Lair Assault- Spiderkiller Optimization

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Guys, I need some help optimizing a vampire for Lair Assault Spiderkiller. I know vampire is not an OP class and that I won't have too much of a choice in powers but I'm going with that one for story and flavor reasons. What race should I be? The only other party member that I know for sure is a Warforged Assault Swordmage. I know that encounter long powers and items are important and that poison resistance will be helpfull.  Can you guys please point me in the right direction? What encounter-long items should I buy? What should my 2 Consumables be? Thanks in advance. 
dwarf (poison resist)

And do not like a class for flavor reasons. Thats a lazy mans answer to a game about creativity.

Any class can work as a vampire, though I suspect you prefer mobile strikers.

For example Deft Striker, Rogue at-will power:
In the blink of an eye, you close the 10 feet gap between yourself and your next victim. Canines out, you're going for blood !
D20+ whatever, 1d4+stat damage 
Baldhermit's suggestion is probably the better one, but you could also consider Drow for the feat Drow Heretic (+2 dam vs spiders).
I don't know your starting level (or anything about Lair Assaults for that matter), but there is also the Spider Charmer Channel divinity-feat at paragon, for 1 turn dominate on a spider.

The Corellon's Wrath Style feat is also a possibility (and not limited to Drow only). It allows Int modifier to be added to some at-will attacks (most notably Twin Strike for rangers (but what ranger has a decent Int to speak of?)).

For Themes you could consider Widow of Arach-Tinilith (Drow only, for solid poison resistance at level 5) or Elderboy (Drow only, for equally solid poison resistance at level 5 AND +2 to save vs poison)

EDIT: Your armor should probably be of poison resistance (5 in heroic) - or if you are a psi an Armor of Adaptable Resistance. If not Potion of Poison Resistance would be an obvious choice for consumable. Anyway, you are asking in general and it is hard to pinpoint anything specific, so I may be stating the obvious.
Guys, I need some help optimizing a vampire for Lair Assault Spiderkiller. I know vampire is not an OP class and that I won't have too much of a choice in powers but I'm going with that one for story and flavor reasons. What race should I be?



Lair Assault isn't exactly the place for flavor and story--it's designed as a test for optimizers.  But if you really do want to be some kind of vampire, and you want that flavor choice to be labeled as such in some mechanical choice, then there are a few options, of which the vampire class is probably the worst, from the point of view of optimization.  Better options would be taking the Vampiric Heritage feat or even being a Vryloka (race).  Even the Vampirism feat would be better than choosing the pure Vampire class.

If you already know the DM, you might consider requesting getting one of the vampire feats for free, so that you're not crippled by having to burn a feat to be a vampire.
Thanks for the reply, guys. I am going with a Vryloka Vampire. I know that LA is supposed to be OP heavy (I have ran and played in a few). My choice is due to the fact that I've been playing this vampire for a few sessions with this group now and this will likely be the finale, so that decision has been made. I am looking for advice on making the vampire work in this particular LA scenario. I would like some suggestions for encounter-long items that would work with the concept (since there will be no short rest between encounters), or other ways to OP against Drow in an Underdark setting. And you guys have given me a few ideas.

I understand that many consider vampire to be a weak class...but I disagree. At 9th level, I do 1d10+20 damage vs Reflex as a melee basic attack (when adjacent to my Fey Beast Companion who I have reflavored to be my manservant, Igor), I have great acrobatics and stealth, I regenerate 4 when bloodied, I can gain temp hp at-will, I can target all defenses with my at-wills, I resist 9 necrotic, I have spider climb, I have a base speed of 7, I can turn into a bat and fly, I can teleport and become invisible, I can dominate...the list goes on. Bottom line...it works fine.

I need advice to help a vampire survive this particular LA scenario which has no short rest.  
The Vampire is a weak class, by any metric, barring low Heroic. It isn't an opinion, it is just math. Even your claimed at-will DPR is very nearly below the absolute minimum a striker is supposed to have by system math and I am not sure I'd believe your numbers without seeing a break down.

Also you should probably post your current build since you already have one.
I understand that many consider vampire to be a weak class...but I disagree.



Then you're wrong. And indeed, wronger in Lair Assault than any other setting, since Lair Assault is practically custom-built to make the Vampire's fragility in long battles show up.
I've played a vampire 1st-3rd levels and he was just fine. Now I'm bumping him up to 9th. I'm still looking for suggestions as to how to make a vampire work best in this particular LA, and not really interested in posts about how a different striker would be better. I understand that there are more OP melee strikers out there, trust me, I've played most of them before. 

