Hey, you know what I still like? Vampires. You know what you’re going to get? Free vampire content.
Hello and welcome to Eldritch Excursion, the blog that is written in the wee hours of the AM for that Authentic Vampire Flavor ™ and not at all because my bad habits have merged into a self-sustaining ecosystem. In this exploration of flavor and mechanics, we’re going to be getting more of the later to help you get a feel for the former. You can consider this a continuation of the work I’ve provided in the past with PC-focused vampire content. I’d even all this series a Chronicle if I wasn’t worried about getting sued.
Degrees of Sunlight
The cleansing rays of daylight are the most well known and effective weapon against the blood-hungry undead. However, the rules for their demise are simplified to the point of adding additional complexity to the table. After all, should a vampire stripped bare on a field at high noon suffer the same exact effects as a careless spawn who caught a finger-thick sunbeam from a hole in the wall? Using the Levels of Sunlight below will allow PC vampires a little more freedom in daylight operations while adding an element of unpredictability to scheming vampiric antagonists.
Full Exposure is exactly what it sounds like. A vampire is fully bathed in sunlight, or a large portion of their body is exposed with no clothing whatsoever to protect them from the harmful rays. Vampires enduring full exposure are slowed and eventually destroyed as normal.
Partial Exposure comes from a small portion of a vampire’s body being illuminated by direct sunlight or while suffering outside during heavy overcast. The vampire is immediately slowed 1 as per normal, but continual rounds of partial exposure only increase their slowed value by 1 every 3 rounds. They are still destroyed when they lose all of their actions this way.
Minor Exposure comes from suffering secondary exposure to sunlight. Having protection from direct sunlight while still suffering reflections off various surfaces, such as being outside on a sunny day under a parasol, for example. It can also include feeling the rays of sunlight through a thick window or filter. While still physically painful, the vampire does not become slowed 1 until one full minute of exposure. The slowed value increases by 1 after another minute of exposure, but does not increase further.
No Exposure means the vampire is completely safe. This means they are completely hidden from the rays of the sun, active during a time when the sun is down, or protected by magical means such as being fully engulfed in the darkness spell.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have options for low level bloodsuckers to handle daytime affairs. The following is a collection of items that are meant to help sunlight sensitive PCs survive on those hot summer days.
Price 5 sp
This hand-held source of portable shade allows you to mitigate the effects of the sun. While holding this parasol, you can treat environmental heat effects as if they were one step less severe (incredible heat becomes extreme, extreme heat becomes severe, and so on). This does not apply if direct sunlight is not a factor in the heat effect. Creatures that are especially vulnerable to sunlight also benefit, treating their sunlight exposure as one step less severe. You may also use the Raise a Shield action with the parasol, gaining no benefit to AC but treating your sunlight exposure as an additional degree less severe (treating full exposure as minor exposure, and so on). You may also use the Defend exploration activity to keep this benefit during exploration.
It has hardness 1 and 4 HP.
Price 30 g
This layered clothing is made to protect the wearer from the harmful rays of the sun. Designs vary by region and maker, but it usually includes a mask, goggles with alchemically treated glass, and a wide-brimmed hat. It reduces the effect of sunlight exposure by two degrees. This effect stacks with the shading parasol.
Usage Etched onto medium or heavy armor; Bulk –
An Eclipsing rune can be activated to deflect light from the wearer, making them appear to be a shadowy black figure underneath. This effect is identical do the darkness spell except the area only covers the wearer’s body.
Eclipsing Item 6
This rune can be activated one per day and lasts for one minute.
Eclipsing (Moderate) Item 11
This rune can be activated one per day and lasts for one hour.
Eclipsing (Greater) Item 18
This rune can be activated at will and lasts until deactivated.
With the extra gear and the extra rules, you may have a newfound desire to play a vampire character. This is well and good, but you still have some questions to ask. Questions like “What would my character do while adventuring?”
* Seek to “adopt” a group of mortals, offering protection while using them as a food source.
* Combat other monsters to eliminate potential rivals while gathering riches and power.
* Use your conditional immortality to pursue and preserve knowledge thought to be lost to time.
And you might also ask yourself questions like “What would others think of me?”
* Worry that you might hunt them as your next meal.
* Seek to involve you in the sorts of long-term plans enjoyed by undying schemers.
* Keep protective charms and esoteric items on them from old wives’ tales, regardless of their actual effectiveness against you.
And those of you familiar with the format of these answers might see where I’m going with this. After all, the vampire archetype is all fine and dandy, but it leaves a lot to explore with more dedicated class mechanics. Well, I have some good news for you! A spark of inspiration has hit me and I’ve begun planning out a whole new Pathfinder 2e player character class based specifically being a vampire! No more begging your GM to start the game at level 2, or having to shoehorn in a vampire NPC specifically to turn you the moment you level up for the first time.
But how will the class play? I could have gone with something a bit more traditional with a vampire that hunts prey and calls their wolves and bats and all that, but then I realized I was basically writing a ranger with the vampire as an archetype given for free at 1st level. And you can already do that! So instead, this is going to be a sort-of martial with an emphasis on damage-over-time abilities. Here’s an early draft of one of its core abilities.
Scourge (two actions)
[Concentrate] [Divine] [Manipulate] [Vampire]
You coax the blood out of a fresh wound. Choose one creature that has taken piercing or slashing damage since your last turn. That creature must make a Fortitude save against your Class DC.
Critical Success The creature is unaffected.
Success The creature takes 1d4 bleed damage.
Failure The creature takes 1d4 persistent bleed damage.
Critical Failure The creature takes 1d4 persistent bleed damage. They automatically fail their first flat check to recover from this damage unless they gain the benefits of an Assisted Recovery.
Come back next time and I’ll have a juicy little preview to show you how the class works. Heck, I might even have an Iconic ready if I can get those creative juices pumping through my Musebladder.