Challenging a vampire (3.5e)

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Okay, my player (I presently have only one) has been wanting to have a vampire character for a while, and after consideration, I've let him make one using the Vampire Spawn monster class (Libris Mortis). He's going to have an ECL of about 10, be evil, and have the Leadership feat, giving him several fairly strong followers under him.


My quandry is, what do I use to challenge him? He won't really be the sort of character who will go out on quests across the land (even if only because he needs to stay close to his six-by-two-foot pine home.), so how should I make a campaign around a vampire character and his gathering of dark followers?

Any suggestions would be appreciated!  
"Oh, I don't get upset. I have people to do that for me." ~DBZ Abridged-Frieza
Some short term ideas...

1.  A necromancer moves into the area and is not only raising annoying undead, he's chasing away all the local humans (food). 

2.  His heightened senses pick up that something is going on below his feet.  Digging.  Is it drow?  Dwarves?  A creature?

3.  He owes alliegence to a house/clan/whatever and they're going to war with another group of vampires.  Not only will his home be now under threat but he might have to go off to fight.  Which is dangerous as he will need to find a place to sleep when the sun rises.
Some good ideas there, prince. The necromancer and sensed threat from below might be something to go on. His character (actually going to be 12th level with levels in the Lifedrinker prestige class) doesn't have allegiance to anyone, and he is going to be the biggest fish (that he knows of) in the local undead pond.

I'd like to include something besides the eventual reveal that his whole life (and unlife) has been subtley manipulated by a vampiric doppelganger.

He is also a wizard and might respond to the promise of secret, lost knowledge...
"Oh, I don't get upset. I have people to do that for me." ~DBZ Abridged-Frieza
Well I like to think that where ever there are vampires, vampire hunters are not far behind. I have heard stories of a reverse roles game where the players pay as monsters or demons and they go out wreaking havok and defending their pilaged horde from DM controled adventuring parties that are hell bent on putting a stop to their rampage. 

Another cool idea I could think of is a campaign dedicated to your vampire player searching the world for rare blood types and storing these bloods in wine bottles in the cellar of his castle. Perhaps these special bloods give him new powerful abilies like the blood of a troll born under a lunar eclipse ripped from its mother's womb and bled with a spcial dagger made out of a monstrous vampire's fang. He would drink the blood of this troll child and he would gain the great regenirative abilities of the troll. So his goal is to hunt down ancient tomes writen by lengendary vampires that detail these special kinds of bloods and their effects and then hunt down what ever he needs to get them.
My suggestion would be to let him play the BBEG - let him come up with an "evil plot" and then you put obstacles in his way to attempt to thwart his plans.  This is how I run all my evil campaigns and it usually works out pretty well.

 

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Are you really "entitled to your opinion"?
RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
Vampires are some of the most fragile monsters. They're easy to keep out, to detect, to repel, and to weaken. Talk to the player about common vampire tropes and how those can and should balance him out. Don't play gotcha, but get the player's buy-in to those vulnerabilities so that he balances himself. Without that buy in, the player is just going to figure out a way around anything you try to do to limit him.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

TheKazz: The idea of bringing in NPCs who are there specifically to hunt him and his followers was one of the first things I considered. The trick is in finding ways to make such characters able to find and challenge him, and also keeping such attacks from becoming a predictable trope (if he has to deal with vampire hunters and paladins every couple of months, he's probably just going to move). Hmmm... Presenting the opportunity to gain superior new abilities is an idea. He did want to play a full vampire originally (an idea I was on board with until I realized how unbalancing the potential for creating spawn was). Giving him the possibility of attaining new powers could be quite fun! :D

DaBeerds: I would like to do that, but he doesn't seem to want his vamp to be a mover-and-shaker type right off the bat. He won't want to try to take over a city or whatever "yet", as the player puts it. I've been thinking of eventually opening certain doors within the city where he lives, giving him a shot at being in the little council that runs things, but that can be tricky and won't happen for a little while.

Centauri: I'm not sure I understand what you mean. The player knows the vampiric weaknesses and limitations, etc. and will find ways to work around them or within them. He's pretty good about knowing his limits and will be careful, but like I said above, he doesn't really have a goal to start with. Until I find something to drive him to get moving or stir him up, I won't really have ways to put those limitations to use.