Math for Vampire Slam (melee basic attack) damage: +6 Dex, +6 Hidden Might, +2 Enhancement, +2 Item  (Bracers of Mighty Striking), +2 Feat (Shadow Resevoir), +2 Fey Beast Companion Aura = +20

+3 vs bloodied creatures (Ki Focus Expertise and Guantlets of Blood)      

Plus I can add 1d10 (Blood Drinker) and 1d6 (Assassin's Shroud) twice per encounter.  And I don't even have Weapon Focus or a Superior Mountain Ki Focus for 2 more damage.

Seems pretty good to me. What would be the minimum damage a striker should be doing at this level?


Here's the build I have so far:


====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Dominik von Dusq, level 9
Vryloka, Vampire
Associate: Trained Young Owlbear
Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)
Theme: Fey Beast Tamer

FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 9, DEX 22, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 18

STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 9, DEX 18, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 14


AC: 26 Fort: 17 Ref: 22 Will: 21
HP: 74 Surges: 4 Surge Value: 18

TRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +15, Arcana +9, Bluff +13, Perception +11, Stealth +19

UNTRAINED SKILLS
Athletics +4, Diplomacy +8, Dungeoneering +4, Endurance +3, Heal +4, History +4, Insight +4, Intimidate +8, Nature +4, Religion +4, Streetwise +8, Thievery +10

POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Vryloka Utility: Lifeblood
Vampire Attack: Blood Drinker
Assassin Feature: Assassin's Shroud
Vampire Attack 1: Swarm of Shadows
Vampire Attack 1: Dark Beckoning
Vampire Attack 1: Taste of Life
Vampire Attack 1: Vampire Slam
Fey Beast Tamer Utility 2: Heal Fey Beast Companion
Vampire Attack 3: Feral Assault
Vampire Utility 4: Strength of Blood
Vampire Attack 5: Unfettered Hunger
Vampire Utility 6: Form of the Bat
Vampire Attack 9: Domineering Gaze

FEATS
Level 1: Ki Focus Expertise
Level 2: Shadow Initiate
Level 4: Durable
Level 6: Unarmored Agility
Level 8: Shadow Reservoir

ITEMS
Hand crossbow
Adventurer's Kit
Crossbow Bolts
Thieves' Tools
Footpads
Ghoul Candle
Blessed Soil
Spiderweb Dream Net
Wolfsbane
Bracers of Mighty Striking (heroic tier) x1
Gloaming Cloth Armor (Basic Clothing) +2 x1
Gauntlets of Blood (heroic tier) x1
Boots of Adept Charging x1
Viper Belt x1
Elixir of Levitation
Soul Siphon Mountain ki focus +2 x1
Amulet of False Life +2 x1
====== End ======




I've played a vampire 1st-3rd levels and he was just fine.



Yeah, this is your problem: how things work at levels 1-3 is absolutely non-indicative of how they play 5 levels later, because levels 1-3 have completely atypical HP ratios and only a couple feats available per character.
Well, that doesn't really help me much. My point with that I've actually played a vampire so I'm familiar with the class. Have you ever played one, or been in a group with a player that has? Have you played Spiderkiller? That info might be a bit more helpful and is sort of what I'm looking for.
I created a a northern california rogues gallery of 7? vampire clans for a game that exploded due to relationships
The insane Marcadian? ones lived in sacromento

still have the binder

president obombya speaks anger prejudice and a time for US foreign air strike while the US worries about its rights

Let 'em burn [Frozen Parody]
Math for Vampire Slam (melee basic attack) damage: +6 Dex, +6 Hidden Might, +2 Enhancement, +2 Item  (Bracers of Mighty Striking), +2 Feat (Shadow Resevoir), +2 Fey Beast Companion Aura = +20

+3 vs bloodied creatures (Ki Focus Expertise and Guantlets of Blood)      

Plus I can add 1d10 (Blood Drinker) and 1d6 (Assassin's Shroud) twice per encounter.  And I don't even have Weapon Focus or a Superior Mountain Ki Focus for 2 more damage.

