D&D 5e – Vampire Class and Custom Backgrounds
A handsome nobleman with angular features commands his three brides to attack a young man. The man stands paralyzed with fear as the three vampire women surround him and begin to eviscerate him with their sharp claws. By the time he realizes what is happening, it is too late to stop them and he collapses into a bloody heap on the ground as his life force leaves his body.
A vampire woman stares at the blood dripping from the hand of the criminal who just killed one of the guards working in her tavern. Unable to resist, she leaps onto his back and sinks her teeth into his neck as he frantically tries to shake her off. When the criminal’s partner finally manages to break her hold on him, the criminal falls to the ground and speaks one final expletive before he dies.
An older vampire pursues a young man through the alleys of a city. Fearing for his life, the young man runs and tries to escape until he finds himself at a dead end. The vampire knows the struggles of this young man. He knows what it’s like to be different and can give this young man the power he needs. As the vampire reaches his hand out, the young man with a fearful yet hopeful look on his face takes his hand in what would become the last moments of his mortal existence.
Vampires are undead creatures of both predation and temptation. They are the enemy within and dealers of Faustian bargains. One moment of physical or spiritual weakness and a person can be cursed to an undead existence for all eternity. Vampires feed on the blood of the living in order to sustain themselves and maintain their supernatural powers. Not all vampires are villains, but all of them have to fight against their urge to feast on the living.
Supernatural Killing Machines
A vampire gains their power from their undead state and the blood that runs in their veins. This bloodline is gained from the vampire who created them and grants supernatural powers shared by many of their undead ancestors. As a vampire grows older and more experienced, new supernatural powers develop and they become even more formidable than they already were. While newly created vampires are usually completely subservient to their creator’s will, eventually the chain is loosened for the new vampire or sometimes they are even granted complete independence.
There are some features that are common across vampires as a whole. Vampires tend to quickly recover from their wounds and possess great strength and speed. They are vulnerable to holy powers and this causes them to not benefit from most forms of healing magic. Most vampires would also do well to stay out of the sun as its radiance can quickly reduce all but the most powerful vampires to ash.
Not all vampires are members of the vampire class. Many vampires spend their entire existence as a thrall to some more powerful vampire until someone comes along and drives a stake through their heart and cuts off their head. If vampires themselves are relatively rare, then vampires who have the vampire class are exceptionally rare.
Most individuals who are members of the vampire class were adventurers even before they were cursed with undeath. These heroes, whose lives were cut so short, still often continue their tasks even in death. Even for those who weren’t adventurers before becoming undead, adventuring provides a way for a vampire to feed on new victims(who often won’t be missed), acquire power, and have a reason to be gone from civilization for extended periods of time.
|Level 1||+2||Child of the Night,Blood is Life,|
Enduring Soul, Vampiric Reflexes, Vampiric Bloodline
|Level 5||+3||Extra Attack||4||2|
|Level 6||+3||Shared Blood, Vampire Thrall||4||3|
|Level 7||+3||Strength of Blood||5||3|
|Level 11||+4||Strength of Blood||8||5|
|Level 12||+4||Hypnotizing gaze||8||6|
|Level 14||+5||Strength of Blood||10||7|
|Level 15||+5||Children of the Night||10||7|
|Level 17||+6||Strength of Blood||11||9|
|Level 19||+6||Elder Vampire||12||9|
|Level 20||+6||Bloodline Feature||13||10|
Creating a Vampire
The first thing you should consider when making a vampire, is the nature of your bloodline. However, you’ll generally have no choice on this matter if you acquire the vampire class after character creation(see the multiclass section) below.
Once you’ve “chosen” your Bloodline or had your Bloodline chosen for you, the next thing to consider is how your character became a vampire. Was this something your character sought willingly? Or were you an unfortunate victim who is now dealing with the aftermath of a vampire attack? How do you feel about no longer being among the living? Do you try to restrict your victims to only evil people? Or do you feed without restriction? Or does the thought sicken you and cause you to avoid feeding for as long as possible?
You can make a vampire quickly by following these suggestions. First, Dexterity should be your highest ability score, followed by Charisma. Second, choose the Scion background.
As a vampire, you gain the following class features:
Hit Dice: special (see the Blood is Life class feature)
Hit Points at 1st Level: 8 + your Constitution modifier
Hit Points at Higher Levels: 1d8 (or 5) + your Constitution modifier per vampire level after 1st
Weapons: Simple weapons
Saving Throws: Dexterity, Charisma
Skills: Choose two skills from Acrobatics, Arcana, Athletics, Deception, History, Intimidate, Investigation, Perception, Persuasion, Religion, and Stealth
You start with the following equipment, in addition to the equipment granted by your background:
- a) a holy symbol or b) an arcane focus
- a) a set of fine clothes or b) chain mail(if proficient)
- a) a martial weapon(if proficient) or b) two simple weapons
- a belt pouch containing 20 gold
Child of the Night
- You are an undead creature. You are unaffected by anything that affects only living creatures. You don’t age, require food or water, or suffer the effects of exhaustion unless it is the result of one of your class features.
- You have darkvision
- You are resistant to necrotic damage
- You are vulnerable to radiant damage
- If you end your turn in direct sunlight and lack a protective covering(such as a cloak or other heavy clothing), you take 10 radiant damage(which may be doubled by your vulnerability to radiant damage). If you drop below 1 hit point from this damage, you are instantly destroyed and may only be restored to your former undead state with a true resurrection or wish spell. While you are in direct sunlight you have disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks. The radiant damage only applies when in direct sunlight from the actual sun and does not apply for any other form of light even in the case of spells, abilities, or magic items that mimic the effects of the sun.
- You may not enter a residence without an invitation from one of the occupants.
- If a piercing weapon made of wood is driven into the vampire’s heart while the vampire is incapacitated, the vampire is paralyzed until the stake is removed.
- You roll a d6 for your unarmed strikes in place of the normal damage die. Your unarmed strikes count as magical for the purposes of overcoming resistances and immunity to non-magical attacks and damage. You can use Dexterity instead of Strength for the attack and damage rolls of your unarmed strikes. Your unarmed strikes count as light melee weapons for the purpose of two weapon fighting.
- You automatically pass all death saving throws. You regain 1 hit point 1d4 minutes after you stabilize.
Author’s Notes: It’s easy to forget about all the ways that changing from a humanoid to undead can affect a PC. Most people take for granted that many spells specifically don’t work on undead creatures(like most healing spells) or that some abilities that were incredibly useful against undead enemies might end up hurting fellow party members(e.g. Turn Undead). Then again this also does result in immunity to some spells or effects(e.g. Charm Person or Hold Person).
