D&D 5E Meet Dracula, THE Vampire Lord for D&D

Often imitated, never bettered. Dracula is the vampire all the other vampires aspire to be. Yes, that includes you, Strahd.



2E3E3270-926B-4347-83F1-98B48C30987C.jpeg
 

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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey




Alzrius

The EN World kitten
How are you seeing the actions, I can only see the traits?
Erm. The actions aren’t in that image.

The text for the Life Stealer ability says, "By spending an action and a bonus action, Dracula breathes inward, sucking away the life force of creatures within 40 feet of him. Creatures within 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."
 


Worrgrendel

Explorer
a CR 23 creature that spends its entire action and bonus action on dealing less damage than a fireball and getting 10 temp. HP o_O

The text for the Life Stealer ability says, "By spending an action and a bonus action, Dracula breathes inward, sucking away the life force of creatures within 40 feet of him. Creatures within 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."

I would also point out that "less damage than a fireball" (save or not) takes from your hit point maximum as well and cannot be healed until a short or long rest is taken. The temp HP are just icing on the cake to go with his 20 HP regen (easily overcome at that level though). A DC 21 Con save in a 40 foot radius is going to catch most/all of a party and is difficult for most non-Barbarian/Fighter/Sorcerer classes who would likely need to roll an 18+ to make it. Even those with Con save prof are going to fail that roll half the time without help. Losing 21 HP on average from your max HP each round would not be fun.
 

Mike Myler

Have you been to LevelUp5E.com yet?
The text for the Life Stealer ability says, "By spending an action and a bonus action, Dracula breathes inward, sucking away the life force of creatures within 40 feet of him. Creatures within 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."
That's not there to be a main mode of attack, but I suppose he could rely on it. Consider instead throwing Dracula into a group of peasants. They'll all certainly fail their saves (DC 21!), die from 21 necrotic damage, and then rise the next night as a vampire spawn. One could easily transform dozens of people into vampire spawn in a single night using an ability like that, especially while shapechanged into a bat. Even more if they came back the next night and commanded those spanking new vampire spawn to start catching people for meals/more traditional vamping.

Let's stay on the offensive thread though because I think it's satisfyingly chewy. In an average round of attacks, Dracula here will bite somebody for 7d6+5, smack three folks for another 16 a pop, and then gets to legendary actions. To get the same damage output using Life Stealer, he'd have to fit ~pulls on thinking cap~ 4 targets inside of an 80-foot diameter circle.

Let's check out some other big bads for comparison.
Ancient Black Dragons will pop off for 58 damage before LAs if just smacking things (compared to Dracula's 82), but can do a 90x10 ft line for 15d8 acid! That's not bad, but it's a line (harder to nail as many targets as a 40-foot radius will), and more importantly it's a Dexterity saving throw which means rogues, monks, and anyone wearing a ring of evasion will take half or no damage. It's also a basic energy type which means it's not hard to snag some resistance. Otherwise it doesn't do anything for the dragon, nor does it create servants for later, and it has to recharge.

That's a CR 21 creature though--let's kick up a notch!

Ancient Blue dragons! They're chomping away for 63 damage a turn (still behind big D) and get an even longer, more damaging and difficult to avoid line (120 feet!) but again, no extra frills and will give away a ton of Get-Out-Of-Area Free cards because it's a Dexterity saving throw, and it has to deal with accessible damage resistances. If they're fighting on an isolated mountaintop and everyone's trudging up the trail? Awesome. In almost any other scenario I think I'd want to have Life Stealer—there's no wait between uses, the monster regains hit points, its area is just so great, and most importantly it forces a party (which probably has a paladin giving off aura effects) to disperse or suffer while reinforcing their foe. Plus it'll make adventurers poop themselves when their maximum hit points take a hit from an area effect.

He doesn't need it though. Dracula's got that mostly for easily overtaking settlements. :)
 

Worrgrendel

Explorer
That's not there to be a main mode of attack, but I suppose he could rely on it. Consider instead throwing Dracula into a group of peasants. They'll all certainly fail their saves (DC 21!), die from 21 necrotic damage, and then rise the next night as a vampire spawn. One could easily transform dozens of people into vampire spawn in a single night using an ability like that, especially while shapechanged into a bat. Even more if they came back the next night and commanded those spanking new vampire spawn to start catching people for meals/more traditional vamping.

