Vampire Lord (3.5e Template)
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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.
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.
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 HD + the vampire lord's Cha modifier, unless noted otherwise.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Treasure: Quadruple standard
Alignment: Always evil (any).
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.