The Chupacabra, or goat-sucker, is a creature with a reputation for terrorizing livestock and draining them of blood for sustenance. In that all of the victims are drained of blood, it possesses some superficial similarities to a vampire, and has even been likened to them in some accounts.
The Chupacabra is drawn from American folklore, with the first report actually coming from Puerto Rico, and though it is most commonly reported in Mexico and the American Southwest, accounts of the Chupacabra have been reported as far apart as Maine and Chile.
The creature is typically described as scaled and repitilian, though some variations paint it as doglike and hairless. Though the descriptions vary, it is always fanged and has a pronounced spine, usually with some sort of quills or spines. Some sources paint them as two variations of the same creature, perhaps as separate breeds.
They are classified as cryptids, and so are typically thought o be natural in origin as opposed to supernatural, but some of the proposed explanations for reported sightings of Chupacabra are diseases like mange, ritual blood-draining by satanic cult, or science fiction hysteria, so when portraying this gives us some interesting fodder for use in our roleplaying games.
Utilizing the disease explanation, (which usually cites dogs with mange, in case you were wondering,) we could put forth a sort of mutagenic "Chupacabra Virus" that affects normal predators such as dogs or lizards. This disease could cause them to shift into the creature commonly described in the myth and to seek out blood, almost like vampirism for animals.
On the subject, of vampires, you could also paint the Chupacabra as some sort of equally unholy or fiendish creature. Perhaps make them some sort of demonic entity that is entirely malicious in its predations.
If going for the sci-fi explanation, you could easily make this some sort of invasive alien, perhaps a scout or DNA collector (hence the blood) for a future large-scale operation.
Regardless of what they are, the better question is how to use them. Honestly, I think the best use for them is at low levels, with a fair blend of combat and investigation. Keep to the traditional bits. Some farmer in some village has had his livestock attacked. he caught a glimpse of the thing, and know it to be some hideous monster and not simply a wolf or other wild animal. He hires the party to find it and kill it, so that his livestock and that of his neighboring farmers is safe. Easy enough. Now that party as to investigate the corpses of the dead cattle, try to find tracks of this creature, and catch it in its lair or stake it out on a future attack. As an enemy, it would probably be fast, yet small, and since it sucks blood for nourishment, I could easily see it's attacks having some sort of vampiric effect. As it bites characters and sucks their blood, it regains health, which will make it a pain to fight alongside it's nimbleness and comfort with skulking around in the dark of night.
Of course, if you want to make them sufficiently weak, you could actually use multiple. Dogs are typically pack animals, and the disease interpretation of the Chupcabra cites dogs infested with mange as the source. Extrapolate this, and you could have a pack of Chupacabra's spreading the disease to their prey. This could lead to some form of epidemic, and creature multiple of the creepy creatures.
The reptilian Chupacabra is also well suited to sci-fi or modern games, since it is similar to standard alien appearance. It is also a very recent idea and it has attracted fairly widespread belief and interest, so having this creature exist on the fringes of society as a cryptid or extraterrestrial is believable enough to pass in most narratives. Also, due to the recency of the myth, I encourage people to add onto it. There simply isn't as much lore out there about them, and accounts are very confused and disjointed, as evidenced by the wide geographical range and the two completely different variations of the same creature. Adding to the myth and making it your own is a good way to incorporate new and scary elements your players may not expect. Surprise is terrifying.
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- Draconick, Digital and Dice Contributor
I, Nick “Draconick” Johnson, am a writer and roleplaying enthusiast with over ten years of experience in various tabletop roleplaying games both as a player and as a GM. I am also somewhat involved in other forms of tabletop gaming such as wargaming, board games, and card games. It is my hope that by creating and maintaining this website that I can share my unique take on all things within our hobby and to foster a community of like-minded individuals.