Blood is Life
- You have two hit dice that are not regained from a long rest. If you have more than two hit dice at the end of a long rest then you lose enough hit dice to bring you back down to two hit dice.
- Any hit dice spent for healing will heal you each for half of your maximum hit points rounded up.
- Against a living creature that is either willing, charmed, grappled by you, incapacitated, or restrained you may use one of your attacks to perform a bite attack. This attack deals 1d6 damage and you may use either Dexterity or Strength for the attack and damage rolls. If the creature has any hit dice then they lose one hit dice each time they are the victim of your bite attack. If they don’t have any hit dice then their hit point maximum is reduced by the amount of damage dealt by this bite attack. This hit point maximum reduction lasts until the creature takes a long rest. Each time a creature is the victim of your bite attack, you may choose to either regain a hit dice(up to a maximum of four hit dice) or you may regain hit points equal to half the damage dealt by the bite attack rounded up.
- An adjacent living creature can willingly lose one hit dice and take one point of damage to grant you a hit dice.
- If your Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution are less than 12, then increase them to 12.
- As a free action on your turn, you can spend any number of hit dice to regain a number of spell slots equal to half of your proficiency bonus rounded up for each hit dice spent in this way.
Author’s Notes: Blood is Life is one of your main class resource systems as a vampire. You’ll have no more than two hit die at the start of the adventuring day but you can go up to four when you drink blood. Not only can these hit die be used similarly to how non-vampire PCs use their hit die, but they can also be used to power different vampire abilities or even regain spell slots. Evil vampires who don’t mind engaging in constant massive blood orgies everywhere they go, can be running constantly at full power. Vampires who try not to be gluttonous fiends have to either be much more reserved in their ability usage or make a lot of friends who are willing to offer them their blood.
At the start of each of your turns, you regain hit points equal to your Constitution modifier(with a minimum of at least one) if you have no more than half of your hit points left. You don’t gain this benefit if you have 0 hit points or if you took radiant damage since your last turn.
Starting at 1st level, when you aren’t wearing armor or carrying a shield, your AC equals 13+ your Dexterity modifier.
Starting at 2nd level, and every even numbered level afterwards(e.g. 2, 4, 6, 8, etc), you may select one legacy that you meet the prerequisites for at the end of this section. Some of the legacies you may be able to select multiple times. At 2nd level, you gain the Blood Magic(Level 1) legacy for free.
Author’s Notes: There was talk early on about having vampire subclasses that have no spellcasting ability since there are many examples of non-caster vampires in fiction. Instead I decided to keep spell slots as a resource system for all vampires, but I included a series of legacies that allow vampires to spend spell slots on non-spell abilities. If you want to play a vampire that never casts a single spell then take a look at the “vampiric” line of legacies. These all offer ways to make use of spell slots in a non-spellcasting manner and none of them are bloodline specific.
When you reach 3rd level, the powers latent in your blood begin to manifest themselves. See chapter 10 of the Player’s Handbook for the general rules of spellcasting and later on in this article for the vampire spell list.
Spell Slots: The Vampire Spellcasting table shows how many spell slots you have to cast your spells of 1st level or higher. To cast one of these spells, you must expend a slot of the spell’s level or higher. You regain all expended spell slots when you finish a long rest. Unlike other spellcasting classes, you have to gain the necessary legacy that will allow you to cast a given level of spells before you will have access to those spell slots.
Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher: You know three 1st level vampire spells of your choice. The Spells Known column of the Vampire Spellcasting table shows when you learn more vampire spells of 1st level or higher. You must have gained the necessary prerequisite legacy for a given level of spells in order to know spells of that level.
Whenever you gain a level in this class, you can replace one of the vampire spells you know with another spell of your choice from the vampire spell list. The new spells must be of a level for which you have spell slots.
Spellcasting Ability: Charisma is your spellcasting ability for your vampire spells, since your spells are a manifestation of your will and the blood that runs through your veins. You use your Charisma whenever a spell refers to your spellcasting ability. In addition, you use your Charisma modifier when setting the saving throw DC for a vampire spell you cast and when making an attack roll with one.
Spell save DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
Spell attack modifier = your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier
Spellcasting Focus: You can use either an arcane focus or a holy symbol to cast vampire spells.
|Spell Slots per Spell Level|
Beginning at 5th level, you can attack twice, instead of once, whenever you take the Attack action.
Starting at 6th level you may use your action to willingly lose one hit dice, suffer one level of exhaustion, and take one point of damage to transfer some of your vitality to a willing or unconscious humanoid creature. If that creature has died within the last minute, that creature returns with 1 hit point. Otherwise that creature regains 1 hit point, gains temporary hit points equal to your maximum hit point total, and gains advantage on all saving throws to end conditions currently on them for one turn. That creature must make a constitution save against your spell DC at the start of every single one of their turns or permanently gain the Child of the Night, Blood is Life, and Enduring Soul abilities and gain proficiency in unarmed strikes. This effect can only be reversed by a Wish spell. This creature may also come under your control(see Vampire thrall below).
If the target of your Shared Blood gains any levels in vampire, they must select the same Bloodline as you.
Author’s Notes: This ability offers a way to save a dying teammate when you don’t have access to resurrection-type magic. This ability also offers a massive way for one PC to grief another PC. In an ideal world everyone would be mature enough to not screw each other over, but we don’t live in an ideal world so just know that it’s possible for one PC to become the permanent undead bloodsucking minion to another PC in as little as a single round with little-to-no practical way to stop it (well besides murdering said offending vampire). There is a reason why people fear and hate vampires and even the good ones have an uphill battle to fight to gain their companions’ trust.
Starting at 6th level, a creature that is affected by your Shared Blood ability may become your thrall. At the start of every single one of their turns, the creature must make a wisdom save against your spell save DC or become your thrall. Even if they pass their saving throw they still can’t perform any hostile actions against you. This feature counts as a charm effect and can be delayed by spells like Protection from Evil and Good, however immunities will not stop someone from becoming a thrall, but will delay it as long as they have that immunity. Nothing short of a Wish spell, or you willingly choosing to end the effect, or your death will stop them from becoming your thrall. It is entirely possible for a creature to fail their wisdom save to resist becoming your thrall while passing their save to delay turning into a vampire(i.e. gaining the vampire class features from Shared Blood) therefore temporarily gaining an enthralled living creature while it’s still in the transition from living to undead.
You may only control a single thrall at a time and that thrall must have hit points less than your own maximum hit point total. You may free a thrall from service permanently as a bonus action. If you can’t gain a new thrall without exceeding the number of thralls or maximum hit points limit, then the newly created vampire doesn’t become your thrall but still remains charmed by you for 24 hours or until you use this ability again. Until the charm effect wears off and if you free previous thrall(s) from service you can make the new vampire your thrall as a bonus action.
