Observations Upon Vampires

Copyright Lómion © 2006

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

Van Lyden's Observations Upon Vampires
Based on Van Richten's Guide to Vampires

Table of Contents

Introduction topChapter I

But first on earth as vampyr sent,
Thy corpse shall from its tomb be rent,
Then ghastly haunt thy native place
And suck the blood of all thy race

- Lord Byron

Welcome, my dear students! My name is Lucius van Lyden, and I, unlike most of you, am just a scholar, no monster-hunter or adventurer. But I am convinced that my lectures may aid you in your future tasks, to battle evil wherever it may show its ugly face. In this my first lecture I will introduce you to one of the vilest and most dangerous foes you may encounter, especially if you travel the Lands of the Mists (which I would disencourage you from). I will heavily refer to the notes of my dear colleague Dr Rudolph van Richten, translating his information for use of those of the Charlton/Fenlon disposition, but also using other sources on this undead menace.

Vampire: Class IV-VII; (-)-EN§#-7; may cast spells as in life, except good Channeling Users (esp. Clerics and Paladins); special powers include charm, shapechanging; bite paralyses and drains 1-30 hits/rnd and 1-3 CO pts/rnd (instead of normal crit); victims killed by draining rise as Fledgling Vampires; only harmed by magic or special weapons, puncture crit (heart) from wooden weapons, holy water, spells (but immune to mind-affecting magic and highly resistant against most other), sunlight, running water, and allergens like garlic.

Classification of Vampires

Transformed ♠ Corporeal ♠ Intelligent ♠ Procreating

Chapter I: The Background of Vampirism topIntroductionChapter II

The Necrology of Vampires

  • Vampires have no metabolism whatsoever, so they are immune to all poisons and all mundane as well as most magical diseases.
  • They are also immune to: exhaustion, exposure, pain - no penalties, stun and stun no parry results, and all effects of aging - their body will be restored as it was in the moment of death. The immunity to pain does not include pain caused by sunlight, holy water, or similar attacks.
  • Digestion: Vampires cannot digest solid food and throw up after eating or even tasting food. Vampires may drink some fluids that in some way resemble human blood, e.g., red wine. Most of these drinks are alcoholic. All other fluids (and all food) consumed by a vampire are regurgitated 1d10 rounds later.
  • Their sensory organs are much more sensitive (+50 Perception). Vampires have Darkvision as the 10th lvl spell (Sense Enhancement, Beastmaster Base, RMCII.10.14; 100' sight in magical darkness, 200' in normal total darkness, as though in full daylight on a normal night).
  • Their link with the Negative Material Plane fulfills all their energy requisites not covered by blood (so to speak).
  • Blood

  • Vampiric blood is extremely coagulant: Bleeding Wounds close immediately.
  • Under transmitted light (i.e., seen against a light source), it has a distinctive golden color.

Vampires of Different Racial Stock and Unusual Vampires

Dwarven, Elven and Halfling vampires as well as some vampires of human stock have powers and weaknesses different from those detailed here. These are discussed in the Appendix.

Age Categories

See Table 2. Frequency is 8 for all vampires over the age category of Fledgling, and 9 for those of age category Eminent or Patriarch.

A caveat: Do not take the "age" in the Age Category Table too literally. These are stages of vampiric "aging", and just as some humans mature more quickly or slowly than normal, so do vampires.

Chapter II: Ordinary Vampiric Powers topChapter IChapter III

Mundane and Magical Powers

Mundane Powers

All vampires can move silently (+100 to Stalk).

For other nonspell-like powers, see Table 2. Note that the stats given in that table are minima; if the vampire had higher stats in life, they will be retained.

Magical Powers

All vampires have the ability to charm a mortal at will, if in human form. The victim must be looking in the vampire's eyes; the range is thus no greater than 10'. Ancient and Eminent vampires can charm using the sound of their voice (range: 40'); Patriarch vampires can charm by will alone, even through solid walls (range: 40'), but only against a target that the vampire knows is present. Each victim gets a RR modification according to Table 2.

Vampires can climb any wall at all moving pace categories (similar to the spell "Wall Running", Nightblade Base, Phantom Movements, lvl 13, RMC).


The transition from human to animal or fog takes 1 rnd, from animal to fog, 2 rnds, from one animal form to another animal form, 1 rnd. Note that not all vampires can change into 2 species, and some vampires take different forms than those noted here.

During a transformation, the vampire is effectively stunned and unable to parry, and all of its RRs against magic are at -5.

Once in any 24-hour-period, a vampire can heal all damage by changing from human to animal form or vice versa.

Vampires will assume Mist Form when reduced to 0 Hits (see below). Vampires cannot be forced to assume an animal form. Vampires that reach their sanctuary with 0 hits take on human form.

A vampire not in human form cannot cast spells.

Gaseous Form (Mist Form)

A vampire in Mist Form is totally immune to any physical attack. It is, however, harmed by magical attacks, magical weapons, and allergens. A vampire forced into gaseous form is immune to all attacks except sunlight and special weapons.

Vampires regenerate normally in Mist Form, unless at 0 hits.

A vampire can modify the density of its Mist Form from that of a thick fog, white and totally opaque, to that of a thin, virtually invisible mist. The volume occupied by the mist changes with density: minimum of 6 cu' (dense fog), maximum of 36 cu' (thin mist). The exact dimensions are under the control of the vampire with a minimum of one-tenth inch for any dimension. Changes in density and form take 1 second (-10 on other actions that round).

A vaporous vampire is in complete control of its movement; it is unaffected by any wind. Fledgling Vampires move more slowly than most humans, but all other age categories move faster (see Table 2).

