I just Don't Want to Suck, A Vampire Handbook
Disclaimer: what this handbook is and isn’t is a little different than the standard char op handbooks.
bloodbites.com - Vampire and gothic layouts, pictures, creepy stickers, and more
What it is: This handbook is all about making the best of a bad situation. If you are already of the mindset that you want to play a vampire, this is the handbook that will help you make some important choices. This is for the people who are willing to rough it, and play a challenging character for the fun of it. I have found the base concept of Vampire is popular enough to make it still a played class, I do not believe it is even the least played class…this is the guide for people making the willing and informed choice to play a vampire.
What it is NOT: This handbook is not the best damage, or best striker, or how to make a killer combo character. This is also not the place to complain about the class, we have heard it all before… straight jacket, underpowered, weak, even unplayable have all been thrown around.
This Handbook uses the following system for ratings:
Red: An useless or overshadowed option (from 0/10 to 2/10)
Violet: An option insufficient for most needs but that can be worked, with some difficulty, into something good (from 3/10 to 5/10)
Black: An option sufficient for your needs but nothing more (from 6/10 to 7/10)
Blue: A solid choice which should be always taken into account (from 8/10 to 9/10)
Sky Blue: The best choice in a single spot. These choices are never wrong (10/10)
Gold: A rare rating given to specify that if you make another choice, you are probably doing something wrong (mandatory, without rank)
Unranked: sometimes choices are out of rank. I'm reserving this green hue for this strange need, usually for non combat-related powers.
AP - Arcane Power
AV - Adventurer's Vault
AV 2 - Adventurer's Vault 2
D XXX - Dragon Magazine, issue XXX
DMA 2009 - Dragon Magazine Annual 2009
DP - Divine Power
DSCS - Dark Sun Campaign Setting
Du XXX - Dungeon Magazine, issue XXX
E1 - Death's Reach (Adventure)
EPG-Ebberon Players Guide
FRPG - Forgotten Realms Player's Guide
HoFL - Heroes of Fallen Lands
HoFK - Heroes of Forgotten Kingdoms
Homm - Village of Hommlet (Adventure)
HoS - Heroes of Shadow
NCG - Neverwinter Campaign Guide
MOTP - Manual of the Planes
MP - Martial Power
MP2- Martial Power 2
P1 - King of the Trollhaunt Warrens (Adventure)
P2 - Demon Queen Enclave (Adventure)
P3 - Assault on Nightwyrm Fortress (Adventure)
PHB - Player's Handbook
PHB 2 - Player's Handbook 2
PHB 3 - Player's Handbook 3
PHB D - Player's Handbook Races: Dragonborn
PHB T - Player's Handbook Races: Tiefling
PHH 1 - Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 1
PHH 2 - Player's Handbook Heroes: Series 2
PP - Primal Power
PsP - Psionic Power
Special Thanks to: LDB for the standard handbook format, and Nausicaa who I copy and pasted said format from.
Anyone with comments, suggestions, or contributions to make to the guide, but please remember this is trying to make the best of a bad situation, so if we can keep the nay saying to a minimum.
Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: cloth and simple- This means you are going to NEED AC boosting feats.
Implement Proficiency: Holy symbol, and ki focus- It was an odd choice to go with but I like the holy symbols.
Hit Points at 1st Level: 12+ Constitution Score, Hit Points per Level Gained: 5- This is standard striker fair.
Healing Surges per Day: 2- Dun Dun Dun... No con mod to surges per day, and some class love in regaining them. This is what will make you HAVE to drink blood.
Blood Is Life: During a short rest this will bring you back to full in one of two ways. I suggest you talk to your party ahead of time, because they need to give you a surge for one of those ways. The other way is to have more surges then your full amount (normally 2). Either way getting 2 surges for 1 is a good but not great deal, and since you regen to bloodied(see enduring soul), all you ever need is one surge.
Child of the Night: This is the big feature. It makes you undead, and vunrability, and really, you need to look at it. Read this 10 times before you make your character and every few weeks well playing it.
Enduring Soul: This one will keep you alive...um undead. It will make you regen when you are bloodied. It is important that you know regen turns off at 0. So make sure you stay up. The most important thing for you is to never drop below 0.
Hidden Might: This is your striker feature. It adds your cha mod to damage the same way slayers add dex. It is not going to take on the fly figures, or extra dice, it just puts a larger number after the d in your damage line.
Vampiric Reflexes: When not wearing any armor, or only cloth, and no shield you get a +2 AC and Ref, so it almost looks like you have defences.
