View Full Version : 3.5 Alternate Vampire Template (for players)

2011-10-27, 11:24 PM
"My revenge has just begun! I spread it over centuries and time is on my side." - Bram Stoker's Dracula

Notes: In the spirit of Halloween I wanted to try my hand at making the vampire into a more player-friendly template. Vampires are arguably one of the coolest monsters in classic (and some modern) fantasy, and while the vampire template presented in the Monster Manual is powerful, its incredibly steep Level Adjustment (+8) makes it all but unplayable in most campaigns.

So in order to bring the LA down into the playable range (which I consider to be LA +0 to +4), I removed and reduced the effectiveness of some of the vampire's abilities (keeping what I thought to be quintessential vampire traits and throwing in a few weaknesses that still fit the vampire theme. Just open up the spoiler below to see what's been changed.


I removed the Slam attack and replaced it with bite and claw attacks. Vampires are known for biting people and drinking their blood, not tackling their prey and inflicting negative levels. The claw attacks were added as a homage to the more modern 30 Days of Night vampires, which not only eat people, but claw off their faces as well.
Removed their ability to inflict negative levels. While it's arguable that a vampire's touch can weaken someone, I chose to stick with Constitution drain as their primary way of inflicting harm on enemies outside of straight damage.
Removed the Children of the Night ability. While vampires have the ability to summon and control nocturnal beasts, I didn't feel that the ability was particularly important enough to keep. But since we're discussing making some of the vampire's powers scale with HD, Children of the Night may return as a higher HD ability.
Alternate Form was changed from rat, bat, or wolf to a swarm of bats or rats. Let werewolves keep their trademark "I turn into a wolf" ability and make the bat and rat transformations a little more enticing.
Blood Drain was boosted in power, allowing vampires to drink blood not only in a grapple (which automatically assumes that the vampire bites his prey during the grapple), but when the vampire delivers a particularly nasty bite.
Added a vulnerability to fire. In many stories vampires (and most other undead creatures) are particularly weak against fire, so I added it in for flavor as well as balance.
Diet Dependency is an undead feature introduced in Libris Mortis that I incorporated into this template fix for one reason: vampires need blood. Yet the original template makes no mention of this. Now vampires will have to drink blood for more than role-play reasons, but because if they don't they'll be driven to madness by their desire to feast.
The main difference between Dracula and most vampires is that Dracula could walk out under the light of the sun without bursting in flames and dying a horrible death. Modern vampires? Not so much. Old Dracula just lost some of his powers until the sun set again. So I decided that a well-fed vampire can walk among the living in the day and only lose access to his supernatural powers (Dominate, Damage Reduction, Gaseous Form, Alternate Form, and Create Spawn). A hungry vampire doesn't have the blood of the living coursing through his veins, however, and so sunlight will harm him. I chose to make the vampire takes large amounts of fire damage rather than be instantly destroyed however. Have to give them a sporting chance after all.
The vampire's bonus feats were removed since most of them weren't too useful, but since they were free they still increased the vampire's LA.
Ability score increases were also reduced, changing the vampire from superhuman to merely powerful.

Potential Changes

Scale several of the vampire's powers, such as Dominate, Gaseous Form, Alternate Form, and Spider Climb.
Reduce the racial skill bonus to +4 or +6 rather than +8.

Anyway, feel free to look it over and give me some feedback. It still might be overpowered for a +2 LA.


Vampires are supernatural beings, commonly believe to be a reanimated corpse that feasts upon the blood of the living. Feasting, amassing power, and filling the world with their foul spawn are the chief goals of most vampires.

Most vampires appear just as they did in life, although their features are typically hardened and feral. They also have glowing red eyes and no shadow or reflection. Some play the part of aristocratic nobles, using their longevity to gather wealth. Others give in to their animalistic tendencies, becoming ferocious hunters.

Creating a Vampire

“Vampire” is an acquired template that can be added to any humanoid or monstrous humanoid creature (referred to hereafter as the base creature). A vampire uses all of the base creature’s statistics and special abilities, except as noted here. Furthermore, a vampire’s alignment is automatically shifted to evil (LE, NE, or CE).

Size and Type: The creature’s type changes to undead (augmented humanoid or monstrous humanoid). Do not recalculate base attack bonus, saves, or skill points. Size is unchanged.

