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View Full Version : Recognising a Vampire 3.5e



SoD
2010-08-22, 05:00 PM
How easy would it be for someone to recognise a vampire, especially one who can walk in daylight, due to a magic cloak, with the following information;


is extremely strong, but doesn't appear so
can walk though walls
claims to be the last noble in a family that died out 400 years back


The person trying to recognise the vampire;
fairly smart (14-16 int)
is a noble herself (knows of the old family from books, etc)
has been told that he's immortal she's known since childhood, but she doesn't beleive him
has been told he's not immortal by someone she hardly knows
has been told that he IS the count

Coidzor
2010-08-22, 05:08 PM
So, what, this is an adult PC who has known someone from childhood who hasn't aged and doesn't appear to be an elf... Who claims to be the last member of a family that died out 400 years ago...

Well, I guess one thing would be the obvious confirmation of his claim. I mean, if he can prove he's someone who should be dead/is confirmed as being dead, that leaves undead or a really good story.

Xefas
2010-08-22, 05:18 PM
Well, it doesn't exactly scream "Vampire" immediately, depending on your setting, I suppose.

If Vampires are a big deal in your setting, then maybe the suspicion would be founded. If it's just a generic "D&D" setting, then a Strength Bonus is so trivially had it's nothing special; walking through walls is a little stranger, but still something any mid-level caster could do, and a large variety of monsters both Good and Evil; and about being told...well, I guess it's up to you to decide how paranoid your character is.

Me, personally, even if my best friend told me he thought someone was a Vampire, I'd think he was inebriated before I'd think there was an actual Vampire. Even in a fantasy world, I'd probably think it was some kind of hoax and he's actually just a spellcaster of some kind. Your everyday wizard can do everything a Vampire can do and more.

DeltaEmil
2010-08-22, 05:19 PM
By using the Knowledge (Religion) skill, with a DC of 10 + the vampires hit dice, which she must be trained. Now one might wonder how you should even know that you have to roll on knowledge (religion), but since this is a trained skill, this can be explained that you did in fact learn about vampires and how to identify them, which gives you the chance to know what sort of undead he's supposed to be.

onthetown
2010-08-22, 05:21 PM
Does the magic cloak prevent him from sparkling in the sunlight? :smalltongue:

Seriously though, if she's known since childhood that he's immortal... Obviously she would think it was a joke the first few times, but after a decade passes and he doesn't age then you think she would catch on. Sounds like she just needs a wake-up call.

EvilJoe15
2010-08-22, 05:26 PM
A little holy water goes a long way. Also Cure potions. Detect Undead, Detect Evil. Is the inquisitor non-good? If so many other things can be used. Things that Undead are immune to, but Living things aren't, try reading it's thoughts, or poisoning it.

Coidzor
2010-08-22, 05:29 PM
Seriously though, if she's known since childhood that he's immortal... Obviously she would think it was a joke the first few times, but after a decade passes and he doesn't age then you think she would catch on. Sounds like she just needs a wake-up call.

Indeed, with that kind of intelligence, it suggests a poor wisdom or that the character's INT hasn't been taken into account that she's not found an acceptable explanation for why he hasn't aged that doesn't involve believing him claiming immortality or asking why he's claiming immortality.

Xefas
2010-08-22, 05:30 PM
Seriously though, if she's known since childhood that he's immortal... Obviously she would think it was a joke the first few times, but after a decade passes and he doesn't age then you think she would catch on. Sounds like she just needs a wake-up call.

Unless he's an Elf, or someone with the 1st level Disguise Self spell that just changes their appearance so they don't look old, or a Celestial/Dragon/Fey/something else in disguise, or a high level Druid or Monk. Or someone with an age-restraining magic item. Or a Demigod/actual Deity in human form. Polymorphed Mind Flayer? Level 1 Binder with Naberius bound?

There are so many possibilities for this that "Vampire" seems like an awfully specific shot in the dark.

"Something Fishy" might be a more adequate response.

onthetown
2010-08-22, 05:34 PM
Unless he's an Elf, or someone with the 1st level Disguise Self spell that just changes their appearance so they don't look old, or a Celestial/Dragon/Fey/something else in disguise, or a high level Druid or Monk. Or someone with an age-restraining magic item. Or a Demigod/actual Deity in human form. Polymorphed Mind Flayer? Level 1 Binder with Naberius bound?