Hidden Might adds Cha mod. If you're Dex mod is 6, your Cha mod is 4. So 1d10+18. At-will DPR of 18.2. As a striker you need to do reliable damage and have a nova. So ask yourself: Can you do 96 damage in a nova round? Answer: No. Second question: do you have 24 at-will DPR (making you a four-round striker, i.e., justifying your spot in the party)? Answer: no.

The problem with the Vampire is outside of 1-3 it is not a striker. It does not meet the minimum benchmarks for the role. Now it can, in fact, be made to work through a fair number of shenanigans... but all of them involve no class at all. You could literally be classless and have them work and in fact you'll be ignoring nearly every "feature" of the Vampire to do it.

Weapon Focus wouldn't stack with Shadow Reservoir either, so not sure why you brought it up.
Hidden Might is Cha mod +2 at this level, so my math is correct. At-will DPR of 1d10+20 is more than the 24 you mention as a benchmark. And I add Blood Drinker (1d10) and Assassin's Shroud (2d6), then Action Point Feral Assault (2d12+2d8+18) to my nova damage. It's not 96 but it's close enough. 

Anyway, I agree it is not a waraxe wileding, twin-striking, hunter's quarrying, sohei flurrying, Rain of Blows swapping, whatever extra cheese damaging bugbear ranger. I get that. But it can work, cuz I've seen it. 

My question: What else can I do, specifically for this Lair Assault scenario?
It doesn't look like you're factoring in your miss chance when you calculate your dpr.  That would be a serious oversight.

Close enough in Lair Assault leads to tpk pretty quickly.

Just about any class works okay at level 2.  That's not the case later on--trust the people in this thread when they tell you this.

My question: What else can I do, specifically for this Lair Assault scenario? 


Keep in mind that Lair Assault is intended to be incredibly challenging, the sort of thing they expect you to fail the first (few) time(s) around.  If this was any other sort of game, for example a home game, it wouldn't matter nearly so much.

But because it's Lair Assault, and because Lair Assault encounters are scaled to party size, your vampire will likely be a liability rather than an asset.   In other words, the degree that the module's difficulty is increased in order to account for your additional presence will likely outstrip the things you'll be able to do to help accomplish its mission.  Thus, ironically, maybe the best thing you can do specifically to help your party for this Lair Assault, if you play as a vampire, is to sit out.

I don't intend what I just said to be nasty, but it should communicate the severity of what everyone here is trying to tell you: a Lair Assault party of size n is better off shrinking to size n-1 than including a vampire.
My at-will targets Reflex so the miss chance is not going to be as much as an AC attacker. C'mon guys, I'm not interested in a math lesson, I've played the DPR Kings, I get it. A few of points of damage here or there is not going to cause a TPK. If we took this advice then every Lair Assault would have only the highest DPR strikers, the "tanks" with the highest AC and all the other "Most OP Builds" and I know for a fact that isn't the case. LA can be played with a less OP build as long as you have good party synergy and the dice go your way. But that's really not what I'm interested in. 

How do we make the vampire work best in this particular LA scenario? 
Sorry, but I have to disagree. The vampire may not be the DPR King but he will be an asset with his mobility, stealth, and other powers. I've played several LA's and run a few others. I know what to do if I want to just blow through them and outright win. But, again, that is not my desire.

I'll post my experience with this one on Friday after I play. Thanks for all the replies.
Hidden Might is Cha mod +2 at this level, so my math is correct. At-will DPR of 1d10+20 is more than the 24 you mention as a benchmark. And I add Blood Drinker (1d10) and Assassin's Shroud (2d6), then Action Point Feral Assault (2d12+2d8+18) to my nova damage. It's not 96 but it's close enough. 

Anyway, I agree it is not a waraxe wileding, twin-striking, hunter's quarrying, sohei flurrying, Rain of Blows swapping, whatever extra cheese damaging bugbear ranger. I get that. But it can work, cuz I've seen it. 

My question: What else can I do, specifically for this Lair Assault scenario?

Ah right, forgot. So still 19.76. a ways to go. I'm including your miss change btw, yes, targeting Ref. Something you'd know to do if you had ever reall done DPR math. Fun fact: Classes that target AC with weapons have better accuracy. Because despite the fact that AC averages 2 higher then Ref, the bonuses you can get to weapon attacks are higher. So targeting Ref with an Implement attack is not a bonus, it is a drawback compared to Weapon attack vs AC.

