Monster Optimization: Vampires

by Mike Shea on 12 July 2010

Vampires are a staple monster in nearly every Dungeons and Dragons campaign. They invoke a common sense of mystery and dread, something we would almost love to be and certainly love to kill. Today we're going to build some unique high level vampires, each with unique abilities and using techniques learned from the recent Monster Manual 3. The creatures below are intended for groups between level 23 and level 25 depending on the challenge you wish to provide.

Note: These creatures have had their damage boosted using the new damage output charts in the July update. You are best off consulting this chart or Jhaelen's chart posted at enWorld.

Vampire Guardian

We begin with the Vampire Guardian. This armored soldier acts as the front line for a group of vampires. They stand firm in front of the others, avoiding most of the vampiric subtlety of other members and going in straight for the kill. All of the vampires in this article have unique gaze attacks that fit the type of creature they are. Rather than a straight dominate, the vampire knight has an ability to push away those he cares not to face. He might use this on a troublesome defender, for example, so he can get to the back line strikers. The Vampire Guardian's blade is coated in its own blood, stealing the life out of those it strikes.

Initiative +25

AC 41;Fortitude 38; Reflex 37;Will 36

HP 234; Bloodied 117

Immune disease, poison; Resist 15 necrotic; Vulnerable 10 radiant;

Speed 6

Life Draining Longsword - At-Will

+30 vs AC; 2d12+20 damage; the target is marked and loses a healing surge.

Shield Slam; Recharge 5,6

+28 vs Fortitude; target is stunned.

Dread Gaze; Recharge 4,5,6

range 20; +28 vs Will; target is pushed 4 and weakened. This attack does not provoke opportunity attacks.

Lethal Guard - when a marked enemy shifts or attacks another.

make a longsword attack

Vampire Assassin

The vampire assassin is a clear lurker, seeking to strike those upon whom it has combat advantage for maximum effect. Like the Guardian, it has a unique gaze attack that assists it. In this case, the attack confuses its target giving it combat advantage and a further reduction in the target's defenses.

Initiative +25

AC 39; Fortitude 37; Reflex 40; Will 35

HP 236; Bloodied 118

Immune disease, poison; Resist 15 necrotic; Vulnerable 10 radiant;

Speed 8; Spiderclimb 5

Vampiric Assassination - At-Will

+15 damage with Combat Advantage

Bloodletter - At-Will

+30 vs AC; 4d6+19 and ongoing 10 damage.

Dance of Death - Recharge 4,5,6

Shift 6 and make two Bloodletter attacks before, during, or after the shift.

Gaze of Confusion; Recharge 4,5,6

+28 vs Will; Target grants combat advantage and takes -2 to defenses (save ends).

Vampire Bloodhunter

Not all vampires are as strong as those above. Some, the younger spawn left behind in the vampire's quest for blood, rise as near-mindless beasts.

Initiative +21

AC 39; Fortitude 34; Reflex 39; Will 33

Speed 6; Spiderclimb 6

Tearing Claws - At-Will

+30 vs AC; 16 damage.

Bloody Death - when reduced to 0

close burst 2; +30 vs Reflex; 20 necrotic damage

Vampire Mastermind

A vampire mastermind controls all of the others. This mastermind is a master of deception, turning friends against one another and using his mastery of dark magic to draw blood even when far away from his target.

Initiative +22

HP 500; Bloodied 250

AC 45; Fortitude 42; Reflex 44; Will 43

Immune disease, poison; Resist 30 necrotic;

Saving Throws +2

Speed 6; Levitate 4

Action Points 1

Chilling Touch - At-Will

+31 vs Fort; 1d6+18 damage.

Arcane Bolts - At-Will

+33 vs Reflex; two targets; three targets when bloodied; 3d10+19 damage; if two bolts strike the same target, the target is dazed until end of this creature's next turn

Vascular Purge - Encounter; Recharges when Bloodied

Range 20; +33 vs Fort; 4d8+27 necrotic and target is weakened (save ends). Two targets when bloodied.

Friend to Foe - Recharge 5,6

Two Targets; +33 vs Will; target moves its speed and makes a basic melee attack against a target of Zovelle's choice. Aftereffect: The target is dazed (save ends)

Bloodcloud Teleport - reaction when struck with a melee attack; Recharge 4,5,6

Effect: Zovelle teleports 10; +33 vs Fort on attacking target; 4d8+18 necrotic damage.

These vampires are designed for high level encounters but it would be easy to lower them to a more appropriate level should you wish them for a lower level group. Consult the tables in the Dungeon Master's Guide 2 for appropriate defenses, attack scores, and damage. When calculating damage, double the static damage bonus if the vampires are paragon tier or above.

Hopefully these vampires will give your group the scare they deserve.

If you enjoyed this article, please consider using these links to purchase the Monster Manual 3, Open Grave, or the Dungeon Master's Guide 2. You can also use this link to purchase anything from Amazon.com. Pick up any vampire miniatures you require from Troll and Toad, an official Sly Flourish sponsor.

Send feedback to @slyflourish on Twitter or email mike@mikeshea.net.