While the vampire is your thrall and while within 30 feet of you, you can have them use your proficiency bonus in place of their own and they gain a number of temporary hit points at the start of your turn equal to your proficiency bonus.
The thrall obeys your commands as best as it can. It takes it’s turn on your initiative. On your turn as a bonus action, you can mentally command your thrall where to move and to take the Attack(one attack only), Cast a Spell(if available), Dash, Disengage, Dodge, or Help action or to continue concentrating on a spell. If you don’t give any commands to your thrall(or if you command them to continue concentrating on a spell) then they will act instinctively. If there are any enemies in your thrall’s melee reach then they will attack an enemy with their unarmed strike(prioritizing injured targets otherwise determined at random). Otherwise they will attempt to return to a spot adjacent to you as soon as possible if they can safely do so by the safest route possible. While acting instinctively, your thrall has a move and an action, but they have no bonus action as long as they are your thrall. If you don’t command your thrall to continue maintaining concentration on a spell they cast in a previous round then they will stop concentrating on that spell at the end of your turn. You can not maintain concentration on spells on a turn where you commanded your thrall. If you command your thrall to cast a spell then you can’t cast a spell during the same turn except for a cantrip with a casting time of 1 action. You can not command your thrall to cast a spell that you yourself do not know.
Strength of Blood
Whenever you reach 7th level, and again at 11th, 14th, and 17th level, you can increase one ability score of your choice by 2, or your can increase two ability scores of your choice by 1. If you are using the optional rules for feats, then you may instead take a feat of your choice instead of raising your ability scores. In addition at 11th level after you either increase your ability score(s) or take a feat, your Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution increase to 14 if they are below 14. At 14th level after you either increase your ability score(s) or take a feat, your Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution increase to 16 if they are below 16. At 17th level after you either increase your ability score(s) or take a feat, your Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution increase to 18 if they are below 18.
Starting at 9th level, you can use your action to transform into a tiny-sized bat or a cloud of mist. You can use this feature twice. You regain expended uses when you finish a short or long rest. You can stay transformed for a number of hours equal to half your vampire level(rounded down). You then revert to your normal form unless you expend another use of this feature. You can revert to your normal form earlier by using a bonus action on your turn. You automatically revert if you fall unconscious, drop to 0 hit points, or die.
While in bat form, you can’t speak, your walking speed is 5 feet, and you have a flying speed of 30 feet. Your statistics other than size and speed, are unchanged. Anything you are wearing or carrying transforms with you.
While in mist form, you can’t take any actions, speak, or manipulate objects. You are weightless, have a flying speed of 20 feet, can hover, and can enter a hostile creature’s space and stop there. In addition, if air can pass through a space, you can do so without squeezing, and you can’t pass through water. You have advantage on Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution saving throws, and are immune to all non-magical damage except damage from sunlight.
You target one humanoid you can see within 30 feet of you. If the target can see you, the target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw equal to your spell save DC or be charmed by you. The charmed target regards you as a trusted friend to be heeded and protected. Although the target isn’t under your control, it takes your requests or actions in the most favorable way it can, and it is a willing target for your bite attack.
Each time you or your companions do anything harmful to the target, it can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success. Otherwise, the effect lasts 24 hours, until you end the effect as a bonus action, or until you use this feature again.
Once you use this feature, you must take a short rest or a long rest before using it again.
Children of the Night
You call 2d4 swarms of bats or rats, provided that the sun isn’t up, requiring no action. While outdoors, you can call 3d6 wolves instead. The called creatures arrive in 1d4 rounds, acting as your allies and obeying your spoken commands. The beasts remain for 1 hour or until you dismiss them as a bonus action.
Once you use this feature, you must take a long rest before using it again.
The maximum amount of hit dice you may have at any one time is increased from 4 to 8. At the end of a long rest, you are reduced to 4 hit dice if you are above that amount instead of the 2 hit dice that you were reduced to previously.
The following bloodlines are “chosen” at character creation, or when the first level of Vampire is gained.
When you choose this bloodline at 1st level, you gain proficiency with medium armor, heavy armor, shields, and martial weapons.
Starting at 20th level, you may cast the spell Compelled Duel at will without it being prepared and without using a spell slot. If you drop the target to 0 hit points with a melee attack before this spell ends and you are adjacent to the target creature then you can use your Shared Blood class feature on the target as part of the same action that reduced them to 0 hit points.
When you choose this bloodline at 1st level, instead of having spells known you instead have a spellbook containing four 1st level vampire spells of your choice(this is an exception to the rule requiring you to be of a level that can prepare a given level of spells before being able to copy them to your spellbook). Each time you gain a vampire level, you can add one vampire spell of your choice to your spellbook of a level that you are able to prepare. You may add additional vampire spells to your spellbook in the same way a wizard adds spells to theirs. In addition wizard spells of the enchantment and necromancy schools are added to your spell list and are treated as vampire spells. You prepare spells in the same way wizards do and you can choose a number of vampire spells from your spellbook equal to your Charisma modifier+your vampire level to be prepared. You can cast a vampire spell as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell in your spellbook. Even if you do not have the necessary legacy for casting a given level of spells, you may still scribe a spell of that level in your spellbook and cast it as a ritual.
Cantrips: You learn three cantrips of your choice from the wizard spell list at 1st level. You learn an additional wizard cantrip of your choice at 10th level.
Alternate Spellcasting Ability: At 1st level, you may choose whether to use Intelligence or Charisma as your spellcasting ability. If you choose Intelligence then use Intelligence instead of Charisma for your spell save DC, your spell attack bonus, and your number of spells you can prepare.
Blood Magic: All vampire characters belonging to the Thaumaturge Bloodline get the Blood Magic(level 2) legacy for free at 2nd level.
Master of the Black Arts
Vampires belonging to the Thaumaturge Bloodline have an improved spellcasting progression as shown below:
Improved Vampire Spell casting
|Spell Slots per Spell Level|
At 20th level, you may choose two more schools of spells. You may add wizard spells from those schools to your spellbook and cast them as vampire spells.
Starting at 1st level, whenever you use a bonus action to attack with your unarmed strike via two weapon fighting, you can add your ability modifier to the damage of that attack.
Starting at 2nd level, you can use your bonus action to transform into a wolf. Otherwise this feature follows all the rules of Shapechanger and shares the same number of uses.
When you reach 9th level, you can use a bonus action instead of an action to transform into Shapechanger’s forms. In addition you can choose to transform into a dire wolf instead of a wolf.
