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Dread Vampire (CR +3)

Princes of darkness and queens of the night, dread vampires lurk in the dark places of the world, emerging by night to plague the living. Dread vampires possess many of the characteristics of normal vampires, but they lack many traditional vampire weaknesses. They laugh at garlic and holy symbols, mirrors reflect their visages normally, and they go where they please without need for invitation.

Dread vampires have even been known to pluck wooden stakes from their hearts and drive them through the chests of their attackers. Dread vampires resemble normal vampires and have many of the same abilities. Only when a creature not normally subject to vampirism exhibits a vampire's powers or when a vampire proves invulnerable to the tactics that vampire hunters usually employ can a dread vampire be positively identified as such. This knowledge, however, often comes too late.

Wholly evil and powerfully corrupt, dread vampires can master a host of lesser vampires and weak-minded creatures. Each dread vampire has its own goals and personality, but most seek to dominate the world around them and lord their power over living slaves that they can use as desired.

Creating a Dread Vampire

Size Slam Base Damage
Fine 1
Diminutive 1d2
Tiny 1d3
Small 1d4
Medium 1d6
Large 1d8
Huge 2d6
Gargantuan 2d8
Colossal 4d6

“Dread vampire” is an acquired template that can be added to any living creature with an Intelligence score of 3 or higher (referred to hereafter as the base creature). A dread vampire uses all the base creature's statistics and special abilities except as noted here.

Challenge Rating: Same as the base creature +3.

Alignment: Any evil.

Size and Type: The creature's type changes to undead with the appropriate augmented subtype. Do not recalculate base attack bonuses, saves, or skill points. Size is unchanged.

Hit Dice: Increase all racial hit dice to d8s.

Senses: The dread vampire retains all the base creature's special senses and gains the following:

Blindsight (Ex)

Using its keen sense of hearing, a dread vampire can discern the area around it without sight, in a manner similar to a bat. A dread vampire has blindsight to a range of 30 feet.

Darkvision (Ex)

A dread vampire has darkvision to a range of 120 feet.

Scent (Ex)

A dread vampire gains the scent ability.

Speed: If the base creature has both a climb speed and a land speed, the lower of the two increases to match the higher. If it lacks one of those speeds, the dread vampire gains the missing mode of movement at a speed equal to the other. If the base creature lacks both modes of movement, the dread vampire gains both at a speed equal to one-half the base creature's highest speed.

The dread vampire also gains a fly speed equal to one-half the base creature's highest speed if it cannot already fly. Its maneuverability class becomes perfect. If the base creature has a swim speed, the dread vampire retains it and is not vulnerable to immersion in running water.

Armor Class: The dread vampire's natural armor bonus improves by +8 over that of the base creature.

Attack: The dread vampire retains all the base creature's attacks, and its weapon and armor proficiencies. These attacks retain the same primary or secondary status they had for the base creature. The dread vampire gains a primary slam attack if it has no other natural attacks. A dread vampire's natural weapons, and any weapons it wields, are treated as magic for overcoming damage reduction.

Damage: If the dread vampire gained a slam attack from the application of this template, its base damage is as given in the table on the right. If the dread vampire retained the base creature's slam attack, the base damage is the same as it was for the base creature or as given on the table, whichever is better.

Special Defenses: The dread vampire retains all the base creature's special defenses and gains the following:

Damage Reduction (Su)

A dread vampire gains damage reduction 10/good and silver.

Immunity to Cold (Ex)

A dread vampire is immune to cold.

Resistances (Ex)

A dread vampire has resistance 10 to acid, electricity, and sonic.

Channel Resistance (Ex)

A dread vampire has channel resistance +6.

Weaknesses: The dread vampire retains all the base creature's weaknesses and gains the following:

Sunlight Vulnerability (Ex)

A dread vampire hates the sun and takes 5 points of damage per round of direct exposure to sunlight. It does not benefit from its fast healing when exposed to sunlight.

Water Vulnerability (Ex)

Running water (including the sea) deals 5 points of damage per round that the dread vampire is in contact with it, and its fast healing ability does not function during this time. Unlike its weaker cousins, however, a dread vampire can cross running water without the protection of its coffin home.

Special Attacks: The dread vampire retains all the base creature's special attacks and gains the following:

Blood Drain (Ex)

A dread vampire can suck blood from a living victim with its fangs by making a successful grapple Combat Maneuver check. If it pins the foe, it drains blood, dealing 1d6 points of Constitution drain each round it maintains the pin.

Children of the Night (Su)

A dread vampire can command the lesser creatures and undead of the world and can summon them three times per day as a standard action. Each creature summoned must have an Intelligence score of 2 or lower and must be of the animal, vermin, or undead type. The dread vampire can summon any combination of creatures so long as their encounter level is less than the dread vampire's Challenge Rating. Summoned creatures arrive in 2d6 rounds and serve the dread vampire for up to 1 hour.

Note: The creatures that the dread vampire summons should be appropriate for the environment. For instance, a dread vampire dwarf living in or near caves might summon a bat swarm, or a dread vampire drow might summon monstrous spiders. A dread vampire elf in a forest might summon wolves or dire wolves, while in a cemetery it might call up skeletons and zombies. A dread vampire triton might call forth sharks, and a dread vampire giant eagle might summon eagles.

