Last updated: 1/13/2017
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.
- Ability Score Increase. Vampires have less life energy than other races and may only increase their ability scores by +2 in any combination of their choosing.
- 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.
- Touched by Compassion. Despite being an undead creature, positive energy spells (such as cure spells and potions) still heal you.
- Languages. Vampires can speak Ovidic (Common), along with Moan (the language of the undead).
- 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.
- Consumptive Skill. Fallen gain proficiency in both athletics and intimidation.
- Fallen Hunger. Fallen are, by default, in a state of hunger which requires them to see out food. They lose a number of hit dice equal to half of their proficiency bonus on a short or long rest. If the Fallen does not have enough hit dice to cover this loss or goes 24 hours without feeding, they gain two levels of exhaustion. When Fallen possess half or less of their maximum hit dice, they are considered to be in a state of Fallen Hunger. Taking a long rest with more than half of their maximum hit dice restores one level of exhaustion. Fallen may not spend hit dice to restore hit points during a short rest. While they are under the effects of Fallen Hunger, Fallen Vampires appear corpse like and in a state of decay. When their hunger is sated they appear uncanny and cold, but akin to humans. When they are close to or have all of their hit dice, they appear to be youthful, vibrant, and beautiful in a way that is remarkable to the eye.
- Consume Life. Fallen seek to consume life, and may attempt to sate their hunger by feasting upon the blood of the living, or being provided willing succor out of combat. Fallen gain no benefit from attempting to feed on Constructs, Undead, or Plantfolk. Consuming life reinvigorates a Fallen such that each time they regain a hit die, they gain hit points equal to 5 + their Constitution modifier. Drinking blood from a willing host out of combat takes 10 minutes and restores 2 hit die. Fallen may not gain hit dice from the same creature more than once every 24 hours using Consume Life, Devour Life, or Siphon Life. Fallen can spend 10 minutes to attempt to drink blood from a corpse that has been dead for no longer than 1 minute to regain 1 hit die. A Fallen Vampire may store blood in an airtight flask or other container which will last up to 24 hours, after which it will provide no benefit. Some containers can be found which will magically preserve the blood for longer periods of time. Many Vampires seek these out to cope with their constant hunger during travels.
- Devour Life. Fallen Vampires’ constant hunger for life can, and often does, turn violent. Using the Attack action, a Fallen Vampire may attempt to drain blood from a living opponent by making a special melee attack. If they are able to make multiple attacks with the Attack action, this attack replaces one of them. Make a melee attack roll against the target–this is considered an unarmed strike which counts as a finesse weapon and as magical for the purposes of overcoming resistance. If the attack hits, you deal 1d4 + your Constitution modifier in piercing damage and regain 1 hit die. You may not gain hit dice from the same creature more than once every 24 hours using Consume Life, Devour Life, or Siphon Life. Fallen gain no benefit from attempting to feed on Constructs, Undead, or Plantfolk.
- Siphon Life. Some Fallen have learned to use their skill with magic to sate their dark hunger by prying the life essence from an unwilling victim and bringing it straight to them. They learn Siphon Life as a cantrip–this does not count against their number of cantrips known. The Fallen must have the ability to cast 1st-level spells in order to cast this cantrip and the DC is the same as that of their highest level spellcasting class.
- Siphon Life
- Necromancy cantrip
- Casting Time: 1 action
- Range: 20 feet
- Components: V, S
- Duration: Instantaneous
- You extend your hand toward a creature you can see within range and attempt to open a small wound and draw life from it. The creature must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or take 1d4 necrotic damage. If you do not move before or after casting this spell on your turn, the life essence floats towards you and you regain 1 hit dice. You may not gain hit dice from the same creature more than once every 24 hours using Consume Life, Devour Life, or Siphon Life. Fallen gain no benefit from attempting to feed on Constructs, Undead, or Plantfolk. This spell’s damage increases by 1d4 when you reach 5th level (2d4), 11th level (3d4), and 17th level (4d4).
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 Charisma. The Blessed gain an additional +2 to Charisma.
- TLC. Blessed gain proficiency in both medicine and persuasion.
- Hypnotic Stare. A Blessed may use their beauty to lock eyes with a single sentient creature. While locked in a Hypnotic Stare, the creature has disadvantage on all saves against the Blessed’s abilities. This may be used on one creature and lasts a number of rounds equal to the Blessed’s Charisma modifier. After this is used, it may not be used again until after a long rest. this is a concentration ability.
