In the machinations of vampires, the undead creatures vie against the living and against each other. Power is all, and the accumulation of power is the goal of these foul beings. Sometimes they rise up against their creators; on rare occasions they succeed in breaking the iron control of their "master" and slay it. These creatures can go beyond the normal vampire, and become an even more vile and horrible undead: a vampire lord. Few are ever seen, or recognized if seen. Possessing few of the weaknesses of their lesser kindred, they walk among mortals with little fear of discovery. They are the rulers of vampire communities. In a world where vampire conclaves battle against each other, the vampire lords play chess with their lesser kindred.
Vampire lords are those few vampires who meet a strict set of requirements. They each have lived as a vampire for at least 100 years, and have acquired 10 or more class levels or Hit Dice. They tend to possess levels of arcane spellcasting classes, but not always. A vampire lord was formerly a vampire under the control of another vampire (not a vampire lord) and has slain its creator. Further, the vampire lord must have created at least 10 vampires and survived an assassination attempt by one of its subjects before achieving vampire lord status.
Vampire lords are few and far between, and each is fiercely territorial. They know that run-of-the-mill vampires cannot match their power, but another vampire lord is a definite threat. As they gain power, they become more arrogant towards those they believe pose no threat, and more fearful of any real threat to their continued existence. Thus, if a vampire lord arises in the territory of another, the newcomer is driven away or destroyed as quickly as possible. Vampire lords command hundreds of undead servants throughout their vast territories, and can have legions of vampire servants at their beck and call.
Unlike normal vampires, a vampire lord does not look the least bit unusual. It looks exactly like it did when alive and in the peak of health. It has lost the pale, hardened, almost feral look of the vampire. A vampire lord always surrounds itself with wealth and opulence, but it never forgets that the opulence is a by-product of power, not the primary goal.
Vampire lords speak any languages they knew in life or learned as a vampire.
Creating a Vampire Lord
Vampire lord is a template that can be applied to any humanoid or monstrous humanoid creature with a character level of at least 10 that has already had the vampire template applied to it (hereafter referred to as the "base vampire"). So, make a vampire, and then apply this template to it. The creature uses all the special abilities of the base vampire, except as noted below.
Hit Dice: Same as base vampire, then add +1 hit point per level or HD of the base vampire
Speed: Same as base vampire, plus vampire lords can fly with speed 50 ft. and perfect maneuverability.
AC: The base vampire's natural armor bonus improves by +6.
Attacks: Same as base vampire.
Special Attacks: A vampire lord retains all the special abilities of the base vampire, except as modified below, and also gains those noted below. The saving throw, where applicable, is 10 + 1/2 the vampire lord's class and nonclass HD + the vampire lord's Charisma modifier, unless noted otherwise.
Domination (Su): As base vampire, except that a vampire lord can do this either by gaze or voice. It does not require line of sight to the target, but the target must be able to hear the vampire lord's voice when it speaks at a normal volume level.
Energy Drain (Su): As base vampire, but a living creature hit by a vampire lord's slam attack takes 3 negative levels.
Blood Drain (Su): As base vampire, but a vampire lord's blood drain inflicts 1d4+2 points of Constitution drain each round the pin is maintained.
Special Qualities: The vampire lord retains all the special qualities of the base vampire, except as modified below, and gains those listed below.
Alternate Form (Su): A vampire lord can assume the form of any animal, as the druid ability wild shape used by a 12th-level druid. The vampire lord can use this power at will as a move-equivalent action. The vampire lord can change from one animal shape to another without having to revert to its humanoid form.
Children of the Night (Su): As base vampire, but the creatures summoned forth serve the vampire lord until released. Further, the vampire lord can sense through the senses of any such commanded creatures, and communicate empathically with them, to a range of 10 miles.
Control Weather (Sp): A vampire lord can cast either control weather or fog cloud as a 12th-level sorcerer at will.
Create Spawn (Su): As base vampire, but vampire lords create only vampire slaves, never vampire spawn. The new vampire is enslaved to the vampire lord until its master's death, and the willpower of the vampire lord is too strong to allow it to break free of its enslavement.
Damage Reduction (Ex): A vampire lord is extremely tough; it has damage reduction 10/+3.
