Epic Monsters: Dracula (5E)
  • Epic Monsters: Dracula (5E)


    It's Halloween, so this week in the Epic Monsters column we have a bonus entry! We’re going to Wallachia (or Transylvania, take your pick) for the master of all vampires: Dracula!



    Let’s be frank here: you can easily use a standard vampire for Dracula so that’s not what’s below. What follows is more of a pop culture pastiche of the Lord of the Night with a big dose of turbo for fielding against high-level parties of adventurers. This statblock is more appropriately thought of as a master vampire from the Underworld movies or Vampire Hunter D, or better yet the depiction given in Dracula Untold (a great gothic action movie from 2014).

    Design Notes: In addition to his robust list of traits Dracula can summon many, many creatures. His high mobility (flight with legendary actions to move) should be used in conjunction with conjured creatures to keep a party occupied--that way he can isolate and negate the dangers of the healer and/or the most potent spellcaster, quietly compromising them before renewing his assault. Moreover however he is a vampire antagonist with staying power. Any GM that introduces Dracula as the Big Bad Evil Guy of the campaign shouldn’t fear his early death or destruction, instead indulging in excessive foreshadowing as the Lord of the Night teases and frustrates anyone that dares rise against him. Kidnap beloved family members. Turn confidants into vampire spawn. Be big. Be bold. Be Dracula.


    Dracula
    Medium undead (shapechanger), lawful evil

    Armor Class
    21 (natural armor)
    Hit Points 437 (46d8+230)
    Speed 45 ft., fly 60 ft.

    STR
    DEX
    CON
    INT
    WIS
    CHA
    20 (+5)
    25 (+7)
    20 (+5)
    22 (+6)
    21 (+5)
    23 (+6)

    Saving Throws
    Dex +14, Int +13, Wis +12, Cha +13
    Skills Arcana +13, Deception +13, Insight +12, Intimidate +13, Perception +12, Persuasion +13, Stealth +14
    Damage Resistances cold, fire, necrotic, thunder; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical weapons
    Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 22
    Languages Aklo, English, French, German, Romanian, Russian, Turkish; telepathy 200 ft.
    Challenge 23 (50,000 XP)

    Innate Spellcasting. Dracula's innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 21, +13 to hit with spell attacks). He can innately cast the following spells, requiring no material components:

    • At Will: comprehend languages, fog cloud, mage hand, prestidigitation, ray of frost, sleep
    • 5/day: animate dead, detect thoughts, fireball, gust of wind, mirror image, nondetection
    • 3/day: blight, greater invisibility, polymorph
    • 2/day: animate objects, scrying


    Legendary Resistance (3/Day).
    If Dracula fails a saving throw, he can choose to succeed instead.

    Life Stealer (5/Day).
    By spending an action and bonus action, Dracula breathes inward, sucking away the life force of creatures within 40 feet of him. Creatures in the area of effect must succeed on a DC 21 Constitution save or take 21 (6d6) necrotic damage; half of this damage is granted to Dracula as temporary hit points. A successful saving throw reduces the necrotic damage by half. Damage dealt this way cannot be healed with the use of magic and is only restored when a creature takes a short or long rest. Creatures reduced to 0 hit points from this trait die and rise the next evening as a vampire spawn under Dracula’s control.

    Master of Undeath. Dracula can use a bonus action to impose his will on an undead creature he can see. The creature succeeds on a DC 21 Charisma saving throw or falls under Dracula’s control (as dominate monster but does not require Dracula’s concentration).

    Misty Escape. When he drops to 0 hit points outside his resting place, Dracula transforms into a cloud of mist (as in the Shapechanger trait) instead of falling unconscious, provided that he isn't in sunlight or running water. If Dracula can't transform, he is destroyed.
    While he has 0 hit points in mist form, Dracula can't revert to his vampire form, and he must reach his resting place within 2 hours or be destroyed. Once in his resting place, he reverts to his vampire form. Dracula is then paralyzed until he regains at least 1 hit point. After spending 1 hour in his resting place with 0 hit points, Dracula regains 1 hit point.

    Overshadow the Sun. By spending 10 minutes performing a secretive ritual, Dracula draws cataclysmic energies from the Shadow Plane to create darkness in a 1-mile radius for up to 5 hours. This effect is treated as a spell of 9th level.

    Regeneration. Dracula regains 20 hit points at the start of his turn if he has at least 1 hit point and isn't in sunlight or running water. If Dracula takes radiant damage or damage from holy water, this trait doesn't function at the start of his next turn.