In gaseous form, the vampire must remain close to the ground (10'), but it can flow up stairs or similar surfaces. It cannot pour up a ladder, the wall of a building or a sheer cliff, but it can pour down such obstacles without taking any damage at the same speed that it travels across flat ground.

A vampire in gaseous form is strictly prohibited from crossing a body of running water that is more than 3' wide, even by means of a ford or bridge. It may cross running water if a natural earth barrier is between the vampire and the water (e.g., a vampire can cross a subterranean stream).

Mist corruption. Transforming into gaseous form can be dangerous to vampires. Each week, a vampire must make a RR vs. its own level, modified by PR and -5 for each time the vampire changed into gaseous form that week. If he fails this RR, his Mist Corruption Index (MCI, all vampires start at 0) increases 1 level. If it succeeds at the first RR, it may make a second RR, this time only modified by PR, to drop its MCI by 1 level.

At MCI level 1, a vampire gains the Salient Ability Blood Drain While Gaseous. At MCI lvl 2, the vampire may sleep while gaseous, and gains the Salient Ability Charm While Gaseous. At MCI lvl 3, called the Vanishing by vampires, it can only feed, sleep and charm while in Mist Form. Upon reaching MCI lvl 4, the vampire cannot easily assume solid form. It must make an RR vs. its own level, modified by PR. Moreover, whenever it shapechanges into a new animal or human form the vampire must make a RR as described or involuntarily assume mist form instead. At MCI lvl 5, the vampire is trapped in its Mist Form and may not change in any other forms. It may only feed and sleep, but can take no other action. After one week in this form, the vampire perishes into the Mists (Ethereal Plane or something similar). Mist Corruption is discussed in more detail in Sutton, Stephen: Stakes and Sunlight, Quoth the Raven Issue 1.

Animal Form

A vampire's animal form is always larger than the norm, and more menacing. Vampires cannot usually feed in animal form (exceptions: bat, rat).

Certain vampires may have atypical animal forms. Most human vampires change into wolves or giant bats, but individual vampires may also change into dogs, cats, owls, crows, horses, monkeys, reptiles, snakes or tigers. The animal forms a vampire may assume are a result of its background or bloodline.

Most vampires have only one or two animal froms; Patriarch vampires sometimes three.

Statistics for animal forms other than those given in Table I can easily be derived from the normal stats of the creature: stats marked with ** in Table I are the same as for the human form; movement stats are roughly the same as for the normal creature (a bit lower for large creatures, a bit higher for small creatures), DB should be enhanced to at least 80*, all attacks should have an OB of at least 70 and an Attack Size of at least M. Most animal forms can't be used to feed.

Notes on Specific Animal Forms

Giant Bat, Giant Rat. In these forms, a vampire may feed normally, draining 1-3 CO points and 1-30 hits per round.

Elven/Midnight Cat. Certain special abilities are retained by the vampiric form: +90 stalk/hide; leap 20'; swim.

Giant Spider. Bite and Sting attacks inject a 6th lvl reduction poison (Var A) that also causes unconsciousness after 1-10 rounds, lasting 40-400 rounds; may spin webs or bind prey into cocoons; a vampire may feed normally in this form.

Minor Shapechanges

A vampire's fangs and/or claws elongate when they use their natural (Bi/Cl) attacks. If a vampire is forced to use its natural attacks in defense, its undead nature becomes (more) visible. Most vampires avoid such situations.

Minion Control

Animal Summoning and Control

A vampire can control and summon animals whose forms the vampire can assume. Note that vampires taking the forms of giant creatures may only summon and control the normal-sized types of these animals. Vampires capable of assuming the form of an elven cat may normally only summon normal cats (even if the vampire is of elven stock).

A vampire can use this summoning power 3 times/day, range is 1 mile.

Animal control has a range of 50'.

Animal Summoning and Control

Type Number Duration
Bats, small 10-100 2-12 rnds
Bats, large 4-24 2-12 rnds
Cats 1-12 1-6 rnds
Crows 10-50 2-12 rnds
Eagles 2-8 2-8 rnds
Elven Cats 1-4 1 rnd
Midnight Cats 1-8 1-8 rnds
Rats 10-100 1-10 rnds
Spiders, Giant 1-10 2-12 rnds
Unicorn, Black 1 2-12 rnds
Wolves 3-18 2-8 rnds
Wolves, Winter 2-8 1-10 rnds

Note that some animals may remain, free-willed, in the area, while others will flee after the duration expires.

Other Minions

A vampire can control undead as per the evil cleric spells ("Necromancy"), see Table 2. The first (roman) number indicates the highest class of undead that can be controlled, the second, the total levels the vampire can control. Duration: C, Range: 100'.

Vampires possess some degree of control over their vampiric offspring and their "companions"; this will be discussed in Chapter VI. Vampires also enjoy controlling mortals through their charm ability.

Chapter III: Salient Abilities and Idiosyncrasies topChapter IIChapter IV

Note: Van Richten's list of Salient Abilities has been augmented with what I call Idiosyncrasies, and by some new salient abilities. I strongly advise against using these randomly. Each salient ability or idiosyncrasy should be related to the vampire's background (or that of its progenitor). Some salient abilities (but not idiosyncrasies) may be gained by age, though. Note that some, if not all, salient abilities and idiosyncrasies are passed from progenitor to offspring; in the case of salient abilities, these may only manifest as the vampire ages. Also note that some of these abilities tend to shorten a vampire's lifespan. Salient abilities as listed by Dr. van Richten are marked with (SA), new salient abilities with (SA*), idiosyncrasies with (IS), and idiosyncrasies listed by van Richten as salient abilities with (IS†). Most salient abilities and Idiosyncrasies also have an enhanced form. Vampires younger than Eminent seldom have salient abilities.

