Vampire (5e Background)

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Design Note: An experiment to see if undead and lycanthropes can be treated as modifications to races rather than particular creatures or races, by overloading the 'background' concept rather than changing a creature's race or class.


Players may Not choose this background when making characters. This is a background to be given to or forced upon a character by a dungeon master if the character becomes a vampire. Creatures with this background do not get ASI's.

  • If you become a vampire, you gain this background. You also retain your previous background.
  • If an NPC starts out with a vampire background, they usually get an extra background to start with.

Your character is modified as follows:

Character Modifications[edit]

  • Level: You lose two levels (but do not drop below first level). You lose the hit points you gained at those levels. If you are multiclassed you may lose 2 levels in one class or one level in each of two classes.
  • Ability ASI's: You lose all accrued ability score ASI's. You do not get ability ASI's even if you roll 6 on the flaws list (below).
  • Feats: You lose all accrued feats and never gain feats unless you roll a 6 on the flaws list (see below).
  • Hit Points: You lose 1 additional hit point per remaining level.
  • Armor Class: +1
  • Passive Perception: +1
  • Alignment: You become lawful evil but justify your decisions using the terminology of whatever your alignment was before.

Ability Modifications:

  • Strength = original strength - 3 + Level/3 round up
  • Dexterity = original dexterity - 3 + Level/3 round off
  • Constitution = original constitution - 3 + Level/3 round up
  • Intelligence = original intelligence - 3 + Level/3 round down
  • Wisdom = original wisdom - 3 + Level/3 round down
  • Charisma = original charisma + 2 + Level/3 round off

Skill Proficiencies: Perception and Stealth

Tool Proficiencies: no new tools

Languages: no new languages

Equipment: coffin


d6 Specialization
1 Harvester - I specialize in draining people on a regular basis without killing them in order to feed my vampiric friends.
2 Controller - I specialize in controlling other vampires, and keeping them from spreading vampirism everywhere.
3 Breeder - I specialize in creating other vampires and other kinds of undead.
4 Enforcer - I specialize in controlling other kinds of undead and living minions.
5 Murderer - I specialize in killing threats to me or my vampire friends or those who might even pose a future threat.
6 Lover - I try to put a good face on vampirism by trying to make it look romantic, heroic or refined rather than the awful state of being that it really is.


Your level is the total level of your character after modifications are applied.

Level Advancement
You may only advance in levels in your primary class (see flaws). Each time you advance in level you gain a point in each of two abilities. You can use the ability mod calculations above to determine which two by recalculating from your original ability scores.
Level 1
  • Misty escape: - If killed, you turn to mist and return to your nearest resting place to reform at a speed of 20 ft. If you can not reach your nearest resting place by down, you are destroyed.
  • Create Vampire Spawn: - If you kill by draining a creature's blood you may turn it into a vampire spawn which you then control.
  • Necrotic Damage Resistance: - You have resistance to necrotic damage.
Level 2
  • Unarmed Strike - With an attack bonus equal to your proficiency, you may make an unarmed strike which does 1d8+4 if you hit. Or you may choose to grapple.
  • Mist Form - As an action, you can turn into your mist form at will and move at a speed of 20 ft. You can not use this action when in direct sunlight.
Level 3
  • Spider Climb: - You can climb walls and ceilings at a speed of 20 without making ability checks.
  • Bat Form: - You may transform into a bat as an action. Your fly speed is 30 ft. You can not use this action when in direct sunlight.
Level 4 (most vampires do not get ASI's)
  • Charm: - You may charm a creature within 30 ft for 24 hours, wisdom save vs DC = 8 + proficiency + charisma mod. You can not use this action when in direct sunlight.
  • Non-Magic Resistance: - You gain resistance to non-magical attacks - bludgeoning, piercing or slashing.
Level 5 - Regeneration
- You regenerate 7 points plus 1 point damage per round per level above level 4. So you regenerate 1 + 7 points per round at 5th level, 2 + 7 points per round at 6th level, 3 + 7 points at 7th, 4 + 7 points at 8th and so on. You can not use regenerate when in direct sunlight.
Level 6 - Children of the Night (1/Day)
- You can draw 2d6 swarms of bats or rats or 3d6 wolves to your aid within 1d4 rounds. You can not use this action when in direct sunlight.
Level 7 - Were-sense
- You can sense whether a wolf or a humanoid is in fact a werewolf as an action within 30 ft.
Level 8 - Multiattack
You may attack one extra time each round with a bite attack. Your bite does 1d6+4 damage + 3d6 necrotic damage. You regain hit points equal to the necrotic damage
Level 9 - Regional Effects
Wolves, bats, rats multiply in the region around your lair.
Level 10 - Animate Dead (3/Day)
You may cast the Animate Dead spell three times per 24 hour day, even if otherwise you are not a spell caster. You may cast the spell one extra time at midnight. The availability of this feature is not based on completing a long rest. It is based on the clock and the standard day.
Level 11 - Legendary Resistance (3/Day)
If you fail a saving throw, you can choose to succeed instead.
Level 12 - Advanced Were-sense
You can sense whether a creature or a humaoid is a lycanthrope and what kind of lycanthrope it is within 60 ft as an action.
level 13 - Legendary Actions (3/Turn)
  • Legendary Move: - You may move up to your speed without opportunity attacks. You can not use this action when in direct sunlight.
  • Legendary Unarmed Strike: - You make one extra unarmed strike. You can not use this action when in direct sunlight.
  • Legendary Bite: - You make one additional bite attack (costs 2). You can not use this action when in direct sunlight.
Level 14 - Turn Immunity
You are immune to effects that turn undead.
Level 15 - Parry
You have been training for centuries and are adept in martial combat. You gain the Parry reaction. You add your proficiency modifier to your AC against one melee attack that would hit it. To do so you must see the attacker.
Level 16 - Death Warden
  • You may cast the create undead spell (3/Day).
  • When casting the animate dead or create undead spell, there is no limit to how many creatures you can have under its control. In addition, after casting animate dead or create undead once on creatures, it no longer needs to be cast on those creatures to retain your control over them.
Level 18 - Vampiric Touch
Melee Spell Attack: +10 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature. Hit: 28 (6d6 + 7) necrotic damage. You regain hit points equal to half the necrotic damage dealt. In addition, if the target is a creature that is Medium or smaller, the target is grappled (escape DC 22). You can continue to use the Vampiric Touch action on a grappled creature once a turn. A humanoid slain by this attack rises as a zombie after 1 hour under the vampire's control. You can not use this action when in direct sunlight.

