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D&D 5E How do Vampires Exist?

Iry

Hero
The number of death saving throws is reset to zero when you regain any hit points or become stable. This means a Vampire can repeatedly damage you and reduce your maximum hit points down to 0 as long as he can stabilize you before death. Vampires with Medicine or Spare the Dying will have the easiest time of it.

BUT!! (Dramatic Drumroll)

When damage reduces you to 0 hit points and there is damage remaining, you die if the remaining damage equals or exceeds your hit point maximum. A vampire deals 7 Piercing and 10 Necrotic damage (unless you roll for damage). In order to rise as a vampire in this way you must have 10 or fewer maximum hit points.

If you have 1-8 maximum hit points remaining, then 17 damage will invoke Instant Death. This means you need exactly 9 or 10 hit points to avoid Instant Death and die through having your maximum hit points reduced to 0.

But that is silly and should just be handwaved.
 

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pukunui

Legend
Vampire bite damage: 7(1d6 + 4) piercing damage plus 10 (3d6) necrotic damage.

Necrotic will beat piercing to the punch.
That's what I thought at first, too, but I'm not sure that's the case. Let's say a victim has 35 hp. The vampire bites and deals 7 piercing dmg, reducing the victim's hp to 28/35. It then deals the 10 necrotic dmg, reducing the victim's hp to 18/25. On the next round, the 7 piercing dmg reduces the victim to 11/25, followed by 10 more necrotic dmg, further reducing the victim to 4/15. On the third round, the 7 piercing dmg is going to drop the victim to 0 before the necrotic can reduce its hit point max to 0.

Especially if it's one bite (piercing) then a long swig from the vein. Then, once attached, it's just necrotic. Dracula doesn't bite on his victim's neck like he's eating an apple. One bite, the rest is suck.
The problem is that the vampire's bite attack doesn't say that it can automatically just suck blood once it's made an initial bite (unlike, say, a stirge). This makes sense if the target is merely grappled, since it can still potentially get the vampire's teeth out of its neck, even if it can't then run away, which would require the vampire to then bite it again. However, if the target is incapacitated and thus can't move at all, then it makes sense that the vampire shouldn't have to keep biting in order to suck blood.
 

spectacle

First Post
Since the bite is considered a melee weapon attack, a vampire could simply declare the damage to be nonlethal. I'm not entirely sure if nonlethal would apply to the necrotic damage, as well, but it shouldn't violate RAW since it isn't a spell or magical attack. Even if you don't agree that the necrotic damage can be nonlethal, it isn't difficult for a vampire to turn a healthy "willing" victim.

Alternatively, you could interpret the last sentence (quoted below) to apply to death from any part of the bite attack. Admittedly, if that's what the designers intended, it is not very clear in its present form. However, given that hit points are abstract by RAW, it probably makes more sense this way.
There's no such thing as nonlethal damage in 5E. There's only the option to knock out rather than kill a target you reduce to 0 HP with a melee attack. Taking any damage while at 0 HP still counts as failed death saves even if you were knocked out, so a vampire would have to be very careful to avoid an unconscious victim.

I'd just make a DM call that a vampire can safely drain and convert an unconscious victim if it's undisturbed for a while. It's not a fight so the Combat rules aren't really suited to resolving the situation.
 

Giant2005

First Post
How is it still an issue? If the victim is at 0 hp, that piercing dmg will just result in two failed death saves. But if the vampire then stabilizes the victim, those death saves will go away and it can just suck the blood without worrying about accidentally killing the victim through automatic failed death saves.

Stabilized creatures aren't impervious to harm - they still have 0 hit points. Hitting it again will give it one failed death save that could grow to two on the victim's turn. I guess the vampire could bite the stabilzed creature once, use a medpack to restabilize it on its next turn, bite him again, restabilize and repeat as necessary (While hoping the victim doesn't roll a natural 1 on its death saving throw). Although that is pretty much as cumbersome as the potion idea and far from ideal.

It does make me wonder one thing that isn't at all related to vampirism though, but is that even how the game is supposed to be played? The book doesn't actually mention that becoming stable wipes any failed or successful death saves you have made upon the way. Even more significantly than that, it doesn't even say that those successes or failures are wiped upon regaining 1 hit point. This game could very well be a lot more lethal than anyone has been playing it if the intention is that failed death saves are permanent.
 

pukunui

Legend
I'd just make a DM call that a vampire can safely drain and convert an unconscious victim if it's undisturbed for a while. It's not a fight so the Combat rules aren't really suited to resolving the situation.
And what vampire is going to stop in the middle of a fight to make sure it successfully transforms a victim into a new vampire? It's not like the spawn will pop up immediately to help its new master in the fight*. It says the corpse has to be buried first, which takes time. The vampire's more likely to stop just long enough to stabilize the creature and then finish the fight before coming back to do the transformation in peace and quiet.

*Although that could make for a scary encounter with a more advanced vampire.


Stabilized creatures aren't impervious to harm - they still have 0 hit points. Hitting it again will give it one failed death save that could grow to two on the victim's turn.
Actually, hitting a creature with an attack while it's at 0 hp counts as an automatic critical hit, which deals two failed death saves in and of itself.

