Last updated: 10/11/2017 – Racial Rebuild per this blog post.
Morrigan, goddess of death and destruction, tried to bring her own children to life in ancient times, but none were able to withstand the terrible forces that surround her and everything she raised died around her. Over time, her despair grew so great that it gained form and became her spouse, Samhain. As they encountered the dead of other mortal races, they tried together to raise them back to life and each time failed, creating the races of mindless undead that populate the world today. One group of these attracted the attention of Compassion, who granted them sentience, creating the first vampires. A terrible and horrific race to behold, their lack of lifeforce is only matched by their desire to become the living once again. These desperate hungers and longings drive their every action, and are impossible for a Vampire to ignore.
Vampires have an odd place in society. While Fallen (when identified) are usually shunned, Blessed vampires are commonly found throughout the lands and generally tolerated and accepted, not only because of the effects of their blessing but because of their natures as social and friendly creatures (by necessity). some of the most powerful people in the realms have been vampires of both types, and a large number of Turned vampires exist on the fringes of society, usually unnoticed by most.
A small number of vampires are those who have contracted the Vampire Plague, a crafted disease made by humans originally to help them fight after suffering mortal wounds that had serious and disastrous consequences. While curable, doing so is incredibly difficult and more often than not a lifelong pursuit.
The vast majority of vampires are the Fallen, a race of life draining undead that seek out and quickly consume the lives of other creatures for themselves, taking the life drained for themselves for a short time. This quick fix has a cost, and with each feeding the life consumed lasts a bit less. Mature Fallen, those that have lived for centuries, generally gain only a few hours or days of life from draining an average mortal creature, a process which usually kills the creature in question. Because of this horrific and predatory exchange, fallen are considered to be the most terrible and horrific of the undead.
Fallen vampires tend to appear as the type of creature they originally were born as (usually human, but occasionally Clont or Werefolk), only generally in an advanced state of decay. Many legends of powerful mummies, revenants, corpse-walkers, and worse originate from Fallen vampires in their naturally decayed state. Upon consuming the life of the living, they regenerate to a state of of vibrancy that makes them appear almost more beautiful and alive than even the most energetic of their race. During this state they gain a sense of powerful euphoria, but it is short lived. As time continues they immediately decay, first returning to the appearance of a normal member of their race, and eventually starting to decay back to their corpse-like state.
Fallen vampires are unable to conceive unless they remain in a euphoric, living state for the duration of their pregnancy, an act that is at extremely high cost of life to maintain. Those children born of a Fallen are always Fallen themselves, but are not bound to their parents for succor. These unfortunate children grow to maturity as living creatures, needing only the smallest amount of lifeforce to remain living, but upon reaching adulthood begin to decay as their hunger grows exponentially.
The majority of Fallen vampires are created through the Turning, with a Fallen vampire sedating or binding a creature and forcefully draining them of all of their life essence, then passing all or most of it back to them after it is consumed. This process is excruciating to the turned, frequently driving them to madness and rage in the process, making doing so to even a willing subject nearly impossible without bindings or drug-induced unconsciousness. these turned mortals become entirely dependent upon the succor of their vampire parent, needing life energy from them, and them alone, in order to remain in their state of undeath. The death of their Fallen vampire parent generally leads to the death of all of the turned vampires they created, though a small portion are able to withstand this and live on as Fallen vampires themselves. The very smallest percentage might become restored to their previous lives, though this is incredibly rare.
The Blessed vampires are those descending from the ancient vampire given charge by Morrigan to warn Compassion of the plot made by the gods to kill the Fool and steal her treasures to give themselves the powers of life and death. A Fallen vampire, she fought across the realms of the living where she was driven away as a monster and horror, shunned by all, before finally coming before Compassion to warn her of the danger. As a gift in exchange for her great sacrifice, Compassion embraced her and her hunger left her. Her flesh was restored to great beauty, and her eyes were opened to see the beauty in all things around her. The first Blessed, she gained a longing for the moment of that initial embrace with Compassion, where life and love filled her and made her whole for just a moment, and that longing was passed on to all those Blessed who followed after her.
Blessed vampires are, even more than Fallen, nearly always human in appearance. Though that appearance has been greatly altered by their blessing. Their skin is always a perfect, even tone of unusual caliber, frequently pure alabaster or ebony, though in rare cases gold. Their eyes have a glow to them that persists in the dark, though the color of this glow varies between clans of Blessed. They always appear as perfect specimens of physical health and their beauty is both striking and hard to ignore for those speaking with them. Those who meet their eyes find themselves entranced and are hard pressed to resist their requests and desires.