It could also be used for dramatic effect on the party of adventurers in a similar situation. Party goes to face the Big D in his lair. Finds him surrounded by said peasants. Party likely approaches the situation as a "we need to rescue these poor peasants while we fight off/kill the Big D!". Party rushes in and the Big D sets this off on his turn, catching most/all of the party and ALL of the peasants for an opener. So much for the rescue...
 

Mike Myler

Have you been to LevelUp5E.com yet?
I like the idea of the party gathering or addressing a mob about to go after Big D, him flying in as a bat, and just wiping out 20 peasants that get up the next night to create a whole new major problem for the adventurers to deal with for his amusement. Kicking off a fight with some juicy little morsels for a quick health boost wouldn't hurt though that's for sure!
 


Erm. The actions aren’t in that image.
I know. My point was, he'll never use that trait. He will die (for real) really fast, if that is going to be his use of action + bonus action against a 20th level party.

Losing 21 HP on average from your max HP each round would not be fun.
Thankfully, it would only be for a couple of rounds.


That's not there to be a main mode of attack, but I suppose he could rely on it. Consider instead throwing Dracula into a group of peasants. They'll all certainly fail their saves (DC 21!), die from 21 necrotic damage, and then rise the next night as a vampire spawn. One could easily transform dozens of people into vampire spawn in a single night using an ability like that, especially while shapechanged into a bat. Even more if they came back the next night and commanded those spanking new vampire spawn to start catching people for meals/more traditional vamping.

Let's stay on the offensive thread though because I think it's satisfyingly chewy. In an average round of attacks, Dracula here will bite somebody for 7d6+5, smack three folks for another 16 a pop, and then gets to legendary actions. To get the same damage output using Life Stealer, he'd have to fit ~pulls on thinking cap~ 4 targets inside of an 80-foot diameter circle.

Let's check out some other big bads for comparison.
Ancient Black Dragons will pop off for 58 damage before LAs if just smacking things (compared to Dracula's 82), but can do a 90x10 ft line for 15d8 acid! That's not bad, but it's a line (harder to nail as many targets as a 40-foot radius will), and more importantly it's a Dexterity saving throw which means rogues, monks, and anyone wearing a ring of evasion will take half or no damage. It's also a basic energy type which means it's not hard to snag some resistance. Otherwise it doesn't do anything for the dragon, nor does it create servants for later, and it has to recharge.

That's a CR 21 creature though--let's kick up a notch!

Ancient Blue dragons! They're chomping away for 63 damage a turn (still behind big D) and get an even longer, more damaging and difficult to avoid line (120 feet!) but again, no extra frills and will give away a ton of Get-Out-Of-Area Free cards because it's a Dexterity saving throw, and it has to deal with accessible damage resistances. If they're fighting on an isolated mountaintop and everyone's trudging up the trail? Awesome. In almost any other scenario I think I'd want to have Life Stealer—there's no wait between uses, the monster regains hit points, its area is just so great, and most importantly it forces a party (which probably has a paladin giving off aura effects) to disperse or suffer while reinforcing their foe. Plus it'll make adventurers poop themselves when their maximum hit points take a hit from an area effect.

He doesn't need it though. Dracula's got that mostly for easily overtaking settlements. :)
I don't know. I guess it's great for flavor, but putting abilities in epic level monsters' stat blocks that are mostly aimed at how they defeat peasants, are really not that useful at the table, imo. I mean, you don't see Demogorgon's or Zariel's statblock filled with abilities that will get them curb stomped in short time. Because it's not very helpful at in the middle of combat that the DM wll have to sort between actual efficient powers, and ..not so effective abilities.

Show us the stats, then! ;)
 

Well the area of effect is 2x that of a fireball and the damage can't be healed.
But the damage is insufficient for taking up all the action so to speak. He will get hit for hundreds of damage and not returning the favor. The action economy is harsh enough on the monsters as is!
 

Mike Myler

Have you been to LevelUp5E.com yet?
I know. My point was, he'll never use that trait. He will die (for real) really fast, if that is going to be his use of action + bonus action against a 20th level party.


Thankfully, it would only be for a couple of rounds.