- The Longing. A Blessed has the Longing, a desire to embrace life and gain it for themselves that replaced their cousin’s Fallen Hunger upon obtaining their blessing. While they do not need to consume life, they are drawn to it and seek to be embraced willingly by those who have it. Whenever a Blessed Vampire ends a turn not adjacent to a living ally, they lose 1 HP. Whenever they are cured by another allied creature, they gain additional HP equal to their Charisma modifier. Damage from the Longing may not reduce a Blessed vampire below 1 HP.
- Raise Turned. A Blessed may, over a two hour period, attempt to raise a recently killed ally as a Turned vampire. To do so they must make three successful death saving throws (same as when they would die) and sacrifice a number of HP equal to half their health. If successful, the killed creature is risen as a Turned vampire with a number of HP equal to the amount sacrificed. If unsuccessful, the Blessed is reduced to 1 HP and may not attempt the ritual upon that target again. The ritual is exhausting and may not be attempted again until after a long rest. Your Turned vampire adores you (see the Turned).
Note: Players generally do not begin the game as Turned vampires, but may become one over the course of a campaign. Players rolling new characters as Turned must have regular, direct access to the vampire who raised them.
Mortal races can, through various means, become vampires in a process known as the Turning. A powerful Blessed or Fallen can transform another creature into one of their kind through one of two rituals. For Fallen, the process involves consuming the entirety of a living creature’s life essence and then passing at least half of it back into them. The process is excruciating to the mortal and is almost never possible without considerable restraint or sedation. The Blessed may also turn mortals to their kind, but only after their passing. A Blessed may embrace a recently fallen allied creature that looked upon them favorably, and in a process which requires several hours transfer the grace within them to the fallen to bring them back to consciousness as a Turned vampire. Turned vampires retain much of their previous race’s bearing, including their ability scores and abilities, and do not gain any Vampire traits or abilities except for the following.
- Language. You gain the ability to understand the language Moan.
- Creature Type. You are now considered an undead creature, though you may be healed in the same fashion as other vampires.
- Dependency. Should the vampire that raised you die, you must make three successful death saving throws or also die. Should you pass these, you must roll a 1d2. On a one the curse of undeath is lifted from you and you are restored to your previous self. On a 2 your vampiric needs overpower you and you become the type of vampire that turned you, losing all racial abilities and bonuses from your previous race and replacing those with that of the type of vampire that turned you.
- Adoration or Wretched. Turned also gain one of the following traits, depending upon how they were turned.
- Adoration: Your life has been restored by a Blessed vampire and you find yourself filled with loyalty and adoration for the vampire that brought you back to life. You gain disadvantage on all rolls that would harm or go against the will of the vampire that raised you. Once per long rest, the vampire that raised you may cast the spell command on you and automatically succeed.
- Wretched: Your life has been corrupted by a Fallen vampire and you find yourself with a desperate need to feed upon the blood of that vampire. Whenever a Turned vampire takes a long rest they return to a state of hunger and remain as such until they feed of at least 1 freely given Life Energy from the vampire that raised them. While impacted by Wretched, you have disadvantage on all ability checks and attack rolls. Wretched have no ability to gain life energy to release them from their Wretched state and are entirely dependent upon the vampire that raised them to grant them succor.
The Vampiric Plague
Note: Players generally do not begin the game with the Vampiric Plague, but may contract it over the course of the campaign. Players rolling new characters with the Vampiric Plague should consult with their GM about the source of their plague.
The Apothekarium of Albertshire, in their last ditch efforts to resist the armies of Ovid in ancient times, with mortal wounds to allow them to keep fighting, the concoction had some fairly serious side effects in that it turned those fellow brothers fighting alongside them into starving monsters that wished nothing more than to feast upon their lifeblood. Those with the Vampiric Plague must be Human, Clont, or Werefolk, and gain the following traits upon contracting the disease.
- The Living Dead. The Vampiric Plague does not make you an undead creature.
- Need to Feed. Those with the Vampiric Plague must attempt to sate their hunger by feasting upon the blood of the living. After each short rest, the victim of the Vampiric Plague gains 1 point of exhaustion. As a bonus action against an adjacent melee target that has taken damage from the player this turn, or against a willing target out of combat, the plagued may make a Constitution save to attempt to sate their hunger against a DC 10 + their Constitution modifier (minimum 10). If successful, their hunger is sated and they lose 1 point of exhaustion. A victim of the plague may use this ability against any number of creatures to cure exhaustion, but may make only one attempt per creature to do so. Successful feeding requires the target to make a Constitution save or contract the illness themselves. Those with the plague cannot offer sustenance to others who have contracted it.
Note: The Vampiric Plague is persistent, and incredibly difficult to cure. Doing so requires a small fortune and extremely rare reagents, which both explains the prevalence of the disease and its persistence in leading many with it to infect many others. Creatures with disease immunity also have immunity from the Vampiric Plague.