Vampires are beings that subsist on human and/or animal lifeforce. They are reanimated corpses who feed by draining and consuming the blood of living beings. The term usually refers to the blood-drinkers of Eastern Europe, but the term is often applied to similar creatures from other regions and cultures.
Strongly rooted in Eastern Europe particularly Slavic lore. They are usually suicide victims, criminals or evil sorcerers, though they can pass vampirism onto his innocent victims. A victim of a cruel, untimely or violent death is also susceptible to becoming a vampire.
Evidence that a bloodsucker is active in a given locality include death of cattle, sheep, relatives or neighbours; an exhumed body being in a lifelike state with new growth of the fingernails or hair or blood on the mouth coupled with a ruddy complexion.
Vampires, are afraid of garlic and were compelled to count particles of grain, sawdust, and the like. They can be destroyed by driving a wooden stake into its heart, decapitation, burning, repeating the funeral service, sprinkling Holy Water on the body, or exorcism.
A person born with a caul, an extra nipple, a tail, or extra hair was doomed to become a bloodsucker. The same fate applied to someone whose mother encountered black cat cross her path, and someone who was born out of wedlock. Others who became vampires were those who died an unnatural death, or the seventh child in any family. Moreover, being bitten by a vampire meant certain condemnation to a vampiric existence after death.
A vampire in the grave could be discerned by holes in the earth, an undecomposed corpse with a red face, or with one foot in the corner of the coffin. Living vampires were identified by distributing garlic in church and observing who would refuse to eat it.
Measures to prevent a person from becoming a vampire include careful preparation of dead bodies, including preventing animals from passing over the corpse, placing a thorny branch of wild rose in the grave, and placing garlic on windows and rubbing it on cattle.
To destroy a vampire, a stake was driven through the body, followed by decapitation and placing garlic in the mouth. For resistant cases, the body was dismembered and the pieces burned.
Abhartach is an Irish vampire, the story goes that the local people wanted to kill the tyrant Abhartach and asked Fionn depending on the to kill him. Having seen Abhartach return he asked a local druid how to defeat the vampire and is told to impale him through the heart and bury him upside down.
Greek customs may have propagated this belief, notably a ritual that entailed exhuming the deceased after three years of death and observing the extent of decay. If the body was fully decayed, the remaining bones were put in a box by relatives and wine poured over them, a priest would then read from scriptures. However, if the body had not sufficiently decayed, the corpse would be labelled a vampire.
Vampirism could occur through various means: excommunication or desecrating a religious day, committing a great crime, or dying alone. Other more superstitious causes include having a cat jump across the grave, eating meat from a sheep killed by a wolf or having been cursed. It was also believed in more remote regions of Greece that unbaptized people would be doomed to vampirism in the afterlife.
The appearance of vampires varied throughout Greece and were usually thought to be indistinguishable from living people, giving rise to many folk tales with this theme. However, this was not the case everywhere: on Mount Pelion vampires glowed in the dark, while on the Saronic islands they were thought to be hunchbacks with long nails; on the island of Lesbos vampires were thought to have long canine teeth much like wolves.
Vampires could be harmless, sometimes returning to support their widows by their work. However, they were usually thought to be ravenous predators, killing their victims who would be condemned to become vampires. Vampires were so feared for their potential for great harm, that a village or an island would occasionally be stricken by a mass panic if a vampire invasion were believed imminent. Nicholas Dragoumis records such a panic on Naxos in the 1930s, following a cholera epidemic.
Varieties of wards were employed for protection in different places, including blessed bread (antidoron) from the church, crosses and black-handled knives. To prevent vampires from rising from the dead, their hearts were pierced with iron nails whilst resting in their graves, or their bodies burned and the ashes scattered. Because the Church opposed burning people who had received the myron of chrismation in the baptism ritual, cremation was considered a last resort.
Roma vampire beliefs
Frequently feature in fiction and film, no doubt influenced by the Bram Stoker’s Dracula, in which the Szgany Roma served Dracula, carrying his boxes of earth and guarding him.
Traditional Romani beliefs claim that the dead soul enters a world similar to ours except that there is no death. The soul lingers next to the body and sometimes wants to return to life. The Roma legends of the living dead have indeed enriched the vampire legends of Hungary, Romania and the Slavic world.
To get rid of a vampire, one could hire a Dhampir (the son of a vampire and his widow) or a Moroi to detect the vampire. To ward them off gypsies drove steel or iron needles into a corpse’s heart and placed bits of steel in the mouth, over the eyes, ears and between the fingers at the time of burial. They also placed hawthorn in the corpse’s sock or drove a hawthorn stake through the legs. Further measures included driving stakes into the grave, pouring boiling water over it, as well as decapitating or burning the corpse.