What Sweet Music They Make
Starting at 20th level, you regain your Children of the Night class feature whenever you complete a short rest. Also, you can sprout wings as a bonus action, gaining a flight speed equal to your current speed. They last until you dismiss them as a bonus action.
You can’t manifest your wings while wearing armor unless the armor is made to accommodate them, and clothing not made to accommodate your wings might be destroyed when you manifest them.
Starting at 1st level, when you are attacked by an enemy within 10 feet of you that you can see, you can use your reaction to force that enemy to take a Wisdom saving throw equal to your spell save DC. If they fail their save, their attack automatically misses. This is considered a charm effect. You can use this feature a number of times equal to your Charisma modifier. You regain all expended uses when you finish a long rest.
Starting at 6th level, you may have a number of thralls from your Vampire thrall ability equal to your Charisma modifier. All thralls may be given verbal commands with your bonus action. The sum total of your thralls’ maximum hit points may not exceed your maximum hit points.
Starting at 1st level, you gain proficiency in one of the following skills: Acrobatics, Arcana, Athletics, Deception, History, Intimidate, Investigation, Perception, Persuasion, Religion, or Stealth.
Starting at 20th level, the sum total of your thralls’ maximum hit points may not exceed double your maximum hit points. However, no single thrall’s maximum hit points may exceed your maximum hit points.
Ray of Sickness
Gust of Wind
Ray of Enfeeblement
An Eternity to Learn
Prerequisite: Blood Magic (Level 1), Thaumaturge Bloodline
You may choose two more schools of spells. You may add wizard spells from those schools to your spellbook and cast them as vampire spells.
Are We to Have Nothing Tonight?
Prerequisite: Beguiler Bloodline
You may spend a spell slot to have a number of thralls equal to the level of the spent spell slot perform a Charming Gaze as a free action against one target they can see within 30 feet. If the target can see them they must succeed on a Wisdom save with a DC equal to your Spell save DC or be charmed and grant advantage to any attack rolls made by you or any thralls under your control. The target may attempt to perform a Wisdom save against the same DC at the end of each of their turns or when they are damaged by a non-bite attack to end this effect.
Prerequisite: Feral Bloodline
You can take the Dodge, Dash, Disengage, or Hide action as a bonus action on your turn.
When you regain hit points as a result of making a bite attack, you regain an amount equal to the amount of damage you dealt with the bite attack instead of half.
Blood Magic (Level 1)
Note: All vampire characters get this for free once they reach Level 2
You may use 1st level spell slots gained from the vampire class.
Blood Magic (Level 2)
Prerequisite: Blood Magic (Level 1)
Note: All vampire characters belonging to the Thaumaturge Bloodline get this for free once they reach level 2
You may use 2nd level spell slots gained from the vampire class.
Blood Magic (Level 3)
Prerequisite: Blood Magic (Level 2)
You may use 3rd level spell slots gained from the vampire class.
Blood Magic (Level 4)
Prerequisite: Blood Magic (Level 3)
You may use 4th level spell slots gained from the vampire class.
Blood Magic (Level 5)
Prerequisite: Blood Magic (Level 4), Thaumaturge Bloodline
You may use 5th level spell slots gained from the vampire class.
Breaker of Wills
Prerequisite: Hypnotizing Gaze class feature, Beguiler Bloodline
You gain two uses of this feature instead of one when you take a short or long rest.
Prerequisite: Thaumaturge Bloodline
Choose either Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, Warlock, or Wizard. You count as that class for determining what magic items you can use. You can select this legacy multiple times. Each time you select it again you can choose one more class to count as for magic item usage.
You gain proficiency in all martial weapons.
Prerequisite: Knight Bloodline
You may select a single Fighting Style from the options available to the Fighter class in the Player’s Handbook. You may select this legacy a second time. If you do, you may select an addition Fighting Style from the options available to the Fighter class.
Feed, My Precious One
Prerequisite: Vampire thrall class feature
Instead of unarmed strikes your thrall(s) will make a bite attack against a nearby willing, charmed, incapacitated, or restrained creatures if they are acting instinctively and one is in reach. Otherwise they will attack with an unarmed strike as normal. If you commanded your thrall(s) to make a bite attack this turn by using your bonus action, then they can make one additional bite attack this turn if the target is able to be the target of a bite attack.
Prerequisite: Feed, My Precious One
You and your thralls can perform bite attacks in place of normal unarmed strikes any time you would have advantage against a target.
For the Dead Travel Fast
Increase your movement speed by 10 feet.
Honor Among the Dead
Prerequisite: Knight Bloodline
When you make a melee attack against an adjacent creature and no other creature is adjacent to either you or your target then you have advantage on attack rolls against that creature. You can’t benefit from this if a creature friendly to you damaged the target creature or cast a harmful spell on the target creature since your last turn.
Prerequisite: 10th level in vampire
Double your constitution modifier when determining how many hit points you regain from Enduring Soul.
Jaws of Death
If you hit with a bite attack then all subsequent bite attacks against the same target automatically hit until you receive damage from a melee attack.
Prerequisite: Shapechanger class feature
As a reaction, you may transform into mist form. You may also spend a hit die to regain health as part of the same reaction. If you have no more uses of the Shapechanger class feature left then you can not transform into mist form. You still revert back to your true form if reduced to zero hit points.
Prerequisite: Rend and Tear, 16th level in vampire, Feral Bloodline
Your unarmed strikes and bite attacks deal 1d10 damage instead of 1d8.
Rend and Tear
Prerequisite: 12th level in vampire
Your unarmed strikes and bite attacks deal 1d8 damage instead of 1d6.
Prerequisite: 20th level in vampire
You gain resistance to bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from non-magical weapons.
Gain proficiency in any combination of three skills or tools of your choice.
Choose one ability score. You gain proficiency in saving throws pertaining to that ability score.
Prerequisite: Beguiler Bloodline or Thaumaturge Bloodline
Choose two of your skill proficiencies. Your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make that uses either of the chosen proficiencies. You may selected this legacy multiple times. Each time you select after the first, you may pick two more of your skill proficiencies to be improved.
Prerequisite: Beguiler Bloodline or Thaumaturge Bloodline
You can add half your proficiency bonus, rounded down, to any ability check involving a skill you make that doesn’t already include your proficiency bonus.
You, any of your thralls, and any undead you control as a result of spells(such as Animate Dead), have advantage on their saving throws to avoid being affected by Turn Undead, Turn the Unholy, or any other turning spells. Also they will not be automatically destroyed if they fail their saving throw against being turned.
