The younger sister of the Vampire Lord Count Reiner Heydrich, Katarina Heydrich is a major antagonist in Vault of the Vampire and Revenge of the Vampire; the two Fighting Fantasy gamebooks that feature her brother as the main villain, especially in the first one. Katarina is a very powerful and beautiful witch, somehow based on the infamous child-murderer Countess Ersébeth Bathory, as she uses the blood of youngsters to remain young.
About Katarina Heydrich
Katarina is the third born, and the only daughter, among the four children of the unnamed Count Heydrich, ruler of the county of Mortvania located in Mauristasia: a country in the far north of the continent of the Old World. Katarina soon became an accomplished witch and a skilled fighter. Whether she learnt magic on her own or was taught to is not known though. As such, she had little to fear from her brother, even after Reiner became a vampire.
At some point, her elder brother Siegfried Heydrich became count, until he got murdered by Reiner, the second son, who claimed the title. Katarina, who is as ambitious, malevolent and dangerous as Reiner, got along quite well with him and therefore, she could enjoy a luxurious life in the castle, while the entire population of Mortvania, including their last-born brother Gunthar Heydrich, suffered Reiner's awful tyranny.
While Reiner swarmed the castle with monsters, tyrannized his county and abducted young people on a regular basis to drink their blood; Katarina lived in her own lavish quarters, sacrificing the young captives that Reiner gave her and using their blood for Dark Magic rituals, so as to retain her youth and her astonishing beauty. Because of this, at 76 years old, she still looks like a beautiful woman in her early thirties.
Knowing full well that she cannot do anything against her vampire brother, who is much mightier than she is, she contented herself with her life, keeping good relations with her brother while (not so) secretly waiting for someone who could slay him, so that she could claim the title of countess.
Katarina is a highly powerful and skilled witch, mighty enough not to be harmed by any conventional weapon, who is able to sense magic and spells being cast, to curse anyone by merely speaking to them, to appear and disappear out of nowhere and to animate objects, among many other things. Her most prominent power is her hypnotic gaze, which she often uses to compel people to carry her dirty work (or to bind them to her will).
She is also highly intelligent, deceptive and manipulative. She offers to help those who can serve her interests, while making no mysteries of her real intentions, and she always tries to trick her foes into helping her, or at least to take control of them; fighting only when she has no other choice. Yet, Katarina does know how to fight and never refuses a challenge. She uses a dagger in battle, with enough skill to fight on par with the most trained warriors.
In Vault of the Vampire
Katarina Heydrich is a major antagonist in Vault of the Vampire, in which she plays a role as big as her brother's. The gamebook sets the relation between the two equally evil siblings, with courtesy and siblings' friendship on one hand, ambition, treason and defiance on the other hand.
You play as an adventurer who sneaks into the castle to kill Count Reiner Heydrich and save Nastassia: a recently abducted townsgirl whom the Count intends to offer to Katarina. During your quest, you can meet Katarina's alchemist, the one in charge of her "youth treatment", and hear about her if you ask the sage of the castle about the Count's family; learning from their words that she is a force to be reckoned with.
All ambiguity is dropped when both Gunthar Heydrich and Lothar the castellan, two friendly characters who prove very helpful, warn you to avoid contact with Katarina at all cost. Gunthar even reveals that he never dares to use his powerful healing magic out of fear of his sister, as Katarina would immediately sense it and would very likely curse him (or worse) in retaliation. Lothar and Gunthar tell you that your (already highly dangerous) mission would become a nightmare if you had to deal with both the vampire and the witch. They tell you that should you manage to destroy Reiner, they would deal with Katarina on their own.
When you come close to Katarina's quarters, you can either avoid entering, or meet the seductive but very dangerous witch. Katarina greets you amiably and offers to help you to kill Reiner, but you must remain wary. If you reveal your mission to save Nastassia, she flies into a rage and attacks you. If you own the Book of Swords, in which Reiner magically sealed Nightstar, Siegfried's magic sword, she offers to unseal it in exchange of killing Lothar the castellan for her. If the Book of Swords is not in your possession, she will tell you to get the holy stake that Lothar owns, lying about the fact that Lothar would never give it willingly and must be killed.