I don't know. I guess it's great for flavor, but putting abilities in epic level monsters' stat blocks that are mostly aimed at how they defeat peasants, are really not that useful at the table, imo. I mean, you don't see Demogorgon's or Zariel's statblock filled with abilitiess that will get them curc stomped in short time. Because it's not very helpful at in the middle of combat that the DM wll have to sort between actual efficient powers, and ..not so effective abilities.

Show us the stats, then! ;)

This book is a collection of the builds that appear every Monday on the front page under Mythological Figures or Epic Monsters. Here's his post (from 2018 ;) ) 5E - Epic Monsters: Dracula (5E)

But the damage is insufficient for taking up all the action so to speak. He will get hit for hundreds of damage and not returning the favor. The action economy is harsh enough on the monsters as is!

So he does have one very nice bonus action to use if there's another undead nearby, but what other bonus actions are you envisioning him using? It's about an even trade on damage if he can get 4 targets within 40 feet of him (seems like that's very doable), it restores more hit points than his regular attack array, and it permanently caps the party's hit point totals. This feels like a good way to sack that bonus action!
 

J-H

Hero
If you're in Texas and playing Castlevania don't read this.

That's right about the same HP as my Dracula for my Castlevania game. Right at double the HP of the standard vampire.
Mine is more game-inspired, with a free bonus-action teleport each turn, and Dracula getting 2 turns per round. One turn is melee attacks, and the other is spellcasting off a fairly short list.

Lair actions include summoning 4 bat swarms and cloaking the room in shadows.

Then of course there's his other form.
Vampire dragon of course
which has a whole additional pool of HP.

I did specifically balance mine so that a 20th-level Champion with +3 equipment and an artifact-grade whip has a 60%+ chance of defeating both forms, ignoring the bat swarm and fire elemental summons (over 3 rounds, you only get 4 bats and 1 elemental). With Action Surge, it's a pretty short combat. The party will be 5, possibly 6, level 12 characters.

Mine is a very VG-specific and narrow version of Dracula, one who sits atop his castle controlling his army from afar. This one is more in line with the traditional Dracula, where he's out terrorizing the countryside himself.
 


It's about an even trade on damage if he can get 4 targets within 40 feet of him (seems like that's very doable), it restores more hit points than his regular attack array, and it permanently caps the party's hit point totals. This feels like a good way to sack that bonus action!
It may be because there's some RAW erratta that I'm not familiar with, but temp HP doesn't stack afaik, so he will only get about 10 temp HP, yes? His bite wil heal him for more.
I can see the point about hitting 4 with the power. I just dunno, it seems to me, that the damage he will dish out - healable or not - is too little when assaulted by a party dealing hundreds of damage.
But, enough with my negativity, looking forward to further previews :)
 

Mike Myler

Have you been to LevelUp5E.com yet?
It may be because there's some RAW erratta that I'm not familiar with, but temp HP doesn't stack afaik, so he will only get about 10 temp HP, yes? His bite wil heal him for more.
I can see the point about hitting 4 with the power. I just dunno, it seems to me, that the damage he will dish out - healable or not - is too little when assaulted by a party dealing hundreds of damage.
But, enough with my negativity, looking forward to further previews :)
They don't stack, but temporary hit points are granted by the feature/trait/spell, and the amount of temporary hit points granted by it is determined by the number of targets and the total damage dealt.
Using it twice in a row (while he still has temporary hit points from a previous use) would replace whatever leftover temp HP he has when the feature is used a second time.

Again though I envision it mostly being a tactical trait that is going to be best used when there are underlings about and as a tool for plot.

Morrus has more on Twitter and I've posted a few of those over on Facebook if you root around there, but there are more articles with previews too!

I gotta say that one of the things I've long loved about this website is that there's always more to find and enjoy. :)
 

J-H

Hero
Indeed?
Scroll to the bottom of that post ^^ for the shortened statblock.
I built mine as a PC with some nice gear.... the conceit of the CV series is generally that a single man with blessed equipment and a lot of grit can overcome every challenge in the castle using no overtly magical abilities. NPC builds with new features open up a lot of possibilities for him being lower level.

Human Champion 20

Str 20 (+5), Dex 14 (+2), Con 20 (+5), Int 10 (0), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 10 (+0)

Feats:

1) Shield Master: Shield AC bonus (+4) to Dex saves; bonus action shove when attacking; use reaction to take no damage on a successful Dex save for half.
2) Resilient (WIS): +1 Wisdom, Proficiency in saves using Wis.