The Blessed vampires have the Longing, a powerful physical and psychological need for love and acceptance. They must surround themselves with the living, specifically those who wish to be with them in companionship, and are in constant need of physical contact. A Blessed that goes without immediate living company begin to diminish and love energy and vibrancy, to very real and painful effect. While this longing cannot kill them, an isolated or trapped Blessed vampire will quickly become in a state of pure agony that cannot be restored without the touch or embrace of the adoring living.
For this reason Blessed then tend to be very social creatures, frequently using their charm and hypnotic beauty to surround themselves with adoration and love. They make excellent entertainers and performers, and equally adoring parents and lovers. Blessed can conceive children with mortal spouses and their children have a 50% chance of becoming a Blessed vampire once they reach maturity, usually manifesting around adolescence.
Blessed do not need to use their gifts to force those around them to grant them the love and life they need to survive, but many in desperation do and find that this cycle leads to a horrific feedback as those they have charmed come to hate them whenever they are not under their sway.
Blessed also have the ability to cause the Turning, but theirs is not possible until a creature they love is killed by unnatural means. They have the ability to embrace those that fell and try to grant the same blessing given to them to the recently slain and, on occasion, it may raise the creature as a turned vampire. Such vampires are mentally changed by the process, and have no choice but to adore the vampire that raised them and, to a certain extent, obey their commands. This usually leads to heartbreak, as the Blessed almost always has to be close to the creature before and, in saving their life, causes them to lose some of their free will. Turned in this fashion also tend to perish with the death of the one that raised them, though a rare few might become Blessed vampires fully themselves and a tiny portion may become once more alive as they were before.
While it is hard to make generalizations about vampires, some things tend to be true across all of them.
- Age. Vampires are essentially risen corpses, so age is a relative thing with little bearing on them.
- Alignment. While Vampires can be found of all alignments, most races believe them to be naturally evil which can greatly impact how they are perceived.
- Size. Vampires closely match humans in size and vary from 4 to 7 feet in height, and from 90 to several hundred pounds depending upon the individual. They are always considered Medium in range.
- Speed. Your base walking speed is 30.
- False Life. You count as undead for non-healing skills, items, spells, and abilities that impact them. Healing still works for you, but it takes more energy to restore your decaying body. Whenever you are healed by a magical positive energy source, you only restore half of the health gained in this way (rounded up).
- Vampiric Hunger. All Vampires are, by default, in a state of hunger which requires them to see out life energy. Characters of this race do not recover hit dice once spent during rests, and lose their proficiency bonus in hit dice on a long rest and one hit die on a short rest.
- Sire Mortal. Vampires of level 10 or higher may attempt to turn a recently slain mortal (Clont, Human, or Werefolk) into a vampire of their kind (Blessed or Fallen). This process takes three hours, with each hour represented by a death saving throw made by the slain creature. As part of this process, the Vampire must have a full hit dice pool and must sacrifice all of their hit dice as part of the process. If the creature succeeds at all three death saving throws, or critically succeeds at one, it is risen again as a vampire of their kind. The ritual is exhausting and may not be attempted again until after a long rest. While not immediately friendly to you, you may, as the sire of the creature, cast Suggestion as a cantrip on one of your sired vampires.
- Born as Mortal. Vampires were once mortal beings. Choose from Clont, Human, or Werefolk as your original form. Depending upon your origin, you gain one of the following racial archetypes:
- Vampiric Clont. Clontish vampires retain the massive size of their original form and gain benefits from their great size. Clontish Vampires gain +2 to their Constitution and count as one size larger when determining your carrying capacity and the weight you can push, drag, or lift. You also know the Clontish Language.
- Vampiric Human. Human Vampires retain the traits of their homeland, though they likely have long since been driven from it. You gain one Human regional trait of your choosing (feat and language).
- Vampiric Werefolk. Vampiric Werefolk retain the animal appearance of their original lives as a werefolk. Gain one werefolk animal trait and the Wildtongue language.
- Subraces. There are three types of Vampires in the world, you must pick one of the following.
The Fallen are the feral undead touched by Compassion to have hope of gaining life. Appearing as corpse-like beings, their state of decay is directly tied to the amount of living essence they have consumed. A Fallen that has fully consumed the life of a human might appear to be fully alive and well, and remain with that simulacrum of warmth and beauty for several hours before signs of decay once again appear. Over time, they slowly burn away the living essence until their body once again begins to decay down to a withered husk of zombie-like flesh until new blood is found.
- Fallen Constitution. Fallen gain +2 to their Constitution ability score.
- Fear of the Walking Dead. Fallen gain proficiency in intimidation.