So you agree you're not a striker. Excellent. So now we come to the question: What do you think you're going to contribute to the Lair Assault as a Vampire, since you're not a striker?
Let's try this:

Let's assume a player already knows that the vampire class is weak and should be burnt at the stake. What advice (other than don't play a vampire) would you give to a player in a low OP group that decided to play Spiderkiller cuz it fits with the story arc their campaign is currently on? He will be the 5th man and there is already a DPR strong striker. He has already decided to play a vampire but wants to know if there are interesting feats, items, combos, synergy, tips, tricks etc. that he might look at in regards to this particular LA scenario.  


I'd review what Era said. Lair Assault is essentially a team game. You're making it harder on your team for no real reason. They would literally be better off without you there. So

Step 1: Ask your group if they are OK with it.

If the answer to Step 1 is no, stop. If the answer to step 2 is yes...

Step 2: Vampires have no real choices. Most Lair Assaults use the same basic shticks, this one is nothing new, same items that are basically good for everyone are still good for everyone. Feats in Heroic are basically fixed as taxes for nearly everyone. Only real choice you have is what your theme is going to be. Which is not terribly difficult to pick, as there aren't that many good themes.

This is the other reason CharOp doesn't like Vampires. In addition to being bad, there really is essentially nothing to optimize. The class is on rails.
Spiderkiller allows you to bypass the bulk of the enemies if you can remain hidden for the first two rounds and phase five squares in the third.  Every Lair Assault breaks if you know how to exploit the trick of it -- Spiderkiller's trick is that you don't have to fight 80% of the enemies there, and can basically fast-forward to the boss without spending many resources at all.  The caveat is that you need your whole party to do it, or you end up there alone.

You should keep in mind that Lair Assaults are often written so as to reduce the effectiveness of standard CharOp notions of what is "good", because there are often very specific solutions to LAs that are terrible for general use, but backbreaking in the proper context.

So have fun with your Vampire -- one of the times I ran Spiderkiller, a Hengeyokai Assassin was one of the few PCs left standing at the end...not because the character is "good" by objective CharOp standards (it isn't), but because he was prepared for this mod in particular.
Pretty much.

Dear God people; the original poster asked you a question, admitting he already knows that Vampires are not super-duper.


Why not try and answer his question, which is how to play the best vampire you can in this particular lair assault.  And STOP trying to rip his decision to threads.


This is the Optimization thread; meaning people post an idea with intent that people will help them make that idea work.  If they just wanted the BEST build they can do, they don’t need you; they need the DPR King or other Build collection thread and a copy/paste button.  Seeing as they didn’t that means they want to try something different *gasp*. So instead of throwing sh!t at their idea, why not give some actual advice (I’m assuming most don’t because they don’t have advice to give and it’s easier to just bash a class/idea(probably makes them feel good too)).


Sorry for mini-rant but I see this all the time on this forum; it’s just annoying to see people just bash ideas instead of give constructive criticism.  

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/1.jpg)

hey eveyone, I want to enter my bicycle into the next nascar tournament race. I realise this is not an ideal choice for a vehicle, but ive used it in races before and had fun with it. Winning isnt really important to me. Looking for advice for adjustments to make for this particular race........


Edit: Really mean sounding satire i suppose, but lair assult is intended for ruthless high difficulty fighting. A character that is built solely around RP concepts (requiring poor mechnaical choices) harms the effectiveness o the group by reducing their survivial chances.   


Sorry for mini-rant but I see this all the time on this forum; it’s just annoying to see people just bash ideas instead of give constructive criticism.  

"Don't play a Vampire" is constructive criticism. It really is that bad. And Lair Assault is hard mode, even if in some hypothetical pansy home game a Vampire wouldn't be a detriment to the party, this is not that game.
"Don't play a vampire" is NOT constructive, niether is the silly Nascar analogy. The class works fine as long as you are not playing in Heroic and not in a high OP game.

I played one in the Lair Assault  Spiderkiller last night and had a great time. I did what I was supposed to do. Did I do 20/60/90 damage? No...but I didn't need to as the party is not expected to fight and kill every monster. Stealth and mobility were the key. I was able to gain a +10 to athletics to beach the rowboat after a couple of party members failed the check, I turned into a bat and flew past the enemies while my party struggled with the webs. I used stealth to stalk a few drow and killed them with some decent damage, especially thanks to blood-cheese (again, I wasn't doing OP stiker damage, but it was enough). My defenses were high enough that I was missed quite alot. I never needed to be healed by the cleric. I was able to pull a spider off the waterfall to its death. I resisted lots of necrotic damage. My nova killed the drider when it got bloodied. I had a cool rp scene with the vampire mist (who we decided was my long lost love), I had no problem with darkness due to darkvision, I was able to spider crawl when my companions had trouble maneuvering, I even dominated the BBEG for a while.