Items:
+3 Breastplate

Belmont Whip +3 (A)

The Belmont whip is artifact-grade, given its long history. Stats inspired by the Sword of Kas & Mace of Disruption:
-Base damage 1d6, deals bludgeoning damage (chain whip)
-Bonus damage 1d10 fire damage
-Deals 2d10 radiant damage to undead
-Undead with fewer than 25hp must make a Wis DC15 save or be destroyed; on a successful save, they are frightened of the bearer for 1 round
-Bearer may cast Hero's Feast once per day (Turkey legs all over the castle?)
Plus a few minor properties. Attunable only by a blood member of Belmont Family

Ring Of Protection +2 (A)
Simon actually picks up a ring in CV2. This boosts his AC & saves even more.

Shield of Resistance against Evil (A)
This shield +2 grants resistance to fire, necrotic, and posion damage. Advantage on saves versus Fear & Charm.

Saves:
Str +13
Dex +8
Con +13
Int +2
Wis +10
Cha +2

224hp.
Second Wind for 1d10+20hp once per short rest
Regenerate 10hp/rd if under half health
2 action surges per short rest
4 attacks per round
Athletics +11, and +5' to long jump distance, for all those platforming areas.
Indomitable, 3 saving throw re-rolls
Dueling Fighting Style
Defense Fighting Style
Superior Critical: Crit on 18-20

Final AC & to-hit:
AC 26
Belmont Whip +14 (x4 attacks, crit 18-20) for 1d6+10 bludg, 1d10 fire damage, 2d10 radiant vs undead
 

Mike Myler

Have you been to LevelUp5E.com yet?
I built mine as a PC with some nice gear.... the conceit of the CV series is generally that a single man with blessed equipment and a lot of grit can overcome every challenge in the castle using no overtly magical abilities. NPC builds with new features open up a lot of possibilities for him being lower level.

Human Champion 20

Str 20 (+5), Dex 14 (+2), Con 20 (+5), Int 10 (0), Wis 14 (+2), Cha 10 (+0)

Feats:

1) Shield Master: Shield AC bonus (+4) to Dex saves; bonus action shove when attacking; use reaction to take no damage on a successful Dex save for half.
2) Resilient (WIS): +1 Wisdom, Proficiency in saves using Wis.

Items:
+3 Breastplate

Belmont Whip +3 (A)

The Belmont whip is artifact-grade, given its long history. Stats inspired by the Sword of Kas & Mace of Disruption:
-Base damage 1d6, deals bludgeoning damage (chain whip)
-Bonus damage 1d10 fire damage
-Deals 2d10 radiant damage to undead
-Undead with fewer than 25hp must make a Wis DC15 save or be destroyed; on a successful save, they are frightened of the bearer for 1 round
-Bearer may cast Hero's Feast once per day (Turkey legs all over the castle?)
Plus a few minor properties. Attunable only by a blood member of Belmont Family

Ring Of Protection +2 (A)
Simon actually picks up a ring in CV2. This boosts his AC & saves even more.

Shield of Resistance against Evil (A)
This shield +2 grants resistance to fire, necrotic, and posion damage. Advantage on saves versus Fear & Charm.

Saves:
Str +13
Dex +8
Con +13
Int +2
Wis +10
Cha +2

224hp.
Second Wind for 1d10+20hp once per short rest
Regenerate 10hp/rd if under half health
2 action surges per short rest
4 attacks per round
Athletics +11, and +5' to long jump distance, for all those platforming areas.
Indomitable, 3 saving throw re-rolls
Dueling Fighting Style
Defense Fighting Style
Superior Critical: Crit on 18-20

Final AC & to-hit:
AC 26
Belmont Whip +14 (x4 attacks, crit 18-20) for 1d6+10 bludg, 1d10 fire damage, 2d10 radiant vs undead
That linked build isn't an NPC! It's a PC build that uses a class that appears in Book of Celestial Heroes (put together to promote the Kickstarter of yore that funded the lame-o holy tome and much cooler Book of Exalted Darkness). There are so many Belmonts I figured you might be able to scratch his name off for one of the other ones in case the need arises. :p
 

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