Alternative Forms of Stat Draining (IS). The vampire does not drain Constitution, but one (or more) of the other statistics.

Alternative Forms of Sustenance (IS). The vampire does not feed on blood, but on some other bodily substance such as spinal fluid, lymphatic fluids, heart, brain, bone marrow, body water, or body salt.

Animal Frenzy (SA). Natural (non-monstrous) animals within 50' of the vampire sense the creature's evil nature, which drives them into a panic. This makes trained animals skittish, nervous, and nearly impossible to control, and causes wild or untrained animals to flee.

Enhanced: So great is the evil nature the vampire exudes that animals are able to track a vampire. Only predatory or hunting animals (such as wolves or dogs) will willingly track a vampire.

Blood Drain While Gaseous (SA). The vampire can drain blood from a victim even when in gaseous form. The monster can attack only one victim per round with this attack. By surrounding the victim, it drains 1d10 hits/rnd; the blood of the victim flows through the pores and vanishes seemingly into the mist.

Enhanced: The power is the same as above except the vampire drains 2d10 hits/rnd from the victim.

Blood Lust (IS†). The creature has a mad craving for blood and must have it at all costs. If the creature can see an open wound or other source of fresh blood, the sight drives the monster into a frenzy. While in this frenzy, the vampire will do whatever it takes to reach the source of blood and drink it. The frenzy is not so intense that the creature will put itself into a situation that it knows will certainly destroy it. The vampire is sated after having reached the source of blood, and isn't susceptible to further frenzies for 2d6×10 minutes.

Enhanced: So strong is the creature's craving that it need not see blood to go into a frenzy. The vampire can smell any exposed blood within 20'. If it can either see or smell the blood, but not both, the creature won't destroy itself in its frenzy, as discussed above. If it can both see and smell the blood, however, the frenzy is so strong that the creature will do anything, even something obviously self-destructive, in an attempt to reach its goal. The vampire is then immune to further frenzies for 1d4×10 minutes.

Charm While Gaseous (SA). When the vampire is in gaseous form, it can attempt to "charm-gaze" with the same restrictions that apply to its normal charm attack. The mist will begin to whirl in hypnotic patterns, attracting the attention of the victim. This is considered a gaze-type attack. The vampire can use this ability once per day.

Enhanced: The victim of the gaseous vampire need not be looking at the creature for the charm to be successful. The vampire attempts the charm by "whispering" thoughts into the victim's mind. This may be used twice per day.

Communication with Controlled Animals (IS). The vampire can use the senses of a controlled animal.

Enhanced: The vampire can communicate telepathically with controlled animals.

Curse of the Vampire (IS). Some vampires can raise new vampires using a curse. This spell is 20th lvl Channeling (Evil Cleric, Curses). If the victim fails his RR, he will lose 1d10 points of strength every time the sun rises. If the victim's strength reaches 0, the victim dies and will rise the following night as a fledgling vampire under the control of the caster. If the curse is broken, the victim will regain 1d10 points of strength (starting with 1) each sunrise, until he has reached his previous score. Vampires with this power can use it once per month, usually on the night of the full moon. Since this is an intrinsic power, they do not need to spend PPs.

Enhanced: The vampire may use this power twice per month.

Dangerous Blood (IS). The vampire's blood is either caustic (causing an A acid crit on touch), explosive/flammable when exposed to sunlight (1d10 hits or A heat crit to all within 5'), or has the ability to charm anyone touching it (-5 RR mod for each age category starting with Old). There is no external clue that indicates what kind of blood a given vampire may have.

Dozing (IS). The vampire does not fall unconscious as described in Chapter V, but rather dozes. If awakened during daylight hours, it is stunned and unable to take any action for 1 round and may not voluntarily shapechange for an additional 1d4 rounds.

Enhanced (Insomnia): The vampire does not have to sleep at all.

Elemental Resistance (SA*). The vampire takes only half damage from one elemental force (fire, water, air/wind, light/electricity, ice/cold, earth, darkness), both natural and magical. This resistance doesn't include special attacks, so a vampire resistant to water still takes full damage from holy water, a vampire resistant to fire still takes full damage from the Holy Flame a fire cult uses in place of holy water, etc.

Enhanced (Elemental Immunity): As above, except the vampire is immune to one specific elemental force, with restrictions as above.

Extra Feeding (SA). The vampire must feed twice as much as normal (see Feeding).

Enhanced: The vampire must feed thrice as much as normal.

Fear Aura (SA). All living things will fear the vampire because it constantly exudes an enchanted aura of fear. Any living thing within 10' of the creature must make a RR vs. Fear (Failure 26+: Flee for 2-20 minutes + effects as follows, 01-25: -10 OB against the creature. RR made by more than 25: The character is immune to all fear attacks from this vampire). The vampire can still attempt to charm-gaze a victim normally. If it fails, however, that person is immediately overcome with fear and may not be charmed by the vampire again that day.

Enhanced: The fear aura has a range of 15', and the RR has a penalty of -15. So strong is the fear effect that the creature is unable to charm a victim by gaze or by voice. A Patriarch can still charm a victim by will.

Note: This is not the Fear Gaze ability of the dwarven vampire, which functions like its counterpart, the Charm ability, of human vampires.

Gargoyle Control (SA). The vampire can summon and control 1d4 gargoyles. The monsters will arrive in 2d4 rounds and will remain in the vampire's control for 2d4 rounds. When the period of control expires, the gargoyles will remain in the area as free-willed monsters. There must be gargoyles available to be summoned (within 1 mile) for this power to be successful. (Gargoyles will be discussed in the Observations Upon the Created.)

Enhanced: Gargoyles need not to be in the area for the summons to be successful. The vampire has the power to transform any native rock in the immediate area (maximum of 1 mile) into an appropriate number of gargoyles. The transformation takes 2d4 rounds to occur.