Suggested Characteristics[edit]

d8 Personality Trait
1 Paranoid - I think everyone is out to stake me. Just because I'm right doesn't mean I'm not paranoid.
2 Romantic - I'm tall, dark, and moody. I put the romance in necromancer. Even so, I usually consume my paramours in the end.
3 Primitive - I don't even know that it's wrong to feed on people or that I am evil. I am innocent of refined concepts such as good and evil.
4 Arrogant - I am better than all the living and better even than most vampires. Very few are my equal.
5 Venal - I am willing to do dishonorable things for money, power, and blood to feast on, no matter how low, base, vile, or treacherous.
6 Circumspect - I know that there are much greater vampires than me in the world. If they don't like me they will destroy me. therefore I keep a very very low profile.
7 Deluded - I bring more value to the world as a vampire than before I became one. I have a great and glorious project I am working on for the world and nothing and no one will stand in my way.
8 Psychopathic - I am utterly rational. I enjoy having power over other people. I have no empathy but I know how to manipulate people. After all, people are all merely just flesh and blood and nothing more.
d6 Ideal
1 Restoration - I want to be a living non-vampire again, and will try to get killed and resurrected. I want to force this sort of restoration on all vampires.
2 Undeath - I revel in my newfound vampiric nature, and want to build an army of vampires, wolves, rats, and bats.
3 Humanity - It is appalling to me that I keep killing people and draining their blood. It is an addiction I struggle to deal with. I try to drink animal blood but once in a while I lose control and rip the throat out of a human.
4 Murder - I love ripping people's throats out and watching them die without even the chance to become a vampire.
5 Power - Armies of vampires and wolves are for the small minded. I want power over human societies.
6 Acceptance - Most of us vampires are not all that evil. I think we should have an accepted place in society. I will force this to happen if need be.
d6 Bond
1 Refined - I patronize the arts and won't dine On anyone of high refinement. I will dine With them. Everyone else is fair game and ripe for the hunt.
2 Regretful - I lost control and killed the great love of my life and I will do anything to bring them back, alive or undead. I will do absolutely anything.
3 Lonely - I long for the days when I was alive and had close friends. I cultivate a few friends who do not know my true nature. Everyone else I kill, without my friends finding out.
4 My Charmy - I have built an army of charmed people in high and key lower positions who will do my bidding, I keep up the charms and my influence over the affairs of men daily grows.
5 Army of the Damned - I want to corrupt as many people as possible as much as I have been corrupted. Under my control of course. I have many vampires and corrupted and blackmailed humanoids in my service.
6 Brotherhood of Vampires - Vampires secretly rule the world in a loose knit confederation of corrupters and feasters. I am one of them.

Flaws For Vampires[edit]

All vampires have the following two flaws plus 5 out of 6 of the Flaws in the Flaws list.

Resting Place Flaw
Each vampire has a resting place, often the grave and coffin they were buried in.
Non-reflective Flaw
You do not show up in a mirror or a reflection of any sort.

Each vampire has all but one of the flaws on the following table. Roll d6 to determine which flaw you do Not have. The default is 5 if you do not roll.

d6 Flaw
1 Sun Sensitivity - I take 20 points radiant damage when I start my turn in sunlight, along with disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.
2 Forbiddance - I may not enter a place without invitation.
3 Running Water - I take 20 points acid damage if I end my turn in running water.
4 Stake to the Heart - If a wooden stake is driven through my heart I am paralyzed until it is removed.
5 Holy symbol - I am driven away by holy symbols of good even if the wielder is not good.
6 Stagnant - I no longer get ASI's, and I am only able to add levels in my primary class (the one I have the highest level in). Worse yet, the experience I receive from now on is cut by 50%.

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