    Shapechanger. If Dracula isn't in sunlight or running water, he can use his action to polymorph into a Tiny bat or a Medium cloud of mist, or back into his true form.
    While in bat form, Dracula can't speak, his walking speed is 5 feet, and he has a flying speed of 30 feet. Dracula’s statistics, other than his size and speed, are unchanged. Anything he is wearing transforms with him, but nothing he is carrying does. Dracula reverts to his true form if he dies.
    While in mist form, Dracula can't take any actions, speak, or manipulate objects. He is weightless, has a flying speed of 20 feet, can hover, and can enter a hostile creature's space and stop there. In addition, if air can pass through a space, the mist can do so without squeezing, and he can’t pass through water. Dracula has advantage on Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution saving throws, and he is immune to all nonmagical damage, except the damage he takes from sunlight.

    Spider Climb. Dracula can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.

    Unholy Strength. Dracula can enter a domicile uninvited when he succeeds on a DC 20 Wisdom saving throw. In addition, for the first minute of being staked, at the end of each round he makes a DC 20 Constitution saving throw, ignoring paralysis from the stake on a success.

    Vampire Weaknesses. Dracula has the following flaws:

    • Forbiddance. Dracula can't enter a residence without an invitation from one of the occupants.
    • Harmed by Running Water. Dracula takes 10 acid damage if he ends his turn in running water.
    • Stake to the Heart. If a piercing weapon made of wood is driven into Dracula's heart while he is incapacitated in his resting place, he is paralyzed until the stake is removed.
    • Sunlight Hypersensitivity. Dracula takes 10 radiant damage when he starts his turn in sunlight. While in sunlight, he has disadvantage on attack rolls and ability checks.



    ACTIONS

    Multiattack (Vampire Form Only). Dracula attacks once with his bite and three times with unarmed strikes.

    Bite (Bat or Vampire Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack: +12 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature grappled by Dracula, incapacitated, or restrained. Hit: 13 (1d6+5) piercing damage plus 21 (6d6) necrotic damage. Necrotic damage dealt this way cannot be healed with the use of magic and is only restored when a creature takes a short or long rest, and Dracula regains hit points equal to the necrotic damage dealt. Creatures reduced to 0 hit points from this effect die and rise the next evening as a vampire spawn under Dracula’s control.

    Unarmed Strike (Vampire Form Only). Melee Weapon Attack: +12 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (2d10+5) bludgeoning damage. Dracula can choose to grapple the target (escape DC 20) instead of dealing damage.

    Charm. Dracula targets one humanoid he can see within 30 feet. If the target can see Dracula, the target must succeed on a DC 21 Wisdom saving throw against this magic or be charmed by him. The charmed target regards Dracula as a trusted friend to be heeded and protected. Although the target isn't under his control, it takes Dracula's requests or actions in the most favorable way it can, and it is a willing target for his bite attack.
    Each time Dracula or his companions do anything harmful to the target, it can repeat the saving throw, ending the effect on itself on a success. Otherwise, the effect lasts 24 hours or until Dracula is destroyed, is on a different plane of existence than the target, or takes a bonus action to end the effect.

    Children of Darkness (3/Day). Dracula summons 2d4 vampire spawn that appear after 1d4 rounds. These creatures disappear after 1 hour.

    Children of the Night (3/Day). Dracula magically calls 2d4 swarms of bats or rats (swarm of bats, swarm of rats), provided that the sun isn't up. While outdoors, he can call 3d6 wolves or 2d4 dire wolves instead. The called creatures arrive in 1d4 rounds, acting as allies of Dracula and obeying his spoken commands. The beasts remain for 1 hour, until Dracula dies, or until he dismisses them as a bonus action.


    LEGENDARY ACTIONS

    Dracula can take 3 legendary actions, choosing from the options below. Only one legendary action option can be used at a time and only at the end of another creature's turn. He regains spent legendary actions at the start of his turn.

    • Move. Dracula moves up to his speed without provoking opportunity attacks.
    • Unarmed Strike. Dracula makes one unarmed strike.
    • Bite (Costs 2 Actions). Dracula makes one bite attack.



    REGIONAL EFFECTS

    The areas around Dracula’s lair are corrupted by his primordial evil, generating one (or more) of these effects.