Improved Resistance (SA). The vampire receives a bonus of +5 to all its RRs (in addition to any other bonuses it might receive).

Enhanced: The vampire receives a bonus of +10 to all its RRs.

Inate Magic (SA). The vampire can cast spells from a selected spell list (lvl 1-5) at will (no PPs). There is no limit to the number of times per day the vampire can use the power. The list must be selected when the vampire first gains this ability, and may never change.

Enhanced: As above, except the vampire may cast spells of levels 1-10 from the selected list.

Magical Resistance in Gaseous Form (SA*). The vampire takes only half damage from magical attacks while in gaseous form. Alternatively, it receives a RR bonus of +50.

Enhanced: The vampire suffers no damage even from magical attacks while in gaseous form, or receives a +100 modifier to its RR.

Passwall (SA). The vampire can pass through walls at will as if they were simply not there, traveling at its movement rate for gaseous form (although the vampire is not gaseous while using this ability). Note that the vampire does not actually create a physical hole in the wall. It merely passes though the wall. The duration of the power is 2d4 rounds, and it can be used once per day.

Enhanced: The power can be used twice per day.

Re-Raising (IS). The vampire may rise again, even if totally destructed, provided at least two thirds of the dust into which it has disintegrated is collected and sprinkled with fresh blood from a sentient creature. The amount of blood needed is specific to the vampire, ranging from a mere drop to all of the victim's blood. The vampire is then under the effect of a premature rising from hibernation (Chapter V).

Resistance to Sunlight (IS). The vampire resists sunlight as if it were one age category higher.

Enhanced: The vampire resists as if it were two age categories higher.

Shadow (IS). The vampire casts no shadow. Note that vampires may conceal this using illusions.

Enhanced: The vampire can hide in shadows (+100 to Hide) or even use shadow teleport (transporting itself from a shadow to the next).

Skin Tone (SA). Years of undeath have affected the vampire physically. The monster's skin has turned stark white, revealing its nature to anyone viewing the creature. (The creature could still disguise its nature using makeup, of course.)

Enhanced: The vampire's flesh is translucent. Any light source at least as bright as a torch will shine through the creature's skin and flesh, silhouetting its skeleton. As above, the creature can attempt to disguise this with makeup. Masks and clothes remain normal.

Specific Form of Destruction (IS). The vampire cannot be destroyed by putting a stake through its heart. Instead, another form of attack must be used, e.g., decapitation, a stake through the heart and decapitation followed by placing a citron in its mouth, etc. Note that all other forms of destruction remain valid.

Superior Constitution Drain (SA). The vampire drains +1 CO (see Feeding)

Enhanced: The vampire drains +2 CO.

Superior Regeneration (SA). The vampire regenerates two more hit points per round than it would normally.

Enhanced: The vampire regenerates four more hit points per round than it would normally.

Susceptibility to Allergens (IS). Allergens include yew leaves, rose petals, salt, rice, silver, mistletoe, rosemary, myrrh, anise, lilies, etc. Vampires are affected as by mirrors or garlic (see below, Vampiric Weaknesses).

Enhanced: The allergen (or garlic) may actually harm the vampire, doing 1d10 hits/round in which the vampire sees/smells/tastes the allergen (or garlic).

Susceptibility to Stigmata (IS). When the vampire is caught in sunlight, struck by a holy symbol, or splashed by holy water (choose one, all or any combination), it receives an indelible mark. This may be a red discoloration, a scar or a burned area of skin. The stigma will fade in 2d10 months.

Enhanced: The stigma fades in 2d10 years.

Tolerance to Normal Food (IS). The creature may eat normal food, but has to throw up after 1d10 hours.

Enhanced: The vampire may eat, drink and excrete like a normal human. Note that it doesn't need to eat, nor does it draw sustenance from food other than blood.

Toxic Saliva (IS). Vampires with toxic saliva can create new vampires without actually draining them. Bitten victims must make a RR vs. poison (vampire's lvl). If they fail, they will, 2d4 days later, suffer sudden heart failure and drop instantly and painlessly dead. They will rise as fledgling vampires as specified below. If they make the RR, but are killed by the vampire, they won't rise as vampires.

Enhanced (Toxic Touch): The vampire may poison a victim as above even by inflicting a minor wound with his claws.

Transport (SA). Once per day, the vampire can transport (teleport) itself up to 120' away.

Enhanced: Once per day, the vampire can teleport itself to any location it knows.

Undead Master (SA). The vampire can master rather than control its undead minions (as in the Necromancer List Undead Mastery, no concentration is required, Duration is 10 min/lvl).

Enhanced: The vampire can master as many levels of undead as his own level.

Vampiric Rage (SA). Once per day, the vampire can fly into a vampiric rage. The rage will last for 2d4 rounds, during which time the vampire attacks as if frenzied (+30 OB, no DB except armor, no parry, double damage).

Enhanced: As above, and the vampire may make 2 physical attacks per round.