It's not exactly about the challenge, really. It's more about what would get a vampire who would rather just keep skulking in the shadows to come out and play...
"Oh, I don't get upset. I have people to do that for me." ~DBZ Abridged-Frieza
It's not exactly about the challenge, really. It's more about what would get a vampire who would rather just keep skulking in the shadows to come out and play...

Ah. Well, character motivation should be part of the character creation process. Ask the player what the player would enjoy doing with the vampire. If he wants the vampire to sulk, let him sulk and then have him roll up another character that actually has goals.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

It's not exactly about the challenge, really. It's more about what would get a vampire who would rather just keep skulking in the shadows to come out and play...

Ah. Well, character motivation should be part of the character creation process. Ask the player what the player would enjoy doing with the vampire. If he wants the vampire to sulk, let him sulk and then have him roll up another character that actually has goals.



Mm, I see what you mean. I'll ask him if his character has any long-term plans besides simply existing, and try to work from there. I'll let you guys know when I have an answer.
"Oh, I don't get upset. I have people to do that for me." ~DBZ Abridged-Frieza
It's not exactly about the challenge, really. It's more about what would get a vampire who would rather just keep skulking in the shadows to come out and play...

Ah. Well, character motivation should be part of the character creation process. Ask the player what the player would enjoy doing with the vampire. If he wants the vampire to sulk, let him sulk and then have him roll up another character that actually has goals.

Mm, I see what you mean. I'll ask him if his character has any long-term plans besides simply existing, and try to work from there. I'll let you guys know when I have an answer.

The new character could even be a vampire, but could be a get of the original who is considered expendable and is sent out into risky situations to do its master's bidding. There's a pretty good goal.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

The new character could even be a vampire, but could be a get of the original who is considered expendable and is sent out into risky situations to do its master's bidding. There's a pretty good goal.



Problem there is, he's a vampire spawn. He can't create new vamps.
"Oh, I don't get upset. I have people to do that for me." ~DBZ Abridged-Frieza
The new character could even be a vampire, but could be a get of the original who is considered expendable and is sent out into risky situations to do its master's bidding. There's a pretty good goal.

Problem there is, he's a vampire spawn. He can't create new vamps.

This one can, if the DM needs that to be the case to make a character idea work.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

This one can, if the DM needs that to be the case to make a character idea work.



If this character could create spawn, he would have more to do, though. Kind of a catch-22.

I have talked to my player, and he has given the vampire character a relatively typical mage's mindset, in that he will obsess over puzzles, encrypted maps, strange arcane lore, and pretty much anything that will "flex his brain". He also likes to collect magical items (not neccessarily things he can use, he just wants to collect them). Dangling the promise of new magic secrets might be the lure needed to draw him into something, if I have something more dangerous and exciting to lead him to. He is also a little impulsive with his curiosity, which spans several subjects, including learning more about vampires and their potential...

The character is not afraid to get his hands dirty. He will go himself to the lost dungeon and seek the mystic tome personally; I just need to let that be my starting place... Perhaps I can use that as a hook to encorperate TheKazz's idea about special empowering blood types?  
"Oh, I don't get upset. I have people to do that for me." ~DBZ Abridged-Frieza
This one can, if the DM needs that to be the case to make a character idea work.

If this character could create spawn, he would have more to do, though. Kind of a catch-22.

No, it's not. It only is when the standard 3.5 approach kicks in and the rules as written are the only thing anyone is allowed to use. This vampire can create one spawn, the PC that the player is actually using. Done. Don't let the rules dominate your ideas. They weren't written with cool ideas in mind. The 3.5 rules weren't even written with game balance in mind.

I have talked to my player, and he has given the vampire character a relatively typical mage's mindset, in that he will obsess over puzzles, encrypted maps, strange arcane lore, and pretty much anything that will "flex his brain". He also likes to collect magical items (not neccessarily things he can use, he just wants to collect them). Dangling the promise of new magic secrets might be the lure needed to draw him into something, if I have something more dangerous and exciting to lead him to.

The character is not afraid to get his hands dirty. He will go himself to the lost dungeon and seek the mystic tome personally; I just need to let that be my starting place... Perhaps I can use that as a hook to encorperate TheKazz's idea about special empowering blood types?  

Good luck.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

I understand what you mean, Centauri. I've always been a little hesitant to tamper with RAW, because I'm paranoid I'll unbalance something. Having such limited experience with playing 3.5e, in the sense that I've started a few different adventures with one other guy, with the two of us switching off being player and DM, I don't feel confident enough to stray too far from what has already been set up.