Or I could have played the OP ranger (like one of the players) and spammed Twin Strike all night (fun...NOT!). Yeah he did lots of damage (you guys would have loved him) but he failed at everything else. If your only definition of an effective striker is "Can he do 20/60/90?" then I guess we have different views as to what is meant by effective.

Having said that, we spent too much time in the second cavern while the rest of the party (not me) was immobilized or restrained and so we ran out of time on the last encounter (20 rounds). We needed just 1 or 2 rounds more and we would have won.

Thanks for all the advice (some of it was good...some, not so much).  I'll be playing this vampire for another 2 levels untill Paragon and then I think I will try a Binder...just kidding!
Nearly all of that is possible with a better class.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
So why don't we just figure out what is the best, most OP class...and we all play that from now on? 
It sounds like you had fun, and I hope the rest of your group did too.  Honestly I've shied away from Lair Assault with strangers, just because it requires so much optimization, both for each individual player and also as a group, that the experience can be frustrating rather than rewarding.  If I had the right group of fellow players, I expect it'd be a lot of fun.
You're the only one that's arguing. You're not going to convince me to stop playing a vampire cuz I think the class works fine, is flavorfull and fun, and mechanically gets the job done well enough. I was just looking to see if anyone had any cool ideas for items, feats or combos. 

We lost because we ran out of time, not because of the failings of the class.  And because the players that did OP thier characters failed in other aspects, proof that doing 20/60/90 is not the only measure of success for a striker... in this LA, at least. 

Many groups, even high OP, have lost in some of the Lair Assaults. Because the typical OP philosophy in not enough when you have alternate goals, a time limit, or other gimmicks that LA uses. The teleporting swordmage was almost useless because of the random teleportation trait. I'm sure he spent hours on this forum and had all the items, feats and powers you need to "OP teleprtation"...and it just didn't work. Imagine that.

Every time I've played the vampire I've had at least one other player say "Wow, I though the vampire was gonna be terrible, but now...I really want to play one!" And I encourage new players to try it out if you are curious. Or you can go and OP a Twin Striking ranger...cuz we've never seen one of those before.


You're the only one that's arguing. You're not going to convince me to stop playing a vampire cuz I think the class works fine, is flavorfull and fun, and mechanically gets the job done well enough. I was just looking to see if anyone had any cool ideas for items, feats or combos. 

We lost because we ran out of time, not because of the failings of the class.  And because the players that did OP thier characters failed in other aspects, proof that doing 20/60/90 is not the only measure of success for a striker... in this LA, at least. 

Many groups, even high OP, have lost in some of the Lair Assaults. Because the typical OP philosophy in not enough when you have alternate goals, a time limit, or other gimmicks that LA uses. The teleporting swordmage was almost useless because of the random teleportation trait. I'm sure he spent hours on this forum and had all the items, feats and powers you need to "OP teleprtation"...and it just didn't work. Imagine that.

Every time I've played the vampire I've had at least one other player say "Wow, I though the vampire was gonna be terrible, but now...I really want to play one!" And I encourage new players to try it out if you are curious. Or you can go and OP a Twin Striking ranger...cuz we've never seen one of those before.




I think their point is that an effective Striker or other member of the party would have finished the job, rather than your ability to, despite -not- being locked down, fail to finish the job.

I like Vampires, but I have to agree that it's silly to play a low optimization character in a challenge -designed- for optimized characters. 
The typical OP philisophy is to design PCs to succeed in the best way possible. We can totally optimize for alternative goals, you simply came in here looking for help, didn't like what we gave, and then started whining. Sorry bud.
10/10 Would Flame Again: An Elite Paladin|Warlock The Elemental Man (or Woman): A Genasi Handbook The Warlord, Or How to Wield a Barbarian One-Handed The Bookish Barbarian Fardiz: RAI is fairly clear, but RAZ is different That's right. Rules According to Zelink!
Everyone tells you you'll lose at Lair Assault if you play a Vampire.