There are so many possibilities for this that "Vampire" seems like an awfully specific shot in the dark.

"Something Fishy" might be a more adequate response.

Especially if the clueless PC is magically-inclined and the DM rules (for flavour or something) that they can automatically feel magical energies.

"Hey, why are you constantly radiating magic?"

"Uh... protection spells."

"Oh... Do you have somebody after you or something? I'm not sure it's safe to be hanging out with a guy who needs abjurations cast on him 24/7."

"...right, sure. Abjurations. No bats or coffins here."

awa
2010-08-22, 09:01 PM
as have been mentioned their are a lot of races/classes/ templates that can pull off not aging or at least aging so slowly that it doesn't matter.
(Also things like petrification could allow him to have skipped many of those years.)
Personally i feel that unless she sees him avoiding sunlight or drinking blood i see no reason she should assume vampire (in a standard dnd setting in a vampire heavy world i may revise by comment)

riccaru
2010-08-22, 11:37 PM
*cough* Garlic, holy water, mirrors, mistletoe (depending), healing spells, and the like. Just use a wand of healing on him and see if he screams in immortal agony.

Mnemnosyne
2010-08-23, 12:45 AM
Well if the person in question is well known to her, and the only ones casting suspicion are unknowns, then I don't see much reason for her to believe the suspicion.

On the other hand, if someone she's known since childhood has not aged and she doesn't believe he's immortal, what does she believe?

If she has any reason to believe the suspicion suggested by others over her lifelong acquaintance with this person, then a few relatively subtle tests might be in order. What class and level the character trying to figure this out is will have a considerable impact on her options, though, and it's something you didn't mention.

One particular key points that might make the accusations seem believable is: healing. Everyone has little accidents from time to time, and everyone gets sick. If she's never seen this person hurt or sick in her entire life, that's odd.

BobVosh
2010-08-23, 01:25 AM
Does she have sense motive? Ask him ^^

Seriously though that isn't enough to say vampire as oppose to tons of other high fantasy immortality ways. Elan, lich (well preserved, some are fleshy and take care to stay that way), magic life extenders, clone closet + thought bottle, etc.

dsmiles
2010-08-23, 04:08 AM
Vampires are easy to recognize...get them out into the sunlight...if they sparkle, they're NOT vampires!!! (Real vampires burst into flames in the sunlight. :smallbiggrin:)

hamishspence
2010-08-23, 04:11 AM
Except Dracula in the original Bram Stoker tale.

dsmiles
2010-08-23, 04:29 AM
Yeah, but bursting into flames is so much more dramatic.

Ranielle
2010-08-23, 05:19 AM
Find out if he's afraid of werewolves.

oh wait, that's white wolf. nevermind.

FelixG
2010-08-23, 05:25 AM
based on the information given, i would say not at all.

He can walk in the sun fine apparently (due to the magical cloak but im guessing thats not readily known)
He is stronger than normal (i have played wizards with high strength for gish builds)
He is the last noble of a 400 year old dead family. (not so odd, his line could have been in hiding for awhile, or he is just the child of something born out of wedlock come back to claim his rightful place, many explanations exist.)

Rainbownaga
2010-08-23, 07:38 AM
Nobody's mentioned the "must be invited inside" aspect yet.

While it may be inappropriate to break and enter in polite society, having to explicitly be invited inside can come across as particularly odd.

hamishspence
2010-08-23, 07:43 AM
A "May I come in?" might be traditional in polite society though- if so, may make the vampire hard to spot.

DeltaEmil
2010-08-23, 07:47 AM
If you don't have any ranks in knowledge religion, you can't ever recognise a vampire, nor will you ever know what a vampire is in the first place per 3.5.

Of course, without knowledge local, you don't even know what a human is, so yeah.