In any case, I am starting to get ideas now, and this thread has definitely helped. Thanks to everyone who has given their input so far! :D

Feel free to keep putting in suggestions for adventures and quests to challenge this lifedrinker! ;)
"Oh, I don't get upset. I have people to do that for me." ~DBZ Abridged-Frieza
I understand what you mean, Centauri. I've always been a little hesitant to tamper with RAW, because I'm paranoid I'll unbalance something. Having such limited experience with playing 3.5e, in the sense that I've started a few different adventures with one other guy, with the two of us switching off being player and DM, I don't feel confident enough to stray too far from what has already been set up.

I understand, and your instincts are generally good. I did much the same when I played 3.5, partly because I was a newer player, but partly because the 3.5 rules are set up first as a simulation, and second as a balanced game. The DM has to be in the position of saying no, because the rules very well might explode in some way that the designers didn't consider. I'm hoping they'll someday revise the 3.5 rules so that they come out of the box clamped down tightly, and reasonably well balanced, and the DM is then put in the position of getting to say yes to creative ideas, because the risk of an adverse reaction is much lower. Oh, well.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Yeah, after creating all the extras and errata, etc. for 3.5, the system still had potential for becoming broken even within the rules as written. That's why we have The Great Pun-Pun. I would much rather create an enjoyable game than a purely balanced, good one. It's just a little tricky. :/
"Oh, I don't get upset. I have people to do that for me." ~DBZ Abridged-Frieza
Yeah, after creating all the extras and errata, etc. for 3.5, the system still had potential for becoming broken even within the rules as written. That's why we have The Great Pun-Pun. I would much rather create an enjoyable game than a purely balanced, good one. It's just a little tricky. :/

When the game fights you on it, yes it is.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Maybe you could have him be involved in a love triangle?

Perhaps he meets the love of his life, but she has feelings for this other guy who turns out to be a werewolf...and werewolfs and vampires don't get a long... but they have this truce that supercedes their personal feelings because their families have decided to live in peace, since the vampires don't hunt humans...But then you can complicate things by creating a vampire sect in a foreign land who is very powerful and they come to...


regardless of what you do, if you don't refer to him as Edward from here on out, then you lose all credability...
ok so you say that he would just rather skulk and not do anything and you need a way to get him to move well to me that is one of the simplest things to solve, hunger. Vampires crave blood and in most lores start to go insane or crazed if that blood lust isn't satisfied. Some times trasforming into mindless monsterous vampire variants if they don't feed for prolonged periods of time. So his challange can be to go hunt for blood considering all the draw backs of being a vampire there are ways to make it interesting like for example vampires can't enter a home without being invited. Remember that "home" is a loose term just because those goblins don't live in a cozy cottage doesn't mean they don't have a home. Basically if it can be closed to the out side world and someone lives there it is a home.


Next you say that feel like you would have a hard time challanging him. Well there are lots of ways to solve that (as long as he doesn't have an at will word of death or something obserd like that) if he is killing what ever you throw at him too fast then up their hit points by 50% if they aren't doing enough damage to him increase their damage from 1d6 to 1d10 or try to use superior tactics or the vampire weaknesses against him in creative ways. for example maybe a group of vampire hunters that use garlic, holy water, holy symbols and are very tactically smart but they still get over powered and are forced to flee. so they run into some privately owned property and when your vampire chases after them to finish them off he starts to take large amouts of damage for trespassing then they pull a curten off of a 12 foot tall holy symbol in the room and he is taking massive damage and is forced to run away or die.


Finally as a DM you have to tweak some rules some times if you read any of the DM guide books from any eddition it will clearly tell you that all the rules in DnD are made as guidelines and as the DM you will probably have to break the rules at one point or another and you should never feel bad for doing it. its like the english language which has hundreds of rules and an exception to every one of them. you made the rule that he can't spawn so introduce him to a ritual that will allow him to over come that but it will only create one spawn and can only be done once ever 10 years. (you can also throw that band of vampire hunters at him while he is trying to complete it so he is forced to do some multi-tasking.)
regardless of what you do, if you don't refer to him as Edward from here on out, then you lose all credability...

Where did you get Twilight from? The rest of us have been talking about vampires, why are you changing the subject?
;)

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Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
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If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

 My quandry is, what do I use to challenge him?


Ask your player. He will come up with better answers than any of us.

