Creating a Vampire
“Vampire” is an acquired template that can be added to any living creature with 5 or more Hit Dice (referred to hereafter as the base creature). Most vampires were once humanoids, fey, or monstrous humanoids. A vampire uses the base creature’s stats and abilities except as noted here.
CR: Same as the base creature + 2.
AL: Any evil.
Senses: A vampire gains darkvision 60 ft.
Armor Class: Natural armor improves by +6.
Defensive Abilities: A vampire gains channel resistance +4, DR 10/magic and silver, and resistance to cold 10 and electricity 10, in addition to all of the defensive abilities granted by the undead type. A vampire also gains fast healing 5. If reduced to 0 hit points in combat, a vampire assumes gaseous form (see below) and attempts to escape. It must reach its coffin home within 2 hours or be utterly destroyed. (It can normally travel up to 9 miles in 2 hours.) Additional damage dealt to a vampire forced into gaseous form has no effect. Once at rest, the vampire is helpless. It regains 1 hit point after 1 hour, then is no longer helpless and resumes healing at the rate of 5 hit points per round.
Weaknesses: Vampires cannot tolerate the strong odor of garlic and will not enter an area laced with it. Similarly, they recoil from mirrors or strongly presented holy symbols. These things don’t harm the vampire—they merely keep it at bay. A recoiling vampire must stay at least 5 feet away from the mirror or holy symbol and cannot touch or make melee attacks against that creature. Holding a vampire at bay takes a standard action. After 1 round, a vampire can overcome its revulsion of the object and function normally each round it makes a DC 25 Will save.
Vampires cannot enter a private home or dwelling unless invited in by someone with the authority to do so.
Reducing a vampire’s hit points to 0 or lower incapacitates it but doesn’t always destroy it (see fast healing). However, certain attacks can slay vampires. Exposing any vampire to direct sunlight staggers it on the first round of exposure and destroys it utterly on the second consecutive round of exposure if it does not escape. Each round of immersion in running water inflicts damage on a vampire equal to one-third of its maximum hit points—a vampire reduced to 0 hit points in this manner is destroyed. Driving a wooden stake through a helpless vampire’s heart instantly slays it (this is a full-round action). However, it returns to life if the stake is removed, unless the head is also severed and anointed with holy water.
Speed: Same as the base creature. If the base creature has a swim speed, the vampire is not unduly harmed by running water.
Melee: A vampire gains a slam attack if the base creature didn’t have one. Damage for the slam depends on the vampire’s size. Its slam also causes energy drain (see below). Its natural weapons are treated as magic weapons for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.
Special Attacks: A vampire gains several special attacks. Save DCs are equal to 10 + 1/2 vampire’s HD + vampire’s Cha modifier unless otherwise noted.
A vampire can suck blood from a grappled opponent; if the vampire establishes or maintains a pin, it drains blood, dealing 1d4 points of Constitution damage. The vampire heals 5 hit points or gains 5 temporary hit points for 1 hour (up to a maximum number of temporary hit points equal to its full normal hit points) each round it drains blood.
Once per day, a vampire can call forth 1d6+1 rat swarms, 1d4+1 bat swarms, or 2d6 wolves as a standard action. (If the base creature is not terrestrial, this power might summon other creatures of similar power.) These creatures arrive in 2d6 rounds and serve the vampire for up to 1 hour.
A vampire can create spawn out of those it slays with blood drain or energy drain, provided that the slain creature is of the same creature type as the vampire’s base creature type. The victim rises from death as a vampire spawn in 1d4 days. This vampire is under the command of the vampire that created it, and remains enslaved until its master’s destruction. A vampire may have enslaved spawn totaling no more than twice its own Hit Dice; any spawn it creates that would exceed this limit become free-willed undead. A vampire may free an enslaved spawn in order to enslave a new spawn, but once freed, a vampire or vampire spawn cannot be enslaved again.
A vampire can crush a humanoid opponent’s will as a standard action. Anyone the vampire targets must succeed on a Will save or fall instantly under the vampire’s influence, as though by a dominate person spell (caster level 12th). The ability has a range of 30 feet. At the GM’s discretion, some vampires might be able to affect different creature types with this power.
Special Qualities: A vampire gains the following special qualities:
A vampire casts no shadows and shows no reflection in a mirror.
A vampire can climb sheer surfaces as though under the effects of a spider climb spell.
Unlike the appellations of many undead, the name “vampire” can apply to a wide variety of terrible creatures, this undead affliction proving variable to such an extent that numerous distinct types of vampires reputedly exist. While these unusual vampires might pervade the tales and fears of secluded or exotic regions—and even outnumber more typical vampires in such areas—they are generally far more reclusive than their better-known and more populous cousins.