Hit Dice: Increase all current and future Hit Dice to d12s.

Speed: Same as the base creature. If the base creature has a swim speed, the vampire retains the ability to swim and is not vulnerable to immersion in running water (see below).

Armor Class: The base creature’s natural armor bonus improves by +4.

Attack: A vampire retains all the attacks of the base creature and also gains a bite and two claw attacks if it didn’t already have them. If the base creature can use weapons, the vampire retains this ability. A creature with natural weapon retains those natural weapons. A vampire fighting without weapons uses either its bite and claw attacks or its primary natural weapon (if it has any). A vampire armed with a weapon uses its bite and claws or a weapon, as it desires.

Full Attack: A vampire fighting without weapons uses its bite and two claws to attack. If armed with a weapon, it chooses whether to use the weapon or use its natural attacks.

{table=head]Size|Bite Damage|Claw Damage

Damage: Vampires have bite and claw attacks. If the base creature does not have this attack form, use the appropriate damage value from the table according to the vampire’s size. Creatures that have other kinds of natural weapons retain their old damage values or use the appropriate value from the table, whichever is better.

Special Attacks: A vampire retains all the special attacks of the base creature and gains those described below. Saves have a DC of 10 + ½ the vampire’s HD + the vampire’s Charisma modifier, unless noted otherwise.

Blood Drain (Ex): A vampire can suck blood from a living victim with its fangs by making a successful grapple check or a bite attack. Successfully dealing at least 5 points of Constitution drain satiates the vampire’s thirst for blood.

If it pins the foe, it drains blood, dealing 1d4 points of Constitution drain each round the pin is maintained. On each successful grapple attack, the vampire gains 5 temporary hit points.

If the vampire scores a critical hit with its bite against a living creature, that creature takes 1 point of Constitution damage and the vampire gains 1 temporary hit point.

Dominate (Su): A vampire can crush an opponent’s will just by looking into his or her eyes. This is similar to a gaze attack, except that the vampire must use a standard action, and those merely looking at it are not affected. Anyone the vampire targets must succeed on a Will save or fall instantly under the vampire’s influence as though by a dominate person spell (caster level 12th). The ability has a range of 30 feet.

Create Spawn (Su): If the vampire drains the victim’s Constitution to 0 or lower, the victim returns as a spawn if it had 4 or less HD and as a vampire if it had 5 or more HD. In either case, the new vampire or spawn is under the command of the vampire that created it and remains enslaved until its master’s destruction.

At any given time a vampire cannot have enslaved spawn totaling no more than twice its own Hit Dice; any spawn it creates that would exceed this limit are created as free-willed vampires or vampire spawn. A vampire that is enslaved may create and slave spawn of its own, so a master vampire can control a number of lesser vampires in this fashion. A vampire may voluntarily free an enslaved spawn in order to enslave a new spawn, but once freed, a vampire or vampire spawn cannot be enslaved again.

Special Qualities: A vampire retains all of the special qualities of the base creature and gains those described below.

Alternate Form (Su): As a standard action a vampire with 10 or more Hit Dice can transform into a swarm of bats or rats. While in his alternate form the vampire loses its natural claw attacks and dominate ability, but it gains the extraordinary special attacks of its new form. It can remain in this form until it assumes another or until sunrise. A vampire cannot transform into a bat during the day.

Damage Reduction (Su): A vampire has damage reduction 10/silver and magic. A vampire’s natural weapons are treated as magic weapon for the purpose of overcoming damage reduction.

Fast Healing (Ex): A vampire heals 5 points of damage each round so long as it has at least 1 hit point and has fed within the past 3 days. If reduced to 0 hit points in combat, it automatically assume gaseous form and attempts to escape. It must reach its coffin home within 2 hours or be utterly destroyed (it can travel up to nine miles in 2 hours). Any additional damage dealt to a vampire forced into gaseous form has no effect. Once at rest in its coffin, a vampire is helpless. It regains 1 hit point after 1 hour, then is no longer helpless and resumes healing at a rate of 5 hit points per round.

Gaseous Form (Su): A vampire with at least 6 HD can assume as a gaseous form as a standard action at will. This functions as the spell of the same name (caster level 5th), but the vampire can remain gaseous indefinitely and has a fly speed of 20 feet with perfect maneuverability.