"In a way, you are worse than Krusk"                               " As usual, Krusk comments with assuredness, but lacks the clarity and awareness of what he's talking about"

"Can't say enough how much I agree with Krusk"        "Wow, thank you very much"

"Your advice is the worst"                                                  "I'd recommend no one listed to Krusk's opinions about what games to play"

Tharc: Begone, vile beast, and never again darken my thread with thy unholy presence! D:

TheKazz: I've got some ideas of how to draw him out of his coffin, as it were, and I'm sure I can actually find something to give him a challenge. I just want to make an interesting story instead of a series of (seemingly) unrelated events that happen around and to him. I am going to use that unique blood type idea of yours, if that's okay; it seems like it could make for an interesting plotline. I'm keeping it that he can't make spawn (unless he discovers a special blood that gives him that power), which should be fine, since he still has Leadership. Some of his followers are vamp spawn, leftover after he destroyed the one who created him.

Beldak_Serpenthelm: Don't look at me; some people are just freaks.

Krusk: I can't ask him, or he'll know what I'm going to throw at him! The only edge I have over him is surprise and having secret knowledge of what's going on. Since he will be largely urban-based, I want to create as much of an intriguing roleplay experience, full of mysteries and secrets (the city is nicknamed the City of Secrets) as I do a basically fun game for him.
"Oh, I don't get upset. I have people to do that for me." ~DBZ Abridged-Frieza
Krusk: I can't ask him, or he'll know what I'm going to throw at him! The only edge I have over him is surprise and having secret knowledge of what's going on.

What would he do if he knew what you had in store? Would he deliberately find the rock to your scissors and negate the encounter, or make it easier on himself? Why would he do that?

What if he was involved in the planning for the idea? Would he deliberately short circuit his own idea?

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Of course it is cool if you use that idea I wouldn't have suggested it if it wasn't. I share a bit of the mentality you have of not wanting to show all your cards that alow him to metagame to the point that its not much fun for you or for him. Centauri must be blessed with players that just refuse to metagame even if they know he is leading them to certain death. The one thing I would say to be mindful of is to aviod the mind set of DM vs Player(s). You as the DM are the all powerful controler of the entire universe while you are playing DnD. It is always within your power to send a meteor at the planet and destroy everything. Thats not much fun though and while the meteor is an extreme example always trying to compete with your players or make thier lives hell has the same effect in my experiance simply because you have insite into what they are thinking and what their plans and goals are as the player(s) so a DM can be just as guilty of meta gaming as the player(s). 

The moral of the story is that any form of meta gaming can ruin a game of DnD whether it is on part of the players or the DM. So just try to avoid it or control it as best you can. A DM vs Players mind set will lead to DM metagaming reguardless of whether it is intetional or not.
Centauri & TheKazz: It's not metagaming that I'm worried about. He's pretty good at keeping in character and avoiding using knowledge he wouldn't have (and when he doesn't, I just have to remind him, and he pulls it right back). The reason I want to keep him guessing is because that represents half the fun I bring to the campaign. I want this campaign to involve secrets, mysteries, puzzles, intrigue, and unforseen NPC interaction. He loves that sort of thing, and if he already knows the twists, yeah, his character can go through the process of figuring it out, but it won't be as fun for the player.

This would be so much easier if I had a group to work with rather than a single player. He agrees with me on that point. Because I only have him, the campaign tends to revolve around him, which can get tedious.
"Oh, I don't get upset. I have people to do that for me." ~DBZ Abridged-Frieza
I totally agree with you on that one if you have a sweet plot twist in mind that is going to catch him off gaurd and make the story more interesting you can't go and ask him how he feels about other wise what is the point in doing it at all. So I totally agree with you there.
Of course it is cool if you use that idea I wouldn't have suggested it if it wasn't. I share a bit of the mentality you have of not wanting to show all your cards that alow him to metagame to the point that its not much fun for you or for him.

Why would a player metagame to a point that the game is not much fun for them? Players generally metagame to have MORE fun.

Why do DM's metagame to the point that the game is not much fun for the players? They do it because it's MORE fun for them than just having their monsters fall for what the PCs can do.

Centauri must be blessed with players that just refuse to metagame even if they know he is leading them to certain death.

You misunderstand. I don't lead my players anywhere they didn't ask to go. If their characters are headed for death or danger, it's because the players want to experience that. There's no point in metagaming to keep it from happening, because they've already metagamed to ensure it happens.