A terrifying breed of vampire typically haunting lands of the distant east, aswangs only arise from female victims. While these cunning undead predators fear no light and appear relatively human by day, they possess significant shapeshifting powers, undergoing a monstrous transformation, in which they grow terrible wings, claws, and a long, sharp tongue which they use to feed upon flesh and hearts—especially those of the young or unborn. Seemingly related to these grotesque undead are the dismembered manananggal and penanggalan, horrifying vampiric witches that respectively abandon their lower bodies or all but their heads and dangling entrails as they take to the hunt.
Known as ghoul-blooded or half-vampires, those cursed to live as dhampirs know a miserable half-life. Born from mothers infected with vampirism in the final days of their pregnancy or sired by freshly spawned vampire fathers, dhampirs live with the curse of vampirism in their mortal blood. Although the taint grants these rare souls eerie abilities, such as sensing nearby undead, so too are they cursed with a measure of their accursed parents’ ravenous natures, making many just as dangerous as vampires themselves.
Thought by many to be bearers of an ancient strain of vampirism, nosferatu possess many traits common to vampires, yet notably lack the immortal youth and vigor of other breeds. With strange similarities to and powers over beasts and vermin, these reclusive, withered vampires typically avoid interactions with the living except those who fall victim to their eerie powers of mind control. Yet, despite their age and dreadful manipulations, nosferatu are a waning breed, with none known to be able to pass on their monstrous curse and thus create more of their kind.
Bestial creatures, vrykolakas lack all the pride, romanticism, and seductive qualities of other vampiric breeds. Similar to ghouls yet far more cunning, these animalistic, shape-changing corpses rise from their graves by night to haunt the living and spread a terrifying, life-draining disease. Bereft of numerous vampiric weaknesses, they prove notoriously difficult to kill and can easily scour the life from overconfident hunters or entire unwary communities.
Just as various breeds of vampires exist, so too does diversity exist within regional or otherwise related groups of such undead.
A vampire with this ability transformed into one of the undead at a very young age, and has been trapped within an adolescent body for an existence possibly measuring in centuries. Vampires with this ability are size Small and gain a +4 bonus on all Bluff checks.
Vampires with this ability can have a number of enslaved spawn totaling four times its total Hit Dice. In addition, the vampire chooses one of the following three abilities: clairaudience, clairvoyance, or telepathy. Depending on the ability chosen, the vampire can hear what its spawn hears, see what it sees, or communicate telepathically with it. The vampire may exercise or end its use of this ability as a standard action and maintain its connection to its spawn for as long as it wishes. A vampire may only use this ability with one spawn at a time. The vampire and vampire spawn must be on the same plane for this ability to function. While using this ability, the vampire enters a catatonic state similar to its daily rest and is treated as helpless, though it is alerted to any jarring noises, the presence of any visible creature within 5 feet, or any damage that befalls its body.
A vampire with this ability possesses an ancient and legendary bloodline. He gains a +2 bonus on all Diplomacy checks, which increases to +4 if being utilized against another undead creature. In addition, he gains channel resistance +6, and the DC of his dominate ability increases by +2.
This ability provides a vampire a measure of resistance against sunlight. On the second and all later rounds of exposure to direct sunlight, the vampire takes damage equal to one-third of its maximum hit points and is destroyed if this brings it to 0 hit points. The vampire is staggered on any round it is exposed to direct sunlight.
As a standard action, a vampire with this ability can change into a bat swarm, centipede swarm, rat swarm, or spider swarm. The swarm has a number of hit points equal to the vampire, and any damage done to the swarm affects the vampire’s hit point total. While in swarm form, a vampire cannot use any of its natural or special attacks, although it gains the movement, natural weapons, and extraordinary special abilities of the swarm into which it has transformed. The vampire also retains all of its usual special qualities. While in swarm form the vampire is still considered to be an undead creature ith its total number of Hit Dice. A vampire can remain in swarm form until it assumes another form or retakes it original form (a standard action), or until the next sunrise.
Some vampires find their sanguine urges so irresistible that to resist them would be to invite madness into their own minds.
The following optional rules system is for players and GMs who wish to incorporate vampiric hunger into their games.
“Hunger” is perhaps a misleading term to describe a vampire’s lust for flesh, consciousness, or youth. As unliving things, they technically require no sustenance, and yet ravenousness is often considered a key characteristic of those who walk without life. In truth, this desire is driven not by need, but by psychological greed. Feasting grants the undead no physical nourishment, but does fill them with a pleasure and power they can’t attain by any other means. For undead, the act of feeding can be likened to that of an addict satiating her inner demon.
The basest monsters pursue their addiction to the exclusion of anything else, but vampires and other greater undead are closer to functioning addicts—simultaneously managing their hunger and their more high-minded schemes. If denied living nectar for too long, however, even the sharpest creatures hurl themselves at whichever warm, soft parts of the living they most covet.
This section presents optional rules for the hunger of undead creatures. Consult your GM if you want to use these rules in your game, since the added element of feeding can have a drastic effect on vampire-focused campaigns, especially for players running vampire PCs.
Creatures and Their Hunger
For vampires, managing their hunger is an integral part of unlife. Some revel in the feast, but for others it is nothing but a constant source of stress and shame.