Night crawler: At level 8 you get a climb speed, and with some work this can make you have some fun, but as far as optimazation goes, I just dont see it.
Vital Consumtion: I almost feel like this should be your level 4 power. WHen you use one of those attack powers that cst a surge you gain temp hp.
Energized blood drinker: At level 23 your blood drinker power gains temp hp with the surge.
Str-again counter intuitive, but str really does so little for you
Con- by losing your Con mod to surges you lose any reason to put any points here…I would suggest a 10-12 here
Dex- This is your bread and butter, it should be atleast a 16, I would suggest an 18 just because with everything else stacked against them, you need that +1 to hit.
Int- three of your class skills go off of Int, but really there is not much here for you to use. If you can dump it, it is only flavor why you want more then a 10.
Wis- Like Int, wis is in the same boat, only worse it only has 1 skill (perception) and even if it seems like a good skill, maybe this is the time to leave it to others.
Cha- This is both your striker and your regen mechanic, it might be even more important then dex in some eyes, but here I am listing it at second most important stat. think 15+ here
Bladeling- gets a bonus to Dex, and not much else. I only mention it in passing, not suggested.
Changling- Ok, so Dex and Cha, and an OK race set up. I guess it is thematic (come on shapeshifter vamp), but changling still is far from the most supported or optimal option.
Deva- Ok, it seems odd at first, but the radiant resistance, the cha boost, and a good race power and some ok feats.
Dragonborn- Ok, it is worse than you think the cha bonus is ok, and breath weapon is always good, but the Heritage and Fury powers are worth much less because they rarely use there surge value, and they at least in theory spend less time bloodied because of the regen.
Drow- Now here we have a real choice. +dex and Cha, some good feats, and if you can convince the DM then there encounter power “Cloud of Darkness” might block the sun.
Eladrin-You get your choice of Cha or Dex, which is a good start. Fey step has a lot of support and teleport is a good option, but that long sword prof and trance are wasted features. If you use the switch rules from never winter for sub races, you can get this up to Blue.
Elf- +2 dex, and Elvin accuracy. A good speed boost. Feats and up and coming race utilities, this
might just be a reak choice.
Githzerai- dex boost, iron mind, and a boost to initiative. It looks good, but not much support outside of phb3.
Gnoll- It really makes an ok vamp. I would not count on blood fury that much. But good stats and pack fighting help.
Gnome- Ok, I really wanted to make this one work, if only for the laugh at making a gnome striker, but The stealth powers, and choice of dex or cha make a good shot. Also Small does not change the basic attack from being a d10.
Half elf- You know what, they make good everything…I mean dual heritage gives you all the feats you ever need, and Cha bonus. Think dilatant or Knack are both good choices, they are.
Hafling- Yes please, + both dex and Cha and second chance. It is a small death dealer.
Half orc- Temp Hp when bloodied, and a bonus to Dex, not bad, but not great. I don't think furius assault is a big deal with implment attacks, atleast not as big as +1w gets.
Human- You know the main bonuses, but the downside one is no extra at will to grab. There new race power instead is the only thing keeping it blue.
Revenant- Like half elf this one is good for a lot of classes, but it makes a funny double undead here. Dex and Cha to start, and I think the dark reaping can help sure up your damage a bit
Shadar Kai- See eladrin. It seems like a watered down eladrin, so play at your own risk.
Shade- This one seems like it was meant to be, the cha regen helps lessen the shade weakness, and cha dex again. Free stealth is nice, and for a regen character the wasted standard to hide allows a round to breath. A dark and shadow born vampire looks like a theme fit as well. IF your DM belives that draining surges past 0 is damage, this will drop to Black.
Shifter- The razor claw has Dex, and other then that there is very little here.
Shardmind- Ok let’s just say of all the craziness this one might just be the funniest. It gets cha, and some Ok powers…but really good luck convincing the Dm of this one.
Thri-kreen- Dex bonus and an Ok race power. I am sure there is some value here, even if it does take work.
Tiefling- +cha, and infernal wraith. It has some good feats. You could do worse.
Vryloka- This race was made for this class…nuff said I really wanted to showcase this is the best possible choice, but there is not something inbetween this and Gold.
Wilden- + to dex but not much else
Acrobatics (Dex), It keys off your prime stat, helps you escape from grabs, and negates falling damage. It also has some Ok skill powers, it is a good bet.