Resistances (Ex): A vampire has resistance to cold 10 and electricity 10.

Vulnerability: A vampire is vulnerable to fire damage.

Spider Climb (Ex): A vampire with 8 or more Hit Dice can climb sheer surfaces as though with a spider climb spell.

Diet Dependent: All vampires are diet dependent upon blood. A vampire must feed at least once every 3 days or be forced to make a DC 15 Will save. If the vampire fails its save, it takes 2d4 points of Wisdom damage. If the vampire reaches 0 Wisdom, it retains no volition of its own, no judgment to deter it from seeking blood, even if the vampire’s utter destruction seems likely thereafter. (A player character who reaches 0 Wisdom from a failure to feed is temporarily remanded to the DM, who plays the creature as a ravening beast until the character has fed.)

When the vampire feeds on blood, it immediately regains all of the ability damage it has taken.

Turn Resistance (Ex): A vampire has +4 turn resistance. If a vampire hungers for blood, its turn resistance is reduced to +2.

Abilities: Increase from the base creature as follows: Str +4, Dex +2, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +2. As an undead creature, a vampire has no Constitution score.

Skills: Vampires have a +6 racial bonus on Bluff, Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Search, Sense Motive, and Spot checks. Otherwise same as the base creature.

Level Adjustment: Same as the base creature +2

Vampire Weaknesses

For all their power, vampires have a number of weaknesses.

Aging: If a vampire doesn’t feed on blood regularly, it beings to age rapidly. Each time a vampire must make a Will save as a result of not feeding, it automatically enters the next age category (standard age to middle age, middle age to old, and old to venerable). The vampire suffers the penalties to Strength and Dexterity, but it does not gain the bonuses to Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma. Drinking blood will automatically restore a vampire to its original age.

Repelling a Vampire: Vampires cannot tolerate the strong odor of garlic and will not enter an area laced with it. Similarly, they recoil from a mirror or a strongly presented holy symbol. These things don’t harm the vampire- they merely keep it at bay. A recoiling vampire must stay at least 5 feet away from a creature holding the mirror or holy symbol and cannot touch or make melee attack against the creature holding for the rest of the encounter. Holding a vampire at bay takes a standard action.

Vampires are also unable to cross running water, although they can be carried over it while resting in their coffins or aboard a ship. They are completely unable to enter a home or other building unless invited in by someone with the authority to do so. They may freely enter public places (except temples of good-aligned deities), since these are by definition open to all.

Slaying a Vampire: Reducing a vampire’s hit points to 0 or lower incapacitates it but doesn’t always destroy it (see the note on fast healing). However, certain attack can slay vampires.

Exposing any vampire to direct sunlight disorients it: It can take only a single move action or attack action and it cannot use any of its supernatural abilities. A vampire that has not fed on blood at least once in the past three days takes 4d6 points of fire damage each round it is out in the sun. Damage taken from sunlight isn’t doubled due to the vampire’s vulnerability to fire.

Similarly, immersing a vampire in running water robs it of one-third of its hit points each round until it is destroyed at the end of the third round of immersion.

Driving a wooden stake through a vampire’s heart instantly slays the monster. However, it returns to life if the stake is removed unless the body is destroyed. A popular tactic is to cut off the creature’s head and fill its mouth with holy wafers (or their equivalent).

Burning a vampire or cutting off its head is another effective way of destroying a vampire without triggering its ability to become a cloud of gas. Vampires reduced to 0 hit points in such a fashion are instantly and utterly destroyed, leaving only a small amount of ash.

2011-10-28, 07:53 AM
I presume the vampire spawn you create also have this new template instead of the Vampire Spawn template?
I think this may justify a +3 LA, but its high 2 or low 3 IMHO

2011-10-28, 08:31 AM
I'd have to agree with hushblade. Easier to justify +2 if you consider dropping some of the abilities like spider climb, spawn creation and dominate, perhaps re-introduce them depending upon the HD of the character (a little like certain playable races with wings for instance)? That way you get the full benefit of the template by perhaps levels 10-12 somewhere, whereas a level 5 character would only gain them at later levels.
Just a thought.

