1892. Exeter Rhode Island. Folks are dying all around. George Brown’s family has been hit especially hard. First his wife Mary, and then his daughter Mary Olive passed on. His son Edwin had been sent away to Colorado in the hopes that the air would help him, but he returned because the sickness progressed. Then his daughter Mercy took sick and died.
How much can one man take? As Edwin’s illness grows worse, folks begin to talk. Three people dead in one family? Surely it wasn’t the “bacteria” these fancy doctors talk about. No, something was stalking the family. A curse….
George is a desperate man, ready to try anything to stop the hell he’s going through. Edwin is growing pale now and coughing up blood. The older folk in town are saying the dead of the Brown family are preying on the living to stay alive.
One day, George and some friends head to the cemetery. He’s had enough and he simply has to know. First they exhume Mary. She’s decomposed. Next they exhume Mary Olive. She’s decomposed. They turn their shovels to Mercy’s grave last. The men share a nervous glance when their shovels hit wood. Whispering a prayer to Almighty God, George opens the casket. Mercy lies in repose, looking as if she were merely sleeping. And then her eyes open….
The Last Vampire in America
Mercy Brown is known as the Rhode Island Vampire, and also as the last vampire in America. She was a victim of superstition who died of consumption (tuberculosis) in 1892. She was exhumed, along with her mother and sister, during the New England Vampire Panic and found to not have decomposed. This can be explained by the fact that her corpse was stored in below-freezing temperatures in an above-ground crypt for two months before being buried.
The people of Exeter, Rhode Island didn’t realize this. They viewed her condition as proof that she had been returning from her grave to sap life from the living. Her heart and liver were cut out and burned and the sick Edwin was made to drink a tonic made from the ashes in an effort to cure the curse. He died two months later. Mercy’s remains were returned to the family plot.
The Mercy Brown legend made headlines in the 1890s, and it is alleged that Bram Stoker used her story as the basis for Lucy Westenra. As time has gone on, rumors that her grave is haunted have become popular. The most interesting version of the legend is that if you visit the grave at night, the vampire will be waiting for you at your car when you return. In 2011, two teens were killed in a car accident after visiting the grave at night.
Mercy can be used in games in two ways, both as a gaslight era “bloofer lady” for your investigators to tangle with, or as the version that haunts the graveyard behind the old white Baptist church on Ten Rod Road in Exeter Rhode Island. The stat block presented below works for either iteration.
Mercy Brown, The Rhode Island Vampire
Attacks per round: 1
Mercy attacks with fists/ claws, surprising her opponents with her inhuman strength.
Bite: Mercy may either use her Gaze or a combat maneuver to grab an opponent and drain their blood. She drains 2D10 STR (blood) from the victim each round.
Gaze: Mercy can cast her gaze on a target. If the target fails an opposed POW roll the target is hypnotized and can be made to follow simple instructions. If these instructions are self-destructive, at the start of a round the target’s player may attempt an INT roll to snap out of it. If the target is a family member of Mercy’s the opposed roll is made with a Penalty die.
Fighting 50% (25/10), damage 1D4 + damage bonus or weapon
Bite 50% (25/10), damage 1D4 + special (see above)
Gaze Hypnotized, see above.
Dodge: 25% (12/5)
Skills: Charm 60%, Human Psychology 60%, Stealth 70%, Track (Scent Blood) 75%.
Armor: 0, but can reform after hit points are exceeded.
Sanity Loss: 0/1D4 Sanity points to be attacked; 1/1D3 to see Mercy do something unnatural, such as seeing her awaken from the dead in her coffin, or finding her sitting on the hood of your car after visiting her grave.