Béla Kiss was a tinsmith who had lived in Czinkota (then a town near Budapest, now a neighbourhood within the city itself) since 1900. He was an amateur astrologer and allegedly fond of occult practices. In 1912 Kiss hired a housekeeper, Mrs. Jakubec, and began to correspond with a number of women and sometimes took them to his home in Czinkota. However, his housekeeper never really got to know any of them and Kiss was never on intimate terms with his neighbours even though he was well-liked.
Townsfolk also noticed that Kiss had collected a number of metal drums. He had told the town police who questioned him that he filled them with gasoline in order to prepare for the rationing of the oncoming war. When World War I began in 1914, he was conscripted and left his house in Jakubec's care.
When Béla Kiss' landlord poked a little hole in one of his tenant's barrels, he was overwhelmed by the "smell of death".
In July 1916, Budapest police received a call from a Czinkota landlord who had found seven large metal drums. The town constable had remembered Kiss' stockpile of gasoline, and led needy soldiers to them. Upon attempting to open the drums, a suspicious odour was noted. Detective Chief Károly Nagy took over the investigation and opened one of the drums, against the protests of Mrs. Jakubec. There they discovered the body of a strangled woman. The other drums yielded similarly gruesome content. A search of Kiss' house resulted in a total of 24 bodies.
Nagy informed the military that they should arrest Béla Kiss immediately, if he was still alive - there was also a possibility that he was a prisoner of war. The name, unfortunately, was very common. Nagy also arrested the housekeeper, Mrs Jakubec and asked the postal service to hold any possible letters to Kiss, in case he had an accomplice that could warn him. Nagy initially suspected that Jakubec might have had something to do with the murders, especially when Kiss had left her money in his will.
Jakubec assured police that she knew absolutely nothing about the murders. She showed them a secret room Kiss had told her never to enter. The room was filled with bookcases but also had a desk that held a number of letters, Kiss' correspondence with 74 women and a photo album. Many of the books were about the occult and dark magic.
From the letters Nagy discerned several things. The oldest of the letters were from 1903 and it became clear that Kiss was defrauding the women who had been looking for marriage. He had placed ads in the marriage columns of several newspapers and had selected mainly women who had no relatives living nearby and knew no one who would quickly notice their disappearance. He wooed them and convinced them to send him money. Police also found old court records that indicated that two of his victims had initiated court proceedings because he had taken money from them. Both women had disappeared and the case had been dismissed.
Each woman that came to the house was strangled. Kiss then pickled their bodies in alcohol and sealed them in the metal drums. Police found that the bodies had puncture marks on their necks and their bodies were drained of blood.
On October 4, 1916 Nagy received a letter that stated that Kiss was recuperating in a Serbian hospital. Nagy arrived too late — Kiss had fled and substituted a dead body of another soldier in his bed. Nagy alerted all the Hungarian police. However, all the sightings police could check proved to be wrong.
On several later occasions, speculation arose that Kiss had perhaps faked his death by exchanging identities with a dead soldier during the war. He was supposedly sighted numerous times in the following years and there were various rumours about his fate, including that he had been imprisoned for burglary in Romania or he had died of yellow fever in Turkey.
The botched arcane ritual Kiss first performed in 1912 gave him the tremendous powers of the vampire, and a resistance to sunlight. Unfortunately, his bloodlust was multiplied, leading him to murder the 24 women before he was able to partially control his feral nature. Kiss can appear anywhere across the battlefields of the Eastern front, finding the casualties of war very appealing to his unnatural appetites.
Attributes: Agility d8, Smarts d8, Spirit d8, Strength d12+1, Vigor d10
Skills: Fighting d8, Intimidation d8, Notice d6, Shooting d6, Swimming d8, Throwing d6
Pace: 6; Parry: 6; Toughness: 9
• Claws: Str+d4.
• Frenzy: Vampires can make two attacks per round with a –2 penalty to each attack.
• Level Headed: Vampires act on the best of two cards.
• Invulnerability: Vampires can only be harmed by their Weaknesses. They may be Shaken by other attacks, but never wounded.
• Undead: +2 Toughness; +2 to recover from being Shaken; called shots do no extra damage (except to the heart—see below).
• Weakness (Holy Symbol): A character with a holy symbol may keep a vampire at bay by displaying a holy symbol. A vampire who wants to directly attack the victim must beat her in an opposed test of Spirit.
• Weakness (Holy Water): A vampire sprinkled with holy water is Fatigued.
• Weakness (Stake Through the Heart): A vampire hit with a called shot to the heart (–4) must make a Vigor roll versus the damage. If successful, it takes damage normally. If it fails, it disintegrates to dust.