Also, some believe that vampires may have the attributes of aliens thus some think they are not of Earth at all.
Some common traits of vampires in folklore
It is difficult to make a single description of the folkloric vampire, because its properties vary widely between different cultures.
* The appearance of the European folkloric vampire contained mostly features by which one was supposed to tell a vampiric corpse from a normal one, when the grave of a suspect was opened. The bloodsucker has a “healthy” appearance and ruddy skin, he is often plump, his nails and hair have grown and, above all, he/she is not in the least decomposed.
* The most common ways to destroy one are driving a wooden stake through the heart, decapitation, and incinerating the body completely. Ways to prevent a suspected vampire from rising from the grave in the first place include burying it upside-down, severing the tendons at the knees, or placing poppy seeds on the ground at the gravesite of a presumed vampire in order to keep it occupied all night counting.
* Apotropaics, i.e. objects intended to inhibit or ward off vampires (as well as other evil supernatural creatures), include garlic (confined mostly to European legends), sunlight, a branch of wild rose, the hawthorn plant, and all things sacred (e.g., Holy Water, a crucifix, a rosary) or an Aloe vera plant hung backwards behind the door or near it, in South American superstition. This weakness on the part of the vampire varies depending on the tale. In stories of other regions, other plants of holy or mystical properties sometimes have similar effects. In Eastern legends, vampiric creatures are often similarly warded by holy devices such as Shinto- seals.
* Vampires are sometimes considered to be shapeshifters not limited to the common bat stereotype depicted in cartoons and movies. (Rather, they are said to morph into a wide variety of animals such as wolves, rats, moths, spiders, and so on).
* Vampires in European folklore are said to cast no shadow and no reflection, perhaps arising from folklore regarding the vampire’s lack of a soul.
* Some traditions hold they cannot enter a house unless invited, although they only have to be invited once after this they can come and go as they please without further permission.
* Tradition holds they cannot enter a church or holy place, as they are servants of the devils.
The belief is widespread in parts of New England, particularly in Rhode Island and Eastern Connecticut. In this region there are many documented cases of families disinterring loved ones and removing their hearts in the belief that the deceased was responsible for sickness and death in the family (although the word “vampire” was never used to describe him/her). The deadly tuberculosis, or “consumption” as it was known at the time, was believed to be caused by nightly visitations on the part of a dead family member (who had died of consumption him/herself). The most famous (and latest recorded) case is that of nineteen-year-old Mercy Brown who died in Exeter, Rhode Island. Her father, assisted by the family physician, removed her from her tomb two months after her death. Her heart was cut out then burnt to ashes. An account of this incident was found among the papers of Bram Stoker and the story closely resembles the events in his classic novel, Dracula.
In Europe, bats and owls were long associated with the supernatural, mainly because they were night creatures. Conversely, the Gypsies thought them lucky and wore charms made of bat bones. In South America, Camazotz was a bat god of the caves living in the Bathouse of the Underworld. Spanish conquistadors first came into contact with vampire bats and recognized the similarity between the feeding habits of the bats and those of their legendary vampires. The bats were named after the folkloric vampire rather than vice versa; the Oxford English Dictionary records the folkloric use in English from 1734 and the zoological not until 1774. It wasn’t long before vampire bats were adapted into fictional tales, and they have become one of the more important vampire associations in popular culture.
Vampires in fiction and popular culture
Lord Byron arguably introduced the vampire theme to Western literature in his epic poem The Giaour (1813), but it was John Polidori who authored the first “true” vampire story called The Vampyre. Polidori was the personal physician of Lord Byron and the vampire of the story, Lord Ruthven, is based partly on him making the character the first of our now familiar romantic vampires.
Other examples of early vampire stories are Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s unfinished poem Christabel and Sheridan Le Fanu’s lesbian vampire story, Carmilla.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula has been the definitive version of the vampire in popular fiction for the last century. Its portrayal of vampirism as a disease (contagious demonic possession), with its undertones of sex, blood and death, struck a chord in a Victorian Europe where tuberculosis and syphilis were common. Stoker’s writings are also adapted in many later works. Vampires have proved to be a rich subject for the film industry. In modern popular culture, Anne Rice’s book series, Laurell K. Hamilton’s book series, Konami’s Castlevania video game titles, Kouta Hirano’s Hellsing manga, and television series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel have been especially successful and influential, Legacy of Kain video game series can also be mentioned. Numerous role-playing games, with Vampire: the Masquerade being the most famous, and popular novels feature vampires
Medium undead (shapechanger), lawful evil
Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 144 (17d8 + 68)
Speed 30 ft.