Chapter IV: Vampiric Weaknesses topChapter IIIChapter V

Keeping a Vampire at Bay

  • Good Holy Symbols. A person presenting a holy symbol of a good faith may hinder a vampire's ability to attack or approach. The vampire must make a RR vs. Mentalism with +5/age category over Old. This roll is further modified by the character's PR bonus and the faith of the character wielding the symbol (this modifier is up to the GM, from -100 for PCs who have never uttered a single prayer to +75 for devoutly pious characters.)
    A vampire seeing a good-aligned holy symbol will normally show some sign of distaste or hatred - hissing or spitting in anger, flinching away in pain, etc. - and will be at -5 to all actions and -10 to spellcasting unless it makes a RR vs. Channeling. A successful RR means the creature has suppressed its natural reaction and it can view the item without effect from then on.
  • Blessed Accoutrements are religious items that are usually not as effective as holy symbols, e.g., holy wafers, prayer beads, blessed books or tomes, religious icons, etc. They have the same effect as holy symbols, but the vampire gets an additional +10 (or any modification the GM deems appropriate) to its RR.
  • Turning. Clerics and other characters able to turn undead who follow sun gods get a +10 mod on their BAR, and the vampire suffers a -10 penalty on its RR. Exemplary role-playing of the turning attempt may generate additional modifications.
  • Control/Master Undead. Evil characters may attempt to control or master undead (Evil Cleric, Necromancy; Necromancer, Control Undead). Vampires, as intelligent undead, retain their free will, however, even when controlled or mastered. They will obey the letter, but not necessarily the spirit, of any order they are given, and will always try to pervert the controlling character's intent so as to break control.
  • Holy Water. Vampires must make a Channeling RR vs. 20th lvl or take a "B" Heat Critical modified by +5 (except for a natural 66 or 100) and are held at bay for 2d4 rnds; they still suffer an "A" Heat Critical even if they make their RR (but are not held at bay). Note that vulnerability to Holy Water does not lessen with age. Holy Water may leave Stigmata (see Salient Abilities and Indiosyncrasies, Susceptibility to Stigmata).
  • Additional Protection.
    • Mirrors: have the same effect as holy symbols, but with no religious modifier. The vampire gets a +5 bonus to its RR and the modifier for its age category. Mirrors can't harm a vampire or cause stigmata. Note that a vampire must actually be able to see its reflection in the mirror, and can simply shatter a mirror to end its effects.
    • Garlic: Same effect as a mirror, but the vampire must smell (not see) the garlic.
    • Running Water: Vampires avoid running water if there is any chance they can be immersed in it. They are not prohibited from crossing running water, but often refrain from doing so. Exception: A vampire in gaseous form is strictly prohibited from crossing a body of running water that is more than 3' wide.

Sanctified Places

A sanctified place must be either owned and occupied by an individual or well-defined group, or in some way hallowed, i.e., traditionally respected or venerated. Sanctified places include:

  • a house, owned by its residents
  • a monastery, owned by the order of priests or monks that dwells within it
  • a graveyard, owned by the priestly order that oversees it
  • a church, temple or the like, regardless of ownership
  • graves
  • holy burial sites
  • hallowed hunting grounds

The following places do not qualify as sanctified places:

  • an inn, because the residents staying in the various rooms do not own them
  • a public area, such as a village green
  • a town's public graveyard
  • a trading coaster's warehouse
  • a desecrated church or temple

A vampire is completely unable to enter a sanctified place unless invited by a resident. To qualify as a resident, a person must have been invited to live there indefinitely. The invitation must be overt, stated in words. A single invitation will allow the vampire to enter that place once, immediately after the invitation is extended. The sole exception is if the invitation is offered by the "master" or the "mistress" of the house; then the creature is thereafter always free to enter that home without further invitation.

Magic and Vampires


A Bless spell cast by a channeling user of a good deity causes the vampire, if it fails its RR, to be held at bay for 1d3 rounds and to suffer a -20 modification to all rolls for the duration of the spell.


Lifegiving or similar spells may destroy a fledgling or mature vampire that fails its RR. Vampires of higher age categories suffer 5d10 points of damage.

Destroying a Vampire

A destroyed vampire dissolves into a heap of fine dust, which should be dispersed, as some vampires may be reformed (see Chapter III).

Wooden Stakes

To pierce the heart of a vampire in combat is a "sheer folly" maneuver modified by Strength (but the character needs a ST bonus of at least +20 to succeed) that must be followed by an attack resulting in a critical. Of course, characters can simply attack the vampire with a wooden stake, hoping to hit the heart by chance; use the Spear Attack Table with a modification of -20.

If the monster is totally immobilized, no attack roll is needed. It requires a "light" maneuver modified by Strength, but the character needs a ST bonus of at least +15 to succeed. Two people (but no more) may cooperate if the sum of their ST bonuses must equal or exceed +15, but the maneuver becomes "hard." If the characters use a hammer or similar tool, no ST bonus is required.

Holy, Magical and special Weapons

Holy weapons strike a vampire normally (Holy column) in battle. Magical weapons sufficiently enchanted (see Table 2) do normal damage. Mundane weapons and insufficiently enchanted weapons do not harm a vampire.

Some vampires are vulnerable to special weapons.

Running Water

A vampire even partially immersed in running water gains the Strength of the next higher age category and +20 to its OB against all characters physically trying to hold it underwater.

At the end of each complete round the vampire is immersed, it loses one third of its maximum hits. As soon as it reaches zero or fewer hits, it must assume gaseous form. (Note that it is possible to destroy a vampire if it is immersed while more than 3 ft from solid ground, since it cannot cross the water and must remain stationary until destroyed by the sun.)

Exposure to Sunlight

A vampire exposed to sunlight must make a RR (vs. its own level, CO) or it can do nothing but seek shelter from the sun. If it makes its RR, it suppresses any obvious signs of discomfort. A Patriarch failing its RR doesn't have to run for shelter but shows some signs of discomfort, such as painful squinting, etc.

When its period of immunity (see Table 2) ends, the vampire takes damage depending on how much of its body is exposed, from 1d10 to 10d10. The exposed flesh will smolder and often burst into flame, emitting a foul smell (only if in solid form; while in Mist Form, the mist dissolves).

