I may have missed it but can I ask, what is the connection between the Asanbosam and the Spider God?
Let's go back to the constitution of our mangrove society.
Besides animals and corpses, there are three living species described in our AB:
There are two distinct bloodlines for Vampires.
1. The primitive and feral Asanbosam, who are a biological naturally evolved species of Vampires. They have no Humans in their ancestry; from them derive the ancestors of all Vampire lines, including the ones in the regular VC AB. These look like bat monsters.
2. the Bokono trace their origins from regular Humans, powerful Black Priests/Sorcerers worshipping the Spider-God, who accepted to be bitten by the Asanbosam, and became the first Humans-turned-into-Vampires. These look like Humans.
Pygmies described here are not Humans. They are another humanoid race, like Gnomes or Halflings. They are so non-human that the Vampires don't consider them as food. As the Pygmies were harassed by the Humans, they took refuge in this part of the jungle, where Vampires don't threaten them and repel the Humans.
The Asambosam has no link with spiders.
The Asambosam is a local, non-Human, non-Pygmy being. It is depicted after actual Gulf of Guinea legends. In the rules, it is linked with bats, and sucks blood. They're really feral, like animals. They are part of the local ecosystem. They probably reproduce naturally with sex, like all animals. The vampiric transformation does not apply to them, but reversely, it is them who apply it to Humans in the first place, starting all vampiric bloodlines in the world.
The fluff says: It looks like a hairy man, with blood-shot eyes, iron teeth, and iron hooks replacing its feet and pointing both ways. It hangs head down from branches, like bats, attacking by surprise from above. It feeds on men, but not on Pygmies.
The Asambosam was hiding in a tree, hanging from a branch with its clawed feet, head down, and waiting for the next unsuspecting victim.At least, this blood sucker was identifiable as what it was, contrary to some of its siblings, who had become true masters of the art of disguise and looked like normal Humans.
The Bokonos are initially Black Priests/Sorcerers who accepted to be bitten by the Asanbosam, survived, and became the first Humans-turned-into-Vampires. The Bokono is not an Asambosam, but a Human transformed into a Vampire, who now lives in the mangrove among Asambosam and Pygmies. Besides not aging anymore, they perpetuate by recruiting new Bokonos from the most evil of the sorcerers in nearby villages. These evil priests are transformed into a Vampire, either by an Asambosam bite (like the traditional gift of the Vampire in European lore) or by a Bokono bite. They are the only Humans living in that part of the mangrove, and have no children, being probably unable to procreate. They live as a minority among Pygmies.
The Bokono has not the link with bats, because it lacks the Asambosam smell and bats dislike that. Instead, they have found to be immune to spiders and have developed a deep linked with spiders of all sizes. The Bokono are the ones who create and control zombies.
From the fluff:
Nobody lives there, except some evil sorcerers, the Bokono, and whole tribes of evil Pygmies.
Very few men dare to live in that forest. Those who do are the Bokono sorcerers. They worship giant spiders, of which they have developed some traits. They are rumored to devour children and maids.
The T9A Pygmies are distinct from Humans, Bokonos and Asambosam. They used to be non-evil and persecuted by Humans. They took refuge in the mangrove, met the Asambosam, and developed their Vodoo-like religion and a relation with Asambosam. They shelter the Bokono.
What we have not written is the reason for the link between Bokonos and spiders.
Let's develop hereafter how I would envision that.
It may have come from the time before any Human ever became a vampire.
At the time, they were priests in local villages near the mangrove who worshiped spiders, and as part of their cult, they endured spider bites as an initiation for the priests, and progressively became immune to spider venom and became tolerated by various spiders.
One of these slightly transformed Human was once bitten by an Asambosam, and the spider venom in his body mixed with the Asambosam saliva made him survive, transformed into a new Vampire bloodline, the Bokono. Having lost most of his bodily functions, he was chased from the village and went into the mangrove, where he was immune from Asambosam. Being chased from Human society, he was welcome in Pygmy society.
Then a similar fate happened to other of such priests, who kept going inside the mangrove to find the spiders they worshipped and sometimes would meet an Asambosam. Progressively, more and more Bokonos were created.
The original villages where they came from might have disappeared by now, some of the inhabitants having been transformed in Bokonos, and all who have not fled having become regular Asambosam victims or possibly zombies, i.e. dead in both cases.
Bokonos are now the main priests of the cult of the spiders. Pygmies are the main followers, possibly some Human villages around accept this cult and pay respect (and provide sacrifices) to whoever Bokono visits them. Some of the frustrated, evil-prone villagers may dream to become a Bokono some day.
- druchii.net contribution: The 9th Age - Dread Elves
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