Prerequisite: Knight Bloodline or Feral Bloodline
When you hit a creature with a weapon attack, a bite attack, or an unarmed strike, you can expend one vampire spell slot to deal necrotic damage to the target, in addition to the weapon’s damage. The extra damage is 1d8 for each level of the spell slot to a maximum of 4d8.
You no longer require an invitation to enter someone’s residence.
We Walk Amongst You
Prerequisite: Beguiler Bloodline, 4th level in vampire
You no longer take damage for ending your turn in direct sunlight.
As a reaction when you take non-radiant damage, you may spend one hit dice to gain resistance against that instance of damage. During your turn you may expend a spell slot to reduce damage from all non-radiant sources by 1 for each level of the spell slot for 1 minute. This damage reduction does not stack with resistance to that damage type, so when you take damage you must choose either the damage reduction gained from expending a spell slot or any other source of resistance you may have but not both.
When you successfully grapple a target, you may spend one hit dice to make a bite attack as a bonus action this turn. During your turn you may expend a spell slot to gain advantage on your Strength (Athletics) checks for 1 minute for each level of the spell slot.
You know if there is a living humanoid creature within 30 feet of you as long as they haven’t done anything to mask their smell. You may spend a hit dice to completely negate the positive effects gained by invisibility for all enemies within 30 feet for 1 minute. During your turn you may expend a spell slot to gain advantage on your Wisdom (Perception) checks for 1 minute for each level of the spell slot.
When initiative is rolled, you may spend one hit dice to add your proficiency bonus to your initiative roll. During your turn you may expend a spell slot to gain a bonus to your movement speed equal to 10 feet for each level of the spell slot for 1 minute.
When you use a spell or ability gained from this class to charm a target, you may spend one hit dice to grant the target disadvantage to their wisdom saving throw against this effect. During your turn you may expend a spell slot to gain advantage on your Charisma (Persuasion) and Charisma (Intimidation) checks for 1 minute for each level of the spell slot.
You Are Mine Now
Prerequisite: Shared Blood class feature
You can use Shared Blood on restrained or incapacitated humanoids or humanoids charmed by you.
“Multiclassing” as a Vampire
The prerequisites to become a vampire are very easy. Anyone who has either the Child of the Night, Blood is Life, or Enduring Soul features automatically qualifies to multiclass in the vampire class. In fact not only do they qualify to multiclass into the vampire class, it is the only class they are allowed to take from then on. Growing as a person is generally something the living do and when you’re undead that doesn’t apply anymore. Once you are on the road to vampirism, there is no turning back outside of a Wish spell and even if you do receive one you lose all vampire levels, features, and abilities gained while you were a vampire. One moment of weakness and your soul belongs to the negative energy plane for all eternity.
On a positive note though, you keep all of the abilities, spells, proficiencies, and features that you gained in life. Spellcasting gained from levels in the vampire class are separate from the spellcasting levels you had before you died. You can still cast your spells from previous classes, but your total spell slots and spells known will remain frozen in time exactly as they were(although you can add new spells to your spell book and change your prepared spells) before you died and you start over with a new progression chart from level 1 as a vampire. So if for example you were a 5th level wizard who then reached 3rd level in the vampire class you would have four 1st level slots, three 2nd level slots, and two 3rd level slots that could only be used for wizard spells. However you would also have two 1st level spell slots in addition to that that could only be used for vampire spells.
Also if by some chance you do reverse your case of vampirism you maintain the experience you gained while you were undead. You can spend downtime days to gain levels in a class at the cost of 20 down time days per level gained. Once you finally reach a level that is appropriate for your total amount of experience points then this option is no longer available. Until you reach a level appropriate for your total amount of experience, you can not obtain new levels from reaching the amount of experience necessary to gain the next level. This option gives someone an opportunity to catch up to other PCs instead of being permanently behind them in levels if they get cured of their vampirism.
On the other hand, if a vampire PC is willing to forsake their former humanity and relish in the gifts that their undead life has given them, then they can choose to replace levels in a class they had prior to becoming a vampire with levels in the vampire class. They can do this at the cost of 20 downtime days per level replaced this way. The PC immediately loses all abilities, features, hit points, etc that they gained from the level of the class they lost and immediately gain all of the abilities, features, hit points, etc from the new level of vampire they obtained. Some vampires have been around for so long that they can’t even remember any but the faintest details of their former life.
A couple of final things. There is a chance that your deity may not be alright with giving divine powers to a blood sucking murderous creature of the night. Discuss it with your DM if a change is in order. Also for bloodlines, only starting characters get to choose their bloodline. Characters who became vampires after character creation pretty much get their bloodline picked for them. Finally, if DMs think the above costs for regaining/retraining levels are too lenient, then by all means change them. I kept them at a low cost in downtime days spent just so players wouldn’t be too harshly penalized. If for some reason it bothers you that going from knowing only first level spells to seventh level spells takes less time spent studying than it does to learn a new language, then feel free to change it.
While there are plenty of backgrounds that are perfectly workable for a vampire PC in other books, vampires often experience things that shape them that the living rarely experience. All of the backgrounds listed below are available for vampire PCs and some of them might even work for living PCs with little or no re-working(e.g. scion and vampire hunter).
Normally when a new vampire is created, they enter into a relationship that is not terribly unlike that of a parent and a child. The newly born thrall is taught to hunt the living like the cattle they are and one day they gain their independence. However in your case, your creator was destroyed not long after you were created. Unlike some vampires who generally die when left to fend for themselves in a world that hates and fears them, you were taken in by someone else who either took pity on you or still saw some shred of your former humanity in you.
Were you taken in by another vampire or was it maybe a group of the living who hoped that they could help you fight your vampiric nature? Are they doing this out of a genuine concern for you or are they hoping to use you as a pawn in some game or as some kind of super weapon? Are they the same person or people who killed your creator? Did they know you from when you were still living? How do you feel about them? Do you harbor resentment for the death of your creator? Do you appreciate the ways they may have helped you?
A character from the adoptee background could reasonably fit into a wide variety of adventuring parties, especially if they tend to value things like redemption or pragmatism. While many people are justifiably uncomfortable around a creature higher up than them on the food chain, their fears might be somewhat offset if the person who took you in is reputable. Even a party of vampire hunters might see you as a lesser evil to be used as a tool in fighting the more destructive undead out there.