2011-10-28, 10:16 AM
Hmm... I don't mind adjusting it to a +3 LA, but I also like the idea of making some of the abilities unlock as you gain power (sort of like the vampires in Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, which inspired some of the abilities).

What if Gaseous Form was only available at 6 HD (which isn't much of a penalty since few players will encounter vampires at such low levels), make Spider Climb available at 8 HD, and Alternate Form is available at 10 HD? That way every two "levels" of vampire the character gets a new ability.

Might also reduce the skill bonuses to +6.

One of the biggest things that jacked up the original vampire template's LA was the plethora of free feats, most of which were rather useless (at least in my opinion).

Tanuki Tales
2011-10-28, 11:36 AM
If it helps in anyway, Pathfinder's Vampire is essentially identical to 3.5's but can be applied to any living creature and is only +2 to the CR (which is Pathfinder's somewhat replacement for ECL). Mind you though that a Vampire can only be created from a creature with 5 Hit Dice or more with Pathfinder's template.

byaku rai
2011-10-28, 01:54 PM
If you're going for a lower LA, I'd suggest having the Fast healing start low but scale with HD. I also agree with having some of the abilities come into play at higher HD levels.

2011-10-28, 02:01 PM
What if Gaseous Form was only available at 6 HD (which isn't much of a penalty since few players will encounter vampires at such low levels), make Spider Climb available at 8 HD, and Alternate Form is available at 10 HD? That way every two "levels" of vampire the character gets a new ability.

Might also reduce the skill bonuses to +6.

That would put it more comfortably into +2 I believe.

One of the biggest things that jacked up the original vampire template's LA was the plethora of free feats, most of which were rather useless (at least in my opinion).

I'd agree on the whole, but it does depend on who precisely gets turned. Some builds could become quite nasty indeed.


If you're going for a lower LA, I'd suggest having the Fast healing start low but scale with HD. I also agree with having some of the abilities come into play at higher HD levels.
Seconded, if you're doing abilities on every even HD, why not progress this at the same time?

2011-10-29, 12:38 AM
All your ideas sound pretty good. I'll update the template at the end of the weekend when I have time.

Happy Halloween GITP!

2011-10-30, 10:26 PM
I updated the original post to add in the changes that were suggested. Considering returning Children of the Night, but I'm not sure yet. Input?

2013-06-27, 06:25 PM
I would model it after Summon Natures Ally IV but it can only be used to summon a Dire Wolf, Dire Bat, Dire Rat, or a Wolf, obviously as the spell. Id say 1/day at 8 HD, 2/day at 12 HD, 3/day at 16 HD, and 4/day at 20HD. Im not sure how powerful this is as you are limited on what you can summon, but a 1d3 Dire Wolves or a 1d4+1 Dire Bats, Dire Rats, or Wolves is nothing to sneeze at. and maybe divide the Ability bonuses up, this might be a bit much for a +2 EX: +4 Str, +2 Dex or +2 Int, +2 Wis, +2 Cha.

2013-06-28, 07:51 AM
Nearly two years old, just saying, not that necroing something this awesome hurts.

Blood drain should probably deal Constitution damage, not drain - never understood why the blood loss left you as a forever-frail wreck that could only be cured by magic.

I'd allow summoning normal bats, wolves, rats too. use/day limits are ugly, perhaps have it have a long casting time with a one casting at a time limit to make it a prep spell?

I don't think the Int bonus is necessary or flavourful.

The DR is probably unnecessary overkill, it already has fast healing and a natural armor bonus to represent durability. Plus it makes the classic wooden stake through the heart unnecessarily difficult. Or perhaps make DR X/magic, silver, oak? As much as I love these bloodsuckers, they gotta be skewerable or it just ain't right.

The classic limit on entering houses and such is a truly horrendous drag for an adventurer and limits the kinds of campaigns this can play in a lot. Make it a Will save, perhaps? Forced to be taken again if the house owner tells him to GTFO?

Crossing a river by bridge should probably be ok.
An ability to hide some feral features like claws/fangs.
Transforming into / summoning creatures only allowed during nighttime.

2013-07-12, 11:25 AM
I two would like to see this Vampire Template be reborn, though I also understand the wish of some that a thread not be 'necro'ed