A vampire who refuses to feed on intelligent beings is relegated to the dull taste of animal blood out of necessity, and forsakes the euphoria of a true feed.
Some see little choice but to give in to their desires with resignation. The joy dulls and the process becomes rote, but they accept it as part of their nature and never seek to break the cycle. This is especially true of spawn still under the control of their creator, who often view their hunger as just another restriction on their freedom.
Other vampires are so frustrated by their immortal addiction that they dedicate their lives to the search for a cure for their affliction—or at least a substitute for feeding.
This is more common for mortals unwillingly turned into vampires and those who truly understanding the ongoing implications of their transformation. Those nosferatu who have sufficient intellect are among the most likely to seek such a cure, and many feed with guilt.
There are those who find the feeding process detestable, but whose fear of withdrawal convinces them to act on their hunger. To mortals, this revulsion-filled consumption is indistinguishable from savage bloodlust. Instead of pity and understanding, these vampires are greeted like any other of their kind—with stakes and torches and holy rage.
Where the living suffer physically from starvation, undead suffer mentally. After long enough without a “meal,” even the most arrogant vampire becomes a bestial creature of instinct. Withdrawal weakens the monster, and as its natural defenses fail, its behavior becomes irrational, particularly when it’s around sources of what it is denied or has denied itself.
A carnivorous or otherwise life-draining undead may safely go a number of days equal to its Hit Dice without a dose of its preferred meal before it starts to feel the effects of hunger. Each additional day after this grace period, the undead must make a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 the undead creature’s Hit Dice, + 1 for each previous check).
If the undead creature fails its save, it enters withdrawal and begins to take penalties according to the Withdrawal Penalties table (see page 23). It must continue to save each day until it feeds again. Additional failed checks increase the penalties as shown on the table. Feats and abilities that affect mortal hunger (such as Endurance or a ring of sustenance) do not apply to vampire hunger.
An undead that is suffering from withdrawal grows increasingly drawn and gaunt (or diaphanous and tattered, for incorporeal undead). Any attempts by the creature to conceal its undead nature with the Disguise skill are penalized as noted on the table.
An undead that suffers withdrawal is acutely aware of its unfulfilled addiction; if presented with the chance to feed, it might be compelled to do so, regardless of the consequences. Anytime it comes within 10 feet of a helpless creature that can sate its desire, it must make another hunger save at the current DC. Failure means it falls upon the helpless creature—whether friend or foe— and attempts to consume or drain it. Until the undead has fed, it can take no action other than to feed from this helpless creature or to enable itself to feed (such as a moroi grappling a creature so it can use its blood drain). During this feeding frenzy, the undead creature takes a –2 penalty to its AC.
An undead that hasn’t fed recently suffers from withdrawal, depending on the number of hunger saves it has failed.
As shown on the Withdrawal Penalties table on the facing page, an undead creature suffering from withdrawal takes penalties to channel resistance, on Will saves, to Strength and Charisma scores, to damage reduction, to fast healing, and on Disguise checks. The withdrawal penalties apply only if the creature has the ability in question. For example, a hungry moroi’s damage reduction decreases, but a hungry ghoul ignores that column because it doesn’t have damage reduction. All penalties are removed when the creature completes a single feeding. This only ends the withdrawal penalties, and does not grant the creature any feeding bonuses beyond those granted by the creature’s ability associated with feeding.
If the undead’s Strength or Charisma penalties equal its Strength or Charisma, it becomes inert, helpless, and wracked by nightmares of hunger; it only revives if fed by another. An undead creature’s channel resistance, damage reduction, and fast healing cannot fall below 0.
What constitutes a feeding differs for each undead creature according to its own addiction. For creatures with a blood drain, level drain, or ability drain ability, each use of that ability counts as a feeding. Hungering creatures that lack a drain ability, such as zombies and ghouls, count consuming 1 pound of flesh as feeding (larger and smaller undead require proportionately more or less flesh). For these creatures, the flesh of a creature that has been dead for more than 1 hour staves off withdrawal but does not grant any other benefits, such as feeding bonuses (see below).
If an undead creature can sate its hunger by feeding on a living creature with an Intelligence score of 5 or higher, it gains the following benefits from the feeding. These benefits are in addition to any listed in the creature’s feeding-related ability.
The first benefit—deeply desirable even to barely sentient undead—is the euphoric rush of feeding, which fills the feeder with a sense of power, domination, and focus. The undead gains a +1 resistance bonus on Will saves for 1 hour.
It is because of this effect that vampires so often feed on the innocent and pure, since most of their would-be slayers are of a similarly noble and good disposition.
|Failed Hunger Saves||Channel Resistance||Will Saves||Str/Cha||DR||Fast Healing||Disguise|
The undead gains a +4 competence bonus on Survival checks to track creatures of the same type as the target of the feeding. This bonus increases to +8 when the undead is tracking the specific creature on which it fed. The target creature is considered “very familiar” for the purposes of divination spells and effects cast by the undead.