    • Areas within 20 miles of Dracula’s lair are common with the whispers of spirits and the slinking of shadows, giving rise to tall tales of haunted manors, ghost ships, and unexplainable poltergeists.
    • Fonts of blood appear in random locations throughout rivers and lakes in a 10-mile radius around Dracula’s lair.
    • Illumination is subdued by the oppressive evil suffused in a 3-mile radius of Dracula’s lair, reducing the range of light sources by 5 feet (including torches, forever lanterns, the light cantrip, and similar effects).
    • Maladies of the mind are more pervasive within 20 miles of Dracula’s lair, doubling the duration of all forms of madness.
    • Wounds fester as the vile energy suffusing areas within 10 miles of Dracula’s lair, pulling at rent flesh, pressing on bruised muscles, and sucking at bleeding veins. When creatures within the area spend Hit Dice to heal, any dice that roll the highest possible number are treated as if a 1 was rolled instead (a barbarian spending Hit Dice treats a 12 as a 1, a fighter treats a 10 as a 1, and so on).
    Comments 28 Comments
    1. Blue's Avatar
      Blue -
      I like this a lot viewing it as a pop culture amalgam. With suitibly terror-inducing points like Overshadow the Sun if the party knows who they are tangling with. And there are points of mechanical brilliance - for example the regional effect of wounds festering turning the top result into a 1 I like because those with larger HD are less likely to be affected. About the only thing missing is his ability to charm with a gaze.

      I'm not sure he plays as intended - his summons are of negligible CR for a party dealing with him directly as a CR 23. His own damage output is not that high - I don't know that he'll inspire enough terror in high level PCs. His damage per hit and regen are only 2-3 times that of the CR 5 vampire spawn. On the other hand, being unable to heal bite damage via magic puts a cap on a battle, with him regenerating and them not - if a battle goes on that long.

      Since HPs don't matter until you are out of them, I'd love if there was some other mechanism that would immediately depower PCs fighting them so they'd feel the crunch - and the terror - and know if they aren't prepared to deal with him now they need to disengage quickly.

      Side note, Vampire Spawn bites can't be healed until a long rest, his on a short - was there a reason for that?
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      OK I get that this is a pulp culture version of D, and I appreciate the power bump from the standard vampire, but I still have a few issues that bug me:

      1) Sunlight Hypersensitivity. Dracula (the book version) was not harmed by the sun. He wasn't as strong and didn't have all of his powers, but he didn't take damage. I would just drop the damaging part (maybe he can't regenerate in the sun)

      2) I think bite should be a bonus action granted targeting a willing, charmed, or grappled creature. I continue to hate the idea that humanoids with arms run around trying to bite things without grabbing them first! I don't think it should be a part of multiattack.

      3) Fireball? This doesn't say Dracula to me. Where did this come from?
    1. MechaTarrasque's Avatar
      MechaTarrasque -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      OK I get that this is a pulp culture version of D, and I appreciate the power bump from the standard vampire, but I still have a few issues that bug me:

      1) Sunlight Hypersensitivity. Dracula (the book version) was not harmed by the sun. He wasn't as strong and didn't have all of his powers, but he didn't take damage. I would just drop the damaging part (maybe he can't regenerate in the sun)

      2) I think bite should be a bonus action granted targeting a willing, charmed, or grappled creature. I continue to hate the idea that humanoids with arms run around trying to bite things without grabbing them first! I don't think it should be a part of multiattack.

      3) Fireball? This doesn't say Dracula to me. Where did this come from?
      I think Demitri Maximoff (the Dracula stand-in from Dark Stalkers) had a fireball attack, but I won't swear for certain; it has been a long time since I played one of those games.....
    1. Sadras's Avatar
      Sadras -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      3) Fireball? This doesn't say Dracula to me. Where did this come from?
      Over the years Big D accumulated some downtime allowing him to retrain his Blur into a Fireball.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post

      2) I think bite should be a bonus action granted targeting a willing, charmed, or grappled creature. I continue to hate the idea that humanoids with arms run around trying to bite things without grabbing them first! I don't think it should be a part of multiattack
      I think those things incorporate a temporary grab. Attacks aren't described in detail.
    1. UnknownDyson's Avatar
      UnknownDyson -
      Seems more representative of Castlevania Dracula, which I don't mind.
    1. UnknownDyson's Avatar
      UnknownDyson -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      OK I get that this is a pulp culture version of D, and I appreciate the power bump from the standard vampire, but I still have a few issues that bug me:

      1) Sunlight Hypersensitivity. Dracula (the book version) was not harmed by the sun. He wasn't as strong and didn't have all of his powers, but he didn't take damage. I would just drop the damaging part (maybe he can't regenerate in the sun)

      2) I think bite should be a bonus action granted targeting a willing, charmed, or grappled creature. I continue to hate the idea that humanoids with arms run around trying to bite things without grabbing them first! I don't think it should be a part of multiattack.