The summoned creatures can have templates applied so long as the alterations imposed by such templates do not make the creatures ineligible for summoning with this ability.

Create Spawn (Su)

Dread vampires can create spawn only if their victims are kept in coffin homes, a special receptacle, until they rise. A coffin home can be any container capable of accommodating the corpse. This container is often a coffin because ignorant family members of a dread vampire's victims often bury their lost loved ones in the traditional manner. When a dread vampire wants to make a specific creature its spawn, however, it often places the body in a specifically designed receptacle, such as an iron box. If a dread vampire's or vampire's coffin home is ever destroyed, it cannot reform and is destroyed when it reaches 0 hit points.

Under these conditions, a humanoid or monstrous humanoid slain by a dread vampire's energy drain attack rises as a vampire 24 hours after death. Any creature with an Intelligence score of 3 or higher whose Constitution score reaches 0 from a dread vampire's blood drain attack returns as dread vampire 24 hours after death. A vampire or dread vampire created in this manner is under the command of its creator and remains so until either it or the creator is destroyed. At any given time, a dread vampire may have enslaved vampires or dread vampires totaling no more than three times its own hit dice; any spawn it creates that would exceed this limit rise as free-willed vampires or dread vampires.

A dread vampire enslaved to its creator may create and enslave spawn of its own; thus, a master dread vampire can indirectly control a large number of lesser vampires. A dread vampire may voluntarily free an enslaved vampire or dread vampire in order to enslave a new one, but once freed, the former spawn cannot be enslaved again.

Dominate (Su)

A dread vampire can crush an opponent's will just by looking into its eyes. This ability is similar to a gaze attack, except that it requires a standard action, and a creature that merely looks at the dread vampire is not affected. Anyone the dread vampire targets must succeed on a Will save (DC 10 + 1/2 dread vampire's character level + dread vampire's Cha modifier) or fall instantly under its influence as though by a dominate monster spell (caster level equals dread vampire's character level). The ability has a range of 30 feet.

Energy Drain (Su)

Any living creature hit by a dread vampire's slam attack gains 2 negative levels. If the dread vampire has additional natural attacks, any one natural weapon (dread vampire's choice at the time of creation) can cause energy drain with a successful hit. Energy drain is usable only once per round.

Spell-Like Abilities:

Dread vampires gain the following spell-like abilities (caster level equals the dread vampire's character level):

3/daydarkness, fog cloud
1/daydeeper darkness.

Special Qualities: The dread vampire retains all the base creature's special qualities and gains the following:

Change Shape (Su)

As a standard action, a dread vampire can assume the shape of any kind of creature it can summon with its children of the night ability. The dread vampire can even become a swarm (a creature of the swarm subtype), with all the creatures in the swarm constituting its body. This ability functions as a polymorph spell (caster level 12th). While in its alternate form, the dread vampire loses its dominate ability, but it retains all other special attacks and special qualities granted by the template and gains the natural attacks and extraordinary abilities of its new form. The dread vampire can remain in that form until it assumes another or until the next sunrise.

Fast Healing (Ex)

A dread vampire heals 5 points of damage each round so long as it has at least 1 hit point. If reduced to 0 hit points in combat, it automatically assumes gaseous form and attempts to escape. It must reach its coffin home within 2 hours or be utterly destroyed. (It can travel up to 9 miles in 1 hour.) Once at rest in its coffin home, it is helpless. It regains 1 hit point after 1 hour, then it is no longer helpless and resumes healing at the rate of 5 hit points per round.

Gaseous Form (Su)

As a standard action, a dread vampire can assume a gaseous form at will. This ability works like the gaseous form spell (caster level 5th), except that the dread vampire can remain gaseous indefinitely and has a fly speed of 40 ft. with perfect maneuverability.

Supernatural Movement (Su)

If the dread vampire gained the ability to fly, climb, or move overland from the application of this template, those modes of movement are supernatural in nature and as such are suppressed in an antimagic field.

Uncanny Climber (Su)

A dread vampire can climb with its hands (or upper limbs) free and even walk about on the ceiling as if affected by a spider climb spell. In addition, it can use the accelerated climb action to cover any distance up to four times its climb speed, with each check allowing it to climb a distance equal to its climb speed. Climbing a distance equal to or less than its climb speed is a move equivalent action.

Abilities: Str +8, Dex +6, Int +4, Wis +4, Cha +6. As an undead creature, a dread vampire has no Constitution score.

Skills: A dread vampire receives a +10 racial bonus on Bluff, Perception, Sense Motive and Stealth checks. The dread vampire also receives a +8 racial bonus on Climb checks and can always choose to take 10 on Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened.

Feats: A dread vampire gains Alertness, Combat Reflexes, Improved Grapple, Improved Initiative and Lightning Reflexes as bonus feats if it meets the prerequisites and does not already have them.

Environment: any, usually same as the base creature.

Organization: solitary, pair, gang (3–5), or troop (1–2 plus 2–5 spawn).

Treasure: double standard.