Dread Vampire (3.5e Racial Paragon Class)
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As a grey vampire ages its connection to the negative energy plane which fuels its immortal life strengthens. For most, it merely means the ability to outlive the stars themselves, provided they aren't slain. But for some, the bond grows much, much stronger, warping their bodies, their minds, and their souls into something most unholy. They become almost as a demon as a man, and in their new monstrous form they bring darkness to their lands.
Making a Dread Vampire
Abilities: Any ability score can be important, depending on where a dread vampire focuses its efforts. Those who handle beguiling and their spell like abilities enjoy charisma while others take what they want through brute strength. Others may wish to keep out of sight with dexterity while others find intelligence or wisdom to be the best weapon to survive a world where they are fundementally on their own. In any case, no vampire has a constitution to begin with, they gain their strength through their blood pool.
Races: Only grey vampires qualify for this class.
Alignment: Any Evil
Special: Must have 3 HD, must be at least 250 years old, must have consumed twice the limit of your blood pool in blood from good-aligned humanoids in a single night.
|1st||+0||+0||+0||+2||Improved Natural Weapons, Partial Class Advancement|
|3rd||+2||+1||+1||+3||Quick Morph, Spell-like Abilities 1|
|4th||+3||+1||+1||+4||Empowerment (+2/+4), Wallcrawler|
|6th||+4||+2||+2||+5||Empowerment (+2/+4/+6), Spell-like Abilities 2|
|7th||+5||+2||+2||+5||Heart of Darkness|
|8th||+6||+2||+2||+6||Empowerment (+2/+4/+6/+8), Devil Wings|
|9th||+6||+3||+3||+6||Evil's Grace, Spell-like Abilities 3|
|10th||+7||+3||+3||+7||Dread Apothesis, Empowerment (+2/+4/+6/+8/+10)|
Class Skills (4 + Int modifier per level, ×4 at 1st level)
All of the following are class features of the Dread Vampire.
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A dread vampire is proficient with all simple and martial weapons, light armor, medium armor, and shields (except tower shields).
Improved Natural Weapons: The grey vampire's natural weapons improve at 1st level, as his body begins to slowly distort from the effect of evil energy within you. The vampire gains two secondary claw attacks that deal 1d6 + 1/2 your strength modifier in damage. If you strike with both claws in a single round you can immediately make a grapple attempt as if you had improved grab.
Partial Class Advancement: When you take your first dread vampire level, choose a single class. Dread vampire levels count along with this class to determine class-level based benefits. For example, a spellcaster improves his caster level, a bard gets more bardic music attempts, and a warblade's initiator level increases normally. You can select a class you have yet to take (but gain no benefit until you actually take at least one level of that class). This ability does not grant you spells known, new bardic songs, maneuvers, or similar benefits which are improved by taking actual levels of a class.
Empowerment (Ex): At 2nd level the vampire's body has gained a small but growing link with the negative energy plane, empowering its body above and beyond what is normal. The vampire gains a +2 profane bonus to a single ability score of their choosing. At 4th level, they may select a different ability score and gain a +2 bonus to it, and their original chosen score rises to +4. This pattern of choosing new ability scores, and improving the ones previous, continues until level 10 when you have +2/+4/+6/+8/+10 to your five ability scores.
Quick Morph: At 3rd level changing forms using a grey vampire's alternate form only takes a move action.
Spell-Like Abilities (Sp): At 3rd level, a grey vampire gains additional spell-like abilities. He gains enervation and fear each 2/day. At 6th level he gains nightmare and dominate person each 1/day. Finally at 9th level he gains mass suggestion and shadow walk each 1/day.
Wallcrawler (Ex): Like a spider, a vampire can crawl along the walls or even the cieling with ease to make it easier to trap his prey. At 4th level the vampire gains a climb speed equal to his land speed, and gains a +8 racial bonus on climb checks. He can always take 10 on climb checks, even when rushed or under stress.
Lifedrinker (Su): At 5th level a vampire's bite takes on a supernatural edge, and when he takes the subject's life, he also takes his soul and reduces the body to dust. If a subject perishes from a vampire's blood draining bite, the vampire devours the victim's soul and recovers hp equal to the target's HD x 5, as well as allowing himself to fall under the effect of an disguise self spell to appear as the recently slain victim. This effect lasts until the vampire chooses to dismiss the effect, it is dispelled, or the vampire changes forms either by illusion, transmutation, or his alternate form power. Those whose souls are devoured cannot be returned to life with anything short of resurrection, true resurrection, miracle, or wish.
Heart of Darkness (Su): At 7th level the mutations change the vampire's innards. Instead of a heart, the vampire now has nothing but a black hole of negative energy crackling under his undead flesh. It gives him the power to endure, granting him fast healing 1. They can briefly improve their fast healing ability to fast healing 5 with a move action, by expending 2 points from their blood pool. This effect lasts for 1 minute.