Skill Proficiencies: Choose two from among Insight, Persuasion, Religion, or Survival
Tool Proficiencies: One type of gaming set or one type of artisan’s tools
Languages: One of your choice
Equipment: A set of common clothes, a letter from your mentor, a belt pouch containing 15 gold pieces
The person who took you in is either a person or a group of people that is respected (or possibly feared) by a lot of people. They are there to instruct you in the ways of the world and even to help you escape danger if necessary. Generally, anywhere your mentor is well thought of or respected (or feared) is a place where you should be relatively safe from harm or reprisal.
d8 Personality Trait
1 I have a haughty attitude whether I mean to or not.
2 I am generally cold and distant.
3 I revel in my new found existence.
4 I am bitter over the life I lost.
5 I try to be especially polite and disarming so people won’t be so uncomfortable around me.
6 I feel great shame over what has happened to me and wish that I could reverse it.
7 My zealous hatred towards the undead almost borders on denial.
8 This unholy existence is punishment for my sins and my service is my penance.
1 Redemption. I try and see the good in others that another saw in me. (Good)
2 Self Preservation. Nothing is more important than my existence. Nothing. (Evil)
3 People. I treat the living people who are close to me with respect. (Neutral)
4 Bloodlust. Everyone around me exists solely for my sustenance. Obligations be damned. (Evil)
5 Community. I still see myself as part of society and I try to live by it’s rules. (Lawful)
6 Procreation. I will replace the family that was twice torn from me. (Evil)
1 I will find whoever murdered my creator and make them pay for what they did.
2 I am indebted to the person who took me in.
3 One day I will pay a visit to my family members who never got to say goodbye.
4 There is a group of vampire hunters out there who regret not murdering me when they had the chance.
5 I am drawn to the people and places that I knew from before my death.
6 I have a loved one who I watch out for and protect from the shadows.
1 Some might say that my time spent among the living has made me too trusting of them.
2 I often view the living who are close to me as food first and foremost.
3 I can not consider the living my equals.
4 I have lost the hunter’s edge. I have become too domesticated for my own good.
5 I still don’t trust my mentor and have suspicions that they plan to do away with me after I’m no longer useful.
6 I obsess over trying to continue living as though I never died.
The greatest defense for the vampire is keeping the living in the dark about their activities. There exists a delicate balance between vampires and the living much like that which exists in nature and anyone who upsets that balance, whether living or undead, can bring everything crashing down. To maintain this balance there exists an order of vampire justicars who not only dispense justice to vampires who would over indulge on the local human population or create too many undead offspring, but also specialize in hunting those who would seek to wipe out vampires. These justicars perform a role similar to that of game wardens or some druids.
What lead you to join the justicars? How do you view the relationship between vampires and the living? Do you believe that they can coexist or do you believe that the living are just wildlife to be managed and maintained? Do you maintain contacts among the living or do you prefer to keep to your undead kin whenever possible?
Justicars have many reasons to adventure. Since part of maintaining the balance between vampires and the living to some extent requires protecting the living, anything that would threaten massive catastrophe to their food source might provoke the interest of the justicars. Generally speaking justicars will probably find themselves able to work with more “open minded” adventurers(considering they don’t generally pose a direct threat to non-vampire hunter PCs) and pragmatic adventurers who are willing to work with anyone who has a shared enemy.
Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Intimidation
Language Proficiencies: One of your choice
Equipment: A set of clothes appropriate to your duties and a pouch containing 20 gp
Feature: Harsh Chastisement
You belong to an organization that seeks to enforce a set of laws for maintaining balance between the dead and the living. This organization can provide you with intelligence, contacts, and occasionally equipment to help you perform your task of dispensing justice on those who fall afoul of the law. The fear and respect that people in the know have for those in your position often times results in them giving you information that can help you pursue your quarry or at the very least they tend to stay out of your way.
d8 Personality Trait
1 I am a bit of a loner.
2 My taciturn nature doesn’t win many friends.
3 I try to put people at ease with my friendly demeanor.
4 I am tough but I am fair.
5 I am protective of the living. Just because their blood sustains me doesn’t mean I have to throw their lives away.
6 I am social and strive to build networks whenever and wherever I can.
7 I am contemptuous of the living.
8 I am the law!
1 Coexistence. I believe that the undead and the living can live together in a mutually beneficial arrangement. (Good)
2 Domination. The living are cattle to be preserved for our consumption. (Evil)
3 Balance. Maintaining the balance between us and the living is what is most important. (Neutral)
4 Protection. The living are my flock and I am their shepherd. (Good)
5 Responsibility. Our existence is guided by a code of laws that must be obeyed. (Lawful)
6 Justice. I work to bring fairness and stability to an otherwise unfair and chaotic world. (Lawful)
1 There is one community I spend a lot of my time protecting.
2 There is one quarry who has managed to elude me for a very long time.
3 I fight to bring justice to those who are powerless.
4 My loyalty is to my fellow justicars.
5 I have a relationship with a living organization and we work together for the greater good.
6 My honor is my (un)life.
1 My strict devotion to the law means I almost never make exceptions even for those close to me.
2 I come across as harsh and unfeeling.
3 I see things in black and white and have little use for shades of gray.
4 My methods for dispensing justice are harsh and often result in collateral damage.
5 My desire to maintain the balance might sometimes lead me to being indecisive.
6 I disregard the laws and social mores of the living. Who needs to follow the rules of cattle?
After you joined the ranks of the undead, the person who brought you back met their untimely end leaving with no one to teach you how things are generally done in the afterlife. Without someone to instruct them on how to hunt or how to use their newfound powers, new vampires have a very short (un)life expectancy often at the hands of a vampire hunter or an angry mob, but somehow you managed to be one of the few to survive.
What was your relationship to your creator? Did you hate them or did you even know them? Do you see their death as being a bad thing which resulted in you being ill prepared for the dangers of the world? Or did you see this as gaining your independence? What did you do to survive since your creator’s death? Do you try to fit back in to your old life? Or do you survive on the fringes of civilization taking what you can?
Orphaned vampires, lacking many of the social ties of other vampires, find benefits in the adventuring as a way to hone their skills, develop ties with people who might be social outcasts themselves, and feed on enemies with little consequence. Parties of people who are already shunned by most normal societies make great places for orphaned vampires since, presumably, the people in the party are less likely to be judgmental (due to they themselves already having to deal with the stigma of being seen as evil or monsters) and said groups often don’t mind having another person on their side.
