By Malfrak Duggems
Zarro Vallaki, long-time scourge of the small village of Bellknest, made a major announcement this week: he will soon be opening his castle doors to the public.
Vallaki Keep, the ancient and haunted castle that overlooks Bellknest, has housed the vampire for roughly three hundred years. In that time, countless would-be vampire slayers have journeyed to the keep to try and stake its dark master. Now, Vallaki hopes to welcome a very different kind of visitor–paying customers.
“Every time someone enters the castle, it is always the killing,” Vallaki told the Chronicle. “They want to slay me, I have to slay them, and then their brother or daughter or whoever swears revenge and the whole cycle repeats. It’s kind of fun for the first few dozen times, but eventually the shine comes off the apple.”
Looking for a way to end the constant threats to his unlife, Vallaki reached out to Bellknest Mayor Randolph Karpese. Surprisingly, Karpese agreed with what Vallaki had to say.
“I was nervous at first,” Karpese admitted. “Who wouldn’t be? Vallaki has cast a shadow over this town since long before I was born. It certainly didn’t help that he arrived in the form of a half-bat monstrosity. But I listened to what he had to say, and honestly, he made a lot of sense.”
“I just told the mayor, ‘Look, I don’t want to kill these people anymore. I know they are always coming to your town, you tell them about my haunted castle, and bam–next thing I know people are bursting into my crypt while I am trying to sleep.’ I am sick of it,” Vallaki said. “He was very understanding. He told me that he respected my position, but that adventure tourism was a large source of revenue for the town. I had never considered that, you know? As an immortal creature of the night, I don’t think much about money.”
Working together, the two found a solution: The Vallaki Keep Blood & Breakfast.
“People are going to be able to visit a real vampire’s castle, stay the night, and live to tell the tale,” a visibly excited Mayor Karpese explained. “It’s going to be huge. I mean, before this, we’d get a fair number of adventurers passing through, sure–but now? Now it won’t just be adventurers. It’ll be scholars, clerics, families, all coming to see a real vampire and stay in an authentically cursed room.”
Vallaki Keep will offer various amenities to interested guests: spacious rooms, a sparkling moat, and unbeatable atmosphere (including round-the-clock fog and dramatic lightning). The real key to the business’s success, however, lies in its unique pricing plans.
“I am, of course, vampyr,” Vallaki said. “This means that I require blood to thrive. On the other hand, I have no need for coin. This allows me to charge very low prices to stay at my castle, so long as you are willing to allow me to visit your room in the night and take a sanguine offering. If you would rather not know the ecstasy of my bite, you may of course specify this upon check-in… for a higher fee.”
The blood supports Vallaki, while the majority of the coin is passed down to the town of Bellknest. The vampire only keeps enough to purchase food for his guests, as well as a small reserve in case repairs are needed around the castle. Vallaki does not profit outside of the blood drawn from attendees. Additionally, as staff are comprised of Vallaki’s various undead thralls, no money must be set aside for employee salaries.
“The staff is really quite excellent,” Mayor Karpese said. “My uncle works there, in fact–Uncle Sven. Great guy. He died when I was pretty young, but I always loved him. Imagine my surprise when I found out he’d been Vallaki’s valet all this time!”
The Vallaki Keep Blood & Breakfast will open one month hence; interested parties may reserve rooms now by contacting Zarro Vallaki. Haunted rooms are currently all booked; however, several accursed rooms are still available as of the time of this writing. Bloodless stays must be specified at check-in and require a 10 gp upcharge. Vallaki requests that no visitors enter the basement, as it has been desecrated and may not be re-consecrated by opening night.