The book doesn't actually mention that becoming stable wipes any failed or successful death saves you have made upon the way. Even more significantly than that, it doesn't even say that those successes or failures are wiped upon regaining 1 hit point. This game could very well be a lot more lethal than anyone has been playing it if the intention is that failed death saves are permanent.
Yes, it does. PHB, pg 197: "The number of [death saves] is reset to zero when you regain any hit points or become stable."
 
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Ristamar

Adventurer
There's no such thing as nonlethal damage in 5E. There's only the option to knock out rather than kill a target you reduce to 0 HP with a melee attack. Taking any damage while at 0 HP still counts as failed death saves even if you were knocked out, so a vampire would have to be very careful to avoid an unconscious victim.

Yes, I was referring to the damage of the final blow (I should have made that clear). I suppose once the victim is at 0, that option goes out the window. I forgot that you can't hit them anymore once they're at 0 without quickly killing them.

I think interpreting that any death from a bite attack can produce a vampire works better within the framework of the rules (similar to a Wight).
 
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Giant2005

First Post
Yes, it does. PHB, pg 197: "The number of [death saves] is reset to zero when you regain any hit points or become stable."

You are right.
I thought it was strange that it didn't mention any conditions for removing failed death saves, so I read that thing about 10 times (not even hyperbole), and yet somehow I missed that line each and every time.
 

Saeviomagy

Adventurer
The fact that most commoners will die before being turned is the reason that vampires don't just instantly wipe out any community they inhabit. The victim has to be either lucky or powerful, or it just won't work.
 

[MENTION=54629]pukunui[/MENTION]

Hmm. Yeah, the rules don't state it, but in the spirit of common sense, I missed that.

I personally rule that it goes:

Round 1 Vamp's turn: grapples PC. DC18 escape, assume PC fails. 2nd attack, bites (hits) - 7 pierce, 10 necro
Round 1 PC's turn: attempts to break grapple (fails) - or, remains grappled but stabs at drac's guts whilst being bitten
Round 2 Vamp's turn: he is still grappling PC; continues to suck (10 necro)
Round 2 PC's turn: as round 1.

Vamp only needs to bite again if the PC escapes the grapple.

Only time grappling isn't a prerequisite is if the vamp uses up 2 legendary actions to make a bite attack (the 'swoop and chomp'). But as that is only one attack and is taken after the PCs turn, it's a safe bet he will choose to grapple as his action next round so that the bite (suck) - I'd count a continued bite/suck as the 2nd attack - can continue anyway.

I guess in this instance, as the grapple is maintained unless the victim breaks it, could vamp take the grapple as a free, and then suck (attack 1) and knee in the nuts (attack 2)?
 

pukunui

Legend
You are right.
I thought it was strange that it didn't mention any conditions for removing failed death saves, so I read that thing about 10 times (not even hyperbole), and yet somehow I missed that line each and every time.
No worries.

Another option with regard to PCs as victims would simply be to talk to the player concerned. If their PC is in danger of becoming a vampire, and the other PCs can do nothing to stop that happening, you can just ask the player if they want their PC to become a vampire. If not, the PC dies. If yes, then great! You've got your player's buy-in, and I find that's always an important thing to have with this sort of thing anyway.
 

Celtavian

Dragon Lord
The question I have is are you really going to run it this strictly instead of make it an interesting experience by adjusting things to fit what you think the experience of being turned into a vampire should be like?
 

Giant2005

First Post
The question I have is are you really going to run it this strictly instead of make it an interesting experience by adjusting things to fit what you think the experience of being turned into a vampire should be like?

I am making a homebrew vampires supplement. I need things to be functional and make sense outside of any one event.
 

pming

Hero
Hiya!

I am making a homebrew vampires supplement. I need things to be functional and make sense outside of any one event.

Vampire Creation:A victim who has his/her HP's reduced to 0 or lower via a vampires bite doesn't die, but is instead put into torpor. In this state the vampire can choose to kill the victim via blood draining, or instantly stabilize the victim at unconscious. If the later, the victim will rise as a vampire in 1d3 days if buried in soft earth. If no soft earth is available, the victim dies at the end of that time.

You're welcome. I'll take 2% of sales, thank you. ;)

^_^

Paul L. Ming
 

Warbringer

Explorer
Obviously, 5e vampires don't bite you, they gum you until they turn you into a vampire

toothless Vampire.jpg
 

Giant2005

First Post
I'll take 2% of sales, thank you. ;)

Sadly, 2% of sales is likely to round down to pretty much nothing :p.

Either way, what you wrote isn't of a lot of help to me as it conflicts with something else within the homebrew that you couldn't possibly be aware of.
 


Giant2005

First Post
Good idea! I wasn't going to bother trying to ask such a complicated question over twitter, but sending the link should do the trick.
 


PnPgamer

Explorer
Most literary vampires (from classic literature, not some potboiler or improbable fan-fic) took days, if not weeks, to transform a victim, slowly draining their life force. IIRC, Lucy in Dracula is slowly drained over weeks, and Mina is attacked over several days.

If the reduction in maximum HP does not recover naturally, you could just bite the person once per day and wait for the regular damage to heal overnight.

Futurama-Fry.jpg
 


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