Chapter V: A Necrological Survey topChapter IVChapter VI

Vampiric Feeding Habits


Vampires usually feed only on unresisting victims, opening a small wound in a major blood vessel and draining only a small amount of blood (1d8/rnd). The wound will heal quickly and leave a small scar with a bruise (1" diameter) around it. The scar (and the bruise) is not sensitive to the touch.

If a vampire does not care whether or not its victim survives, it may open a massive wound.

Both of these mechanics do not require an attack, since the victim is unresisting. If the victim resists, the vampire may use its bite attack. Note that a successful attack (causing a critical hit) means that the victim is paralyzed.

To feed, a vampire must be undisturbed for at least one minute.

Conscious victims do not experience pain, but an intense, sensual pleasure. The victim remains pale for the next day or days, and has penalties according to blood (hit point) loss.

The skin of a vampire that has recently fed is warmer to the touch as usual and has a healthy, almost ruddy, complexion.

Vampires not feeding on a human or demihuman must make an RR vs. their own level, modified by Constitution, or suffer the effects of malnutrition (see below).

A feeding vampire drains 1d3 points of CO per round, regardless of the amount of blood drained.


A Fledgling vampire must drain 25 hits every 24 hours. For older vampires, this is diminished by 2 hit points per age category; a Patriarch must feed only 13 hit points per night.

Malnutrition. A vampire loses 1 Age Category per day of insufficient feeding. Once reduced to Fledgling status, it loses 1 level per day. Once at level 1, the creature becomes a raging beast, incapable of doing anything but attacking any source of blood. If it still can't feed, it perishes.

Vampires regain lost levels and age categories at a rate of one per day that they are feeding normally.

Animal blood

Vampires may feed from animal blood (but only from warm-blooded creatures), but they need twice as much blood from these sources (a Fledgling vampire would need 50 hp in a 24 hour period).

Vampires not feeding on a human or demihuman must make an RR vs. their own level, modified by Constitution, or suffer the effects of malnutrition (see above).

Creating New Vampires

Traditional Methods

Only characters of the vampire's racial stock (human, dwarf, elf, or halfling) killed by blood drain or stat drain will rise as vampires. They will do so, unless the body is burned, beheaded or buried with a stake through its heart (other methods may exist), on the second night following burial, when the sun sinks fully below the horizon.

Newly created vampires

  • are always fledgling vampires
  • must leave their grave to feed; if unable to do so, they will perish in about a week
  • must feed fully before doing anything else
  • are, despite popular belief, not completely under the control of the creating vampire (but see Chapter VI).

Creating a vampire by taking a "companion" will be discussed in Chapter VI.

Vampires may only create new vampires of their own racial stock, unless using a curse.

Other methods

Other methods of creating vampires are discussed above under Salient Abilities and Idiosycrasies (Toxic Saliva and Vampiric Curses).

Van Richten doesn't discuss vampires not created by other vampires. These include vampires created by curses or dark pacts (see Doyle, Cormac: The Rituals of Transformation). A curse would be handled as above (Salient Abilities and Idiosycrasies, Curse of the Vampire), exept that an evil spellcaster must spend the PPs needed and doesn't have to wait for the full moon; and the cursed vampire is not under the control of the spellcaster, provided it makes a Channeling RR.

A character may also turn into a vampire if s/he has sexual intercourse with a vampire. The character gets a Disease RR vs. half the vampire's lvl (rounded up) plus one per previous sexual encounter with a vampire. Note that male vampires may only have sexual intercourse if they have drunk at least 20 hp worth of blood (regardless of age category) one hour or less before the intercourse. The victim dies - seemingly of a heart attack - the following sunrise, and rises after the third sunset following his/her burial as a Fledgling vampire.

The Sleep of the Dead

Vampires must make an RR vs. its own level, modified by Empathy, or seek a resting place as soon as dawn approaches. Vampires may only sleep in human form. Most vampires cannot be awakened normally, although a failed attempt to drive a stake through its heart will awaken any vampire.

Vampires that do not sleep (at least 3 hours) lose age categories as they do if they don't feed, see above. They regain all lost levels and age categories once they sleep from sunrise to sunset.

Soil from the Homeland?

All vampires require dirt from their graves or some item that is symbolic of either their origin or their mortal life in contact with their bodies while they sleep; if they do not, they are destroyed.


A vampire that has been reduced to level 9 or lower due to malnutrition cannot hibernate; it will continue to lose 1 level per day as stated above under Malnutrition until it is destroyed.

A vampire wishing to hibernate must feed at least 8 hit points of blood no more than 12 hours before it begins to hibernate.

Hibernation lasts 40+6d20 years. For every 20 years (or portion thereof) the vampire loses 1 age category or 1 level, as specified above under Malnutrition. If the creature regresses beyond level 0, it is destroyed.

It takes a vampire 2d8 days to shift from hibernation to full wakefulness; during this time it suffers a -15 penalty on all RRs. It regains 1 level or age category for each day it can feed (25 hp for all age categories). It can't shapechange voluntarily for 2d4 days.

Premature Awakenings

If a vampire is prematurely awakened from hibernation, e.g., by someone entering its crypt, it immediately loses 1 age category or level, is stunned and unable to take any action for 1d4 rounds, and cannot cast spells for 2d6 hours.

Chapter VI: The Mind of the Vampire topChapter VChapter VII

Relationships Between Vampires


"Kin-nectar" is the blood of a vampire when drunk by another vampire. Kin-nectar is stronger than normal (human) blood, so the feeding vampire needs only half (rounded up) of the amount of kin-nectar as it usually does to meet its requirements; so a fledgling vampire would need only 13 hp of kin-nectar per night. The donor vampire, however, loses twice as many hp as the other vampire drinks. Those hit points may not be regained by regeneration and will heal normally only once the donor vampire has sufficiently fed on human blood.

