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By Sukanto Debnath from Hyderabad, India - SMILE at night, CC BY 2.0,, Vrykolakas
By Sukanto Debnath from Hyderabad, India – SMILE at night, CC BY 2.0,

The skin of this cadaverous humanoid is distended, hard, and livid. Its body is so swollen that its arms are stretched out on each side like the arms of a cross. Its body and head are nearly devoid of hair, except upon its face, which is covered with dark and curly hair. Its gaping mouth sports white, sharp teeth.

Originally Posted by Shade of the En World forums.

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Vrykolakas are vampiric undead that aries when a demonic spirit enters an animates a corpse.

Vrykolakas delight in inflicting random violence and spreading panic. They feed upon terror and fright rather than blood. Although they are nocturnal like most undead, they have no aversion to sunlight and often terroize victims during the day for the added fright it causes.

Vrykolakas grow in power the longer they feed, eventually becoming the horrific greater vrykolakas after 80 days. In a short time, a single vrykolakas can gather a large pack of spawn. As its power grows, so does its audacity and bloodlust. A single vrykolakas can completely devastate entire villages.

Legends tell of an entire Isle of the undead, a locale decimated by a great cataclysm whose inhabitants are now all walking dead. The stories claim that this isle is so thick with vrykolakas that these unholy horrors pace the shores, branzenly awaiting anyone to dare set foot on shore.

A vrykolakas is as tall as it was in life. They are often bloated on the blood of their victims and can weigh up to twice what they did in life, but a vrykolakas that has not fed for a long time shrivels like a dried-out wineskin and sounds as hollow as a drum. Such a creature may only weigh half what it did in life. A vrykolakas that was once an average male human may be anywhere between 90 and 360 pounds.

Medium undead (Extraplanar)
Hit Dice7d12 (45 hp)
Speed30 ft. (6 squares)
Armor Class19 (+4 Dexterity, +5 natural), touch 14, flat-footed 15
Base Attack/Grapple+3/+8
AttackSlam +8 melee (1d10+5 plus energy drain)
Full AttackSlam +8 melee (1d10+5 plus energy drain)
Space/Reach5 ft./5 ft.
Special AttacksCall of the dead, energy drain, oppress sleeper
Special QualitiesDarkvision 60 ft., fast healing 5, undead traits, vulnerability to exorcism
SavesFort +2, Ref +8, Will +6
AbilitiesStrength 20, Dexterity 18, Constitution —, Intelligence 10, Wisdom 13, Charisma 17
SkillsBluff +7, Hide +18, Intimidate +13, Listen +15, Move Silently +8, Search +4, Spot +15
FeatsCleave, Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative (B), lightning reflexes (B), Power Attack
EnvironmentAn Evil Plane
OrganizationSolitary or oppression (2-10)
Challenge Rating6
AlignmentAlways chaotic evil
Advancement8-12 HD Medium and see text
Level Adjustment


Vrykolakas prefer to elevate the feelings of dread and terror in their victims before restorting to straightforward violence, using its call of the dead and oppress sleeper abilities. In melee, it is a savage, feral adversary.

Call of the Dead (Su): Once a night, a vrykolakas can call out the name of a sapient creature within 200 feet. This supernatural attack does not need line of sight, the intended target just needs to be able to hear the vrykolakas’s call. This is a sonic, mind-affecting, fear effect.

The vrykolakas must call out the target’s personal, individual name. If the target is a stranger or is using a false name the call automatically fails. Assuming the call uses the correct name, the target must succeed at a DC 16 Will save or be affected by the call and cry out an answer to the vrykolakas. Those affected will feel a impending sense of dread, and become convinced that a ghastly death is inexorably creeping up on them. At noon the following day, the call’s curse will complete itself, and the target must make a DC 16 Fortitude save or drop dead from fright. Even if the Fortitude save is successful, the subject takes 3d6 points of damage. A remove curse or break enchantment spell can remove the call of the dead before it manifests itself. The save DCs are Charisma-based.

Energy Drain (Su): Living creatures hit by a vrykolakas’s slam attack gain one negative level. The DC is 16 for the Fortitude save to remove a negative level. The save DC is Charisma-based. For each such negative level bestowed, the vrykolakas gains 5 temporary hit points.

Fast Healing (Ex): A vrykolakas heals 5 points of damage each round so long as it has at least 1 hit point. If reduced to 0 hit points in combat, its body dissolves into invisible vapour (as per the invisibility plus gaseous form spells) and flies directly back to its lair. Any additional damage dealt to a vrykolakas forced into gaseous form has no effect. If it cannot enter its lair due to a protection from evil effect or the like, it travels to the nearest suitable spot such as an open grave, the cellar of an abandoned house or a cave. Once it reaches its destination, the gaseous form ends and the vrykolakas resumes corporeal form. The vrykolakas is then helpless for the next hour, then is no longer helpless and resumes healing at the rate of 5 hit points per round.

If the vrykolakas is burnt to ashes (-10 hit points or less) while it is resting as a corpse during the day, or after it has been rendered helpless as described above, it is permanently destroyed.

Oppress Sleeper (Su): Once per night, a vrykolakas can sit upon a sleeping creature, causing agonizing nightmares of a horrific presence crushing them under its oppressive weight. The victim gets no benefit from their night’s sleep, and takes 1 point of Constitution drain. Any humanoid slain by this ability rises as a vrykolakas the following night. Such vrykolakas are under the command of the vrykolakas that created them and remain enslaved until its death. They do not possess any of the abilities they had in life. At any given time a vrykolakas may have enslaved vrykolakas totaling no more than half its own Hit Dice; any spawn it creates that would exceed this limit are created as free-willed vrykolakas.

Vulnerability to Exorcism (Ex): A vrykolakas is permanently destroyed if a spell with the power to banish evil extraplanar creatures is successfully cast upon it, such as dismissal or Dispel Evil. Its body decays into dust and bones within a round.

Skills: Vrykolakas have a +4 racial bonus on Bluff, Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Search, and Spot checks.

Originally appeared in Dragon Magazine # 126 (1987)

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