      3) Fireball? This doesn't say Dracula to me. Where did this come from?
      Maybe he's thinking of this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JexVC8vYABM or this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLwsiHOlrP0
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
      I think those things incorporate a temporary grab. Attacks aren't described in detail.
      I can see that perspective, but only in a smoked filled room through a stained glass window. I get your point, I just think it is more clear with my approach. As it stands now, he could "miss" on all his unarmed attacks and still "hit" with the bite. That just seems a bit off to me.
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by UnknownDyson View Post
      Clearly! But no spoilers please - I haven't watch season 2 yet!
    1. UnknownDyson's Avatar
      UnknownDyson -
      Quote Originally Posted by dave2008 View Post
      Clearly! But no spoilers please - I haven't watch season 2 yet!
      Dave, I really appreciate your work, and in respect of your efforts, I feel it is my duty to inform you that you're doing yourself a disservice every moment you aren't watching season 2. I would love to see you do an epic 5e monsters version of the Castlevania Dracula.
    1. dave2008's Avatar
      dave2008 -
      Quote Originally Posted by UnknownDyson View Post
      Dave, I really appreciate your work, and in respect of your efforts, I feel it is my duty to inform you that you're doing yourself a disservice every moment you aren't watching season 2. I would love to see you do an epic 5e monsters version of the Castlevania Dracula.
      It is in my netflix que. After I finish season 2 I will look into giving the bid D some stats.
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Muahahaha!

      Glad folks are digging this one! I'm a much bigger fan of the ramped up super-Dracula than the classical version--although we may yet see Nosferatu (or something like it) because that B&W freakiness is right up my alley.


      • Dracula there definitely has the Charm ability under his ACTIONS.
      • Summons - A party of four 20th level characters treats 5-6 Vampire Spawn as an Easy encounter, 7 as a Medium encounter, and 8 as a Hard encounter. The swarms and dire wolves are largely for cinematic purposes, it's the vampire spawn hordes that will mess things up and give him time to reboot (regen/bite/death wave) hit points.
      • Blue - Kick things off with greater invisibility and two vampire spawn summons. Let the PCs think they're just dealing with a mass vampire attack, burn down some of their resources, and get somebody charmed before kicking on greater invisibility again. Between fewer actors and more combatants, he should scare the bejeezus out of a party until they can get their footing and whittle him down some.
      • Bite damage healing on Short Rest - No magical healing for it means that in order to have a prolonged battle with Dracula the party would have to take long rests which I dunno about you but 80% of my characters would be like "f#$% no where's the exit?"
      • Sunlight - Dracula has 430 hit points (almost 5 minutes of outside time) and can make everything in a mile radius dark as night.
      • Bite - He can bite as a Legendary Action which is the game's way of handing out extra action economy to monsters. Note he can grab somebody with the unarmed strike (and, probably provoking a few attacks, grab and bite two people in the same round).
      • Fireball - Because (really though as commented by several folks, it's become a thing associated with super-Draculas)
      • Castlevania - My wife just got back from a trip the other day and I've not yet seen "Season 2" (a ridiculous fallacy because "Season 1" was clearly the setup for the first half of a season story arc) so NO SPOILERS​.
    1. Gwarok's Avatar
      Gwarok -
      Dracula frankly wasn't all that powerful. I mean sure, to actual mortal schmucks like you and me it was no contest, but against anyone that can actually wield magic and was super well armed with even low level items that could hurt him I assume he'd be screwed since he was actually done in by a few well motivated brits with not a whole lot more than their bare hands and some wooden stakes. Nothing a decent adventuring party with Protection from Evil really needs to worry about, especially if they have a paladin or two with them.

      That being said, I've thought the standard vampire template is pretty solid, although I add the natural equivalent of Enhance Ability spell affects to STR, DEX, and CHA for CR13 vampires to simulate their speed, strength and otherworldly charm without giving them stats over 20.
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by Gwarok View Post
      Dracula frankly wasn't all that powerful. I mean sure, to actual mortal schmucks like you and me it was no contest, but against anyone that can actually wield magic and was super well armed with even low level items that could hurt him I assume he'd be screwed since he was actually done in by a few well motivated brits with not a whole lot more than their bare hands and some wooden stakes. Nothing a decent adventuring party with Protection from Evil really needs to worry about, especially if they have a paladin or two with them.

