January 27, 2017

Dhampyr

Race
Comments from the Finger: This is another awesome piece from Grand Moff Xela, who has been amazingly patient while it's been on the release queue. Let him know what you think in the comments!

Dhampyr
Aye, the dhampyr. I heard o’ them. Nasty buggers - descended from vampires. If ye let yer guard down they’ll suck ye dry. Me brother went to a village to save ‘em from a tribe of dhampyr. Bloodless corpses s’all they found, litt’ring the ground. Still haunts ‘im to this day.
     There’s a really nasty dhampyr named Lord Bhragen, ‘e doesn’ jus’ kill people and drain ‘em dry. ‘E… ‘e stuffs ‘em. Turns ‘em inna some kin’a macabre museum. ‘Is victims weren’ people to ‘im, they were trophies waitin’ to be collected. Truly sick ‘e was. Was a glorious day it was, the day ‘e was killed.
 - Moiren Dalter, warden of Ogrefang Keep

The dhampyr are a race descended from vampires, possessing many of the traits of their undead forebears, while lacking many of their weaknesses. The most prominent of these differences is that the dhampyr are unharmed by sunlight, earning them the common moniker, “Daywalkers”.

Inscrutable Origins
The dhampyr are a mysterious race. Some scholars say they were created when a vampire bit a pregnant elf. Others profess they are the result of the unholy union of the living and the dead. Still more testify that the dhampyr were formed by the experiments of a vampire mage. Whatever the truth, the dhampyr exist, breed with the truly living, and walk among us.
     Even more complex is the dhampyr's relationship to undeath. They are not truly undead, but interact unpredictably with the blood of actual vampires. Sometimes a dhampyr can become a true vampire, but other times dhampyr perish as though poisoned by the blood. Either the effects are truly random, or speak volumes about the purity and variety of different vampire bloodlines.

Living Undead
Dhampyrs are usually pale of skin, with thin builds and slightly pointed ears. Perhaps their most prominent features are their pronounced canines and blood-red eyes, which shine in the moonlight like those of a predator. Dhampyr are exceedingly quick and tough, a result of the supernatural speed and fortitude of their unliving kin. Because of their nature as the spawn of the living dead, they are shunned by most living creatures. However, being partly alive, they are also spurned by their undead ancestors.
     With some effort, dhampyr can conceal their identities and walk among the living. Artificially coloring the skin and being careful never to smile in public is normally enough, but a dhampyr that is discovered is likely to simply be captured and executed for being a vampire, as inaccurate as this is.

Bloodthirst
While the Dhampyr walk in the sun as they please, and are undeterred by doors and water, they are still subject to the curse of bloodthirst. The thirst of a Dhampyr is lesser than that of a true child of night, but still persistently felt. As a dhampyr can draw sustenance from normal food and drink, most dhampyr do not drink blood. Nonetheless, the dhampyr have fangs with which to drink and can partake when the cause arises.

Dhampyr Names
Dhampyr names often pay homage to powerful vampires and other undead, and serve to remind a young Dhampyr of their proud heritage and to give them strength in the lowliest of times.
     Male Dhampyr Names: Acererak, Dracul, Nosferatu, Strahd, Vladimir
     Female Dhampyr Names: Drusilla, Lillith, Rayne, Salem, Vega

Dhampyr Traits
As a Dhampyr, your character has the following traits:
     Ability Score Increase. Your Dexterity, Constitution, and Charisma scores increase by 1.
     Age. Dhampyr are exceptionally long-lived, but not immortal, typically reaching adulthood at the age of 50 and living to be almost 500 years old.
     Alignment. Dhampyr can be of any alignment, but their undead heritage and bloodthirst predisposes them to evil. Even if these impulses can be kept in check, they can never be extinguished completely; the smell of blood always makes a dhampyr's mouth water.
     Size. Dhampyr stand at the height of a normal human, but invariably have slim builds and gaunt features. Your size is Medium.
     Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
     Superior Darkvision. Your blood-red eyes pierce through the darkness. You can see in dim light within 120 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You can’t discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.
     Curse of Thirst. You have a pair of extended incisors, a gift from your vampiric kin. As an action on your turn, you can bite a creature that is willing, grappled, incapacitated, or restrained, dealing 1d8 points of piercing damage and 1d4 points of necrotic damage. You gain temporary hit points equal to the necrotic damage dealt + your Constitution modifier. Additionally, you no longer need to eat for the next 24 hours.
     The necrotic damage increases to 2d4 at 6th level, 3d4 at 11th level, and 4d4 at 16th level.
     Child of Night. You know the cantrip minor illusion and can cast it at will. At 3rd level, you can cast the charm person spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so when you finish a long rest. When you reach 5th level, you can cast the spider climb spell once with this trait and regain the ability to do so after you finish a long rest. Charisma is your spellcasting ability for these spells.
     Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Dhampyr. Dhampyr is a subtle language practiced in secret by vampires for centuries, and makes use of the elvish script. To the ear, it's smooth and sibilant; almost seductive, no matter the context.



Changelog: 1/27/17: Names: Female name duplicates fixed
Curse of Thirst: Attack roll removed, necrotic damage reduced to d4s, damage scaling added
1/28/17: Cirse of Thirst: Damage scaling fixed

29 comments:

  1. Curse of Thirst seems a bit strong. Dragonborn's breath weapon is only once per rest and it starts at 2d6 with a save. 2d8 at unlimited usage + advantage on the attack + temp hit points seems pretty a bit overboard. Maybe have it scale at the same number of dice as the dragonborn but make it once per rest and remove the advantage? Just a thought

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    1. I agree on this vehemently. Natural bite attacks should do 1d4 or 1d6 at best.