The donor vampire is under the effect of a suggestion spell (no RR) for 1d3 hours after the feeding.

Progenitor and Offspring

For the first 4d4 days of the Fledgling vampire's unlife, any order given to it by its creator has the effect of a suggestion (normal RR). For the first 1d4 years, the offspring vampire will react to its creator as if under a charm spell. The suggestion/charm stays in effect even if the offspring vampire makes its RR against a specific command.

Vampire Companions

A vampire companion (often called "bride" or "groom") can only be created by a vampire of age category Ancient or greater. A vampire can only have one companion at any given time.

The Dark Kiss. The vampire drains the blood of its mortal paramour almost to the point of death (1 hp remaining). The vampire then opens a gash in its own flesh and lets the subject feed for 1 round, losing 4d10 hp/rnd. After the first round of feeding, the subject's strength rises to 100 (if not already higher), and the vampire must pull him/her away. If the subject is allowed to feed for too long (more than 2 rnds), s/he is driven completely and incurably insane and will die in agony within 24 hours.

After this feeding, the subject falls into a coma lasting 3d100 minutes, at the end of which time s/he dies. 1d3 hours later, s/he rises as a Fledgling vampire as the creator vampire's companion (bride or groom), but without the instincts of vampires created normally (i.e., doesn't know s/he has to feed on blood, doesn't fear sunlight, etc.).

The damage done to the creator does not regenerate (but heals normally).

Creator and companion can communicate telepathically over a range of 1 mile per age category of the bride/groom.

If one vampire in a companion-creator relationship is destroyed, the other vampire instantly suffers 7d10 hp of damage. This damage does not regenerate. Furthermore, the surviving vampire cannot voluntarily shapechange for 24 hours or create another companion for 3d6 years.

Dissolving the Bond. To end this unholy relationship, one of the vampires must be destroyed (inflicting damage on the other as specified above), or the creator vampire must instigate a ritual in which the companion must participate - either voluntarily or otherwise. To dissolve the bond, each vampire must receive a wound and lose 4d10 hp of blood, allowing this blood to mix on the ground. This damage does not regenerate. All effects of the bond (communication, damage upon destruction of the other) are thereby ended.

A Psychological Survey


Vampires have unlimited time to research and develop new or customized versions of existing spells. This can be reflected by the use of the Spell Mastery skill or by modified spells for vampires.

Channeling spell users usually lose their access to their base lists, and sometimes to all channeling lists, but may gain access to evil channeling spell lists.


A significant number of vampires become insane during their unlife.

Chapter VII: Final Notes topChapter VITables

The Facade

Van Richten describes at length how a vampire may blend into human society, and what roles they may perform therein. I am sure that imaginative GMs do not necessarily need this, and others may just use the original Guide.

Retained Skills

All Statistics and Skills that a living character possessed are retained, unless the vampire age category has higher stats or skill ranks or unless the skills are prohibited. Skills that contradict the vampiric traits or salient abilities/idiosyncrasies the vampire has are lost. Channeling spell casting ability is usually lost, unless the deity's nature approves of being a vampire.

Vampires may undergo normal level advancement (with restrictions due to age categories) and/or may gain automatically some skill advancements like Spell Mastery or Spell List Acquisition, subject to the GMs discretion.

Tables topChapter VII

Table 1: Base Statistics

Movement Combat Encounter
Type Lvl BR MP/MB MS/AQ Si/C Hits AT(DB) Attacks # Enc. Treasure Bonus EP Outlook (IQ)

Human Form

12H 100 Dash/15 VF/BF M/I# 140G 1(90)* 100We/80SCl/30MBi†/sp«/sp 1 no G Domin(VH)

Mist Form

** 90fly* Dash/0 n/a var ** 1(90)* none or sp ** ** ** **

Animal Forms

Bat, Giant ** 140fly Dash/30 VF/VF ** ** 3(120)* 80MBi/sp« ** ** ** **
Cat ** 100 Dash/30 FA/MF ** ** 3(100)* 60MCl/80MBi‹ ** ** ** **
Crow ** 100fly Dash/30 FA/FA ** ** 1(80)* 90MPi/90MCl ** ** ** **
Eagle (Elf) ** 130fly Dash/20 FA/FA ** ** 3(90)* 100MCl/80MPi‹ ** ** ** **
Eagle (Halfling) ** 110fly Dash/20 FA/FA ** ** 3(100)* 80MCl/60MPi‹ ** ** ** **
Elven Cat ** 150 Dash/30 FA/MF ** ** 4(90)* 80MCl/100MBi‹ ** ** ** **
Midnight Cat ** 150 Dash/30 FA/MF ** ** 3(90)* 80MCl/100MBi‹ ** ** ** **
Rat, Giant ** 100 FSpt/20 MD/MF ** ** 3(80)* 80MBi/sp« ** ** ** **
Spider, Giant ** 120 Spt/20 MF/FA ** ** 4(90)* 80MPi/85MSt/poi«/sp ** ** ** **
Unicorn, Black‡ ** 160 Dash/40 BF/VF ** ** 4(75)* 160LHo/90LBa«/140LTs« ** ** ** **
Wolf ** 140 Dash/20 FA/FA ** ** 3(90)* 80MBi ** ** ** **
Wolf, Winter ** 150 FSpt/30 MF/FA L/** ** 3(90)* 100LBi[Cold] ** ** ** **
Red Statistics change with age category (see Table 2)
* - special
** - Same as human/demi-human form
† - Note that a vampire uses its bite to feed and only rarely to attack.
‡ - The Black Unicorn form has only been observed in Patriarch Vampires of elven stock.