Devil Wings (Ex): At 8th level a vampire's body grows black leathery wings that grant him a fly speed equal to twice his land speed, with average maneuverability. While the wings can fold up to impossibly small size against the back, a vampire can no longer wear normal armor or clothes and be able to use his wings at the same time. Armor now costs twice as much for unusually shaped creatures. Most vampires choose to wear small mantles or long flowing capes to help hide their wings when not in use.
Evil's Grace (Ex): Evil's grip upon the vampire's body has increased, hardening it against danger and throbbing with dark energy. At 9th level, the vampire gains the Evil subtype, allowing them to defeat damage reduction/evil with any weapons they use or their natural weapons, and they gain an aura of evil equal to their HD.
Dread Apothesis: At 10th level your body is ready to complete it's transformation, and as soon as possible the vampire seeks a place to hibernate for 3 days in their dark sanctuary. When the hibernation is complete, the creature which exits no longer appears human. Their damage reduction/silver becomes damage reduction/silver and good. They now only lose a single point from their blood pool over the course of every 2 days, the damage from all their natural weapons increase as if by one size, and the constitution damage dealt by their bite increases to 1d8 points. Finally their turn resistance rises to +4 instead of +2.
Playing a Dread Vampire
Religion: What is a god? A miserable pile of worshipers. But enough talk... grey vampires had little to need with gods, and dread vampires doubly so. Their egos swell with their power, and with it their hubris. Few would choose to worship a god which did not grant them some amazing boon to further their own goals.
Other Classes: Losing 10 levels of your progression is difficult, but the partial class advancement allows you to escape with some benefits. Martial initiator classes work well, losing very little, and the rare but powerful fast advancing classes also do well. Binders lose very little if your class advancement is linked to it.
Combat: A dread vampire's combat options lay entirely on how they built themselves before, or even after. However alone, a dread vampire is both a beguiler possessing potent spell-like abilities, and a skilled and talented expert.
Advancement: Dread vampires usually continue down a path which benefits from their now improved ability scores and combat options.
Dread Vampires in the World
|“||Humanity is stagnant, it continues to breed and die, unaware that it has fallen out of favor with nature, that they are no longer on top of the food chain. Indeed, it is only natural that they become as cattle...||”|
|—Braum, dread vampire|
Daily Life: Without their former human beauty, dread vampires often rely on magic to cover up what they are. Alter self, polymorph, disguise self, lifedrinker, and other tricks help them walk around in public. However, they work best at night and then they become the monsters they are, hunting down mortals in their moment of weakness, in their sleep, and thus draining them of life and soul returning to their cold abodes to rest through the day.
Organizations: A dread vampire is both a rare and a solitary being. It is territorial and is hard pressed to share its cattle with other vampires whom it does not know. On the other hand, vampires only come from other vampires and even a dread vampire often has a twisted sort of "family" to turn to.
NPC Reactions: Nothing could be worse, nothing more the very stuff of nightmares, than a dread vampire. They are monsters, and monsters to be feared for they could be anyone, they could be you, they could even be them. And then who do you trust but nobody?
Dread Vampire Lore
Characters with ranks in Knowledge Religion can research dread vampires to learn more about them. When a character makes a skill check, read or paraphrase the following, including information from lower DCs.
|10||Dread vampires are the evolved form of grey vampires, even worse than their kin. This reeals basic undead traits.|
|15||Dread vampires have several potent spell-like abilities and the power to become exceptionally tough if well fed.|
|20||Silver weapons can breach a grey vampire, but high level dread vampires are fueled by such evil that darkness itself keeps them from harm.|
|30||This level of success can net you information about a specific dread vampire, their whereabouts, tales of their history, and in rare cases, their weaknesses.|
Dread Vampires in the Game
Adaptation: While dread vampires occur naturally once in a blue moon among the vampires, perhaps there is a way to trigger it purposefully. Such a means could provide a villian with a goal, or give an evil PC a means to enter regardless of the fluff of age.
Sample Encounter: The villiage of Crowroost sits at the base of the Baroness Fransica's castle. The Baroness has shut herself in, passing decree only by proxy and appearing rarely. She's appeared ill of late, and people have been vanishing in town. The villiage is nervous, unaware of the dread vampire who is creating something dire in the castle depths.
EL whatever: 20.
|Allowed Alignments||Lawful Evil +, Neutral Evil + and Chaotic Evil +|
|Article Balance||High +|
|Base Attack Bonus Progression||Moderate +|
|Class Ability||Other +|
|Class Ability Progression||Other +|
|Fortitude Save Progression||Poor +|
|Identifier||3.5e Racial Paragon Class +|
|Reflex Save Progression||Poor +|
|Skill||Appraise +, Balance +, Bluff +, Climb +, Craft +, Diplomacy +, Disguise +, Escape Artist +, Forgery +, Gather Information +, Hide +, Intimidate +, Jump +, Knowledge +, Move Silently +, Profession +, Sense Motive +, Swim + and Tumble +|
|Skill Points||4 +|
|Summary||Grey Vampires who live an exceptionally long time may begin to feel the change upon them and evolve into something... unholy. +|
|Title||Dread Vampire +|
|Will Save Progression||Good +|