D&D 5ePlayer ResourcesRaces

Monstrous Races: Half-Vampire/Dhampyr & Ghost

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Halloween is just around the corner! If you are anything like me, then that means it’s time for some Horror one-shot game with your friends. Time to create some story or get one in DMs Guild, create some characters, and start rolling.

You could all choose to play monster races ready to kill adventurers, using the races Shawn did in this article some time ago. However, what if you want to play some misunderstood monstrous race, the same way we have the goblin, bugbear, hobgoblin, etc? In this article, I will provide you with some new interesting choices, these being the Half-Vampire and the Ghost races.

Disclaimer: These are races based on powerful monsters, and as such, making them balanced would break a bit the monster’s theme. That’s why they will be more powerful than other races. Be sure to let your DM know this beforehand so you don’t end up ruining a game due to how overpowered your race is.

Half Vampire (Dhampyr)

Cold and misunderstood, half vampires like solitude. Usually born as a result of the love from a vampire and some other race, they get most of the vampire’s traits while also having a sense of humanity. While some tend towards evil as a result of civilians’ backlash for their parents’ doings or their looks, others scale towards neutrality with the intention to prove to be different. It is extremely weird to find a good-aligned half-vampire, and it’s because of their deceptive nature that if you are to find one, you shouldn’t trust them either.

Half vampires are in some ways able to become more powerful than a vampire. However, due to their

Half Vampire Traits

Half vampires share certain racial traits as a result of their vampiric nature.

  • Ability Score Increase: Your Charisma score increases by 2, and your Dexterity and Strength scores increase by 1
  • Age: Half-Vampires stop aging once they reach adulthood.
  • Alignment: Half vampires tend towards evil or neutrality. However, their nature inclines them towards a lawful alignment.
  • Size: Half vampires remain with the same build their parents have, which is usually Medium.
  • Speed: Your base walking speed is 30ft.
  • Superior Darkvision: Thanks to your vampiric heritage, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 120 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
  • Undead Resistance: You have resistance to necrotic damage.
  • Vampiric Power: You learn the Charm Person spell. When you reach 3rd level you can cast the Spider Climb spell (only on self) at will. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the Gaseous Form spell (only on self) once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
  • Bite: Your fangs are your natural weapon, which you can use to make unarmed strikes. If you hit with it, you deal piercing damage equal to 1d4 + your Strength modifier, instead of the bludgeoning damage normal for an unarmed strike. You regain hit points equal to that amount.
  • Sunlight Sensitivity: You have disadvantage on attack rolls and on Wisdom (Perception) checks that rely on sight when you, the target of your attack, or whatever you are trying to perceive is in direct sunlight.
  • Vampiric Weaknesses: You have the following flaws:
    • Harmed by Running Water. You take 20 acid damage if you end your turn in running water.
    • Stake to the Heart. If a piercing weapon made of wood is driven into your heart, you are paralyzed until the stake is removed.
  • Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and any languages you knew in life (up to 2 more)

Designer notes: I wanted the dhampyr to be a bit less powerful than a true vampire. However, it should not be affected by all the same things that normally become a vampire’s demise. I made its innate abilities work like spells so they can be dispelled, as if those who oppose the half vampire could negate the “magic coursing through its veins”. Moreover, a dhampyr is not powerful enough to create vampire spawns, but isn’t as affected by the sun as its parent. All spells perfectly replace the usual vampire abilities, you jus need to give them some good description for flavor: gaseous form could very well make the dhampyr turn into must instead of a cloud, for example.


After death, there’s a chance one may rise again from the grave. This can happen due to some necromancer, a dark ritual or maybe because they have something still in need to be solved. Ghosts don’t have a predetermined alignment, as they usually retain the one they perished with. Nevertheless, the trauma of knowing they are now an undead creature may generate some levels of madness.

Ghost Traits

Ghosts share certain racial traits.

  • Ability Score Increase: Your Charisma score increases by 2, and your Dexterity increases by 1.
  • Age: Ghosts don’t age and eternally remain the way they died in.
  • Alignment: Ghosts retain the alignment they had in life. However, they tend towards a chaotic alignment in death.
  • Size: Ghosts remain with the same build had in life, which is usually Medium.
  • Speed: You do not have a walking speed. However, you can hover with a fly speed of 40ft.
  • Darkvision: You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
  • Ghostly Resistances: You have resistance to necrotic, poison, bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage from Nonmagical Attacks.
  • Undead Nature: Your type is undead, meaning that you can be targeted by abilities similar to Turn Undead. However, you may not be destroyed by it if your level surpasses the CR requirement. If killed, you come back as an undead ghost in 1d4 days. You don’t require air, food, drink or sleep.
  • Incorporeal Movement: You can move through other creatures and objects as if they were difficult terrain. You take an amount of force damage equal to your level if you end your turn inside an object.
  • Possession: One humanoid that you can see within 5 feet must succeed on a Charisma saving throw (The DC for this saving throw equals 8 + your Charisma modifier + your proficiency bonus) or be possessed by you; you then disappear, and the target is incapacitated and loses control of its body. You now control the body but don’t deprive the target of awareness. Each time the target receives damage, it can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success. Otherwise, the effect can last up to an hour or until you are expelled from the body with a Turn Undead ability, or take a bonus action to end the effect. No matter the way you get out from the target, you reappear 5ft next to it. You can use this ability once per long rest, and the target is immune to this ability for 24 hours after succeeding on the saving throw or after the possession ends.
  • Withering Touch: The cold touch of your ghostly skin is enough to chill someone to the bones. Make a 1d20 + Charisma modifier attack against the target’s AC. If you hit with it, you deal necrotic damage equal to 2d6 + Charisma modifier.
  • Languages: You can speak, read, and write Common and any languages you knew in life (up to 1 more)

Designer notes: If I were to make a race of a ghost leaving all the same abilities from the ghost as they are, it would be far too powerful. I wanted it to be stronger than other races without making the race the whole concept of the PC. A ghost can carry a sword and become a fighter. Yes, it would look weird, but it’s completely plausible. Moreover, the damage dealt by the ghost would be the one from the weapon instead of it being necrotic. I really like how the possession ability ended up being, as it works like mind control except you also have the benefit of hiding inside the target.

If you liked this

Why not try something a little bit different and play a different roleplaying game for this Halloween season? Might I suggest Dread?