledge to rise up the ranks of the various corporations that now dominant most people’s lives. Here they use their power and influence to make others do their dirty work; a food source is needed, corporate security kidnaps a victim; a new safe house is to be set up, its the company’s lawyers who do the talking. The Pale rarely need to exposure themselves to the masses, and will only do so if directly threatened.
- With their needs such as they are, the Pale rarely stay in one place too long. Using a variety of disguises – from a band of travelling musicians, through to members of a gypsy fair – they travel across Dark American claiming victims along the way. As they are selective in their choice of food source, it is unlikely that the authorities, even if they cared, would discover the bodies until the perpetrators are long gone.
Goals and Motivations
What motivates the Pale? Why are they such a threat to humanity and how do they end up in conflict with Minion Hunters?
- The Pale are simply looking to return to their native dimension. While they have the ability to Dimensionwalk, they are limited to the protodimensions closest to Earth, and are unable to break this barrier. How best to achieve this goal has splintered the Pale into a number of factions, which seem to be as much in conflict with themselves as they are with humanity.
- It is nothing short of an invasion, the Pale have come to Earth to take it over for their own ends. While they’re few in number, they have the cunning and influence to slowly change the planet to meet their needs. And more will come, it only a matter of time before the conditions are right for a complete assault.
- Like so many other Darkling races, the Pale are under the influence of a Dark Lord and do its bidding here in our dimension. Their only goal is to further their master’s influence and ultimately work at allow it to enter our world. Those random kills are actually part of a premeditated plot to undermine humanity and any opposition to their cause. But maybe, just maybe, the Pale could be freed from their Master’s power, and then, perhaps we’d have another ally, rather than yet another enemy to fight.
The Pale in Play
While it is tempting to present the Pale as yet another form of ‘blood-sucking’ Vampire, the unique nature of their feeding needs actually opens them up to become a challenging threat to Minion Hunters.
- More than simply cannon fodder – Even if you are looking to use a Pale as a lone threat, there is no need for them to be a mindless killer. As a race, these creatures are limited by their weakness to natural sunlight, and so will either look to mitigate the problem (by the use of technology), or will ensure it is not a factor in its plans. As a result, a Pale should be played as an intelligent and calculating killer, one who utilises all its natural ability and the general malaise of society to cover its tracks.
- Playing up their Goals and Motivations – It should be rare for a Pale to simply be looking to hunt for heat; in the modern world these simple desires can be easily fulfilled. Instead they real threat is when the Minion Hunters come between the Pale and their goals. Such circumstances should be serious threats to the characters, and this is when the true vicious nature of the Darkling race will be revealed.
The illustration of the Pale presented here was drawn by Jake Ekiss, for The Gamers’ Conglomerate’s edition of Dark Conspiracy. Part of my motivation to create this Darkling series is to allow this create art to at last see the light of day…