If you refuse to kill Lothar, Katarina will try to hypnotize you. If you lose a test of faith, you will have no other choice than to go and kill Lothar. If you only feign to accept, you will fall prey to Katarina's magic, losing 4 stamina points (life-points) upon speaking to Lothar (and likely worse, if Lothar had not given you a potion to dispel the curse in time), given that no-one betrays the witch without paying the heavy price.
- If you battle Katarina you need a magic sword, otherwise you cannot harm her and she bewitches a rug to capture you before killing you. Katarina is a powerful enemy with 10 in skill (level of power), who teleports away after being struck four times, but if you win this battle you will gain a life-potion.
It must be noted that you gain nothing in accepting Katarina’s bargain. Reiner’s counterspell proves too much even for Katarina’s vast knowledge of Dark Magic and the Book of Swords will vanish, destroying any hope for you to ever gain Nightstar. Worse, Katarina will be furious against her brother for foiling her, forcing you to flee to avoid getting cursed.
The Final Battle
After you destroy the fearsome Count Reiner Heydrich, Katarina appears before you, intending to get rid of you and claim the title of countess of Mortvania. She hypnotizes you to make you her slave and win without fight, and once again only a successful test of Faith can prevent this. At this point of the game, you should have enough Faith points not to be bothered, but if Katarina has previously succeeded in compelling you, she will be advantaged. On the other hand, if you managed to resist once, resisting again proves easier.Katarina is nowhere as dangerous as her vampire brother (who had 13 in skill, one point over the maximum) but she is still a powerful enemy with 10 in skill and 10 in stamina. Moreover, she takes advantage of your weakened state after the tremendous battle against Reiner. As a living being, Katarina fears neither holy water nor the powerful Jandor’s Bolt spell, and the power-up provided by the sword Nightstar is lower against her.
If you have gained Siegfried’s magic sword and chainmail, Katarina will pose little to no threat. Should Katarina drive you into a corner, Nastassia will grab a magic dagger and fight alongside you. However, she has only 6 in skill, not enough to be of much help.
Upon dying, Katarina reverts to her real aspect of an ugly old hag, deprived of her artificial youth.
In Revenge of the Vampire
Katarina plays a minor villainous role in the second gamebook. She is mentioned several times in the story, and you can learn that Reiner Heydrich’s personal scientist is tasked to resurrect her as a vampire, so that she would serve as Reiner’s right-hand-woman and help the Vampire Lord in his schemes to take over the continent of the Old World.
When sneaking into Mortus Mansion, Reiner’s main hideout, you can find a vault in the likeness of a beautiful woman, which likely belongs to Katarina. A possible hint that she has been or will soon be brought back.
The Final Battle
Katarina appears in person during the final showdown, taking place in Heydrich’s final hideout; the Ghoulcrypts, where he plans to absorb the energy of the late Great Vampires Elders, in order to become invincible. If you manage to defeat the Vampire Lord at full might and kill him, Katarina Heydrich, now a vampire, will attack you with 9 in skill and 9 in stamina. If you let Reiner Heydrich escape and follow him, you will encounter Katarina Heydrich under a human shape, while Reiner is resting.
Katarina will pretend to be an enslaved young girl before fighting. If you attack Katarina immediately, she will have 9 in skill and 9 in stamina. If you listen to her, she strikes you and costs 2 stamina points. She has 10 in skill and 11 in stamina. When Katarina is slain, Reiner rises again and engages the very last battle of the gamebook.
Once again Katarina (and even Reiner if he is fought again, though he remains much more dangerous than his sister) is far less of a threat than a full-powered Reiner, but she gains advantage from your weakened state.