Table 2: Age Categories

Age Category Fledgling Mature Old Very Old Ancient Eminent Patriarch
Age (years) 0-99 100-199 200-299 300-399 400-499 500-999 1000+
Level 12H 14H 15H 17H 18H 20H 21G
ST Bonus +15 +15 +15 +15 +20 +25 +30
RE (EM) Bonus +10 +15 +20 +25 +25 +30 +35
AG/QU Bonus +25 +30 +35 +40 +40 +50 +60
PR (IN) Bonus +20 +25 +30 +35 +40 +40 +50
Base Rate 100 120 120 150 150 175 200
Base Rate (Mist Form) 90 100 110 120 130 140 150
Maneuver Bonus 15 20 20 25 25 30 35
Critical I# II# II# LA# LA# SL# SL#
Hits 140G 155G 165G 180H 190H 205H 220H
Weapon OB 90 100 105 110 115 125 135
Claw Attack 80SCl 90SCl 95MCl 100MCl 105MCl 115LCl 125HCl
Bite Attack 35MBi 45MBi 55MBi 70MBi 85MBi 100LBi 120LBi
Treasure no oo op pp py yy yyz
WWMod Charm -10 -10 -15 -15 -20* -20* -25**
Weapon Enchantm. needed to Hit +5 +5 +10 +10 +15 +15 +20
Regenerated hits/rnd 3 3 4 4 5 5 6
Control Undead III (7) III (9) IV (10) IV (11) IV (12) V (15) VI (20)
Exposure to Sunlight 0 1 min 10 min 30 min 1 hr 6 hrs 12 hrs
* - Gaze
** - Will
† - Note that a vampire uses its bite to feed and only rarely to attack.
(EM), (IN) - These values are gained only if the stat is a prime requisite and the vampire is a spellcaster.
AG/QU - The given number is the average of the two stats.

Note on Creature Statistics

Combat: Attacks

« - If the attack given on the left has obtained a non-Tiny critical, this attack occurs in the same round of combat as the attack which obtained the critical.

- If the attack given on the left has obtained a non-Tiny critical, this attack will occur in the next round of combat as the attack which obtained that critical.

Sources and Recommended Further Readings top

Sources and Recommended Further Readings top

Primary Sources

  • Charlton, S. Coleman and Short, Lee O.: Creatures & Treasures, RM 1400 (2nd Ed., 1985)
  • Connors, William W. and Phillips, C. Terry: Monstrous Compendium, Ravenloft Appendix I, TSR 2122 (1990)
  • Findley, Nigel D., Lafountain, J. Paul, and Wise, David: Van Richten's Guide to Vampires, TSR 9345 (1991)
  • Mast, Roger D., Jr.: The Magnificent Monstrous Database (5th Ed., 1998)
  • Van Helsing, Dr. Abraham: Collected Works (London, England, 1912)
  • Van Lyden, Lucius: Notes on Vampires (Eulenberg, Zabkovice, YS 1256)
  • Van Richten, Dr. Rudolph: Guide to Vampires (Mordentshire, Mordent, KC 735)
  • Various other materials, both official and non-official, from various role-playing systems

Secondary Sources and Recommended Further Readings

  • Boozer, Bil: Pisacha Vampire, The Book of Sorrows, The Kargatane. The concept of the "Breath Vampire" strikes me as truly strange. I simply wouldn't use it, and I'd have grave problems incorporating the Pisacha into the Van Richten systematics.
  • Brautigam, Rob: www.shroudeater.com. Website dealing with all aspects of vampires and vampirism in the real world. Highly Recommended.
  • Brennan, Eddy: Red Eye, The Undead Sea Scrolls 2002, The Fraternity of Shadows. This article depicts an Progenitor Upir Lichy (see below).
  • Brennan, Eddy: Upir Lichy, The Book of Sacrifices, The Kargatane. This is the Ice Vampire. I really don't like the name Upir Lichy, but the concept is sound.
  • Campbell, Leyshon: Merilee Markuza, The Book of Secrets, The Kargatane. Highly recommended.
  • Carlson, I. Marc: The Vampire and Vampirism Netbook. Interesting. I stole the stuff about Vampiric Sex from it.
  • Daniel, Eric C: Kislova, The Book of Souls, The Kargatane. Details the Alchemical Vampire, another rather strange form of vampire.
  • De Pippo, Luis Fernando: Spirit Points, The Book of Sorrows, The Kargatane. Another way of changing the vampire's (and other undeads') level drain ability in AD&D. Can be easily adapted into RM.
  • Doyle, Cormac: Of the Undead and the Unlife, The Guild Companion. I used this article to create the Classification of Undead. Highly Recommended.
  • Doyle, Cormac: The Corruption and Taint of the Unlife, The Guild Companion. Recommended.
  • Doyle, Cormac: The Rituals of Transformation, The Guild Companion. Recommended.
  • Heras, Nick: Vampiric Virus, The Book of Secrets, The Kargatane. Hm. This article did confirm my own theories about magical viruses, but did almost nothing to inspire them (or new ideas on them).
  • Lakofka, Lenard: Guide to Undead. Recommended. Helped in the Classification of Undead.
  • Seely, Jason: Life Force Vampire, The Guild Companion. A Spell List for, hm, pseudo-vampires, but the spell descriptions may be used as a Draining ability of vampires.
  • Sutton, Stephen: Stakes and Sunlight, Quoth the Raven Issue 1, The Fraternity of Shadows. Although written for the D&D 3rd Edition (which I deeply despise), it has many useful ideas for vampiric feeding habits and other vampiric topics; and the rule stuff is not really important. Recommended. I have stolen some allergens and the concept of Mist Corruption from this article.

Please note that some of these articles do contain material relating to other (third, fourth...) editions of RM or AD&D/D&D and all of them may contain nuts.
Articles/NetBooks without link may be found at most NetBook Collections.