Skill Proficiencies: Choose two from among Athletics, Stealth, or Survival
Language Proficiencies: One of your choice
Equipment: A hunting trap, a set of traveler’s clothes, a shovel, and a belt pouch containing 10 gold
Feature: Rat Sucker
Provided that the area you are in has living animals, you may regain one hit die after a long rest if you have no hit die remaining.
d8 Personality Trait
1 I am in awe of the new experiences undeath has brought me.
2 I have a stable of rats that I breed and consume as needed.
3 I prefer nature to the confines of the city.
4 I have a strong sense of independence and don’t like to rely on anyone.
5 I have a tendency of hoarding anything that might be the least bit useful for later.
6 No one can tell me what to do.
7 I try to maintain multiple hideouts in case things go wrong.
8 I am feral and more like a beast in some ways.
1 Self Reliance. I am the only person who I can rely on when things get tough. (Chaotic)
2 Might. The strong do what they will and the weak suffer what they must. (Evil)
3 Anarchy. Society is a lie that only serves to protect mindless herds. (Chaotic)
4 Freedom. No one should be forced into servitude. (Chaotic)
5 Life. My diet of vermin and other small animals is a choice I make to prevent unnecessary death and suffering. (Good)
6 Hierarchy. A strong top-down social order is good for everyone. (Lawful)
1 I have made friends with a group of outcasts.
2 I am hunting for the one who killed my master.
3 One day I will return to see my loved ones again.
4 I worked with someone else to engineer my own master’s demise.
5 I live in the seedy underbelly of the city where I was turned at.
6 My master is still existing out there somewhere, but for some reason unknown to me our bond was severed.
1 I am prone to losing control and hurting people near me.
2 I still get squeamish at the thought of consuming a living creature’s blood.
3 I haven’t taken to independence well.
4 Isolation has left me socially awkward and standoffish.
5 I have no loyalty to anyone other than myself.
6 I don’t understand the formalities or politics among the intelligent undead.
Much like other nobility, your family owns land, wields power, and collects money from the peasants they supposedly protect. However, unlike other nobility, your family consists of bloodsucking fiends who have passed their curse onto their living offspring over the course of generations. Considering that vampires don’t reproduce on their own, living relatives are often kept alive long enough to produce heirs before their souls are condemned to an eternity of undeath.
Your character could easily be a living adventurer or already a vampire. Are they looking forward to the day they can join their ancestors in undeath? Does it loom over them constantly and fill them with fear? Do you even know that your family is full of vampires or has it been carefully hidden from you and treated as folk tales and superstition? If they’ve already been cursed with vampirism do they revel in the suffering and terror they cause to the hapless peasants crushed by their family’s iron fist? Or do they try to act as responsible stewards and cause harm only when necessary?
A character with the scion background may fit into any adventuring party that has deep respect for nobility and tradition. Unless proof of your possible undead nature or association with vampires is immediately obvious, accusing nobility of such heinousness may range from being in bad taste to being outright illegal. Often times a character with the scion background adventures for personal gain but it’s definitely not unheard of for them to help further the machinations of their family which can lead to them working with the most unlikely of allies.
Skill Proficiencies: Choose two from among Deception, History, Intimidate, or Persuasion
Tool Proficiencies: Choose either one type of gaming set or one type of musical instrument
Languages: One of your choice
Equipment: A set of fine clothes, a signet ring, a scroll of pedigree, and a purse containing 20 gold pieces.
Feature: Iron Fist
Much like other nobles, you are welcome in high society and most nobility will treat you with the respect that your social class warrants. Unless they have absolutely undeniable proof that you are a vampire or associate with vampires, then other nobility will generally give you the benefit of the doubt and even in that situation possibly view you as a potential powerful ally. The peasantry is generally afraid of you due to superstition concerning your family’s true nature and tales of cruelty perpetuated by them.
Use the tables for the noble background in the Player’s Handbook although you may want to avoid traits that suggest kindness or generosity unless your scion’s personality deviates drastically from that of their family.
Somewhere far away from crowded population centers waits the evil queen of the vampires who has been working to put her machinations into action since the beginning of history to undermine the world of the living. Through her (mostly) female network of spies, diplomats, and occasional assassins she is able to manipulate nobility, wealthy merchants, religious leaders, and even military officers into working against their own interest and for the benefit of vampires world wide. Strong enemies, who if united would pose a great threat to undead across the world, have been defeated by deceiving the right people in positions of power to go to war with each other. You are a member of this network.
How did you come into this line of work? Did you willingly decide to infiltrate living society to protect vampirekind? Were you an important member of a hierarchy infiltrated by the sisterhood who ended up becoming an unwilling defector? Do you revel in turning the living against one another and seeing the destruction that ensues? Do you try to avoid unnecessary damage and do what you can to survive? What kind of high ranking circles do you move in?
A character with the sisterhood background is most likely to fit in when they don’t let other people know that they are a vampire. Although parties of questionable morals or with similar enemies may be okay with working together. While the background refers to the sisterhood and the members are predominately female, male members of the sisterhood are not entirely unknown.
Skill Proficiencies: Choose two from among Deception, Insight, Persuasion, or Stealth
Tool Proficiencies: Disguise kit
Language Proficiencies: One of your choice
Equipment: A set of fine clothes, a disguise kit, a document providing a cover story
You have the service of one hanger-on who is loyal to you. This hanger-on might either be infatuated with you or they might be helping you in the hopes that you will grant them eternal life at some point in the future. Your hanger-on often has some minor degree of social standing in society and may be able to do favors for you and provide you a cover story, but they do not fight for you, will not follow you into obviously dangerous areas(such as dungeons), and will leave you if they are frequently endangered. Barring severe mistreatment, your identity as a vampire is safe with your hanger-on as they hope it benefits them when you succeed. Once every seven days you may regain one hit dice by drinking the blood of your hanger-on. Doing so more often than once every seven days may result in a weakened hanger-on or even having the hanger-on leave your service.
d8 Personality Trait
1 I’m standoffish and not prone to small talk.
2 I’m often focused on my surroundings and coming up with an exit strategy for if things go wrong.
3 Once I’m wronged, I never forgive and never forget.
4 I am focused on my appearance and the latest fashions.
5 I am bitter over what I have become.
6 My demeanor is friendly and I genuinely try to help others if I can with what power I have.
7 I actually find all this subterfuge boring and court life petty.
8 I have a disdainful view of men from my time in the sisterhood.
1 Co-existence. The living and vampires don’t have to be enemies and you don’t want to unnecessarily kill people but sometimes survival requires dishonest means. (Good)
2 Power. Putting the living in their place is the first step to taking your place as the undisputed top of the food chain. (Evil)
3 Responsibility. Duty to the mother of all vampires comes before all else. (Lawful)
4 Greed. I’m in it for the money and status. (Evil)
5 Independence. I hate the people who made me this way and I would leave the sisterhood if I thought I could do so safely. (Chaotic)
6 Sadism. I love watching human civilization rot from the inside. (Evil)
1 I actually have a soft spot for my hanger-on and legitimately look to their well being.
2 My devotion to the queen is unwavering.
3 I still have loyalties to my people from before I died.
4 Hopefully I can achieve social status and titles of nobility through my schemes.
5 I want revenge on the people who made me this way.
6 I work tirelessly for the good of vampirekind.
1 I sometimes take unnecessary risks that could break my cover.
2 I often have trouble taking direct action.
3 I’m worried to the point of paranoia that other people are subtly working against me in the same way I’m working against them.