Metagaming is not bad. It's inherent to the game. Every time you send your character someplace that every NPC says is certain doom you're metagaming, because you know that that's where the adventure is, and where the game is likely to be interesting. If someone avoids the adventure because they don't want to metagame, most people would say that person is causing problems with the game. Same goes for adding a new character to the group. It's metagaming to let the character in so that the new player can play. Those who claim to be trying to avoid metagaming tend to make it difficult for the character to join, possibly even attacking them outright, even if the table had agreed to admit the new player.

Metagaming has a bad reputation because failure in D&D is generally so boring and so disheartening that players don't see much of a downside to using what they know. Not using it might mean that the game grinds to a halt when no one can figure out the puzzle, or the group or a character is wiped out by a trap or an encounter. If they'd metagamed, they'd still be playing and the game would still be fun.

I see metagaming as a passive (and somewhat aggressive) way to set one's own level of fun in the game, but short-circuiting the boring parts. I allow it, because if someone metagames it's because they simply weren't interested in the challenge presented. If someone avoids every challenge, then it's time for a talk because maybe what they want is a completely different form of game. I've found that if I talk to them we can usually find challenges that provide the experiences the players crave, letting their characters shine, making the players feel smart, and providing just the right level of tension.

Some players metagame to make things harder on themselves. Haven't you ever seen someone who has the perfect counter for a monster, but invents reasons why their character wouldn't know about it? That can be troublesome, but it can also be a sign that the player doesn't want to win the easy way.

The one thing I would say to be mindful of is to aviod the mind set of DM vs Player(s). You as the DM are the all powerful controler of the entire universe while you are playing DnD. It is always within your power to send a meteor at the planet and destroy everything. Thats not much fun though and while the meteor is an extreme example always trying to compete with your players or make thier lives hell has the same effect in my experiance simply because you have insite into what they are thinking and what their plans and goals are as the player(s) so a DM can be just as guilty of meta gaming as the player(s).

Right but a DM who gives players challenges that they enjoy and that their characters stand a chance of succeeding at is also metagaming, but we tend not to think of that as a negative thing.

The moral of the story is that any form of meta gaming can ruin a game of DnD whether it is on part of the players or the DM. So just try to avoid it or control it as best you can. A DM vs Players mind set will lead to DM metagaming reguardless of whether it is intetional or not.

Trying to control and avoid metagaming never ends well, in my experience. The DM's has to say "No" to prevent it and preventing it doesn't address the root causes of it, which are probably something a simple conversation could resolve. A "Yes, and..." approach means doing a judo flip on metagaming and using its positives (player control, player creativity, player interests) against its negatives (wasted prep time, silly outcomes, overcautious and slow play).

I totally agree with you on that one if you have a sweet plot twist in mind that is going to catch him off gaurd and make the story more interesting you can't go and ask him how he feels about other wise what is the point in doing it at all. So I totally agree with you there.

The point in asking him how he feels about it is to get his help making a sweet plot twist even better, rather than risking it falling flat altogether.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Right but a DM who gives players challenges that they enjoy and that their characters stand a chance of succeeding at is also metagaming, but we tend not to think of that as a negative thing.




Not sure this falls into the catagory of metagaming, it is just plan ol' gaming.
"The great epochs of our life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us." - Friedrich Nietzsche
Right but a DM who gives players challenges that they enjoy and that their characters stand a chance of succeeding at is also metagaming, but we tend not to think of that as a negative thing.

Not sure this falls into the catagory of metagaming, it is just plan ol' gaming.

It's using outside knowledge in order to bring about a desired result in the game. Call that what you will, but it's not different from when a player uses outside knowledge to change the difficulty of an encounter for themselves. It's just that when a player uses out of game knowledge to short circuit an encounter, or a DM uses out of game knowledge to short circuit the characters, we tend to look askance at it. But players and DMs can use out of game knowledge strictly for making the game more fun for the whole table. Don't avoid players using out of game knowledge, embrace it and use that to enhance the game for everyone.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Right but a DM who gives players challenges that they enjoy and that their characters stand a chance of succeeding at is also metagaming, but we tend not to think of that as a negative thing.

Not sure this falls into the catagory of metagaming, it is just plan ol' gaming.

It's using outside knowledge in order to bring about a desired result in the game. Call that what you will, but it's not different from when a player uses outside knowledge to change the difficulty of an encounter for themselves. It's just that when a player uses out of game knowledge to short circuit an encounter, or a DM uses out of game knowledge to short circuit the characters, we tend to look askance at it. But players and DMs can use out of game knowledge strictly for making the game more fun for the whole table. Don't avoid players using out of game knowledge, embrace it and use that to enhance the game for everyone.