Fast Healing (Ex): As base vampire, but a vampire lord heals 8 hit points each round so long as it has at least 1 hit point. It has 24 hours to reach a place of rest (rather than 2 hours) if brought to zero hit points. A vampire lord can have many places of rest prepared, since the only requirement is some soil from its homeland (the place where the base vampire was born).
Telekinesis (Su): A vampire lord can use telekinesis (caster level 12th) at will.
Telepathy (Su): A vampire lord can communicate telepathically with any living creature within 100 feet that has a language, and with any vampire under its direct control to a range of 1 mile.
Turn Resistance (Ex): As base vampire +4 (see Monster Manual).
Saves: Same as the base vampire, plus the vampire lord applies its Charisma modifier to all saving throws in addition to its other ability modifiers (as a paladin does).
Abilities: Increase from the base vampire as follows: Str +6, Dex +4, Int +2, Wis +2, Cha +4. As undead creatures, vampire lords have no Constitution scores.
Skills: A vampire lord receives an additional +4 racial bonus to Scry and Sense Motive checks, and a +8 racial bonus to Diplomacy and Intimidate checks.
Feats: Vampire lords gain Iron Will and Leadership as bonus feats, assuming the base vampire does not already have these feats.
Climate/Terrain: Any land or underground
Challenge Rating: Same as base vampire +3
Treasure: Quadruple standard
Alignment: Any evil. In the transformation from vampire to vampire lord, the creature recovers the Law-Neutral-Chaos bent of the original creature. Thus, a Lawful Neutral monk who becomes a vampire turns Chaotic Evil, and when it becomes a vampire lord it turns Lawful Evil.
Advancement: By character class
Vampire Lord Weaknesses
Vampire lords have far fewer weaknesses than normal vampires, a benefit of their quest for power.
Vampire lords cannot be repelled by garlic or holy symbols, though they can be turned. Mere presentation of a holy symbol has no effect. They have no fear of mirrors, and they cast reflections as living beings do.
Vampire lords can cross over or through running water with no impediments. They are not harmed in any way by immersion in running water.
A vampire lord is not as vulnerable to sunlight as a normal vampire, and can go about in broad daylight if it desires. Under sunlight, it takes a -4 penalty to all ability scores and on all attacks, saves, and skill checks. Also, a vampire lord in sunlight cannot use any of its supernatural powers. Victims of its domination power are not freed of the vampire lord's control during daylight hours; the vampire lord can verbally command any creature in its thrall even in direct sunlight. Spells that produce sunlight effects cannot harm a vampire lord; only direct light from the sun can weaken it. If the vampire lord is destroyed while exposed to direct sunlight, it seems to die, but unless the body is disposed of as described below, it assumes gaseous form as soon as the sun sets and attempts to return to its coffin.
A vampire lord is not killed outright by a wooden stake driven through its heart, though the stake does cause normal damage if it can bypass the creature's damage reduction.
The only way to make sure that a vampire lord does not return is to cut its head from its body, burn the body and the head separately, scatter the ashes from the body over running water, immerse the ashes from the head in holy water, and bury the immersed ashes in consecrated ground. However, if the head ashes are ever unearthed and somehow separated from the holy water, dried thoroughly, and then subjected to an unhallow spell, the vampire lord can regenerate in a week if the ashes are placed inside one of its places of rest.
Sample Vampire Lord
This example uses a 10-level female human wizard vampire as the base vampire.
About the Author
Robert Wiese grew up in a cave in the California desert called suburbia. He took refuge in groups for survival, such as the Boy Scouts and later a gaming club. He chose a mate and moved to the even wilder wilderness called Chicagoland, and there discovered the tribe of RPGA. In 1995 he joined the leadership of this tribe, and slew the previous leader to take over as 1997 began. He ruled the tribe like a benevolent dictator for several years, but lost his mate and the fun of game-playing in the process. Eventually he rediscovered the fun of playing, and abdicated before he too was killed by an ambitious comer-upper. Now he lives in Reno, and keeps his fingers in the pie through convention planning and serving on the triad for his Living Greyhawk region. He devotes his time to his new mate and their pack of dependent creatures.
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