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|Shadow humanoid (undead)|
A vampire is an undead creature. A humanoid or monstrous humanoid can become a vampire, and looks as it did in life, but with paler skin, haunting red eyes, and a feral cast to its features. A new vampire is created when another vampire drains the life out of a living creature, or when a living creature is killed by its Energy Drain. Vampires are drawn to feed on the blood of the living, and can only survive on blood (normal food and drink do nothing for it and cause it to forcefully vomit it up within moments), obtaining it in any way they possibly can. They do not cast shadows, nor do they possess a reflection.
A vampire can be of any evil alignment, and if its alignment was not evil in life, it becomes so in undeath. A vampire retains all the abilities it had in life, and also becomes super-humanly strong, fast, and durable plus it gains the ability to drain blood and life energy, and to dominate other creatures with its gaze. Vampires gain the ability to shapeshift into a Dire Wolf, Wolf, Bat, Dire Bat, and a Gaseous Form. A vampire can also command rat swarms, bat swarms, and wolves. Despite their many strengths, vampires have a multitude of weaknesses and limitations that cannot be overcome, no matter how old the vampire is. While this may cause problems for the vampire, it provides some comfort for the living who face these creatures.
All vampires are bound to their coffins, returning to them when they are brought down to zero hit points (rather than being destroyed like other undead). This time period is critical however, the vampire though forced into its gaseous form and immune to any form of damage (Note, this only occurs when they are brought to zero hit points, not when it can change at will) has a limited amount of time to arrive at its coffin or be destroyed permanently. Even while it is at rest in its coffin, it is helpless for one hour while it reforms again, and then can heal normally. Because of this, many vampires have special defenses to protect them and their coffins. Common examples of this are having weaker undead as guardians, traps (both magical and mundane), or by simply placing their coffin in a room where only someone in gaseous form could enter.
Garlic will keep a vampire at bay, as well as prevent it from entering a room or building laced with garlic. Staking a vampire does not destroy it, however it paralyzes the vampire, rendering it helpless until the stake is removed. Primarily this tactic is used in conjunction with more efficient disposal methods, such as exposing it to sunlight or beheading (unlike other undead, vampires need their heads and are destroyed if beheaded). Additionally, Vampires are repelled by mirrors (as they lack a reflection) and cannot attack someone wielding a mirror. Those of strong faith can repel a vampire with a holy symbol, the effects are the same as when one wields a mirror. Vampires cannot enter a private home unless they are invited in by the owner, or by someone with the authority to do so. Once invited in, they may come and go as they please. Public places (such as inns and taverns), require no invitation for a vampire to enter, because by definition, they are open to all. Silver weapons and magical weapons can hurt a vampire if one possesses such a weapon and is brave enough to fight these monsters.
There are two known efficient ways to destroy a vampire permanently. One, is to immerse a vampire in naturally running water (such as a river). Doing this causes it to lose one third of its hit points each round until it is finally destroyed (in other words, it can only survive for three rounds). The last, is exposing the vampire to direct sunlight. Upon first exposure, the vampire is disoriented and can only make a single move action, or attack action before it is destroyed utterly.
In some rare circumstances, a vampire consumes enough blood to be mistaken for a human. Then in even rarer cases, they breed with a humanoid or monstrous humanoid, creating a Half-Vampire. This unholy creation also occurs when a pregnant mother survives a vampires blood drain attack and the child is tainted in the result.
Master Vampires are vampires that have perfected the art of taking spawn, and as a result, can lead gangs against their enemies. They usually have one spawn that is much better than the others, due to their Master's Chosen ability. However, all of a master vampire's spawn are better than the norm; stronger, faster, and more numerous.
Out of all the undead, vampires are the most "human" to a point. A fledgling vampire may retain enough memory of its former life to still form a parody of emotion within itself. In some cases, this may cause the vampire to seek out its friends or loved ones and turn them into one of the unliving, thinking they are preserving this attachment, not realizing that when they are turned, that they are forced into an artificial attachment to their creator.
In general, many vampires are sociopaths and possess a superiority complex. Sadistic predators in a human form, Vampires see no problem in using anyone they view as weak or inferior (which is just about anything they can overpower) for their own personal gains. They do not trust others easily, and only the most careless vampire would let anyone know where they rest. Vampires are extremely paranoid as well, some more than others, and are cowards at heart. Always putting their own existence first, they will happily throw someone else in the way if it meant they could survive, even other vampires or their own spawn. Generally, when a vampire is beaten, it will flee the area, not wishing to put its own "life" at risk. As well, they tend to avoid anyone that could potentially overpower them.
Vampires that do not shed their former humanity completely, may still maintain a mockery of their old life. Many take up stations of great influence and power (such as a noble) within a mortal society. The benefits they gain are numerous. They can maintain discretion, use their natural powers of influence (which may make destroying them difficult), and have access to living beings to feed upon. However, as the years drag on, less and less of the person they used to be ebbs away until they are nothing but a soulless hunter.
Some sadistic vampires enjoy eroticizing their need for blood. Sometimes taunting and teasing their prey in a cruel mockery of mortal flirtation. All vampires enjoy the thrill of hunting. Feeding and hunting down the living is their only true source of pleasure and amusement. Some vampires enjoy using their immortality and ability to create others of their kind as an advantage. Common ploys are to tempt a mortal with the promise of unlife and immortality, in exchange for wealth and services. Occasionally, these sate the vampire enough so that it indulges the mortal's request and turns them into one of the unliving. Though some, simply trick the mortal, killing them effortlessly and taking the payment anyway. Another is to turn a potential foe or rival into a loyal spawn, thus benefiting them in two ways. They get rid of a rival, and gain a loyal minion in the process.