Not to derail the thread but you are still mistaken.  There is no outside knowledge for the DM, he/she knows all, except maybe the inner dealings of the PCs, but the DM may be privy to this information as well.  What is metagaming is when a monster/NPC or PC uses knowledge they don't have in deciding their actions.  Using your knowledge as DM to create the encounter you have described is by no means metagaming, other wise we wouldn't be called gamers but instead metagamers.

To get back on track.... I like the idea of the vampire PC being more of the planner and schemer, send his lackeys out to do most of the work while he stays in the lair.  I would try to pursue this idea.  It could be interesting because it gives the player the chance to play many different types of characters, and to control them working towards he same goals.  As ar as his goals you definately need to talk with the player and maybe between the two of you an interesting and worthwhile goal might emerge.  The vampire of course could see some action during times he deems the task to important or difficult to rely on the lesser followers.  Since he has the leadership feat I would go ahead and have his character gain the experience for what his lackies accomplish (as they will gain power as he does).
"The great epochs of our life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us." - Friedrich Nietzsche
Not to derail the thread but you are still mistaken.  There is no outside knowledge for the DM, he/she knows all, except maybe the inner dealings of the PCs, but the DM may be privy to this information as well.  What is metagaming is when a monster/NPC or PC uses knowledge they don't have in deciding their actions.

The character needn't actually use any information. The character might be utterly ignorant and foolish and still make the choice that the player knows is right. We praise people who make foolish decisions when they believe the character would be foolish (even though the amount of "required" foolishness tends to be overestimated), and deride anyone who makes a "smart" decision, even if it's for the wrong in-game reasons.

The point remains that a DM can use metagaming tendencies (which everyone has to a degree) to their advantage, particularly when the player is in on the surprise meant for the character. The player can help bring about the surprise, rather than inadvertantly avoiding it or purposefully mitigating it out of ignorance. And the player is never going to be disappointed by the surprise.

  Using your knowledge as DM to create the encounter you have described is by no means metagaming, other wise we wouldn't be called gamers but instead metagamers.

The terminology is not the point.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Centauri & TheKazz: It's not metagaming that I'm worried about. He's pretty good at keeping in character and avoiding using knowledge he wouldn't have (and when he doesn't, I just have to remind him, and he pulls it right back). The reason I want to keep him guessing is because that represents half the fun I bring to the campaign. I want this campaign to involve secrets, mysteries, puzzles, intrigue, and unforseen NPC interaction. He loves that sort of thing, and if he already knows the twists, yeah, his character can go through the process of figuring it out, but it won't be as fun for the player.

This would be so much easier if I had a group to work with rather than a single player. He agrees with me on that point. Because I only have him, the campaign tends to revolve around him, which can get tedious.



Your explanations will fall on deaf ears. Centauri doesn't believe in that.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
Centauri & TheKazz: It's not metagaming that I'm worried about. He's pretty good at keeping in character and avoiding using knowledge he wouldn't have (and when he doesn't, I just have to remind him, and he pulls it right back). The reason I want to keep him guessing is because that represents half the fun I bring to the campaign. I want this campaign to involve secrets, mysteries, puzzles, intrigue, and unforseen NPC interaction. He loves that sort of thing, and if he already knows the twists, yeah, his character can go through the process of figuring it out, but it won't be as fun for the player.

This would be so much easier if I had a group to work with rather than a single player. He agrees with me on that point. Because I only have him, the campaign tends to revolve around him, which can get tedious.

Your explanations will fall on deaf ears. Centauri doesn't believe in that.

Yes, he does, he just believes that X-1 (DM + all of the other players) people creating the intrigue for each person (who is then part of everybody else's sets of X-1) results in more intrigue than if only 1 person has a say (DM).

And, more importantly, that it should be the player's decision to opt out and just let the DM + other players surprise him, instead of the DM deciding not to let the player intrude on the DM's plot.

Founder - but not owner - of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

Woah, I'm gone for a day and a discussion erupts about the use, misuse, and definition of metagaming.

Okay guys, look. I'm not going to talk to the player about what I have planned for the campaign. It's just the way we play; we trust one another to come up with good stuff for each game we respectively run, and it usually comes out pretty fun. I'm just using this thread to try to collect some ideas for said "good stuff" from the gamers here online. Please save the metagaming debates for another thread?