      Beyond that the fluff states they are psuedo-undead but there's no mechanical mention of that in the statblock. So do they suffer no drawbacks of being undead (vulnerability to turning, etc) whatsoever?

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    2. That's what I said! *flounce*

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    3. But only one creature who can't really stop you.

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    4. If the creature is incapacitataed or restrained you have advantage anyway, and if it's willing I see no reason to make an attack roll, so the advantage seems redundant.

      I think that once per rest seems good. Another option is to reduce the damage to 2d4 or 1d8+1 (tiny fangs deal very little damage). Level scaling also seems appropriate.

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    5. I would agree that the unlimited use is rather strong especially with those damage dice, and one being not a normal p/s/b.

      I also personally feel that the dragonborn breath weapon is rather weak personally, but thats another matter.

      Dropping this down to 1d8, or 2d4, I would agree makes sense. Or limiting the use. I think the intent was that this is only useable when you have a target that is grappled, restrained, or incapacitated (or willing of course). That is a limitation of a sort, but it is really easy to get several enemies like that in combat, either with spells or grappling.

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    6. See, I originally didn't have an attack roll at all. The idea is that this /isn't/ a natural attack in the traditional sense -- you can't use it on a creature that is capable of defending itself easily. And since it's not a normal attack, and it takes your entire action, I wanted to make sure it was worth your action. This was actually weaker before I added the attack roll, because you didn't add any ability score modifiers to it (which is why I had the damage locked at 2d8 -- the second d8 compensated for a lack of ability score modifier.)

      There's a few directions I can take this, but I don't want to make it rest-limited, since it shouldn't be something you can pull off often as it is. The biggest nerf might be to make it automatically hit (no attack roll), since this removes the Strength modifier to damage.

      Thoughts?

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    7. The simplest option is just making it a 1d4+modifier natural bite attack that give you half the damage as temp hp, possibly with level scaling and a 1/turn limit.

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    8. Yeah, but I want to keep the idea of it being a move you can only employ on more or less helpless enemies. It's a little more unique, and helps sell the idea of sucking blood, rather than delivering a quick bite.

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    9. Maybe make the necrotic damage scale a bit.

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    10. I do like the idea of it being limited in terms of when you can use it. If it keeps the limitations on when you can use it, which some wording may help with, I think that actually does make sense with not having an attack roll, and thus not having a modifier on the damage.

      However the healing is really powerful and it is always restricted pretty heavily in other places. Low level spells do a minor amount, and the Paladin has a limited pool to draw from for his 'free' healing. But this would be self healing that you can do from level 1 without expending a resource (potentially)

      Granted, it does have the requirement though, and that does balance it out a lot since you will likely be losing damage output to start this situation, and are likely going to be in danger if you stay in the same spot every turn to heal.

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    11. It's not healing -- it's temp HP. The distinction here is that temp HP is its own pool and never stacks.

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    12. My mistake. I must ahve misread that.

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  2. Love this class !!!

    1 question though.... Couldn't there be a drawback to not feeding? Like a dhamphir must feed regularly or slowly loose control and may even randomly attack an innocent passer by

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    1. MM vampire has no downside to not feeding. It's strongest weakness is sunlight.

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    2. I'd prefer that play out on the roleplay side, rather than mechanically. It opens a lot of doors for storytelling, but I don't want it to be a drag to play.

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  3. Not much Curse in the Curse of Thirst. I think it is reasonable enough, but should have a strong negative. Not feeding for a day giving a level of exhaustion would be be my suggestion.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. There are extremely few races with built-in drawbacks, and those are almost exclusively non-player races (the only two races with drawbacks that I know of are Drow and VGtM Kobold).

      I don't think this really needs to have a drawback.

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    3. I'm with Idanbhk on this. It's going to be a chore to look around for a new victim to feed on everyday, both in a roleplay and mechanical sense.

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    4. It mentions willing victims, when you're past the Insta-Death Levels, Allies will generally be willing.

      More the name is the issue to me, a feature called Curse should be at least half-drawback. It's power's a different issue... Would be like calling Darkvision the Curse of Nocturnal Life, or Trance the Curse of Tolkien Nerdgasming. Might fit the dark edge flavor, but it doesn't describe the mechanic at all. Without a need to feed, it's just their predatory ancestry kicking in.

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  4. I really like the choice of homage names. I can totally see some Dhampyr named Strahd meeting the actual Strahd and going full fangirl (pun intended) all over him.

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  5. You knowe, I submitted this a long time ago in a rough draft stage. I wasn't even sure it was ok the queue. Imagine my surprise to see it here. The mechanics could use some balancing. As I said, it was rough, more a proof of concept than a finished work. The limiting factor of the bite was intended to be that you can only use it against creatures with a restricted speed. What I would do here is either remove advantage, reduce the damage to 2d4 piercing +1d4 necrotic, or both. Probably both because most of the conditions needed to Bute apply advantage anyway.

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  6. I just love the list of suggested names.

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  7. The name Drusilla is listed two times under Female Dhampyr Names.

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    1. Thanks for pointing that out. I'll fix it post-haste.

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  8. The necrotic damage says it scales to 2d4 twice, instead of 2d4>3d4>4d4

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    1. Fixed, by the way. Thanks for pointing that out.

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