SoD
2010-08-23, 08:14 AM
I don't seem to have made one aspect very clear; there are four main people involved here;

Vampire
Suspicious NPC
SNPC's childhood friend
Smart Wizzard Dude

All bar SNPC know Count is a Vampire. Friend said he's imortal. SMD said "he's not immortal, whoever said that is lying". SNPC doesn't beleive Count is a noble, but is making a unrighteous claim to the title. And this is currently level 3 (vampire base class, as per Savage Species [sort of]).

Here's what she knows; he appears human, he can walk through walls, he claims to be the last remaining noble from 400 years ago, he's claimed to have been around the entire time (disproving the 'coming out from hiding' theory).

Coidzor
2010-08-23, 08:29 AM
I don't seem to have made one aspect very clear; there are four main people involved here;

Vampire
Suspicious NPC
SNPC's childhood friend
Smart Wizzard Dude

All bar SNPC know Count is a Vampire. Friend said he's imortal. SMD said "he's not immortal, whoever said that is lying". SNPC doesn't beleive Count is a noble, but is making a unrighteous claim to the title. And this is currently level 3 (vampire base class, as per Savage Species [sort of]).

Here's what she knows; he appears human, he can walk through walls, he claims to be the last remaining noble from 400 years ago, he's claimed to have been around the entire time (disproving the 'coming out from hiding' theory).

Well, if true = undead or elan or other wossname for hanging around that long. LAZY wossname at that...
If not true but believes it = madman with magical powers.
Else = Unconvincing charlatan with magical powers.

What was his explanation for having been around for so long, anyway?

As far as I can tell, undeath is the simplest explanation for someone actually sticking around that long.

Lothmar
2010-08-23, 12:57 PM
Well, the easiest way to ID him as a vampire would be to accompany them in social situations and try to catch them in the most obvious of vampire rules.

ex: If you notice him always acquiring permission to enter private establishments/peoples home. True this can be mistaken for good manners.

Rivers are also useful, since vampires cant cross under their own power. So if you're out for a horseride, see if you can trick him into crossing a bridge at which point various things could happen dependent on the DM.

Invite him to dinner, garlic in the food and mirrors on the walls.

Basically, just read all the vampire weaknesses - there are multiple ways to use them casually and then hope to catch them in a gotcha.

dsmiles
2010-08-23, 01:00 PM
Well, if true = undead or elan or other wossname for hanging around that long. LAZY wossname at that...
If not true but believes it = madman with magical powers.
Else = Unconvincing charlatan with magical powers.

What was his explanation for having been around for so long, anyway?

As far as I can tell, undeath is the simplest explanation for someone actually sticking around that long.

Timeless Body

riccaru
2010-08-23, 01:11 PM
Well, the easiest way to ID him as a vampire would be to accompany them in social situations and try to catch them in the most obvious of vampire rules.

ex: If you notice him always acquiring permission to enter private establishments/peoples home. True this can be mistaken for good manners.

Rivers are also useful, since vampires cant cross under their own power. So if you're out for a horseride, see if you can trick him into crossing a bridge at which point various things could happen dependent on the DM.

Invite him to dinner, garlic in the food and mirrors on the walls.

Basically, just read all the vampire weaknesses - there are multiple ways to use them casually and then hope to catch them in a gotcha.

They can't go into the water. They can cross a bridge just fine, or take a boat, or what have you. I still say drop a minor healing wand on him. There's no reason that a human would get angry for that, since it doesn't effect them at all in a negative way. Or convince him to go on a crime spree. Or tell him to come over, then just walk in side without inviting him. An old family friend would enter the home if the door is open and they know the person is there.

Invite him to dinner and then go home. Enter without shutting the door or inviting him in. Or invite him to dinner, and hallow the building before he gets there! Bonus points if it's his favorite restaurant and he knows you're going there before hand.

jiriku
2010-08-23, 01:39 PM
The following things are DM-dependent, but they have the nice quality of being more interpersonal rather than rules-based.

* It's a dreadfully obvious thing, but does he breathe? Does he have a pulse? Does he ever cough or hiccup or burp or fart? Does he cry out in pain when he accidently stubs his toe? Has he ever gotten sick or suffered a bite from a poisonous creature? Barring powerful magic or high-level class features, these sorts of things only happen if you are alive and have a normally functioning circulatory, digestive, nervous, and immune systems.