      That being said, I've thought the standard vampire template is pretty solid, although I add the natural equivalent of Enhance Ability spell affects to STR, DEX, and CHA for CR13 vampires to simulate their speed, strength and otherworldly charm without giving them stats over 20.
      to whit -->
      Quote Originally Posted by Mike Myler in literally the first paragraph of this article View Post
      Let’s be frank here: you can easily use a standard vampire for Dracula so that’s not what’s below. What follows is more of a pop culture pastiche of the Lord of the Night with a big dose of turbo for fielding against high-level parties of adventurers. This statblock is more appropriately thought of as a master vampire from the Underworld movies or Vampire Hunter D, or better yet the depiction given in Dracula Untold (a great gothic action movie from 2014).
    1. ClaytonCross's Avatar
      ClaytonCross -
      Quote Originally Posted by UnknownDyson View Post
      Or this, Dracula has always used Fireballs as an attack in Castlevania since the first game.
    1. ClaytonCross's Avatar
      ClaytonCross -
      Quote Originally Posted by Gwarok View Post
      Dracula frankly wasn't all that powerful. I mean sure, to actual mortal schmucks like you and me it was no contest, but against anyone that can actually wield magic and was super well armed with even low level items that could hurt him I assume he'd be screwed since he was actually done in by a few well motivated brits with not a whole lot more than their bare hands and some wooden stakes. Nothing a decent adventuring party with Protection from Evil really needs to worry about, especially if they have a paladin or two with them.

      That being said, I've thought the standard vampire template is pretty solid, although I add the natural equivalent of Enhance Ability spell affects to STR, DEX, and CHA for CR13 vampires to simulate their speed, strength and otherworldly charm without giving them stats over 20.
      The problem here is that in the orginal books and in Castlevania, unlike other Vampire's Dracula control's other monster (which was covered in the design but I would CR3 Warewolves summoned from his cursed gypsy servants, CR1/3 skeletions, CR3 mummies, and perhaps limit 3 CR15 Vamprie Spell casters as the 3 sisters on the list) so in many cases it not fighting Dracula but his armies that makes him scary.

      Also, In both cases Dracula CAN'T actually die like other vampires. He is just destroyed for a time. Kind of like original Voldemort in Harry potter the real fear is that his is very powerful and the longer you take to defeat him the more minions he has. Then once you defeat him he ether take some time to become corporeal again (I believe its 100 years in Castlevania) or is aided in ritual by the gypsy cultist who empower and expedite his return. Even in Bram Stoker's when the try to kill him at the end, he doesn't die because they stabbed and hurt him but because he submits to death asking for forgiveness of god in order to allow himself to die to save his reincarnated wife from eternal life as a vampire. As a result in Castlevania, Dracula is actually friends with death who actively protects him as they are the only 2 beings on earth that are entirely immune to death. When destroyed Dracula just stays at the upside down Castle, which is kind of Death's guest house built as reflection of Dracula's actual castle, like he stays so much at his friends house that his friend gave him a permanent room and Death also visits him in the land of the living.

      ...So I think this is an awesome build but you really can show the Terror of the Dracula experience in a single fight, it's really more suited as a campaign story were you fight though the layers of his armies. Which makes the Castlevania games a great example of Dracula done right.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by Gwarok View Post
      Dracula frankly wasn't all that powerful. I mean sure, to actual mortal schmucks like you and me it was no contest, but against anyone that can actually wield magic and was super well armed with even low level items that could hurt him I assume he'd be screwed since he was actually done in by a few well motivated brits with not a whole lot more than their bare hands and some wooden stakes. Nothing a decent adventuring party with Protection from Evil really needs to worry about, especially if they have a paladin or two with them.
      That's because he's set in the real world, so he doesn't need to be. In a D&D world those "few well motivated brits" are a party of competent adventurers with arcane and divine magic, skilled at arms.
    1. ClaytonCross's Avatar
      ClaytonCross -
      Quote Originally Posted by Morrus View Post
      That's because he's set in the real world, so he doesn't need to be. In a D&D world those "few well motivated brits" are a party of competent adventurers with arcane and divine magic, skilled at arms.
      Kind of like the group of "Brits" was made of a Monster Hunter (Van Helsing), a Gunslinger (The American Texan), a swordsman (The Rich snob who appeared to have some training), a Healer (the Doctor), and highly motivated but mostly useless Lawyer husband (I don't remember him ever doing anything but be a snack for the 3 sisters and story point obstacle for Dracula, so Story Arch NPC?).
    1. delericho's Avatar
      delericho -
      Surely Dracula's easy to do - he's just a rip-off of Strahd Von Zarovich, after all.

    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by delericho View Post
      Surely Dracula's easy to do - he's just a rip-off of Strahd Von Zarovich, after all.

      No joke that's why he has Innate Spellcasting. I think my Dracula would *destroy* Strahd though
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