That said, if anybody has further suggestions for things I can throw at a vampiric mage character, I'm all ears. One of the main things I have difficulty with is finding dangers that are both fun and capable of hurting him; undead are immune to a lot of the things that a DM might normally use against players (poison, level/ability drain, mental effects, etc.). I mean, I could put him in a room filled with toxic gas and inhabited by a group of dread wraiths and there's really not much it would do to him! Unless fire, silver, magic, or running water is involved, he can pretty much stand back and take his shots at his leisure, or even just turn gaseous and circumvent the whole thing!

Speaking of the Gaseous Form ability, I feel I should get it straight on what affects him and what he can do in that form. He conceived the idea of turning gaseous, inserting his vaporous self into an opaque bottle, and allowing his cohort to transport him like that through the daylight... Is that possible?

Oh, and as a fun little note to build on: His character presently lives in a building that was previously owned by a mysterious cabal that managed to trap a beholder in their basement (don't ask how, it's purely unique sealing magic). It's still down there, and he may go to talk to it from time to time for information he thinks the old eye tyrant may be privy to...
"Oh, I don't get upset. I have people to do that for me." ~DBZ Abridged-Frieza
I like the idea of the vampire PC being more of the planner and schemer, send his lackeys out to do most of the work while he stays in the lair.  I would try to pursue this idea.  It could be interesting because it gives the player the chance to play many different types of characters, and to control them working towards he same goals.  As ar as his goals you definately need to talk with the player and maybe between the two of you an interesting and worthwhile goal might emerge.  The vampire of course could see some action during times he deems the task to important or difficult to rely on the lesser followers.  Since he has the leadership feat I would go ahead and have his character gain the experience for what his lackies accomplish (as they will gain power as he does).



 I am actually using a setup like this with my campaign right now where the players help manage a guild of heroes. How it works is the guild master presents them with a variety of missions 3-5 at a time. It is then up to the player's to decide which missions that not only they go on but what missions all the other NPC heroes in the guild go on. Because each member of the guild have differant strengths and weaknesses it is kind of a tactical choice for the characters as a certain minotaur NPC may be great in a fight but he is going to be hard pressed to come up with compelling reasons why a clan of wood elves should start a war with fire breathing dragons. You could do something simalar with his servants if he has servants that contrast and compelment eachother and not just 20 of the same.

combining that with his freindly neighborhood beholder and the ideas of unique blood types could be interesting. Perhaps to get the blood types he goes down to chat with Ol' Tim the Tyrant who tells him the all the ingredients needed for the ritual to accuire the blood and then he sends each one of his lackeys out to collect the needed supplies by trading with merchants, stealing from the kingdom's treasure vault, or tracking down and slaying that dragon and cutting out his liver. If he sends the wrong servants for each mission the mission is likely to fail. I like to do this by giving each of the NPCs a number value for each mission that is added to a "skill challange" for the mission where they need X number of successes before 3 failers at a DC of your choice. Any of the failed missions must then be fallowed up on by either him or some more of his lackeys. Once he has everything he needs for the ritual he must go out to complete the ritual personally. 

PS. Centauri: This is really not the place to argue the pros and cons of metagaming if you would like to start a new topic I would be happy to reply to it decussing all the flaws I see with what you just said on it. I will not post them here in respect to the OP and his questions which should not be lost in an unrelated debate on DM philosophy. I would appreciate it if you restrained your self from posting such out bursts of off topic rants in the future as it makes topics quite hard to fallow. Please note I am not trying to be condicending or rude and respect the fact that you aproach DMing in a way that differs from me in some regaurds but as they say different strokes for different folks. Thanks for reading and have a pleasant day. ^_^
Speaking of the Gaseous Form ability, I feel I should get it straight on what affects him and what he can do in that form. He conceived the idea of turning gaseous, inserting his vaporous self into an opaque bottle, and allowing his cohort to transport him like that through the daylight... Is that possible?

That sounds absolutely amazing, fantastic, bloody brilliant! Can I steal that idea?

Rule 0: The rulebooks are just highly tentative suggestions, the DM and player(s) are ultimately in control, and spending time/effort to show why something wouldn't work is a lot more boring than spending time/effort to make it work. You guys want to do that, go for it! I know I will!

Founder - but not owner - of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

Speaking of the Gaseous Form ability, I feel I should get it straight on what affects him and what he can do in that form. He conceived the idea of turning gaseous, inserting his vaporous self into an opaque bottle, and allowing his cohort to transport him like that through the daylight... Is that possible?