* Knowledge (nobility and royalty) and Knowledge (history) should supply the names and events of times he's supposedly lived through. Consult a scholar or historian if you lack these skills. Ask him a series of questions about the people and places of those times. If he's really immortal, he should be able to answer accurately.

* Listen to his accent and phrasing. Does he occasionally use a very old style of speech, especially when he's tired, surprised, angry, or under stress?

* Learn his personal history. Does he have any past lovers or an ancient nemesis? Ask him about these people, especially when his guard is down. Does he grow emotional when talking about these people with whom he had strong emotional connections?

riccaru
2010-08-23, 01:52 PM
The following things are DM-dependent, but they have the nice quality of being more interpersonal rather than rules-based.

* It's a dreadfully obvious thing, but does he breathe? Does he have a pulse? Does he ever cough or hiccup or burp or fart? Does he cry out in pain when he accidently stubs his toe? Has he ever gotten sick or suffered a bite from a poisonous creature? Barring powerful magic or high-level class features, these sorts of things only happen if you are alive and have a normally functioning circulatory, digestive, nervous, and immune systems.

* Knowledge (nobility and royalty) and Knowledge (history) should supply the names and events of times he's supposedly lived through. Consult a scholar or historian if you lack these skills. Ask him a series of questions about the people and places of those times. If he's really immortal, he should be able to answer accurately.

* Listen to his accent and phrasing. Does he occasionally use a very old style of speech, especially when he's tired, surprised, angry, or under stress?

* Learn his personal history. Does he have any past lovers or an ancient nemesis? Ask him about these people, especially when his guard is down. Does he grow emotional when talking about these people with whom he had strong emotional connections?

Do this instead. Not the first one though, that's boring. These are way better than my ideas. But if all else fails cover yourself in garlic and hug him.

TheThan
2010-08-23, 01:59 PM
Well here are my two main foolproof methods of determining vampires:

1: See if it sparkles :smallbiggrin:
2: stab it in the heart with a wooden stake, if it dies, then it's a vampire and if they donít die, then it mildly inconvenienced by taking a little bit of HP damage. not to mention your going to have to explain yourself.

dsmiles
2010-08-23, 02:05 PM
Well here are my two main foolproof methods of determining vampires:

1: See if it sparkles :smallbiggrin:
2: stab it in the heart with a wooden stake, if it dies, then it's a vampire and if they donít die, then it mildly inconvenienced by taking a little bit of HP damage. not to mention your going to have to explain yourself.

You'd probably have to explain yourself to somebody either way (especially when the vampire-turned-corpse's henchmen start to wonder why they aren't getting paid anymore).

EDIT: Plus, if it sparkles, it wasn't a real vampire to begin with. It was just a teen-angst-fueled mockery of a vampire.

Telonius
2010-08-23, 02:16 PM
I think the whole part about "sense motive" will really hinge on how well SNPC's childhood friend knows the vampire. If the childhood friend knows and likes the vampire (and the vampire may well have been encouraging this), it's not totally inconceivable that she wouldn't believe something bad about him. People are funny like that, sometimes they can rationalize away just about anything short of catching someone in the act.

jiriku
2010-08-23, 02:21 PM
People are funny like that, sometimes they can rationalize away just about anything short of catching someone in the act.

I just pictured her walking in on him in the act of drinking blood from the neck of some hapless damsel, and he looks up at her with blood smeared on his face and dripping from his fangs. He looks panicked and shouts "Wait! This isn't what it looks like!"

Enixon
2010-08-23, 02:46 PM
You could always surprise them with the gift of a nice new hand mirror.

:smallconfused:"Golly Mr.Acula why don't you have a reflection?"

dsmiles
2010-08-23, 02:48 PM
I just pictured her walking in on him in the act of drinking blood from the neck of some hapless damsel, and he looks up at her with blood smeared on his face and dripping from his fangs. He looks panicked and shouts "Wait! This isn't what it looks like!"

I almost fell out of my chair when I read this. Thanks, I needed that. :smallbiggrin:

SoD
2010-08-23, 05:08 PM
You could always surprise them with the gift of a nice new hand mirror.

:smallconfused:"Golly Mr.Acula why don't you have a reflection?"

Dr. Acula, surely.