Friday, April 8, 2011

Vampires...or as I call them, the Vahm-pyre...

There has been debate, outrage, and confusion spreading across the internets. Which ones? ALL OF THEM!

Why? Because in the newest book in the Dungeons and Dragons 4E line that is coming out from Wizards of the Coast not only seems to be built for the Essentials line, ignoring the original 4E line, but one of the newest classes available in the Heroes of Shadow is the Vampire.

"Now, wait just a minute" you may say. "This makes very little sense." I agree. However, if you are just as confused as this hypothetical person commenting on the class choice, check out Wizard's excuses HERE. Still not agreeing with the choice? Allow me to help you with that.

You see, long ago in distant Pre-Essentials era, there was a little thing that WotC introduced, and then promptly ignored, called Themes. Themes were introduced in the Dark Sun Campaign Guide and were meant to be the third branch in creating a unique character, something the Backgrounds introduced in Player's Handbook II didn't seem to be accomplishing for them. Each character would have a Race, a Class, and a Theme so that, for example you, could be a Halfling Wizard Gladiator. Interesting concept, yes?

WotC, we need to talk. Why couldn't Vampire just be a Theme?

Why can't I have a Dragonborn Paladin that is also a Vampire? Or, if looking at Essentials, a Drow Hexblade Vampire? (I am aware that the Essentials doesn't have Themes yet, but it is worth testing)

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you: The Vampire Spawn Theme

Vampire Spawn Traits
Secondary Role: Striker
Power Source: Shadow
Granted Abilities: You gain regeneration 5, vulnerable radiant 10, undead traits, sunlight weakness, and the surge drain at-will power.

Sunlight Weakness: If you start your turn in direct sunlight, you take level appropriate radiant damage (see DM Screen).
Undead Traits: You are considered undead for effects that relate to that keyword. You are also considered a living creature. You do not need to breath and are immune to disease and poison. You also gain resist 5 necrotic.

Vampire Spawn Powers
The following powers are available to any character who has chosen the Vampire theme.

Blood Drain; Vampire Spawn Feature
You bite into your victim's neck, draining it of its life essence.
At-Will * Healing, Shadow
Standard Action; Melee touch
Requirement: The target must be grabbed, helpless, or restrained.
Attack: Dexterity or Charisma vs. Reflex or Will
Hit: You do damage to the target equal to your healing surge value. 
     Effect: You gain hit points as if you had spent a healing surge.
Special: Choose Dexterity or Charisma for your attack ability. If you choose Dexterity, your attack is against the target's Reflex. If you choose Charisma, your attack is against the target's Will. If the target is grabbed, you have combat advantage on the target for this attack.

Shadow Walk; Vampire Spawn Utility 2
You fade ever so slightly into the Shadowfell, as if you were turning into a shadow as you stride past your foes.
Encounter * Shadow
Move Action; Personal
Requirement: You must move at least 3 away squares from your square of origin.
Effect: You gain concealment until the end of your next turn.

Shadow Swarm; Vampire Spawn Attack 3
You change into a swarm of bat-like shadows, cutting through your opponents as you pass.
Encounter * Implement, Shadow, Teleportation
Standard Action; Close blast 3
Target: Each enemy in blast
Attack: Primary ability vs. Fortitude
Hit: 2d6 + ability modifier damage, and ongoing 5 damage (save ends).
Effect: You teleport to a square within the blast and are invisible until the end of your next turn.
Level 13
     Close blast 5
     Hit: As above, but 3d6 + ability modifier damage.
Level 23
     Close blast 5
     Hit: As above, but 4d6 + ability modifier damage, and ongoing 10 damage (save ends).

Essence Drain; Vampire Spawn Attack 5
You trick the surrounding living into giving you a taste of their life.
Daily * Healing, Implement, Shadow
Standard Action; Close burst 1
Target: Every creature in burst
Attack: Primary ability vs. Will
Hit: 2d10 + ability damage, and you regain hit points equal to half the damage you dealt.
Level 15
     Close burst 3
     Hit: As above, but 3d10 + ability modifier damage.
Level 25
     Close burst 5
     Hit: As above, but 4d10 + ability modifier damage.

Form of the Bat; Vampire Spawn Utility 6
[see linked article for information]

As you can see, the Vampire would work wonderfully as a Theme. Of course, I drew inspiration from the article as I'm not going to entirely discount the hard work and enjoyable designs of the WotC crew. I'm pretty sure these powers here also need some balancing.

I also think there should be a second Theme, Vampire Lord, that is a Controller type. If there is enough demand, I'll finish this Theme and maybe do that one too.

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