Arcana (Int), It looks like a good skill, but without a reason to take Int to back it up, leave this to the others in your party
Athletics (Str), Str is a trap, str skills are a trap. Take Acrobatics instead.
Bluff (Cha), It keys off your secondary, seems to fit the Vamp theme, and has some good choices of skill powers. If your a changling this is Sky Blue.
Diplomacy (Cha), It keys off your secondary, seems to fit the Vamp theme, but has no good choices of skill powers.
History (Int), It keys off a dump stat, and doesn't have much in the way of skill powers, it does look good theme wise, so I will give it the benfet of the doubt here.
Intimidate (Cha),It keys off your secondary, seems to fit the Vamp theme, and has some good choices of skill powers.
Perception (Wis), Any other handbook I would rate this atleast blue if not gold, it is the most useful skill in the game, and the most common to roll, and even with no wis it is a good investment, even if not the best.
Religion (Int), It keys off a dump stat, and doesn't have much in the way of skill powers, it doesn't even look good theme wise.
Stealth (Dex),Prime stat, ok skill power, and good theme fit. It can also come in handy in alot of ways
Thievery (Dex).Prime stat, ok skill power, and good theme fit. It can also come in handy in alot of ways
The trick with your at wills is that each targets a diffrent NAD, so the better you are at guessing the weak defence the better you are.
Dark beckoning- Ok pro it could be your most accurate attack (Cha+2 vs will) Con, it is range 5 and you need melee to trigger your encounter powers. It is also low damage. Even when people tell you the power of the at wills is chooseing the NAD to target, remember will is a last ditch attack.
Taste of life- It gives temps, does middle of the road damge, and it targets fort. It also however is necrotic damage and as such very ressistable.
Vampire slam- It is your basic attack, it is already set with a d10 damage (just about the best you can hope for with implment) Vampire Slam is your can opener, Blood drinker is your spoon. This is most likely to make you feel like a striker right here.
Blood Drinker- It is alost like the slayer Power strike, but adding D10's instead of Ws. It is triggered on a hit from a melee vampire at will, so no stacking with feral assault.unleash fury, and no poaching other at wills with half elf to help.
Feral Assault/unleash fury- yea, I don't get why this was nto one scaleing power, but they made it two. If you have extra surges they almost seam like good idea's (so last half of heroic and into paragon) but when you first get Feral Assault it almost feels like a trap. Spend a surge for 2d8 extra damage, or an extra target is only good when you have the surges to spend.
SWARM OF SHADOWS/HUNGRY SWARM/CONSUMING SWARM- Close blast 3 (5 at epic) targeting fort, some mobility(teleport into blast) and blind. I almost feel like the righter saw the rouge blinding barrage, and used it as a base. I am unsure why it is diffrent powers instead of scaleing X d6. It is a good but not great damage, and a nice bit of control. Since they are leveled they CAN be swaped with multi class.
UNFETTERED HUNGER - this one is kind like a barbarian rage, you hit or miss for damage, and gain a bonus to attack and damge for the rest of the encounter. There is a reason this does not scale...it need not. It is most likly the best power you have at any point. 2d10 damage in close burst 1 is OK, but the encounte long buff of +2 to hit +4 damage and increase to your shift is almost GOLD level striker coolness, and the no spending surges to heal is almost a joke, if you are doing it right you should be able to count on one hand how many surges you burn mid encounter to heal. The down side is if it is going bad and one of those times you are droped...well this ends badly.
DOMINEERING GAZE/IRRESISTIBLE GAZE- Ok so when you thinkk striker Dominate does not come to mind. However add the line of stealing a surge AND dealing your surge value and it sounds more like it. The higher level one also comes with an after effect of daze and ongoing. As long as you kept your cha within 2 of your dex this is also a very accurate attack.
2 encounter powers to choose from at this point. Both are minor action Close Blast 5 that only target one creature in blast.
Charming Gaze- Stoping opp attacks is ok, but not really a striker thing, and a bonus to bluff or diplomacy seems a little weak
Hunter's Gaze- Combat advantage and Intimadate bonus sounds much better, especialy if they are bloodied this turn.
Blood Drinker's Pounce- It lets you move and get a another slam in (Your can opener) so I will give it the lead here. This one requares you drop a target or bloodie it with your encounter blood driker.
Culling Call- This one brings the enemy to you and grants combat advantage thanks to a free Dark Beakoning when you drop a foe. This one you need to drop a target but with anything. There is a school of thought that you are more likly to be out of encounters when you drop a foe.