|18 (+4)||18 (+4)||18 (+4)||17 (+3)||15 (+2)||18 (+4)|
Saving Throws Dex +9, Wis +7, Cha +9
Skills Perception +7, Stealth +9
Damage Resistances necrotic; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 17
Languages the languages it knew in life
Challenge 13 (10,000 XP)
- Shapechanger: If the vampire isn’t in sunlight or running water, it can use its action to polymorph into a Tiny bat or a Medium cloud of mist, or back into its true form. While in bat form, the vampire can’t speak, its walking speed is 5 feet, and it has a flying speed of 30 feet. Its statistics, other than its size and speed, are unchanged. Anything it is wearing transforms with it, but nothing it is carrying does. It reverts to its true form if it dies. While in mist form, the vampire can’t take any actions, speak, or manipulate objects. It is weightless, has 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, the mist can do so without squeezing, and it can’t pass through water. It has advantage on Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution saving throws, and it is immune to all nonmagical damage, except the damage it takes from sunlight.
- Legendary Resistance (3/Day): If the vampire fails a saving throw, it can choose to succeed instead.
- Misty Escape: When it drops to 0 hit points outside its resting place, the vampire transforms into a cloud of mist (as in the Shapechanger trait) instead of falling unconscious, provided that it isn’t in sunlight or running water. If it can’t transform, it is destroyed. While it has 0 hit points in mist form, it can’t revert to its vampire form, and it must reach its resting place within 2 hours or be destroyed. Once in its resting place, it reverts to its vampire form. It is then paralyzed until it regains at least 1 hit point. After spending 1 hour in its resting place with 0 hit points, it regains 1 hit point.
- Regeneration: The vampire regains 20 hit points at the start of its turn if it has at least 1 hit point and isn’t in sunlight or running water. If the vampire takes radiant damage or damage from holy water, this trait doesn’t function at the start of the vampire’s next turn.
- Spider Climb: The vampire can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.
- Vampire Weaknesses: The vampire has the following flaws:
- Forbiddance: The vampire can’t enter a residence without an invitation from one of the occupants.
- Harmed by Running Water: The vampire takes 20 acid damage if it ends its turn in running water.
- Stake to the Heart: If a piercing weapon made of wood is driven into the vampire’s heart while the vampire is incapacitated in its resting place, the vampire is paralyzed until the stake is removed.
- Sunlight Hypersensitivity: The vampire takes 20 radiant damage when it starts its turn in sunlight. While in sunlight, it has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.
- Multiattack (Vampire Form Only): The vampire makes two attacks, only one of which can be a bite attack.
- Unarmed Strike (Vampire Form Only): Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) bludgeoning damage. Instead of dealing damage, the vampire can grapple the target (escape DC 18).
- Bite (Bat or Vampire Form Only): Melee Weapon Attack: +9 to hit, reach 5 ft., one willing creature, or a creature that is grappled by the vampire, incapacitated, or restrained. Hit: 7 (1d6 + 4) piercing damage plus 10 (3d6) necrotic damage. The target’s hit point maximum is reduced by an amount equal to the necrotic damage taken, and the vampire regains hit points equal to that amount. The reduction lasts until the target finishes a long rest. The target dies if this effect reduces its hit point maximum to 0. A humanoid slain in this way and then buried in the ground rises the following night as a vampire spawn under the vampire’s control.
- Charm: The vampire targets one humanoid it can see within 30 feet of it. If the target can see the vampire, the target must succeed on a DC 17 Wisdom saving throw against this magic or be charmed by the vampire. The charmed target regards the vampire as a trusted friend to be heeded and protected. Although the target isn’t under the vampire’s control, it takes the vampire’s requests or actions in the most favorable way it can, and it is a willing target for the vampire’s bite attack. Each time the vampire or the vampire’s 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 or until the vampire is destroyed, is on a different plane of existence than the target or takes a bonus action to end the effect.
- Children of the Night (1/Day): The vampire magically calls 2d4 swarms of bats or rats, provided that the sun isn’t up. While outdoors, the vampire can call 3d6 wolves instead. The called creatures arrive in 1d4 rounds, acting as allies of the vampire and obeying its spoken commands. The beasts remain for 1 hour, until the vampire dies, or until the vampire dismisses them as a bonus action.
The vampire can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature’s turn. The vampire regains spent legendary actions at the start of its turn.
- Move: The vampire moves up to its speed without provoking opportunity attacks.
- Unarmed Strike: The vampire makes one unarmed strike.
- Bite (Costs 2 Actions): The vampire makes one bite attack.
This alluring, raven-haired beauty casually wipes a trickle of blood from a pale cheek, then smiles to reveal needle-sharp fangs.
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 the base creature’s statistics and special abilities except as noted here.
- 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 +6.