Hunting and CombatEdit
Solitary: A solitary vampire is akin to a lone wolf stalking a herd of sheep. It stakes out a target, and tracks it, for days, perhaps weeks. Learning its schedule, its habits, and when is the best time to strike. Almost always the victim is someone weaker than the vampire. Effortlessly, the vampire uses whatever forms necessary to aid in its hunt. Occasionally, the vampire may give its prey small signs that they are being hunted. When the time presents itself, the vampire strikes, dragging its prey away and ensuring that it cannot be aided quickly, or that no witnesses are present. When the prey is rendered helpless (usually in a non-lethal way), the vampire taunts its victim relentlessly. Teasing it, torturing it, constantly reminding the prey and often describing in graphic terms what and how the victim will die. This technique is like that of a cat playing with a mouse it has caught. After it has had enough "fun" with its victim, the vampire feeds, killing its victim and sating its hunger until the hunger returns and repeats the process over again. Smart hunters that are dealing with a solitary vampire can use its habits against it. Focused on its prey, generally a vampire will ignore anything else that doesn't hinder its ability to capture it. This technique can be used to bait out a vampire if needed.
If it is ever compromised however, the vampire will use any and all means available to it to escape. Spells (if it uses any), dominate, calling animals to aid it, and shapeshifting, it does not care for honor or fighting fair. The only thing a vampire cares for is its own existence. If cornered, usually a vampire will act relatively calm, subtly attempting to influence the strongest foe and trying to talk its way out of the situation while its rapid healing closes any major wounds. If its "diplomatic" approach fails, it tends to act more animalistic, using its strength and slam attack to hinder and weaken its foes before escaping.
Pair: A pair of vampires tend to follow the solitary approach, but with more coordination and planning. However, both compete against each other to try and snatch the victim first for the first taste of blood. When a pair is compromised, both use a stunning display of their powers and abilities to fend off their foes in near-perfect coordination. Typically a pair of vampires are two different classes that work well together to help the other where one is weaker (Example: Fighter and Mage). However, if both are pursued, they split up and betray the other, no matter how strong their bond (assuming one isn't a spawn that can simply be ordered to be used as fodder) they will both try and direct their pursuer's attention to the other. If one should fall, the surviving vampire cares little; it was simply weak.
Group: A group of vampires are the most dangerous encounters. Typically this is comprised of a strong leader (usually one who is older and stronger) with a group of lower level vampires or spawn it has created. Their hunting techniques leave destruction in their wake, and fear in those who encounter them. Some use baiting techniques. A common technique is for a more visually appealing or persuasive member of the group to lure a hapless victim to a spot where it can't be helped, either by persuasion or by Dominate. When the victim is in the designated spot, the rest of the group springs from the shadows, tearing the victim to pieces in a frenzied orgy of blood and hunger. A more direct approach is for a group to terrorize a small village, feeding on any and all that should cross their path until the group is sated, or until they are driven off. A group of fleeing vampires is just as dangerous. Each one will try and make another of the group fall behind or have their pursuers catch the unfortunate vampire, hoping to stave off their pursuers long enough so that they can run. Each will use dominate and their children of the night ability to drive off their attackers, and continue to flee if the odds are against them.
Vampires as a whole, do not have an organized society or rules they must live by, nor do they have clans that dictate their abilities or attitudes. Many are solitary, preferring to hunt in solitude and "live" out their existence as they see fit. They do not have a rule about exposing themselves to mortals, but many generally keep their condition a secret if they are living amongst mortals or do not wish to compromise a position.
It isn't uncommon for a vampire and a group of spawn to travel around together, or create their own "society" and laws they live by. Generally however, vampires care little for their own spawn, using them as a mortal uses a tool.
Despite their belief that they are superior to all other forms of life, they can work with, or even for other evil beings if it benefits them in some way. These can range from other intelligent undead, evil dragons, demons, devils, and evil humanoids.
- Mordoc SeLanmere - he was a Vampire King who was the most powerful Vampire in all of Toril. He united the vampires under a single rule and home in the Battle of Bones. He was the arch-enemy of Zhentarim operative, Karne, who got him killed at the hands of eight Harper agents, three of which Mordoc imprisoned.
- Bodhi - the vampire whose death virtually ended Jon Irenicus's plan to join the Elven Pantheon. She was working with Jon to gain power to strike out at her enemies. She was killed by Abdel Adrian, a Bhaalspawn, after Bodhi nearly killed Imoen.
- Kierkan Rufo - an exiled priest of the Order of Deneir who turned into a vampire after drinking the contents of the Chaos Curse. He used his power to take down his old order and desecrate the Edificant Library, their temple. Was later killed by Cadderly Bonaduce while reclaiming the site.
- Artor Morlin - a Shoon outlaw mercenary captain who became baron of Steeping Falls before moving to Waterdeep where he remained unchallenged by any rival for over 400 years.
- Shyressa - an archmage and a Runemaster of the Twisted Rune.
The Lords of Darkness (1989) accessory described a "greater vampire" which was created from the life-draining kiss of a succubus. A greater vampire had all the abilities of a lesser vampire and could also move about freely in daylight, allowing it to take on the persona of a normal person, usually a wealthy individual. During the hours of daylight, the greater vampire retained its superior strength and spell immunities but could not use any of its special abilities such as life-drain, shapeshifting, or gaseous form.
- Skip Williams, Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook (July 2003). Monster Manual 3.5, p. 250-253. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2893-X.
- Andy Collins, Bruce R. Cordell (October 2004). Libris Mortis: The Book of Undead. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-3433-6.