You lose at Lair Assault playing a Vampire.

Mmmm, tough call who was right here....

There is a major difference between having an optimized character and playing said character correctly btw. Many people take builds off of CharOp without understanding them and fail to do anything useful with them. That isn't a problem with the build, it is a problem with the tactical choices of the player. Imagine that, poor decisions factor into the results of those decisions. Like playing a Vampire for Lair Assault, for instance.
A vampire was the key to one of the lowest opportunity cost party makeup budgets for a very successful, very specific strategy for at least one LA, once word got out how it worked.  Nigh irreplaceable, really.  

Not so much Spider Killer, although from the scant details it sounds like the group as a whole was caught off guard by the challenges the theme implied rather than that the build of one PC was doing 7% less damage than some optimized hypothetical alternate.  
 
That all said, there's nothing wrong with playing a game on Hard Mode - and if the group has set their goal as achieving some of the more specific Glory Awards, like everyone play as the same race/class/power source or dying in an interesting way, it's sometimes even required.

INSIDE SCOOP, GAMERS: In the new version of D&D, it will no longer be "Edition Wars." It will be "Edition Lair Assault." - dungeonbastard

Finished up a spider killer lair assault using a vampire last night.
Never seen the character sheet before. My characters would not print, so I had to run with a backup from another player.
We beat it with rounds to spare, although we took hours longer than anticipated.
It CAN be done and I'm thinking about rocking another vampire soon. 
p.s. I'm far from a tactician. 4th game back in the saddle after a 20 year hiatus. Call it luck, or what you want, but the vampire made it happen.
Finished up a spider killer lair assault using a vampire last night.
Never seen the character sheet before. My characters would not print, so I had to run with a backup from another player.
We beat it with rounds to spare, although we took hours longer than anticipated.
It CAN be done and I'm thinking about rocking another vampire soon. 
p.s. I'm far from a tactician. 4th game back in the saddle after a 20 year hiatus. Call it luck, or what you want, but the vampire made it happen.


You mean, the party made it happen. Unless you're saying your vampire played a pivotal, irreplacable role in the success? 

And while I'm sure you guys had fun, your post adds basically nothing to the discussion aside from one anecdotal success. Did your character do things no other character could have done? Did the Lair Assault really highlight the unique characteristics (such as they are) of the vampire? If you want to give a meaningful contribution to the discussion, by all means tell us how it was done. That's the only way people might change their minds.
Adding self-serving bias to the growing list of cognitive biases I've come to associate with RPG forums.
Rrastro...I know what you mean, the vampire works great...good to hear you guys won the LA. And I think your post adds more to the discussion than a few of the others in this thread.

I played a vamp up until 13th level (jumped up levels a few times) and it was lots of fun and very effective. 

Reminds me of when the Berserker came out (and the Bladesinger, the Seeker). I was told that they were not OP (and maybe they're not) but I've been able to make them work and those classes are among my favorites...along with the vampire.
Slightly off the original topic of this thread, but I see this idea often enough that it bears mentioning.

D&D is a probabilistic game.  This is pretty obvious, given that we all roll dice to play it.  A few things of note:

1) Fun is not probabilistic.  You can have fun playing any terrible system out there or playing a mechanically horrific character.

2) Non-optimized characters can still succeed.  A number of variables outside the player's control contribute to success (or failure).  Dice rolls are the ones we all remember, but the play of other people at the table, the DM, and the competency of the module's writers, if applicable, all apply.

3) CharOp is, essentially, a Bayesian exercise.  The underlining question isn't "can this Vampire succeed?" but rather, "if this Vampire ran the same LA 1000 times, would it succeed as often as Option B?"  If the answer is "yes," then a good Bayesian will wager on the outcome.  If the answer is "no," then a good Bayesian will redesign the character until the answer is "yes."

4) For all intents and purposes, 4E is a closed system.  They aren't adding new content and the content that's out there has been out there long enough for people to assess it thoroughly.  The player-controlled variables, which are essentially character design-related, are documented.

5) Given this documentation, we know that Vampires (and some other classes) make success less probable.  They don't make success impossible, so a single example of success shouldn't surprise anyone, but it also shouldn't be taken as evidence as making that choice equally viable.

6) CharOp is about maximizing the probability of success.  For the majority of levels, this disqualifies Vampires.