- Attack: A vampire retains all the attacks of the base creature and also gains a slam attack if it didn’t already have one. If the base creature can use weapons, the vampire retains this ability. A creature with natural weapons retains those natural weapons.
- A vampire fighting without weapons uses either its slam attack or its primary natural weapon (if it has any). A vampire armed with a weapon uses its slam or a weapon, as it desires.
- Full Attack: A vampire fighting without weapons uses either its slam attack (see above) or its natural weapons (if it has any). If armed with a weapon, it usually uses the weapon as its primary attack along with a slam or other natural weapon as a natural secondary attack.
- Damage: Vampires have slam attacks. If the base creature does not have this attack form, use the appropriate damage value from the table below 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 below, 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 + 1/2 vampire’s
HD + 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. If it pins the foe, it drains blood, dealing 1d4 points of Constitution drain each round the pin is maintained. On each such successful attack, the vampire gains 5 temporary hit points.
- Children of the Night (Su): Vampires command the lesser creatures of the world and once per day can call forth 1d6+1 rat swarms, 1d4+1 bat swarms, or a pack of 3d6 wolves as a standard action. (If the base creature is not terrestrial, this power might summon other creatures of similar power.) These creatures arrive in 2d6 rounds and serve the vampire for up to 1 hour.
- Dominate (Su): A vampire can crush an opponent’s will just by looking onto 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): A humanoid or monstrous humanoid slain by a vampire’s energy drain rises as a vampire spawn 1d4 days after burial.
- If the vampire instead 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 may 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 enslave 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.
- Energy Drain (Su): Living creatures hit by a vampire’s slam attack (or any other natural weapon the vampire might possess) gain two negative levels. For each negative level bestowed, the vampire gains 5 temporary hit points. A vampire can use its energy drain ability once per round.
- Special Qualities: A vampire retains all the special qualities of the base creature and gains those described below.
- Alternate Form (Su): A vampire can assume the shape of a bat, dire bat, wolf, or dire wolf as a standard action. This ability is similar to a polymorph spell cast by a 12th-level character, except that the vampire does not regain hit points for changing form and must choose from among the forms mentioned here. While in its alternate form, the vampire loses its natural slam attack and dominate ability, but it gains the natural weapons and extraordinary special attacks of its new form. It can remain in that form until it assumes another or until the next sunrise. (If the base creature is not terrestrial, this power might allow other forms.)
- Damage Reduction (Su): A vampire has damage reduction 10/silver and magic. A vampire’s natural weapons are treated as magic weapons 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. If reduced to 0 hit points in combat, it automatically assumes 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 the rate of 5 hit points per round.
- Gaseous form (Su): As a standard action, a vampire can assume gaseous form at will as the spell (caster level 5th), but it 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.
- Spider Climb (Ex): A vampire can Climb sheer surfaces as though with a Spider Climb spell.
- Turn Resistance (Ex): A vampire has +4 turn resistance.
- Abilities: Increase from the base creature as follows: Strength +6, Dexterity +4, Intelligence +2, Wisdom +2, Charisma +4. As an undead creature, a vampire has no Constitution score.
- Skills: Vampires have a +8 racial bonus on Bluff, Hide, Listen, Move Silently, Search, Sense Motive, and Spot checks. Otherwise same as the base creature.
- Feats: Vampires gain Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, and lightning reflexes, assuming the base creature meets the prerequisites and doesn’t already have these feats.
- Environment: Any, usually same as base creature.
- Organization: Solitary, pair, gang (3-5), or troupe (1-2 plus 2-5 vampire spawn)
- Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +2.
- Treasure: Double standard.
- Alignment: Always evil (any).
- Advancement: By character class.
- Level Adjustment: Same as the base creature +8.
For all their power, vampires have a number of weaknesses.
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 attacks against the creature holding the item 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 utterly 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, 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 attacks can slay vampires. Exposing any vampire to direct sunlight disorients it: It can take only a single move action or attack action and is destroyed utterly in the next round if it cannot escape. 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).
Source(s) Monstrous Compendium Volume 1, Expert Boxed Set, 1E Monster Manual 1, Rules Cyclopedia, Classic D&D Game, Monstrous Manual, Night of the Vampire
Vampires are always evil, which causes characters of certain classes to lose some class abilities. In addition, certain classes take additional penalties.
Clerics: Vampire clerics lose their ability to turn undead but gain the ability to rebuke undead. This ability does not affect the vampire’s controller or any other vampires that a master controls. A vampire cleric has access to two of the following domains: Chaos, Destruction, Evil, or Trickery.
Sorcerers and Wizards: Vampire sorcerers and wizards retain their class abilities, but if a character has a familiar other than a rat or bat, the link between them is broken, and the familiar shuns its former companion.