4 An inquisitor or investigator is suspicious of me and is working to reveal what I am.
5 My sense of superiority leads me to believe that I’m invincible and that the people around me will never figure out what I’m doing until it’s too late.
6 I neglect my job and focus on court intrigue or easy living.
For as long as humanity can remember, the undead have preyed on the living and gorged themselves on the blood of the weak and the innocent. The only thing standing against these murderous leeches are the brave men and women who risk their very souls to cut out the corruption that hides in the darkest corners of civilization. If it weren’t for these vampire hunters, the living would be reduced to little more than a blood crop waiting to be harvested by these undead monstrosities.
What caused you to dedicate your life to hunting the living dead? Were you or someone you love cursed with vampirism? Did someone train you in the art of hunting vampires or were you self trained? Does your hatred extend to all undead? Do you believe that a vampire can be good or even redeemed?
A vampire hunter should have little trouble fitting into most adventurer parties. However a vampire that hunts other vampires might still have difficulty gaining the trust of like minded adventurers. A vampire hunter would probably even fit in with a party of other vampires assuming that they all held similar goals in mind.
Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Perception
Tool Proficiencies: Thieves tools
Equipment: A crowbar, a hammer, a wooden stake, a sharpened blade for decapitating vampires(treat as a handaxe but without the throwing property), and a flask of holy water
Feature: Vampire Detection
After spending a short amount of time in a town or city(maybe as little as a day in a village to as long as a week or two in a large city), you can recognize the signs necessary to know whether or not there are any vampires in the local area. In addition, people are likely to come to you first when they have information relating to the identity or location of a vampire and you are likely the first person people they will hire when they need a vampire destroyed.
d8 Personality Trait
1 I tend to get to the point. Results are what matter.
2 I’m haunted by the deaths of my friends and family who were killed at the hands of a vampire.
3 I’ve lost too many friends to the undead and am slow to make new ones.
4 I’ve grown to hate all forms of evil.
5 I like to have a backup plan for when things go wrong.
6 All of the death I’ve seen has made me realize the importance of having a sense of humor.
7 My pragmatism makes me willing to work with anyone or anything, including vampires, to achieve my goals.
8 I think knowledge is the most important tool in the fight against the undead.
1 Retribution. Anyone that even associates with these vile creatures needs to meet the same end. (Evil)
2 Freedom. Vampirism is a form of servitude that enslaves those unlucky enough to be afflicted with it. I will be the one to free them. (Chaotic)
3 Life. All life is sacred and these monstrosities are its antithesis. (Good)
4 Fate. I am destined to die a glorious death fighting against what I hate most. (Lawful)
5 Civilization. Dangers to our society are the greatest threat there is. (Lawful)
6 Greater Good. I fight so that others don’t have to fear the night. (Good)
1 A vampire turned one of my loved ones a long time ago and I won’t stop until I release my loved one from their suffering.
2 A corrupt official who hides behind their position of authority is trying to hinder me as much as possible.
3 My mentor is one of my greatest friends. They taught me everything I know.
4 I’ll never forget when my team was ambushed and slaughtered by an elder vampire.
5 I know of a prophecy that could result in the death of all living creatures and I will do anything to make sure it doesn’t come to pass.
6 I used to be undead until I was restored to life. I will do what I can to make it right to the people who suffered at my hands.
1 I can be just as monstrous as the creatures I hunt.
2 I am often cold and unfriendly.
3 My dark humor often comes at inappropriate times.
4 I can be very single minded in pursuit of my quarry.
5 I can be callous when dealing with a victim’s loved ones. Sometimes I forget that a vampire used to be someone’s sibling or friend.
6 My fear of losing people to the predations of the undead prevents me from forming long term bonds.
Author’s Final Notes:
When making the vampire class, I had a few things in mind. I wanted them to have a lot of utility, neat abilities, and options, but I wanted vampires to not be as efficient or just flat out powerful as an optimized living character. You’ll see vampires in full plate mind controlling people and vampire wizards cutting people to ribbons in melee. However those vampire warriors aren’t doing as much damage as an optimized living warrior and the vampire wizard is stuck at half caster progression.
I wanted the vampire class to be really self sufficient, but I wanted them to not have a lot of synergy with other PCs. Vampires can heal themselves through sucking the blood of their victims and they can regenerate and even the warriors are able to be spell casters and the spell casters are able to be warriors. However, a lot of their abilities are selfish. You won’t really see a vampire buffing up or aiding another team mate all that much and the plethora of escape tools for the vampire means it’s all too easy for them to bail when the going gets tough.
Feel free to change up parts of the class that fit in better with your concept of vampire mythology. We tried to balance weaknesses with playability so you end up with vampires that will go up in flames if caught unprotected in the sunlight, but can escape the worst effects of it by carrying sufficient covering. Making this weakness more strict(by not allowing protective clothing/umbrellas/etc protect you from sunlight) can result in the campaign either leaving the vampire PC behind or becoming completely vampire PC-centric. The first few minutes of playtesting(when we had the stricter version of sunlight weakness) saw me dropping an f-bomb when I realized that our vampire PC couldn’t actually participate in a large part of the first chapter of Hoard of the Dragon Queen. Specifics of getting blood should be easier to change though. I left it to just living creatures, but feel free to change it so vampires gain little to no benefit from non-humanoid sources of blood.
One last thing to consider that might possibly be an issue is having a relatively moral vampire PC in the party that needs blood and isn’t sure how to get it. There might be some awkwardness for some players as they try to pop the question of asking their fellow PCs to make a generous blood donation. Vampires in fiction often have a strong sexual subtext (and it has been this way for a long time despite what many people think) and blood, and the oral transferral thereof, is often sexualized as well. Don’t be surprised if there is a high level of awkwardness in players the first time regaining hit dice from a fellow PC comes into play. There is a good chance people might joke to break the tension. The first time I played a vampire back in 4e, I ended up singing “I just met you and this is crazy, but I’m out of healing surges so feed me maybe” to lighten up the subject. All I’m saying is have some empathy and understand that this awkwardness may happen.
Author: Jessica Deuel
Playtesters: Evan Borgman, Joshua Carland, David Gidcumb, Nickolas Hartunian, Rich Heglund, Amber Jimmerson, Sam Mercer, Zachary Richardson
Jessica Deuel is a long time fan of table top RPGs. When she isn’t in class or enjoying RPGs with friends, she likes to do constructive things like argue with people on the internet or play Facebook games. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org