That sounds absolutely amazing, fantastic, bloody brilliant! Can I steal that idea?

Rule 0: The rulebooks are just highly tentative suggestions, the DM and player(s) are ultimately in control, and spending time/effort to show why something wouldn't work is a lot more boring than spending time/effort to make it work. You guys want to do that, go for it! I know I will!



I say go for it, sounds like a great idea.  Though there is obviously a danger to it...what if one of his enemies gets wind of him traveling this way, ambushes the lackey and smashes the bottle in the sun light, or does something more diabolical to try and control the vampire?  There might be some good ideas here.
"The great epochs of our life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us." - Friedrich Nietzsche
PS. Centauri: This is really not the place to argue the pros and cons of metagaming if you would like to start a new topic I would be happy to reply to it decussing all the flaws I see with what you just said on it.

I try to post only in response to people who are having issues. This DM seemed to have an issue, which my suggestion could have helped with. He says he doesn't want to play that way, so I won't suggest it to him further in this thread. But I will make an effort to respond to incorrect assumptions about what it means to play that way.

I will not post them here in respect to the OP and his questions which should not be lost in an unrelated debate on DM philosophy. I would appreciate it if you restrained your self from posting such out bursts of off topic rants in the future as it makes topics quite hard to fallow. Please note I am not trying to be condicending or rude and respect the fact that you aproach DMing in a way that differs from me in some regaurds but as they say different strokes for different folks. Thanks for reading and have a pleasant day. ^_^

"Outbursts" and "rants" are pretty loaded words, but I'll take it at face value that you don't mean them that way.

As far as the original topic, vampires weren't designed mechanically, and the game world wasn't designed logically around the idea of player character vampires. In 3.5, vampires are designed primarily as a challenge for players, and as simulations of the idea of "vampire," and this doesn't make for something that ports easily into a player character.  In most game worlds, the world is designed to be a challenge to the characters, not the monsters living in it. Therefore, the rules only outline challenges for standard characters, and methods for them to use against those challenges. If vampires were standard characters in 3.5, either they wouldn't have had all of the advantages they had, or the game world would have accounted for those advantages and the rules would have made challenges to those advantages, and exploitations of their weaknesses a core part of the rules.

In short, a vampire character breaks some of the key assumptions of 3.5 such as the assumption that challenges against vampires are not common. Weapons normally aren't silvered, not all enemies have access to fire or magic, and running water is incidental rather than defensive. So, subvert those assumptions. Once word gets out about a vampire adventurer, the price of silver shoots up as everyone coats their weapons. No one goes around without a holy symbol and some magic. All fortifications make use of consecrated ground and running water. Everyone eats garlic.

That might seem like it's not very fair to the player who wants to be a vampire. Maybe it's not. I could see finding that situation to be an interesting challenge. I would want to run it by the player.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Speaking of the Gaseous Form ability, I feel I should get it straight on what affects him and what he can do in that form. He conceived the idea of turning gaseous, inserting his vaporous self into an opaque bottle, and allowing his cohort to transport him like that through the daylight... Is that possible?

That sounds absolutely amazing, fantastic, bloody brilliant! Can I steal that idea?

Rule 0: The rulebooks are just highly tentative suggestions, the DM and player(s) are ultimately in control, and spending time/effort to show why something wouldn't work is a lot more boring than spending time/effort to make it work. You guys want to do that, go for it! I know I will!

I say go for it, sounds like a great idea.  Though there is obviously a danger to it...what if one of his enemies gets wind of him traveling this way, ambushes the lackey and smashes the bottle in the sun light, or does something more diabolical to try and control the vampire?  There might be some good ideas here.

How much would a normal sized treasure chest and locks weigh/cost if made from adamantine?

Founder - but not owner - of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

How much would a normal sized treasure chest and locks weigh/cost if made from adamantine?



A buttload.  An Adamantine weapon has 3000gp added to its cost just for being made of Adamantine.  An adamantine chest would cost considerably more, because of the amount of metal used, and would have to be masterwork to boot. 

Final cost is going to vary considerably depending on the size, dimensions, lock types, and weight and elaboration of the chest.  You could be talking anywere from 6000gp for an embellished adamantine jewelry box to upwards of 100,000gp for a large adamantine with a built in superior arcane lock (DC 50 to open). 
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
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