- Eternal Decay. Fallen Vampire can, when well fed, be indistinguishable from the mortal races that they originated from. However this state is short lived. Whenever a Fallen Vampire’s hit dice pool is less than half full (rounded down), their flesh begins to slough and they become noticeably undead in appearance (sight and smell). While in this state they have disadvantage on charisma saves, checks, and all charisma based skill checks that they are not trained in. All but the most curious, evil, or open minded creatures will fear, loathe, or even be openly hostile to a sloughing Fallen Vampire, making hiding your appearance essential.
- Unholy Consumption. A Fallen Vampire can use burn the life force they have collected to regenerate their bodies for a short time. As an action, or over a minute out of combat, you may spend a number hit dice to recover health up to your proficiency bonus. The health recovered equals your Constitution modifier plus the maximum value of the hit dice spent.
- Devour Life. Fallen Vampires’ constant hunger for life can, and often does, turn violent. As an action, a Fallen Vampire may attempt to drain blood from a recently slain living creature. Out of combat this process takes one minute. If you do so in combat, make a contested constitution check with the corpse, with the corpse gaining +1 per minute since it has been killed. If yours is successful, you feast upon the corpse’s blood in a gruesome, demoralizing display. This feast restores one hit dice to your pool for a creature of small or medium size, two hit dice for a creature of large size, or three hit dice for a creature of huge size or larger. Should you fail the contested constitution check, the blood has already turned cold and you gain no benefit from it. Outside of combat, you may make this check with advantage. You may only make one contested check per corpse.
- Putrid Tolerance. A Fallen Vampire can use burn the life force they have collected to adapt their bodies to foreign invasion. As an action, you may spend a hit dice to adapt to all diseases or poisons affecting you, removing these conditions from you.
The Blessed are the vampires descending from the solitary vampire who fought through the hatred of the other races to deliver Morrigan’s warning that the gods were coming to kill the Fool and steal her treasures. Rewarded for her sacrifice, the first Blessed was granted great beauty and charm, allowing her to be loved by all those who saw her rather than to be shunned as a monster as most of her Fallen brethren had become. The Blessed who came after are still undead, and their skin typically has either an unusual alabaster or ebony sheen that is too perfect to be found among the mortal races. Their eyes tend to glow faintly with an uncanny light, and those who look into them find themselves charmed by their appearance. The Blessed remain undead, but no longer have the desperate need to feed upon life that their Fallen cousins seek, though that does not mean they do not crave life. Indeed, their dependency is perhaps even greater; without sources of ambient and loving life around them Blessed immediately begin to wither. their need to be surrounded by companions make them at once both highly social, as well as potentially manipulative and controlling creatures.
- Blessed Charm. Blessed Vampires gain +2 to their Charisma ability score.
- Unearthly Beauty. Blessed Vampires gain proficiency in persuasion.
- Eternal Longing. Blessed Vampires have the touch of compassion upon them, causing their bodies to remain whole and beautiful regardless of their longing for life. While this longing is not physically rotting like with the Fallen Vampire, it is still a real, emotionally crippling need for life. Whenever a Blessed Vampire’s hit dice pool is less than half full (rounded down), their Longing begins to grow stronger in their mind until it becomes all consuming. While in this state they have disadvantage on Wisdom saves, checks, and all Wisdom based skill checks that they are not trained in.
- Emotional Consumption. A Blessed Vampire can use burn the life force they have collected to regenerate their bodies for a short time. As an action, or over a minute out of combat, you may spend a number hit dice to recover health up to your proficiency bonus. The health recovered equals your Charisma modifier plus the maximum value of the hit dice spent.
- Draw Emotions. Blessed Vampires’ need for emotional energy can, and often does, require willing sacrifices from those around them. As an action, a Blessed Vampire may attempt to drain emotional energy from a charmed, non-hostile, or willing adjacent target. If you do so to a charmed or non-hostile creature, make a contested charisma check with the target. Charmed targets allow you to make this check with advantage. Should you fail the contested charisma check, the target resists your pull, breaks from the charm (if any), and becomes aware that you are a Blessed Vampire attempting to draw life essence from them. The creature may become hostile, frightened, or other reactions (at the DM’s discretion) depending on the nature of your interaction with it. If the target is willing, you automatically succeed. If you are successful, you steal one hit dice from the target. This power may be repeated against a target as an additional action. Should you draw the final hit dice from the target, they fall unconscious.
- Soothe. A Blessed Vampire can specifically target the powerful, negative emotions of others to draw life from them in a way that is beneficial. As an action, you can touch a willing or charmed creature and draw the powerful, negative emotional effects from that creature, neutralizing all sources of fear, charm, or magical sleep affecting it. For each source cured in this fashion, you regain a hit dice.